Battlegroup Fehrmann Tiger v. three British Comets, 3RTR

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by SDP, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. JDKR

    JDKR Member

    Not sure I understand why you find this curious - but I may be missing something. 12 o'clock is taken to mean that the tank's barrel is pointing directly ahead over the tank's front armour. 10 o'clock would therefore be at 60 degrees to the front, off the tank's forward left flank, which is pretty well where Harding's Comet was located.

    I believe the two commanders probably saw each other at the same instant. Given that the 77mm gun had a muzzle velocity of approx 800m/s my maths indicates that at a range of 100m (the distance Harding states he was from F01) it would have taken approx .12 sec for the round to strike. In my money that is instantaneous and would have left absolutely no time for Franzen to manoeuvre. Harding would have had an AP round loaded as he knew a Tiger was in the vicinity and I reckon he would have fired immediately on acquiring the target. I would have done! Where the round struck was probably immaterial as he long as he struck the Tiger fair and square.

    The forest provided no cover for F01 and the tank was trapped on the road.
  2. barutcuzade

    barutcuzade Junior Member

    May be a picture will help illustrate my point.

    Fig 1 is what probably the situation looked like if Franzen really did see the Comet at 10 o'clock. In this situation a full 90 degree turn of the Tiger would not even be necessary to use the advantage of the frontal armour. A slight turn on one track would have put the tank in a position to both use the frontal armour and cut the necessary turret turn rate down to engage the enemy. See fig 2.

    From Harding's point of view if he had fired at this point the entry point of the AP projectile would have been at an angle of 135 degrees or so in relation to the tank's body meaning it would have penetrated it and moved towards the back side of the tank towards the engine compartment rather than moving in a straight line as it did penetrating the fuel tanks.

    Fig 3 is probably close to how the engagement ended. Harding's shot seems to me a clear straight perpendicular shot to the Tiger which meant Harding had Franzen straight in front of him when he fired and not at a diagonal.

    So if Franzen really did see Harding while he was at his 10, few things come to my mind:

    1. He either flipped Harding a bird and continued to drive straight and Harding took his sweet time and gave him a well aimed shot (not very likely )

    2. He tried to speed up and get out of the clearing trying to buy himself time to turn the turret and get a fix on the Comet

    3. or he did not see the enemy at all, or saw it more likely at his 9 rather than 10 in which case he had no time to react at all...

    My vote is #3 but unless they all walk back from their graves and join the form I guess we will never know.

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  3. JDKR

    JDKR Member

    Oooof. I think I have little more to offer on this. The facts are:

    1. Both commanders saw each others' tanks. When they did that is not known but in the close country it was probably at much the same time.

    2. F01 neither had time to turn to face the threat or to traverse the turret to fire the main armament.

    3. F01 was knocked out with a hit from the left flank.
  4. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Surely the turret crew would use the turret's axis as the basis of thier clock?

    As the turret was at 11 o'clock relative to the hull when it was KO'd, turret 10 o'clock (where Harding was seen) would be the same as hull 9 o'clock (where Harding's shot came from). That assumes the Tiger had no time to react at all, which seems reasonable if Harding was stalking it and would be ready to get a shot off as soon as he saw the target.
  5. barutcuzade

    barutcuzade Junior Member

    now that makes perfect sense idler...
  6. S54

    S54 Junior Member

    The Cromwell could well be a MKVI (95mm), which the Sqn's had at least one of at the time (see pic)! I am ex 3RTR (75-92) and 2RTR (92-2011) and spent most of my career or so it seemed in 'Falling-Bar-Stool' (75, 92-02 & 05-07) and lived there as a kid 65-67! I have read this thread with interest and I didn't know this action took place until I walked into our Regimental Museum run by Kev 'Pup' Greenhalgh just after the amalgamation in 92 and noticed some pics of a Tiger with the caption 'Destroyed by 3RTR'. On questioning Kev about this he showed me a map of where the action took place so I went out to the location on several occasions to try and get an understanding of where exactly it all happened. Now I know, thank you guys! Just wish I was still there.......not! BTW JDKR I did MED MAN 5 in the early 80s with your Bn, I was in our A Sqn at the time :D

    B Sqn 3RTR commanded by Maj Bill Close MC, somewhere in Belgium! Photo courtesy of his son Mike.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
  7. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Good image you have there from Bill Close's son! Those Comets look quite 'battle weary' so do you have any idea as to the precise location where the photo was taken?
  8. S54

    S54 Junior Member

    Steve I'm afraid I don't, Mike posted them on 'Faceache' with the caption 'Somewhere in Belgium'! The sign on the buildling looks like German though.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
  9. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    The sign on the buildling looks like German though.

    My thoughts entirely and why I posted the question: those buildings are also reminiscent of northern Germany rather than Belgium......but of course I could be totally wrong!
  10. JDKR

    JDKR Member

    My thoughts entirely and why I posted the question: those buildings are also reminiscent of northern Germany rather than Belgium......but of course I could be totally wrong!

    Blimey the thread still has life in it! The buildings look like N Germany to me too. Could that be a white flag in the top window? There's bound to be someone who knows Dankert Schneidermiste (if that's the name)!

    Greetings S54. I was Adjt 3Q on that Med Man. I can remember being a tad chilly and one of our coys burning out a 432 (not to keep me warm!) when they forgot to put the earthing spike in the ground during a replen. Ooops. Happy days - but we knew we didn't have a Fally life sentence! Interesting point about the Cromwell MkVI - that would certainly make more sense than the other units which I listed. I must check out 'Trux - 21st Army Gp' which is where I trawl for much of my info on British eqpt/units.

    regards to all

  11. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    .....There's bound to be someone who knows Dankert Schneidermiste (if that's the name)!.....

    Just a guess but 'Dankert/Dankart' is a German surname and the long word may mean 'Master Tailor', one day I'll actually post my updated map of where Franzen's Tiger met those three Comets and then my interpretation of the cronology of the battle itself....only problem is that I'm finding it very difficult to pin-point 1945-era map grid lines with sufficient accuracy....just need a little more time.
    All the best
  12. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    11th Armd Div had in the region of 27 to 33 95-mm armed Cromwells in its AFV returns from 31/03/45 to 05/05/45. Unit Entitlements for the Div all told were 24 in April 1945, sufficient for the standard two CS tanks per Sqn HQ, so perfectly reasonable for the vehicle in question to be with 3RTR.

  13. S54

    S54 Junior Member

    On page 213 in The Black Bull' by Patrick Delaforce there is a photo of three of them, two of them have same Sqn symbol of B Sqn. The caption says "Close support tanks of 15/19 KRH giving infantry support with their 95mm howitzers , in the Teutobergerwald battle, April 1945". As the 5&9s were a Recce Regt they might have had more in their ORBAT!
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
  14. S54

    S54 Junior Member

    Steve here's another one of 'Bumble Bty' in a village............somewhere!

    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
  15. Roddy1011

    Roddy1011 Senior Member

    S54 -

    Lovely pics...can you see any of the veh census numbers on the originals (T Numbers) ?

  16. S54

    S54 Junior Member

    John cheers! I believe it was Med Man 5 in 1982 that we did, I was a Cpl at the time and the Op/Ldr for A Sqn's 2i/c - Capt Andy Chapman. We were unfortunate in having to takeover tanks from the Life Guards, they had the clout and we in the RTR didn't and BATUS sided with them! A few things stick in my mind about that particular stint out in Canada, on D-Day our panzer broke down about 80m from the Dustbowl when one of the main engine fans disintigrated, the blades did no end of damage! Andy Chapman left me to it and after a pack change had to find the rest of the Sqn in the dark, they were way up North of 'Davies Corner! It was emotional, still I had the honour of being the first guy in the Sqn to do any night navigation!:) Being in the 2i/c's tank we had one of our radios on the battlegroup command net and every so often the admin net, I remember your EME always ending his calls with 'Roger, wonderful, thankyou out'...............made oi larf it did!:lol: Anyway I digress back to the thread!!!:mad:

    Does anyone know what happened to other two Tigers reported to have been in the area? If they returned to the camp at Fallingbostel for repair they wouldn't have had long as we now know Recce Troop and C Sqn of the 8th Hussars arrived there on the 16th April and liberated the POW camps Stalag XIB and 357!
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
  17. JDKR

    JDKR Member

  18. S54

    S54 Junior Member

    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
  19. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    ..... The buildings look to me as if they are in Schleswig-Holstein.....That would copy with the non-tac appearance of the armour and suggest that the photo was possibly taken in early May 45. Where did 3 RTR end up at the war's end?.......John

    According to 3RTR War Diary:

    3rd May 1945:
    Bad Segeberg (whole Battalion)

    15th May 1945:
    RHQ/HQ Squadron: Eichede
    A Squadron: Sprenge
    B Squadron: Mullhagen
    C Squadron: Lasbeckdorf

    29th May 1945:
    RHQ/HQ Squadron: Friedrichstadt
    A Squadron: Erfde
    B Squadron: Suderstapel
    C Squadron: Schwabstedt

    1-2nd August 1945: Comets handed in to 171 Vehicle Park Hamburg

    Just now need the patience to trawl Google Earth and Streetview for 'now' type views.......on the other hand I could go and watch the telly :D

    PS: done a quick google trawl and I reckon, on the basis of probability and that it's a quite built up area, it could be Bad Segeberg.
  20. S54

    S54 Junior Member

    Chroist you learn something new everyday!:mellow: Steve have you got copies of all the entries in the diary? Hope you have, I've got a mate who's dad was in C Sqn and he was the driver of the lead tank into the village of Husum (25 Kms NW of Hannover), the tank was taken out by the Volksturm firing numerous Panzerfausts at it! Sadly in the action the Comdr Sgt Alan Duff, LCpl John Nation and Tpr Charles Ellershaw were killed. My mates dad stayed inside the tank, shitting himself and smoking daring not to bail out as the tank was still being fired at. This action took place on or around the 8th Apr 45.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020

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