D day mystery units.

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Trux, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    The following appear in the Landing Tables for Sword. These tables are usually very clear on the details of vehicle type and make and the unit to which they belong. The following do not follow the pattern and no unit serial is given. I doubt if they are army units. Any ideas on the vehicles and/or the units?

    Landing from LSTs on the second tide of D Day.

    From Heavy Mobile Section
    1 Jeep
    1 30cwt Lorry 21' 4" X 6'
    1 3ton Lorry 22' 8" X 7' 8"
    1 Trailer 12' 3" X 5' 10"
    1 Motorcycle
    21 men

    From CBU
    1 Tractor Class I, D8
    1 Jeep
    1 Heavy Fire Pump Trailer, Dennis
    1 30cwt Austin
    1 Trailer, Welding set
    1 Crane, Le Tourneau
    19 men

    From Light Mobile Section
    1 Jeep
    1 30cwt 16' 6" X 7' 4"
    2 Motorcycles
    11 men

    Simply listed as from 'Radar'.
    1 30cwt 16' X 7' 4"
    1 15cwt 15' 6" X 6' 7"
    1 Motorcycle
    23 men

    Mike
     
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  3. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    For some time i have been trying to get to the bottom of Artillery & Signal Units
    on clandestine Special Duties for the 2nd Army and 9AGRA that were sent over on D-Day 'apparently' to relay & recce info back to AOP Op's in england, but have hit a brick wall so far.
    Cheers
    Rob
     
  4. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    There were a series of Special Forces Detachments that co-ordinated the activities of SOE/OSS, SAS and the FFI attached to the various Army Groups. They reported back to SHAEF via SFHQ and later EMFFI

    No 1 SF Detachment - 2nd British Army
    No 2 SF Detachment - 1st Canadian Army
    No 3 SF Detachment - HQ 21AG
    No 4 SF Detachment - Formed in Algiers for Op DRAGOON
    No 10 SF Detachment - First US AG
    No 11 SF Detachment - Third US AG
    No 12 SF Detachment - First US AG - This Group was later based at the Hotel Cecil in Paris
     
  5. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Andy (and Andrea),

    Thanks. I have had a quick look at the links and will return. It looks like a job for a nice snowy day. Still laying up here in Yeadon.

    Rob,

    If they landed over the beaches they should be recorded. Can you give me more of an idea what I am looking for. There are several possibilities but I do work slowly.

    Mike
     
  6. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    [/QUOTE]

    Mike
    From the 10th Med - 9AGRA war-diaries, hand written at the bottom of the monthly roll for the Regt it states that 9 Officers & 21 OR's in Carriers embarked on the 3rd June on these 'special duties' for the 2Army and returned to England on the 13th June.
    Cheers
    Rob
     
  7. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Rob,

    Thank you. I can work with that snippet. It contains most of the information I need. I will see if I can make a match. My immediate thought is that we are looking at Forward Observation Officers or Forward Observation Bombardment teams. Extra teams were needed on D Day and trained observation officers from a unit not immediately scheduled to cross the Channel would be an ideal source. The parent unit would probably only be told that they were needed for 'Special Duty'. Watch this space as they say.

    Mike
     
  8. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Rob,

    This looks promising.

    The Combined Operations Bombardment Unit was formed to provide control for naval gunfire on D Day and the days following.

    One troop was provided for each beach and the troop consisted of seven parties as follows
    1 Observation Officer RA
    1 observation post assistant RA
    3 signallers RN
    1 Liaison Officer RN, who was stationed on a fire support ship.

    These parties landed with the assault brigades and could call on the fire of a destroyer to assist the battalion to which they were attached. There were also several squadrons of spotting aircraft (Spitfires, Seafires and Mustangs) which could identify targets and observe the fall of shot. These aircraft could communicate with ships but not the observation party.

    The Landing Tables show the seven parties landing on foot from about H + 20 minutes. These were three men parties presumably consisting of the Observation Officer, his assistant and a signaller. As soon as the LCTs were clear to land each party also landed a jeep with 2 more men.

    Each troop also had two M14 halftracks each with an officer, a number of RA signallers and more powerful wireless sets. Add batmen and drivers and we have nine officers, about 20 RA other ranks and twenty RN signallers all landing in the first few hours on D Day. No Carriers though. The tables clearly show seven jeeps and two M14.

    I dont know how long these remained in Normandy but only a few days I think.

    Mike
     
    Rob Dickers likes this.
  9. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    Mike
    Thanks very much for that info, I think you cracked it.
    I'am sure it had something to do with Arty Air-Ops, and i know the Regt did have Half-Tracks (Carriers) + they were only there for less than 9 days
    and 9AGRA was the (spare) 21st AG, GHQ AGRA.
    Much appreciated
    Rob
     
  10. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    Back yo Mike's original question - does anybody have any ideas about the 30 cwt trucks mentioned - one specificaly mentioned as an Austin??

    Also one of the 30cwts is listed as 6' overall width - this seems too narrow to me as all yhe data I have seen shows 30cwts as over seven feet wide??

    Noel
     
  11. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    From Soldier, Sailor by Geoffrey Sanders, some information on the FOB vehicle establishment:
    Only two jeeps and and two half-tracks passed the Gold beaches - the remainder (six jeeps and two half-tracks) were discharged into deeper water than the depth to which they had been waterproofed.

    8 Jeeps and 4 halftracks across 10 (Gold) parties could be 2x Tp HQ halftracks, plus 10 parties each with either a Jeep or halftrack. Perhaps the halftracks were with teams allocated to armoured formations (I'm thinking 8 Armd Bde)?

    It also details the numbers of Forward Observers Bombardment deployed:
    Force G : 11 (including one attached to Force O)
    Force J: 10
    Force S: 8
    6 Abn Div: 6
    11 more were allocated to the Commandos, by implication those in the Force S area but might mean all Commandos across the Anglo-Canadian area.

    Given that large portions of the front line were within bombardment range for some time, most of the FOsB wee around much longer than a few days.

    Sorry - not a lot of help with the original question.
     
  12. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Regarding the original question, to me the plant smells of REME, notably the D8 tractor (not dozer), cranes and welding gear. Could CBU be a typo of BCU = Beach Clearance Unit??

    Trying a different tack, Googling "Heavy Mobile Section" gives two relevant hits: this thread and one on MLU titled 'Royal Navy Vehicles'. Unfortunately the MLU link is broken and the page hasn't been cached. Oddly, it still show a preview on which the name Noel Burgess stands out! Are you able to access that one, Noel, to see if it sheds any light on the original post?
     
  13. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Regarding the original question, to me the plant smells of REME, notably the D8 tractor (not dozer), cranes and welding gear. Could CBU be a typo of BCU = Beach Clearance Unit??

    Trying a different tack, Googling "Heavy Mobile Section" gives two relevant hits: this thread and one on MLU titled 'Royal Navy Vehicles'. Unfortunately the MLU link is broken and the page hasn't been cached. Oddly, it still show a preview on which the name Noel Burgess stands out! Are you able to access that one, Noel, to see if it sheds any light on the original post?

    This one works for me at the moment.

    Royal Navy vehicles - MLU FORUM
     
  14. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    I'm still getting two fingers up, not Maple Leaf Up... Can I interest you in a bit of well-referenced copy and paste?
     
  15. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I'm still getting two fingers up, not Maple Leaf Up... Can I interest you in a bit of well-referenced copy and paste?

    Ah yes, having delved into the thread, what you're seeing is that Noel has posted the question there too.

    "Following on from the success with MLRU how about these questions which come from discussions between myself and Mike Simpson [Trux]. Mike has been studying D Day landing tables for Sword Beach and has come across the following :
    Quote:
    Landing on Sword Beach. Second Tide.
    The following have no other information and no unit serial is given. It is very unusual for army or RAF units not to be identified, the former by unit and serial, the latter by ‘RAF’


    On LST Serial 613
    1 Jeep from Heavy Mobile Section.
    1 30cwt Lorry 21 foot 4 inches X 6 foot from Heavy Mobile Section.
    1 3ton Lorry 22 foot 8 inches X 7 foot 8 inches from Heavy Mobile Section.
    1 trailer 12 foot 3 inches X 5 foot 10 inches from Heavy Mobile Section.
    1 motorcycle from Heavy Mobile Section. Carried on vehicles.
    21 men from Heavy Mobile Section.

    On LST Serial 616
    1 Tractor Class I D8 from CRU.
    1 Jeep from CRU.
    1 Heavy Fire pump trailer, Dennis, from CRU.
    1 30cwt Austin from CRU.
    1 Trailer, welding set from CRU.
    1 Crane, Le Tourneau from CRU.
    19 men from CRU.

    On LST Serial 617
    1 Jeep from Light Mobile Section.
    1 30cwt from Light Mobile Section. 16 foot 6 inches by 7 foot 4 inches
    2 Motorcycles from Light Mobile Section.
    11 men from Light Mobile Section.

    On LST Serial 619
    1 30cwt 16 foot by 7 foot 4 inches. Radar.
    1 15cwt 15 foot 6 inches by six foot 7 inches. Radar.
    1 Motorcycle Radar.
    23 men. Radar.
    The use of 30cwt lorries is a bit of a mystery; Dimensions where given are overall size and indicate different shipping dimensions to a standard vehicle "

    Most odd that the links aren't working.

    I have noticed lately that every time I Google something which interests me, it comes back to this forum.
     
    Drew5233 likes this.
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Mike,

    As a long shot have you considered these:

    British Military Army History

    I have all 6 vols. of BEF 1940 Orbat series and I really can't fault them.
     
  17. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Cheers Rich. That explains why it hasn't been cached yet if it's an offshoot of this thread.
    Can't think what CRU could be.
     
  18. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    I agree that the two series by Alan Philson and Gary Kennedy are excellent references. I have the six volumes on the BEF and kept in touch with Gary when he was working on 21 Army Group. I never had the patience to type tables and spreadsheets.

    However I suspect that the units I am interested in were not army, and probably not RAF so must be RN.

    I suspect that the 30cwt listed as being 6 foot wide is an error somewhere along the line. Most were about 7 foot and 8 foot could only be correct if it were an overwide load.

    It has been pointed out that the 3ton Lorry 22 foot 8 inches long matches a 6 X 4 Machinery Lorry.

    Another oddment.
    From VHF Advanced Maintenance Section
    1 Jeep
    1 8cwt Morris PU (On a Normandy Beach in 1944?)
    7 men.
     
  19. elyncho

    elyncho Member

    I'l be watching this thread with interest as it may throw some light on a grave in Ranville churchyard that's mystified me for years.
    Bdr H Hall of 53rd Airlanding Light Reg RA is buried there with a gravestone that gives his date of death as 5th June. I assume he was attached to special forces, possibly on Op Titanic?

    Good luck with the research

    Tim
     
  20. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    I have a silly thought.

    I have no idea as to how War Graves did things but when the first airborne troops landed just after midnight on the 6th they were using Double British Summer Time so it was still the 5th in France.

    This sort of thing causes confusion in the Pacific Campaign when crossing the International Date Line.

    How did they decide the date of deaths in other theatres?

    Mike
     

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