Extracts 'Battle of the Falaise Gap' (British)

Discussion in 'British & Commonwealth' started by Pat Curran, Apr 28, 2015.

  1. allan125

    allan125 Active Member
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    Thanks Pat - it looks better than my original !!

    Rob - I will try to remember where I have filed the book and see if anything is in there about B.18 Cristot. Probably won't be tonight though!!

    I only have a proper interest in ALG's that 125 Wing operated from, or transited through, and I have no record of them being at B.18 Cristot or you would have had a prompt reply!!

    Cheers

    Allan
     
  2. Ramiles

    Ramiles Active Member
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    No probs and no rush there at all.

    I didn't even know that there was an airfield built there until today so it was an interesting surprise. There were a couple of battles there too - the 1st one on the 11th June with the 4/7th RDG again and the 2nd with the 24th L on the 16th June. What with Points 102 and 103 as well as St.Pierre / Tilly-sur-Seulles around there and the Parc de Bois Londe just to the south it was a "pretty crowded area" it seems.

    A lot to fight over to be sure, some day I hope to find out why Oristot rather than Cristot is on some maps? Surely not just a typo - though it's easy to see why - but if so it's rather odd that no one "clicked" on that.

    I'm still trying to figure if these sites were long earmarked for RAF bases - and so had to be fought for specifically - or were these fields just conveniently located and could actually have been pretty much anywhere. That "coincidence" between where the tanks had been and where the RAF moved into subsequently seems more than half like it was a part of some "larger" more "considered" plan. And I'm "just guessing" here too that once the RAF were close and able to offer some very swift support this really helped to - at least somewhat - alleviate the situation of the tough fighting through the bocage. (i.e. you might on the ground not be able to see through a wall or hedge what's in the next field but with an eye always in the sky...) ;-)

    Rm.
    [hr]
    Re the Wiltshire war diaries - these seem to be online here:
    http://www.thewardrobe.org.uk/research/war-diaries/search#tab:.ww2

    i.e. just one for interest:
    http://www.thewardrobe.org.uk/research/war-diaries/detail/19041

    And this is what I got for a search with just the word "Pincon" : http://www.thewardrobe.org.uk/research/war-diaries/search/year:1944/q:pincon
     
  3. allan125

    allan125 Active Member
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    Regarding "long earmarked" and "had to be fought for" - you might find this of interest. According to Dad 125 Wing was originally scheduled for Caen/Carpiquet but that was occupied by 12th SS Hitler Jugend, so that is why they ended up at B.11 Longues-sur-mer. Not to be confused with the British SS Brigades mentioned below (Special Service, later changed due to confusion with the other SS)

    Second British Army / 83 Group RAF

    Joint Outline Plan "Neptune" (fourth draft)

    Having received the Initial Joint Plan for Operation "Neptune" from the joint commanders of the Allied expeditionary forces, the British 2nd Army prepared, as required, its own plan outlining its role in the establishment of an Allied lodgement area in Normandy. The extracts reproduced below from this outline plan (which was drafted in conjunction with the Number 83 Group of the Royal Air Force's 2nd Tactical Air Force) commit the 2nd Army to securing areas around Caen that might be used for airfields; beyond that, it has no intention to make a significant advance inland until the U.S. 1st Army to the west has secured the port of Cherbourg and swept into Brittany.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As modest as these goals may seem, some of them proved to be beyond the greatest efforts of the 2nd Army on the day of the invasion. The cities of Caen and Bayeux, for instance, were expected to fall on the evening of D-Day. Bayeux was indeed taken only one day behind schedule, but Caen was to remain beyond the 2nd Army's grasp for more than a month.

    OBJECT

    1. (a) The ultimate object of Second British Army is to protect the flank of the U.S. Armies while the latter capture CHERBOURG, ANGERS, NANTES and the BRITTANY ports.

    There is no intention of carrying out a major advance until the BRITTANY ports have been captured.

    (b) The immediate object of the operations envisaged in this Outline Plan is to secure and develop a bridgehead SOUTH of the line CAEN 0368 - ST LO 5063 and SE of CAEN in order to secure airfield sites for the rapid establishment of air forces in the bridgehead, and to protect the flank of the First US Army, while the latter captures CHERBOURG.

    METHOD

    3. Main Tasks

    (a) 30 Corps right, and 1 Corps left, will assault beaches between PORT-EN-BESSIN 7587 and the R ORNE, and will advance to secure PIERRE D'ENTREMONT 8027 - CONDE-SUR-NOIREAU 8831 - FALAISE 1436 and the high ground to the NORTH of it - ARGENCES 1761 - DIVES-SUR-MER 2279.

    (b) After completion of landing of two assaulting Corps, 8 and 12 Corps will land in succession, and will be prepared to develop operations in a SE direction.

    GENERAL POLICY

    5. The two assaulting Corps will advance by bounds (set out in the phases detailed below) from firm base to firm base. The maximum amount of offensive action by mobile forces will be carried out in advance of these firm bases.

    The speed of the advance from firm base to firm base will depend upon the rate of Build Up. The depth to which offensive action by mobile forces can be carried out in advance of these firm bases will depend upon the amount of enemy resistance, and the success achieved in establishing air forces in the bridgehead.

    6. The intensive fighter effort required over the beaches can only be maintained for a short period by air forces based in the UK. It is essential therefore, to operate air forces from airfields on the Continent as early as possible after the assault so that the effort required can be maintained. To this end, by D plus 14, ten airfields must be built, and protected at a depth sufficient to prevent them being subjected to harassing artillery fire, in order that No. 83 Group RAF can be built up to full strength by that date.

    PHASE I - THE ASSAULT

    SECOND ARMY

    7. (a) 30 Corps will assault with 50 Div on a two brigade front and will secure BAYEUX 7879 by the evening of D Day.

    1 Corps will assault with 3 Cdn Div right on a two brigade front and 3 Br Div left on a one brigade front and secure CAEN 0368 by the evening of D Day.

    The capture and retention of CAEN is vital to the Army Plan.

    One SAS Tps is allotted to 1 Corps. This unit will land on the night D - 1/D Day with the task of delaying the movement of enemy reserves towards CAEN from the EAST and SE.

    (b) The domination of the area OUISTREHAM 1079 - CABOURG 2179 - TROARN 1667 - CAEN is necessary for the security of the left flank, and to ensure that the beaches immediately WEST of OUISTREHAM may be used for maintenance.

    The following tps are allotted to 1 Corps for this purpose:

    (i) One Para Bde (four bns)

    (ii) 1 SS Bde (less one Commando)

    The primary task for the para bde is the capture of the bridges at BENOUVILLE 099748 and RANVILLE 104746.

    The primary task for 1 SS Bde is to secure coastal defences, FRANCEVILLE 1578 - CABOURG 2179.

    (c) The remaining Commando of 1 SS Bde is allotted to 1 Corps to deal with OUISTREHAM, and on completion of this task to rejoin the rest of the bde.

    (d) 4 SS Bde is allotted to 1 Corps for the task of clearing up the area between 3 Cdn and 3 Br Inf Divs as early as possible on D Day, and with a view to the destruction of the coast arty btys at HOULGATE 2480 and BENERVILLE 4111, if necessary, during night D/D + 1.

    83 Group RAF

    8. 83 Group must be ready by dusk, D Day, to take over the control of night fighters operating over the bridgehead on the night D/D + 1 and also be ready to undertake the forward direction of day fighters on D + 1.

    PHASE II

    SECOND ARMY

    9. (a) 30 Corps will advance and secure the centre of communications at VILLERS - BOCAGE 8157, gaining contact with 5 US Corps at CAUMONT 7059.

    (b) 1 Corps will pivot on CAEN and maintain contact with 30 Corps. As a basis for planning, it is considered that the rate of Build Up will not permit this advance before D + 3/D + 4.

    83 Group RAF

    10. The operation of sqns from two refuelling and re-arming strips will commence from one R & RS on D + 3 and from a second on D + 3 or D + 4. These strips will be located in the vicinity of ST CROIX-SUR-MER, 9383, and BAZENVILLE, 8982.

    PHASE III

    SECOND ARMY

    11. (a) 30 Corps will advance and secure the high ground BOIS DU HOMME 7151 - Pt 361 7250 and MONT PINCON 8345, gaining contact with 5 US Corps in the area immediately SOUTH of FORET L'EVEQUE 6348.

    (b) 1 Corps will advance and secure the high ground immediately NE of BRETTEVILLE-SUR-LAIZE 0553 and the high ground immediately EAST of ARGENCES 1761.

    As a basis for planning it is considered that the rate of Build Up will not permit this advance before D + 7/D + 8.

    (c) The capture and retention by 1 Corps of the two areas described above is essential for the construction of the airfields SE of CAEN. If these areas are not secured it is doubtful if ten airfields can be developed by D + 14, as required by the overall air plan.

    83 Group RAF

    12. (a) The operation of sqns from five ALGs (including two converted R and R strips) will commence from D + 7/8.

    The three additional strips are:-

    CAMILLY 9476

    VILLONS LES BUISSONS 0075

    COULOMBS 8926

    PHASE IV

    SECOND ARMY

    13. (a) 30 Corps will advance and secure the high ground PIERRE D'ENTREMONT 8027 - MONT DE CERISE 8125 and CONDE-SUR-NOIREAU 8831, gaining contact with First US Army at VIRE 6331.

    (b) 1 Corps will pivot on ARGENCES 1761 and advance and secure FALAISE 1436 and the high ground to the NORTH of it.

    As a basis for planning it is considered that the rate of Build Up will not permit this advance until D + 12/D + 17, by which time 8 Corps and possibly 12 Corps will be available in reserve.

    83 Group RAF

    14. (a) A further five ALGs, making a total of ten, will be in operation by D + 14. These additional ALGs will be located as follows:

    Two in area AUTHIE 9871 - CAEN/CARPIQUET 9769

    Three in area ESCOVILLE 1271 - FRENOUVILLE 1162

    If, for tactical reasons, it is not possible to use the area ESCOVILLE 1271 - FRENOUVILLE 1162, it may be possible to develop alternative sites in the following area:

    (i) Area LONGUES 7896 - SOMMERVIEU 8381 - MARTRAGNY 8676

    (ii) Area BENY-SUR-MER 9880 - BIEVILLE 0674.

    cheers

    Allan
     
  4. Ramiles

    Ramiles Active Member
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    Wow,

    That really seems like something. I'm a bit loath to risk Pat saying "we are drifting a bit off of his thread for Mont Picon - so I was going to suggest a few posts back that we start a new thread on this subject.

    And put in a post to say "to continue to follow this line of research" go here....

    But now I am wondering what such a different thread would be called. :blush:

    (And you did reference Pincon in the last link anyhow ;-) ) - as I tried to do in the one above it too :)
     
  5. allan125

    allan125 Active Member
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    Good news !!

    I have now found the plan of B.18 Cristot - in "La Bataille Aerienne de Normandie 1944"

    I will try to scan it tomorrow and send to Pat to put on the forum - I have plans for B.2 to B.21 (no B.13 or B.20), and it also has US ALG's, any requests from other forumites, just p.m. me.

    Allan
     
  6. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
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    OK,

    The 13/18th Hussar Sherman which turned over.

    Here is the reference by Chester Wilmot on page 408 in 'The Struggle for Europe':


    So which route did this 'armoured sortie' take?

    Unfortunately, there are what I take to be three quarries visible on the western slopes of Mont Pincon as seen on both 1944 and 1947 aerial cover. All three are today completely covered under gorse or trees and are obviously no longer being worked.

    The two extracts below from NCAP_ACIU_2TAF_400/0284_3148 flown on the 23rd June, show the three quarry possibles:
    [​IMG]
    Image Credit: RCAHMS/www.ncap.org.uk
    [​IMG]
    Image Credit: RCAHMS/www.ncap.org.uk

    The finder chart for these two extracts is shown below with the quarry locations circled in yellow:
    [​IMG]
    Now lets take a closer look at Chester Wilmot's map, most especially the curving 'gaggle' of tank symbols emanating from the La Variniere crossroads and heading northwards to curve back on themselves as they head up the Hill towards the summit along the north-western slope:
    [​IMG]
    If this map is correct, I think the track they followed is indicated by the green arrows in the NCAP extract numbered 1 above. The 'northern quarry' is not exactly on that track, but I doubt they went up exactly one behind the other. The access track to the quarry joins the road at B, so perhaps they used that, but I presume it would have just ended in the quarry with no way out onto the Hill.

    The other option is the track passing the uppermost quarry of the extract marked '2'. This route is far more direct from the crossroads but does not tie well with Chester's map.

    My money is on the northern route; with the starting point being the farm track indicated by the orange arrow below and marked 'A' on the NCAP extract No. 1:
    [​IMG]

    If this is the correct route, I wonder is the Sherman still in the 'Northern Quarry' :D

    I note from the present day IGN map that the track forms part of what appears to be a public walk way titled 'Tour de la Suisse Normande'. Please note I say 'appears to be' and the quarry itself is most definitively on private land.

    What do you guys think of my theory :dodgy:

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  7. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
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    To continue...


    Don't think anyone would begrudge the Wiltshires that moving description. Mont Pincon was in Allied hands.

    More follows...

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  8. Ramiles

    Ramiles Active Member
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    Been looking through these all: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/search?query=Mont%20Pincon%20&f%5B0%5D=mediaType%3Avideo&f%5B1%5D=mediaType%3Aimage

    Oddly it's mostly "suit badges" (IWM searches often give unusual things)

    As I thought that there was a "recreation" or a film of Sherman tanks on a road/path on Mont Pincon that might help out here...

    http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/search?query=Pin%C3%A7on&submit=&items_per_page=10
    Seems to give a few more interesting results :)
    And sometimes the film descriptions can flow into finding something similar elsewhere.
     
  9. allan125

    allan125 Active Member
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    Rob

    I put in the full link for the top one- of which only part is highlighted above, and it came back with "We searched but could not find the page you requested".

    And on the second one it came back with "Your search returned 0 results"

    Allan
     
  10. Ramiles

    Ramiles Active Member
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    Thanks Allan - post #29

    I tweaked them a bit - post #28 - (they might have been a bit too long for a simple text copy and paste to cope - as it may have put in a "carriage return" that just "split them up". They might have worked instead of links as a google search or http box "re-cut-and-paste". I've put them in "fresh" now on their own and I think that both of these should "now work". pm me if not though and I'll see if there is another way to work around.

    You should be able to get similar (i.e. not different) results though with a IWM search with "Mont Pincon" or "Mont Pinçon" - they might "fix" this to exclude the "ç" as it's a bit harder with a non-French Keyboard to execute such a "ç" search.

    Once I've found something on IWM I generally click on some of the more specific links they give you to the right i.e. in: Associated places - such as "Mont Pinçon, Calvados, France" or "Associated people and organisations" - such as "British Army, Div 43" - as these sometimes open up new avenues for research.

    Something as "specific" though in "Associated people and organisations" as "British Army, Wiltshire Regt, Bn 4, Coy C, Platoon 14" - can often just lead in a circle - i.e. back to the same single result. So it would be nice if they broke this down a bit more - so you could more easily track threads, but I guess in those cases you can always go back to the top (search function) and put in a more standard mere "Wiltshire Regt" typed search.

    BTW - I went though looking at a lot of these for Mont Pincon and the pics are rather nice, but sadly as well as the film being IWM "unavailable on line" some of the interesting audios are currently unavailable too - but the descriptions at least make for an interesting read, and another reason to visit the IWM in person (for those that can get there!) I guess. Of course once you have the title and the description it can sometime help with a google search to see if these films are already "out there" available somewhere else online.

    All the best,

    Rm.
     
  11. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
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    Hi Guys,

    I thought the problem might be like that of the BBC iplayer - that it only worked within the UK but now that I know that nobody is able to view the films online, I feel much better :D

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  12. Ramiles

    Ramiles Active Member
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    I think that you have to go there or use the descriptions to find them elsewhere online (actually this can be surprisingly easy for some). I imagine one day - like a lot of the audios at the IWM now - that they could eventually be available for all (at least in the UK ;-) to view online.

    My first thought was that these were quite long and detailed war films (Doh!) - but really they are clips for assembling into very short newsreels. I think the crews carried tiny (for the time) handheld cameras loaded with just seconds to a few minutes of precious film. It would help if the IWM made a note of how long each clip that they hold in archive actually is - as I can imagine someone excitedly travailing a great distance and sitting down to watch "5 films" and managing to do so in less than 5 mins. ;-) and then not knowing what to do with the rest of their time. There's a lot of other stuff to see there though so I'm sure it's well worth a trip!!!

    Rm.
     
  13. allan125

    allan125 Active Member
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    WW2 Battlefield tape and film recordings were certainly only a small file compared to what they are able to do in the 21st century.

    However, I think if 5 films took up only 5 minutes I would still have plenty of things to see and do at the IWM!!

    Allan
     
  14. Ramiles

    Ramiles Active Member
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    Hi Pat,

    Looking in here: http://www.warlinks.com/armour/8th_armoured/index.php

    At http://www.warlinks.com/armour/8th_armoured/chapter_4.php

    "The drive South to Conde sur Noireau or Operation "Black-water" followed. August the 9th saw the beginning of this tough struggle; progress was slow as the Germans held tenaciously to every village and ridge; on this day the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards lost Major Michael Bell, an officer whose conduct in battle was quite outstanding. The continuous lighting in support, alternately, of two Divisions was having its effect - casualties had been heavy and the Brigade was dog tired; in order to try and give some rest the 5th Inniskilling Dragoon Guards and the 86th (Hertfordshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment Royal Artillery, who like the Essex Yeomanry were self-propelled 25 pounders, were placed under command.

    Each Regiment thereafter was given 48 hours out of the line. During this period the Brigade Workshops established a record which remained unequaled throughout the campaign. The average weekly output of repaired Battle Casualty tanks exceeded 20 and in one week 31 A. F. Vs were returned to the front line.

    Proussy was captured on 14th August and the way to Condé lay clear. Lieutenant-General B. G. Horrocks had now taken over 30 Corps; he took an early opportunity of addressing the Officers and NCOs of the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards and the 13th/18th Hussars when he expressed his admiration for the fighting spirit of the Brigade in this "timeless test".

    Back again under 43rd Division, the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry excelled themselves in the crossing of the River Noireau where it flowed through a narrow gorge with steep tree-covered sides in which lurked many German Bazooka teams. By the evening of the 17th the infantry had joined this gallant Regiment in the St Honorine area, well beyond the river, and a great battle, which had lasted for nineteen days and had caused many casualties, came to a successful end. Major Dayer-Smith joined the Brigade as Brigade Major from the 27th Armoured Brigade and Major Pile left to become a Squadron Leader in the 3rd Battalion, Royal Tank Regiment."

    I never fail to "gulp" at what lies ahead.... ;-)

    How far does the book that you are following go???

    Rm.
     
  15. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
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    Hi Rob,

    Apologies for the late reply to your question, I must have been side tracked onto another thread when you posted. Anyway, the book ends its description of the fighting on the the 22nd August and there then follows a very interesting debate as to how and why the 'Gap' was not closed as quickly as it might have been.

    But back to the where we are a fortnight before the end - the 7th August at 21:00hrs (page 65 refers):

    The Operation Totalize map below from page 416 of Chester Wilmot's 'The Struggle for Europe' (mine is the 1952 edition) seems to be the source for Eddy Florentin's black & white version which I just put up on the German thread here:
    [​IMG]
    RAF Halifaxes and Lancasters flew over the Canadian lines of General Crerar, their enormous sounds merging into one terrifying roar of engines as they grew closer overhead. As the air armada arrived over the villages held by the German 89th Infantry Division, they began dropping a combined bomb load of 3,462 tons onto the target indicators.

    At 21:30hrs a single green flare shot up into the night sky and the II Canadian Corps set off on Operation Totalize in a cloud of dust.

    The jumping off line, in keeping with Montgomery's ethos, was a short ten kilometers, running from Saint Martin to Soliers.

    More follows...

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  16. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
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    To continue from p. 66...

    I am trying to figure out if Captain Sevigny is Canadian; I presume so if he is on the right wing. The notes in the back for his quotation simply state: 'Pierre Sevigny: Face a l'Ennemi (Beauchemin; Montrael)'. This seems to imply he is French Canadian - anyone able to confirm?

    Two more names in that passage. Alan Wood is the famous Australian war correspondent but I can't seem to find anything on Lieutenant Colonel Jolly. Anyone able to help?

    Thanks,

    Pat
     
  17. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
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    A little more from p. 67...

    Looking for more on these three Canadian regiments...

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  18. Jpz4

    Jpz4 Active Member
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    Oct 24, 2012
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    Lt.Col. Allen Jolly was CO of 144 RAC. (No Holding Back)
    All three units you're asking for are also well covered in the book.
     
  19. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
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    Thanks Niels,

    Hope to have my copy next week :D

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  20. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
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    To continue (p.68 refers):

    Montgomery liked to call on one of his divisions each day and the account below of one such visit gives a useful insight into the man's innate ability to capture his audience.

    The date was the 5th August, a couple of days prior to 'Totalize'. Standing in front of the assembled Polish officers, he informed them that as of today their division was to be incorporated into the II Canadian Corps and that they would have the honour of taking Falaise in the coming operation.

    In baggy corduroys, a high necked jumper and black beret with two badges, he went on:

    Not everyone agreed with this strategy. The author goes on...

    On the night of 7th/8th August, the Germans had such breaches in their lines at several points.

    There is a photo of Montgomery addressing the officers of the Polish Armoured Division at Buhot and, IIRC, there is also footage somewhere of this briefing. I'll see if I can track it down.

    Regards,

    Pat
     

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