D day mystery units.

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

  1. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Ramacal.
    What little I have been able to check so far all fits.

    5 Wireless Group was indeed the special wireless deception unit. It seems to have set up wireless sets with wire recording machines to transmit typical wireless traffic.

    1315 Wing RAF Regiment was an intelligence unit collecting useful equipment and documents.

    At least one of the Special Field Companies landed on Sword.

    I will go through the landing tables but since there are some 1000 pages and it hurts your eyes and brain it will take some time.

    Sapper.
    Most of the units I originally posted turned out to be Royal Navy. I am working on a list of RE units, their roles and equipment etc. There are bound to be questions. I have one now. The landing tables show four assault teams from your unit. 3 Division orders state there were two to each assault battalion. You suggest there were three in total. Any suggestions?

    Mike
     
  2. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hi Mike ...here is the answer straight from the horses mouth, an after battle resume written on a clapped out army typewriter.

    Three highly trained teams to tackle the Beaches. another one to get to, and report on the canal lock gates at Ouistreham.

    A fifth element of 246 RE Lt Arthur Heal Cde G, with the Suffolk's. He of Hillman fame.

    The three teams known as "Gapping teams "and "Demolition teams" For obvious reasons,
    This is how they were deployed:

    Three platoon Lt HE Edwards RE.
    **************************
    Pl Sgt ...Sgt davies J G
    On the right under command 1st South Lancs. With 4 demolition teams. Each carrying two 30 Beehive charges and two mine clearing teams.

    Two Platoon Lt RAC Trench RE
    ***********************
    Pl Sgt... Sgt Rees RH
    On the left similarly deployed under 2 East Yorks.

    One platoon Lt RA Field RE
    *******************
    Pl Sgt .... Sgt J W Thomas
    deployed two sections on the right and two on the left, with the task of opening up maintenance routs behind each battln. ,And the main lateral from Hermanville to the canal bridging site at Benouville.

    RO1 Lt GW Pope RE was given the task of getting to the canal gates at Ouistreham. With L Sgt Thompson to give a detailedd report on the gates.

    RO2 Lt RJH Cadwallader RE was given the taskm of laying out the Company harbour area.

    Lt A Heal under command 1st suffolks with sections of 2 and 3 platoons.

    There is a hell of lot more. difficult for a one fingered old typing Gent.
    sapper
     
  3. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    Mike, as I'm syre you know, NP 1574 comprised of just 8 men and a handcart - they were Navy Divers tasked with inspecting, below the waterline, the lock gates at Oisterham and then working up the Caen canal.
    It would probably be quite easy for such a small unit to be missed in the landing tables.
    Noel
     
  4. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Thanks Noel,

    I am sure it was you that gave me a reference to Naval Party 1574. Although it contains a lot of detail it is vague on time. If we can find that other bits will fall into place. Naval Party 1502 should land at the same time.

    I suppose that both of these were added after the tables I have were made up. That would also explain Sappers information. One of the teams was given a new role after the 3 Division orders I have were issued. There will be amendments somewhere.

    Funny the Naval party accounts do not mention meeting Sapper.

    Anyway thanks a lot Sapper there is a lot of information there and I will go and think about it.

    Mike
     
  5. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Having digested the information overnight it seems that 175 'R' and 178 'R' Detachments are the decoy lighting detachments from 556 Field (Camouflage) Company RE. This was part of 'R' Force which was the decoy force set up in SE England to convince the Germans that Normandy was a feint and that the real assault would be on the Pas de Calais.

    'R' Force War Diaries say that five small decoy lighting detachments from 556 Company would land and come under the command of Beach Group Camouflage Officers.

    1 Corps orders state that protection decoys were to be laid out by camouflage detachments. These were to operate at night to attract bombing. Sites included
    a dummy beach layout between Rivers Orne and Dives.
    a dummy beach exit between Sword and Juno
    dummy bridges to divert night bombing from the bridges at Renville and Benouville.

    The landing table says that 178 Detachment would accompany 1 SS Brigade. This must be the detachment for the bridges and dummy beach.

    The sites for the dummy beach and dummy exit were not in Allied hands by nightfall on D Day so these could not have been set up.

    If we have 175 and 178 detachments probably there were also 176, 177 and another landing on other beaches.

    Please point out any flaws in the reasoning so far.

    Mike
     
  6. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    The Lock Gates at Ouistreham.

    Several snippets come together here. Reports from the Resistance suggested that the Lock Gates at Ouistreham had been mined. The canal from Ouistreham to Caen was seen as being vital to the supply of the British Army in Normandy so steps were taken to keep the Locks in operation.

    i) A party from 246 Field Company RE was to carry out an inspection and make a report on the condition of the gates.

    ii) 'P' Party 4/Naval Party 1574 with 8 divers and a handcart (plus other personnel?) would land and remove any explosive devices.

    iii) Naval Party 1502C/Small Ports Party would land and take vehicles and heavy equipment to clear the port.

    iv) In case the lock gates could not be saved replacements were made and would be towed across by tug.

    All the parties seem to have arrived, saved the gates and cleared the port. However Caen was not taken for many weeks so the canal could not be used for some time.

    Did Sapper see
    A party of frogmen.
    A convoy of naval vehicles.
    RE decoy lighting sections.

    Mike
     
  7. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Having digested the information overnight it seems that 175 'R' and 178 'R' Detachments are the decoy lighting detachments from 556 Field (Camouflage) Company RE. This was part of 'R' Force which was the decoy force set up in SE England to convince the Germans that Normandy was a feint and that the real assault would be on the Pas de Calais.

    'R' Force War Diaries say that five small decoy lighting detachments from 556 Company would land and come under the command of Beach Group Camouflage Officers.

    1 Corps orders state that protection decoys were to be laid out by camouflage detachments. These were to operate at night to attract bombing. Sites included
    a dummy beach layout between Rivers Orne and Dives.
    a dummy beach exit between Sword and Juno
    dummy bridges to divert night bombing from the bridges at Renville and Benouville.

    The landing table says that 178 Detachment would accompany 1 SS Brigade. This must be the detachment for the bridges and dummy beach.

    The sites for the dummy beach and dummy exit were not in Allied hands by nightfall on D Day so these could not have been set up.

    If we have 175 and 178 detachments probably there were also 176, 177 and another landing on other beaches.

    Please point out any flaws in the reasoning so far.

    Mike

    There was a 179 Detachment in the later pages of the war diary. Other than that and from what I read in the other pages of the R Force war diary, the reasoning sounds fine. The war diary of 556 Field (Cam) Coy needs to be checked to confirm that they had these sections.
     
  8. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    179 Detachment fits the predicted pattern certainly.

    I am still looking to see if there are other 'R' detachments mentioned on the other beaches.

    There is a Pioneer 'R' Company of 285 men landing by Ferry Service on Juno. No Company number is given.

    Mike
     
  9. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hi
    246 RE were not at Pegasus all the time. We went down to help out and spent a few days there. And later went there again. 17th was if I recall the RE there.

    Now here is something for you. During the time there the enemy made sustained aircraft attacks on the site they wanted it back, or destroyed. In the ensuing times it was under attack. (seventeen planes shot down...By small arms?)

    Now here were it gets interesting.... So desperate to destroy the link between the seaborne armies and 6the Airborne, that they sent Frog men down the canal to try mine the bridge. Apparently they mistook the distance and blew up facility in their own held territory. Its a long time ago and I never got to hear the full story.......

    Sapper.
    PS the enemy tried something similar at Nijmegen I went over the bridge shortly after it was captured (Not by choice!) Then they were floating sea mines down the river inthe hope that one would collide with the structure and blow it.

    To that end there were infantry men up in the steelworks with the task of spotting approaching mines and exploding them with small arms fire.
     
  10. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Yes that is interesting Sapper. I will look out for more information on that. I know the Germans tried the same tactics at the Rhine Crossings, including the frogmen and mines. We used Royal Navy booms and nets, searchlights and LAA to counter them there.

    Our frogmen meeting their frogmen in the canal would be a good scenario for a film.

    Mike
     
  11. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    During the Rhine crossing Third British Div was put in control of everything in preparation. Preparing the banks the lot.
     
  12. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    Just noticed the reference in this thread to 1315 Mobile Wing HQ, RAF Regiment.

    Found this information which might be of interest:

    The success which Regiment squadrons had achieved in escorting Air Technical Intelligence (ATI) teams in the Mediterranean theatre resulted in their employment in similar roles in Europe. With armoured car and rifle flights to escort them, ATI teams went ahead of the Army to secure German radars at Mount Pincon and Houlgate and to examine the major rocket site in the quarries at Hautmesnils.

    On 25th August 2798 Rifle Squadron, which had been protecting RAF radar sites in one of the American corps areas, was ordered to secure Longchamps racecourse in Paris as a possible landing site. With guides from the French Maquis the squadron took a devious route into the city to reach its objective – thus becoming one of the first Allied units to enter the French capital. On 31st August 1944 another RAF ATI team, designated “R” Force, entered Rouen escorted by 1315 Wing HQ, 2717 Rifle Squadron and 2757 Armoured Car Squadron.


    From Through Adversity, Kingsley Oliver, pgs. 134-135

    I'd be interested to see any war diary entries relating to 31st August.

    The CO of 2757 armoured car squadron was a Squadron Leader Beavis Benson-Brown. He later (August 1945) became CO of 2742 armoured car squadron (in which my grandfather served). 2757 squadron became No. 3 squadron, RAF Regiment post-war. A brief history of 3 squadron can be found here.
     
  13. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    'BAND BEACH'.

    My brain works slowly but gets there eventually. While looking at maps connected with the decoy lighting detachments mentioned earlier I failed to see the significance of what I was looking at. Somewhere recently there was a thread about Band Beach which I can't now find.

    Maps included as appendices to the Cabinet Office Paper on I Corps on D Day clearly show:
    Juno Area
    Sword Area
    Band Area.

    Band Area is divided into Able, Baker, Charlie and Dog and stretches from the River Orne to the River Dives. This is 6 Airborne's area. It is also the area where a dummy beach layout was to be installed by a detachment of 556 Field (Camouflage) Company.

    3 Division orders sat that they were landing only one of their Beach Groups on the 1st tide. This would control the beach area. The second Beach Group would land on the 2nd tide and move inland to set up the Beach Maintenance Area. It also says that the second Beach Group would be available to open up another beach if Sword was unusable.
    This could only be Band.

    So probably Band was always a reserve beach. It could be used if necessary as an alternative to Sword. It could be used for the supply of forces east of the Orne (airborne and commandos). Plus it could be used for a decoy beach.

    Mike.
     
  14. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    You may be interested that Sword beach was closed for landing supplies for all intents and purposes Due to the sheiling from Le Havre.
     
  15. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Thanks Sapper.

    So Band would not have been much use as an alternative. It was even nearer Le Havre. But I suppose it seemed a good idea at the time and the army did not make anything like the progress planned for.

    Mike
     
  16. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Mike

    Have you got a copy of the 3 British Division diary of events for 6 to 30 June 1944. You probably do by the level of information you're posting, but if not, I can let you have a copy.

    Cheers - Rob
     
    Trux likes this.
  17. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Rob.

    No. I am using a facsimile of CAB Papers 'D Day: I Corps'. This has abstracted the important bits from the various orders, reports and diaries. I cannot return your kind offer since the binding will not allow of scanning and the quality of the reproduction, and my technical skill, will not allow digital photographs. However I can transcribe any sections that might be of interest. One day I will be able to publish everything in some form.

    Also copies of the orders for 3 Division and 50 Division.

    My immediate interest is to find everything landing on the beaches on D Day itself. Also anything off shore or flying over. This is a huge task in itself and I have spent a year on it already. So far I have concentrated on 'The Plan'. The reality is much more complicated.

    I have thousands of pages of War Establishment Tables and Landing Tables but no actual War Diaries. Thank you very much for your offer but I am not yet ready to use the material to advantage.

    Mike
     
  18. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

  19. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Mike

    Are you getting any info from these Landing tables. I am showing an example of one page.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Thank you very much again Ramacal. I shall certainly have a look.

    Yes I have all of the Landing Tables for Gold, Juno and Sword. Some only for D Day but some for the 3rd and 4th tides including the Motor Transport Ships. So far I have only got to H+360 minutes on Sword, and only up to H+120 minutes in great detail. There are 1000 pages altogether.

    I am very slowly transcribing, correlating, updating and adding detail. At the same time trying to find out about the more obscure units, as you can see on this thread.

    Mike.
     

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