Churchill Tank Units in Action - World War Two

Discussion in 'North Irish Horse' started by Gerry Chester, May 19, 2013.

  1. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hi Adam.

    Having the three volume Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War I have finished scanning the many pages relative pages to the Dieppe raid- plus I have some records of the Calgary regiments part in it - originally intending to add them to my website. However, it occurred to me that it would be a good idea, should you agree, to make available the ward diaries, etcetera, chronologically for the Forum's records.

    Should you agree I will go ahead - in the meantime attached are those of 21st Tank Brigade and 12 Bn. Royal Tank Regiment.

    Cheers

    Gerry
     

    Attached Files:

    PhilM, CL1 and dbf like this.
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Gerry

    Unhappily - your link just disappears into the ether - and so the trials and tribulations of the 12th BATTALION of the RTR will never be known by this IMac - the emphasis is mine as it relates to another thread I am having trouble with

    in showing the relationship from Corps to Regiments to Battalions et al

    Cheers
    Tom
     
  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Download worked fine for me Tom.
    Have sent you an email.


    Gerry Many thanks for all the hard work.

    Regards
    Diane
     
  4. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Gerry
    Finally with a big assist from Diane - managed to tune in and read all 90 pages of well noted diary of the 12RTR and surprised that so many OR's were promoted to Officers - I as you perhaps recall failed my WOSBIE as I couldn't spell

    the recce word fast enough so I was thrown out - only four from the 145th RAC went forward in Italy - 2 Sergeants passed but the 2 Corporals were RTU/d

    Well done

    Cheers
    Tom
     
  5. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    View attachment WDiary-48RTR-NEW.doc

    The proposed in action chronological sequence for War Diaries and official documents is in two phases.

    Phase 1.
    1.
    Canadian A TB + Calgary Regiment at Dieppe.
    2. 25th Tank Brigade plus North Irish Horse, 51st RTR, and 14 RAC.
    3. 25th TB RE Unit
    4. 21st Tank Brigade plus 12 RTR, 48th RTR, 145 RAC.
    5. 21st TB Re Unit

    Phase 2 will include:
    33rd Tank Brigade
    34th Tank Brigade
    6th Guards Tank Brigade
    Hobart's Brigade

    Please let me know Adam if this is the you want to go.

    Cheers,

    Gerry1
     
  6. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Gerry

    well done - I note that my Troop Cmmder - Lt. GFF Douse was a member of an FGCM at Bone in Jan '44 .....he was a great lad and sorely missed when he was killed at San Martino in September

    Cheers
     
  7. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    View attachment 25th-TB-Narrative-extracts.doc

    An update.

    Having just completed - as far as it is possible so to do - the enjoyable, tedious but fascinating transcribing of nearly 100 pages of Brigadier Tetley's narrative of 25th TB operations in Italy, it is being set to one side pending a search for the last few pages.

    So, while waiting, its on to Lt-Col Dawnay's report on NIH operations in North Africa.

    Cheers to one and all,

    Gerry
     
  8. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Gerry
    These few pages of the 25th Bde actions show how the bde was functioning prior to the break up of both 25th and 21st TB's at Cesena in December of 1944 - when the NIH replaced the 145th RAC In the 21st bde - and 51st RTR went on to become an Armoured /Engineer unit.......again - well done

    Cheers
    Tom
     
  9. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    There seems to be a problem with the 25th Tank Brigade narrative. I am only getting two pages in the .doc.
     
  10. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hi Dryan,

    The two pages were sent to explain why completion of the nearly one hundred pages is on hold while a search for the last few pages is underway.

    As mentioned in my last, work on transcribing Lt. Colonel Dawnay's report to the big-wigs would be next up and will be attached later. If he had not sent it there would have been no Churchills deployed in Korea.

    The Calgary Regiment, KingForce, and the two Churchill Brigades in Tunisia went to war in a tank that had no future as production had been cancelled prior to the Dieppe Raid. The two brigades were to be re-equipped with Shermans at the conclusion of the war in Africa. I have a copy of the letter sent to Winston Churchill by the head of the Tank Board advising him of the decision.

    As soon as the PM received his a copy of how well the Mountain Goats performed in the battle for Longstop Hill. the future of the Churchill was assured as he immediately ordered production to recommence.

    On the Saturday nearest to May 23rd, a Memorial Service and Parade is held in Northern Ireland each year to commemorate the Battle of the Hitler Line to which the NIH is honoured by the presence of a full Canadian Colonel. One can but conjecture the outcome of the battle if Shermans were deployed.

    Cheers, Gerry.
     
  11. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Dryan
    What Gerry is referencing to the outcome of the Hitler line battle is the fact that both NIH and 51st RTR lost 35 Tanks EACH (34.7%) on the first day of the battle - these were all Churchills mostly knocked out by Panzersturms - which

    we had never seen before as they were dug into the ground in Tank Turrets with either 75mm specials or 88mm - many Churchills were recovered but many more damaged - had they been Sherman's then the total would have been much

    higher - and my brigade would have been called in - the Germans didn't call the Sherman a "Tommy Cooker" just for laughs...."The Mountain Goats" were Gerry's squadrpn "B" of the NIH which climbed Longstop and scared the hell out of the

    enemy who didn't think a Tank could climb the hill and so had no A/T guns up there- as Gerry says - this saved the best Tank we ever had in those two Campaigns

    Cheers
     
  12. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Thanks Tom and Jerry for the explanation it sounds like a fantastic project.
     
  13. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    View attachment NIH-Op-Report-Tunisia.doc

    Here's Lt. Colonel David Dawnay's Report on the Tunisian Campaign. 78th Infantry Regiment's report on its part in the Longstop Hill battle - with several photographs - next in line.
     
  14. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    That's a splendid piece of work, Gerry and a thoroughly absorbing read. Thank you very much for sharing it.
     
  15. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Gerry

    Many thanks for that fascinating report.

    A query for you.....

    In the 4th QOH Regimental Diaries I see that one of the entries mentions a Dawnay

    1945

    Aug 10th - Brigadier D DAWNAY Comdr 26th Armd Bde visited Regt accompanied by Major AS Bullivant 16/5th Lancers.

    Was this the same chap ? if so I must have seen him but can't remember the occasion. but then again, I can't remember lots of things :(

    Ron
     
  16. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Yes Ron it is "our" David Dawnay. During his illustrious career he was recognised as the foremost exponent of the fighting qualities of the Churchill tank. He retired as Major-General Sir David Dawnay KCVO, CB, DSO and Bar.

    Cheeers,

    Gerry
     
  17. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hello Tom

    The figure you quoted for the númber of NIH tanks lost during the Hitler Line Battle is not correct. We had 25 put out of action of which 15 were recovered, repaired by the RE and returned to us - some even on the 24th - as the damaged inflicted to the Churchills by the low firing 75mm guns of the Panzerturms was to the bogey/track area not having been powerful enough to penetrate on the side armour plate. When they elevented there guns they were able to penetrate the cast turrets of the Marks IVs. Ballyrashane, 'B' Squadron CO's on which I was aboard, had the dubious honour of being the first NIH tank to be knocked out. She was one of the five Churchills destroyed, the other five were Shermans.

    Living north of the boarder you have been forgiven the typing error - especially as this three finger typist so often does.

    Cheers, Gerry
     
  18. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Attached Files:

  19. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Gerry
    Re your statement in posting #13
    "Here's Lt. Colonel David Dawnay's Report on the Tunisian Campaign. 78th Infantry Regiment's report on its part in the Longstop Hill battle - with several photographs - next in line. "

    Be a good chap and make that "78th Infantry Div's report" :)

    Thanks !

    Ron
    Ex 78 Div
     
  20. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Ron -
    Gerry has already admitted that he and I only have three fingers - which is not too surprising remembering our tussles with the extra heavy Turret hatches

    Brigadier "Kit" Dawney was our Commander of the 21st Tank Bde - he joined us at the Liri Valley - and took us through the Gothic Line battles - then joined 6th AD and 26th AB -

    he came from NIH of course as did our 145th RAC C.O. - who then went back to NIH for the Liri Valley as their C.O. was on the sick list..there were times when I thought the Irish had taken over the whole Army

    with your 38th Bde full of them.....BUT a Scot ruled 6th AD...

    Cheers
     

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