WN84 (Maisy) Battery WW2 Radio Photos

Discussion in 'German' started by Pat Curran, Oct 25, 2016.

  1. Sean

    Sean Active Member
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    Yes thanks, Allan
    Busy but nicely so
    Cheers
    Sean
     
  2. Sean

    Sean Active Member
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    Thanks John

    I checked in Atlantikwall Omaha Beach by Alain Chazette (and others) which I guess I should have done before posting last night... Anyway, he says there were two 7,5cm FK16 and three 7,5cm FK17(t) which were replaced in the spring of 1944 by four 10cm leFH14/19(t), as per the photos above (8./ArtRgt.1716). Unfotunately no source is given.
    I would suggest calibre is close enough to warrant possible confusion in intelligence assessments.
    But.... I think in discussion elsewhere it's been established that 8./AR1716 already had their 10cm guns in December 1943.

    Hmmm...
     
  3. Sean

    Sean Active Member
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    Hello there

    To continue the study of Maisy, I thought it might be good to discuss what anti-aircraft defences were there between the two sites of Wn83 and Wn84.

    Looking at the ORBs of the Bomber Command units assigned to bomb Maisy, it doesn’t appear that the Flak was very effective, although I should stress the idea of manning an AA gun on D-Day is not something I would relish doing.

    First, Pathfinders from No8 (PF) Group

    35 Sqn:
    “Shortly after midnight… five aircraft [attacked] Maisy… All returned safely reporting successful attacks”
    No mention of defences/Flak

    105 Sqn:
    “The Squadron put out the record number of sorties in any one night -25- to groundmark ten coastal batteries…. 19 of the 25 sorties were successful”
    The three Mosquitos assigned MAISY were all successful stating “Primary attacked”

    109 Sqn

    “Carried out an operational flight as detailed”
    The two Mosquitos assigned MAISY marked from 29,900’ and 18,000’, the latter (Pilot: P/O Thomas) stated “no defences, the former (Pilot: F/L Burt) didn’t mention defences at all


    Here’s what the main force say, by squadron, all from No 4 Group.

    102 Sqn:
    “26 aircraft detailed to attack a medium gun battery at MAISY…. Opposition from Flak was negligible”

    158 Sqn:
    “Twenty-three aircraft detailed for operations against MAISY. All aircraft took-off and returned safely…… No Flak opposition”

    346 Sqn:
    “13 aircraft wee detailed to attack MAISY. 11 were successful.…. Ground opposition was negligible”
    Two aircraft from 346 Sqn jettisoned bombs due to problems shortly after take-off

    466 Sqn:
    “Fifteen aircraft detailed for operatons on MAISY. Two non-starters, others safely back”*

    640 Sqn:
    “16 aircraft were detailed to attack a gun emplacement at MAISY. All aircraft attacked successfully and returned”*

    *466 Sqn and 640 Sqn make no mention of Flak whatsoever


    If I’ve missed any unit out, please let me know

    The Chazette book I mentioned in a previous post states there was a battery of 8,8cm Flak from Flak-Rgt.32 "in the village of Maisy".

    Cheers

    Sean



    Cheers



    Sean
     
  4. John Szweda

    John Szweda Administrator
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    #24 John Szweda, Dec 6, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
    Hi Sean,

    Very well researched and put together with all those details...
    I think that pretty much wrecks Gary's argument, If I correctly remember him stating so before, that Maisy was one of the most heavily defended areas in regards to Flak protection.

    As I look at the map, I only see 3 symbols for Flak guns within the Maisy grounds.

    John
     
  5. Steven Jaskowiak

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    Nov 25, 2019
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    John,

    I would disagree here. Gary correctly cites the arrival of an entire Flak Sturm Regiment on the 5th of June (attested to in FMS B597) and by the regiment's commander in a post-war interview, which he publishes in one of the books (thanks to Niels for point that out to me). I do disagree with how Gary chose to interpret these accounts though.

    Their presence and subsequent effectiveness are definitely separate issues.

    Sean, when were the Bomber Command squadrons over their targets?
     
  6. Sean

    Sean Active Member
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    Main force just after 03h00 on the 6th.
    I can post exact times (as much as they're noted) tomorrow.

    Cheers

    Sean
     
  7. Jpz4

    Jpz4 Active Member
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    #27 Jpz4, Dec 6, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
    Actually, only two battalions arrived (they were operational as of 06:00 on 4 June) and one of those was a light battalion. That leaves just four batteries of 88s, with a combined total of 16-24 guns, to be divided over an area stretching from about Isigny to Bayeux or perhaps even further. The Air Force reports would seem to suggest there was no strong clustering, or at least a failure to put up an effective defense.

    And yes, these units had mainly been brought up to plug a gap which was used by allied aircraft to enter the continent, not to defend the German positions in the area.

    An important question which remains is where all the batteries (and platoons) were positioned. The official report puts the mixed battalion (gem.Flak-Abt.497) NE of Isigny and the light battalion (le.Flak-Abt.90 (Sf) in the area of Bayeux, but I've seen indications that the spread was much greater and that the sectors were not 'exclusive' to one of the battalions. As an example, three of the batteries of 497 have been linked to the Bayeux area, incl. two batteries with 88s.
     
  8. Steven Jaskowiak

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    The lack of density is just part of it though. This is all just wild speculation (my favorite kind) but some of it could have been a factor. At the end of the day though, no military unit ever performs with 100% efficiency and eyewitness reporters are somewhat poor: pilots were busy flying, bombadiers bombing, etc. The overall perspective of each was very narrow-especially in the dark.

    We can speculate about the following also-
    • Condition and training of the luftwaffe personnel The corps commander, Pickert, says they were young, soft, and inexperienced
    • Emplacement of the batteries. They had just arrived in the area-had they had time to fully emplace their guns and directors?
    • Availability and activity of early warning. Were the heavy batteries accompanied by Small Wurzburg radars. American reports seem to indicate a Small Wurzburg in the area, perhaps at Cardonville(?). Did they have a connection to the Imme/Igel radar station? Was that station functioning 6 June?
    • Did window and other jamming activities that night disrupt the radar devices?
    • Status of their communications networks. Even if some units had radar early warning, were they communicating information well over radio and telephone?
    • How alert and prepared were the units for an air raid at 0300? Among other things, they could well have been focused on straggling aircraft departing the area after the airborne missions. Lone C-47s got around to all sorts of places that morning. Kistowski's interview describes him as writing a letter immediately before the air raids begin, and that his units before that had been rounding up stray paratroopers.
    • What was their ammunition situation? It could have been very tight for a variety of reasons, especially if they had attempted to engage aircraft from Albany/Boston and/or had lacked good discipline in doing so.
    • How willing were they to man their guns when the first aircraft started dropping ordnance? Kistowski reports few casualties at the firing batteries but he also says he and the regimental staff all took cover. NCAP isn't up today but I certainly don't remember seeing a lot of bomb craters near to La Cambe. Perhaps Kistowski himself was even startled. Did the gun crews do the same? The aerial bombing was then followed by naval bombardment. The 6 June photos of the Wn 83-84 and surrounding area make it look like a moonscape. So did any of the crews chance it to take shots at aircraft?
    • Finally for the German perspective, are Pickert and Kistowski even reliable? Pickert's report was fresher (1947) but he was separated from June 1944 by a long retreat. Kistowski was even later (1954). Some details from Kistowski are interesting, such as his ability to recall specific reports and times, but for him especially 6 June was a very long day.
    On top of all that, the Bomber Command units assuredly had a thorough plan and probably stuck to it. What were the quality of those crews? What qualified as light or heavy flak volume to them? Did they ignore scattered tracers and light flak because it wasn't up to their standards? What was the bombing altitude? They may have simply overflown much of the effective flak fire.

    And of course, the most important, had they been enjoying Cavados to excess earlier that night?
     
  9. Sean

    Sean Active Member
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    Hello there

    I've copied the text from my earlier post and pasted it below with additional information. I was going to just edit the older post but that would make some of the other posts nonsensical.

    35 Sqn:
    “Shortly after midnight… five aircraft [attacked] Maisy… All returned safely reporting successful attacks”
    No mention of defences/Flak
    Time: 03:17 to 03:23
    Altitude: 8,000' to 8,500'

    105 Sqn:
    “The Squadron put out the record number of sorties in any one night -25- to groundmark ten coastal batteries…. 19 of the 25 sorties were successful”
    The three Mosquitos assigned MAISY were all successful stating “Primary attacked”
    No specific time over target listed, but planes were "Up" at 01:43, 01:55 and 01:58 and then "Down" at 04:24, 04:39 and 04:33 respectively.
    No altitude given

    Two Mosquitoes from this squadron had attacked Maisy about 24 hours earlier. No altitude given and no mention of Flak
    Also attacked on 7th, no mention of defences (target listed as MAISSY in this case. I can't find anywhere with that spelling but it is listed as a "rail" target so might be elsewhere. There is a MASSY)

    109 Sqn

    “Carried out an operational flight as detailed”
    The two Mosquitos assigned MAISY marked from 29,900’ and 18,000’, the latter (Pilot: P/O Thomas) stated “no defences, the former (Pilot: F/L Burt) didn’t mention defences at all
    No time given but "Up" at 01:50 and 02:10 and "Down" at 04:30and 04:35

    Again, two Mosquitoes from this squadron had attacked Maisy before, ORB states "Up" 4th June 02:00 and 02:20 (I would guess this is actually the time on the 5th, ie night of 4th/5th, but am not 100% certain. It doesn't make much difference really). One of them reported "Defence slight and inaccurate", the other "No defence"

    Also attacked on 7th, no mention of defences



    Here’s what the main force say, by squadron, all from No 4 Group.

    102 Sqn:
    “26 aircraft detailed to attack a medium gun battery at MAISY…. Opposition from Flak was negligible”
    Time given by one aircraft: 03:21
    Altitude: Couple of exceptions but most between 10,000' and 11,000'

    158 Sqn:
    “Twenty-three aircraft detailed for operations against MAISY. All aircraft took-off and returned safely…… No Flak opposition”
    Two phases, first at 03:20 to 03:24, second at 03:24 to 03:28
    Again, couple of exceptions but most between 10,000' and 11,000'.
    "Results of attack: The attack opened on time and marking appeared to be concentrated and was followed by good bombing. there was no Flak opposition. One Me.109 was sighted over the Channel and aircraft "O" was in combat with Me.210 also over the Channel. Both aircraft fired and enemy aircraft is claimed as damaged"

    346 Sqn:
    “13 aircraft wee detailed to attack MAISY. 11 were successful.…. Ground opposition was negligible”
    Two aircraft from 346 Sqn jettisoned bombs due to problems shortly after take-off
    Time: From 03:20 onwards
    Altitude: Between 10,000' and 12,000'
    From summary: "Ground opposition was negligible and only one enemy fighter was seen"

    466 Sqn:
    “Fifteen aircraft detailed for operatons on MAISY. Two non-starters, others safely back”
    Time: 03:20 onwards
    Altitude: Between 10,000' and 12,000'
    No mention of defences

    640 Sqn:
    “16 aircraft were detailed to attack a gun emplacement at MAISY. All aircraft attacked successfully and returned”*
    Time: 03:20 to 03:28
    Altitude: Between 7,500' and 11,000', most aircraft from latter
    From the summary (which I'd missed..): "No fighters or defences"


    I would suggest that the crews stuck to some kind of "formula" when describing Flak, otherwise from an intelligence point of view the subjectivity would render it useless. So when the say "negligible", they mean "negligible". Although to a first time flyer it might not seem like that, when reporting it in the relative calm of "back home", I would think they would be fairly consistent.
    Also, "no defences" is pretty clear, not slight, not negligible, but "no".

    The hundred or so bombers assigned to Maisy would imply the Allied planners saw it as no more a threat than any of the other coastal batteries they were bombing that morning, ie it's not an especially heavy force.

    Cheers

    Sean
     
  10. John Szweda

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    Hi guys,
    Does anyone recall just how much of the artillery fired on Utah beach came from Maisy?
    It has been a long time since I read up on the subject, but I don't recall too much attention paid to Maisy from ships in the Utah area.

    John
     
  11. Sean

    Sean Active Member
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    Hello John

    I'm going through Gary's book now but it's not easy as it's such a mess.
     
  12. Jpz4

    Jpz4 Active Member
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    #32 Jpz4, Dec 7, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
    Here's a map from 1942 which shows the German artillery defending the coast and should
    help to understand the different sectors.
    It should be noted that at this time 'Maisy' was armed with 10,5 cm cannon with a range of 12 km. In March 1943 these were exchanged for the 15,5 cm guns which it still had on D-Day. These had a range of 10,3 km.
    Map.jpg
     
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  13. Steven Jaskowiak

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    Sean, at that altitude the only effective fire would have been able to come from the handful of 88mm guns in the area. Except around the designated fortress areas there probably wasn't enough mass to actually achieve much at altitude.
     
  14. Sean

    Sean Active Member
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    Hello there

    I think 10,000'-12,000' is within range of 3,7cm Flak, but either way it does appear that whatever guns were there, and it's nowhere near the amount Gary suggests, weren't very effective.

    Cheers

    Sean
     
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  15. Sean

    Sean Active Member
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    Hello there

    I pulled this file from Kew today, as it covers two ongoing conversations, this one and another elswhere. In it is a descriptive list of coastal batteries including both Maisy sites. Date as you can see is 23rd May, 1944
    Note the calibre supposition for Maisy II. From the earlier guess at 77mm guns we're now at 75mm guns or 105mm howitzers. Given the fairly old-fashioned look of the 10cm Czech weapons and the uncertain nature of the intelligence assessments, I would suggest that this lends more credibility to the fact that the battery in the fields was in fact the four guns due for the casemates, and not another battery.

    Air Targets cover.jpg
    Air Targets 23rd May.jpg

    Cheers

    Sean
     
  16. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
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    Thank Sean,

    I tend to agree with your assessment.

    Does the term 'unoccupied' in that document indicate that a particular site is a dummy or is that its a viable site not yet complete?

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  17. Jpz4

    Jpz4 Active Member
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    Unoccupied seems to mean just that: no guns present. Why a position is unoccupied can have several reasons. Guns could have been removed or not yet installed. Going by this document is would appear that 'unoccupied' is only used for positions in a condition sufficient to house guns. Positions under construction don't fit that requirement.
     

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