100th Regiment LAA

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by robcod, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. robcod

    robcod Junior Member

    Hi Guys

    I recently began trying to research my grandads military history. My Dad idolised his father and although my grandad never mentioned the war my dad was desperate to get whatever info he could out of him. Out of the whole family he is the only one who knows anything and even that is very very sparse. He knows that he saw action in north africa, missed sicilly, was at anzio and was seriously injured at PO. Apparently when they went to the cinema to see Anzio my grandad came out and said what a load of rubbish and that was it. So apart from a few other basic things, thats it. Im sending away the forms to get his military records but am not very hopeful of what i will get back. Recently I managed to find a servce record which had Royal fusilers (he was a dispatch rider) then he went into the RA like his father. On the record it has 100th regiment LAA. From one real hellpful website i can match the date the fusilers were formed into 100 laa and it ties in with the service record. Also the dates and basic location tie in. I also read that they were generally keep with their regiment etc. I have also seen that they were attached to 56 inf div, 10 corps, 8th army. So im getting there. Anway after all of this I was wondering does anyone now anymore about 100th regiment (how many batteries) etc, where did they go etc as I cannot find anything anywhere. Amazon want £120 for the royal artillery LAA book as mentioned on here before but I dont want to buy it if it doesnt have anything of use in it. Can anyone recommend where I look.

    Any help gratefully received.

    Many thanks

    Rob

    p.s What a cool site by the way
     
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Rob and welcome to the forum. Have you tried Ebay for the book?

    Anyway good luck with your search...There's a few members on here that served in some of the theatres your grandfather did so hopefully they'll be able to help you.

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  3. robcod

    robcod Junior Member

    Wow what a quick response and thanks for the welcome. I have to say I find the whole research thing very very interesting, humbling and addictive.

    For info My grandad was Albert Fysh 6094675, Born and lived, Gaywood, Kings Lynn, Good old Norfolk.
     
  4. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Rob, the film Anzio bears no relation to anything that went on there. My Grandad was there too and his reaction to the film was "What a load of codswallop"

    Good luck with your research.

    Rich
     
  5. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Hi Rob - my Dad was at Anzio with a Field Regiment, and also at the Po Battle in '45. Both tough actions, for different reasons. Bit more on 100 LAA here:

    RA 1939-45 100 LAA

    Bit more on 56th Division here:

    56th Division

    They had a divisional history, which used to be available from the Imperial War Museum.
     
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Welcome to the forum.
    Good luck with your research.
    Paul & I visited a few places 56th Div served back in May last year.
     
  7. ramacal

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

    Hi Robcod and welcome.

    I've got the book you've mentioned . I'll look at it
    later and come back and let you know if there is anything in it that might be of interest.

    Regards - Robert
     
  8. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Robcod,

    Welcome to the forum and I hope that you find the information that you seek.

    I am sure that if Robert can find anything in his records and book, he will provide you with chapter and verse.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  9. Bodston

    Bodston Little Willy

    Hi Rob, I've got a copy of 'that £100 LAA book', Brig. Routledge's 'Anti-Aircraft Artillery, 1914-55' part of the 'History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery' series.
    Very little of use to you I'm afraid. I've said before that the book does not do justice to the divisional AA regiments, and as you know 100 LAA Regt, RA (TA) was the divisional LAA regt for 56th Inf. Div. Maybe the divisional history would be a useful book.

    Anyway here is what I have, first off 100 LAA in common with other regiments had three batteries, only one is mentioned in the 'history'. 331st/100th LAA Battery, however by this late number the batteries seem to be sequential. For example 99 LAA had 327, 328 and 329 batteries. So it follows that 100 would have had 330, 331 and 332. Pure speculation, I know.

    From Routledge
    Persia and Iraq, 1942
    ...HQ 17th AA Brigade arrived at Basra in January 1942 to take over the Gulf and Iraqi tasks, adding 16th LAA Regiment to its strength but, two months later, 61st HAA, 87th HAA and 37th LAA Regiments were withdrawn to the Middle East and, in April, HQ 17th AA Brigade was itself transferred to Ninth Army. The next arrivals came in August 1942: 4th AA Brigade, reconstituted after Tobruk, with 75th HAA and 80th, 99th and 100th LAA Regiments. The last two, with 18th LAA Regiment from 8th AA Brigade, were sent forward as divisional troops.

    The regiment next appears in an Order of Battle for Operation 'Avalanche', the landings at Salerno, where 100th LAA regt. is divisional LAA for 56th Div.
    It mentions that 100 LAA had travelled the furthest for the operation with most AA regiments either already on Sicily or assembled in Tunisia. 100th LAA had come all the way from Egypt.

    Its final appearance, in the history, is at Anzio
    Only brief reference has been made to Operation 'Shingle', the allied landings at Anzio, under American command, intended to break in behind the German front on the Garigliano, envelop 14th Panzer Corps and open the road to Rome. the British AA commitment to 'Shingle' was limited to the three divisional LAA regiments, 56th, 90th and 100th, the major effort in AA being in the hands of the US 35th AAA Brigade. The British regiments were destined to have a very hard time of it, operating in exposed and unfavourable positions against very active Luftwaffe harassment, the enemy first-line air strength being estimated at 150 bombers and a little over 200 fighters. The landings were all to be made under artillery and machine-gun fire. 1st British Division was allotted 'P' beach, bringing in 312th LAA Battery of 90th LAA Regiment and covered also by American AAA forces in the beachhead. All 18 self-propelled Bofors of the regiment had been allotted to 312th Battery, RHQ and 311th LAA Battery were to land with towed guns on D+1 and the third battery, five days later, the programme being tightly controlled. Only Jeeps and ammunition trucks could be taken. Following the usual form, the beachhead was declared an IAZ of 12,000 yards radius with AA fire limited to 3,000 feet vertically by day, a restriction which was ignored by most ships. On January 21st 1944, the British 1st and US 3rd Infantry Divisions landed; the two batteries from 90th LAA came ashore, in turn, as planned though with the loss of one gun, and moved inland to defend field artillery position. US 6th Corps, of which the two divisions were the spearhead, made good initial penetration into the bare hinterland, overlooked in the distance by the Alban hills, and moved into a network of creeks and dry, or partially dry, riverbeds. the advance was then halted, the corps commander deciding to build up his strength before resuming the assault. this was a disastrous mistake; the initiative was lost, enemy defences thickened and by the first week of February, the Germans had the equivalent of nine divisions available, not only to contain the bridgehead but to force its defenders back in extremely bitter fighting.
    A fourth LAA battery, 168th/56th, arrived on 5th February and another, from 100th LAA Regiment, on the 14th; these five batteries had to cover the spread of six field regiments' areas. The beachhead and its inland fringe were by now desperately congested with units unable to disperse or find satisfactory cover. The American AAA brigade decided that all LAA positions must be treated as one wide, continuous belt of defence which for the purposes of control, would be divided into three sectors. Only one mobile operations room, with its associated radar, had been landed and this experiencing trouble in detecting early enough the Me 109s and Fw 190s which made very low-level approaches and used the crests in enemy areas as screens. The commanding officer of 90th LAA Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel E.S. Turner, co-ordinating the British deployment, asked for help in gaining early-warning and some mobile No.4 Mark III lightweight local-warning sets arrived from 22nd AA Brigade. All batteries prepared concentrations of fire within their sectors, for use by day and by night, directed to cover the front. Guns fired on fixed bearings at an elevation of 35 degrees and, with the use of 12 second, long-burning tracer, this produced a curtain of bursts at about 8,000 feet, with sheets of tracer behind it. Concentrations could be ordered either by the GOR, or by radio, or by a 'master gun' on watch at each troop. By 19th February, the other two batteries of 100th LAA Regiment arrived; to extend the fire-plan; 331st/100th LAA Battery remained in action aboard LSTs positioned in Anzio port. In the flat, open country of the bridgehead, LAA positions were dangerously conspicuous and were frequently shelled and mortared. In February, 90th LAA lost 17 killed and 53 wounded, 100th LAA lost 8 killed and 17 wounded but shot down four enemy aircraft in Category 1. Raids continued all through March, in numbers varying from single aircraft to 20-plus, while the grim struggle to hold the front line drew LAA troops into close support of infantry against ground targets. The battered 1st Division was relieved by the British 56th Infantry Division in the line in February, and in March the British 5th Infantry Division arrived as reinforcement, bringing 18th LAA to relieve 100th LAA which returned to Naples.

    I hope that helps,
    Bod
     
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  10. ramacal

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

    Hi Bodston.

    The book that Robcon refers to might be the Royal Artillery Commemoration Book 1939-45, not the Brigadier Routledge one. (I've heard that the Routledge book is the better of the 2).

    Your reasoning for the battery numbers appears to be correct as follows:-

    You said that 100 LAA would have had 330, 331, 332 Batteries, so therefore
    101 would have 333, 334 and 335 Batteries.

    My Dad's served in 102 LAA Regiment and I confirm that they had 336, 337 and 338 Batteries, so your numbering assumption and reasoning appears to be correct!!

    Will come back later, once I have looked at the other book.

    By the way Tom (Smudger Jnr), thanks for your confidence in my limited ability in regards to this matter.

    Robert
     
  11. ramacal

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

    Robcon

    The only info I have from the Royal Artillery Commemoration Book 1939-45
    is that 100 LAA Regiment were at Salerno as part of 10 Corps, 56<SUP>th</SUP> Infantry Division and that they were commanded by A.E Phillips.

    The only other option is to look at the war diaries. I have done a search of the National Archives and have the following for you:-

    Sept to Dec 1942 - WO 169/4904
    Jan to Dec 1943 - WO 169/10013
    Apr to Jul 1944 - WO 169/16086
    Jan to Mar & Aug to Dec 1944 - WO 170/1247

    I can find nothing for Dec 1941 to Aug 1942

    A record exists for 18 Royal Fusiliers from Apr 1940 to Apr 1941 - WO 166/4543

    There are also records for 100 LAA Wksp (Reme)

    Apr - Jun 1944 - WO 169/17213
    Jul - Nov 1944 - WO 170/3026

    Hope this is of some help.

    Regards - Robert
     
  12. robcod

    robcod Junior Member

    Wow - Gents what a response.

    Thanks to you all, ive now got more leads than ive managed in weeks. Looking at the times of the respones sent, i must be a bit of a lightweight when it comes to going to bed early. Thanks to Robert & Bod

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  13. ramacal

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

    Hi Rob

    I'm not so sure about posting replies at that time of the morning.

    I've something that describes a typical LAA Regiment. If it is not correct, I'm sure some of the other more knowledgable members will help put it right.

    A TYPICAL LAA REGIMENT CONSISTED OF A HEADQUARTERS (RHQ) AND THREE BATTERIES. EACH BATTERY WAS DIVIDED INTO THREE TROOPS OF 6 GUNS EACH, A TOTAL OF 54 GUNS PER REGIMENT. THE TOTAL COMPLEMENT OF OFFICERS AND MEN AMOUNTED TO ABOUT 800 MEN, AROUND THE SAME STRENGTH AS AN INFANTRY BATTALION.

    LAA REGIMENTS WERE EQUIPPED WITH THE BOFORS 40MM GUN, THE CLASSIC ANTI-AIRCRAFT WEAPON OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR AND AFTER WITH 20MM OERLIKEN AND POLSTEN GUNS. THE BOFORS WAS DESIGNED FOR USE AGAINST RELATIVELY LOW LEVEL RAIDERS, SUCH AS FIGHTERS AND DIVE-BOMBERS. RECOIL-OPERATED WITH A SLIDING BREECH BLOCK, IT FIRED IT’S TWO-POUNDER SHELLS AT THE RATE OF 120 PER MINUTE. THESE WERE FED INTO THE AUTO-LOADING UNIT FROM CLIPS OR “CHARGERS” HOLDING FOUR SHELLS EACH. THESE WERE CONTINUOSLY SUPPLIED BY THE GUNNERS. SHELLS HAD A MUZZLE VELOCITY OF 2,700 FEET PER SECOND AND WERE DEADLY AGAINST AIRCRAFT UP TO A HEIGHT OF ABOUT 5,000 FT, ALTHOUGH THEY IN FACT WENT MUCH HIGHER. FILLED WITH TNT, THEY WERE FUSED TO EXPLODE ON IMPACT AND TO SELF-DESTRUCT THROUGH A TRACER IGNITER ONCE THEY HAD PASSED THEIR EFFECTIVE RANGE. THIS WAS TO PREVENT LIVE SHELLS, WHICH HAD MISSED ENEMY AIRCRAFT FALLING TO EARTH AND EXPLODING ON FRIENDLY SOIL. BECAUSE THE BOFORS ORIGINALLY DESIGNED BY SWEDISH ARNAMENTS FIRM OF THE SAME NAME WAS SUCH A SUCCESSFUL GUN, MANY VARIANTS WERE BUILT FOR DIFFERENT SITUATIONS AND IT WAS CONTINUOUSLY DEVELOPED AND IMPROVED DURING THE WAR.


    INITIALLY, LAA REGIMENTS USED TOWED VERSIONS, BUT SELF PROPELLED MODELS ON THE BACK OF A MORRIS COMMERCIAL LORRY CHASSIS WERE LATER BUILT FOR GREATER MOBILITY AND BATTLE READINESS. ANOTHER MOBILE VERSION, NOT USED BY LAA REGIMENTS HAD A BOFORS MOUNTED ON A CRUSADER LIGHT TANK CHASSIS. WHILST THE DESIGNATED TASK OF A MOBILE LAA UNIT WAS PROVIDING DEFENSE AGAINST ENEMY PLANES, GUNS WERE EXTENSIVELY USED AGAINST GROUND TARGETS LATER IN THE WAR, WHEN THE BOFORS PROVED A DEVASTATING WEAPON FOR BOMBARDING ENEMY INFANTRY POSITIONS. LOADED WITH SOLID SHOT, THEY WERE ALSO GIVEN AN ANTI-TANK ROLE. BUT THE 40MM SHELLS WERE INEFFECTIVE AGAINST HEAVY GERMAN ARMOUR.

    I'm sure you will find out more info when you get the service records.

    Regards - Robert
     
  14. ajm541s

    ajm541s Junior Member

    We are trying to trace the service record of the late Arthur Skeet (Major) who landed at Anzio, earning a mention in despatches by refusing to send one of his men into the water from the landing craft to test the depth, preferring to go himself!
    We have no regimental record apart from a letter written from Rome in April 1945, headed 101 LAA Battery RA.
    We believe in the interval between the landings and the letter that Arthur Skeet had been with the mountain forces in Yugoslavia, with Bofors carried on mules, with the partisans in support of Tito's forces.
    If anybody has any information we would be very grateful.
    Tony Marshall, (son-in-law)
     
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Tony and welcome to the forum.

    Just to clarify do you have your father-in-laws service records?

    Regards
    Andy
     
  16. Bodston

    Bodston Little Willy

    Hello Tony and welcome. I have looked in the index of Brig Routledge's history, 'Anti-Aircraft Artillery 1914-55' and 101st Bty makes just one appearance.
    It shows up in an Order of Battle table for Sicily 1943-44 where it is involved in airfield defence. The battery was part of 31st LAA Regt.

    With that nugget, I can now trace the regiments movements.

    1st October 1943
    101st/31st were involved in airfield defence on Sicily.
    the other two batteries of 31st LAA, 61st and 224th Btys were in Catania.

    December 1943/January 1944
    64th HAA and 31st LAA Regts. Yugoslav support. As part of 22nd AA Brigade.
    In March, ...all LAA guns were withdrawn from Naples and Bari, HAA guns were reduced to 20 at each port and the deployment at Vis, in support of Yugoslav partisans, ended.

    January 1944
    The regiment were transferred to 25th AA Brigade.
    A new and rather different task arose in May when the brigade was ordered to make 64th HAA Regiment available to cover support, for the Yugoslav partisans which was being channeled through the airfield at Vis across the Adriatic, after relief by 106th HAA Regiment. Already at Vis were 24 X 40mm guns of 31st LAA Regiment which were to come under command of 64th HAA... (By September) 64th HAA and 31st LAA had batteries in the partisan front line giving support in the ground role.

    December 1944
    25th AA Brigade was relieved of all tasks in south-east Italy and moved to Salerno where it was disbanded in February 1945.
     
  17. Bodston

    Bodston Little Willy

    After reading all of the above section, I am not sure that 64 HAA and 31 LAA were ever withdrawn from the Adriatic island of Vis. With the support deployment ending in March only to be reinstated in May and 31 LAA Regt. already being on the island, did they just stay there all through April. As airfield defence?
     
  18. ramacal

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

    After reading all of the above section, I am not sure that 64 HAA and 31 LAA were ever withdrawn from the Adriatic island of Vis. With the support deployment ending in March only to be reinstated in May and 31 LAA Regt. already being on the island, did they just stay there all through April. As airfield defence?

    Hi Bodston

    When I was looking to see which LAA unit 101 Battery came under I also found 31st LAA. But under 75 Medium Regiment, RA, 101 Battery came up from May 1944? It was also in the same part of the world. It might clear up where they went to.

    Do you have anything in the Routledge Book about 75 Medium Regt?

    Here is the link to 75 Medium:-

    RA 1939-45 75 Med Rgt

    The war diaries or the service records are probably the only way to solve this mystery.

    Cheers - Robert
     
  19. ajm541s

    ajm541s Junior Member

    Thank you, gentlemen, for such rapid and informative replies.
    DREW - No records yet, investigtion in the hands of eldest son(serving Cdr RN)
    Bodston and ramacal, you seem to be on the right track. Another snippet from Arthur Skeet's notes refers to him being on an island, presumably off the Yogoslavian coast somewhere?
    Thanks also for the welcome. Kind of nice to be a junior member, having attained age 74 yesterday! OK I do realise it is junior membership of this forum!
    Cheers, AJM (Lt 1/ESurreys)
     
  20. Bodston

    Bodston Little Willy

    Hi Bodston

    When I was looking to see which LAA unit 101 Battery came under I also found 31st LAA. But under 75 Medium Regiment, RA, 101 Battery came up from May 1944? It was also in the same part of the world. It might clear up where they went to.

    Do you have anything in the Routledge Book about 75 Medium Regt?

    Here is the link to 75 Medium:-

    RA 1939-45 75 Med Rgt

    The war diaries or the service records are probably the only way to solve this mystery.

    Cheers - Robert

    I think that Battery numbers were duplicated across the various Royal Artillery branches, as we were given the 40mm Bofors reference and the fact that it was registered as 101 Bty LAA. I reckon that the Medium Regt. would be a red herring.
    Nothing in Routledge about the Mediums, as it only deals with Anti-Aircraft regiments.

    Bod
     

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