Nr. Bayeux or Tilly Sur Seulles - could anyone help further identify where these Sherman tanks are?

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Ramiles, Mar 19, 2018.

  1. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Edit : Looks to have been 4/7 RDG Shermans here:
    Nr. Bayeux or Tilly Sur Seulles - could anyone help further identify where these Sherman tanks are?

    Original Question:

    Hello all, (With many thanks to Tom O'Brien for pointing this great film out to me ;-)

    Title:30TH CORPS IN ACTION SOUTH OF BAYEUX (PART 3) [Allocated Title]
    Production Date:1944-06-13

    In the IWM film below from 1.11 minutes to the end, there's a stream of Shermans (noted as 24 Lancers?) in the caption notes, a Centaur and finally an Austin K5 3-tonner.


    Does anyone happen to recognise the location?

    • Title:30TH CORPS IN ACTION SOUTH OF BAYEUX (PART 3) [Allocated Title]
    • Film Number:A70 43-2
    • Other titles:
    • Summary:
    • Description:I. The camera observes personnel serving with 30th Corps Headquarters (sited a few miles away from Bayeux at Nonant) going about their normal business, in particular officers studying a large map table showing the dispositions of British and German forces in the shelter of a canvas awning draped over two command lorries. 30th Corps commanders, Lieutenant-General G C Bucknall (in casual clothes), his Chief of Staff, Brigadier Pyman, and Major Hastings from the 4/7th Dragoon Guards walk towards the camera. Bucknall sets off in his own jeep with Hastings and two wireless operators for the Dragoon Guards' HQ (?). II. Three Royal Signallers from 30th Corps' HQ examine the remains of a Messerschmitt Bf 109 'Gustav' fighter shot down near Bayeux in the course of a 'tip and run' raid on the Allied beach-head in Normandy. III. Shermans belonging to the 8th Armoured Brigade (24th Lancers ?), a Centaur 95mm close-support gun, tanks from No 2 Battery Royal Marine Armoured Support Group and a single Austin K5 3-ton lorry proceed along the Bayeux - Tilly-sur-Seulles (?) road to join 50th (Northumbrian) Division's 151st Brigade.
    • Access Conditions:IWM Attribution: © IWM (A70 43-2)
    • Featured Period:1939-1945
    • Production Date:1944-06-13
    • Production Country:GB
    • Production Details: Directorate of Public Relations, War Office (Production sponsor) Army Film and Photographic Unit (Production company)
    • Personalities, Units and Organisations:
    • Keywords:
    • Physical Characteristics:Colour format: B&W Sound format: Silent Soundtrack language: None Title language: None
    • Technical Details:Format: 35mm Footage: 185 ft; Running time: 2 mins
    • Notes:Summary: for footage showing 50th Division in action alongside 7th Armoured Division with 30th Corps during June 1944 see A70 37-3, 41-3, 4, 43-1, 3, 4, 45-8, 46-8, 47-6, 52-2 to 5 and refer to A70 46-10 which features Bucknall receiving Eisenhower and Tedder at his HQ. Bucknall was eventually 'bowler-hatted' by Dempsey on August 4th 1944 and was replaced by Lieutenant General Horrocks. Remarks: good footage. Best seen with the items of ciné material listed above. Documentation/associated material: for a bibliography, refer to the publications listed in A70 41-3.
    • Link to IWM Collections page:
      A70 43-2
    • Related IWM Collections Objects:
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018
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  2. PaulE

    PaulE Senior Member

    Looks like it could be the D6 between Bayeux and Tilly probably before Douet Crossroads but can't be sure of the exact location .
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  3. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    For some reason I was thinking along the route of D33.

    I looked for Nonant, since a bit prior to the Shermans "The camera observes personnel serving with 30th Corps Headquarters (sited a few miles away from Bayeux at Nonant) " and drew a line to Pt.103 and then looked on the War map as well as the modern one below...

    Maybe the middle of the options sketched out here... or a variation etc.

    D6 is possible, and a lot then depends on whether these were actually 24th L or another Regiment of the 8th Armoured etc.

    Chouain / Hervieu is an area the 24th L were in around 14th June and a day prior to that they (i.e. a small group of them) might have been in the general Chouain area too perhaps: Researching life at "Hervieu" in Normandy in June 1944

    D33 is quite rural with relatively few possibilities (I thought as I was glancing along it) but I didn't spend nearly enough time on it - obviously ;-) to find much of use out ;-(

    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
  4. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Here's a screen shot of the film... with a house I was looking for....


    And a map of the area as it was more around that time.

  5. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    There is a 'cut' at 1:33. The Shermans and the RMASG are going in opposite directions. I think the cameraman films the Shermans coming at him. Stops and turns 180 to film the RMASG coming from the opposite direction and then swings back to get the rest of the Shermans. B5454-59 show these RMASG tanks at the exact same location as the film and more background buildings are visible in the B Series photos.
    B5461 shows the shot-down aircraft, B5467 the Tent HQ, Bucknall & Pyman 'strutting' is B5468.

    B5459 (bottom RH corner photo) is the exact same tank/location as 1m:44s on the film

    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
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  6. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Ah, I see from:
    Can anyone identify these Centaurs

    The refs. to the D6 nr. to Chouain there.

    Perhaps if they are to the west of Chouain in that way it seems a bit less likely that they (I mean here just the Shermans) are 24th L? All that cutting the shots and moving the camera just adding to the "mix" ;-)

    I even took a look at the shadows of the trees and (various shadows) below the tanks to see whether from those it might help to see which way the camera was pointing, always depending on the time of day etc. And therefore the directions of travel etc.

    Pictured in mid June, so the sun would be quite high at midday. Sun to the east in the morning (shadows to the west), sun in the south at midday (shadows to the north) and sun in the west in the pm (shadows to the east).

    Since there are refs to the "4/7th Dragoon Guards" in the description I would have - initially - assumed perhaps firstly that these would be 4/7th Dragoon Guards Shermans, but the ref. to the "Shermans belonging to the 8th Armoured Brigade (24th Lancers ?)" - would suggest some doubt. There's also other familiar "B54xx" pictures of other 24th Lancers shermans from around then, like the Firefly nr. St.Leger
    24th Lancers - Wikipedia

    No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit. Midgley, A. N. (Sergeant) - This is photograph B 5416 from the collections of the IWM


    Showing 11th June - so a few days before. There are (only ;-) a dozen or so 24th L fireflies that this could have been so it will hopefully be possible one day to figure out (or at least narrow down) whose 24th L squadron / troop / Firefly tank it actually was.

    When I was looking into Chouain and Hervieu a while back at: Researching life at "Hervieu" in Normandy in June 1944

    I saw this map:

    Which points out the approximate front-line (line in bold dashed red) around midnight of the 12th-13th June 1944.

    Hervieu being about where the "P" in "30th Corps" is, and Point 103 (Where I think most of the 24th L were on the 13th June 1944) being roughly where the "v" in "50th Div" is.

    The route from Bayeux towards Tilly on the D6 could have been a route taken by some replacement Shermans for the 24th L - but (an as yet undated) ref. (from obviously around then) I had to my grandfather going back about then with 19 troopers to pick up some new Shermans I thought was pointing towards their going in the direction of Cruelly to get them.

    An unexpected visit to Monty's HQ

    Again, if that were the case, I suppose it could make it a bit less likely, again that these (13th June 1944 filmed Sherman tanks) were tanks of the 24th L. Though it's always possible that that "HQ" - that they were "mistakenly taken to" - was at Nonant, rather than Cruelly.

    An other (potential?) possibility I can think of at the mo. is they might have been a couple of 24th L tank troops scouting out the rest area, testing whether it was fit for tanks etc, that they were planning on using soon (14th June) at Hervieu - but in that instance I would have thought it would have been someone in a jeep, not what looks like a couple of tank troops (detailed to the task).

    The 24th L wardiary for the 13th June 1944 has the 24th L on Point 103, with a few lines on protecting the perimeter and nothing further to report.

    There is a picture of my grandfather (Sgt.Ben Symes) and a small group of officers, troopers and the 24th L's padre Captain Rev. M.Green titled "C squadron group on Point 103, 13th June 1944." - on page 87 of "None Had Lances" that to me looked like an "official war photograph" - but the the ref. in NHL to the picture on page VI says - (W Jackson) - who was "Bill" Jackson - one of the troopers in the picture - so I have wondered whose camera actually took that shot, and whether the original negative was now with the IWM.

    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
  7. I believe these Sherman tanks are replacement tanks, for a number of reasons.

    For a start, practically no distinctive marking of any kind is discernible, apart from what seem to be shipping codes. For example, one of the tanks bears what looks like the Mob Serial No 36656, followed by maybe /D-5xxx (A70 43-2 1:31):
    A70 43-2 - 360 - 1944-06-12- Clague - 1.31 - Sherman III MSN 36656.jpg

    I do not know which unit "36656" stands for, but I think it must be a Delivery Squadron, because it appears on a number of other vehicles just disembarking from an LST. See for example this well known photo of bogged "SATAN'S CHARIOT." T187832:
    B_005580 - Bulldozer recovering Cromwell T187832 'SATAN'S CHARIOT' on beach, 14 Jun 44  [Morris].jpg
    THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORMANDY 1944. © IWM (B 5580) IWM Non Commercial License

    or "SHYLOCK'S SHANTY" T187825 off the same LST 542 and in the same predicament (36656/V/26):
    A70 47-7 - 1944-06-13 - Johnson - 0.46 - Cromwell T187825 MSN 36656 SHYLOCK's SHANTY off LST 542.jpg

    Another two Cromwells of the same breed:
    T189477 (36656/D5846):
    A70 47-7 - 1944-06-13 - Johnson - 0.23 - Cromwell T189477 MSN 36656-D5846 off LST 542.jpg

    T189578? (36656-D5846):
    A70 47-7 - 1944-06-13 - Johnson - 0.30 - Cromwell T189578- MSN 36656-D5846 off LST 542.jpg

    "SATAN'S CHARIOT" is given as 5 RTR, while "SHYLOCK'S SHANTY" and pals are said to be possibly assigned to 1 RTR in the caption for A70 47-7:

    On the evening of June 13, 1944, Cromwell tanks - reinforcements for the 7th Armoured Division - come ashore from Royal Navy LST 542 onto 'Mike' Beach between Graye-sur-Mer and Courseulles. Other invasion craft - an LCT, from which Bedford QL lorries are seen coming ashore, and US Navy LST 519 lie stranded on the beach by the falling tide; note the barrage balloons flying overhead. One tank, assigned to the 1st Royal Tank Regiment (?) has come to grief in a patch of soft sand. Two bulldozer tractors from No 7 Beach Group lined up in tandem help to pull it out.

    Interestingly, the date (13 June) is the same as that of A70 43-2.

    However, the Sherman tanks in A70 43-2 are all Sherman III, so are unlikely to be intended for 7 Armd Div.

    Finally, I checked my files and found yet more photos of a tank marked "36656" in the TIME LIFE Collection in Google Cultural Institute, in a series by George Rodger called "Tank Recovery" shot during July 1944. This is Sherman III "TORONTO PAM" T152212 (36656-D5281):
    Sherman III T152212 'TORONTO PAM' 36656-D5281 - George Rodger TimeLife_image_116756941.jpg

    The large light square on the differential housing might be that of a regiment of 8 Armd Bde, apparently painted over or else very faded. Once the tank is repaired, the shipping code and the turret markings appear to have been painted over as well:
    Sherman III T152212 'TORONTO PAM' after repair - George Rodger TimeLife_image_116756945.jpg

    This tank might be one of those we see on A70 43-2, after it was disabled and sent to a repair unit.

    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018
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  8. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Michel, Well spotted.

    The Mob Serial No 36656 is for 254 Corps Delivery Squadron, RAC.

    The War Diary entry for the 13th June for the Squadron says “14 Officers, 165 ORs and 32 Cromwells and 5 Shermans disembarked MONT FLEURY. (3rd Party) 4 Ram SP despatched to 147 Field Regt. RA”

    The Squadron was located at Crepon on the 8th June and it looks like they were still in that location until the 20th June. No Grid Reference for the location is given.

    All of the Sherman III,s mentioned in the WD for June were sent to the 8th Armoured Bde.

    The Centaurs of 1 RM Armd Sp Regt were located just north and south of the N13 from the 8th June until at least the 14th June.


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  9. Bingo! "TORONTO PAM" is indeed on A70 43-2 starting at 01:47:
    A70 43-2 - 360 - 1944-06-12- Clague - 1.49 - 'TORONTO PAM' T152212.jpg

    All the details fit, notably:
    - the tank itself: gun mantle, dvr/co-dvr hoods, antena pot, diff housing, missing side skirt supports, stowage fittings...
    - markings on the hull side, the slightly angled loading code on the diff housing

    It therefore seems likely to me that these are Sherman tanks of a replacement unit (Del Sqn) on their way from the beaches where they recently landed, to (probably) 8 Armd Bde.

    Of note is the fact that several, if not all, of the other tanks in the "Tank Recovery" series by George Rodger seem to belong to 8 Armd Bde: a Sherman III No.67 and a Sherman II DD No.57 with the large turret numbers typical of 4/7 DGNS and 24 L.

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  10. Oops, too busy writing my reply above, didn't notice Danny's answer identifying 254 Corps Del Sqn as the unit for the Sherman and Cromwell tanks.

    Excellent! Everything computes, then :)

  11. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    At the mo. I don't know whether I am edging towards thinking these (possible/now likely replacement) Sherman tanks (perhaps destined or being delivered to the 8th Armd Bde.) were most likely 4/7 RDG (given their apparent location between Bayeux and Tilly on the D6?) or if there's a chance that they still could be ones heading to Point 103 and the 24th L.

    A while back I did a bit on trying to work out the 24th L's tank losses and therefore, glean some clues as to which tanks in which squadrons and troops needed repair and/or replacement, when etc.

    Tank losses of the 24th Lancers in Normandy – June and July 1944

    The War Diary of the SRY has them, around this time I think, "back in the vicinity of Bayeux" around the 12th-13th June. But again, is another possibility even perhaps.

    12th June 1944: St PIERRE was not counter-attacked during the night much to the surprise of us all. 7 Armd Div attacked SULLY and the Regt. was given the task of protecting their left flank. “A” Sqn again worked in the vicinity of Pt.102. and found that some Tigers and Panthers had worked up into the woods during the night. This resulted in a game of hide and seek in the woods between ourselves and the enemy tanks. However they skipped away before we could engage them. The 24 L. had some tks KO’d by German Inf. Lying low and firing P.I.A.T.s from very close range. ??? Hutchinsons 17. Pdr tank was K.O’d by a 50mm at very close range. In the evening the Regt drew back to the vicinity of BAYEUX in order to re-organise.

    13th June 1944 : Spent the day in re-organisation. We were warned in the evening the the Regt would have to stand by to assist 7 Armd Div who were attacking VILLERS BOCAGE.
  12. I uploaded all 16 full resolution photos in the Tank Recovery series in an album here:
    Tank Recovery | WW2Talk

    It looks like Sherman III No.65 had the same loading code 36656/D5281 as 'TORONTO PAM':
    07 - Tk Rec Jul 44 - G.Rodger TimeLife_21 - Sherman III T152212 'TORONTO PAM', No.65.jpg

    which might mean that both tanks were part of the same shipment or the same delivery batch to the same unit? So it is possible that No.65, probably before it was thus (re-)numbered, was part of the road convoy in A70 43-2.

  13. In addition to the loading code, Sherman III No.65 has a curious marking on its differential housing: the number '1' (or an 'I') inside a dark square/rectangle/triangle (photo 15). A similar marking shows on at least one of the Sherman tanks on the road:
    A70 43-2 - 01.22 - Marking 1.jpg

    I believe that the fourth Sherman, appearing at 01:29, is No.65, before this number was applied:
    A70 43-2 - 01.31 - No.65 ID.jpg

    Since the turret number is not there on 13 June, but is present on the Tk Rec photos in July, it must have be painted in the field by the unit which received it, either 24 L or 4/7 DGNS.

    This also means that the column of Sherman tanks is most probably not going from the unit to the front, but from the Del Sqn to the unit.

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  14. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic


    24L didn't use the large turret numbers: only 4/7RDG did that in 8AB. Someone will now come along to disprove that!
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  15. Steve,

    Ah, you are right, 24L did not use the large turret numbers. My mistake, I mixed up my 8 Armd Bde regiments! I was thinking SRY, not 24L.

    I also used to think that only 4/7 DGNS used large turret numbers within 8 Armd Bde, which was rather convenient for ID, until I saw IWM B5259 with Sherman III No.52 'ABERDEEN' landing from LCT(4) 1076 LTIN 2165 (quite amusingly the D7A dozer on the right is also named 'ABERDEEN'...):
    B_005259 - 1076 (2165) LCT(4), Sherman III 'ABERDEEN' No.52 A Sqn SRY, 6 Jun 44 [Midgley].jpg

    See also B5258:
    B_005258 - 1076 (2165) LCT(4), Sherman III 'ABERDEEN' No.52 A Sqn SRY, 6 Jun 44 [Midgley].jpg

    The Landing Table is unequivocal: LTIN 2165 had three Sherman III tanks from the Nottinghamshire Yeomanry (Sherwood Rangers).

    However, using the number '52' for an 'A' Sqn tank is rather strange, and the style of the number is quite different from 4/7 DGNS so that we might still assert that outline large turret numbers in 8 Armd Bde mean 4/7 DGNS. In that case, No.65 must have come from that regiment, just like No.57 DD did, as we know is a certainty.

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  16. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Yes, I immediately thought that that distinctive style of turret numbering would clinch it as 4/7 RDG for me, having seen quite a few like that for the 4/7 RDG, but not yet I think for the 24th L or the SRY. (Edit ;-) although see post immediately above ;-)

    It is possible, perhaps, that a little later than July, some very few of the 24th L's Shermans were transferred into the 4/7 RDG when the 24th L were disbanded at the beginning of August 1944 - as the two troops that went from the 24th L into the SRY - took for instance their ex-24th L tanks, but if it was marked up as "65" on the turret prior to that, earlier in July, I don't think it could have been "belonging to the 8th Armoured Brigade (24th Lancers ?)" as the film's description proposes.

    Were there indications where (and when) the damaged tanks were being recovered? Though that question is perhaps a whole other thread ;-)

    It may be very relevant to whom they were delivered to (I guess?) - as we have a pretty good idea where each squadron, of each regiment, was fighting when and a tank wreck in situ ought to suggest perhaps whose tank originally it was most likely to have been.
  17. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    The 4/7th Royal Dragoon Guards War Diary for the 13th June has “10 more tanks and crews came up from the Dely Sqn.”

    The War Diary only gives the location as “two miles South of Bayeux”

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  18. This seems to wrap it then. The seven Sherman III tanks that we see in A70 43-2 are almost certainly part of the batch of ten delivered from 254 Corps Del Sqn near Crépon to 4/7 DGNS "two miles South of Bayeux" on 13 Jun 44.

    Now to find the house along the road (which road?)... :wacko:

  19. Here it is finally! I was first looking much too close to Le Douet de Chouain, but Danny's info made me look further and on the correct side of the road, and I finally found it, rather close to Bayeux as it is:

    House - StreetView comp.jpg

    Satellite view:
    House - sat coord.jpg

    House - map.jpg

    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018
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  20. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Incredible ;-)

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