22 Armoured Brigade Normandy 1944

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by battleofassche, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    I was wondering if anyone could provide any details regarding the circumstances of Brigadier W. R. N. Hinde being relieved of his command of the 22 Armoured Brigade in August 1944?

    In 1940 the then Maj. Hinde was 2IC of the 15/19 KRH and was involved in fighting on 18 May 1940 west of Brussels when 15/19 KRH suffered the worst defeat in their 300 year history that dates back to their formation in 1715 at the time of the Jacobite rebellion.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    From a little searching, 22 Armoured Brigade was a component of 7th Armoured Division at that time. I don't know if this applies in his case but a lot of 7th's officers got replaced after it was felt (rightly or wrongly) that the division had not performed as well as expected in Normandy.
     
  3. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    Thanks Chris. I have Mallinson's Light Dragoons, there is some brief mention of a clean sweep of 7 Armoured Division. Mallinson also briefly mentioned, (a couple of sentences), that the dismissals were strongly resent by 7 AD and were because of poor tactics applied by commanders and that 7 AD at the time had lost their will to fight. But no real details are provided.

    Hinde was also commanding at the time of the 4 CLY incident at Villers-Bocage in June 1944, not sure if this defeat was also a factor in his dismissal.
     
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  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  5. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    That's very interesting reading, TD. John Buckley touched on the lack of effective doctrine in British Army in the Normandy Campaign (which led to different units adapting in different ways) but I didn't know anyone had written a full book about it.

    I'm left wondering if anyone can confirm that Hinde was replaced at the same time as the other higher ups in 7AD and can we have more of a discussion about 7AD in Normandy and combined operations doctrine. :)
     
  6. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    Perfect......... thanks TD :)
     
  7. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    Its very easy to get caught up in the 'bad tactics' blame game. The relentless disparaging of 21 AG is nothing new and the only shocking thing to me is how meekly British authors accepted it as a given rather than do a bit of digging. The linked book builds on his thesis by using a photo of a Hetzer (Hetezers never served in Normandy) to illustrate how easy it was for the Germans to hide their AT assets and appears not to have read any of the German criticisms of their own tactics in France. The most common complaint of the Generals was that the succession of commanders imposed by Hitler had totally unrealistic expectations about 'defeating;' the Allies and it took a while for each new commander to accept the reality of the situation. Bayerlein (among others) bemoans the fact that it was expected the well-tried tactics used in Russia would succeed in Normandy and 12th SS found out the hard way rushed counter-attacks by a mass of tanks just led to their loss for no gain at all. There are many others who voice that same complaint. It was not just a 21 AG problem.
     
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  8. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    7 Armd Div were reputed to have shown insufficient dash in the first week of the campaign and I have seen comments that Hinde and Erskine (GOC 7 Armd Div) were considered 'tired' af this stage of the game. Brig Ekins of 131 Inf Bde was deemed a bit pedestrian for an Armd Div so was swapped with Whistler(?) from 50 Div.
    Underpinning it all was the definite sacking of Bucknall from command of XXX Corps who didn't live up to the promise of 'his' results as GOC 5 Div in Italy. The googlebooks extract mentions he gained a good reputation in Sicily, the problem is perhaps that he inherited it...

    From memory, Erskine got the chop first with Hinde following after a couple of days as acting Div Comd.
     
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  9. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    The relief of Hinde was part of a general purge of both 7th Armd Div and XXX Corps. The root of the problem went back to the Villers-Bocage battle, if not earlier--there had I believe been complaints that 7th Armd was not taking its pre-Overlord training seriously enough and Bucknall made a very poor impression in the pre-invasion briefing. Brooke did not care for him but deferred to Montgomery's judgement. Erskine had held a number of appointments in the Med and done well there. The 7th participated in the Italian campaign but only briefly and it was alleged that it was slow to adjust its tactics to the cramped Normandy conditions and that its road discipline was very poor. On the other hand, very soon after the landing Erskine reorganized the division into mixed armor-infantry groupings, which certainly shows some tactical perception. The idea for the V-B outflanking maneuver was his and a good one if it had been properly executed. The battle itself has been described many times. Suffice to say that a series of command and tactical errors by Erskine, Hinde, and Cranley of 4 CLY (over-eagerness, a lack of proper recce, etc.) combined with a lack of alertness by some at least of the troops led to 22nd Armd Bde being driven from the village. The 7th took up a good defensive position nearby after this and the battle might yet have been won, but Bucknall failed to support the 7th sufficiently and pulled it back. Dempsey was particularly angry about the failure and Bucknall and the command of 7th Armoured were under a cloud from that point on. Hinde did not strengthen his own position when he later declined to support Pip Roberts in GOODWOOD. The death knell came when XXX Corps and 7th Armd got off to a slow start in BLUECOAT. The ground and conditions were difficult, but VIII Corps was doing much better on the right and 50th Div had done OK too in the opening phase, so 7th Armd looked worse by comparison. I get most of this from John Buckley (Monty's Men), and according to him something like a hundred officers in XXX Corps were sacked after Horrocks took over, Bucknall, Erskine, and Hinde among them. By contrast to the way the 7th was treated, Jorrocks went out of his way to compliment 50th Div. Like the other two veteran divisions (7th and 51st), the 50th had struggled in the early weeks of the campaign but by late July it had improved greatly. M.S. Ekins of 131st Bde swapped places prior to BLUECOAT with E.C. (Peter) Pepper of 56th Bde in the 50th Div. Pepper was apparently popular in 56th Bde, and Ekins was not regarded as a patch on him.
     
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  10. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    “The Germans thought we were fucking Russians!” Clifford exclaimed when asked about the fighting around Bretteville. “They did stupid things and we killed those bastards in large numbers”
    Lieutenant-Colonel F. “Freddy” Clifford
     
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  11. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    I got the 'er' right! God, I'm rusty.
     
  12. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    Many thanks to all for the assistance!
     
  13. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    It might be worth adding that Viscount Cranley - as the Earl of Onslow - continued to command 3/4 County of London Yeomanry after the war in spite - or perhaps because - of his capture at VB.
     
  14. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    TTH,

    Although I agree with most of what you have written, it is worth pointing out that 22nd Armd Bde wasn't "driven from the village" but ordered to withdraw. I think there was a feeling that there had been a loss of nerve in 7th Armd Div which led to a loss of nerve by Bucknall; and this led to the subsequent decision to have a bit of a clear out.

    Whether the withdrawal was necessary, and what the result of a decision to attempt to hold onto the gains already made would have been is obviously very hard for us to know. But they did withdraw quite a few miles and that couldn't have been very popular!

    Regards

    Tom
     
  15. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    I'm not sure anyone's ever really explained where the reinforcements for 7 Armd Div would have come from. They ended up holding a very extended front until the end of the month when 2 US Armd Div took over.

    22 Armd Bde at VB/Amaye were at the end of a vulnerable line of communication, so their resupply was becoming an issue.

    The possibly-avoidable actions were the DLI brigade's attacks at Verrieres and Lingevres after 2 Essex's capture of and withdrawal from Essex Wood. To my mind, that was a XXX Corps issue as they ought to have been coordinating 50 and 7 Armd Divs' movements.
     
  16. Staffsyeoman

    Staffsyeoman Member

    Can't find the quote, but Hinde - despite earning the nickname "Looney" for tearing around the Western Desert in pursuit of his units - was felt to be "sticky" by Montgomery in Normandy, his term for lacking in drive.
     
  17. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    I believe Looney/Loony earned his name as a polo player. He was in - and perhaps the captain of - the British Olympic polo team in 1936, though I think they were the 'second' team as the first were away on duty.
     
  18. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

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