Sword Beach.

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Trux, May 4, 2012.

  1. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Arty, Pak75 and Michel,

    I am not qualified to join in this discussion but am watching with interest.

    Mike.
     
  2. Pak75

    Pak75 Member

    Arty

    Thanks yr post.

    However you have not provided any sources for yr casualty info, so this does help promote any debate or excahneg of information..

    My post were certainly not intended to query regiment organisation, most armoured regiments were struggling with a variety of organisations to exercise effective command and control and accommodate new Fireflies. For example Sherbrooke Fusiliers were training on a 4 tank troop basis in March 1944.

    I did not say 2 DDs went back to England. If you read my posts, one DD failed to get off LCT and one tank from RHQ failed to start.

    Revisiting records you are correct in that 7 stranded tanks were on both Queen beaches.

    Cheers
     
  3. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    tmac

    118 Battery of 93 LAA Regiment is listed as being part of 101 Beach Sub Area for this operation. It was not unusual for units and sub units to be 'loaned' to other formations for operations. Usually these came from units which were part of 21 Army Group but not scheduled to land until much later.

    Mike
     
  4. Arty

    Arty Member

    Mike,

    Some constructive comment on the topic of the thread from me this time!

    Some more info for you regards the troops landed at H+215 & H+230. According to the 19Mar44 Landing Table the troops in serials 579, 580, 583 & 584, on board the four LSI’s, were to be ferried ashore. However its apparent that most or all of these troops were not ferried ashore from their respective LSI’s but allocated LCI(L)’s to carry them directly to the beach from England. On 14May44 the 3 Div Op Order shows that 12 LCI(L)’s had been allocated to land these Troops (a tight squeeze considering there was more than 2500 men!). By 21May44 ONEAST/S7B shows a total of 14 LCI(L)’s had been allocated, which were LTIN’s 411 to 424.

    Group 13 (LTIN’s 411-416), due to land at H+215, consisted of US LCI(L)’s 9, 12,14, 15, 16 & 33. The log of US LCI(L)9 records: “On 5 June 1944 this ship loaded at East Quay, Newhaven with 156 British Troops of the 53rd and 292nd Pioneer Corps, Beach Ordnance, RASC, details British 3rd Division, and 5th and 6th beach crews in accordance with ONEAST/S 2A….” The log goes on to record for 06June… “beached at 1105...”

    Group 14 (LTIN‘s 417-424), due to land at H+230, consisted of US LCI(L)’s 13, 35, 193 & 238, and, 4 RN LCI(L)’s 111, 116, 174 & 175. The log of US LCI(L)193 records: “At 2000 5 June 1944 this vessel got underway from Newhaven, England with 189 officers and troops of the British 3rd Division and proceeded via channel 10 to ‘Sword’ Beach…” The log goes on to record for 06June… “At 1122 after receiving orders from the convoy commander….we beached with the 14th wave….”

    Arty
     
  5. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Arty,

    Another mystery solved. Thank you. I could see that the numbers of LCI did not add up but the addition of four RN craft makes it fit. I see that you are correct in saying that the LCI carried the personnel across the Channel. I have looked in my as yet unsorted information on the naval aspects and see that these LCI did indeed have assault group numbers and therefore were not Ferry Craft. Originally the personnel were to be landed by LCT from the LSIs. I am not sure which I would prefer.

    There is a similar change on Juno where a large number of personnel were originally scheduled to land from a personnel ship (unidentified) but in fact arrived on LCIs. Again I have got that far yet.

    Mike
     
  6. tmac

    tmac Senior Member

    Thanks for that further information, Mike - I think there's no doubt 93 LAA were on Sword Beach as you say. I've done a quick Google and some elements of the regiment are also recorded as being on Juno Beach with the Canadians. So the Loyals history is incorrect in saying 93 LAA did not arrive until June 8 and 9. The war diaries will give the full story and hopefully I'll get to see them some time. Meanwhile, thanks once again for the superb job you're doing with this Sword Beach narrative.
    Best wishes,
    Tom
     
  7. tmac

    tmac Senior Member

    I just did a bit more Googling about 93 LAA. The regiment's 320 Battery landed on Gold Beach with 50th Division, its 321 Battery on Juno Beach with 3rd Canadian Division and its 322 Battery on Sword Beach with 3rd British Division. Quite a record - all three beaches in the British-Canadian sector.
     
  8. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    tmac,
    I have the landing tables for Gold and Juno. I will check tomorrow. Since the equipment of triple 20mm is non standard it looks as if 93 LAA were specially trained and equipped for beach defence work.

    Mike
     
  9. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    tmac,

    Yes. I see that 320 Battery landed on Gold and 321 on Juno. Both fairly early and both equipped with equal numbers of 20mm SP and 20mm towed. Juno specifies triple 20mm. Gold landing table does not say. I will look further.

    Mike
     
  10. One thing puzzles me: there are mentions of a 322 Bty both within 93 LAA Regt and 103 HAA Regt. I've always believed that RA Bty numbers were unique, so either this belief is wrong, and there were two distinct 322 AA Bties (one Light and one Heavy), or 322 Bty was split between 93 LAA Regt and 103 HAA Regt?

    The Landing Table First Tide of 19 Mar says LCT 406, 407 & 409 were to land 'G' Tp 322/93 LAA Regt with a total of 6 triple 20mm (Oerlikon) guns (3 Crusader SP + 3 towed) at H+360. By D Day this must have been reduced by one third as Mike lists 4 triple 20mm AA gun (2 Crusader SP + 2 towed) in Beach Group units timed at H+360.

    Then, landing at H+12hrs from LST: A’ & 'B' Tps 322/103 HAA Regt, each with 4 3.7” HAA guns.

    Finally, at H+16hrs from LST, 'H' & 'I' Tps 322/93 LAA Regt, each with 5 triple 20mm AA guns (3 Crusader SP + 2 towed).

    If 322/93 and 322/103 are one and the same 322 Bty, it has been split into (at least):
    'G', 'H' & 'I' Tps in 93 LAA Regt
    'A' & 'B' Tps in 103 HAA Regt

    Mike, is 'F' Tp 103 HAA Regt that you mention for NAN sector attributed to any given Bty?

    Can someone cast some light on this mystery?
     
  11. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Michel.

    Two quick replies.

    It is possible to have the same battery number in each of the branches. There are examples of HAA and LAA batteries with the same number. I will check to see if this is the case here but the CAB report 'D Day. 1 Corps' lists both 322 HAA and 322 LAA in the Order of Battle.

    Finding details of the AA units, apart from in the Landing Tables, has proved difficult. 92 LAA, 3 Divisions LAA Regiment is clear enough. The other units come under 80 AA Brigade. This is a GHQ unit attached to 1 Corps and covers both Sword and Juno. Until some time on D+1 those AA units on Sword came under the command of CRA 3 Division and then were attached to the Beach Sub Areas. Neither 3 Division nor 101 Beach Sub Area reports have much to say on the subject. I need the War Diaries etc for 80 AA Brigade.

    I am not sure how precisely the word 'attached' has been used in the original document. Attached, under command and in support all have precise meanings. I would think that 80 AA Brigade units were actually in support of Beach Sub Areas.

    The appendix to 3 Division RA Operational Orders mentioned above is not precise, referring to 'a troop of *** guns from ** regiment. The units listed, apart from 92 LAA were only under the command of CRA 3 Division for a few hours.

    Still looking and thinking.

    Mike
     
  12. I think you're right: the denomination for anti aircraft batteries seems to include their nature (Light or Heavy). So there is both a 322 Light Anti Aircraft Battery and and 322 Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery. The latter has its own War Diary for the period when it was with Home Forces (WO 166/2592):
    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/Catalogue/displaycataloguedetails.asp?CATLN=6&CATID=1065584&SearchInit=4&SearchType=6&CATREF=WO+166%2F2592

    Use of such a denomination for LAA Bties too can be seen in the WD copied in this post:
    http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/42605-102-laa-light-anti-aircraft-regiment-royal-artillery-their-history-war-diary-and-who-served/

    80 AA Bde - WO 171/1085
    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/displaycataloguedetails.asp?CATID=5455714&CATLN=6&accessmethod=5

    73 LAA Regt - WO 171/1121
    93 LAA Regt - WO 171/1124
    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/browser.asp?CATLN=3&CATID=13231&POSCATLN=6&POSCATID=1122000

    103 HAA Regt - WO 171/1150
    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/browser.asp?CATLN=3&CATID=13231&POSCATLN=6&POSCATID=1151000

    There seems to be no War Diary for the individual batteries of these units, as TNA records jump directly from 319 LAA Bty (WO 171/1180) to 323 LAA Bty (WO 171/1181)

    Michel
     
  13. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Michel,

    'F' Troop is from 324 Battery, 103 HAA Regiment. This is consistent with 'E' Troop from the same battery. Later they will be joined by 'D' Troop.

    322 Battery consists of 'A', 'B' and 'C' Troops. 'B' Troop has a secondary function as Coast Artillery. More on this later.

    I do seem to have lost one SP triple 20mm towing a trailer mounted triple 20mm. It does exist.

    Mike.
     
  14. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Found it.
    There should be:

    H+360 minutes
    Queen Red

    1 Crusader SP triple 20mm AA gun with 5 crew from 322 Battery, 93 LAA Regiment RA.
    1 triple 20mm AA gun from 322 Battery, 93 LAA Regiment RA.
    15 men from 322 Battery, 93 LAA Regiment RA.

    Mike
     
  15. So 'G' Tp was complete after all.

    Looking back at the LAA units, the variety of their equipment is patent:

    218 LAA Bty, 73 LAA Regt has 40mm SP Crusader + 40mm LAA Bofors Mk I (towed)

    318 LAA Bty, 92 LAA Regt has SP LAA Bofors (mounted on trucks)

    322 LAA Bty, 93 LAA Regt has triple Oerlikons both SP Crusader and towed

    I guess that the truck-mounted SP LAA Bofors were chosen because they could reach their objective (the Orne bridges) faster, and that the Bofors and triple Oerlikons gave a good balance of calibre and firepower for the Beach Maintenance Area, with the towed guns stationed on fixed positions by the beach exits (as attested by photos), and the Crusader mounted ones deployed wherever thought necessary (including on the beach) thanks to their mobility.

    Plus a handful of HAA guns thrown in for good measure... pity that so few Germans bandits came to fly over the area during daytime :) !

    Michel
     
  16. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    SWORD BEACH.
    ODDS and ENDS.

    ARTILLERY.
    Major units appearing on the Landing Tables have been described in the tables or in the sections on developing and operating the beaches. Some smaller units remain. First the artillery.


    AIR OBSERVATION POSTS.
    It was originally planned that ‘B’ Flight 652 Squadron RAF would work from an Advanced Landing Ground from H + 8 Hours. It would remain under CRA and concentrate on spotting enemy reinforcing artillery.

    According to the War Diary two flight parties arrived off the beach around 1230. ‘A’ Flight Marching Party landed and proceeded to the planned Advanced Landing Ground ‘A’ at Beny sur Mer. This was occupied with considerable enemy interference since a large number of enemy were still in the area. The Vehicle Party of ‘A’ Flight landed at 0400 on D+1 and proceeded to Advanced Landing Ground ‘A’. ‘A’ Flight engaged the enemy with small arms fire and assisted in attacks by tanks and infantry. The operation of the Advanced Landing Ground was deemed impossible due to enemy resistance in the radar station at Douvres 500 yards to the west.

    ‘B’ Flight Marching Party and Vehicle Party landed early on D+1 and proceeded to 3 Division Headquarters as Advanced Landing Ground ‘B’ at Cresserons-Plumetot was still occupied by the enemy. The Flight Commander reconnoitred another Advanced Landing Ground but at 1430 Plumetot was cleared of the enemy and at 1900 hours the Advanced Landing Ground was occupied. Work of clearing the ground continued and at 2300 hours a signal was sent to Squadron Headquarters in the UK to call in aircraft. At 0815 on D+2 four aircraft arrived at Advanced Landing Ground ‘B’ and carried out seven shoots during the day. On D+3 ten sorties were carried out including four shoots with 79 Medium Regiment.

    Headquarters Flight Marching and Vehicle Parties arrived at 1500 hours on D+2 and proceeded to Advanced Landing Ground ‘B’.

    On D+3 it was still impossible for ‘A’ Flight to occupy Advanced Landing Ground ‘A’ so ‘A’ Flight moved to a new Advanced Landing Ground near Reviere and started to operate from it at 1700 hours. Four sorties were carried out that day.

    Subsequently ‘C’ Flight of 652 Squadron and ‘A’ Flight of 658 squadron arrived and all operated from Advanced Landing Ground ‘A’. Operations included counter battery shoots, shoots with warships, registration of targets and photographic reconnaissance missions.

    On D+5 permission was given to remove the black and white recognition stripes which compromised the aircrafts camouflage.




    FORWARD OBSERVATION.
    The Forward Observation parties landed on foot with the unit they were to support. Vehicles landed later. Forward Observation Officers were from the division’s artillery regiments and batteries. A party of four landed initially and were joined by a carrier when the Field Regiments landed.

    Forward Observers with Special Service units were found from Royal Artillery units not involved in the landings. They normally had Commando training and landed as a party of four with a Jeep and wireless landing later.

    Forward Observer Bombardment parties were found from artillery units which would not be landing in Europe for some time. The normal party was five men with three landing with the unit they were to support and a Jeep with two crew and a wireless landing later. The troop had eight jeeps and four M3A1 White 15cwt, which may have been replaced by halftracks. The M3A1, or halftracks, were used for the Brigade Headquarters and for 185 Brigade. Some jeeps were for the Bombardment Troop Headquarters which landed later.


    Forward Observation Officers RA.
    H+20
    Landing from LCAs
    4 men from 33 Field Regiment SP RA. FOO for 1 South Lancashire Regiment.
    4 men from 76 Field Regiment SP RA. FOO for 1 South Lancashire Regiment.
    4 men from 76 Field Regiment SP RA. FOO for 2 East Yorkshire Regiment.
    4 men from 76 Field Regiment SP RA. FOO for 2 East Yorkshire Regiment.

    H+30
    Landing from LCAs
    4 men from Forward Observation Officer parties. Attached to 1 Special Service Brigade.
    4 men from Forward Observation Officer parties. Attached to 1 Special Service Brigade.

    H+60
    Landing from LCAs
    4 men from 76 Field Regiment SP RA. FOO for 1 Suffolk Regiment.
    4 men from 33 Field Regiment SP RA. FOO for 1 Suffolk Regiment.

    H+75
    Landing from LCI(S)
    4 men from Forward Observation Party attached to 4 Special Service Brigade.
    4 men from Forward Observation Party attached to 4 Special Service Brigade.

    H+105
    Landing from LCI(S)
    4 men from Forward Observation Officer Party attached to 1 Special Service Brigade.

    H+120
    Three are Royal Artillery Forward Observation Officers from the SP Field Regiments. These have been offshore on LCP(L)s and will now land to join the units they are supporting. Ferry craft will collect them on request. One spare craft is provided.

    4 men from 76 Field Regiment RA. Forward Observation Officer.
    4 men from 33 Field Regiment RA. Forward Observation Officer.
    2 men from 7 Field Regiment RA. Forward Observation Officer.

    H+150
    Landing from LCI(L) MkII acting as Battalion Headquarters craft for 2 Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
    4 men from 7 Field Regiment RA. FOO for 2 Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

    Landing from LCI(L) MkII acting as Battalion Headquarters craft for 1 Royal Norfolk Regiment.
    4 men from 7 Field Regiment. Forward Observation Officer Party. FOO for 1 Royal Norfolk Regiment.

    H+7 hours.
    2 Jeeps with 2 crew from Forward Observation Officers parties attached to 1 Special Service Brigade.
    2 Jeeps with 2 crew from Forward Observation Officers parties attached to 1 Special Service Brigade.



    ‘A’ Bombardment Troop. Combined Operations Bombardment Unit.
    All 7 Forward Observers Bombardment (Nos F77 to F83) of ‘A’ Bombardment Troop were deployed. Initially four were allotted to 8 Brigade and three to 185 Brigade. When the Reserve Brigade, 9 Brigade, passed through 8 Brigade to Forward Observers Bombardment would transfer to it leaving two with 8 Brigade as a reserve at the disposal of the Commander Royal Artillery.

    The Landing Tables show the following:
    H+30 minutes.
    3 men from ‘A’ Bombardment Troop. For 1 South Lancashire Regiment.
    3 men from ‘A’ Bombardment Troop. For 2 East Yorkshire Regiment.

    H+45 minutes.
    1 Jeep with 2 crew from ‘A’ Bombardment Troop. For 1 South Lancashire Regiment.
    1 Jeep with 2 crew from ‘A’ Bombardment Troop. For 2 East Yorkshire Regiment.
    1 White M3A1 with 2 crew from ‘A’ Bombardment Troop. For Headquarters 8 Brigade.

    H+60 minutes.
    3 men from ‘A’ Bombardment Troop. For 1 Suffolk Regiment.

    H+120 minutes.
    3 men from ‘A’ Bombardment Troop. For Headquarters 8 Brigade. Land from LSH(S)
    1 Jeep with 2 crew from ‘A’ Bombardment Troop. For 1 Suffolk Regiment.
    1 man from ‘A’ Bombardment Troop. Senior Officer Bombardment landing from Divisional Headquarters Ship LSH Largs.

    H+150 minutes.
    3 men from ‘A’ Bombardment Troop. For 2 Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
    3 men from ‘A’ Bombardment Troop. For 1 Royal Norfolk Regiment.
    3 men from ‘A’ Bombardment Troop. For 2 Kings Shropshire Light Infantry.

    H+185 minutes.
    1 Jeep with 4 crew from ‘A’ Bombardment Troop. For Tactical Headquarters Commander Royal Artillery.

    H+240 minutes.
    1 White M3A1 with 2 crew from ‘A’ Bombardment Troop. For Forward Observer Bombardment with 2 Warwickshire Regiment.
    1 White M3A1 with 2 crew from ‘A’ Bombardment Troop. For Forward Observer Bombardment with 2 Kings Shropshire Light Infantry.
    1 White M3A1 with 5 crew from ‘A’ Bombardment Troop. For Forward Observer Bombardment with Headquarters 185 Brigade.




    ‘C’ Bombardment Troop. Combined Operations Bombardment Unit.
    For Special Service Brigade.
    H+30 minutes.
    4 men from ‘C’ Bombardment Troop. For Headquarters 1 Special Service Brigade.
    H+105 minutes.
    4 men from ‘C’ Bombardment Troop. For 3 Commando.
    4 men from ‘C’ Bombardment Troop. For 6 Commando.
    4 men from ‘C’ Bombardment Troop. For 45 Commando.

    H+120 minutes.
    1 Jeep with 1 crew from ‘C’ Bombardment Troop. For Headquarters 1 Special Service Brigade.
    1 Jeep with 1 crew from ‘C’ Bombardment Troop. For 3 Commando.
    1 Jeep with 1 crew from ‘C’ Bombardment Troop. For 6 Commando.
    1 Jeep with 1 crew from ‘C’ Bombardment Troop. For 45 Commando.


    The Combined Operations Bombardment Unit was organised to provide control for naval gunfire in combined operations. Each Troops provided seven parties which consisted of :
    1 X Observation Officer Royal Artillery
    1 X observation post assistant Royal Artillery
    3 X signaller Royal Navy
    1 X Liaison Officer Royal Navy who was stationed on the ship providing fire support.

    The Observation Officer and his assistant, plus a signaller, manned an observation post as in Royal Artillery field units. The signallers Royal Navy were provided to operate wireless sets on Royal Navy or combined operations frequencies, and to use Royal Naval signal procedures to communicate with their ship. Initially man pack sets were used. Later jeeps or M3A1 Whites landed with No22 sets.

    Demands for fire support were made on the Bombardment Calling Wave and went initially to the Division Headquarters Ship before being passed to a bombarding warship. Contact Detachments could be used if no Forward Observation Bombardment Officer was available or his communications were down.

    Spotter aircraft were used to control naval gunfire but special communications arrangements were required. On D Day observation for Naval gunfire was provided by a spotting pool of aircraft including:
    Four squadrons of Seafires from the Fleet Air Arm.
    Five squadrons of Spitfires and Mustangs from the RAF
    Fifteen Spitfires manned by United States Navy

    Aircraft were required to spot the fall of shell. In the early stages of a landing the full Royal Artillery system of survey and observation did not exist and warships were not equipped for shore bombardment. At sea they largely relied on optical equipment. Range finders and directors gave range and bearing which could be corrected by visual spotting the fall of shell by having men in each gun turret and in each director reporting whether:
    - Shells were landing beyond the target, in which case the base of the splash was obscured by the target
    - Shells were landing in front of the target, in which case the splash was clearly visible
    - Shells were hitting of straddling the target.
    An alternative which was increasingly used was radar which also gave an accurate range and bearing. Neither system could be used against land targets.



    Forward Observation. 185 Brigade.
    The artillery plans could become very complicated.The following shows the observation teams that were deployed with 185 Brigade which was intended to capture Caen.

    A. While Afloat.
    185 Brigade Headquarters.
    Commanding Officer 7 Field Regiment
    Forward Observer Bombardment

    2 Warwickshire Regiment.
    Forward Observation Officer 9 Battery
    Forward Observer Bombardment

    1 Norfolk Regiment
    Forward Observation Officer 16 Battery

    2 Kings Somerset Light Infantry
    Battery Commander 17 Battery
    Forward Observer Bombardment

    In Reserve
    Battery Commander 9 Battery
    Battery Commander 16 Battery
    Forward Observation Officer 9 Battery
    Forward Observation Officer 16 Battery
    Forward Observation Officer 17 Battery
    Forward Observation Officer 17 Battery

    B. Advance towards Caen.
    There was some reorganisation in the assembly area, including the addition of 33 Field Regiment. For the advance towards Caen the following were deployed.
    Brigade Headquarters.
    Commanding Officer 7 Field Regiment
    Forward Observer Bombardment

    2 Warwickshire Regiment.
    Battery Commander 9 Battery
    Forward Observation Officer 9 Battery
    Forward Observer Bombardment

    1 Norfolk Regiment
    Forward Observation Officer 16 Battery
    Battery Commander 16 Battery

    2 Kings Shropshire Light Infantry
    Battery Commander 17 Battery
    Forward Observation Officer 17 Battery
    Forward Observation Officer 33 Field Regiment
    Forward Observer Bombardment

    Staffordshire Yeomanry
    Forward Observation Officer 17 Battery
    Forward Observation Officer 33 Field Regiment

    In Reserve
    Forward Observation Officer 9 Battery
    Forward Observation Officer 16 Battery


    C. For the capture of Caen the observers were to be redistributed to give more to the two forward battalions.
    Brigade Headquarters.
    Commanding Officer 7 Field Regiment
    Forward Observer Bombardment

    2 Warwickshire Regiment.
    Battery Commander 9 Battery
    Forward Observation Officer 9 Battery
    Forward Observer Bombardment
    Forward Observation Officer 16 Battery
    Forward Observation Officer 33 Field Regiment

    1 Norfolk Regiment
    Forward Observation Officer 16 Battery
    Battery Commander 16 Battery
    Forward Observation Officer 17 Battery
    Forward Observation Officer 33 Field Regiment
    Forward Observation Officer 9 Battery

    2 Kings Shropshire Light Infantry
    Battery Commander 17 Battery

    Reserve
    Forward Observation Officer 9 Battery
    Forward Observation Officer 17 Battery





    9 SURVEY REGIMENT.
    ‘A’ Survey Battery of 9 Survey Regiment.
    A Survey Troop from ‘A’ Survey Battery of 9 Survey Regiment will land and establish a divisional grid for the artillery. It will also erect a marker to enable Bombardment Ships to register their fire. Later the Survey Regiment will establish a corps grid for I Corps.

    Surveyors will select a datum point and mark it with a post and labels. Other points will be selected and bearings and distances established with theodolites. A grid will then be established which will be issued as overlays for artillery use. All guns in the division can then be certain that they are using the same grid references. Until the grid is established two methods will be used:
    - A grid drawn on existing maps. These were issued in the UK but with deliberately incorrect grid lines to avoid the exact location being identified. Tables of correction were used to establish the correct references. This seems to have been simply a matter of adding 1.5 to the square references.
    - For battery and regimental shoots the unit director can be used. This finds the bearing from it to a target or known point and then all guns in the unit will use that with corrections for their own gun position.

    3 Canadian Division will have established its own grid so that eventually a corps grid will be surveyed for the use of all corps artillery units.

    For administration the Survey battery will be attached to 53 Medium Regiment. On D+1 the Sound Ranging Troop will work with 53 Medium Regiment on Counter Battery tasks under the Assistant Counter Battery Officer, 1 Corps.
     
  17. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    SWORD BEACH.
    ODDS and ENDS.

    ROYAL NAVY.
    BOMBARDMENT FORCE D.
    Arriving from 0330 hours, or H-240 minutes.

    NOTE.
    Information on Bombardment Force D and its targets is from contemporary army orders etc and may differ from the reality. It is included here only to illustrate the scope of the naval support.

    Capital Ships.
    As this was the extreme left hand beach, and within range of guns defending the port of Le Havre, this force was covered by the heavy guns of two battleships and a monitor, with a third battleship in reserve.

    The battleships were old and in less than top condition, but both had a formidable armament for bombardment work, and hefty armour. HMS Warspite had been damaged in the Mediterranean and only six of her 15” guns were operational on D Day. HMS Ramilies did not have a full establishment and could man only four of her 15” guns on D Day.

    HMS Roberts was a monitor, which was a comparatively small and shallow draught vessel designed for shore bombardment. It still had the armour and 15” guns of a battleship, although only two of them.

    Each of these heavy ships had a bombardment role. They would be ready to fire on designated shore batteries from Civil Twilight which is defined for practical purposes as 30 minutes before sunrise. This is different to Nautical Twilight which is from one hour before sunrise.

    Warspite would engage the battery of six 170mm guns at Villerville.
    Ramilies would engage the battery of six 155mm guns at Benerville.
    Roberts would engage the battery of six 155mm guns at Houlgate.

    In addition the heavy ships were to be prepared to engage the heavier batteries at Le Havre which included four 240mm guns. (There were in fact three much heavier guns which are not mentioned in the plans or orders.)

    Rodney was a more modern battleship with nine 16” guns. It was to be held in reserve and did not have a fire support role on D Day. It did fire on the Le Havre batteries in the afternoon.


    Cruisers.
    There were also five cruisers which had smaller but never the less effective guns.

    HMS Mauritius was the force flagship. It was a modern Colony Class and had twelve 6” guns.
    HMS Arethusa was a pre war cruiser and had six 6” guns.
    HMS Frobisher was an older cruiser and had five 7.5” guns
    HMS Danae was a WWI D Class cruiser and had six 6” guns
    ORP (Polish) Dragon was also a D Class cruiser and had six 6” guns

    Frobisher would engage the battery of six 155mm guns at Ouistreham 1 (Bella Riva).
    Mauritius would engage the battery of four 150mm guns at Le Mont.
    Aresthusa would engage the battery of four 150mm guns at Merville. (only if 6 Airborne fail to neutralise it).
    Danae would engage the battery of four 155mm guns at Ouistreham.
    Dragon would engage the battery of four 105mm guns at Colleville.



    Air Spotting.
    All the capital ships and cruisers had spotting aircraft from the Air Spotting Pool. These were Seafires which were to spot the fall of shell and pass corrections to the ships. The arrangements varied for each ship but in general they were available in relays from Civil Twilight to Civil Twilight plus 360 minutes. Where Forward Observers Bombardment were expected to be able to carry out the task the air spotting was timed to end earlier.
    Ouistreham 1. (Bella Riva). From Civil Twilight to plus 90 minutes for HMS Frobisher.
    Houlgate Battery. From Civil Twilight to plus 360 minutes for HMS Roberts.
    Benerville Battery. From Civil Twilight to plus 360 minutes for HMS Ramilies.
    Villierville Battery. From Civil Twilight to plus 360 minutes for HMS Warspite.
    Colleville sur Orne. From Civil Twilight to plus 180 minutes for HMS Dragon.
    Ouistreham II. From Civil Twilight to plus 90 minutes for HMS Danae.
    Salanailles. From Civil Twilight to plus 90 minutes for HMS Arethusa.



    Fleet Destroyers.
    Ten Fleet Destroyers were assigned fire support roles
    HMS Kelvin was a K Class destroyer with six 4.7” guns.
    HMS Saumarez was an S Class Destroyer Flotilla Leader with four 4.7” guns.
    HMS Scorpion was an S Class Destroyer with four 4.7” guns
    HMS Scourge was an S Class Destroyer with four 4.7” guns.
    HMS Swift was an S Class Destroyer with four 4.7” guns.
    HMS Serapis was an S Class Destroyer with four 4.7” guns.
    HNMS(Norwegian) Stord was an S Class Destroyer with four 4.7” guns.
    HNMS (Norwegian) Svenner was an S Class Destroyer with four 4.7” guns. (Torpedoed and sunk in the early hours of D Day and took no part in the bombardment)
    HMS Virago was a V Class Destroyer with four 4.7” guns.
    HMS Verulum was a V Class Destroyer with four 4.7” guns.

    These were to be assigned the following targets. Since they were near identical in size, draught and firepower the order did not assign specific destroyers to specific targets.

    Langrune Sur Mer. Two destroyers from H-45 minutes to H+60 minutes.
    Lion Sur Mer. Three destroyers from H-45 minutes to H+60 minutes.
    La Broche. One destroyer from H-45 minutes to H+30 minutes.
    Ouistreham. Two destroyers from H-45 minutes to H+60 minutes.
    Beach Defences. Two destroyers from H-45 minutes.

    Destroyers did not have aircraft assigned to them from the Air Spotting Pool. Once Forward Observers Bombardment were ashore the destroyers were at their call.


    Hunt Class Destroyers.
    Two smaller Hunt Class Escort Destroyers were tasked to give closer fire support than was possible with larger ships.

    HMS Middleton was a Hunt Class destroyer with six 4” guns.
    HMS Eglinton was a Hunt Class destroyer with four 4” guns.

    The two Hunt Class destroyers were to:
    - From H-45 minutes to H-15 minutes support the LCTs carrying DD tanks. They would stand 100 yards clear of the LCTs while they were launching tanks. Hunts would engage any weapons not already being engaged by cruisers. If the DD tanks were obviously early or late then the timings could be varied.
    - From H-15 minutes to H+60 minutes the Hunts move to the flanks and continue to engage weapons not already engaged. The role of close support to the DD tanks will be taken on by Landing Craft Support (Large).
    - From H+60 minutes onwards the Hunts will deliver direct fire onto targets as demanded by Forward Observers Bombardment with Commandos.


    Fire support will also be provided by
    Landing Craft Gun
    Landing Craft Support (Large)
    Landing Craft Rocket
    LCTs carrying SP Field Artillery
    LCAs carrying 95mm Centaur tanks.


    The Bombardment Force remained off the beaches for some weeks. The battleships took it in turns to return to the UK to re ammunition.
     
  18. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    SWORD BEACH.
    ODDS and ENDS.

    AIR BOMBARDMENT.
    - Villerville, Benerville and Houlgate received a bombardment by Heavy Night Bombers from Civil Twilight minus 60 minutes to Civil Twilight when capital ships began their bombardment.
    - Other batteries near the beaches were subjected to a more prolonged air bombardment. The air bombardment varied slightly but in general the targets were bombed by Heavy Night Bombers from Civil Twilight minus 95 minutes to Civil Twilight minus 85 minutes. Medium Bombers attacked the targets from Civil Twilight minus 60 minutes to Civil Twilight plus 10 minutes.
    - Beach defences and the area immediately behind them were bombed later. Those on the beaches to be assaulted were bombed by Heavy Day Bombers from H-30 minutes to H-10 minutes. Those on the flanks of the beaches to be assaulted were bombed by Heavy Bombers from H-30 minutes to H Hour.

    It was not expected that even this massive bombardment would destroy any put a small proportion of the defences. They were well built to withstand such bombardment. It was expected that the air bombardment would prevent the shore batteries from firing effectively on shipping, and prevent the movement of troops in the immediate area.

    The most important enemy batteries had been subjected to bombing before D Day and on D Day itself the batteries were subjected to air bombardment as follows
    Coast Defence Batteries.
    Ouistreham Battery 1. Bella Riva
    Heavy Oboe from Civil Twilight minus 1 Hour 35 minutes to minus 1 Hour 25 minutes.
    Medium Oboe from Civil Twilight minus 1 Hour to plus 10 minutes.
    Houlgate Battery.
    Pre D day bombing.
    Heavy Oboe from Civil Twilight minus 1 Hour to Civil Twilight.
    Benerville Battery.
    Pre D day bombing.
    Heavy Oboe from Civil Twilight minus 2 Hours to minus 1 Hour.
    Villierville Battery.
    Pre D day bombing.

    Field and Medium Batteries.
    Perier sur le Dan.
    Heavy Day Bombing from H-30 minutes to H Hour.
    Fighter Bombers from H+15 minutes to H+20 minutes.
    Colleville sur Orne.
    Pre D Day bombing.
    Heavy Day Bombing from H-10 minutes to H+10 minutes.
    Ouistreham II. 103780.
    Medium Oboe from Civil Twilight minus 1 Hour to plus 10 minutes.
    Heavy Day Bombing from H-10 minutes to H+10 minutes.
    Salanailles.
    Heavy Oboe from Civil Twilight minus 4 Hours 50 minutes to minus 4 Hours 40 minutes.

    Beach Defences.
    Langrune sur Mer.
    Heavy Day Bombing from H-30 minutes to H Hour.
    Lion sur Mer.
    Heavy Day Bombing from H-30 minutes to H Hour.
    La Breche.
    Heavy Day Bombing from H-30 minutes to H-10 minutes.
    East of La Breche.
    Heavy Day Bombing from H-30 minutes to H Hour.
    Mouth of the R. Orne.
    Heavy Day Bombing from H-30 minutes to H Hour.

    Headquarters and Communication Centres inland.
    Battle HQ at 016701.
    Heavy Day Bombing as close to H Hour as possible but not later than H+10 minutes.
    Bieville.
    Heavy Day Bombing as close to H Hour as possible but not later than H+10 minutes.
    St. Aubin.
    Heavy Day Bombing as close to H Hour as possible but not later than H+10 minutes.
    Caen 1
    Heavy Day Bombing at about H Hour.
    Caen 2
    Heavy Day Bombing not later than H+7½ Hours. In support of 185 Brigades attack.

    Paradoxically army orders contain a list of ancient monuments etc. to which damage should if possible be avoided.

    Smoke.
    From 0500 hours Boston medium bombers from 88 squadron 2 TAF laid and maintained a smoke screen on the flank to screen the shipping from observation from Le Havre and other points on the shore east of the beaches. The Bostons were fitted with smoke dispensers in the bomb bay and missions were planned so that a single Boston arrived every ten minutes in order to maintain a continuous screen.
     
  19. Arty

    Arty Member

    Mike,

    A correction for you regards Bombarding Force D. There were a total of thirteen destroyers involved, not twelve. On the day the Type I Hunt class destroyer HMS Eglinton was actually one of the eleven “Fleet” destroyers - it’s bombardment target area, along with HMS Kelvin, was the German defences at Langrune Sur Mer (WN26) and Petite Enfer (WN24). The "Hunt" destroyer missing from your info is the Type II Hunt class destroyer ORP Slazak (ex HMS Bedale). It was the Polish manned ORP Slazak, along with HMS Middleton, that gave close in fire support onto Queen White & Queen Red (respectively). Incidentally the commander of ORP Slazak, Komandor Romuald Nalecz-Tyminski, had made a name for himself saving Canadian lives during the Dieppe fiasco in August 42.

    Lt Webber of 2nd Middlesex who was landed on the wrong beach from an LCA of 536th Flotilla at H+20 06Jun44 provides a dramatic eyewitness account of Slazak’s actions that day: "As we moved near the land I was very moved by the sight of a Polish destroyer which had steamed right inshore as if to draw the fire from the defenceless landing-craft and was letting the strongpoints have hell."

    Arty
     
  20. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Arty,

    Thank you for the additional information. I have added a disclaimer to the Bombardment Force post. I admit to considerable ignorance of naval matters. The information posted comes from army sources and I hope serves to pay tribute to the fire support role of the navy..

    Mike
     

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