Royal Marines Armoured Support Regiment (2RMAS) Juno, D-Day

Discussion in 'Commandos & Royal Marines' started by 0xonian, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. 0xonian

    0xonian Member

    Greetings,

    I am new to this forum, having been directed here by Ali Mayor (secretary of Southsea Subaqua Club) who led the Neptune Wrecks dive project on LCT(A) 2420, covered in another thread.

    My father would have been on an LCT(A) very much like the one that Ali dived. He was a Royal Marine Commando serving with 2 RM Armoured Support Regiment on D-Day, landing on Juno Beach (Nan Red sector I believe). He was a Radio Operator / Loader on a Centaur CS IV and his LCT(A), like LCT(A) 2420 had 2 Centaurs and 2 D7 Armoured Bulldozers.

    My father is now 90 and, understandably, his memory of events 70 years ago is now a little patchy. I would very much like to find out as much information on this unit and piece together my father's movements on D-Day and subsequently, until his unit was withdrawn (on 24 June?). We are planning to return to Normandy next year for the 70th anniversary, and I would love to take my father on a tour, retracing his journey through Normandy.

    Ideally I would like to trace his LCT(A), the particular tank he was in, its name, and the names of his fellow crew (1 RAC driver and 3 RM, including dad). Unfortunately my father cannot recall his Troop letter (but it would have been one of the 8 troops in 2RMAS), but he does remember a Captain Kay. It should be possible to narrow this down somewhat, because my father's LCT(A) and its tanks would have been one of the few which beached on time (~0730hrs) and in its allotted landing spot (Nr Bernieres / St Aubin I think) on NAN RED sector of Juno. My father remembers taking sniper fire from one of the church steeples overlooking the beach, and his sector had not been cleared of mines. He spent 'no more than an hour' on the beach itself before moving off and, ultimately penetrating 3-5 miles inland on D-Day itself. Later his tank was involved in the battle of Rots / Le Hamel in support of 46 RM Cdo, and he may also have been involved in the action at the Radar Station at Douvres La Deliverande.

    I would also like to find out if possible, what happened to the tank after RMAS was withdrawn. I believe some RMAS tanks were handed over to other units, including a Canadian Armoured regiment.

    After returning to England (on an American troop ship), my father was re-assigned to 4 (Army) Commando as signaller to 6 (French) troop in advance of the Walcheren landings (Operation Infatuate) on 1 November '44. He stayed with 4 Cdo until the end of the war.

    I believe that on D-Day he would have been one of the few (only?) Royal Marine in RMAS to wear the Commando Green Beret (RM tank crew usually wore the blue beret with red cloth badge backing), because he completed his Commando training at Achnacarry prior to D-Day but as he was 'special service' and could be sent anywhere, he was assigned at the last minute into RMAS as a signaller.

    I plan to visit the National Archives to consult the RMAS War diaries but in the meantime, I would be very grateful for any information that anyone can shed on this unit and LCT(A) of 103rd Flotilla, J Force and 46 RM Commando and Canadian regiments that my father would have supported in Normandy.

    Frank
     
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  2. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Hi Frank and welcome to WW2Talk.

    An admirable thing to investigate your Father's service. I should be in Normandy next year too.

    Visiting TNA to read the RMAS diaries is obviously a good starting point and it may be worth contacting Mike (Trux) by Private Message to see if he can help with the D-Day landing tables etc. Mike is still mainly working on Sword beach landings but I believe he has a good deal of info on Juno as well.

    My main interests are early LCTs and Mk3 LCTs but I will see if I can find anything about 103rd Flotilla. Have you tried looking on the Combined Operations website:
    http://www.combinedops.com/

    Some info on 103 Flotilla here:
    http://www.combinedops.com/LCT_PAGE.htm

    or contacting the LST and Landing Craft Association? The LST and LC Assoc is officially disbanded now and I know other people have had problems contacting Tony Chapman, their Archivist, but I will see if I can find anything.

    Good luck!
     
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  3. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Frank,

    It should be possible to piece together something. The RMASR is difficult to research. I have being trying to make sense of their activity on Nan White and Red and have some information. If others can fill in some gaps we could perhaps correlate/cross reference etc.

    Interesting information about your father.

    Mike.
     
  4. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Ooops. Managed to post at the same time as MikeL.

    No need to contact me via Private Message then.

    Mike.
     
  5. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Some snippets to start with.

    From the Landing tables.

    Nan Red.
    Serial 1421 is an LCT(HE) carrying
    2 Centaur Tanks with 10 crew from 2 Royal Marine Support Regiment. Tow Porpoises.
    5 men from 2 Royal Marine Support Regiment
    Space for extra 50 rounds per gun loose.

    Serial 1422 is an LCT(HE) carrying
    2 Centaur Tanks with 10 crew from 2 Royal Marine Support Regiment. Tow Porpoises
    1 Sherman Tank with 5 crew from 2 Royal Marine Support Regiment.
    5 men from 2 Royal Marine Support Regiment
    Space for extra 50 rounds per gun loose.


    Serial 1423 is an LCT(A) carrying
    2 Centaur Tanks with 10 crew from 2 Royal Marine Support Regiment. Tow porpoises.
    5 men from 2 Royal Marine Support Regiment
    1 Sherman Tank with 5 crew from 2 Royal Marine Support Regiment
    Space for extra 50 rounds per gun loose.

    Serial 1424 is an LCT(A) carrying
    2 Centaur Tanks with 10 crew from 2 Royal Marine Support Regiment. Tow Porpoises.
    5 men from 2 Royal Marine Support Regiment
    Space for extra 50 rounds per gun loose.

    Plus
    8 D7 Armoured Bulldozer with 4 crew from Headquarters RCE 3 Canadian Division Special Bulldozer Increment
    46 men from 18 Canadian Field Company RCE.
    1 Jeep with 3 crew from 5 Canadian Field Company RCE.

    18 men from 5 Royal Berkshire Regiment. Beach Group.


    Each seems to have carried two D7 dozers so that does not narrow it down.
    None landed as early as 7.30.


    From Naval orders and I Corps report.

    The RMASR ‘W’, ‘X’, ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ Troops supported 8 Canadian Brigade on Nan White and Nan Red. They loaded on D-3 at Hard G3 Gosport. They sailed with Group 322from the Solent at H-23 hours and 40 mins and travelled at 5 knots.

    It is not clear which Troops landed on which beach.

    ‘W’ Troop. Commander landed with one Sherman and two Centaur at 8.30. The other LCT of ‘W’ Troop did not land until D+2.

    ‘X’ Troop. Landed 300 yards east of its intended position. No time given.

    ‘Y’ Troop. Landed complete at 7.55.

    ‘Z’ Troop. One craft landed and its Centaurs joined ‘Y’ Troop. The commander did not land until D+1.

    Mike
     
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  6. 0xonian

    0xonian Member

    Thanks, Mike & Trux, for the welcome.

    I've spent a happy hour or two browsing the forums (fora?) and already learned a lot from the remarkably well-informed members. I've also checked out the Combined Ops site (excellent), where is a good account of RMAS/LCT(A)s on Sword beach and a little info on Juno. All useful grist to the mill.

    AFAIK:-
    1RMASR (1st Battery: Tp A,B,C,D; 2nd Btty: E,F,G,H) -> GOLD Beach
    2 RMASR (3rd & 4th Bttys) -> JUNO
    5th (Independent) Btty RMASR -> SWORD


    One thing I'm a little confused about, though is troop lettering for 2RMASR and 5th Independent Battery. It does not appear to follow sequentially (some letters omitted) after H.

    Also, did 5th Independent Battery come under 2 RMASR? From some pages of 2RMASG War Diaries that Ali Mayor kindly sent me, it would appear that it did ...

    This is a transcript of an excerpt from 2RMAS War Diaries (one page that Ali Mayor kindly sent me) prepared by OC 2RMAS (Lt. Col M Britton Johnson), pertaining to 'Beaching times':


    From : - OC 2 RMAS Regt.
    Date :- 28 June 44
    To :- RMAS Gp.

    Subject:- Report on Operation “OVERLORD” period D and D + 1

    1. Availability of Equipments on MIKE and NAN Sectors.
    H = 0745 Hrs.

    TIMES OF BEACHING

    Tp. | 0745 - 0800 | 0800 - 0830 | 0830 - 0900 | 0900 - 0945 | D + 1 | D + 2
    P 1 Sh. 4 Cents. (a)
    Q 1 Sh. 2 Cents. (B)
    S 2 Cents 1 Sh. 2 Cents
    T 1 Sh. 2 Cents. 2 Cents (c)
    W 1 Sh. 2 Cents. 2 Cents.
    X 1 Sh. 4 Cents.
    Y 1 Sh. 4 Cents.
    Z 2 Cents. 1 Sh. 2 Cents.



    Notes: -
    1. (a) 3 Centaurs out of action with tracks damaged by sand.
    2. (B) Remaining 2 Centaurs lost at sea
    3. (c) 3 Centaurs in this Tp received track damage when leaving beach

    NO FIRING ON RUN IN BY ANY TROOP
    ______________________________________________________________________

    I'm not sure if this refers to 2RMAS at Juno or 5th Ind Battery on Sword. The reference to "1. Availability of Equipments on MIKE and NAN sectors" suggests it refers to 2RMAS on Juno. In which, case what were the 4 troop letters for 5th Ind Battery (perhaps they were lettered J,K,M,N?)
     
  7. 0xonian

    0xonian Member

    Thanks Mike (Trux). V interesting. My reply obviously crossed with yours!

    This is what I have ascertained so far: Troops were subdivided into Left and Right Sections, with L section comprising 1 Sherman (Tp Commander) & 2 Centaurs, and R section comprising 2 Centaurs only. So I deduce that dad must have been in the R Section of his troop (the space taken up by the Sherman tank on L section LCT(A)s was instead taken up by 2x D7 Bulldozers on R section LCT(A)s). I have seen photos of LCT(A)s in 103rd Flotilla that contained only 2 Centaurs up front with 1 Sherman behind and no bulldozers. These must have been Left section Craft.

    Also, my father does not recollect any Canadian infantry troops on his LCT(A) - (although he does remember losing all his liberation money to a Mohawk Chief in a game of craps while waiting in the holding area prior to boarding his craft!) I've not been able to determine one way of the other if LCT(A) all did or did not also carry Canadian Infantry.

    The "no firing on run in by any troop" also accords with his recollection. The swell was too heavy for reliable aiming/firing prior to beaching.
    One thing my dad did tell me though, is that he screwed in (or removed the protective cap from?) the 95mm howitzer rounds to prepare for rapid fire on beaching, and replaced the rounds in the ammo bins. However, the ammo bins were designed for 75mm rounds and consequently the dimples in the tray (rather like a baking tray I imagine) were too narrow in diameter to securely hold the shell cases. The shells in the ammo bins were held in place by a retaining bar. As my father's tank came ashore, either a nearby mine exploded or something caused the tank to jolt suddenly and the retaining bar broke away causing all the primed shells to fall out of the rack. Fortunately they all landed the 'wrong' way up or that would have been that!

    Frank
     
  8. 0xonian

    0xonian Member

    From the info you give, Mike, it may be that dad was in one of X, Y or Z troops, and that one or all of these troops were on Nan Red sector of Juno. He is sure he landed before 8 a.m and that his spot was "on the extreme Left (Eastern) flank of Juno - actually between Juno and Sword beaches". Whether this refers to X troop's landing 300 yds East of its designated landing, or to the operational objective once ashore to bridge the gap between Juno and Sword by linking up with 41 Cdo around Luc-sur-Mer/Lion-sur-Mer, I'm not sure.

    Some more info from 2RMAS War Diary:-

    ______________________________________
    WAR DIARY

    Month and Year: JUNE 1944 Army Form C. 2118.

    Unit: 2nd Royal Marines Armoured Support Regt. Commanding Officer: M. BRITTON JOHNSON Lt. Col. RM


    Place | Date | Hour | Summary of events and Information______________________________________________________
    C.9 Camp
    APO England 1 - Adv. HQ this Unit remained marshalled since 31 May 44. (ref. War Diary May 44)
    2 1845 Adv. HQ embarked in LST 239. Move to docks a distance of 8 miles took 7 hours. OC craft load Major Ross, Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa..
    47 RM Cdo were passed during move to docks. This Units 8 troops with Centaur Tanks moved today under MC orders to G.2 and 4 Hards at Stokes Bay, Gosport for embarkation in LCTs.
    This was partly witnessed by the Prime Minister and other visitors.

    2 2130 LST at anchor off Lee on Solent
    Lee on Solent 3 0830 CO and Capt. Richardson disembarked from LST to an LCP and visited the 16 LCTs in which the Regiment are embarked. All officers and ORs in good spirits and had no major problems.
    There were however several craft overloaded in spite of the careful plan made by 3rd Cdn Inf Div.

    4 2200 LST at anchor all day. Wind now force 4 (Beauforts). Weather has lead to a 24 hour postponement today.

    5 1905 LST under way, weather slightly improved.

    English Channel.
    Off COURSEULLES 6 1030 French coast sighted, weather improving after very rough passage.

    6 1330 Orders received for no further disembarkation owing to lack of beach exits. Low ground in rear of MIKE SECTOR flooded.

    6 1345 Information received that the objective in Phase I has been secured. At our present distance from the beach (1500 yards) it appears our
    Centaur Tanks have moved forward to plan : -
    Deploy on Beach at H. supporting Units as follows : -
    P & Q Tps. Royal Winnipeg Rifles. S & T Tps. Regina Rifles
    W & X Tps. Queens Own Rifles. Y & Z Tps. N. Shore Regt.
    All of 3rd Cdn Inf Div. In addition Z Tp supports 48 RM Cdo.

    6 1710 Enemy Aircraft bombed MIKE & NAN Sectors, damage could not be observed.

    COURSEULLES 6 2005 Disembarked from Ferry on MIKE RED Beach.

    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    And a troop Report of "Q" Troop:-


    Troop Reports
    Q Tp. Capt. Perrott. RM.
    D Day
    1. Engine trouble in LCT(A) caused RIGHT SECTION, Q Tp (Lt. V.J. Syborn RA & 2 Centaur Tank) to be turned back in mid-channel on night of D - 1.
    2. The LCT(A) formation was split by a large ship convoy during the night of D-1 and the rear half, including the LCT(A) of LEFT SECTION, Q Tp, became detached and the craft did not beach until approximately H + 2 hours.
    3. The craft beached in the correct place but by this time the 12th (SP) Field Regt. had also landed and no calls for fire were made on the section.
    4. On orders from OC 12th Field Regt., RCA., the section moved to the gun area “MARY” and occupied a position for the night where they were later joined by the Tp Comd of “P” Troop with 1 Sherman and 1 Centaur Tank. (MARY = BANVILLE area).

    D + 1 Day
    1. By order of OC 2 RMAS Regt. the section moved together with the Sherman and Centaur Tanks of P Troop to occupy a gun area at Basly and became attached to the 14th Field Regt. RCA
    2. During the move to Basly 1 Centaur of Q Tp. became a casualty with Clutch trouble. 2 Centaurs of P Tp with Lieut. Hunt RA., joined the remaining tanks at Basly later on D + 1.
    3. No calls for fire were made on this composite Troop on D + 1, but a local mortar position was engaged by Direct Fire.
    _______________________

    Frank
     
  9. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Hi,
    I have the following information.

    T Troop. Capt Kaye.
    D Day. Landed between 08.20 and 08.35. Deployed on the beach and reported to HQ 13 Field Regt RCA, by R/T.
    No calls for fire whilst on the beach.

    18.00. Left beach and moved with 1 Sherman and 1 Centaur to point North of Reveires where we joined S Troop.

    Note : S Troop has them joining at 14.30.

    Some information on the Centaurs after the Marines had finished with them. Needs a bit more research on my part.

    254 Delivery Squadron RAC : 22nd June. 15 Centaurs received from RM Armoured Support Group.

    'X' Armoured Battery, 6th Airborne Divisional Artillery. No further information at the moment.

    1st Canadian Centaur Battery, RCA, was formed on 6th Aug 1944 and was disbanded on 30 Aug 1944. They took over the equipment of 'X' Armoured Battery, 6th Airborne Divisional Artillery

    Regards

    Danny
     
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  10. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Gunner Tours

    This might be of interest. Its a report by the OR Team at 21 AG written not long after D Day about the effectiveness of the RMASG tanks.

    PS their commander Brigadier Denis Sanders was killed by a shell in June 1944 and buried in Ranville. He was an unusual soldier in that he had an air force cross, serving in the air force in WW1, then the Army and then commanding the artillery of the Royal Marines. Thus making him one of the few men to have served in all three services.
     

    Attached Files:

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  11. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Frank,

    I have not found much more but have followed up some dead ends which confirm that your father must have landed on Nan beach since the facts do not fit any other.

    It may be useful to note that the Landing Tables are always laid out logically so that:
    the first on the list leads the column and carries the senior officer
    when forming line abreast for the final approach the first on the list is on the right.
    though not relevant here the first vehicle on each craft list is in the bows and the last at the stern.

    This puts the two LCT(HE) in the comparative safety of the centre of the line (there are four more craft to the right) and the two armoured LCT(A) on the outer flank.

    It would also be usual for the troops to be arranged so that the senior is on the right. So that Nan White should have 'W' and 'X' while Nan Red should have 'Y' and 'Z'. I have not been able to test this.

    Mike
     
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  12. 0xonian

    0xonian Member

    This is all wonderful. A big thank you to everyone for their invaluable input.

    I've just spoken with my father (who has just come in from putting the winter beans in on his allotment - even at 90 he still puts in 3 hrs every day in all weathers!) and he confirms that Capt. Kaye was his troop commander (a bluff Yorkshireman with a broad accent). That - provisionally - puts dad in T Troop, 4th Btty, 2RMASR. Thank you for that Danny (am I correct in assuming your source is 2RMASR War Diary?). One thing does give me pause about allocating T troop, however, is this entry from 48 Cdo War Diary (on pegasusarchive.org):


    15th June 1944
    Place: Sallenelles

    2000 - 'T' Tp (Capt Elliott) of Centaurs of RMASR came under comd and registered on the strongpoint. HW Tp of 41 Cdo (Capt Grant) was also placed under comd.

    Dad tells me that Capt Kaye made it back to England after the regiment was withdrawn at the end of June, so it cannot be that this Capt Elliott was a replacement for a casualty. Aside from the obvious explanation of a mistake of allocation or recollection in the 48 Cdo War Dairy, could it be that some troops were amalgamated and re-formed after tank losses, and so a tank could come under different troops as the campaign progressed? (I remember reading somewhere that something of the sort did happen in at least one case). T troop might also fit with dad's recollection of not seeing any other centaurs in his troop immediately in his field of vision on the beach, once off it on D-Day itself. According to the 'Beaching Times' table I posted above, 3 centaurs from T troop suffered track damage either on the beach or when leaving it. So it could be that his tank advanced off the beach while the others three remained stuck on it until they were mended. He does remember seeing one Sherman, though this memory is tinged with sadness because one of the crew (possibly a Sgt) was killed at point blank range by his own tank's machine gun, which somehow went off as the sgt was standing on the front of the tank.

    Dad also remembers that there was a craft immediately to the right of his when approaching the beach that fired off rockets. Mike, would this have been an LCT(R)? Does that fit with the landing tables.

    Would all of this definitively put dad (Troop T) on Nan Red Sector of Juno? As to timings, it's still difficult to tell exactly when he would have landed. The tide was still well out and his tank did not have to enter into the water. OTOH, dad says that on the approach, the Rommel's asparagus was still submerged. Is there any source that tells how far off the beach the defences went?
     
  13. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Gunner Tours

    Dont forget that the landing tables were a plan and not a report! According to the OR study, 26 Centaurs and seven Shermans were landed on D Day. One troop at H+10 mins and the remainder at H+120. One troops was landed in very deep water.
     
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  14. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Frank,

    Nothing is certain. The plan did not work smoothly and as Sheldrake points out the Landing Tables only show what was planned. Also contemporary reports, and even War Diaries, are only as good as the people writing them. In some cases there was considerable confusion on the beaches and those best placed to see what happened were often casualties.


    A contemporary diagram, supported by orders etc., shows the planned arrangement for the assault waves on Juno, Nan white and Red.

    The DD tanks were supposed to lead but they were delayed so the specialist armour and infantry arrived more or less at he same time and in some disorder.

    Nan Red.

    O O O O O O O O O O O O O O Nan White similar but reversed.
    LCT(A) LCTs with AVREs LCT(HE)

    o o o o o o o o o o o o
    LCAs with Infantry.

    R R
    LCT(Rocket) One fires at H-8 mins the other at H-5 mins.

    We know that the reality was not so neat but we might expect the extreme left hand (easterly) craft to be a LCT(A). We know that the troop leader did not arrive at this time so there was only one LCT(A) on this flank.

    The LCT(R)s should have been close behind but may have strayed.

    Mike.
     
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  15. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Gunner Tours

    The RA planners were aware that one weakness in the D Day artillery fire plan was that just before H Hour the artillery afloat would need to stop firing while the infantry landed.

    Originally this support was to be provided by landing craft adapted to carry 17 Pdr guns. Since this was only needed for D day itself, this was to be implemented by loading obsolete tanks and disembarking them in the water to fire until drowned. The RMASG eventually persuaded the system to allow them to keep the engines in their tanks. The RMASG were not supposed to poop off on their own initiative but engage targets under the control of the FOOs of the Artillery Regiment in direct support of the assaulting brigade.

    As can be seen from the report, this worked better in theory than in practice. The Artillery Regiment FOOs were too busy with their own guns and the comms failed. When ashore the RMASG worked well in the direct role on D day and in the direct and indirect role in the following days. This was a British implementation of what the Germans might describe as a Sturmgeschutz Brigade.
     
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  16. 0xonian

    0xonian Member

    Mike, Sheldrake,

    Thank you both - this is very useful. I am now beginning to get a better understanding of what went on.

    I have just read an excellent article by a Canadian historian, Marc Milner (whose father was in 13th RCA) on the artillery aspect of the Canadian sector - "The Guns of Bretteville" (http://scholars.wlu.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1466&context=cmh) which explains the role of artillery in the Canadian sector - and the part 2RMASR played:

    "It is important to observe that a field regiment was both a discrete combat unit and the tentacles of the artillery apparatus of the army in the field – division, corps, army and army group. The regiment provided immediate on-call support to its brigade at the front, but artillery regiments remained part of the whole “regiment” of Royal [SIZE=10pt]Artillery, with access to every gun in theatre through a dedicated artillery communications net. The FOO, his battery and regiment, therefore, served as the conduit through which forward infantry units could access fire support on a vast scale. This is what ultimately made the artillery fire of British Commonwealth armies so devastating. It was possible for any FOO or even a “gunner” – an artillery private – to deliver the fire of everything from his own battery to that of all guns of the Corps onto a single grid reference in a matter of minutes. Under the British system you fired first and asked questions later.[/SIZE][SIZE=6pt]11 [/SIZE][SIZE=10pt]It was this very powerful system, deployed on an exceptional scale behind 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, that was intended to and actually did crush the anticipated German Panzer assault on the beachhead in the days after 6 June 1944.[/SIZE]
    ... The contrast with American practice and experience on D-Day could not be sharper. The twelve 105 mm guns of the 111th FA Battalion, for example, supporting the 116th Regiment of the 29th Division at Omaha Beach were borne in DUKWs. Once ashore, the guns were to be lifted out of the DUKW and deployed as regular towed artillery. Badly overloaded and launched more than six hours before their scheduled touch-down on the beach, most of the 111th FA’s DUKWs foundered in the heavy sea. Of the four to reach shore, three were promptly destroyed by German fire, leaving the equivalent of a British Commonwealth brigade with only one dedicated 105 mm gun. In the end, US 29th Division landed only 29 guns from four different battalions on D-Day. Had the same fate befallen the Canadian guns on D-Day as those of the US 29th Division, the Anglo-Canadian beachhead would have been destroyed by the German counterattacks.







    ...[SIZE=10pt]The heaviest losses in artillery assigned to the Canadians were suffered by 2 RMAS. It appears that only 22 of their 32 Centaur SPs got safely ashore on D-Day. Five were lost at sea or once ashore, and the remainder did not land on D-Day. Nonetheless, 2 RMAS Centaurs were the first SPs ashore and provided crucial early fire support to Canadian infantry.[/SIZE] "

    Interestingly, Dr Milner now thinks that more RMASR tanks that got off the beaches than he first believed in his book D-Day to Carpiquet (which I've ordered). Perhaps those that suffered track damage on the beach were later recovered.
    In any event, he does emphasis the important role that RMASR tanks played both in the landing itself and later, on the push inland: "Centaurs were vital to the success of the NSR landing at St Aubin, firing the first barrages at - I think - less than 900 yards, until the RCA regiment got ashore, and they were key to guarding the massive artillery concentrations that 3rd Candian Division was to establish further inland."

    It is good to hear this because most general histories seem to downplay the role of RMASR.

    Frank

    [SIZE=10pt] [/SIZE]
     
  17. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Frank,

    The Centaurs were in fact very active on most beaches. They may not have been wholly successful in their primary roles because of bad sea conditions, late arrivals, breakdown of communications but they did give close support to RM Commandos, notably on Sword. They got up close to the enemy and were on occasion used as tanks, a role for which they were not trained.

    I guess they have not been given more credit because they were short lived.


    Centaur 5.jpg
     
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  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I've got 2 RMASRs war diary covering 1943 to 1944 plus a couple of other related files if you want something specific looking up?

    Edit

    I see you've tagged 46 Commando too. I've got all their war diaries as well :)
     
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  19. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    A rare colour photo of a RMASR Centaur on Juno.

    can10.png

    Mike
     
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  20. 0xonian

    0xonian Member

    Mike,

    Where did you find that?! I've just showed this to my father and he was chuffed to bits!

    This is very interesting because the name suggests that this tank belongs to A tp (1st Btty, 1RMASR). In fact it is the 'sister' picture to the one in the Guns of Bretteville article I linked to above (page 5), taken at exactly the same time and place (Courseulles, 6.6.44 according to the caption) but pictures Centaur IV "Achilles". In that picture one can see the Battery number - 1 - confirming the tanks to be from A troop 1RMASR, landed on Gold beach. In which case, why the Canadian flag?

    The photo is also interesting for the tank's colour. There is some debate in the modelling community about the exact shade of green of the RMASG Centaur IV. Tamiya produce a very good kit (I hope to make one in time for dad's birthday) and the consensus seems to be that the tank had a much lighter, almost khaki/muddy brown shade of green, unlike e.g the dark green of "Vidette", the Centaur now at Pegasus Bridge. I've shown a few of these pictures to dad and he agrees that his tank was a lighter shade of green. Even allowing for the tint in Mike's picture, "Achilles" appears to be on the darker side.

    The picture shows the raised exhaust cowling and the cowling around the Signaller's hatch that dad said he had.
     

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