RAF RADAR units in the Battle of the Bulge

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by chick42-46, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    Stolpi has an open thread about Brits in the Ardennes. It mostly deals with the efforts to stop, and then reverse, the German advance.

    This thread doesn’t intend to deal with any of that. What I intend to do through it is to let others know about British involvement (of a relatively minor sort) right at the start of the battle. And, oddly perhaps, that involvement was through the RAF rather than the Army.

    But the action all took place on the ground and not in the air.

    My interest in it stems from the fact that my grandfather’s RAF Regiment squadron was one of the units involved although I have no proof my grandfather himself took part. I know from family stories he was in the Ardennes. But that could have been after the Germans were pushed back.

    I have managed to find various references to this incident, some from original documents at the National Archives and some in books written later, and I plan to post these on this thread.

    The first reference I came across was the following, from The RAF Regiment at War 1942-1946 by Kingsley Oliver, pgs. 112-113. My search spread out from there.
    “In December 1944 the Wehrmacht launched its last desperate gamble to disrupt the Allied advance by striking at the junction between the American and British armies in France. Twenty German divisions from the 5th and 6th Panzer Armies erupted from the wooded hills of the Ardennes and struck at the five American divisions which stood between them, the River Meuse, Antwerp and the rear echelons of the British and Canadian armies in Belgium and Holland. Although RAF Airfields were not threatened by the initial impetus of these attacks, the RAF’s 72 Wing, with its forward radars and wireless interception units, certainly was. 2811 Rifle and 2804 Armoured Car Squadrons formed 72 Wing’s covering force which enabled the technical units and their Regiment squadrons to fight their way through the confused situation which developed to the west of Bastogne as German special forces in American vehicles and uniforms spread alarm and despondency in what had been the rear area. German parachutists established roadblocks in an attempt to delay retreating units until the advancing panzer formations could reach them, but the Regiment squadrons forced their way through those they encountered. Eventually all the vital equipment was withdrawn to safety in its cumbersome vehicles and trailers, despite the inclement weather and the poor roads and tracks that had to be used, and the morale of the personnel of 6080 Signals Unit was raised considerably when they learned that the Regiment had rescued the safe with their pay in it as well!”

    Since my grandfather was with 2742 Armoured Car Squadron, when I first read this it had no direct bearing on my search to find out as much as possible about his service as I could. But I was soon to learn otherwise.
    von Poop, Pieter F and stolpi like this.
  2. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    The next piece of information I got about this came when I managed to get to Kew (my only visit so far). I’d ordered up the Operations Record Books of 2742 Squadron in advance.

    Imagine my surprise to discover that “C” Flight of 2742 had been involved in the Battle of Bulge!

    Here are the pictures I took that day of the entries relating to December 1944.




    View attachment 47190




    I’ll post a transcript shortly.
    brithm and Pieter F like this.
  3. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    Here is a transcript of the ORB for December 1944. The original is in AIR 29/83.

    I've corrected any obvious typos, and I can't replicate the layout so that has been changed. But the text is all there and should be straightforward to follow. The only potentially confusing thing about it is that the entries relate to the particular flights (A to D) of the squadron so the dates appear to jump around a bit.


    GHENT 1st Dec/44 Strength of Squadron at this date is:-

    Squadron Commander F/O – A/S/LDR. A. RAINE (103945)
    2nd in Command. F/L. M.B. ROWLES (60932).
    Adjutant. F/O. P.B. ROBERTS (137945).
    Officer i/c “A” Flight F/O. – A/F/L. T. BROMLEY (121631).
    2nd “ “ “ F/O P. COOPER (50764).
    Officer i/c “B” Flight F/O. – A/F/L. J.B. AINSLIE (107987).
    2nd i/c “ “ F/O. B.F. FIELD (134834).
    Officer i/c “C” Flight F/O. – A/F/L. S.W. HARGREAVES (127605).
    2nd i/c “ “ F/O. J. BRAYNE. O.B.E. (49048) Detached to CRAFR 72 Wing
    Officer i/c “D” Flight F/O. – A/F/L. J.C. ROLFE (110954)
    2nd “ “ “ P/O. R. BAIRD (176294).

    Other Ranks – Senior N.C.O’s 11 & O.R’s 132 Total 143.

    Before we left the U.K. we wondered just what our role would be and now as we think retrospectively over the past month we have an entirely new idea. It seems that the Squadron will operate as several separate units. The administration is the responsibility of the Flights themselves to a large degree but they have to be catered by the Headquarters in equipment, N.A.A.F.I., Rations, certain stores and in some cases – pay.

    The personnel establishment of a flight is not sufficient on it’s own so it has to be supplemented by the Headquarters Flight. The Flights have various commitments so it is not possible to lay down exactly what extra personnel a flight needs. In the case of the joint attachment of “A” and “C” Flights it is somewhat easier than the single detachment of “D” Flight. At MENIL LA HORGE they have a W.O.M., M.T.M., Medical Orderly and Two Cooks. In addition there are two drivers of the 3 ton tender. “D” Flight at VENDEVILLE have a Cook, W.O.M., and two Gunner signallers. At the moment there is another Flight in reserve at Headquarters but when that Flight is despatched out on detachment it is feared that their requirements of personnel will rather sap the man-power of the Headquarters.

    Although there are 12 Motor Cyclists in the Squadron it is found that at times there is more work for them to do than they can cope with. Mail and rations take priority over everything of a non-operational nature. It is not nearly so important to pay the men as to give them cigarettes and other necessities, apart from these things there is no desire to spend anything else. The Belgian and French beers are too weak for the Britisher so he has no desire to drink it. The other Wines and Spirits are too expensive and there is very little else to do. The requests for Postal Orders and to remit money home are considerable.

    One can judge the morale very easily when it is contrasted to the morale in the U.K. Just before we left England the men were becoming restless and desiring to move out of the country. Now it is an atmosphere of greater contentment. There is the desire for further activity but that may be in store for us. We are only newcomers to this country.

    MENIL LA HORGNE (France) - 1st Dec.
    Signal received that advance party of 2750 Rifle Squadron is on its way and will arrive shortly.

    “A” & “C” Flights. - 2nd Dec.
    1800 Advance Party arrived – F/L/ GIBLY and F/O SOMERS – 2750 Squadron.

    -do- 4th Dec.
    Signal received that Main Party of 2750 Squadron arriving on the 6th Dec.

    -do- 6th Dec.
    0730 “A” Flight moved off for PREFONDVILLE, they will wait there for Main Party.

    1605 Two Rifle Flights of 2750 Squadron arrived at MENIL LA HORGNE.

    MENIL LA HORGNE - 7th Dec.
    1600 “C” Flight stood down on being relieved by 2750 Squadron.

    -do- 8th Dec.
    “C” Flight preparations made to move at 0800 hours tomorrow.

    -do- 9th Dec.
    0800 “C” Flight moved to Headquarters via PREFONDVILLE.

    GHENT - 2nd Dec.
    Orders received for “B” Flight to proceed to GULPEN – K. 705485. to guard buildings at Hotel Bergland and Patronaatz School at WILLREX.

    GULPEN (HOLLAND) - 3rd Dec.
    0800 “B” Flight departed from H.Q. for GULPEN – K.705485.

    10th/11th Dec.
    “A” & “C” Flights enroute for H.Q. on return from MENIL LA HORGNE arrived H.Q. 1400 hours 11th Dec.

    GHENT - 17th Dec
    1800 Orders received for “C” Flight to proceed to M.R.P. 565605 Nr BASTOGNE and give support to the troops of Armoured Cars commanded by F/L JAY – 2804 Squadron.

    18th Dec
    0700 F/O ROBERTS in company with LAC BYRON-ARNOLD moved in advance for P.565605.

    0800 “C” Flight moved from H.Q. for P.565605. (F/L HARGREAVES officer i/c)

    BASTOGNE (Belgium)
    1200 F/O ROBERTS arrived at BASTOGNE and contacted 8th Corps U.S. Army. Information received that enemy breakthrough was quite serious and that F/O ROBERTS should contact the Officer i/c War Room at frequent intervals.

    1230 F/O ROBERTS proceed to H.Q. of F/L JAY 2804 Squadron and was advised to travel on the HOUFFALIZE road as shelling was expected at any time. The technical site was on the HOUFFALIZE road so there was no alternative but to continue. The roads were full of U.S Vehicles moving back towards BASTOGNE.

    1300 Upon arrival at the Technical site F/O ROBERTS was met by F/L JAY, who was preparing to move back. The site was no longer operational and the preservation of the equipment was the first concern.

    1330 LT.COL. GRAY HORTON arrived and gave orders that “C” Flight 2742 Squadron was to R.V. at CHAMPLON – North West of BASTOGNE. F/O ROBERTS returned to MARCHE to meet the main party.

    1600 Main Party “C” Flight arrived and lead to CHAMPLON.

    1700 Arrived CHAMPLON. Lt.Col. GRAY HORTON waiting and gave information that no direct threat was considered and empowered F/L JAY to command his own troop and “C” Flight 2742 Squadron.

    1800 U.S. Vehicles pulling out from CHAMPLON (all types)

    1920 Visited U.S. 8th Corps for information and was informed that Tiger Tanks had penetrated quite deeply within 5 miles of BASTOGNE. Left D.R. at War Room to bring back any urgent Information.

    2130 Whilst party returning to CHAMPLON, D.R. caught up and gave information that U.S. 8th Corps H.Q’s evacuating from BASTOGNE. Direct threat to the area developing.

    2215 Contacted F/L JAY 2804 Squadron & F/O HENDERSON O.C. 6080 S.U. 25 B.D.S. Orders given to withdraw.

    2315 4 Recce Cars of 2742 Squadron, 15 – 3 ton vehicles of 6080 Signals Unit and Wireless Vans of 6080 Signals Unit, 59 R.A.F. and Army Personnel of 6080 Signals Unit, commanded by F/L HARGREAVES moved off. Rear Party – F/L JAY, F/O HENDERSON, F/Sgt BUNNEY and “B” Troop remained as there was insufficient transport and also they had to destroy wireless equipment left behind by another unit.

    18th Dec
    2300 Roads packed with U.S. Armour and soft skinned vehicles.

    2330 Hundreds of flares on both sides of road towards MARCHE (Later it was learnt that entire convoy had passed through the middle of enemy paratroops). Rear Party had sent D.R. to warn us but the message did not arrive until the following day.

    19th Dec
    0115 Convoy halted at village of SIN SIN., D.R. sent back to CHAMPLON to obtain information.

    0130 “B” Troop and 2804 Sqdn (3 cars) polled resources and moved towards the bridge over main BASTOGNE–CHAMPLON road. One car left behind on guard, which contacted small contingent of Canadian Forestry Unit. R/T Communication between cars at bridge and H.Q. at CHAMPLON. U.S. Military Police, stopped and searched our cars. Recce Cars fired at by small arms fire.

    0230 U.S. rearguard party pulled up to SIN SIN under a Capt. HORNE. General conference held but little information known. Capt. HORNE returned to MARCHE alone for information.

    0300 Capt. HORNE returned with news that MARCHE being evacuated.

    1100 Convoy halted 2 miles from NAMUR. F/L HARGREAVES proceeded back to MARCHE for information, En-route contacted 26 CANADIAN DIV evacuating LOROCHE and contacted 6080 Signals Unit Rear Party. Convoy proceeded to 25 B.D.S. BRUSSELS and arrived at 1400 hours.

    Meanwhile:- The rear party of 2804 and 2742 Sqdn were being active. F/SGT BUNNEY and “B” Troop remained at CHAMPLON. U.S. 8th Corps H.Q. had moved to NEUFCHATEAU, they could not be contacted and no information was coming through.

    20th Dec
    “B” Troop and one car of 2804 Sqdn left CHAMPLON for 60 Group technical site at spot M.651 South of VIELSALM to pull out, if possible all technical equipment. Site Complete with equipment ready for use. Two small hutted sites destroyed by grenades and fire. Vehicles had to be left owing to mud and lack of towing facilities. 89th U.S. Inf Div promised help on this following day with a Bulldozer. This position was within 400 yards of enemy and small arms fire was encountered the whole time. Troop return to CHAMPLON.

    21st Dec
    F/SGT BUNNEY proceeded to ORTHVILLE, main MARCHE to BASTOGNE road and contacted U.S. Tank Destroying Unit. Whilst talking with the U.S. Officer, an enemy forward unit opened fire causing casualties to a number of Americans.

    CHAMPLON (Belgium) - 21st Dec
    1000 On advice American Sector, decided to pull out from CHAMPLON in view of possibility enemy would try a flanking movement and cut all roads. Enemy reported to be wearing American uniforms, using captured American equipment.

    MARCHE (Belgium)
    1300 Arrived at MARCHE, roads now crowded with refugees, and it was decided to move via LOROCHE to the 60 Group technical site. Two cars of 2804 Sqdn left behind at MARCHE U/S.

    LOROCHE (Belgium)
    Approach to LAROCHE found to be under Mortar Fire, arrived ODEIGNE approx 1 mile from site. Meeting American Tank Units moving up, considerable small arms fire, moved to within 600 yards of site, and found road blocked and held by U.S. Infantry pinned down temporarily by fire. Withdrew for further attempt lower down the road. Again approached to within ½ mile of site only to be informed by the Americans, a tank battle was taking place on the area of the site. Decided to return to MARCHE, heavy fog, roads blocked with traffic.

    1900 Arrived MARCHE 1900 hours and decided to stay overnight.

    22nd Dec
    0800 Enemy now through BASTOGNE and heading for MARCHE so pulled out at 0800 hours for NAMUR. 10 kilo’s from SIN SIN, American sentry informed that paratroops had again been dropped that morning. Two civilians checked, both found with false identity cards, stamped with Swastika. Handed over to Americans and whilst doing so, fired upon by further batch of paratroops. Returned fire and further German captured.

    1300 Passed through NAMUR en route for 25 B.D.S. One car 2804 Sqdn in tow, arrived 1630 hours.

    NOTE. Little information of value could be obtained, small pockets of Germans being encountered miles apart and no real front had been established during the period we spent in the area. Ammo expended by the flight during the week was not wasted. The whole of 6080, 25 B.D.S. equipment vehicles and personnel was pulled out without loss. An interesting sidelight being the recovery of the pay left behind, for the entire unit. Morale ran very high and vehicle maintenance was first class. Weather very bad, heavy fog and rain.

    GULPEN (Holland) - 18th Dec.
    Orders received to the effect that “B” Flight to be withdrawn to Headquarters. Flight subsequently returned on 19th Dec.

    GHENT – BRUSSELS-20th Dec.
    “A” and “B” Flights moved to airfield B.56 at EVERE, Brussels, to take up protection of airfield.

    VENDEVILLE (France)
    “D” Flight - 22nd Dec.
    Owing to General situation received orders to double guards and provide a patrol at the Officers Mess – 148 Wing.

    KORTENBURG (Belgium)
    “C” Flight - 23rd Dec.
    Billets found with 2798 Squadron at KORTENBURG and general car maintenance done.

    2200 Flight turned out for protection of 25 B.D.S. against paratroops. Stood down at 0430 hours on 23rd.

    “D” Flight - 23rd Dec.
    Whole Flight at “Stand To”. Flight captured two Germans. The following is an extract from 148 Wing Intelligence Report:- “…. acting on information supplied by the local inhabitants the R.A.F. Regiment attached to the airfield, this morning captured two Germans believed to be paratroops, in the field near the Sergeants Mess. One was tall and powerful and dressed in paratroops overall. The other was shorter and wore the uniform of a Senior N.C.O. of the Army, with the Iron Cross 2nd class.”

    Several other patrols were made during the day but without any incident.

    24th Dec.
    All the airfield personnel on their toes and we are being sent out on many patrols to check numerous and unconfirmed information.

    25th Dec.
    Xmas dinner was a great success. Everybody seemed very satisfied. The cooks rose to the occasion and the food was excellent. We were visited by W/Cmdr Sheen D.F.C. to wish us greetings for Xmas.

    “C” Flight - 25th Dec.
    Orders received from W/CMDR MASE to move flight to BAVEL (HOLLAND) for protection of 15122G Signals Unit. route:- ANTWERP, BREDA, BAVEL.

    BAVEL (Holland)
    “C” Flight-26th Dec.
    Flight moved as ordered at 0800 hours and arrived 15122G BAVEL at 1400 hours. Canadian 64th Div stationed in village. Flight personnel found billets in private houses.

    27th Dec.
    W/CMDR MASE visited the Flight. Road patrols of area agreed upon. Liaison visit to 64th Bde H.Q. daily war situation report may be obtained from them. 47 Flying Bombs over during 24 hours ending at 1800 hours.

    28th Dec.
    S/L RAINE visited unit. Contact made with S/L BROWB O.C. 122 Wing. Recce of surrounding areas including BREDA, TOURNOUT, GILYE. Four regiment units in the area. Normal patrols. 17 Flying Bombs during past 24 hours ending at 1800 hours.

    VENDEVILLE (France)
    “D” Flight - 28th Dec.
    Patrols sent out at 0900 hours to investigate two abandoned vehicles. Shots fired on arrival. All buildings were searched without any success.

    BAVEL (Holland)
    “C” Flight - 29th Dec.
    Liaison visit to 1st British Corps. Heavy and sustained gunfire from the North. Enemy air activity. 29 Flying Bombs over in period ending 1800 hours. Normal patrols.

    30th Dec.
    Normal patrols. Increased patrol activity CAPELLE area. Possible enemy attack on this front considered probable in next 48 hours.

    31st Dec.
    Heavy British and American bomber formations passed over at 1030 hours, anti-aircraft and heavy gun fire from the North. Flying Bombs over in great number continues from 1400 hours.

    “D” Flight - 31st Dec.
    Shots fired at our patrol, we investigated without success.

    31st Dec.
    GENERAL. Position of Squadron as at this date is:-
    “A” and “B” Flights at B.56 Airfield - M.R. J.674584.
    “C” Flight at BAVEL. - M.R. D.983338.
    “D” Flight at VENDEVILLE (148 Wing) - M.R. H.7326.
    H.Q. at GHENT - M.R. J.227772.
    stolpi likes this.
  4. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    From the "Canadians on Radar" website here's a picture which is said to show a US dozer pulling a radar trailer out of the mud to allow a unit of 9442 Oboe (bomber guidance/target indication) unit to withdraw from the advancing Germans.

    Attached Files:

  5. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member


    Thanks for this. I've seen this photo in the .pdf of the Canadians on Radar book (Chapter XIII on Oboe, I think - on index). But the one in the .pdf is very low quality, so thanks for this one. Where did you get the high quality version?

    I'm still trying to identify all the various units involved - records from the time are very coy about it all - and had ID'd AMES 9442 as the Oboe unit near Laroche. More post to follow! But if you know any more, feel free to chip in.

  6. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    The next piece of information I found on this was a report in the National Archives at AIR 37/1218, written by a staff officer of 72 (Signals) Wing RAF, Lt.-Col. Gray [or Grey] Horton.

    He was an RAF Regiment officer attached to 72 Wing. As far as I know, the RAF Regiment was the only part of the RAF that had officers with army ranks like Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel – as a result of senior army officers being transferred or attached to the Regiment when it was formed but retaining their existing ranks. Gray Horton was originally Scots Guards and won the MC in 1917.

    Here is a transcript of the report. There are 5 appendices – transcripts to follow.


    From – Headquarters, No. 85 Group.

    To :- All addresses in distribution list with the exception of 2nd T.A.F.

    Date:- 16th January 1945.

    Ref :- 85G/S.12244/Def.


    The attached copy of R.A.F. operations in the Battle of the Ardennes is forwarded.

    Squadron Commanders, R.A.F. Regiment should go through the operations with all Officers and N.C.O.S, as they illustrate the type of conditions which may be met by the Regiment in future counter-offensives by the enemy.

    Squadrons will state if they will require additional copies of this report.


    M.G. Horton

    Lieutenant Colonel, R.A.F.R.

    Headquarters, No. 85 Group.


    The action in which detachments of the Regiment were involved in the Battle of the Ardennes is of special interest by reason of the fact that this was the first defensive battle in which the Regiment had been involved in Western Europe.

    The Regiment Units involved were at the time all employed on protecting RADAR Stations, which are one of the chief operational commitments of 85 Group. The Operation is best considered under four main aspects:
    (1) Light Warning Set (L.W.S.) 6088 – F/O. Henderson, which was operating Five Wireless Observer Units. (W.O.U. Posts). “6088” H.Q. was just North East of Bastogne on the HOUFFALIZE road.

    (2) The LAROCHE – VIELSALM area of 72 Wing, comprising of a number of highly important and secret RADAR Units, with Area H.Q. in VIELSALM.

    (3) A detached RADAR Unit at MALMEDY belonging to the 72 Wing area.

    (4) The 72 Wing Air Formation Signals Site at JEMELLE and Reconnaissances carried out after arrival at MORVILLE.

    The country in the Ardennes is hilly and wooded with progress only possible along the main roads or tracks, and ambush easy. V.P. Sites and important place names in the battle area are shown on the attached sketch map. The roads were either crowded with transport or else entirely deserted; making movement alternatively either difficult or uncertain, as in deserted parts, enemy patrols were quite likely to have cut across the roads in this fluid battle.

    The enemy started from a line some 20 miles ahead of the main 72 Wing Stations and the L.W.S., but a much shorter distance from the W.O.U.s. The duty of the latter was of course to be as close to the front line as possible.

    In the action that developed, enemy columns thrust deep into the American lines, reaching on the second day of the attack, in some cases, points 20 miles from their start line. Their exact whereabouts, therefore, was sometimes extremely difficult to locate.

    Our own troops holding the line consisted largely of American formations who were resting, or being given battle experience, and the Sector was lightly held. As soon, however, as the attack developed, American armour and parachute troops were moved forward; the former into VIELSALM; the latter into BASTOGNE.

    The general plan as far as the Regiment was concerned, was, as regards W.O.U. posts, to have a Regiment Officer with a small escort, which consisted of a troop of A.F.V.s available to the commander of the L.W.S. This Officer found constant patrols, whose main object was:
    (1) To liaise with the Americans.
    (2) Give early warning of any danger which threatened.
    (3) Obtain the advice of the Local Military Commander as to whether or not a threatened post should be evacuated.

    The extent of the ground which had to be covered by this small force will be seen by a glance at the attached sketch map.

    The Flights covering the 72 Wing Stations, all, except one, of which were under Squadron control, were to give warning of attack, mainly by liaison with neighbouring units, and in case of attack to cover the stations for which they were responsible until they could be evacuated.

    The allocation of the Regiment in the area was as follows:-
    (1) An Officer and a troop of A.F.V.s from 2804 Squadron to L.W.S. 6088 and the W.O.U.s it controlled. In spite of the difficulties of a troop operating on its own, Group commitments precluded a larger force. The troop was commanded by F/Lt. Jay. This troop was re-inforced on the 18th Dec. by a Flight from No. 2742 Squadron (Armoured) – F/Lt. Hargreaves.

    (2) No. 2811 Rifle Squadron, newly arrived from England, to the VIELSALM area of 72 Wing Stations, H.Q. West of Pt. 651. See Map. This Squadron detached one flight to protect the RADAR stations in the MALMEDY area.

    - 2-

    Trouble first developed with the W.O.U. posts on the 16th December, and from then on, the situation deteriorated.

    On the 17th Dec., news reached H.Q. 85 Group that the enemy had broken through to CLERVAUX, a penetration of 20 miles, and on that morning, news had reached S/Ldr. Wardropp, the Commander of the 72 Wing area at VIELSALM that things were becoming difficult. As Lt. Col. Leith, the C.R.A.F.R., of 72 Wing was on a reconnaissance at Strasbourg, W/Cmdr. Mase, another Group C.R.A.F.R., was detailed to assume Command of Regiment in the area until Lt. Col. Leith returned.

    The detailed narrative as regards the Regiment detachments involved is set out in Appendices A, B, C, D and E, but the broad outline was as follows:-

    From the 16th to the 18th Dec., the W.O.U. posts were being successfully withdrawn to their headquarters near BASTOGNE. On the 17th Dec., the L.W.S. at that headquarters was withdrawn to CHAMPLON and intended to commence operating again by 10.00 hours on the 19th. In view, however, of the worsening of the situation, the L.W.S., on the 19th was ordered back by 25 Sector, to its base near LOUVAIN.

    On the morning of the 18th, a Staff Officer of 85 Group H.Q. set out for the 72 Wing area in order to ascertain the military situation first hand for the A.O.C. and if necessary, advise RADAR Units to withdraw, or make sure they had done so.
    At about 12.30 hours on the 18th he contacted a D.R. from the L.W.S. some 8 miles N.W. of BASTOGNE.

    After hearing the story of the W.O.U. post from an attached Regiment Corporal, Cpl. Morgan, he proceeded to BASTOGNE to ascertain the military situation. At 13.30 hours on Monday 18th December, this was broadly to the effect that BASTOGNE would be held, that there was sufficient armour to hold VIELSALM, which was at that time they believed being attacked, but that as it would probably be outflanked from the North, the 72 Wing Stations in that area should be advised to withdraw if they had not already done so. There were conflicting reports about the road North through HOUFFALIZE.

    The representative of H.Q. 85 Group then proceeded to the old L.W.S. site North of BASTOGNE where F/O. Henderson and F/L. Jay were evacuating equipment that had been left behind. He next proceeded through HOUFFALIZE to the H.Q. formerly occupied by the Squadron, West of Pt. 651 X Roads. The Squadron, however, in order to afford close protection to the convoy on the march, had moved off on the orders of the Commander of the 72 Wing area. Incidentally, the road through HOUFFALIZE had proved quite clear of the enemy.

    Prior to moving, the squadron had not only protected the RADAR Stations, but had assisted the technical staff in packing and loading up technical equipment.

    Having been unable, therefore, to establish contact with the Regiment or any 72 Wing personnel, he then proceeded towards VIELSALM, in order to make sure that the area H.Q. had in fact moved, and to warn them to do so if they had not. On the way up, 72 Wing vehicles which had been left behind were seen on site.

    These had been left by the Commander of the 72 Wing Stations as he had not been able to remove them, owing to reliance on an American Tracked Vehicle, and he did not feel the military situation at the time justified their destruction. There appeared to him a very good chance that the site might be re-occupied in the course of the next few days. The Group representative, however, not knowing this, found himself with 5 vehicles on his hands; of unknown contents or importance, and as a result, decided to warn the Regiment detachment at CHAMPLON which was now the only Regiment location he knew of in the area.

    Nevertheless, before doing this, he proceeded to VIELSALM which was not then being attacked, but had enemy armour fairly close up to it both on the North and East. Progress towards MALMEDY was therefore impossible.

    After visiting VIELSALM he returned to 651 X Roads, and having visited vehicles at Pt. 651, proceeded via LAROCHE to CHAMPLON where orders were issued to F/Lt. Hargreaves, Commanding the re-inforcing Flight of No. 2742 Armoured Squadron. These orders were to the effect that an Officer and a RADAR expert should proceed to the 72 Wing vehicles and either destroy them or get them away. On the 19th, F/Lt. Jay carried out these orders, destroying one, and

    - 3-

    getting the others ready for starting. He also arranged with the Americans to provide a tractor to pull them out.

    Unfortunately, however, this salvage vehicle burned its clutch out at the crucial moment, and the vehicles still remained in situ. The next day, F/Lt. Jay again attempted to reach the site, but by this time it had been over-run, and he was unable to do so. He was accompanied on both days by F/Sgt. West of the RADAR Unit.

    The story of 2811 was as follows. At 10.30 hours on the 18th Dec. they had received orders to evacuate and escort the Stations back to MORVILLE behind the MEUSE Nr. DINANT.

    In spite of the distance from the line, the U.S. Military authorities considered parachute action in the area extremely likely, and close protection of the sites at MORVILLE was organised. On the next day, 2811 organised a series of distant patrols to re-cross the MEUSE and report on the battle situation. These were well conducted and of the greatest use in enabling the RADAR Commander to continue operating on the new site.
    At JEMELLE, Air Formation Signals had still a lot of equipment on site on the evening of the 18th, and to protect this, a Flight of 2811 was ordered back soon after arrival at MORVILLE.

    Next day, this Flight left, and another was sent out. Extremely valuable reconnaissance was carried out by Regiment patrols during the period of evacuation and details are given at Appendix “D”. Details of the events at MALMEDY where the Technical Site was threatened, but never over-run, are set out in Appendix “C”.

    Lt.Col. Leith relieved W/Cmdr. Mase in Command of the area on his return from Strasbourg on 19th December.

    The main lessons are as follows:-

    1. Although the Radar Stations in this battle were some 30 miles behind the line, they were threatened on the first day of the breakthrough. Stations in similar locations, therefore, require substantial protection.
    This should include A.F.V. patrols to give warning of attack, patrolling up to 10 miles along all likely lines of attack. Further, the patrols should be supported by some form of anti-tank weapon; BAZOOKA or PIAT; capable of turning back Armoured Reconnaissance patrols. At present, no such armament in the Regiment exists.

    2. The force available to the L.W.S. was very small, but the Troop Commander and L.W.S. Commander were determined, and between them saved all their personnel and equipment. This was largely due to the vigilance of the Radar personnel, to the patrols found by the Regiment, to the liaison with the Americans and to the initiative and devotion to duty shown by all ranks.

    The vehicle belonging to No. 3 W.O.U. post was salvaged by sheer guts.

    3. The decision as to whether or not to destroy equipment must always be difficult, but if removal is impossible, and destruction decided upon, the Technical Commander should consider using the Regiment. Also he should consider whether evacuation is not possible covered by them.

    4. The capacity of the Regiment for prolonged reconnaissance and its necessity throughout mobile operations is well brought out.

    5. The need for technical vehicles to have their own heavy tractor to haul them away is perhaps the outstanding lesson. A tractor may be expensive to leave on site, but so is any good insurance policy.

    6. Once the Squadron in Pt. 651 area, on the 18th, knew that a Staff Officer from Group was expected, arrangements should have been made to have an Officer at the old Headquarters. He should of course have specific orders, NOT to get put in the bag. Had this been done, some definite arrangement could have been made about salvage of vehicles. Also movements of the Armoured Flight and Troop could have been given to the Rifle Squadron.

    7. When evacuation appears likely, all kit not absolutely necessary should be packed in kit bags and a guard mounted on it. Had this been done at MALEMDY, more personal kit might have been saved.

    8. Under modern battle conditions, attack may come far behind the line. This was so in the case of the reported parachute landings behind the MEUSE at MORVILLE.

    - 4 –

    9. The present scale of Squadron transport may suffice in an advance when two trips can be made, but in a withdrawal, it is insufficient. Firstly, by the time the second load can be lifted, the site may have been over-run. Secondly, convoy blockages may make a reasonable second lift impracticable.

    Four more three-tonners are necessary.

    10. The function of the R.A.F. Regiment is to enable R.A.F. Stations to operate as long as possible, and cover their withdrawal when necessary. So far, attention has been mainly focussed on Defence of Airfields. It would appear that more emphasis should be placed on protection of RADAR Stations on which ultimately, all operations depend.

    11. Arrangements can often be made with the local Military Commander to augment the local defence as in the case of the 30 U.S. Troops loaned to L.W.S. 6088. See Appendix “A”. 17th December, Line 4.
    Juha and stolpi like this.
  7. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    Here is the map, from AIR 37.1218, referred to in the report in the previous post. I'd already posted this on stolpi's thread on the Ardennes but it really should go here.

    Ardennes map small.jpg
  8. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    The photo was e-mailed to me by Alfred Cassidy - a veteran of 9442 after a request to the webmster of Canadians on Radar
    Here's another poto he sent me. I have one or two more.

    Attached Files:

  9. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member


    Great photo! I think I'll need to email the webmaster.

    I have a couple of vaguely similar photos in one of the albums on my personal page. They were taken sometime in 1945 by my grandfather or someone in his Flight.

    Here they are -


    This first is part of an armoured car squadron parked at the side of an autobahn, with a despatch motorcyle, a truck and three Humber light reconnaissance cars. The second is a view of (I suspect) the same autobahn. My grandfather certainly escorted AMES units. Who knows, maybe even 9442?
  10. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    Continuing the report in AIR 37/1218, here is appendix A.



    (Based on Report from F/Lt. Jay.)

    16th Dec.
    At approximately 16.00 hours, R/T. message received from No. 4. W.O.U. Map. Ref. P.8485 that they were under shell fire. One A.F.V., Commander F/Lt. Jay, Driver Lac. Sharkey, Gunner LAC Ashworth immediately left H.Q. 6088 L.W.S. to find out the position. Cpl. Morgan left in command of the R.A.F. Regiment force. It was found that shells had fallen within 20 yards of the W.O.U. and it was obvious that a large scale battle was going on in the vicinity. F/Lt. Jay gave orders for the W.O.U. to evacuate immediately and if possible, to operate from their original position M.R. P.7775. The anti-tank and Bren gun were deployed to give covering fire while the move was taking place as it was obvious from the amount of small arms fire in the vicinity that the enemy were not far away. At approximately 18.00 hours the W.O.U. was evacuated and proceeded to the proposed site. On arrival at P.7775, considerable small arms fire was encountered, so it was decided to convoy the W.O.U. back to H.Q. 6088 L.W.S. This was accomplished at 23.00 hours.

    17th Dec.
    At approximately 02.15 hours a message was received from H.Q. 8th Corps. “Blue Alert – Paratroop attack expected”. The defence plan was immediately put into force. All personnel not on watch were deployed, including 30 U.S. Troops sent to augment the defences. Preparations were made for evacuation and all vehicles ready to move. Two A.F.V.s were sent on patrol from H.Q. 6088 L.W.S. to the railway crossing at BOURCY MR. P.6364, commanded by Cpl. Forsyth, driver Lac. Penrose, and Section Gunners Lacs Ashworth and Alcock, 2nd Car commanded by Lac. Graham. Their orders were to bring back information as to the whereabouts of the enemy. At 03.45, this patrol returned with the information that paratroops had been dropped near MABOMPRE MR. P.5868. Orders were given for the same personnel to carry out a further patrol along the road to HOUFFALIZE to BASTOGNE to LONGCHAMPS to FOY to H.Q. This patrol returned at 07.00 hours with the information that small arms fire had been heard in the direction of MABOMPRE. At daybreak the defences of H.Q. 6088 L.W.S. were halved in order to allow personnel to rest. At 09.00 hours, F/Lt. Jay visited H.Q. 8th Corps for further information. The position was very obscure. At 09.15 hours, No. 3 W.O.U. personnel arrived at H.Q. reporting that they had been under fire and attempted to evacuate. However, their vehicle was in collision with a U.S. Mobile Gun as they were about to leave the site. The N.C.O. i/c W.O.U. stated that the enemy were in close proximity. Cpl. Morgan and 2 A.F.V.s, Drivers Lacs. Penrose and Maud, Gunners Alcock and Sharkey, 2nd Car Commanded by Lac. Ashworth, immediately departed for the site convoying an R.A.F. three-tonner. On arrival, Cpl. Morgan made a reconnaissance and found the enemy were approx. 1000 yards away and small arms fire was being exchanged between the U.S. and enemy. Two A.F.V. were deployed to give covering fire while the equipment was packed on the three-tonner and the W.O.U. vehicle towed out. At 13.00 hours, Cpl. Morgan returned with the complete W.O.U. equipment. At 13.30, Cpl. Forsyth with his A.F.V. driver Lac. Sharkey, Gunner Lac. Graham, were detailed to evacuate No. 5 W.O.U. MR. P.7990. At 17.00 hours, F/Lt. Jay contacted 8th Corps as to the position and advice was given that 6088 L.W.S. should be evacuated. It was decided to evacuate to CHAMPLON MR. P.3970 and the information was given to 8th Corps. At approximately 18.00 hours, a “RED” alert was received, meaning enemy attack imminent. At approximately 23.30 hours all essential radio equipment and all personnel had been evacuated.

    18th Dec.
    At 00.30 hours, Cpl. Forsyth returned to H.Q. 6088 L.W.S with No. 5 W.O.U. and found that the site had been evacuated. He contacted U.S. H.Q. 8th Corps who gave him no indication of the whereabouts of 6088 L.W.S. so he stayed at the U.S.H.Q. Cpl. Forsyth had experienced considerable difficulty in getting to No. 5 W.O.U. M.R. P.7990, owing to the U.S. 7th Armoured Div. tanks blocking the roads, and the road between PETIT THEIR and POTEAU being under shell fire, No. 5 W.O.U. were subsequently met pulling out of their site and Cpl. Forsyth, after being forced off the road, gave further orders for the W.O.U. to wait in VIELSALM till he was extricated. Eventually the W.O.U. was convoyed back. At 09.00 hours F/Lt. Jay visited H.Q. 8th Corps for the latest news and left there at 09.30 hours with the intention of going to VIELSALM to find out what had happened to Cpl. Forsyth. However, news was then received that Cpl. Forsyth had returned. Orders were then given for 3 A.F.V.s to remain at CHAMPLON to give protection to 6088 L.W.S. and all remaining personnel and vehicles to proceed to the old site to evacuate stores and equipment. At approximately 13.30 hours, Lt.Col. Grey Horton arrived and he was given the complete picture. F/O. Roberts arrived as advance party of “C” Flight, 2742 Squadron. Considerable difficulty was experienced extricating the NUN generators. At approximately 15.30 hours the site was under shell fore. Majority of R.A.F. personnel was packed in vehicles and the convoy pulled out as small arms fire was heard in the next wood. The convoy eventually arrived at the new H.Q. at CHAMPLON at 23.00 hours. “C” Flight, 2742 Squadron had then arrived, commanded by F/Lt. Hargreaves, and they had made further contact with H.Q. 8th Corps who gave information that there was a possibility of the enemy breaking through further and advice was given that we should move further back. It was therefore decided to evacuate the essential radio equipment immediately to HOGNE MR. P.2586 convoyed by “A” Troop, “C” Flight 2742 Squadron, Commanded by F/Lt. Hargreaves. This left “B” Troop, 2742 Squadron and “B” Troop, 2804 Squadron at CHAMPLON with a few R.A.F. personnel and their vehicles, and equipment. Orders had been received from Col. Grey Horton at 18.00 hours to inspect the three R.A.F. sites in the late 72 Wing area. Pt. 651, to see if all essential equipment had been destroyed.

    19th Dec.
    At approximately 01.00 hours paratroops were seen from CHAMPLON being dropped in the area of MARCHE. The bridge at P.4366 was guarded by one A.F.V. in R/T communication with A.F.V. at H.Q., with instructions to stop all vehicles and endeavour to find out the position of the enemy.

    20th Dec.*
    At 09.00 hours, F/Lt. Jay left for NEUFCHATEAU P.3541, new H.Q. 8th Corps for information as the whereabouts of the enemy. Position still obscure, but it was thought we should be able to get through to the three R.A.F. Sites. A 13.00 hours, one Troop commanded by F/Lt. Jay left CHAMPLON via LAROCHE and SAMREE to inspect the three stations. F/Sgt. West was taken to give technical advice. F/Sgt. Bunney left i/c H.Q. at CHAMPLON. It was found on arrival that it was necessary to burn one trailer at P.6186 on advice of F/Sgt. West. A considerable quantity of equipment had been left. While the trailer was being burned, information received from U.S. M.P. that enemy tanks were operating in the next valley. P.5685 was next visited and it was found that 5 V.H.F. vehicles had been left intact. Efforts were made to start the engines, and eventually all vehicles except one were running. This was destroyed. An American Colonel was contacted and he promised a tracked vehicle to tow the V.H.F. vehicles on to the road. This duly arrived but it could not be used as the clutch burned out. However, we were promised the use of another vehicle the next morning and it was thought that all vehicles could be evacuated as there was a certain amount of U.S. armour between this position and the enemy. P.5395 was next visited and this site was found to have been efficiently destroyed and evacuated. At approximately 18.30 hours, the A.F.V.s left for CHAMPLON. On arrival at CHAMPLON it was found that orders had been received for 6088 L.W.S. to return to H.Q. 25 Sector.

    21st Dec.
    At 09.00 hours, F/Sgt. Bunney and 2 A.F.V.s went on a reconnaissance to find the position of the enemy. Information brought back that enemy paratroops were operating at BACONFOY P.4368. CHAMPLON immediately evacuated and R.A.F vehicles and equipment convoyed to MARCHE. At MARCHE 5 A.F.V.s commanded by F/Lt. Jay left to make a further attempt to evacuate R.A.F. vehicles at P.5685. Remaining two A.F.V.s to convoy R.A.F. personnel and equipment back to H.Q. 25 Sector. The reconnaissance patrol left MARCHE at 10.00 hours accompanied by one 15 cwt., and one D.R. and travelled via HOTTON and EREZEE as it was learned that LAROCHE was under mortar fire. On arrival at LAMORMENIL P.4686, one A.F.V. (F/Sgt. Bunney) broke down and was left in the village. The recce continued to DOCHAMPS where an American tank attack was going in to destroy enemy road block at approximately P.5282. A.F.V.s then came under mortar fire and returned to LAMORMENIL. A further attempt was made to reach the objective by proceeding along a small track from LAMORMENIL to high point 651. After proceeding approximately 2 miles and then being only 1/2 mile from P.5685 the patrol came under fire from both sides of the road. It was then decided to give up the attempt and the patrol returned to MARCHE and spent the night there.

    22nd Dec.
    Remaining A.F.V.s and 15 cwt. returned to 25 Sector at approximately 19.00 hours.

    [22nd Dec.
    ”C” Flight, 2742 Squadron, returned to GHENT.]**

    * The original appendix has the dates in the left hand column and the text in the right hand column. It is not clear from the original where the entry for 19th December ends and the entry for 20th December starts.

    ** The entry here is scored through. A different appendix deals with "C" Flight of 2742 squadron.
  11. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    And here is appendix B



    (Based on Operations Record Book (F.540) – 2811 Sqdn.)

    Sunday 17th December.

    11.30 hours.

    F/Lt. Craig, 9432* A.M.E.S. telephoned Squadron Headquarters asking for news, because he had heard of enemy infiltration in the MALMEDY district. No information had been received at Squadron H.Q.

    12.00 hours.
    F/Lt. Hirons left to contact 8th U.S. Corps H.Q. at BASTOGNE. Information there was that the enemy were attacking due East of VIELSALM, employing 12 identified divisions, very strong in armour. Enemy paratroops were being dropped ahead, and were reported at Road Junction K.8314, North of MALMEDY.

    More paratroop landings expected. Enemy orders had been captured showing intention was to reach the River Meuse.

    Col. Montgomery, U.S. Intelligence Officer at 8th Corps said position was very fluid and he recommended that the R.A.F. Units should be withdrawn.

    F/Lt. Hirons returned to Squadron H.Q. at 13.45 hours.

    14.00 hours.
    S/L. Goff, O.C. 2811 Squadron, ordered state of readiness for whole Squadron, and left for 9000 site. He contacted S/L. Smith, Chief Technical Officer, and passed on information regarding enemy. No. [3]** Flight stood-to and manned defences.

    No. 4 Flight at REGNE had vehicles ready with essential kit and rations, to move the 9000 site; for defence of 9000 technical site.

    No. 1 Flight at CHEMIL PIERRE had been warned and all defence precautions taken.

    15.00 hours.

    S/L. Goff left for Area H.Q. at VIELSALM and passed all the information he had to F/Lt. Craig, who was acting as O.C. in the absence of S/L. Wardropp. The Area H.Q. had received information from the U.S. Forces in VIELSALM that the position was becoming worse.

    19.15 hours.

    S/L. Goff returned to Squadron H.Q.

    22.15 hours.

    S/L. Wardropp, Area Commander, telephoned S/L. Goff to say he had returned, asking S/L. Goff to report there, who then left for area H.Q.

    23.50 hours.
    D.R. was sent to 2804 detachment at BASTOGNE, to pass on signal from H.Q. 85 Group. He found only two tents there, but no personnel. The latter were then moving to a new site at CHAMPLON.

    S/L. Wardropp was receiving information every half-hour from U.S. H.Q. at VIELSALM.

    Contact had been lost with No. 2 Flight – F/O. Yearwood at MALMEDY – except for information from two R.A.F. drivers from MALMEDY site who had left there at approx. 13.30 hours. They stated that conditions appeared normal, but they heard that paratroops had been dropped. A message was sent to No. 2 Flight to warn them of the situation, but the drivers had to return because they were turned back by the Americans.

    Monday 18th December.

    02.55 hours.

    Information received that RECHT P.7995 was in enemy hands.

    03.30 hours.
    S/L. Goff issued instructions to the Squadron to prepare for withdrawal, GIVET to the R.V.

    S/L. Wardropp issued similar instructions to R.A.F. Units, and ordered that R.A.F.Regt. Units attached to sites would withdraw with them to give them protection on the move. S.H.Q. to attach themselves to the rear of R.A.F. Convoy.

    04.00 hours.

    S/L. Goff issued orders for Squadron H.Q. and Mortar Flight to start packing and be prepared to move.

    05.45 hours.

    Signal received from H.Q. 85 Group. W/C. Mase assumed command of Regiment in LAROCHE area during absence of Lt.Col. Leith in STRASBOURG area.

    07.45 hours.

    Message received at Area H.Q. from U.S. H.Q. in VIELSALM to say position worse.

    08.00 hours.
    F/L. Hirons left for 8th Corps H.Q. and attended conference there at 09.00 hours. Information as follows:- Position had become worse during night. BASTOGNE was directly threatened; enemy had reached approx. 10 kilometres East of BASTOGNE; ST. VITH was holding out; CLERVAUX had been captured; unconfirmed report that enemy had by-passed ST. VITH and cut road to VIELSALM; remnant of two American divisions were holding out in SCHNEE – EIFEL area.

    7 Armoured Div. was in position forward of VIELSALM with two Sqdns. of cavalry tanks in support.

    Paratroops had been dropped north of MALMEDY on night of 17th/18th Dec., strength 200-300 men. The exact position in MALMEDY area was uncertain; it was hoped the position would be held.

    Enemy unit threatening BASTOGNE was 2nd Panzer Div. supported by elements of 26th and 27th Infantry Divs. On his way back to Squadron H.Q. F/L. Hirons spoke to car commander of 2804 detachment who was at the BASTOGNE site with one W.O.U. They were waiting for the arrival of the R.A.F. Regt. Officer. 85 Group. Signal was left with them.

    09.10 hours

    S/L. Goff left for MALMEDY to try to contact No. 2 Flight. He was unable to get through and returned to Area H.Q. S/Ldr. Wardropp informed him that he had received orders from the G/C. at 72 Wing to evacuate immediately. Orders had been passed to all concerned and the R.V. had been changed to FLORENNES. The forming up point for the convoy was to be the X Roads P.5785. S/Ldr. Goff returned to Squadron H.Q. approximately 11.30 hours.

    09.00 hours.
    F/O. Ball, O.C. R.A.F.R. on technical site, received message that R.A.F. Radar personnel were evacuating. No. 4 Flight were standing by in the village (REGNE). No. 3 Flight were in defensive positions and also assisting the R.A.F. Technical personnel to pack up. No. 4 Flight proceeded to Technical Site and took up position on the road facing East; Brens were deployed and arrangements for defence were made. Some personnel of this Flight were also detached to assist the R.A.F. Personnel in packing up.

    The evacuation of Technical Vehicles from the site commenced at 11.00 hours.

    At 12.30 hours, S/Ldr. Wardropp informed F/O. Ball that all R.A.F. personnel with the exception of himself and two technical officers had been evacuated. The wireless mast, diesel engine, trailer and workshop were left behind and three vehicles at the M.S.U. Site could not be evacuated because the Americans would not loan them a bulldozer. All valuable equipment had been removed from those vehicles. The road past the technical site was by this time a mass of traffic. The U.S. Commander would not allow any R.A.F. vehicles to remain on the road and he insisted that they should keep moving, and in fact warned S/Ldr. Wardropp that if the R.A.F. vehicles remained on the road he would remove them with a bulldozer. The R.A.F. Vehicles therefore had to move on to FLORENNES independently and not as a convoy. S/Ldr. Wardropp issued orders to F/O. Ball to move off; No. 4 Flight forming the rearguard. Squadron Headquarters, Mortar Flight, Nos. 3 and 4 Flights moved off at 13.30.

    12.45 hours.
    W/C. Mase arrived at Squadron Headquarters and attached himself to the R.A.F. Regiment convoy.

    No. 1 Flight with the technical vehicles left their site at 10.30 hours. The destination of this unit was MONS but the Technical Officer in charge decided to billet for the night at GIVET.

    The convoy (Squadron H.Q. etc) arrived at FLORENNES at approximately 17.00 hours when some difficulty was experienced finding the site. This was due to FLORENNES being given as the R.V. when in fact it should have been ROSEE. No accommodation had been earmarked for R.A.F. Regiment personnel, and so S/L. Goff moved to MORVILLE, which was better because it was nearer to the new Technical Site. Billets were found for all the men; guards and defence arranged.

    Tuesday, 19th December.

    W/C. Mase left for No. 25 Sector.

    10.00 hours.

    Lt. Col. Leith returned to H.Q. No. 72 Wing.

    13.30 hours.

    F/O. Thomas and No. 1 Flight arrived at MONS with R.A.F. Technical Vehicles and were ordered to rejoin Squadron at MORVILLE.

    14.00 hours.

    Lt. Col. Leith left for Morville and assumed command of defence arrangements. Plans for defence were made. Plan A to deal with paratroops and Plan B. in conjunction with the R.A.F. in case further evacuation became necessary.


    * 9432 AMES is mentioned here but other information suggests this should read 9442 AMES.

    ** Original text unclear
  12. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    And here is appendix C. The last paragraph seems very surreal!



    (Based on Operations Record Book (F.540) – 2811 Sqdn.)

    Sunday 17th December.

    On being relived at AMES 109 by Sgt. Phillipson of No. 2 Flight, I proceeded; having fixed him up and given him all information necessary, that he would need to carry on in my absence at UBACHSBERG.

    15.30 hours

    We departed in a 15 cwt. Fordson at 15.30 to go to MALMEDY taking a certain amount of kit and my driver Lac. Newman. On arriving at AACHEN, the Fordson gave trouble and it was necessary to halt to have it seen to by a Lt. Eng. Coy of 1st U.S. Army.

    19.45 hours.
    Proceeded to MALMEDY, engine started missing after having left the Motor Pool.

    Many convoys on the road hampered our speed, but we arrived at Road Junction K.8314. Spot height 692, and proceeded about one mile past this point when we were delayed for one hour while the convoy turned.

    21.30 hours.

    We were informed that the Germans had entered the outskirts of MALMEDY and that nobody was to enter the town. We repaired to the Road Junction at K.8314 to contact the MP. to seek information.

    22.00 hours.

    Advance party of Batt. of 1st Army, 5th Corps arrived, a Major in charge. Had already found two of the men, LAC. Whittaker and LAC Dickenson at the M.P. Point awaiting any information that they could find out to take back to the guard. They informed me of the situation and what had happened to them.

    23.00 hours.

    I waited for further information on the situation before contacting personally the site. This, however, was not forthcoming, and the main party of the U.S. Batt. had not come up.

    23.45 hours.

    Decided to contact the Technical Site. Paratroops had been liberally dropped the night before and I had spent about 2 hours with the Batt. Major going round his various sites, telling him what I knew of the local area for car parks, gun sites, A/Tank Obstacles etc.

    Monday 18th December

    00.30 hours.

    Contacted the Technical Site on a patrol method as no support troops were in the Area. This was a particularly eerie experience having to walk about ¾ of a mile through the woods with the two men who were already at the point. This, however, was carried out successfully. Point contacted and found all personnel as comfortable as possible and all at the ready.

    00.50 hours.

    Rejoined the M.P. Point and found that the U.S. Battalion had arrived and that the Colonel was there. Gave him all information possible.

    02.30 hours.

    Proceeded with the O.C. “G” Company to liaise with him, as his Coy. was allocated to my area.

    03.00 hours.

    Guards were mounted, and his patrols commenced to operate. Returned to the M.P. Point and made it my H.Q.

    03.30 hours.

    Turned in for the night.

    07.30 hours.

    Rations were provided by arrangement with the Colonel. Our men had ample supplies from 24 hour packs they had opened. Patrols were sent out to obtain information, during the night to MALMEDY and neighbouring areas. Nothing really concrete could be obtained. Four paratroops were captured between 18.00 hours and 23.00 hours.

    08.30 hours.

    Telephone line to M.P. Point repaired, and contact resumed.

    09.30 hours.

    I proceeded into MALMEDY in a Jeep with a Lieutenant, Sgt. Mason, and a driver to seek information and what had become of our billets and equipment. Contacted troops in MALMEDY and saw the War Maps of the Company of Engineers, 7th Arm. Div. detachment, and Coy H.Q. of 1st Army Unit.

    10.00 hours.

    Billets occupied by holding troops. Nearly all our gear intact. Streets entering town were mined and trees ready for felling.

    11.00 hours.

    Rejoined the Battalion H.Q.

    11.30 hours.

    Proceeded to MALMEDY in 15 cwt. vehicle to obtain food and cooking equipment. Also any other Salvage.

    15.00 hours

    Started out again for Battalion H.Q.

    16.00 hours.

    15 cwt. stalled on a hill and became u/s. After a while, we were towed to the top having got hold of a fair amount of kit and food, as much as the wagon would hold.

    17.00 hours.
    Visited the site and went round the patrols. Nothing outstanding occurred and no events were of outstanding importance. Flying Bombs were plentiful and low. Weather conditions were damp, snow on the ground and mud deep. The mist was also heavy.

    The men did their share of guards. They were living exceptionally hard, accommodation being tents, no blankets and no change of gear at all. Ammunition was available. Damp was the only enemy. Rubber boots were not available for all people on the job. The Hydro Burner had been rescued, so hot water was available. The U.S. Troops fed the men.

    Tuesday 19th December.

    07.00 hours

    Patrols had been active during the night, but had nothing to report. Plenty of U.S. armour and troops were proceeding down towards MALMEDY. The situation seemed exceptionally good for the present. Flying Bombs proceeded to come over from the Dawn, after a lull.

    10.00 hours.

    Contacted Sgt. Mason and decide to pull the two vehicles out, set up the site at M.R.8215. Spot Ht. 674. We could operate with the Austin (Technical Vehicle) only 25 yards from the road, and men in their Billets by the roadside. These billets having been evacuated by the American Radio Unit and subsequently by a company of a Reconnaissance Unit that was keeping the MALMDEY – EUPEN road patrols open and free from enemy troops. This plan was going to be put into action as the O.C. of the Battalion had told me that no movement by the enemy threatened the hill and he felt that as he was holding the junction, that it would be safe. Lac. Tubby on Motor Cycle was sent with the situation reports for H.Q. into UBACHSBERG to contact the three-tonner and return with same.

    12.00 hours.

    Lunch. Food excellent, started to repair Fordson, but owing to frequent calls on Technical personnel of U.S. Army, this was not easy.

    13.00 hours.

    The Battalion had orders to move. The plan to site the Technical Vehicles was abandoned as the Colonel was taking up a defensive position at WAIMES, East of MALMEDY. German pressure was increasing.

    14.00 hours.

    We decided to evacuate.

    15.00 hours.

    The technical vehicles were towed out by U.S. Half-tracks.

    15.30 hours.

    It was decided to visit MALMEDY, and I said that it would be possible, having contacted the Map situation officer. Sgt. Mason was instructed to rescue only Technical equipment and our own Flight equipment that was handy. The vehicle being used was a 30 cwt. containing two huge generators. This limited the salvage.

    16.00 hours.
    Started again to repair the Fordson. The radiator had to be taken off to get at the Distributor.

    A flying bomb landed near the technical site but no damage was done to equipment or personnel.

    17.00 hours.

    Shells burst nearby, and also near and around Battalion H.Q. No damage was done and only a few were sent. Shrapnel also from H.E. A.A. dropped about as it was sent up at numerous flying bombs.

    17.30 hours.

    Technical site evacuated. All equipment taken to the end of the lane to be put on vehicle.

    17.35 hours.

    Lac. Tubby returned with u/s Motor cycle having not got to H.Q.

    17.45 hours.

    The 30 cwt. arrived back.

    18.30 hours.

    Fordson repaired and started off for AACHEN. Weather misty, dark, and mud plentiful. Road open to AACHEN. Enquiries made along the road, to M.P.s and information points proved this. Lac. Tubby’s Motor-cycle had to be abandoned. Difficulty in keeping the three trucks together was experienced. Mist was the cause, and also the heavy traffic. However, we all arrived safely at AACHEN, and we proceeded on towards UBACHSBERG as fast as possible.

    Wednesday 20th December.

    02.30 hours.

    Arrived at UBACHSBERG. Got up the resident personnel and cooks that were needed. A hot drink, food and quarters were obtained for the Unit. Cigarettes were issued.

    AT UBACHSBERG. Credit must be given to Sgt. Phillipson who acted in an exceptionally creditable manner throughout the whole period. I have all my confidence in this Sergeant. All through my absence at MALMEDY he held the fort at UBACHSBERG for me and organised the internal arrangements and official matters, including the childrens party that he had only briefly sketched for him by me before leaving.
  13. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    Here is appendix D. Only one more to go.

    I think the Air Formation Signals unit mentioned may be a Royal Corps of Signals unit rather than an RAF unit. There will have been one or more such units attached to 72 Wing. I'm not sure which one it was (but my suspicion is that it is No. 12 AFS).



    (Based on Operations Record Book (F.540) – 2811 Sqdn.)

    Monday 18th December.

    22.00 hours.
    Mortar Flight ordered to proceed to JEMELLE by G/C. Phillips, Commanding No. 72 Wing.

    Mortar Flight proceeded and arrived at JEMELLE at 23.45 hours.

    Tuesday 19th December.

    00.15 hours.

    Mortar Flight, O.C. F/L. Hirons on arrival at JEMELLE M.R. 23670 helped the A.F.S. personnel to dismantle equipment and evacuate the locality, returning to Squadron H.Q. at 06.00 hours.

    13.00 hours.
    Four reconnaissance parties left the Squadron H.Q. at MORVILLE under respective commands of S/L. Goff, P/O Murchison, F/O Ball, and F/Sgt. George.

    Intention of the reconnaissance patrols was to establish the exact line held by the enemy and ascertain if it was possible to return the technical equipment to the LAROCHE area.

    Recce. patrol i/c. S/L. Goff returned the following information:-

    1. Hun being contained at BASTOGNE.
    2. Hun just east of VIELSALM.
    3. Enemy activity east of SPA.
    4. German line appeared to be East of SPA, MALMEDY, ST. VITH, with a bugle between VIELSALM and BASTOGNE.
    5. Heavy Allied artillery situated at SAMREE but had not engaged the enemy.

    Recce patrol, i/c F/O. Ball reported that the main fighting was in VIELSALM – ST. VITH area. On contact with Maquis, information was received that the enemy had not occupied LAROCHE or JEMELLE.

    Recce patrol, i/c P/O. Murchison reported nothing of note had happened in or around DURBUY, and that the enemy were being held at MALMEDY and STAVELOT.

    Recce patrol, i/c F/Sgt. George reported nothing of note had happened in DURBUY, NAMUR and HAVELANGE areas.

    The situation at JEMELLE, the communication centre therefore was not satisfactory. There were only A.F.S. personnel there and they were fully employed on technical duties, and in view of this and the information obtained by the Recce. patrols, it was decided to send No. 1 Flight there the following morning.

    Wednesday 20th December.

    F/O. Thomas with No. 1 Flight, left for JEMELLE. The situation there was still most uncertain, information being very difficult to obtain, and it was now extremely likely that the area would be attacked by the Hun.

    Thursday 21st December.

    06.00 hours.

    Message from F/O. Thomas to say that the situation at JEMELLE was not satisfactory. Enemy reported just beyond ST. HUBERT.

    08.00 hours.
    Lt. Col. Leith did a reconnaissance in the area. U.S. Intelligence could give only scanty information which was not re-assuring. The only troops in front of us were approximately 800 Canadian Forestry Corps armed with rifles. Lt. Col. Leith spoke to G/Capt Phillips who said that the orders from 85 Group were that no stand was to be made, but evacuation had to be ordered if the military situation became worse.

    D.R.s were patrolling the ST. HUBERT road up to CHAMPLON constantly.

    13.05 hours.
    D.R. reported that the enemy had broken into CHAMPLON area and were heading West. The Canadian Forestry Corps had been ordered to evacuate at 12.30.

    Major Davis, Royal Corps of Signals, ordered complete evacuation of JEMELLE by Signals personnel. F/O. Thomas O.C. No. 1 Flight ordered his Flight to withdraw with the Signals Unit. Major Davis an F/Lt. Hirons remained at JEMELLE, made a reconnaissance and decided to endeavour to remove all equipment.

    17.00 hours.

    Vehicles were ordered and all equipment evacuated by 19.30 hours. A patrol of Don. R.s was maintained throughout the night under hazardous conditions in country and on roads probably held by the Hun, and their reports helped establish a sound picture on which the evacuation was ordered. The Don.R. patrol consisted of Lac. Bridgewater, Lac. Stokes and Lac. Coutts.

    Friday 22nd December.

    07.30 hours.
    The armoured patrol of 2804 Squadron accompanied by F/O. Thomas 2811 Squadron once more visited the JEMELLE area, where the following information was obtained. Since the River line was directly threatened, it was essential to keep the Radar Commander in the picture.

    Enemy probably in ST. HUBERT and LAROCHE and now proceedings in a N.W. direction. MARCHE still in American hands and the 7th Arm. Division had its H.Q. there. Enemy in occupation of HOTTON and American troops in occupation of ST. VITH and MALMEDY.

    The reconnaissance patrol of armoured cars took up positions of observation dispersed around a fork road, 3 kilometres from FORRIERES. F/O. Sixsmith questioned a civilian who informed him that a truck of American soldiers had been shot up by Germans in two captured American tanks at FORRIERES, and that there were four Tiger tanks at NASSOGNE.

    F/O. Sixsmith stated that he considered the position too fluid to risk deploying any equipment or personnel at JEMELLE within the immediate future.

    Shortly afterwards, JEMELLE was evacuated.

    All equipment had been saved and the site had been used as a base for reconnaissances which proved of the greatest value.
  14. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    And finally ... appendix E.

    This will seem familiar, as it is based on the ORB for 2742 squadron, already posted. Throughout, for some reason, it refers to Flight Lieutenant Jay of 2804 squadron as Flight Lieutenant "Say". Bar the first occurrence, I have corrected that.

    It also - consistently with the rest of the report - identifies the LWS involved as No. 6088. The squadron ORB has them as 6080. But that unit appears to been lost at Arnhem back in September 1944!



    (Based on Operations Record Book - F.540 – 2742 Squadron)

    Sunday 17th December.

    Telephone message from H.Q. 85 Group, “C” Flight will move to area of LAROCHE P.565605, first light 18th December.

    Monday 18th December.

    F/O. Roberts moved in advance. Contact to be made at MARCHE. Flight moved at 08.00 hours. Route: BRUSSELS – NAMUR – MARCHE – LAROCHE.

    16.00 hours.

    Arrived MARCHE and met by F/O. Roberts who reported the enemy had broken through in the direction of BASTOGNE. L.W.S. not at LAROCHE.

    17.00 hours.

    Located CHAMPLON, and on arrival met by Lt.Col. Horton, 85 Group, and informed by him that no direct threat was considered, and instructed to report to F/L. Say [sic]* for any further information of the military situation in the area. Given instructions by G.C.R.A.F.R. 85 Group re inspection of vehicles of late 72 Wing Site, X Roads 651.

    18.00 hours.

    American vehicles puling out from CHAMPLON (all types). Heavy gunfire, flares etc. At 18.30, in light of events and in the continued absence of F/L. Jay, decided, along with F/O. Roberts, to visit the American 8th Corps, BASTOGNE for information.

    19.20 hours.

    Reported to Col. Harper, War Room, 8th Corps, and was informed that enemy tanks had been reported 5 miles from BASTOGNE, (later this was confirmed to be true, having attacked American division moving up into the line.) but at the time, there was no direct threat towards CHAMPLON or MARCHE. Left D.R. with Col. Harper to bring any further news to Unit.

    21.30 hours.

    On way back to Unit, D.R. caught up, and reported 8th Corps were leaving BASTOGNE immediately, and advising L.W.S. and W.O.U.s be withdrawn from CHAMPLON. Direct threat to the area developing.

    22.15 hours.

    Contacted F/L. Jay, 2804 Squadron, and F/O. Henderson, 6088 L.W.S., who, in light of events, and information gained, agreed to withdrawal.

    23.15 hours.

    “A” Troop moved off with the convoy of 15 – 3-ton vehicles, wireless vans, etc., incuding 58 R.A.F. personnel under F/L. Hargreaves and F/O. Roberts, leaving “B” Troop, F/Sgt. Bunney i/c, to stay and destroy, along with one troop, 2804 Squadron (F/L. Jay) wireless equipment left behind. Roads packed with vehicles. Progress limited to under 2 miles per hour, dense fog adding to the difficulties.

    23.30 hours.
    Hundreds of flares on both sides of the road towards MARCHE. (Later it was learned that the entire convoy had passed through the middle of enemy paratroops, and the personnel left behind had sent out a D.R. to inform us of the landings, but could not get through.)

    “B” Troop & 2804 Squadron (3 cars) pooled resources, and moved forward to bridge over the main BASTOGNE-CHAMPLON road. One car left on guard, who contacted small contingent of Canadian Forestry Unit. This Unit pulled out on arrival of Regiment personnel. Wireless communication established with H.Q. at CHAMPLON, and all cars from BASTOGNE direction to be stopped and searched. Recce. cars fired on by small arms fire, during move to bridge. Back at H.Q. CHAMPLON, general stand-to, and it was decided to stand fast until daylight.

    Tuesday 19th December.

    01.15 hours.

    Convoy halted at village of SIN SIN P.2489 and a D.R. sent back to CHAMPLON to obtain all possible information. Heavy gun fire. Flares still falling from the North.

    02.30 hours.

    American rearguard party pulled up in SIN SIN under a Captain Horne. General conference held, little information known, and the American Officer decided to go back into MARCHE alone for information.

    03.00 hours.

    Captain Horne returned, and said that MARCHE was being evacuated by the Americans. Town Major and Civil affairs having already pulled out. He strongly advised our convoy to move down towards NAMUR, which was agreed upon. Pulled out from SINSIN at 04.30 hours (20.12.44).

    Wednesday December 20th.

    “A” Troop with convoy moved to approximately 2 miles from NAMUR, and halted, under F/O. Roberts. F/L. Hargreaves proceeded back to MARCHE for any information. En route he contacted the 26th. Can.Div. moving out from LAROCHE. Contacted F/O. Henderson, 6088 L.W.S. at MARCHE and it was decided to move convoy back to H.Q. 25 Sector at Brussels. Apart from an air raid when passing through NAMUR, no further incidents occurred. Arrived with convoy at 25 Sector at 14.00 hours.

    “B” Troop under F/Sgt. Bunney remained at CHAMPLON on the 19th. 8th Corps had moved to NEUFCHATEAU and consequently little solid information regarding the enemy could be obtained. Report was given out that the enemy were advancing towards MARCHE. This proved to be false, as it was given out by a German Officer in American uniform, who was later captured.

    “B” Troop together with one car of 2804 Squadron, left CHAMPLON for 72 Wing Technical Site at Spot height 651, West of VIELSALM, to pull out, if possible, all technical equipment. Arrived without incident. Site complete with equipment ready for use. Two small hutted sites were destroyed with grenades and petrol. Vehicles had to be left owing to mud, and lack of towing facilities. 89th American Infantry Div. promised to help the following day with a bull-dozer, and it was agreed to leave the mobile equipment until the following morning. Enemy at this point were only 400 yards away, continuous small arms fire being encountered. Troop returned to CHAMPLON for the night. Roads blocked with heavy traffic pulling out from BASTOGNE area.

    Thursday December, 21st.

    08.00 hours.

    F/Sgt. Bunney proceeded to ORTHEVILLE, main MARCHE to BASTOGNE road, and contacted American Tank Destroying Unit. He was informed BASTOGNE was still held by the American 101st Division. Whilst talking to the American officer, an enemy forward unit opened fire, causing casualties to a number of Americans.

    10.00 hours.

    On advice of the American Sector, decided to pull out from CHAMPLON in view of the possibility of the enemy trying a flanking movement to cut all roads. Enemy reported to be wearing American uniform, and using captured American equipment.

    13.00 hours.

    Arrived at MARCHE. Roads now crowded with refugees, and it was decided to move via LAROCHE to the 72 Wing technical Site. Two cars belonging to 2804 Squadron were left behind at MARCHE owing to unserviceability. Approach to LAROCHE found to be under mortar fire. Arrived at ODEIGNE, approximately 1 mile from the site, meeting American Tank Units moving up. Considerable small arms and mortar fire. Moved to within 600 yards of site, found road blocked and held by U.S. infantry, pinned down temporarily by fire. Withdrew for further attempt lower down the road. Again approached within half a mile of the technical site, only to be informed by the Americans that a tank battle was taking place on the area of site. Decided to return to MARCHE. Heavy fog descending, roads blocked with traffic.

    19.00 hours.

    Arrived MARCHE, and decided to stay overnight.

    Friday December, 22nd.

    Enemy now through BASTOGNE and heading for MARCHE. Pulled out at 08.00 hours for NAMUR. 10 kilometres from SINSIN, American sentry informed us that paratroops had again been dropped that morning, Two civilians checked, both found with false identity cards, stamped with Swastikas. Handed over to Americans, and whilst doing so, fired upon by further batch of paratroops. Returned fire, and a further German captured.

    13.00 hours.

    Passed through NAMUR en route for 25 Sector with 1 car (2804 Sqdn) in tow. Arrived at 25 Sector at 16.30 hours.

    NOTE. Little information of value could be obtained. Small pockets of Germans being encountered miles apart, and no real front had been established during the period we spent in the area. Ammunition expended by the flight during the week was not wasted. The whole of the equipment, vehicles and personnel of 6088 L.W.S. were pulled out without loss.

    An interesting sidelight was the recovery of the pay, left behind, for the entire Unit. Morale ran high and vehicle maintenance was first class. The weather was very bad, with heavy rain and fog.
  15. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    I have been trying to trace the various Radar and other units involved in this incident. They were all “72 Wing” units.

    72 (Signals) Wing, RAF, was part of 60 Group – the group responsible generally for radar in all its guises, including the Chain Home and Chain Home Low radar stations around the coast of Britain, as well as the various radio navigational aids used by fighter and bomber commands for intercepting enemy air raids and for guiding our bombers to their targets in Germany and elsewhere.

    72 Wing had been on the continent since shortly after D-Day. As far as I can work out, it came under the control of No. 85 Group, RAF, part of the 2nd Tactical Air Force. At the time of the Battle of the Bulge, its headquarters were in Mons.

    Its main job was mobile “RNA” or “radio navigational aids”. In particular, 72 Wing was responsible for the ground elements of various blind bombing systems, as well as early warning radar. British bombers could find their targets, usually at night, thanks to onboard radar systems, beginning with Gee, then Gee H, Oboe and H2S. Without getting too technical, these systems all (except H2S) relied on ground based transmitters sending out signals which told the aircraft where they were and when they were over the target.

    Before D-Day, the ground side of these systems was based on semi-permanent sites in the UK. The curvature of the earth and other factors meant they had a limited range. It was realised that, after the D-Day landings and subsequent breakout from Normandy, radar units would need to follow up the advancing allied armies so that, among other things, bombers could reach targets further into Germany.

    The Report on the RAF Regiment in the Ardennes is quite circumspect about the 72 Wing units that were involved. The only unit named unambiguously is No. 6088 Light Warning Set. One of the appendices also mentions No. 9432 AMES (Air Ministry Experimental Station) – an OBOE unit. But that appears to be an error for 9442 AMES.

    According to the Report, the units were—

    (1) Light Warning Set (L.W.S.) 6088 – F/O. Henderson, which was operating Five Wireless Observer Units. (W.O.U. Posts). “6088” H.Q. was just North East of Bastogne on the HOUFFALIZE road.

    (2) The LAROCHE – VIELSALM area of 72 Wing, comprising of a number of highly important and secret RADAR Units, with Area H.Q. in VIELSALM.

    (3) A detached RADAR Unit at MALMEDY belonging to the 72 Wing area.

    (4) The 72 Wing Air Formation Signals Site at JEMELLE and Reconnaissances carried out after arrival at MORVILLE.

    The first and last mentioned are relatively straightforward. The radar units near Vielsalm and Malmedy are a bit harder to pin down.

    To be continued…
  16. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    According to a little booklet published by The Purbeck Radar Museum Trust by Dr W.H. Penley and Reg Batt called “With Radar to Final Victory”:

    “By mid-November the various units had been located as far forward as was prudent. This was particularly the case in the Ardennes where as part of the Ruhr Gee Chain a slave station had been set up near Laroche, soon to be followed by both an Oboe station and a ‘Heavy’ G-H station, so called on account of its 105ft transportable aerial tower. More adventurous still was a light G-H mobile at Diekirch in Luxembourg no more than 6 miles from the German border and a Radio Signals listening unit nearly as close but further north towards Aachen at Malmedy which is in the area of the present day motor-racing circuit at Spa.”

    The “Radio Signals listening unit”, I’m pretty sure, is a reference to the wireless observer units of 6088 LWS. The Report in AIR 37/1218 does not mention the “light G-H mobile at Diekirch” – so I am not sure which unit that was or what happened to it. Maybe there is a report about its withdrawal somewhere else?

    So Penley and Batt suggest that the following 72 Wing units were in the Ardennes:

    • a Type 9000 – or OBOE – unit,
    • a Type 7000 – Gee - unit near Laroche and
    • a Type 100 – Heavy Gee-H unit, also near Laroche.
    The booklet goes on to mention something very interesting but which I have been unable to verify:

    “As December approached reports of enemy activity across the border began to filter through but operational needs required the stations to remain in position as long as possible provided there was no risk of the equipment falling into enemy hands. They were not to know that the Germans were fully aware of the presence and purpose of the mobile stations in the Ardennes and that Field Marshall von Rundstedt had detailed an armoured unit to seek out all the British stations in the area and capture them intact.”

    I have read elsewhere that German orders were captured which proved this was the case but I have no idea where to find them or any report about their content.

    I’ve emailed the Purbeck Museum Trust to see if they can shed any light on the radar units involved or on the German orders. If I get a reply, I’ll post it here.

    The Purbeck Museum Trust website is worth a visit - Purbeck Radar ~ Early radar development in the UK

    Another site worth a visit is Bill Penley’s radar archives website - Penley Radar Archives - WWW Entry Page

    Finally, for those who want to understand the different types of radar, try the radar pages website - Radar Pages Home page
  17. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    I've come across another reference to the possibility that Von Rundstedt knew about the presence of the radar units and wanted to get hold of them.

    It is an article by the late Sir Edward Fennessy, one of the early radar pioneers - Template: Masthead Layout

    The relevant passage is:
    "During the Ardennes offensive, Gee, Oboe and GH mobiles sited well forward east of Laroche very narrowly escaped capture by a German armoured detachment detailed by Field Marshal von Rundstedt for that specific task."

    I'm now in contact with Bill Penley and Phil Judkins of the Purbeck Museum Trust and should be able to confirm the identities of the relevant radar units involved shortly. As far as the German orders are concerned, I'll need to see what is said about that.
  18. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    Just to update this thread, Dr Phil Judkins of the Purbeck Museum Trust has confirmed that the 72 (Signals) Wing radar units involved were as follows:

    Gee - AMES 7922
    G-H - AMES 114
    Oboe - AMES 9442, AMES 9412B and AMES 9431A

    He's also kindly sent me the relevant section of the 72 Wing history. I'll transcribe and post this shortly.

    Thanks also to Drew5233 for supplying jpegs of the war diaries of AMES 9442 and 114. Once I've digested these, I'll post relevant excerpts.
  19. aj4010

    aj4010 Junior Member

    Hello, chick42-46.
    This is great information. My father was a dispatch rider with 72 Wing. The earlier picture made my hair stand up! He looks the right size, and if that is a Harley, (I think it is), what are the chances?
    I have his records to post. Would you like me to post on this thread, or start a new one?

    Best Regards,

  20. tn203

    tn203 Junior Member

    Hi chick42-46

    I've just come across this site and your info. on 72 Wing. My Dad was a F/Sgt and went over D/day +10. He was in the Ardennes area with his unit and claims he was only shot at once - by the Yanks. In your post 05.05.2011 you mention info from Purbeck Musuem on the history of 72 Wing and that you would transcribe and post shortly. Did you every do this as I cannot seem to find it. . Liddell Hart Centre for Mil. Studies has a 'History of 72 Wing' by Gp Capt Leslie R Ridley in their records which is available to examine. Ref title BG99 KCLMA Ridley. Hope this helps someone.

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