Exercise Tiger - Slapton sands.

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Racing Teapots, Feb 21, 2004.

  1. Racing Teapots

    Racing Teapots Junior Member

    When the American army was practicing its D-Day landings, on the Devon coast, a German E-boat managed to wreak havoc.

    I wonder if the forum members have any more information on this event, which had the codename of Operation Tiger.

    I first came upon the story some years ago, after staying in a holiday cottage near Slapton. I got well and truly caught out by the tide, when canoeing up a small tributary and ended up having to drag my canoe across the mud as the tide disappeared before my eyes.

    What I found in the mud made me realise that something had happened in this area; lots of rusting mess tins, and water bottles and ammunition under my feet. It made the hairs rise up on my neck but I have found out very little about this story.

    Thanks in advance

    Pete
     
  2. No.9

    No.9 Senior Member

    Doesn't appear to be that secret Pete, an incident involving 9 E-Boats out of Cherbourg. 198 Navy dead and missing and 551 Army dead and missing according to official reports.

    Lots of info and links at
    http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq20-1.htm

    Thanks for mentioning it, very interesting :)

    No.9
     
  3. BeppoSapone

    BeppoSapone Senior Member

    Originally posted by Racing Teapots@Feb 21 2004, 05:08 AM
    When the American army was practicing its D-Day landings, on the Devon coast, a German E-boat managed to wreak havoc.

    I wonder if the forum members have any more information on this event, which had the codename of Operation Tiger.

    I first came upon the story some years ago, after staying in a holiday cottage near Slapton. I got well and truly caught out by the tide, when canoeing up a small tributary and ended up having to drag my canoe across the mud as the tide disappeared before my eyes.

    What I found in the mud made me realise that something had happened in this area; lots of rusting mess tins, and water bottles and ammunition under my feet. It made the hairs rise up on my neck but I have found out very little about this story.

    Thanks in advance

    Pete
    There is a cheap paperback by someone called Ken Small, called, IIRC "The Forgotten Dead".

    Ken Small lived/still lives in the area and did a lot of "Battlefield Archeology" fairly recently.

    IIRC he was also invited to America and met the relatives of some of the dead Americans.

    Might just be me, but something about the whole book seemed "strange" though. :unsure:
     
  4. BeppoSapone

    BeppoSapone Senior Member

    Originally posted by BeppoSapone+Feb 21 2004, 06:15 AM-->(BeppoSapone @ Feb 21 2004, 06:15 AM)</div><div class='quotemain'> <!--QuoteBegin-Racing Teapots@Feb 21 2004, 05:08 AM
    When the American army was practicing its D-Day landings, on the Devon coast, a German E-boat managed to wreak havoc.

    I wonder if the forum members have any more information on this event, which had the codename of Operation Tiger.

    I first came upon the story some years ago, after staying in a holiday cottage near Slapton. I got well and truly caught out by the tide, when canoeing up a small tributary and ended up having to drag my canoe across the mud as the tide disappeared before my eyes.

    What I found in the mud made me realise that something had happened in this area; lots of rusting mess tins, and water bottles and ammunition under my feet. It made the hairs rise up on my neck but I have found out very little about this story.

    Thanks in advance

    Pete
    There is a cheap paperback by someone called Ken Small, called, IIRC "The Forgotten Dead".

    Ken Small lived/still lives in the area and did a lot of "Battlefield Archeology" fairly recently.

    IIRC he was also invited to America and met the relatives of some of the dead Americans.

    Might just be me, but something about the whole book seemed "strange" though. :unsure: [/b]Forgot to say in the above post, the author of "The Virgin Soldiers", Leslie Thomas, wrote a novel that includes something on the Slapton Sands incident. It's called "The Magic Army".

    Also, here is a link that tells something of the incident. Conspiracy theories and cover ups? - http://www.geocities.com/milbios/slaptonsands.html
     
  5. salientpoints

    salientpoints Senior Member

    I have the book the isbn is 0747504334, Ken also appeared in a TV docu programme on this some years ago about this and his efforts to raise a sherman from the sea. There is now a memorial in place to those lost during 'exercise tiger'

    [​IMG]

    Ryan
     
  6. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    Ken Small has done valuable work on the tragedy but his conclusions in 'Forgotten Dead' need to be read alongside the article in 'After The Battle' magazine on the subject.
     
  7. Racing Teapots

    Racing Teapots Junior Member

    I've met Ken, a few times now. As many of you know, he stands each day by his tank on Slapton and sells his book. Although I don't know him well, I'm sure he won't mind me saying that the Slapton story - and writing the book - helped Ken enormously, at a time when his outlook on life was not what it is today.....

    But what I've never been able to work out was why the Americans would bury the bodies of their soldiers in a farmer's field (if indeed this happened), and why others would back up Dorothy's story/location.

    I'm not one for conspiracy stories, but I also believe that there is no smoke without a fire....
     
  8. Steven Wright

    Steven Wright Junior Member

    Pete --

    I would bet that most Americans never heard of the Slapton Sands incident because most of their knowledge of what occured around D-Day came from films like Saving Private Ryan. If I recall it did turn up in a few popular histories, like Ambrose's book, which probably introduced the tragedy to many people over here.

    It is a hunch on my part (and I'd be interested to know what others think) that initially it might have been kept secret at least partially for security purposes and then was conveniently over-looked by all of the attention placed on the invasion.

    I am just beginning to pick-up back issues of After the Battle and don't have the one dealing with Slapton Sands. How is it and which Number?

    Many thanks!

    Steve
     
  9. Steven Wright

    Steven Wright Junior Member

    Pete (et al...)

    Thought you might find the enclosed link of interest. It is to the Naval Historical Center and is extracted from an article by the late-Charles MacDonald, former Deputy Chief Historian for the U.S. Army's Center for Military History: http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq20-2.htm. It's rather interesting....

    Steve
     
  10. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    The Slapton Sands incident is covered in detail in After the Battle 44, pages 1-31, with follow-up articles in issues 45, 50 and 66. I have a complete collection up to no 105.
     
  11. Steven Wright

    Steven Wright Junior Member

    Thanks, Mark!

    SJW
     
  12. Baldblutch

    Baldblutch Member

    I also know that there is quite a lot of information on operation 'Tiger' in 'D-Day -- Then & now' from After the Battle publishers
     
  13. Simon Furnell

    Simon Furnell Junior Member

    The events at Slapton sands,were covered up for nearly 40 odd years,so i have heard.
    It was a terrible disaster,and cost the lives of over 700 men.
    As a little postscript to the story,i read in a daily tabloid(i think it was the Sun,but i am not sure) in the last couple of weeks,that an American Veteran,that was there on the night it happened and was pulled from the sea,recently came back to lay some wreaths at the scene of the disaster.
    During the ceremony,he was taken ill with severe seasickness and had to be airlifted off the boat he was on,by an RAF Rescue Helicopter.
    He made a full recovery,from what i remember.
    All the best.
    Simon.
     
  14. Charles Fair

    Charles Fair Junior Member

    I have a feeling that there is a book on Op Tiger and the disaster by Edwin Hoyt
    Charles
     
  15. BeppoSapone

    BeppoSapone Senior Member

    Originally posted by Charles Fair@Apr 1 2004, 09:08 AM
    I have a feeling that there is a book on Op Tiger and the disaster by Edwin Hoyt
    Charles
    There is: The Invasion Before Normandy: The Secret Battle of Slapton Sands by Edwin Palmer Hoyt.
     
  16. Thomas McCall

    Thomas McCall Senior Member

    Recently BBC news interviwed an American veteran from Operation Tiger for BBC news, did anyone catch it?

    During the report which was to remember the 60th Anniversary of the disaster they gave the reason for covering the disaster up until the early 1980's which was, of the men that were missing when the ships were atacked some had information on the landings in Normandy and therefore anybody mentioning the incident to any one would immediately be under arrest and suffer courtmartial.
     
  17. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    It was not totally covered up until the 1980s. In A Soldier's Story (1951), Omar N Bradley recounted the tale, admittedly not in great detail, but he gave the where, the when, the cause and the casualties.

    pp246-248 in the Modern Library paperback edition, New York, 1999.
     
  18. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    I see that Channel 4 are reshowing the programme about Operation Tiger in their Secret History series at 8.00 pm tomorrow (31 May), followed at 9.00pm by a Time Team Special dig of German fortifications in Normandy.
     
  19. Originally posted by Racing Teapots@Feb 21 2004, 10:08 AM
    When the American army was practicing its D-Day landings, on the Devon coast, a German E-boat managed to wreak havoc.

    I wonder if the forum members have any more information on this event, which had the codename of Operation Tiger.

    I first came upon the story some years ago, after staying in a holiday cottage near Slapton. I got well and truly caught out by the tide, when canoeing up a small tributary and ended up having to drag my canoe across the mud as the tide disappeared before my eyes.

    What I found in the mud made me realise that something had happened in this area; lots of rusting mess tins, and water bottles and ammunition under my feet. It made the hairs rise up on my neck but I have found out very little about this story.

    Thanks in advance

    Pete
    Hello Pete,
    There is a Comprehensive telling of this Incident in the H/B Book "Channel Firing~The Tragedy Of Exercise Tiger" by Nigel Lewis;Viking Books~1989-ISBN:0-670-82398-8;Illustrated B/W Photos
    Regards Roger[aliasHBMCDCM]
     
  20. Dpalme01

    Dpalme01 Member

    I think it was two E-boats that struck that night. They were so happy that they high taled it out of there and didn't pick anyone up. One of the missing men was an engineer and knew quite a bit about D-day because he was testing the sand on the five beaches.

    Aren't E-boats rather junky boats- as in big bulky inneficient and slow?
     

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