Operation Varsity Places nowadays

Discussion in 'WW2 Battlefields Today' started by MoeA, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. MoeA

    MoeA Member

    alberk Thanks for all the Info, I assume the buried men were from that particular glider then? I used to live in Hamminkeln, thats why Im very interested in the all of the LZ's although A has my most attention. I went through the forest there one day and you can still find many foxholes.
     
  2. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Great finds by Moe and follow up by alberk! The following may already be known. The glider located at 169517 as marked by alberk is very likely CN384. Here is the info copied from the 53rd (WY) Airldg Lt Regt, RA war diary:

    Glider Number - 384 X Horsa II
    Occupants - Maj Culley, Bdr Dickens, L/Bdr Moore, L/Bdr Lord, Gnr Lay, Gnr Cox
    Map Ref. Landing - 16955158
    Did it Crash - Yes
    Nose or Tail unloading- Neither was possible owing to crash & subsequent burning
    Eqpt - Wrls Jeep, Trlr, 2 lt wt m/cs
    Was Eqpt written off - Yes. Burnt out
    How far from intended area - 4000 x NE of 3 Para DZ
    Flak - No
    Remarks - All occupants killed by MG fire


    I suspect there was a glider somewhere near the field graves at 170519 (alberk). According to WD of 2nd Airlanding Anti-Tank Regiment, RA Lt. Hunter was sent out to search for the location of Major Dixon's glider. Major Dixon I believe was OC 4 Airldg A tk Bty RA.

    20th April 1945
    Place: Germany
    0900 - Lt Hunter leaves for LZ areas near Rhine to trace if possible Major DIXON's glider, as no information of occupants of glider yet received.

    24th April 1945
    Place: Germany
    1500 - Lt HUNTER returns and reports to CO that he has discovered the 4 Bty glider containing Major DIXON, Lt BANNISTER and other Bty HQ personnel who are confirmed as killed in action.


    No map reference given unfortunately.

    Regards ...
     
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  3. MoeA

    MoeA Member

    Another glider that caught my attention is this one located north of the wreckage we just found on the aerial images before, it seems to be laying on top of the autobahn A3 and is far of the LZ-B (which is south) and DZ-P (which is to the southwest)
     

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  4. MoeA

    MoeA Member

    Thanks for the heads up Cee I will look through some more images to see if I can spot a glider near 170519.
     
  5. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Maybe Major Dixon was on the glider marked on the edge of the wood - which left skidmarks or a trail of debris? That one is closest to the field graves. The crash site is a little bit remote, while the graves appear to be near a little road - perhaps intentionally, so that the GRU men could find and access them more easily?
    Plot of Landings Kopie.jpg
     
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  6. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    On the map above there are three gliders side by side in a row in the encircled area - the one in the middle should be CN 305, flown by Jenny's father who was taken POW. Next to the one on the left were the graves of four casualties at 171513. One of the dead is L/Cpl Rothwell, RAC. One of the "unknown" could be Trooper Rhodes who has no known grave. All in all five RAC soldiers were killed during Varsity, two of which (Evans and Dawson) died when their glider disintegrated west of the Rhine near Uedem. The fifth was Trooper Freebury who was buried at 157522. The glider he landed in must have come down really far from all LZs - to the northwest of Campshof. Or, alternatively, he was taken prisoner and was killed later near that spot. The map below has a German grid... grave Freebury.png
     
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  7. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    If Trooper Freebury was with the AARR mortars he was on board on one of six Horsas (CN 403 - 408 from Dunmore). If he was with the tanks he was in a lone Hamilcar which landed very far off the LZs... do we know where all the Hamilcars with tanks landed?
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2020
  8. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    alberk,

    Yes that appears to be a pretty bad crash going by the debris field. Many in the glider could have been killed in the crash itself. I marked another possibility which in all likelihood is just a smudge or another feature entirely.

    GL1 Kopie-Dixon Possibility.jpg

    Regards ...
     
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  9. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Good question,
    I remember a previous enquiry about a Hamilcar that ended up completely turned over, as in laying on its back. It’s mentioned in one of the reports too. I don’t think that “case” was ever solved.
     
  10. MoeA

    MoeA Member

    alberk I looked up the grave you mentioned regarding Trooper Freebury and couldnt find a glider anywhere near, the only glider (or Hamilcar?) I could find is on the pictures below. As you can see its W/NW of Campshof (I hope im not confusing you guys with all those pictures and different crashsites, just trying to help a bit). You Guys have some huge knowledge about all this and have my biggest respect, Im still in the process of learning about all this.
     

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  11. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    MoeA, that looks like a Hamilcar to me - amazing! But I need a little help because I have a bit of a difficulty to relate your marked photo to the old map and the Google map... Anyway, on the enlarged bit one can even see slit trenches... great quality! Where do you get these images?
     
  12. MoeA

    MoeA Member

    www.ncap.org.uk is where I get most of my images from, If you check the streets on both maps you can actually kind of refer to where the crashsite would be located nowdays on the google image (where the yellow circle is at). If you have difficulties as to figure out the crashsites location I can also make an google earth overlay if that helps.
     
  13. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    ... thanks, MoeA. I will look again...
     
  14. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Tank tracks coming out of the nose of that Hamilcar? Looks like it to me. Well, it’s two parallel lines at least I think?
     
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  15. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    I agree - it looks like tank tracks. Given the tactical situation (the glider was isolated) I have a feeling that the Germans captured it and might have driven it away from the glider. I have reports from German veterans that they used the material they captured in gliders against the enemy...
     
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  16. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    The airborne soldier buried furthest away from the LZs/DZs is probably Bdr Yates of 4 Air. AT Bty. His grave is at 145513 - just to the west of Clasenhof (see the German map I posted further above). I do not know whether a glider landed in the vicinity. It could always be that he was captured and then killed - or was killed while trying to escape and evade. Pure speculation though... The date of his death is 24 March.
    MoeA - any gliders to be found in that area?

    This is from the Rees map - what you see is the Wesel-Emmerich railway section between Mehrhoog and Haldern.
    Bildschirmfoto 2020-12-30 um 13.35.50.png
     
  17. VarsityGlider305

    VarsityGlider305 Active Member

    Hi Moe,
    Is there any chance you can show a view slightly further south of your photo GL1.jpg? That is the area where I believe CN305 landed (my Dad's glider) and it may be just off the bottom of that view.
    Jenny
     
  18. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Hi Jenny.
    This may well be it. I cant see any other gliders apart from the one that's crashed into the wood on the right. On the varsity plot map there is apparently 3 in a row? But I can only see this one. It's very very close to where we think your dad landed.
    See what you think

    Alex
     

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  19. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    just noticed that's been posted before as Grid 169 517 but to me that looks definitely East of the 17 grid line.
     
  20. VarsityGlider305

    VarsityGlider305 Active Member

    Thanks very much Alex, I think we need to look further down Moe's original aerial GL1 where I've indicated.
    GL1 - marked up.jpg
    If that area could be zoomed in on/enhanced we might be able to spot something. I don't know if that's possible but fingers crossed.
    Jenny
     

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