2nd Battery, 1st Royal Marine Armoured Support Regiment (2 RMAS Bty) Allocation of Troops to Craft

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Michel Sabarly, Jul 8, 2021.

  1. New information has emerged by which the allocation of 2 RMAS Bty Tps, as initiated in this post, may now be refined (and corrected). The same format will be used, reorganised so as to hopefully make each step of the reasoning more limpid.

    1. Assumptions

    Here we consider only the eight LCT(A) bound for JIG Sector. We will assume that:
    - Landing Table 231 Inf Bde is accurate (LTINs 2013 to 2020)
    - LCT(A) are from 108 LCT(A) Flotilla comprising LCT(A) 2005, 2233, 2238, 2262, 2266, 2426, 2442 & 2499 as per the Green List as of 5 Jun 44, confirmed by Naval Reports.
    - 2 RMAS Bty is allotted to JIG and made up of E, F, G & H Troops
    - each RMAS Troop is split between two adjacent LTINs. As per the Landing Table, the Left Section (even LTINs) consists of the Sherman of the Troop Commander (a Captain) and two Centaurs, while the Right Section (odd LTINs) comprises just two Centaurs (led by a Lieutenant), as confirmed by this doc (courtesy Ian Turnbull):
    Left Sec = Tp Comd's.JPG

    Further assumptions made below will be red colour and italicised.
    New finds as compared to previous step are in green colour.
    As usual, blue colour denotes links to sources.

    2. Known landing times per Troop

    From 1 RMAS Regt War Diary:
    6 Jun
    0730 1 Sherman and 4 Centaurs landed on JIG [no Tp given, but we'll assume they are from 2 Bty because otherwise they should have landed on KING. We’ll further assume they come from just two LCT]. Sherman hit twice, all crew wounded. Two Centaurs track blown off, one Centaur hit without cas.
    0930 Sherman of F Tp [necessarily with 2 Centaurs in its LCT, which may or may not have landed] landed JIG & ordered to contact its 2 Centaurs
    0950 1 Sherman and 2 Centaurs of G Tp landed on KING
    8 Jun
    1540 Lt BN Coles reported to CO at HQRA that he had landed with 2 Centaurs of H Tp in the evening of 7 Jun
    9 Jun
    1600 Lt-Col Peskett met Lt Casper RM who had landed with 2 Centaurs of E Tp am today

    From the War Diary of 1 RMASR Rear Party (which exchanges “Right” and “Left” Sections which should have been commanded by a Lt and a Capt respectively), courtesy of Ian Turnbull:
    11 Jun Right [sic: Left] Section “E” Troop (Capt H.C. McKew RM) returned to Group HQ, owing to craft breakdown.
    13 Jun Left [sic: Right] Section “F” Troop (Lt A.J. Smith RA) returned to Group HQ, having been disembarked owing to craft breakdown.
    1 RMASR Rear Pty War Diary Jun 44 - Rtnd Secs.jpg

    We can rearrange the above by date/time:

    6 Jun 0730 – 1 Sherman & 4 Centaurs, ie one Left Sec and one Right Sec (Tp(s) not known)
    6 Jun 0930 – 1 Sherman, ie Left Sec F Tp
    6 Jun 0950 – 1 Sherman & 2 Centaurs, ie Left Sec G Tp
    7 Jun evening – 2 Centaurs, ie Right Sec H Tp
    9 Jun morning – 2 Centaurs, ie Right Sec E Tp
    did not land – Left Sec E Tp & Right Sec F Tp

    3. Finding which troop was in which LTIN

    From 90 Fd Coy RE War Diary (with thanks to Arty for finding this, and to MSGrover1 for posting the Diary)
    6 Jun
    Missing but believed not to have landed:
    Lt Cathery & 2 ORs.
    Lt Stiles-Bryan & 2 ORs.
    who should have landed at H-hr in a bren carried [sic] and an M14 respectively.


    We see that the above loads match those of LTIN 2019 & 2015, which were the only LCT(A) on JIG to carry elements of 90 Fd Coy RE, ie:
    LTIN 2015 Lt Stiles-Bryan with 1 M14 & 2 ORs. Also 2 Centaurs in LCT (one Right Sec)
    LTIN 2019 Lt Cathery with 1 Carrier & 2 ORs. Also 2 Centaurs in LCT (one Right Sec) plus one Carrier 90 Fd Regt RA

    8 Jun
    Lt Stiles-Bryan & 2 ORs arr - their craft having been damaged by heavy seas.
    which implies they were with Right Sec H Tp, landing the previous evening. Therefore Right Sec H Tp was in LTIN 2015.

    9 Jun
    Lt Cathery & 2 ORs arr, their craft having been damaged by heavy seas.
    which means they (LTIN 2019) were with Right Sec E Tp, landing in the morning of 9 Jun.

    We now have the known landings (or lack of them) rearranged by reverse Troop order as follows:

    H Tp Right Sec – 7 Jun evening – LTIN 2015
    H Tp Left Sec

    G Tp Right Sec
    G Tp Left Sec ..– 6 Jun 0950

    F Tp Right Sec – did not land
    F Tp Left Sec .. – 6 Jun 0930

    E Tp Right Sec – 9 Jun morning – LTIN 2019
    E Tp Left Sec ..did not land

    Completing the missing LTINs:

    H Tp Right Sec – 7 Jun evening – LTIN 2015
    H Tp Left Sec................... .. ..........LTIN 2016

    G Tp Right Sec .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . .. ... LTIN 2013 or 2017
    G Tp Left Sec .. – 6 Jun 0950 .. ..LTIN 2014 or 2018

    F Tp Right Sec – did not land .... LTIN 2013 or 2017
    F Tp Left Sec .. – 6 Jun 0930 .. .. LTIN 2014 or 2018

    E Tp Right Sec – 9 Jun morning..LTIN 2019
    E Tp Left Sec .. – did not land .... LTIN 2020

    and then, filling the gaps with the as yet unallocated Left and Right Secs with landed on 6 Jun 0730:

    H Tp Right Sec – 7 Jun evening – LTIN 2015
    H Tp Left Sec ..6 Jun 0730 .. . – LTIN 2016

    G Tp Right Sec – 6 Jun 0730.. ...– LTIN 2013 or 2017
    G Tp Left Sec .. – 6 Jun 0950 .. ..– LTIN 2014 or 2018

    F Tp Right Sec – did not land .... – LTIN 2013 or 2017
    F Tp Left Sec .. – 6 Jun 0930 .. .. – LTIN 2014 of 2018

    E Tp Right Sec – 9 Jun morning..– LTIN 2019
    E Tp Left Sec .. – did not land .... – LTIN 2020

    From the above, LTIN 2013 either landed on 6 Jun 0730, or did not land. Lt Ridley was to land in LTIN 2013, and his obituary by his then GPO Lt Richardson says that he "was one of the first to land on D Day". Furthermore (thanks again to Arty for this), LTIN 2013 was to carry the only M14 of 73 Fd Coy RE of the whole first and second tides, and that unit's War Diary for 6 Jun states that at 1500 "Half tracked M 14 landed with 5 ORs & reported to Coy HQ on the beach". It is therefore clear that LTIN 2013 did land on D Day, thus that it carried the Right Sec of G Tp:

    H Tp Right Sec – 7 Jun evening – LTIN 2015
    H Tp Left Sec ..6 Jun 0730 .. . – LTIN 2016

    G Tp Right Sec – 6 Jun 0730.. ...LTIN 2013
    G Tp Left Sec .. – 6 Jun 0950 .. ..LTIN 2014

    F Tp Right Sec – did not land .... LTIN 2017
    F Tp Left Sec .. – 6 Jun 0930 .. .. LTIN 2018

    E Tp Right Sec – 9 Jun morning..– LTIN 2019
    E Tp Left Sec .. – did not land .... – LTIN 2020

    or, rearranged by LTIN:

    G Tp Right Sec – 6 Jun 0730.. ...LTIN 2013
    G Tp Left Sec .. – 6 Jun 0950 .. ..LTIN 2014

    H Tp Right Sec – 7 Jun evening – LTIN 2015
    H Tp Left Sec ..6 Jun 0730 .. . – LTIN 2016

    F Tp Right Sec – did not land .... LTIN 2017
    F Tp Left Sec .. – 6 Jun 0930 .. .. LTIN 2018

    E Tp Right Sec – 9 Jun morning..– LTIN 2019
    E Tp Left Sec .. – did not land .... – LTIN 2020

    The “normal” order should have been (in decreasing LTIN sequence) E, F, G & H Tps, but for some unknown reason the respective LTINs for G & H Tps were exchanged.

    4. Trying to find LTIN/Hull numbers matches

    4.1 – LTIN 2017

    From 90 Fd Regt RA War Diary:
    6 Jun
    Lt CANDLISH and Lt PERKS should have landed with RMA Sp Regt, but their LCTAs did not reach the beach; one returned to the UK the other beached days later.

    The only two LCT(A) carrying 90 Fd Regt RA personnel were LTIN 2017 & 2019. We know that LTIN 2019 landed in the morning of 9 Jun. We also know that Lt PERKS in LCT(A) 2005 returned to the UK, therefore LTIN 2017 is LTC(A) 2005. This also fits her load as described by Lt PERKS and his photos (one Carrier only and triple 20 mm AA guns as in LTIN 2017, against two Carriers and 40 mm AA guns in LTIN 2019).

    This also implies that Lt Candlish was the one who “beached days later” and, not being on board LTIN 2017, was necessarily on board 2019 whose load included one Carrier of 90 Fd Coy RE. This is turn confirms that the only craft with one Carrier of 90 Fd Coy RE, ie LTIN 2019, was the one which arrived on 9 Jun (with Lt Cathery), and not LTIN 2015 which carried their M14, itself also thus confirmed as landing in the evening of 7 Jun (with Lt Stiles-Bryan) – see paragraph 3 above.

    LTIN 2017 = LCT(A) 2005 (did not land):

    G Tp Right Sec – 6 Jun 0730.. ...LTIN 2013
    G Tp Left Sec .. – 6 Jun 0950 .. ..LTIN 2014

    H Tp Right Sec – 7 Jun evening – LTIN 2015
    H Tp Left Sec ..6 Jun 0730 .. . – LTIN 2016

    F Tp Right Sec – did not land .... LTIN 2017 = LCT(A) 2005
    F Tp Left Sec .. – 6 Jun 0930 .. .. LTIN 2018

    E Tp Right Sec – 9 Jun morning..– LTIN 2019
    E Tp Left Sec .. – did not land .... – LTIN 2020

    4.2 Naval Reports

    The Report by Flotilla Officer 108 LCT(A) Flotilla dated 19 Jun 44 provides the following information:

    LCT(A) 2005 last seen drifting out of control during passage (further fate not known)
    LCT(A) 2499 broke down completely on passage (further fate not known)
    LCT(A) 2442 and 2233 beached at H hour 6 Jun
    LCT(A) 2238 beached and offloaded on 7 Jun
    LCT(A) 2262 arrived about 1100 am on 6 Jun
    LCT(A) 2426 reached Area GOLD at H + 3½ [1055 hrs] and beached as soon as possible (Rep by D/SOAG JIG GREEN states that LCT(A) 2426 arrived at 1150 and went in to beach).
    LCT(A) 2266 offloaded on 8 Jun

    which translates into the final table as follows:

    G Tp Right Sec – 6 Jun 0730.. ...LTIN 2013 = LCT(A) 2233 or 2442
    G Tp Left Sec .. – 6 Jun 0950 .. ..LTIN 2014 = LCT(A) 2262 or 2426

    H Tp Right Sec – 7 Jun evening – LTIN 2015 = LCT(A) 2238
    H Tp Left Sec ..6 Jun 0730 .. . – LTIN 2016 = LCT(A) 2233 or 2442

    F Tp Right Sec – did not land .... LTIN 2017 = LCT(A) 2005
    F Tp Left Sec .. – 6 Jun 0930 .. .. LTIN 2018 = LCT(A) 2262 or 2426

    E Tp Right Sec – 9 Jun morning..– LTIN 2019 = LCT(A) 2266
    E Tp Left Sec .. – did not land .... – LTIN 2020 = LCT(A) 2499

    The discrepancies between landing times as reported by 1 RMASR and FO 108, although reaching over two hours for LTINs 2014 & 2018 (LCT(A) 2262 & 2426), do not appear to question the results.

    A more problematic issue is the statement in the 431 Bty Loading Table that Lt Ridley in LTIN 2013 “Lands with F Tp of Centaurs.” This is either a plain typo, or a badly formulated way to say that Lt Ridley was to act as FOO for F Tp of Centaurs once, as specified in the various orders, it had come under command of 431 Bty for Phases III & IV of the assault.

    Any further information about the LTINs of LCT(A) 2233, 2442, 2262 & 2426 would be most welcome!

    Michel
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2021
    Trux and Aixman like this.
  2. Arty

    Arty Member

    Michel,

    You have likely noticed in the 1 RMASR Rear Party WD that every reference to a officer returning early to the UK has Left & Right Sections confused. I know we are looking at the craft of 108 Flotilla above. However, moving on to 109 Flotilla, on 09June there is the entry “Right Section ‘C’ Troop (Lt JB Dean RA) returned to Group HQ, their craft having sunk in Channel…” This craft would have probably been LCT(A) 2039 ie. LTIN 2418, which was supposedly carrying the Left Section of C Troop. As far as I can gather, the other craft carrying the Right Section of C Troop, LTIN 2417, arrived with its two Centaurs.Which poses a few questions…

    Is the name of the officer ie. Dean incorrect?

    Is the rank of the officer incorrect?

    Or, was a RA Lieutenant ie. Lt JB Dean in fact commanding C Troop?

    Arty
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2021
  3. Arty,

    Yes, this caught my attention as well. You must be corrrect about his craft, which was the only one from 109 Flotilla which sank (capsized) en route.
    This is a bit of a mystery. Since he was RA, he is not in the June 44 Navy List in which all RM Troop Commanders seem to be Act. Tempy. Capts. and their RM Troop Lieutenants, Tempy. Lieuts. He is however listed in the Oct 44 Navy List under Troop Lieuts. as Tempy. Lieut. J. B . Dean, R.A.

    The London Gazette and the Army List provide the following:

    John Benjamin DEAN (245516), Royal Regiment of Artillery
    26 Sep 42 - from Cadet to 2nd Lt
    26 Mar 43 - from 2nd Lt to WS/Lt (Regular Army Emergency Commision)
    27 May 53 - Lt, relinquishes his commission

    1. The name is correct
    2. The rank is correct too, strictly speaking, but he might have been granted the Acting rank of Captain
    3. Yes and no, he was a Lt but acting as a Capt...

    Michel
     
  4. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Still they gazed and still their wonder grew that one small brain held all that he knew.

    Mike
     
  5. Very pretty verse Mike, and as always, too generous! Replace "brain" with "hard disk drive" and it will be correct, although ruining the scansion :D
     

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