24th Lancers - "B" Squadron

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by Ramiles, Mar 18, 2018.

  1. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY


    "Object description
    A Sherman tank of 24th Lancers, 8th Armoured Brigade, passing a knocked-out German PzKpfw V Panther tank near Rauray, 30 June 1944."

    I have wondered if this is a "B" Squadron 24th L tank too. Looking at the turret, and fiddling with the brightness and contrast, a "5" may also seem to come out? but this might be some artifact, or even a "memory" of an old bit of signage that has been largely scrubbed off.

    Further back - along the road - there is another Sherman, though I can't really see any kind of Tac markings on that one either.
  2. It might indeed be a "B" Sqn tank, not because of a hypothetic marking on the turret, but because of what looks like a light square on the transmission, filled with a darker colour and with a digit inside. The following two tanks seem to be Sherman I Hybrids: note the rounded shape of the hull front and the gun travel lock on the glacis, much like the SRY one destroyed in Fontenay-le-Pesnel as seen on B6043. They are therefore replacement tanks, hence the apparent lack of markings:

    B6226 - Sherman III 24L 8AB, passing KO PzIV nr Rauray, 30 Jun 44 [Christie] - Notes.jpg

    Note also that the date is probably not 30 June but 29 June (see my post #55 above).

    SDP and Ramiles like this.
  3. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    The 24th L wardiary for the 29th has:

    "29/6/44 The Regiment (24th L) remained at Les Hauts Vents area during the day, moving out and deploying on Pt. 102, 8769, in the evening to be prepared to resist the possibility of an enemy attack. Later in the evening the Regiment resumed its original positions."

    And for the 30th: "Rauray - 30/6/44 The Regiment moved up and deployed in the Rauray area which was held
    by us but encompassed by enemy patrols and it was believed that an enemy counter attack on this position was imminent."

    So there are some clues there, but I think, in agreement with you Michel that these Shermans were replacements, and as you say, "hence the apparent lack of markings"

    Edit: I've ref'd here: Tank losses of the 24th Lancers in Normandy – June and July 1944

    Which 24th L squadrons lost tanks when, and the replacements were I think picked up from a "feeder-unit" in the Cruelly area: e.g. Ref: An unexpected visit to Monty's HQ

    Something else for "B" Squadron for the 1st July 1944 -

    Ref: Defence of Rauray by the 24th Lancers, Tyneside Scottish et alia

    "Breaking the Panzers" has a map on p49, of "The Rauray Battlefield" - with the Company positions on 1st July 1944 - which is reproduced on the back cover...

    And of which there is (currently) a copy here: Northumbrian Gunner: August 2014
    (It's a long webpage but the map can be found, about half way down - and i.e. with a page search with - for example - "C Squadron 24th Lancers"


    It has a couple of placements for "C" squadron, one fairly central, just to the east of Rauray and the other further east and a bit further to the south. There is also a placement for "A" Squadron of the 24th L , but not for "B" Squadron. Though "B" squadron too were there.

    24th L - Wardiary for 1st July 1944 - has "A’ & ‘B’ Sqns (24th L) dominating the right and left flanks respectively."


    1/7/44 During the night, 30 June / 1 July the positions at Rauray and South of Rauray held by 10 DLI were taken over by the Tyneside Scottish and at 0645 hours the enemy attacked these positions strongly. The Regiment immediately deployed for action with ‘C’ Sqn forward at Rauray and ‘A’ & ‘B’ Sqns dominating the right and left flanks respectively. ‘C’ Sqn arranged their troops in previously reconnoitred positions, two troops to the East of Rauray, two troops to the West and HQ Sqn covering the road running north and south through the village. The brunt of the battle that ensued throughout the day was borne by ‘C’ Sqn and the following account of the battle mainly deals with this Sqns actions.

    The first enemy attack was on the Tyne Scots right flank positions and after passing through them the enemy fought their way into the West side of the village. Our tanks except to prevent the enemy moving west to east, were more or less useless on that side as the country was heavily wooded and covered with dense orchards. The attack was eventually stopped however by 1 and 3 Troops, ‘C’ Sqn on the west side; and a rapid counter attack by the infantry supported by two troops of ‘A’ Sqn on the right flank, was successful in that it drove the enemy infantry out of the village into the woods behind. During this attack the enemy used 15 Panther tanks and one Tiger tank, and although our tanks by virtue of the thick country were unable to engage them, the Anti tank gunners and the infantry got eleven of them before their positions were overrun and most of the gun crews killed.

    The enemy quickly put in another attack, this time against the Tyne Scots left forward company and the East of the village. 1 and 3 Tps, ‘C’ Sqn were withdrawn from the west side of the village to reinforce 2 and 4 Tps in an orchard east of the village, from which they had a fair field of fire of about 800 – 1000 yards. Our tanks were unable to go forward (South ) of the orchard as two Tiger tanks dominated the ground from positions on each flank.

    The enemy then put in a further attack in which the left forward company of our infantry was overrun. But the enemy’s advance towards the village was halted by our tanks which destroyed all the six visible Panthers supporting the attack. The enemy infantry and remaining tanks then retired.

    Throughout the rest of the day, repeated smaller attacks were made by the enemy, usually with 3 –5 Panthers supporting about a company of infantry. They were all beaten off.

    There was an open field which dominated the village of Rauray, to the left of our position. No cover could be found for our tanks in this field, and although one major and several minor attacks were pit in by the enemy against this feature, they were all beaten off by the following method.

    Sgt.Wilcox, the Troop Serjeant of 2 Troop, ‘C’ Sqn camouflaged his tank and advanced very slowly along a hedge until he was able to se the enemy FOP’s. Then he waited completely in the open, disguised as part of the hedge, until each enemy attack was committed and all enemy troops were clear of the orchards in which they formed up. Sgt.Wilcox then called up the remainder of his troop and also 1 Troop, who speedily came up level with him, fired furiously for about 30 seconds and then retired to their concealed positions under cover of smoke before the German 88mm guns could register on them. Later in the day the enemy discovered what we were doing and several times Sgt.Wilcox had to retire under heavy fire. But as soon as the firing was over he always wormed his way forward again to a position of observation.

    Rauray - 1/7/44 At 1800 hours a counter attack was put in by the Tyne Scots to recapture their forward positions, our tanks advancing with them and supporting them. This attack was successful and by 1830 hours the position had been entirely recaptured. 3 and 4 Tps. ‘C’ Sqn who were the leading troops in this attack reported that our front resembled a graveyard of smouldering Panther tanks.

    The bag for the Brigade front was 34 Panthers of which 31 were destroyed in the Rauray area, 9 of these by the Regiment. In addition, the Regiment destroyed 3 SP guns. Our losses were 3 Shermans destroyed. At last light the Regiment was relieved by the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry and withdrew to a defensive position on the high ground North of Fontenay.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
  4. BobL

    BobL Spitfire Ballast

    Excellent stuff - I have some catching up to do!!!
  5. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    SDP likes this.
  6. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    ...and the chap walking towards the camera with a side glance at the camera at the end of the O Group is the legendary WAC Anderson, CO of 24th Lancers.
    Also good to see Dring, crew and AKILLA !...and the Shermans of A Squadron 24th Lancers passing the Panther (my late father could even be driving one of those! Pity I will never know one way or the other).

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