D day mystery units.

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

  1. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    M29 Weasels on Gold Beach.

    Danny Lovell has found the following in a Combined Operations Bulletin issued in autumn 1944. Each Beach Group Field Company RE (one per Beach Group) landed the following at about H+90 minutes:
    One M14 Halftrack
    One White Scout Car
    Three winch trucks
    Three Jeeps (Weasel)
    Three compressor trucks.

    This seems to suggest that Weasels were issued in lieu of Jeeps. As far as landing tables are concerned the Weasel would take about the same space as a Jeep, being about a foot longer.

    Were Weasels issued to other Beach Groups or were there special problems on Gold? If Weasels are listed as Jeeps how can they be identified?

    Anyway we seem to have seven Weasels at least. One as Commander 185 Brigades Rover and six with the Beach Group Engineer Companies on Gold. There may also be the four special cable layers on Gold. Any advance?

    Mike
     
  2. M29 Weasels on Gold Beach.

    Danny Lovell has found the following in a Combined Operations Bulletin issued in autumn 1944. Each Beach Group Field Company RE (one per Beach Group) landed the following at about H+90 minutes:
    One M14 Halftrack
    One White Scout Car
    Three winch trucks
    Three Jeeps (Weasel)
    Three compressor trucks.

    This seems to suggest that Weasels were issued in lieu of Jeeps. As far as landing tables are concerned the Weasel would take about the same space as a Jeep, being about a foot longer.

    Were Weasels issued to other Beach Groups or were there special problems on Gold? If Weasels are listed as Jeeps how can they be identified?

    Anyway we seem to have seven Weasels at least. One as Commander 185 Brigades Rover and six with the Beach Group Engineer Companies on Gold. There may also be the four special cable layers on Gold. Any advance?

    Mike

    No Weasel is mentioned anywhere in the Landing Tables First Tide for Sword dated 19 March 1944, nor in those for Gold. However, according the those same Landing Tables about eighteen amphibious jeeps were alotted to various Beach Group elements on SWORD and only five on GOLD (two each for 2 HERTS and 21 AG Mov Control Pool, plus one for 6 BORDER).

    My guess would be that a handful of Weasels became available shortly before D-Day and were alloted to some Beach Group elements not yet blessed with amphibious jeeps, plus to a few other privileged individuals like 185 Inf Bde cmdr.

    Does anyone know when Weasels were first issued to British units?
     
  3. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Michel,

    More good thinking from you. I have not yet analysed the tables for Gold but I think there must be some missing from my set. I have the tables for the four assault brigades and their follow up LSTs for both April and May. I also have the tables for 2 Armoured Brigade. There should also be tables for the Beach Groups. These sailed from Felixstowe and were due on the second tide.

    I have looked at maps of the beach areas and see that much of the area inland of Gold was flooded. Ideal for Weasels.

    Mike
     
  4. illgato

    illgato Junior Member

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


    Hi All try this link to MApleleaf thread on MLRU:

    Royal Navy vehicles - MLU FORUM
     
  5. 26delta

    26delta Senior Member

    Regarding the 6' width and others - those would have been standard flatbed trucks with containers on board. The dimensions of the footprint are given to aid loading plans for the LST vessels and cargo areas. When my unit arrived in Vietnam, we had three non-standard containers in our manifest. The whole lot was transferred to a Y-boat at Cam Rahn Bay for trans-shipment to Dong Nai. Foreknowledge of the container dimensions made unloading from the troop ship and reloading onto the Y-boat a lot easier.

    I suspect the Austin may have been a gift for the local resistance; or some general staff officer's pride and joy.
     
  6. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    26 Delta,

    What you say makes a lot of sense. The only other vehicles for which dimensions are given in the Landing Tables are bridging vehicles with extra long loads.

    At any later date I would say that they were certainly containers on standard vehicles. So far there is no evidence that these containers were available in June 1944, and the tables being used were dated even earlier, March. One good photo of a container in use in Normandy would clinch it. One day perhaps.

    I have found quite a lot of information on the RN units and their roles but not the equipment.

    Mike
     
  7. 26delta

    26delta Senior Member

    The dimensions on the containers for the 'Radar' section are similar to six sent from New Zealand to a secret location in the Pacific. We now know that they contained components for coastal artillery radar (anti-aircraft & surface vessel).
     
  8. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    26 Delta,

    That's fantastic. So often just such a snippet of information makes all make sense. We know that the RN radar was a coast artillery set (a derivative of Type 277) to be used for air and sea surveillance. These radars and a variety of other equipment in containers were certainly used in the Pacific.

    There are good photos of the containers on www.rncommunicationsandradar.org

    Mike
     
  9. sior

    sior Junior Member

    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

    Good afternoon Gentlemen,

    My Grandfather Percy Beard was part of 556 SpecialField Company "R" Force. I know from listening to his stories before he died, (he passed away 24th Sept, 2009), that he was involved in the deployment of decoy tanks, planes etc on the South Coast of England before D-Day. My Grandfather landed on Juno Beach with his Royal Engineers alongside the Canadians.

    I have his own written account from when he was a guest speaker at an event discussing R Force. I would like to gather more information if possible as I would like to write an account of his experiences based around the stories he has told me and the written evidence he has also left behind, coupled with any further information i can uncover via research.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. A lot of the information I have has many gaps in it.

    Sior
     
  10. I found 3 more strange sets of initials in the Landing Table First Tide (3 Br Inf Div), each mentioned only once:


    1. 166 AA OR - 37463/384 LST(2) - 6 marching parties

    It would be "166 Anti Aircraft...", but then what is OR supposed to mean?


    2. S & T rep incr (5 Beach Gp) - 36108/345 LCT(4) - 4 vehicle parties in 1 x amphibuous Jeep

    The Unit Serial (36108) is the same as for:

    CRASC 21 L of C - 36108/348 LCT(4) - 3 vehicle parties in 1 x amphibuous Jeep
    CRASC 21 L of C - 36108/381 LST(2) - 3 marching parties


    3. Sec 601 CMP (VP) - [no serial]/384 LST(2) - 13 marching parties and 2 vehicle parties in 1 x 15 cwt GS Bedford


    Any ideas?
     
  11. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    2) Supplies & Transport Representative (perhaps not Repair) Increment? S&T is a common RASC abbreviation and tallies with the CRASC.

    3) Corps of Military police (Vulnerable Points)? See here.
     
  12. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Glad to see your still busy Michel.

    166 AA OR. Anti Aircraft Operations Room.
    Idler is correct about the others. Supply and Transport (ie RASC staff) representative's increment attached to Beach Group.

    Mike
     
  13. Hey, that was fast!

    Thanks a lot to you two, now I think I've got everything sorted out for the Sword First Tide.
     
  14. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    For tNo 2 I was thinking "Reporting Invrement" rather than "Representative Increment" - have no solid evidence for this it just "feels" right.
    Glad to see that this thread still has some life,
    Noel
     
  15. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    I think the answer is in the punctuation. I have the following at Beach Sub Area HQ
    CREs representative's increment
    CRASCs representative's increment
    OC Port Groups representative's increment.

    These representatives were attached to BSA HQ and their increments will be additional clerks added to BSA HQ to cater for them.

    There is another mystery on a recent thread about 1050 Port Maintenance Company. I am sure there will be no shortage of mysteries still to be solved.

    Mike
     
  16. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    A Weasel at or near Vernon on the Seine 26 August 1944.

    This photo is from a cine sequence from the IWM. It is all concerned with the Vernon river crossing. The poor quality picture below is of a Weasel travelling in a convoy of Austin K5s.

    Can anyone make any sense of the markings?
    Can anyone suggest how I can get a better photo? In my inept way I could only think of playing the disc through the TV, pausing the frame and photographing it with a digital camera.

    P1000970.JPG
     
  17. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Trux,

    Do you have a CD player (optical drive) in your computer? Some media players allow you to capture individual frames which you can step through to make the best choice. I use MPHC (Media Player Home Cinema) which is a fairly simple, free and light weight player to do just that. There are many others that do the same.

    As well you can pull the video (MP4?) from the CD and play it directly from your computer afterwards. It could be a bit confusing if you not familiar with video formats and how to set the default player. One way around that is to open the player and drop the video into it.

    Cheers ...
     
  18. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Trux,

    Did you really say a Weasel travelling in a convoy of Austin K5's in Aug 44? Ohhh, now that made me sit up - any clue at all as to a unit? Apologies if the answer is obvious, I have only read this page of the thread.

    Cheers

    Tom
     
  19. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Tom,

    It is becoming clear that Weasels were much more widely used than was previously thought, and that they were in service much earlier. There are references to some Weasels in this thread starting at post 97.

    More references have been found but they do not appear in Landing Tables, War Establishment tables etc. They are classed as Jeeps in some cases.

    They do seem to be used as signal vehicles, both line layer and wireless, including senior officers Rovers. They were used by Field Companies RE on D day and by medical units.

    I am hoping to identify the unit using the Weasel in my recent post. There are not many options. At present the formation sign and the arm of service sign cannot be read clearly.

    Mike
     
  20. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Cee,

    Thank you for your suggestion. I will play with such programmes as I have on my PC. I have a CD player of course and a range of options appear when I load discs. I have little idea what any of the options mean.

    Mike
     

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