1 Rocket Battery RCA

Discussion in 'Canadian' started by Philip Reinders, May 23, 2009.

  1. Philip Reinders

    Philip Reinders Very Senior Member

    Got hld of their WD, and are now in progress of putting on my site, interesting unit, have also order the booklet about it, not sure if the Dutch EOD ever found them in Holland, will ask about it
     
  2. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    What sort of rockets were they firing, Philip? And was it explosive or flares? Or both?
     
  3. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    The rockets fired by the Canadians were twice as effective as a 25 pounder shell and could fire off 32 of them all at once - the reloading cost 15 minutes - and were first used around the 1st of October '44

    Cheers
     
  4. Philip Reinders

    Philip Reinders Very Senior Member

    They fired 60lbs rockets, in Holland they started in operation Infatuate Schelde Estuary
     
  5. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Thanks for that.
     
  6. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    Some photos of the equipment, which was known as "Land Mattress", here
     
  7. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    This is the war diary I'm after. MilitaryCross is trying to obtain it from the Canadian Archives on my behalf.

    Ist Canadian Rocket Battery was created in December 1944, but 112 Canadian LAA Battery arrived in France with the new weapon and used it in late October 1944 against targets in Flushing and afterwards near Breda/Moerdijk. After this initial operational trial, it was then handed to British 337 & 338 Batteries of 102 LAA Regiment, RA , who were trained in it's use from 10 November 1944. (This was my Dad's Regiment and I've discovered this week from his records that he served in 336 Battery, which kept using the 40mm Bofors). 30 Battery, 6 Canadian LAA Regiment also used it.

    For the techies, the rocket was a tri-service hybrid combining a 29 pound warhead used by the Royal Navy's rocket landing craft (naval mattress), an air force 3-inch aircraft rocket motor with modified fins and an army No 878 base detonating fuse.

    There were two types of launcher, the 32 (8 by 4) Rocket Meyer Dunsford and the 30 (6 by 5) Rocket Tilling Stephens. Both fired the same rocket and shown below are two photos from Operation Veritable. About 13,300 rockets, the entire stock in theatre at that time were fired during this month long operation. I also have a great bit of film footage from the IWM archives showing it being loaded and a multiple firing by 338 Battery in woods near Eindhoven.

    It was used periodically from October 1944 until May 1945 by both Canadian LAA and the aforementioned British LAA Batteries. Reports of it's effectiveness were mixed. It was never used again after cessation of hostilities. 338 battery were bombed by a Spitfire in May 1945 and the first and last land mattress ever destroyed in action.

    I also attach a copy from the front of a small booklet written about it by Doug Knight a former serving Canadian Officer (The Land Mattress in Canadian Service) which shows the only surviving Tilling Stephens launcher left in existance, now in the Canadian War Museum.

    To Philip Reinders

    I think this is the cover of the booklet referred to by you and should be used in conjunction with the war dairies of 1 Rocket battery RCA for details of all those involved. The war diaries of this unit are for the period December 1944 to June 1945. The war dairies of 116 LAA Battery, RCA, 30 Battery, 6 LAA Regiment, RCA and 102 LAA Regiment, RA should also be refererred to for additional information as they cover the use from October 1944. 102 LAA diaries mention place names but no specific details of actions apart from the bombing and destruction of a weapon by a Spitfire in May 1945. Capt CB Manifold of 338 Battery may also have won an MC during this particular event. I am still trying to get a copy of his citation to confirm this.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Philip Reinders

    Philip Reinders Very Senior Member

    Yep thats the booklet I have ordered, 112 LAA is also mentioned in the report, I shall mention as much as possible under 1 RCA, about there actions
     
  9. Philip Reinders

    Philip Reinders Very Senior Member

    Are the photographs yours?, as I would like to use them for me site, and want to mention the source
     
  10. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Are the photographs yours?, as I would like to use them for me site, and want to mention the source

    Philip

    Sorry, I can't recall where I found them.

    Robert
     
  11. Philip Reinders

    Philip Reinders Very Senior Member

    No problem Robert, will use them and in case any claimes them I will mention them
     
  12. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    Philip
    Only small, but have ref to 1st Can Rocket Unit being used in "VERITABLE"
    Rob
     
  13. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Rob

    And Operation Blockbuster which immediately followed it.

    Cheers - Rob
     

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