Fontenay-le-Pesnel

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Ramiles, Apr 6, 2016.

  1. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    This 6 min 31 seconds one - also mentioning Fontenay-Le-Pesnel - Film number A70 49-9 - is from a bit earlier in June 1944. It is dated 17th June 1944: 49TH (WEST RIDING) DIVISION IN ACTION ON 30TH CORPS' FRONT PRIOR TO OPERATION EPSOM (PART 2) [Allocated Title]

    Title: 49TH (WEST RIDING) DIVISION IN ACTION ON 30TH CORPS' FRONT PRIOR TO OPERATION EPSOM (PART 2)

    Description:

    I. French civilians gather outside the Sous-Préfecture in Bayeux to listen to a BBC news broadcast relayed to them over a loudspeaker.

    II.
    (At around 3 mins 20 seconds in) A Sherman tank squadron from the 8th Armoured Brigade rumbles along a dusty road leading to 49th Division's front between Tilly-sur-Seulles and Fontenay-le-Pesnel past a shot-down Royal Canadian Air Force Spitfire IX from No 412 'Falcon' Squadron.

    III. The camera surveys the desolation in Cristot, its shattered stone cottages and farm buildings, with gutted and smouldering interiors, and dead livestock, of which a chicken and a cow appear to be the only survivors. Also present are the wrecks of a German lorry and an SdKfz 250 halftrack armoured personnel carrier from the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend. A 1/4th King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry patrol on the lookout for snipers passes a farmhouse set ablaze by German artillery. At the village calvary, a chicken shows little interest in food offered by a KOYLI Sten gunner.

    IV. Near Ducy-Ste-Marguerite, two 25-pounder gun detachments from 'D' troop in 185th Field Regiment Royal Artillery's 386 Battery fire smoke shells to cover an attack being made by 49th Division.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018 at 12:07 PM
  2. Last edited: Dec 6, 2018 at 9:05 AM
  3. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  5. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Hi,
    A bit more about the aircraft and pilot.

    Regards

    Danny

    spit  instructions.jpg
     
  6. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    I had seen that one colourised, and it's a ref. too in one of the links here: Recherche de France-Crashes 39-45

    [​IMG]

    From the links to a Fb account ref. (post #84 above) ie. : WW2 Colourised Photos

    Quote: "On the 11th of June 1944, F/O H.G. Garwood of 412 Squadron was flying VZ-S (MJ 255) MK IXc Spitfire when it suffered an engine failure* near Tilly-sur-Seulles, France, during the allied invasion.
    He was forced to execute a wheels-up landing which tore the port wing off as it looped in the grass.
    Fortunately Garwood was able to make it back to his base unharmed.

    We think these tanks maybe from the 24th Lancers with the 8th Armoured Brigade, the regiment landed on Gold Beach, in the second wave of the Operation Overlord landings, supporting the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division. Shortly after landing, it was involved in the fighting around Putot-en-Bessin and Villers Bocage, also seeing intensive action in the Tilly-sur-Seulles, Fontenay-le-Pesnel, Tessel Wood and Rauray areas.

    Photo taken on the 17th of June as these Shermans were advancing.

    *Note: Most reports say he suffered engine failure though a few articles say this spit was shot down by enemy AA, if anyone knows for certain please let me know.

    (Colourised and Researched by Paul Reynolds.)
    https://www.facebook.com/PhotoColourisation
    Historic Military Photo Colourisations)
    "

    Through maybe a combination of the date and a connection with Cristot at that time it may have been speculated that the Shermans seen there are perhaps 24th L.

    The 24th L's Wardiary has:

    16/6/44 While ‘A’ Sqn continued to hold the perimeter at Pt 103, ‘C’ Sqn were detached to support the KOYLI in an attack on Cristot. An account of this operation will be found at Appx D

    17/6/44 During the afternoon, ‘B’ Sqn supported an attack by the DWR on Parc de Bois Londe, a wood on our front which harboured infantry and tanks and was causing us considerable trouble. An account of this attack is given at Appx E. ‘A’ Sqn after some eventful forward patrolling from Pt 103, returned to Hervieu in the evening.

    From a screen capture from the Film number A70 49-9 :

    17d6m1944_Sherman_Spitfire.JPG

    I think I can see what looks like a "light square" on the turret of a Sherman at about the 3min 37 seconds mark. I guess this could be "B" squadron of the 24th L on its way, perhaps to Parc de Bois Londe.

    17d6m1944_Sherman.JPG

    e.g. example markings at : Hobby

    [​IMG]

     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018 at 4:51 PM
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  7. Korps Steiner

    Korps Steiner Senior Member

    I've recently spoken to the Secretary of the Polar Bear Association and they have no official plans for any ceremony at Fontenay Le Pesnel as the amount of veterans left is so small . However some veterans and their families may be attending on their own probably on the 7th June but no exact info about this .
     
  8. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    If correct - and there is no reason to doubt this - it would be a sad day indeed. The 49D memorial near Fontenay le Pesnel must be one of the most impressive in Normandy and a proper fitting tribute to the Polar Bears Division and the personnel who fought with and supported it.
     
  9. Korps Steiner

    Korps Steiner Senior Member

    Very true the Polar Bear memorial is one of the finest in Normandy and stands where so many of them fell .
     
  10. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    In ref. to "Any idea where, precisely, this photo was taken? Would love to do a 'then and now'." post # 83 above

    I assume perhaps it is somewhere in the general area of Cristot / Parc de Boislonde, albeit the IWM cation for B 5660: THE BRITISH ARMY IN THE NORMANDY CAMPAIGN 1944

    ...does say: "Sherman tanks move up past a crash-landed Spitfire, for an attack on Tilly-sur-Seulles, 17 June 1944."

    Which would have been rather in the opposite direction...

    Perhaps looking at the pictures taken also around then might also help to give some clues i.e. this one: THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORMANDY 1944

    B 5653 "A wrecked German SdKfz 250 half-track in the village of Christot (sic), 17 June 1944."

    A picture also by: Creator: Midgley, A. N. (Sergeant) , No. 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit

    I did look along the tree line of B5660 to see if there were any buildings, but the distinguishing features, I assume, are the road bending off to the left and the telegraph/power lines -

    I have some maps, I think i.e. Around Cristot


    Fields:
    And there was some recon over the Cristot area, and the likely area seems to be around there perhaps, though I don't think spotting the "downed spitfire" is a possibility ;-) :


    The IWM picture: THE BRITISH ARMY IN THE NORMANDY CAMPAIGN 1944

    B 5664 - also by Midgley, A. N. (Sergeant) , No. 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit

    Also though has the caption: "25-pdr field guns in action during an attack on Tilly-sur-Seulles, 17 June 1944." and with the date of the 17th June etc. Could suggest a journey from the Cristot area thence towards Tilly-sur-Seulles, I guess depending on how chronologically the numbers of the negatives / prints B5653 to B5660 to B5664 is "read".

    (Nb. I don't find it the easiest thing in the world to search IWM via the number of prints. :-( )

    But this one B5642: THE BRITISH ARMY IN THE NORMANDY CAMPAIGN 1944

    "6-pdr anti-tank gun of 50th Division covers a lane in the Lingevres area, 16 June 1944." Is from the same Sgt. Midgley, - but the day before etc.

    And this one: B5784: THE BRITISH ARMY IN THE NORMANDY CAMPAIGN 1944

    "Knocked-out German Panther tanks on the outskirts of Lingevres, 20 June 1944."

    A few days later etc.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018 at 11:46 PM
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  11. I've looked at various aerial photos of the area, and could not locate this road bend either.

    Does anyone have Appx "E" (account on the attack on Parc de Boislonde) mentioned in the War Diary quoted by Ramiles in his post #86 above, which could give us some clue as to the route followed by 'B' Sqn 24 L both on its way to Parc de Boislonde and back?

    Where was 'B' Sqn based on the nights of 16-17 and 17-18 June?

    Michel
     
  12. Yes, the search function of the current IWM website is lousy, unlike the previous one which was excellent. You have to use a number of filters (e.g. 'photographs' and 'Second World War') before you get a manageable number of results.

    I found that the quickest way to get to a given IWM negative number is to simply google it with, for example, IWM B5660 as search terms. It immediately gives you the direct link to the searched photo number.

    Michel
     
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  13. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Michel,

    There is this thread: The Battles for the Parc de Bois Londe (17th-18th June 1944)

    And APPX ‘E’ in the 24th L war diary has this:

    Being an attack made by ‘B’ Sqn in support DWR on the Parc de Bois Londe objective

    At 1400 hours the SL was crossed and little opposition was encountered until reaching the actual objective where stiff pockets of enemy resistance were met. It is estimated that at this preliminary stage the tanks shot up well over 50 enemy infantry. The left hand Tps. Worked round to the forward edge of the objective where they took up fire positions and fired HE at the enemy retreating over the skyline. On the right, resistance was stiffer and our own infantry had a heavy task in clearing the enemy out. When this had been however achieved, the right hand Tps. Got into position by the Chateau facing East. At 1600 hours approx, 2 of the tanks of this Tp were shot up by 88mm guns. The crews managed to bale out with the exception of one man killed and one man who was unable to open the co-drivers flap.


    Corporal Carmoodie, the commander of a nearby tank, seeing his difficulty went forward into the now burning tank, traversed the turret and managed to release the co-driver.

    This position was then taken over by the reserve troop. At about 1800 hours, 5 Tigers were reported on the right flank, one of these being shot up by the right hand Tp leader. 3 more were shot up by our own SP 17 pounders. At 1845 hours, 7 Tigers were reported on the left flank and the situation began to assume more critical proportions as our own A/Tk guns were experiencing difficulty in getting into position. By manoeuvring Tps however, the enemy were prevented from entering the position. These positions were maintained until last telescopic light when the Sqn was relieved by ‘C’ Sqn. The position was under heavy mortar fire during the entire afternoon.

    Edit - Nb. There is also some additional detail in "None Had Lances" (e.g. p99) and some other sources I am aware of. In NHL p98 there is a ref. that "B" squadron 24th L were relieved of duty on Point 103 on 16th June 1944 - by "A" Squadron 24th L - and went to Chouain for a brief rest, prior to moving - the next day - on Parc de Bois Londe. After the events at Boislonde, and being relieved there by "C" Squadron of the 24th L - "B" Squadron 24th L went . "back to the rest camp at Hervieu" from Boislonde at 2am on 18th June 1944.

    For the relationship between "Chouain-Hervieu-Point 103, Tilly and Cristot" - and Parc de Bois Londe is about half-way between Cristot and Fontenay-le-Pesnel

     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018 at 2:04 PM
  14. I believe that I may have found the location. It is the only one that matches both photos and film, and incidentally also the War Diary, thereby confirming that these tanks are from B Sqn 24 L:

    First, let's look at a couple more stills from IWM Film A70 49-9 to see if we can get more clues.

    Starting at 03:18, Sgt Parkinson first filmed the tanks coming towards him, with a few trees and a house/building by the road:
    A70 49-9 - 01.jpg

    Then, around 03:40, when the dust from the previous tank has settled, a small house appears by the road bend, in front of the tank on the right (which has the callsign number '5' and the 'B' Sqn square on the rear of its turret):
    A70 49-9 - 02.jpg

    Moments later, we can see that a field on the right has been cropped short, in contrast with the adjoining ones:
    A70 49-9 - 360 - 03.jpg

    Finally, a shot to the left, much like the left part of B5660, with the three isolated trees in the centre, and various treelines:
    A70 49-9 - 04.jpg

    Every single element listed above, as well as the existence, location and orientation of the various treelines, correspond to a bend in the road from Hervieu to Andrieu, as found on an aerial view dated 12 June 1944. The Spitfire is not very sharp (to say the least!), but may be guessed from its location by the road bend (actually a crossroads):
    Aerial view 12 Jun 44.jpg

    Identification:
    Aerial View 12 Jun 44 - Notes.jpg

    On the map (MR856718 approx.):
    MAP - Notes.jpg
    Michel
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018 at 8:38 AM
  15. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    I've ref'd this: 24th Lancers - "B" Squadron

    Re. "the tank on the right (which has the callsign number '5' and the 'B' Sqn square on the rear of its turret"

    Is the "5" in ref. to the 5th Troop of "B" Squadron. Each troop of the 24th L having 3 or 4 tanks etc. I assume that was what the 5 might mean?
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018 at 5:38 PM
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  16. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    Its out now. English version rights are with Pen & Sword and a couple of months away.
     
  17. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Re. post #97 above - so I heard ;-)

    I expect that there might be a ref. here (either now, soon or eventually): Pen and Sword Books: Coming Soon

    But there are a lot of interesting ones to look through and it is easy to get distracted by all the interesting titles etc. ;-)

    This one (below - published 16th April 1944): Normandy 1944: The Battle for Caen

    ...caught my eye on their website recently - due (mainly) to the picture on the cover ;-)

    [​IMG]
     

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