3 RTR B Squadron

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by Frank Flattery, Feb 7, 2020.

  1. JDKR

    JDKR Member

    Without wishing to speak ill of the recently deceased, I was never a huge fan of Delaforce as his books contained many inaccuracies, imagined incidents etc and were too gung-ho for my liking. Also, he pinched maps I hand-drew for my book 'No Triumphant Procession' and I never remember being asked for permission!
     
  2. JDKR

    JDKR Member

    Just had a quick look at Major 'Ned' Thornburn's account of 4 KSLI (After Antwerp - The Long Road to Victory) and no mention is made of liberating a large POW camp at Hagen. The only mention of POWs is in the context of meeting them on the road. The account does mention however that 50 British POWs were released in Bevensen and that with 3 RTR they came across 400 British, American and Colonial POWs lining the road near Melbeck. I think all these POWs were men who had been marched by the Germans from Stalag 357 before its liberation. Must dash...
     
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  3. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    Thanks!
     
  4. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    Ok, just received the war diaries from Bovingdon, and I've come across the same expression that appears in Steve's route march, "brassed up"...The entry for 31st March 1945 says:
    Leading Tp held up. Approx 60 Pz Gren in area. They are brassed up before Tp moves on. I can't find a definition for this expression, from the context, captured, rounded up, disposed of?.....does anyone know the exact meaning?
     
  5. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    Found this in diary, April 15th, shortly after passing through Belsen:
    1740; B Sqn sent to clear BLECKMAR, A Sqn to HAGEN.
    1820; Ordered to push on to WIETZENDORF. Little time required to do this as both A and B Sqns have been encountering a certain amount of resistance. Two PW camps have been liberated. At least 6 German officers and 100 men taken PW.

    Hmmmm..
     
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  6. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    My understanding is that it basically means 'shoot the hell out of the sods' - no doubt brass cartridge cases flying all over the place this end and something somewhat different on the receiving end. Langdon makes a similar comment about the Railway Station at (I forget the name - think it begins with T). No doubt John will correct me if I'm wrong.
     
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  7. JDKR

    JDKR Member

    Not much correction needed! My understanding of the term is that it would be used with regard to engaging a short term, opportunity target, typically suddenly presenting itself
    during an advance. It would not be suitable for describing the engagement of a properly identified target during a planned attack.

    I hadn't previously thought about the derivation but SDP's explanation sounds 100% plausible!
     
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  8. JDKR

    JDKR Member

    Wietzendorf played host to Stalag XD/Oflag 83. In 1945 it contained some 3,000 Italian officer POWs.
     
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  9. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    This appears for 18th April:
    1200; A Sqn just short of MELBECK. Number of enemy inf brassed up and others chased away into the woods.
    1208; Leading tank enters MELBECK.
    1230; Bridge at 798140 rpt damaged. Engineers will be giving rpt later. B Sqn sent due NORTH to look at the crossing at 785163.
    1240; 476 wounded or sick British PW liberated.

    I wonder if the expression being brassed off comes from this; I certainly would feel like that if I were to be at the receiving end of a tank battalion barrage.
     
  10. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    ..or, to put it another way 'Sod it. Give em hell'. Langdon himself comes across in his book as a thorough professional - there's no doubt about that - but we must remember that they had just driven at speed past the entrance gates to Belsen Concentration Camp.
     
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  11. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    Could be the subject of another thread (?) but my father used the term 'tanking on' to mean 'driving really fast'.
     
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  12. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, no reference in the diary regarding Charlie, the only possible item is the one Steve already pointed out, 1st May,
    1930; Advance to continue – Order of March now B, RHQ, C, A.
    1940; B Sqn leading tk hit by bazooka

    But nothing else, and this looks to be the last reported 'casualty' (no reference to anyone being injured or killed in the incident) in B squadron.
     
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  13. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    I must admit, I love the bit "chased away into the woods"......I can just imagine them saying, "Shooo, Fritz, and don't come back, or we'll brass you up, too!"
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  14. JDKR

    JDKR Member

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  15. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    Time for another anecdote: as I said before, my grandfather wasn't one to talk much about his war experiences, although, once in a while, he did tell me things, and going over the war diary I see an entry which brings one to mind. (Bear with me, I do waffle at times). I remember the first time he took me to Bovingdon muesum, must have been circa 1970, I'd be 5-6 years old and it was when they were holding the display up on Clouds Hill (I think). So we were walking from the museum to the display area when they decided to announce 'kick-off' with (again, I think) an Abbott spg. My father still talks about having never seen anything move so fast as I did back towards the museum. Anyway (I'm getting to it, honest..) that visit, despite Abbotts, got me interested in tanks, which, years later, got me into tank models (good ol' Tamiya 1:35). It was once when I was trying to assemble a King Tiger, my grandfather came up to me and we started talking about the model, and then he became quite pensive, and after a while, told me about the following incident. I don't remember him saying where or when, but it went something like this: They were advancing through trees when suddenly the commander spotted a German tank right next to them. He then ordered AP and traverse right (or something, I do remember the AP bit clearly, my grandfather was operator and loader). They fired and there was an explosion, almost immediatley followed by a second one behind the German tank. They carried on advancing, etc until it was all over. They then decided to have a closer look at the German tank, so they went back, and it was then when they realised that the AP had gone right through the tank, and had also penetrated another tank, knocking it out, too! Two for the price of one! He then told me, looking at my model, that it was one of those, a King Tiger, and that they got the wind up when they saw the gun barrel and were never quite as comfy in their tank after that. Now my grandfather never boasted about anything, nor was he known to exagerate (as far as I know), as I mentioned earlier, he rarely talked about the war, so I tend to believe this story, but I never saw anything about 3RTR taking out two King Tigers, but the other day I did see this:
    War diary entry for 26th December 1944:
    1700; A Sqn to withdraw to SORINNE for night: B to GEMECHENNE. B Sqn brewed up two PANTHERS which were found in running order but out of petrol.
    It's quite possible he mixed up a Panther with a King Tiger (long barrel, sloping glacis plate), and after about 35 years...
    Does ayone out there have any info regarding this incident, or one similar? There again, there is also the possibility they were MkIV specials, and this happened earlier on in the war...
    Cheers for bearing with me!
     
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  16. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    Haven't yet had a chance to watch these YouTube videos but they could contain the answer.
    Also somewhat puzzled by that War Diary entry: tanks brewed up but still in running order...doesn't make sense unless they were both very small fires but even that is pushing the term 'brewed up'.

    16th December 1944 Battle of the Bulge begins
     
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  17. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    Good videos, they mention the fact that many German tank and vehicles were abandoned due to having run out of fuel, especially around Celles, Foy Notre-Dame. Perhaps they saw the tanks were abandoned but undamaged, and decided to wreck them to prevent possible recovery by the Germans, which would mean they weren't the ones in Grandfather's story.
    I would have thought any tank knocking out two enemy tanks with one shot would have made the rounds (no pun intended), especially if it concerned Panthers or Tigers.
     
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  18. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    There may, of course, be more but the only chap in the UK Army recorded as having knocked out two (Panther) tanks with one shot was the late Reg Snowling of 23rd Hussars (Reg was formerly 24th Lancers. Reg told me years ago where it was but I've forgotten the location except that it was when he was with 23H). Apparently he was declined an MM because, as even he agreed, it was actually a lucky ricochet.
     
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  19. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    Not sure about Normandy or the rest of 1944 but the first (and, I believe only) Tiger knocked out by 3RTR in 1945 was the Fehrmann Tiger F01 near the River Aller by Sgt Harding's Comet on Friday 13th April 1945.
     
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  20. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    It looks increasingly like the incident must have been much earlier then, perhaps when he was still with 24 Lancers in Normandy, possibly the other tanks being MKIV specials.
    OR perhaps it was two panthers in Celles, just that when they realised the tanks had been abandoned, they decided to keep it quiet!:whistle:

    Cheers!
     
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