Artillery FOOs embedded with the Infantry on D-Day

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by IanTurnbull, Jun 21, 2019.

  1. IanTurnbull

    IanTurnbull Active Member

    I have booked a session at the IWM to review. Thanks Ian
     
  2. Very interestering article by Capt Cook!

    Yes, the "Armoured OP" is the "Carrier Univ" in Serial 2019 [Edit:] 2017.

    According to Lt Oliver Perks, this was "RF Carrier", which is strange because "RF" means "F Troop Commander's vehicle", which was supposed to be a Sherman OP tank. F Troop Leader's vehicle was a Carrier AOP marked "TLF".

    In 147 Fd Regt for example, the 231 Bty Loading Table identifies both RC and RD as Sherman tanks (in Serials 2142 & 2179 respectively), while TLD is indeed a carrier (in Serial 2013).

    Moreover, in a later part of his narrative, Lt Perks says:
    "By now I was operating with a Sherman, because as we were with infantry, the troop commanders who were meant to have the Shermans didn't want them because they made themselves really conspicuous. So they had the Bren Carriers, and the troop leaders such as myself had the Shermans."

    I believe that Oliver Perks mixed up the markings of the Sherman and of his Carrier, which on D Day must have been marked "TLF", not "RF".

    Michel
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
  3. Arty

    Arty Member

    It certainly is a very ‘interesting’ article by Capt Cook of 90 Fd Regt (ie. T/Capt John Percival COOK 155818 – Tp Comdr, F Tp, 465 Bty).

    Unfortunately, it starts strangely, by suggesting that 90 Field Regiment was action in Antwerp about “five weeks later”. Which puts 90 Fd Regt in Antwerp on/or about 11th July 1944. Perhaps they disguised themselves as Belgian beetroot salesman for about eight weeks, that is until the rest of the British Army arrived on 4th September!

    He then mentions that “Our armoured OP would meet us on the beach, all being well.” I thought he would be referring to his own Sherman AOP (ie. “RF”) which was to arrive at H+60 or H+120…but apparently not.

    He refers to the fire support he could call on. Regards the Centaurs, we know this was all but a complete failure. On the subject of LCG’s, there was just three off the JIG sector ie. LCG 13, 17 & 18. In theory the LCGs were going to kept very busy as every company of the Hamps & Dorsets had an attached FOO team (et al!). Taking into consideration the “no shows” there must have still been quite a queue of FOO’s trying to get support.

    He makes a comment about landing 400 yards west of “The Wreck”. This is confirmed in the Dorset’s War Diary, which suggests that a portion of its C Coy landed in front of WN36 (ie. where A Coy Hamps had been landed in error).

    Then he writes about being on the beach (at H+20)… “We called our armoured OP and the Centaurs repeatedly”. This is where it gets strange (again). Capt Cook was apparently trying to contact Lt Oliver Perks, who was to have already landed onboard LCT(A) LTIN 2017 (at H-Hour). The Op order of 90 Fd Regt tells us:

    “Lt PERKS will travel with Tp RM Support Regt and will support
    A Coy 1 DORSET and hand over to F Tp Comd.”

    This suggests to me that Lt Perks was going to be a separate FOO (with an AOP) attached to A Coy Dorsets for the assault phase. But at what point he was to “hand over” to his Tp Cmdr is unclear.

    Had the assault gone to plan…

    Lt Perk’s LCT(A) 2017 would have beached at 0725hrs.

    A Coy Dorsets would have landed at 0732hrs

    C Coy Dorsets, with Capt Cook, would have landed at 0745hrs.

    If, indeed Capt Cooks own armoured AOP was arriving onboard LTIN 2017, then the strange deduction is that Lt Perks was going to be a FOO (with an AOP) for just 13 minutes. Or was Lt Perks then supposed to wait for the Troop Commander’s Sherman to arrive – a very dodgy game of musical chairs perhaps!

    He then describes moving inland with the obligatory use of the terms “Boche”, and, of course “88mm guns” – the latter of which he could apparently clearly identify in gun pits on rising ground above him (a very suspect miracle!). He mentions not being able to get naval gunfire support on “those 88s” but that the Navy eventually engaged the target. Of note, the narrative of bombardment in the Force G report has an entry that just might be “those 88s” being engaged by a destroyer:

    “1040 CATTISTOCK engaged direct fire from spinney 2,000 yards south-east of LE HAMEL. FIRE neutralised.”

    He then goes on to write about his activities on the afternoon of 06June (ie. the Dorsets assaults on WN40, WN40a & WN40b). He also mentions bringing down fire on the German battery position further west (WN41). The War Diary of 90 Fd Regt makes particular mention of this fire mission – curiously the grid reference of the German battery is given as 300m North East of the known German position. But that’s another story…

    He finally mentions having a cup of tea. And, not forgetting that his No. 68 set worked all day - a real miracle!

    Arty
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
  4. IanTurnbull

    IanTurnbull Active Member

    What was "the wreck" and was it a universal orientation point? Ian
     
  5. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    Further to earlier queries on whether Tank OPs were armed, it seems the answer has been unearthed via the below thread;

    Royal Artillery Notes

    Follow the link and then select page 1069 from the drop down box, and onto page 1070 for the good stuff.

    In brief, Sherman V OP "generally in service with units" retained its 75-mm main gun (with 95 rounds carried), plus the co-axial and bow mounted .30-cals, also nominally a .50-cal on AA mount (these had were not universally retained by Armd Regts). Wireless sets of two No.19 sets, one No.18 set and two No.38 sets (one in tank and one for dismounted use). I think we noted earlier that one of the RCA SP Regts mentioned their OP tanks having five wireless sets?

    Gary
     
  6. Arty

    Arty Member

    Ian,

    The "wreck" was the wreck of an old vessel (some ‘brainiac’ will probably know the name of it and the exact year/day/micro-second it was wrecked). It was used by the planners as a physical object that delineated Jig Green beach & Jig Red beach (see attached page from Force G orders).

    Regards
    Arty

    Force G Orders - 'The Wreck'....jpg
     
  7. IanTurnbull

    IanTurnbull Active Member

    Arty
    I have thought about your post a lot and then trying to compare 90th Field Regiment on Jig RED, and the one I am particularly interested in, the 147th when it comes to their JIG Green setup. If things had gone to plan then at H+7 the 147 Field Regiment would have had 2 Armoured OPs landed with the RMs and able to support the Hampshires "A" & "B" companies (one from 431 and one from 511 Battery, on serials 2013/2015 resp.) They would also have 2 Gunners embedded with the Hampshire's companies. Between them they could call in guns from the Centaurs and/or the Navy at that time. The 90th Field would also have had two Armoured OPs supporting the "A" & "B" Dorsets (from serial 2017/2019) but they had no embedded Gunners? But the Dorsets were due to land on JIG Green East, arguably less well defended? There then followed the Field Regiment and Navy FOO/FOB teams landing with the infantry HQs & then the reserve Cos but presumably to be deployed as necessary. But what if the DD tanks of the Sherwood Ranger (Notts Yeomanry) had arrived on time @ H - 5? How were they to have been directed? I know virtually none of this went to plan but it is interesting to consider the intention of the setup. Ian
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
  8. Arty

    Arty Member

    Ian,

    Some thoughts about your thoughts….

    In further comparing 90 Fd Regt & 147 Fd Regt’s planned deployment on 06June you will find three things:

    1. Lots of similarities ie. Each had two FOO parties onboard LCT(A)’s plus two FOO parties with the respective Hamps/Dorsets reserve companies.

    2. Lots of differences ie. 90 Fd Regt had two of it’s BC’s onboard LCS(M)’s for the run-in shoot, whilst 147 Fd Regt had only one onboard a LCS(M).

    And,147 Fd Regt put two men ashore with the leading infantry companies (ie. Turnbull & Gentry) whilst 90 Fd Regt apparently did not. However, 90 Fd Regt’s War Diary records that their first Gunner ashore was a surveyor, whilst 147 Fd Regt apparently did not land any of its surveyors at the time.

    And, 147 Fd Regt provided an extra FOO to work with 47 RM Commando. Etc etc etc

    3. You will indeed go cross-eyed!

    The Hamps & Dorsets were both initially required to assault the beach defences. Obviously, their assault training was all but identical, but each battalion had its own Op Order plus its own verbal briefings before the event. The individual arrangements for their respective attached FOO teams were obviously “nutted out” in exercises and/or discussions.

    The DD’s initial role, had they arrived on time, was to provide covering fire to the engineers/infantry. They would have been briefed on specific pillboxes/casemates located where they were supposed to land. In theory they would have sat in the shallows and engaged targets to their front or flanks – fairly straight forward stuff (in theory, it shouldn’t have been a huge problem that the Air & Naval bombardment missed as there was going to be as many as thirty-eight 75’s plus mg’s firing direct at the defences at a range of 300 yards or so, not to mention Centaurs).

    The DD’s were not going to be directed by anyone per se. When the engineers had cleared lanes off the beach and the infantry were moving, the DD’s would have followed up. Once moving/fighting inland the tanks were in close support of the infantry, in theory, this was according to be a well-practiced drill (but likely nothing of the sort). It is quite possible that the Sherwood Rangers Op Order &/or verbal briefing specified that particular tank troops supported specific infantry companies of the Hamps/Dorsets (not forgetting that the SRY had to support 56 Inf Bde once they were moving inland). In theory there was radio communications between the tanks and the infantry (in reality this involved a lot of shouting over engine noise and gunfire).

    Of course, not a lot of the plan actually went right. Quite a comprehensive cock-up really. However, the defenders were outnumbered and hugely outgunned…

    Regards
    Arty
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
  9. This is the wreck of the MARCIA C. DAY, a Norwegian three-masted barque variously reported to have been grounded during a snow storm in January 1882, wrecked in 1887 or grounded in Febuary 1988 1888:
    MARCIA C.D. jeté à la côté pendant la tempête de neige de janvier 1882.jpg

    ASNELLES-BELLE-PLAGE - navire Marcia, naufragé en 1887 et ensablé - 231_001.jpg

    ASNELLES - Epave du Martia C. D., navire norvégien échoué en février 1888.jpg

    MARCIA - Plage d'Asnelles-Meuvaines.jpg

    Its appearance hasn't changed much:
    MARCIA - plage-002.jpg
    Source: Les bancs tourbeux de Ver - Asnelles 14 - BAJOCIEN14.COM

    The actual date for her grounding seems to be February 1988 1888:

    Norwegian three-masted ship built at Joseph Day's Shipyard (her name is Joseph Day's daughter's), Damariscotta (Maine). Launched on May 25, 1853, the Marcia C. Day had an eventful life and crossed the Atlantic dozens of times. In 1857, during the 'Great Famine, she transported 341 Irish emigrants to the New World. She had her moment of fame in 1864 when President Abraham Lincoln sent her to Haiti to save from misery 452 black victims of an adventurer who had promised them emancipation. In February 1888, the Marcia C. Day left Le Havre, loaded with barrels of flint, for New York, whence she was to return with oil. She hit a terrible storm in the Seine estuary and veered towards the Rochers du Calvados. Captain Albrethsen decided to let her drift aground. Too old to be salvaged, the ship was de-rigged and gradually broken down for selling. Now only her lower hull and keel with its swan-neck bow remain, sinking in the sand over the years.
    Source: Epave du Marcia C. Day à Meuvaines (Calvados-FR)

    Michel

    P.S.
    I wouldn't describe myself as a "brainiac" – proof is that I do not know the micro-second when MARCIA was wrecked ;)
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
  10. Arty

    Arty Member

    Michel,

    Well you only just missed "brainiac" status...Not that you didn't know the micro-second it was wrecked, but you twice told us that it went aground in "February 1988" - some 43 years and 8 months after D-Day...:D

    Arty
     
  11. Not only did I twice mistype the year the MARCIA C. DAY grounded, as thankfully pointed by my Guardian Angel Arty, but I also left the English translation of her history in its original approximative, probably googlish, version, so, to atone for my sins, I corrected the offending dates in my post above and included an amended, hopefully clearer, version of the translation.

    As yet another bonus, here's another example of the wreck being used as a landmark for landing, this time by LCT 647 (LTIN 2030). I have copied the whole text verbatim, including its one typo and couple of minor factual errors:

    "GOLD sector was centred on Arromanches. Lieutenant R. B. Davies, RNVR, commanded LCT 647 of the 28th LCT Flotilla which went in on the first wave.

    `On our slow, all-night passage across to France our force took the western Solent before turning east, then south ("Decided not to invade the USA after all", as someone remarked). All LCTs towed barrage balloons against possible dive-bomber attacks. My craft also towed two LCA hedgerows, the mortar-firing craft, which were due to slip and run in under their own power as we beached to start their job of mine clearance. The weather continued pretty rough, however, and in the end proved too much for them. We used every type of wire and rope we had, but in spite of all our efforts most of the lines chafed through and we cut the last one as the crews stepped aboard our craft and the waterlogged Hedgerows went down. This was a bitter disappointment for the young lads who had put up with so much, including seasickness, in these small craft during the long hours of towing.

    `We saw a floating mine ahead and received the signal "Do not open fire – warn next astern." There wasn't a clear stretch of water to be seen, craft of some sort ploughing along where-ever one looked, but the message apparently just beat the mine. St Catherine's Point, Isle of Wight, was our last view of home. About 4 a.m. we saw the red glow of the RAF attack on the French coast ahead, and at dawn we tried to identify landmarks. We saw no enemy aircraft nor any of ours, either. The weather continued very lively and this doubtless added to the element of surprise. We aimed to beach at half flood tide, which would leave most of the underwater beach mines exposed and give the assault craft the best chance of pulling clear after beaching. (At the final briefing at Southampton we of the first wave had asked for instructions regarding our movement after the assault. There was some hesitation and consultation on the platform, and then a candid staff officer said, with great charm, "As a matter of fact, we hadn't included you in the Turnround Organisation at all. However, if you do get off the beach you'd better go to the waiting position and join a convoy back here.")

    `Well, we were going in now, the guns of HMS Belfast firing over us. Landmarks were clear – we were coming up into line-abreast, six craft covering a mile of beach, my craft on the left flank. Our beaching mark was an old wooden wreck. Tanks were manned and revving up, the ramp door eased, two hands aft by the kedge wire, all of us dressed and armed and provisioned against a probably enforced stay ashore, feeling and looking like pirates. The squadron commander circled round in his headquarters craft and hailed us all in turn. `Can you see your beach marks? – OK, beach at full speed. Good Luck!'

    `A terrific "Whoosh" sounded on our starboard quarter and we saw the streaks of 500 rockets rising shorewards from one of our rocket craft. We made for our beach, allowing for the strong easterly tide and going in at full speed. This last minute order made me wonder how our reel of kedge-wire would take it, for even at normal speeds it needed careful control.

    `The last mile coming up – no opposition yet noticeable – then suddenly hundreds of flashes right along the sand dunes. "Here it comes," I thought, "Coast batteries opening up at the last moment." But nothing came and I realised that the flashes were rocket explosions from those we had seen launched seconds before. However, something was flying around – my tin hat registered a "ping". One or two plumes of water were shooting up here and there but we could see nothing likely to fire stuff that big. There was a pillbox on our port bow – point-five or similar, we thought. It was spitting away at us and our port gunner on the Oerlikon got well on to it with his first burst. His second put tracer right inside and the box just blew up. We were due to beach at 7.23 a.m. – the last few hundred yards now – strong cross-tide expected – next craft to starboard had hoisted a child's wooden horse as mascot – more shell splashes – ramp door partly lowered – "Stand by kedge" ... "Let go." And roughly what I had feared happened. The kedge dropped and our speed jerked the wire drum off its frame, the wire jammed and the anchor bounced along behind us at the end of fifty feet of useless wire – but we were there. I felt us take the ground and continued pushing at full speed to make sure of it. She was slowing up now. On our port side three survivors from a DD tank asked for assistance. "Get them aboard if you can," I told two of the lads. Then "Down ramp" and the Royal Engineers went ashore, their first item down the ramp being a seven-foot high roll of coconut matting pushed by a tank to provide a helpful surface for tracked vehicles through the soft sand. Then the exodus of a mechanised Noah's Ark began – Flail tanks, armoured trucks with impossible gadgets, metal monstrosities of all types – pride of the REME designed to clear beach mines and other defences for the infantry coming in behind us.

    `The shell splashes were coming from the right, we saw, from a gun emplacement a mile along the beach where the flotilla officer's craft had landed. The craft was still there. The others were kedging off – the kedge wires had survived. The signalman told me the three tank survivors were aboard.

    `The Army were ashore. Now, apart from the FO's craft we were the only craft still on the beach. The splashes were coming closer – we were almost a broadside target. For a long minute the rising cross-tide took charge as we moved slowly ahead dragging a useless kedge, before No 1 had dashed aft from the ramp door and, with an engineroom Chief, cut the kedge wire so that I could go astern. We slewed round immediately, providentially facing the troublesome gun and presenting the smallest target. We were still well afloat and still slewing broadside to the beach. I decided that rather then going astern I could get quicker results by continuing the turn with a hard-astarboard rudder and engines full ahead, which I did. Two splashes went up, one either side of us as we turned; we gathered way, completed the turn and unbeaching right against the rule hook, we got clear. The gun, a French 75, had knocked out the flotilla officer's craft (the only one lost of our six) and he and the rest of the survivors nipped aboard their neighbouring craft which unbeached safely.

    `The first wave had done its job; casualties were few, contrary to all expectations, thanks, I am sure, to the RAF's earlier work on the beach defences. We set course for the waiting position, No. 1 took over and I went down to the tank-hold to have a word with the DD tank crew, one of whom had a shoulder wound.

    `Passing follow-up waves going in as we made our way to the waiting position, brief chit-chats over loud-hailers took place. "What's it like?" "Not as bad as expected." And, aided by hot drinks and sandwiches, a cheerful reaction set in. In the comparative peace of the waiting position our casualty was transferred to the care of the flotilla's chief sick berth assistant aboard the hospital craft, and with nightfall we joined a northbound convoy.'

    Source: The War of the Landing Craft, by Paul Lund and Harry Ludlam

    Michel
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
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  12. IanTurnbull

    IanTurnbull Active Member

    Gary
    Thanks very much for posting this. Fantastic document. It certainly looks clear how the standard OP Shermans were setup, but I have a couple of testimonies from the 147th Field (attached) which suggest otherwise, at least for this Regiment:
    1. Lance Corporal R M Swan of the 1st Dorsets writing about an encounter with an Essex Yeomanry RC OP Sherman on Point 103
    2. A review of the book "The Sherman Tank" by Roger Ford. The review is by R B Gosling, on D Day the Battery Commander of 431 Battery.
    I suppose each Regiment could vary the specification, but I cant see why they would need to disarm the tanks when there was space for 5 wireless sets anyway
    Ian
     
  13. IanTurnbull

    IanTurnbull Active Member

    Oops forgot to attach. They are both taken from the E Y Journal, 1999 and 2000 resp. Ian
     
  14. I understand that the removal of the gun (and therefore of its ammo as well) also resulted in more space for maps and whatever specialised things gunners used to calculate fire coordinates, which would otherwise be difficult to use in the cramped turret of a standard gun tank.

    Michel
     
  15. Thinking again, this is no less improbable than a ship named "C. Day" being voluntarily grounded to serve as a landing landmark 56 years before D Day! o_O

    Michel
     
  16. IanTurnbull

    IanTurnbull Active Member

    Michel
    I have now managed to get the 2nd and 3rd pages of Captain Beale's 431 Battery Landing table for completeness. It has "D" Troop's guns due at H+20, whereas on the Page 1 I posted originally has "C" Troop's @ H+60.
    I have however drawn a blank wrt loading ables for 511 and 413 Battery
    Ian
     

    Attached Files:

  17. Great find Ian! We now have the complete craft distribution of vehicles and men of 431 Bty.

    Regarding the "H+20" mention, we have already discussed that and it is bound to be a typo for H+120.

    As for the claimed landing times of H+20 for C Tp guns and H+40 for D Tp guns mentioned in the article in your post #21, these are not verified by any other source. I have not as yet found any reliable source/confirmation of the actual landing times of the guns, and although it is probable that they did not land exactly as planned, H+20 and H+40 are unlikely considering the planned times of H+60 and H+120 respectively.

    Michel
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  18. IanTurnbull

    IanTurnbull Active Member

    In coming back to this to try and confirm that Lt Ridley's (TLD 431 Battery 147th Field on Serial 2013) LCT(A) landed on time I have been reviewing the 1 RM Assault Group's War Diary and its attached "Characteristics & Employment etc..." which is essentially a review of their actions.
    Looking at the 4x JIG West LCT(As) 2013 - 2016 only (and assuming all craft loaded as per planned 231 loading table):-
    - the Centaurs' "F" Troop craft with the Sherman didn't land until 09:30 as confirmed by the War Diary, so that confirms it was 2014 that landed at 09:30
    - that means that it must have been the H Troop craft (2016) that landed the Sherman & 2 Centaurs on time, and the other F Troop craft (2013) that landed the other 2 Centaurs on time (as we know 2015 with Lt Van Hasselt on board (TLF 511 Battery) didn't land until 7th June)
    - 2 of the Centaurs and a Sherman that landed at H-Hour, were put out of action and they were "all from the same Troop", according to the review document in the WD, so these must have been "H" Troops vehicles
    - Around the same time another Centaur was "hit without casualties", according to the WD, and therefore must have been from F Troop

    So, according to the 431 Battery loading table, Lt Ridley was to land with "F" Troop of the Centaurs on Serial 2013, so his craft landed on time, but when his TLD Carrier came off is another matter as the Op Order for the Centaurs states on beaching they should engage in direct fire from the LCT(A) initially & then one of them was hit.

    Is this the same logic you used to reach your conclusions?

    There are still a couple of odd things:
    a) The WD also states that at 09:30 "Sherman of F Troop landed on JIG sector and was ordered by CO to contact its 2 Centaurs and deploy under orders of 147 FD Regt RA" - why would it need to contact its Centaurs when they were on the same landing craft? Would this have been the 2 Centaurs that landed at H-Hour?
    b) The WD then says at 12:00 "1 Sherman and 1 Centaur of F Troop moved off the beach to the 147 FD Regt area" - begs the question what happened to the other Centaurs from this Troop - held up?
    c) The RMASG's review document says no calls were received from the FOOs (Lt Ridley and the other 147 Field FOOs) and we know he did not call his own Troop's guns when they were setup either, and calls to the Navy in support of the Hampshires did not begin until the afternoon. So perhaps his OP was OOA because there was plenty to aim at in the first 2 hours

    I will continue trying to find out more about Lt Ridley to confirm why this is

    Ian
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
  19. Same logical process, but starting from the 1 RM Armd Sp Regt War Diary and not the other way round. There are also several assumptions which should be spelled out. I'll try and expose the detailed reasoning step by step below.

    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
    - LCT(A) are from 108 LCT(A) Flotilla comprising LCT(A) 2005, 2233, 2238, 2262, 2266, 2426, 2442 & 2499
    - 2 RMAS Bty is alloted to JIG and made up of E, F, G & H Troops
    - each RMAS Troop is split between two adjacent LTINs
    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 maybe did not land] 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

    We can rearrange the above by date/time:

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

    3. Finding which troop was in which LTIN

    From 90 Fd Coy RE War Diary (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 personnel of 90 Fd Coy RE, ie:
    LTIN 2015 Lt Stiles-Bryan with 1 M14 & 2 ORs. Also 2 Centaurs in LCT (one Rt Sec)
    LTIN 2019 Lt Cathery with 1 Carrier & 2 ORs. Also 2 Centaurs in LCT (one Rt 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 means they were with Rt Sec H Tp, landing the previous evening.

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

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

    E Tp Rt Sec – 9 Jun morning – LTIN 2019
    E Tp Lt Sec................................LTIN 2020

    F Tp Rt Sec
    F Tp Lt Sec – 6 Jun 0930

    G Tp Rt Sec
    G Tp Lt Sec – 6 Jun 0950

    H Tp Rt Sec – 7 Jun evening – LTIN 2015
    H Tp Lt Sec...............................LTIN 2016

    Of the remaining vehicles, the Rt Sec which landed at 0730 6 Jun is therefore either LTIN 2013 or LTIN 2017. Lt Ridley was to land at 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 landed in the morning of 6 Jun, and thus that it carried the Rt Sec of either F or G Tp.

    The only element at our disposal in order to choose between these two options is the 431 Bty Loading Table, which says that Lt Ridley “Lands with “F Tp of Centaurs.”

    We will suppose that this is correct, in which case we now have (sorted by LTIN):

    F Tp Rt Sec – 6 Jun 0730......LTIN 2013
    F Tp Lt Sec – 6 Jun 0930.......LTIN 2014

    H Tp Rt Sec – 7 Jun evening – LTIN 2015
    H Tp Lt Sec.............................. LTIN 2016

    G Tp Rt Sec.............................. LTIN 2017
    G Tp Lt Sec – 6 Jun 0950.......LTIN 2018

    E Tp Rt Sec – 9 Jun morning – LTIN 2019
    E Tp Lt Sec.............................. LTIN 2020

    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 20mm AA guns as in LTIN 2017, against two Carriers and 40mm 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):

    F Tp Rt Sec – 6 Jun 0730......– LTIN 2013
    F Tp Lt Sec – 6 Jun 0930.......– LTIN 2014

    H Tp Rt Sec – 7 Jun evening – LTIN 2015
    H Tp Lt Sec.............................. LTIN 2016

    G Tp Rt Sec – returned to UK – LTIN 2017 = LCT(A) 2005
    G Tp Lt Sec – 6 Jun 0950.......– LTIN 2018

    E Tp Rt Sec – 9 Jun morning – LTIN 2019
    E Tp Lt Sec.............................. LTIN 2020


    4.2 – LTIN 2016 or 2020

    The only two LTINs remaining without a landing time or date are LTINs 2016 (Lt Sec H Tp) & 2020 (Lt Sec E Tp).
    We know that LCT(A) 2426 sank on 6 Jun. Assuming she sank with her load, and because we have a photo of Sherman ‘HUSSAR’ of (Lt Sec) H Tp knocked out later in Normandy, LCT(A) 2426 is thus LTIN 2020, and Lt Sec H Tp is the as yet unallocated Lt Sec which landed at 0730 6 Jun:

    F Tp Rt Sec – 6 Jun 0730......– LTIN 2013
    F Tp Lt Sec – 6 Jun 0930.......– LTIN 2014

    H Tp Rt Sec – 7 Jun evening – LTIN 2015
    H Tp Lt Sec – 6 Jun 0730......– LTIN 2016

    G Tp Rt Sec – returned to UK – LTIN 2017 = LCT(A) 2005
    G Tp Lt Sec – 6 Jun 0950.......– LTIN 2018

    E Tp Rt Sec – 9 Jun morning – LTIN 2019
    E Tp Lt Sec – sank en route...– LTIN 2020 = LCT(A) 2426

    4.3 – LTIN 2013 & 2016

    From the Report by ANCXF on Op NEPTUNE:
    Only two L.C.T.(A), namely 2442 and 2233 of 108th Flotilla, out of the 16 allocated to Force “ G ” beached on time and took part in the fire plan.

    We finally have:

    F Tp Rt Sec – 6 Jun 0730......– LTIN 2013 = LCT(A) 2442 or 2233
    F Tp Lt Sec – 6 Jun 0930.......– LTIN 2014

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

    G Tp Rt Sec – returned to UK – LTIN 2017 = LCT(A) 2005
    G Tp Lt Sec – 6 Jun 0950.......– LTIN 2018

    E Tp Rt Sec – 9 Jun morning – LTIN 2019
    E Tp Lt Sec – sank en route...– LTIN 2020 = LCT(A) 2426

    That's all for now! Hopefully new info will emerge which will help completing the picture (or utterly shatter this theory!).

    Michel
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
  20. IanTurnbull

    IanTurnbull Active Member

    Michel
    Thanks so much for this - impressive detective work. A couple of thoughts occur to me.
    1. Would the LAA Regiment's War Diary and other LAA sources add anything as they were on these LCT(A)s. If you don't already have them then I can copy from the NA
    2. The RMASG's review document archived at the NA with the WD says no calls for fire from the Centaurs were received from any FOOs. In the case of Lt Ridley 431 Battery FOO on serial 2013 there is some evidence that he did not contact his own guns either. And we know that naval gun support for the Hampshires did not begin until later. So perhaps his OP was OOA because there was plenty to aim at in the first 2 hours. We know one of the Centaurs on his craft was hit. I will keep digging into his record.
    3. I am not sure how the Comms worked, but it seems to me that even though after landing there was 2 serviceable Centaurs how could they be called for indirect fire anyway when the only GPO landed in the first 2 hours, "H" Troop's Sherman, was burnt out

    On the question of when 431 Battery's "D" guns were setup. Due at H+120 as you say and the reason I thought they might have arrived early is an article by their GPO, Tony Richardson "Normandy 1944 the actions of a battery of self propelled close support artillery from D-Day to D+7" where he states they "got ashore... at H+40". There are 3 other consistent sources quoted in my previous post, albeit all from Tony Richardson. However I note that his article also says "The tide was almost up to the sea wall" when they beached, which does not sound like H+40. Is there another source I could pursue? Perhaps Naval?

    Finally I have now got all the 147th Regiment's obituaries which may cast further light on the 147th Regiment's roles. So I can start reviewing the spreadsheet.
    Ian
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019

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