Sherman Tank Import Routes into Britain

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Osborne2, Jun 4, 2017.

  1. Kip

    Kip YouTUBE Channel - Southampton on D-Day

    Got to say found this very interesting. It is interesting to compare the written history of northern ports that were a little bit out of the way to the experience at Southampton which to say the least was chequered. I feel this has significantly influenced the record at Southampton and the way we treat for example D-Day.
  2. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member


    Please could you explain your thoughts on Southampton as having a chequered history. I am from up north and your concerns have passed me by. Thanks.
  3. Kip

    Kip YouTUBE Channel - Southampton on D-Day

    Osborne2, Briefly Southampton was clobbered early in the war so much so that the docks were closed for 2 years. The government were so concerned they sent a Wing Commander to investigate. The Hodsoll Report blamed the lack of local leadership. This was highly contentious and the report was only made public in 1973 to much criticism. This is in contrast to the comments made above re;northern ports. I believe because of the ambivalence there is an inability to deal with the period objectively, if this makes sense. To gave an example I attach my video of The Shadow Factory a play about 1940 which is proving very popular down here (the play not my video);

    PS Although the popular theory is that the Germans did not discover the preps for D-Day because of double agents and the fake army, in Southampton children are still told the army was hiding in the New Forest, I believe the reason is that the Germans believed their own propaganda and that Southampton was finished in 1940 and it was the US that transformed the fortunes of the town.

    PPS The days after D-Day the captured Germans still believed that when the Wehrmacht was ready they would roll the allies into the sea, and they were only waiting in the POW Cage at Southampton for the counter-attack to begin.

    PPPS I was reading the other day of an account of German prisoners taken in a boat around the port. Apparently they kept repeating but this is only supposed to be marshland!

    PPPPS I will repost as a separate thread not to hijack the original.
    zola1 and SDP like this.
  4. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    Absolutely fascinating. You have obviously drawn attention to Operation Fortitude (South) causing Hitler to hold back over half of his troops in France east of the Seine to resist the phantom First United States Army Group, due to (but never did) arrive in that area.

    The ports in the North (Clydebank, Hull, Liverpool for example) and West (Bristol Swansea Cardiff Pembroke Dock for example took a heavy pounding as well as Southampton. I do think that from looking at the Bolero planning there was a strong reluctance to put much US build up of shipping of men and materials through London and the south coast ports. The Luftwaffe and U Boats were a big threat until late on. Liverpool and the Mersey ports were 50% of the cargo, and Glasgow 70% of the troops. The Queens, because of their size, could only access about 3 ports, Southampton, Liverpool and the Clyde. It was a no brainer to use Glasgow for the Queens and Liverpool / Birkenhead, with its better heavy lift capacity and quayside frontage length for cargo.
    SDP likes this.
  5. ceolredmonger

    ceolredmonger Member

    While researching the railway in York many years ago I stumbled on some late war reports which expressed relief that the Germans never grasped that there were only two main rail routes north-south with relatively inefficient routes east-west above the Midlands (still the case!). The ports on the Northern Atlantic Coast/Irish Sea were allocated to US war materiel and personnel with the SW and other Scottish ports allocated to British movements. This meant that the West Coast mainline carried US supplies and the East Coast British.

    The precarious bit was that the line between Northallerton and York was only 'One up, one down'. A concerted attack on the line would have crippled the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Airfields. The decision NOT to provide Anti-Aircraft protection seems to have been to not draw attention to the situation.

    Sorry I can't add context by saying at what point Lend-Lease stocks became a British responsibility other than individual batches of Shermans were occasionally allocated 'from US' stocks when the need arose, especially once 76mm armed versions were favoured by the US.
    zola1 likes this.

Share This Page