Questions?

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by sapper, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    If anyone wants questions asked? About Pegasus; or anywhere else? Then ask that particular question. I have never refused to answer FULLY. The whole purpose of the Veterans that write on this site.... is ti do just that, and Lord knows we have done an extraordinary amount amongst the little group of us.
    Be specific. If I cannot answer then I am certain that Ron Tom and all. will only be too pleased to assist. Bless them, They always have.
     
  2. Driver-op

    Driver-op WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hi Brian. Like you I was at Pegasus Bridge, I stayed for ten days, apart from cable laying between our six Bofors I didn't have much to do until our reinforcements turned up a fortnight late. But I was aware of what was going on there most of the time and was always able to dive into a slit-trench when the Flit came over. I watched our guns in action and saw many of the Jerries go down, I remember the Jerry counter attack when we all had to take up defensive positions. You obviously had a more active job than me, what did you do and how did you cope?

    Jim
     
  3. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Jim
    Most of the bridging was carried out by 17th Field Co RE. Our sister company. They did wonderful things there. We were drafted in to help out, and then spent some time there. It was a matter of bridging as fast as possible, only being driven to ground when the fire got to heavy to continue without huge casualties.

    At that time, we were here, there, and every bloody where. Constantly on the move.

    At one time the fire was so heavy on the site, that it was changed and moved to another position.

    I have here Jim a record of the actions that the company took part in, I did not go beyond my departure. That needs to be put right, and I will get round to it..I hope.
    have a look Jim, and see if you recall some of these?

    246 Field Company. Royal Engineers in the Company of Eighth Brigade always managed to get to the forefront of every battle. I have listed below only the major events, there were many more other events that took place, to numerous to mention.
    D.Day the 6th of June 1944. The Company Three highly trained teams had been given the vital task on D.Day of landing on Sword beach, to open up and mark a mine free path from the beach to the road beyond, armed with Explosive charges, (Beehives) despite the odds and the opposition, that had been done, we had then joined the infantry as an extra fighting section.
    D.Day. Later, when all were present, our next task was to open up a path to Hermanville and under enemy attack, that was accomplished.
    D.Day. The next major task was to assist in the taking of the huge German defensive position, code named "Hillman" a heavily mined and fire swept area, under intense enemy fire this was also accomplished. Gallantry medals, Croix de Geurre
    7th/8th of June. The next task, again under intense enemy fire, and low level air attack, was to bridge, and raft, between the Airborne and Third British Infantry over the Orne canal and River. (Pegasus Bridge) this was also successfully accomplished.
    9th/10th of June. Repair to bridges and rafts due to heavy enemy shelling. Repairs due to air attack. Charted enemy mine fields round the battery at Ouistreham.
    11th of June laying 400 mines in front of the East Yorks.
    12th/22nd of June laying mines, lifting enemy mines supporting infantry attacks through the villages, Gazelle. Periers sur le dans.
    23rd of June. Sections in support of the attack on the Chateau de La Londe with the South Lancs, captured the area, but driven out with a panzer counterattack. Tank track and 8th Brigade laying protective mine fields.
    June 27th. The attack to retake the Chateau de la Londe in support of 8th Brigade., then on to le Mesuil wood. A tremendous battle with hand to hand fighting, nick named "The Bloodiest square mile in Normandy"
    28th of June. Laying 2000 mines under the nose of the enemy at night, all completed safely by morning
    At first light. 246 Field Co R.E. took part in all the horrific battles that led up to the capture of Caen
    July 1st / 9th supporting attacks by the infantry in the approaches to the City of Caen
    July9th. Preparation for the attack on Caen. Moved to Beauville. Blainville. Attack on Caen under heavy enemy fire from Mortar shell and small arms. Swept routs clear of mines, foot recce into the City, a few of us were the first to enter the City by the left hand route.
    July the 10th./14th Withdrawn from Caen, to prepare for the Assault round Caen code named "Goodwood". Lifting own minefields with casualties.
    July 14th. Warning of move over the Orne in the evening. Quietly!
    July 15th.July 24th. Co moved to Heronvillette. Heavy shell fire on our position at night. We then played a major role in the "Goodwood" offensive with the left hook round the City. 8th Brigade and 246 Field co R.E. leading off as usual. This was a real shocker, we were under heavy fire continuously from shell, mortar and moaning Minnie fire, coupled with concentrated air bursts that caused a lot of casualties. Intense machine gun fire from the surrounding woods and hedgerows. (Can I please go Home?) We captured Touffreville. Sanneville, and Banneville on the road to Troarn, No sleep at all during this operation. Escoville.
    July 25th/27th. Returned to Benouville to regroup, clean up, with fresh clothes, repair battle damage, Sorting ourselves out for the next operation.
    July 28th/31st. Besides Company refitting we lifted our own mines laid at the Chateau de la Londe and at Mathieu. Some defensive road cratering!
    August 1st / 2nd. Company moved to area South of Bayeux and harboured at St Honerine du Ducy.
    August 3rd /8th. Company actively engaged at Caumont. St Martin de Besaces, and Mont Bertrand.
    August 8th. Co arrived at Iven N.E. of Vire. Orders issued for the attack on Vire. Company to attack in the company of of 44 Royal tanks sqdrns, (at night) others to advance in the company of the infantry battalions.
    August 9th. Having left the Caen area altogether, we now abutted the Americans and took part in the battles in the Vire sector where I was wounded. (See war Diary at the end of this book) "Three sappers wounded on a road block" Actions on the Vaudry-Vire ridge and all forward routes opened and cleared.
    August 10th/15th. Company concentrated forward of Vire, preparing for the forthcoming advance, Advanced down the Vire-Tinchebray road.
    Further actions in the company of 3rd Recce Regiment and 4 Coldstream Guards tank battalion.
    August 15th/16th. Company with the South Lancs Reg; probed forward to Tinchebray. Night building of bridge over stream, finished at first light, 100 Churchill tanks and S.P guns crossed.
    August 17th/19th. Crossed at Tinchebray to Montesecret. Followed by the drive to push the enemy towards the narrowing neck of the Falaise pocket. Fierce local fighting took place as the enemy desperately tried to halt us with fanatical rearguard actions, The drive through this great trap where thousands of the enemy died was traumatic!
    August 19th/25th. Co moved to harbour area S.W of Flers. Company in training ready for an assault crossing of the Siene river in the company of Churchill tanks and 6th Guards tank brigade.
    August 26th/ 28th. Further training with "Storm boats" for the Siene crossing.
    August 29th/31st. Folding boats and close support rafts dismantled and loaded ready for the advance Warning to advance to the river with forward parties.
    September 1st / 2nd.Company rested.
    September 3rd/5th. Company moved to St Andelys. Advance down St Andelys road.
    September 6th/10th. Moved to Vernon on the Seine. Further crossing training.
    September 10th/ Recce party for new location near Brussels. Warning to move in convoy to Gisors / Arras / Brussels during the night.
    September 10th/13th. Company arrived at new location Thielt. North of Louvain. Close support training for the possible crossing of the Rhine. (In Brussels).
    September 13th /16th. Further training in Brussels.
    September 18th. Moved to Peer I mile North of village by nightfall in preparation for operation "Market Garden"
    September 18th. Recce at the Escuat canal. Night time assault across the canal at 1am with storm boats and a folding boat assault bridge at Petite Brogel. Confused and desperate night fighting around the crossing with heavy machine gun fire down the canal and mortar bombs in it! Infantry over and spreading out. Very frightening assault at night against determined resistance.
    September 19th/20th Over our own bridge during the night, advancing towards Weert in the company of C sqdrn 3rd Recce Reg.
    September 21st/23rd. Advance eastwards along the North side of the canal to Weert. Town occupied in the afternoon.
    September 23rd/25th. On the capture of Weert, I prepared explosive charges to blow the houses as road blocks, in case of enemy attack. Prepared bridges for demolition against expected counterattack.
    September 25th/30th. The monastery at Euvelwegen. Near Gemert, where we were out of action, fueling and preparing for next thrust.
    October 1st/ 9th. Continued driving North taking towns and villages to harbour in the vicinity of Nijmegen and the Reichwald Forest. At Linden near Mook bridged at Heunen. My lonely reconnaissance on the Arnhem road. Not sure of date?
    October 10th/11th. Coy moved to concentration area North of Overloon for operation Aintree.
    October 12th. Battle for Overloon. Clearing mine free tracks through the minefields for the infantry and tanks. Very heavily mined with R mines. Great number lifted during the day. Very heavy shelling, one direct hit wiped out one section of Company. Worst and most frightening battle so far! Terrible.
    October 13th /15th. Reorganisation after battle. Preparation for the coming battle for Venraij. Further mine clearing through the pine woods. Coy moved North of Overloon.
    October 16th/18th. Battle for the crossing of the Molen Beek. Entry into Venraij. During the night, trestle bridge built under heavy fire over the Beek. More erected near Kleindorp. Engineers tanks bogged down in the heavy and mined mud, and under very heavy enemy fire. All this with 11th Armoured division and the Guards Armoured brigades. Anti personal mines and schu mines everywhere. Lots of debris in the streets. My worst battle so far, a real hard fought battle amongst the pine woods, where the mud and sand was infested with mines.
    October 19th/20th. Coy moved to hutted camp, former Dutch youth SS camp just North of Venraij.
    Many mines laid as road blocks, the whole area infested with Schu mines, continuous casualties. Company spread far and wide in defensive roles. Widespread shelling.
    October 21st 31st. Very many events all over the place. Coy lifted no less than 7000 mines and investigated the problem of the Schu mines. Enemy still active with shelling
    October 22nd. Bailly bridge built between Overloon and Venraij.
    October 28th/ November 15th A wide ranging series of tasks kept the Company busy. Shelling.
    November 16th. Fighting patrols, at night, out on the desolate wet lands of the river Maas. Vortum. Several nights out there. Makes a change!
    My departure! Not sure of the date, Wounded for the second time, this time severely, while collecting the Companies battle orders at night. Near the Molen Beek.

    Anything for your memory Jim ?
     
  4. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Jim
    Most of the bridging was carried out by 17th Field Co RE. Our sister company. They did wonderful things there. We were drafted in to help out, and then spent some time there. It was a matter of bridging as fast as possible, only being driven to ground when the fire got to heavy to continue without huge casualties.

    At that time, we were here, there, and every bloody where. Constantly on the move.

    At one time the fire was so heavy on the site, that it was changed and moved to another position.

    I have here Jim a record of the actions that the company took part in, I did not go beyond my departure. That needs to be put right, and I will get round to it..I hope.
    have a look Jim, and see if you recall some of these?
     
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Most of the bridging was carried out by 17th Field Co RE. Our sister company. They did wonderful things there. We were drafted in to help out, and then spent some time there. It was a matter of bridging as fast as possible, only being driven to ground when the fire got to heavy to continue without huge casualties.



    Hi Brian,

    Ref Pegasus Bridge was the RE unit 17 Fld Coy RE that was at the bridge first before the Commando's arrived or 246 Fld Coy RE or both? I only ask as I thought you had said previously in another thread that you watched Lord Lovats Commando's arrive with bag pipes palying a few minutes after you got there.

    7th/8th of June. The next task, again under intense enemy fire, and low level air attack, was to bridge, and raft, between the Airborne and Third British Infantry over the Orne canal and River. (Pegasus Bridge) this was also successfully accomplished.


    It seems you was there a day after the Commando's arrived on 6th June to relieve the Ox and Bucks Glider Troops?

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  7. Driver-op

    Driver-op WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Wow, Brian. seems as if I followed you all the way to Venraij. We got attacked by Yankee planes near Vire (how did those buggers ever find their way home?). Tinchberry stank like hell with animal and German corpses everywhere, we drove thru' the aftermath of Falais-I was just too stunned to speak. Crossed the Seine at Les Andelys over pontoon bridge in brilliant moonlight under Richard the Lionheart's castle. I was radio-op on Bofors putting down ground fire at Overloon, soon after Venraij returned to UK for commission in Royal Fusiliers.
    No doubt about it Brian you sure did have a sh*t war, mine was just interesting.

    Jim
     
  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Wow, Brian. seems as if I followed you all the way to Venraij. We got attacked by Yankee planes near Vire (how did those buggers ever find their way home?). Tinchberry stank like hell with animal and German corpses everywhere, we drove thru' the aftermath of Falais-I was just too stunned to speak. Crossed the Seine at Les Andelys over pontoon bridge in brilliant moonlight under Richard the Lionheart's castle. I was radio-op on Bofors putting down ground fire at Overloon, soon after Venraij returned to UK for commission in Royal Fusiliers.
    No doubt about it Brian you sure did have a sh*t war, mine was just interesting.

    Jim
    Jim have a look at this post, bring back memories??

    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/168060-post28.html from this thread.

    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/ww2-battlefields-today/11865-seine-crossing-vernon-1944-2007-a.html


    I'll paste here.
    Les Andelys from ATB issue 119.
    Which shows the crossing point then & now.
    If I remember correctly the original bridge was blown up in 1940.
    [​IMG]

    A photo I took from the Chateau, showing former location of large building with a X.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    When I talk about the events it is asa company,WE were all over the place.Typical sappers tasks.
    I have no means of copying the documents at my disposal,The best thing if anyone is interested is to get hold of The Route Forward and the History of 246 Field Company.There is also a mention in the short history of the Royal Engineers for the company.

    No one should be surprised that we are to be found anywhere, and the same day. That is typical of a Sappers role...I have said before, don't ask me sequences ...I just cannot put them in the right dates.
     
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Brian.

    You was at Hillman when the attack went in with Lt Neal and Pegasus Bridge when the Commando's arrived then?

    Regards
    Andy
     
  11. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Yes. We went down later to assist. Buy your own "The Route Forward" from the sappers, its all there. All the questions and answers are there. everything
     
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    We went down later to assist.


    Hi Brian,

    You went down where later to assist - Pegasus Bridge?

    Regards
    Andy
     
  13. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Yes We went down to Pegasus to assist and when there were stayed for a WHILE, I was not at Hillman when Arthur Heal got into it. I do not know where I was at the time.
    Let me say just this. Everything I posted is exactly what happened, but sequence is a complete shambles. I may write about things that occurred sometime earlier, or later, than the event I talk about.....

    I really do not have any idea of the dates or the sequences, I doubt anyone had without an aid to memory.... No one can tell me what they were doing on the morning of 66 years ago. What I and others have is brilliant recall of the event that took place. I would also suggest that if you were just 19, and were thrust into what took place. You would never forget....The same with places They are jumbled names, and mean very little unless it has a tie up with something that fixes it.

    I post these memories here as a recall of what happened. But dates 66 years ago? can any of you that old recall what you were doing on Monday morning back in Normandy 1944. Its is the pictures that remain with us Always..

    There are true records in the Company war diaries and in the RE documents available from the Royal Engineers.The best solution form those genuinely interested is to buy them. Everything then is at your disposal, perhaps you will be able to find dates to events.
     
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers Brian,

    I get it now. I always thought you said you was Pegasus just before the Commando's arrived smoking a cigarette.

    Regards
    Andy
     
  15. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    NO I(
    said that a Sapper Sgt was smoking a cigarette at the bridge. watching the arrivals. The Sappers arrived a few minutes before the commandos .
     
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    17 Fld Coy RE ?
     
  17. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    17th ?Probably They were in charge. With 71 Fld Co RE. 15th Field park and 106 bridging co RASC. 263 came under command, after removing the obstacles (Rommel's asparagus) the air landing East of the Orne.
     
  18. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Sapper - hey watch it - I can recall EVERYTHING that happened on 17th September 1944- but then I am only 86 - just when your guys were dropping at Ahrnem - I was dropping out of my Churchill Tank which had just come to the attention of an 88mm a/t gun by those nasty German 1st Paras.....can't forget that day on Coriano Ridge !
    Cheers
     
  19. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hi Tom. YUP I recall the dates when things did not go right. But the others are just a blur. That makes me wonder Tom How ever did we get away with it? Looking back time and again we should have departed.......
    Cheers
     
  20. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Sapper,

    I don't work at your speed although I am 15 years younger. I have just seen your post asking if we have questions. I have one that the literature does not mention.

    How did you engineers carry all the gear that is mentioned on D Day? Apart from your personal kit and weapons you seem to have slabs of explosives, fuses and detonators, beehives, mine detectors, tapes, bangalores, flame throwers. No vehicles appear to land for some time.

    Mike
     
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