The Battle for Tilly-sur-Seulles - Normandy - June 1944

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Ramiles, Apr 16, 2015.

  1. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    The Battle for Tilly-sur-Seulles

    Hi all,

    Currently looking for best links for and info on events surrounding this fascinating topic.

    There are a few "nice" maps on this link: http://www.fireandfury.com/scenarios/tillysphinx.pdf

    And looking at the map of troop placements for the 11th June - "The Battles between Bayeux & Caen on 11th June 1944" - about 20% of the way down this webpage, I was finding it interesting to speculate which way I'd have "chosen" as the best "route" to go.

    Rather oddly (perhaps?) "The Short History of the 8th Armoured Brigade" doesn't actually seem to mention Tilly-sur-seulles: The 8TH ARMOURED BRIGADE Though I note that the 24th L won here their 3rd Battle honour: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24th_Lancers And apparently Battle Honours of the British Empire and Commonwealth Land Forces 1662-1991 by Alexander Rodger: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Battle-Hono...2-1991/dp/1861266375/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top lists 10 British and Commonwealth land forces that were so honoured with "The Battle of Tilly-sur-Seulles"

    Looking into this battle and thinking of some specific questions / answers there. Some of these might not even be contentious / contested - and I guess that there are already definitive ideas / conclusions in the books quoted (below) out there? But I suppose that there might be some differences in/of opinions already "crystalised"?

    Such as....

    1. Was the best way into Tilly across the Seulles from St.Pierre (or down the road from Bayeux?) A handful of attempts seem to have been made to crack this particular nut and I'm guessing - "was the way in "obvious" in the end" or did it take a lot of trial and error in order to find a way in? Would it have been better to have "gone" around - or was that just not an option here? i.e. were they already "going" this way as a "diversion" around Caen? i.e. veracity of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_for_Caen

    2. Was Tilly a good place for the Germans to defend? if so was it perhaps a place wiser not to attack? Or was there really no option but to go "this way"? i.e. I guess what I am getting at was this the best route in out of a rather bad lot? Looking at the maps on the whole what seemed to "work best" was to keep going around and eventually force the Germans to withdraw, or else face them with being utterly cut off eventually from resupply. i.e. as in: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Perch#/media/File:Operation_Perch.svg

    3. Did the Germans actually long plan to defend Tilly (as part of the Normandy defence) or did it just work out that way?

    Nb. my "current" understanding here is that the Germans didn't really pick Tilly as the place to defend, rather they chose it as a place to assemble prior to an aborted attempt on their part to retake Bayeux via the route up the Tilly to Bayeux road. The British 8th Armoured brigade actually got in the way and prevented the German's assembling forces from meeting up and a counter attack on Bayeux did not materialise because the Germans were unable to assemble sufficient force at Tilly for it to be thought to have any chance of success. And to reiterate - the Germans long thought that the Normandy landings were weak and diversionary and the primary push was still due to be launched across the Straits of Dover to Calais. They did not and could not assemble sufficient force at Tilly to retake Bayeux because they were tricked into thinking that this was just a "feint" meant to draw many of their best units in :) By the time they "realised" that this was indeed where the "real push" was - they were already convincing themselves that in actual fact the allies had "cancelled Calais" because "unexpectedly" for the allies the Normandy campaign had "gone better" than "planned", and they could blame themselves for not putting up a better fight and pushing the allies into the sea in Normandy rather than ever giving credit to where credit was due. :lol: If the allies had taken Caen and most of Normandy in the few few days, the Germans might have "woken" up to the situation far sooner and rushed in much more force to try to counter things there before things really got out of hand. If they had discounted defending "Calais" at a very early stage, things might have gone quite badly for the allies in Normandy, particularly after the big storm in the middle of June that did much to restrict the allies supplies.

    4. On what day was Tilly specifically liberated? And which units specifically were there on that day / at that time (interesting to me as an "historic" footnote here (or more!) I guess :salut: .

    Ans: Seems to have been on the 19th June, by 24th Lancers and the Essex Regiment. (see note from SDP post #5 below)
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
  2. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Links for info on the Battle for Tilly-sur-Seulles

    The Creully Club (Address of website established for all those who served in the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards): http://www.creullycl...om/frameset.htm

    The Durham Light Infantry (in NWE 1945) : http://durhamlightinfantry.webs.com/northwesteurope4445.htm

    Normandy Battlefield Guide: Tilly-sur-Seulles (says Tilly changed hands more than 20x between 7th and 26th June 1944 and that Tilly remained "on the front line" until mid July): Tilly sur Seulles Battlefield Guide

    Detail on the 50th Tyne and Tees Division in Normandy (with a section on Tilly there): ttp://www.flamesofwar.com/hobby.aspx?art_id=453

    A "WW2 people's war" story posted on the BBC website: BBC - WW2 People's War - Jack is Wounded in Tilly sur Seulles

    http://www.dtic.mil/...df?AD=ADA475698 Pdf: 50 DIV IN NORMANDY: A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE BRITISH 50th (NORTHUMBRIAN) DIVISION ON D-DAY AND IN THE BATTLE OF NORMANDY By ETHAN RAWLS WILLIAMS, LCDR, USN B.S., United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, 1997: Has some detail about events on and around Point 103 and St.Pierre, with a focus on the 50th Div, but plenty also about the 8th Armoured Brigade in there.

    Documentary? Films?: (Well one can hope! :) )

    "Normandy 44 – The Battle Beyond D-Day" - presented by James Holland http://www.bbc.co.uk...rammes/b0461mvr
    (Last shown in 2014 so not currently available currently on iplayer, but there are a couple of short clips from it on this page).

    "Challenging some of the many myths that have grown up around this vital campaign, Holland argues that we have become too comfortable in our understanding of events, developing shorthand to tell this famous story that does great injustice to those that saw action in France across the summer of 1944."

    Video

    La vidéo du musée Tilly-sur-Seulles : http://www.tilly1944.com/memo/video.php

    Books

    La Bataille de Tilly-sur-Seulles - by Stephane Jacquet (Heimdal): http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/2840482606

    "None Had Lances" - The story of the 24th Lancers by Leonard Willis
    http://www.amazon.co...s/dp/0951071807
    http://www.abebooks....-0951071807/plp

    A Short History of the 8th Armoured Brigade: http://www.warlinks....d/chapter_4.php

    An Englishman at War: The Wartime Diaries of Stanley Christopherson Dso Mc. By Stanley Christopherson, James Holland

    The 12th SS (Volume 1) - by Hubert Meyer: https://books.google... Pierre&f=false

    Miscellaneous

    That "obligatory" war game scenario question: http://www.fireandfury.com/scenarios/tillysphinx.pdf (i.e. how accurate is this? ;) )

    Maps

    Eastern Flank of the Normandy Bridgehead (June-July 1944): http://www.ibiblio.o...ps/OpSumm-7.jpg
    An "interesting" thing about this particular map is it put's Tilly in allied hands some time around the 17th of June and quite well behind allied hands by the 20th June, whereas by some accounts Tilly was not "firmly" in allied hands until the 29th and was actually on/around the front line until the middle of July? Hence a source of "some confusion" there?

    The allied "front" during various dates (8th June to 19th July) for the Battle of Caen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Overlord#/media/File:Battleforceanmapenglish.PNG

    Focus on Tilly-sur-Seulles

    [sharedmedia=gallery:images:28211]

    [sharedmedia=gallery:images:28069]




    Some photo recon images:


    Even though it is marked as Juvigny-sur-Seulles; Lower Normandy; France: http://en.wikipedia....gny-sur-Seulles (a small village to the south of Tilly) this CRAF photo recon seems to show a good view of Tilly and a large part of St.Pierre on the 24th June 1944:http://ncap.org.uk/f...s&free-text=yes

    (Wondering who and what did all that aligned cratering in the chateau/park to the southeast of Tilly, and what they were "after" there? :pipe: )

    Here's one just to the west of Tilly: http://ncap.org.uk/f...gny-sur-seulles



    Some associated WW2talk threads:

    The Battles for Point 103 and St.Pierre - a "prelude" to the Battle for Tilly-sur-Seulles? http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/57272-the-battles-for-point-103-and-st-pierre-8th–-18th-june-1944/

    Researching life at Hervieu in Normandy in June 1944: http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/57303-researching-life-at-hervieu-in-normandy-in-june-1944/
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2016
  3. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Events around the Battle for Tilly-sur-Seulles (Nb - some of this detail that relates to actions elsewhere i.e. at Pt103 can at some point be de-emphasised/taken out of this part of events around Tilly if necessary in post edit - Rm.)

    June 1944

    Tuesday 6th June 1944 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:D-Day5.jpg

    D-Day - Bayeux was not captured on the first day due to stiff resistance from the 352nd Infantry Division http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normandy_landings & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Overlord

    Wednesday 7th June 1944

    The allied liberation of Bayeux

    Thursday 8th June 1944

    The Germans make plans to assemble in the area of Tilly and attack from there on the 9th June towards Bayeux, with the aim of pushing the allies away from Bayeux by the end of that day.

    Friday 9th June 1944

    German plans to move towards Bayeux on this date are hindered in part by strong attacks from the tank forces of the 8th Armoured Brigade, who capture the village of St.Pierre, across the Seulles from Tilly.

    Saturday 10th June 1944 (Map of dispositions on this date: http://en.wikipedia....Caumont_Gap.svg )

    The Germans counterattacked St. Pierre (from Tilly?) in force at first light, causing heavy casualties amongst the DLI in the village and wounding the squadron leader of "C" squad 24th L. The 24th L (less "C" squadron who were already in the village of St.Pierre) left Point 103 and advanced to St.Pierre. ‘A’ Squadron on the right covering the bridge crossing the River Seulles to the East of Tilly and ‘B’ Squadron on the left overlooking Fontenay. Meanwhile the remainder of ‘C’ Squadron's tanks withdrew to the perimeter at Pt 103 to cover the action. By the late afternoon the situation in St Pierre had been restored (and with thanks to Sheldrake please see http://www.theobserv...com/blog/?p=132 for extra detail here) and leaving the infantry to hold St. Pierre, together with a Squadron of SRY, the 24th L then moved back to Pt 103.

    Sunday 11th June 1944

    Whilst the 2 Glous and 4 CLY appear to have been attacking Tilly from the northwest, attention on attacking Tilly from the east seems to have switched on this date to a (failed) attempt to occupy the village of Cristot (to the west), from where an OP (Observation point) seemed to be targeting artillery and anti-personnel mortars on allied forces on Point 103.

    Monday 12th June 1944 (Map of dispositions on this date: http://en.wikipedia....ation_Perch.svg )

    On this date the 4/7th RDG are reported to have supported two DLI battalions (6th and 9th) in attacking the village of Marcel (just to the north west of Tilly) and the high ground near to Tilly-sur-Seulles. 24th L were engaged by enemy anti-tank and tank gunfire from the areas of Fontenay and North of Fontenay had one of their worst days' losses of the whole war with reports of 15 wounded including six officers and ten men killed. The war diary of the 24th L also notes that some 24th L tanks were lost to Panzerfausts on a recce on this date (and there is an IWM audio account of such an incident here: http://www.iwm.org.u...object/80019675 ) and a number of "A" and "B" 24th L squadron members were KIA. At 2230 hrs, after escorting the remaining allied infantry out of St Pierre, the 24th L withdrew to a defensive position on Pt 103.

    Tuesday 13th June 1944

    Seems like a quieter day for the 24th L on "Point 103", one of observation and perimeter guarding. The SRY (having been continuously in action since D-day) were drawn back to the Bayeux area until the 14th to replenish and re-equip. Meanwhile the 4/7th RDG supported the 6 and 9 Durham Light Infantry (151 Brigade) in an attack on the high ground dominating Tilly-sur-Seulles.

    Wednesday 14th June 1944

    With the SRY having been drawn back to the Bayeux area on the 13th until the 14th to replenish and re-equip, concentrated allied bombing of Tilly, just to the southwest of St. Pierre meant that the 24th L and supporting infantry on Point 103, also moved out of the area and to the rear to Hervieu (For some detail of which see: http://ww2talk.com/f...y-in-june-1944/). Meanwhile 4/7th RDG supporting 6th and 9th DLI attacked the villages of Lingevres and Verrieres, apparently "LINGÉVRES was a classic for ‘A’ Sqn 4/7th RDG when Tpr Mackillop destroyed 5 Panther tanks of the elite Panzer Lehr with 5 shots. Very heavy casualties to the Durhams however were reported in the 6 hour battle; seventy seven killed and more than double that number wounded". Nb there is an account of this battle at: http://www.creullycl....com/sept08.htm (about 60% of the way down the webpage under "The Battle for Verrieres/Lingevres 14th June 1944).

    Thursday 15th June 1944

    Around this date the Germans shortened their front line around Tilly, pulling their units back around 1.5km citing a lack of reinforcements to fill gaps that were appearing in their lines.
    (Nb. during the night of the 15/16th June the Germans began firing in earnest V1 rockets towards London. In the first 24hrs or so they fired almost 250 of these, although only a small portion of those fired were actually able to reach their target.)

    Friday 16th June 1944

    Action on this date, from the direction of Point 103 seems to have been focused towards the east, and involved the capture of Cristot by the KOYLI supported by "C" squadron of the 24th L: http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/57114-the-attacks-on-cristot-10th-to-11th-16th-june-1944/

    Saturday 17th June 1944

    4/7th RDG in support of Essex Regiment and 6 Durham Light Infantry in attack on Tilly-sur-Seulles through Buchels. The 24th L meanwhile were involved in launching an attack on German positions in Le Parc de Bois Londe: http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/57273-the-battles-for-the-parc-de-bois-londe-17th-18th-june-1944/

    Sunday 18th June 1944

    The allies broke through the German lines to the southwest of Tilly on this date, and the Germans were ordered to counterattack, but considering the strength of the allies the German commanders on the ground considered this order pointless and counterproductive. Aided slightly by the element of surprise, the Germans however pressed on regardless. Initially the German counterattack gained ground, but without sufficient impetus or numbers this attack petered out and failed.

    Monday 19th June 1944

    Noted apparently that: It was not until 19 July, after the Germans had withdrawn across the whole division front, that Tilly-sur-Seulles was finally securely in British hands. (As to which units/in which actions that specifically occurred - please see post #5 below from SDP - current understanding may be that Tilly was liberated for the final time by 24th Lancers and the Essex Regiment. It changed hands 23 times during the fighting, :pipe: )

    From Monday 19th June 1944, most of the 24th L moved up to "Hervieu" from where they prepared for the "big push" south to the Tessel Wood and securing "Rauray"

    Nb. the period from 19th-22nd June 1944 was also marked by the terrible stormy weather that extensively damaged the Mulberry Harbours north on the Normandy landing beaches. This restricted a lot of "activity" at this stage and as far as I can see at the moment things went "fairly" quiet on the front line in this area - at this stage (???).

    Sunday 25th June 1944

    c3am - the 24th Lancers moved from the vicinity of Hervieu ( http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/57303-researching-life-at-hervieu-in-normandy-in-june-1944/ ) towards the Tessel Woods: http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/57173-24th-lancers-tessel-wood-c25th-june-1944/
     
  4. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    British and Commonwealth Battle Honours for "Tilly-sur-Seulles": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_honours_of_the_British_and_Imperial_Armies#The_Second_World_War

    Should I guess be 10 here, so perhaps including:

    The County of London Yeomanry (???) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/County_of_London_Yeomanry#4th_County_of_London_Yeomanry
    Nb. possibly for the 4th CLY as it is not (yet?) listed in the 3rd CLY's list here (might have to cut and paste this bracket holding link in order to get it to work): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3rd_County_of_London_Yeomanry_(Sharpshooters)#Battle_honours

    The Dorset Regiment (lists Tilly-sur-Seulles) here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorset_Regiment#Battle_honours

    The Durham Light Infantry: https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/units/248/durham-light-infantry/

    The East Yorkshire Regiment (???): http://www.wikiwand.com/en/East_Yorkshire_Regiment

    The Essex Regiment (lists Tilly-sur-Seulles) here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essex_Regiment#Battle_Honours

    The 5th RTR - Royal Tank Regiment (???): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5th_Royal_Tank_Regiment

    The 4/7th Royal Dragoon Guards: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4th/7th_Royal_Dragoon_Guards

    The Gloucestershire Regiment (???): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloucestershire_Regiment

    The Hertfordshire Yeomanry (???): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hertfordshire_Yeomanry

    The 24th Lancers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24th_Lancers

    The following were "in the area" but don't "seem" to have received the battle honour for Tilly-sur- Seulles:

    The Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry (SRY): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherwood_Rangers_Yeomanry#World_War_II
    As: http://www.sry.org.uk/History/HistoryScrollingPage/Battle-Honours.aspx appears to have a list of the battle honours for the SRY for NWE and does not appear to have "Tilly-sur-Seulles" there. (???)
     
  5. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    My understanding is that Tilly was liberated for the final time by 24th Lancers and the Essex Regiment. It changed hands 23 times during the fighting, hence why there was nothing of significance in Tilly left standing when the fighting was over.
     
  6. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Such a shame :poppy: :poppy: :poppy:

    You can see some of the damage up to 24th June 1944 on Juvigny-sur-Seulles; Lower Normandy; France | NCAP - National Collection of Aerial Photography

    [sharedmedia=gallery:images:28212]

    But (as yet) no mention at all on the Tilly wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilly-sur-Seulles
    ...that there was even a battle there. Can't quite understand why it doesn't get mentioned in "The Short History of the 8th Armoured Brigade": http://www.warlinks.com/armour/8th_armoured/chapter_4.php as it makes more of the action (absorbing counter attacks) around Point 103 and St.Pierre.

    Were the 8th meant to go through Tilly (at a late planning stage) or were they earmarked in fact to act as a holding line at Point 103 to fix the German's front whilst other units flanked them for a coup-de-grace.

    It seems to me that if Tilly were a real take, hold and pass through 8th Armoured objective from the start it would be taking them away from not just Caen but also from a "safer" though perhaps less direct route towards Villers Bocage? Not that the route through Fontenay, Tessel or Rauray was a walk in the park. It just seems like there was an "obvious" bottleneck between St.Pierre and Tilly that should or could have been avoided (as perhaps not worth the "potential" cost?).

    [sharedmedia=gallery:images:28069]

    Rm.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2016
  7. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    The aim of the initial Plan was to get to Villers Bocage on, I think, D+1 or 2. Montgomery, according to his memoirs, was even prepared to accept the total loss of the Armoured Brigade groups if it meant establishing and consolidating the Bridgehead. The 8th Armoured Brigade Plan is described in a document by Brigadier Cracroft (I think it is available on the interweb).
     
  8. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Yes, there's a lot of "light" reading to "digest" out there ;) -_- -_- -_-

    This is one of my "latest" finds: 50 DIV IN NORMANDY: A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE BRITISH 50th (NORTHUMBRIAN) DIVISION ON D-DAY AND IN THE BATTLE OF NORMANDY By ETHAN RAWLS WILLIAMS, LCDR, USN B.S., United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, 1997
    http://www.dtic.mil/get-tr-doc/pdf?AD=ADA475698

    An interesting PDF (124 pages though!) with some "nice"quotes and great detail all about Tilly and around, day by day in there.

    14. ABSTRACT In late 1943, the British army ordered the veteran 7th Armored, 51st (Highland), and 50th (Northumbrian) Divisions to return to the Great Britain to provide combat experienced troops for the invasion of northwest Europe. On D-Day, the 50th Division achieved nearly all of its objectives. By mid-June, however, the 50th held positions only a few miles beyond its final D-Day positions. The apparent failures of the veteran divisions in later operations led many senior leaders to believe that these divisions had become a liability. This thesis will evaluate the performance of the 50th Division in Normandy by first examining the period before the invasion to determine the 50th’s readiness for war, British army doctrine, and weapons. The 50th’s prior combat experiences and pre-invasion training will be analyzed to determine the effect that prior combat had on the division. Finally, this thesis will evaluate the performance of the 50th Division in specific combat engagements in Normandy.

    With some quotes (for example);

    "Instead the 50th waged Montgomery’s battle of attrition to fix the Germans in the vicinity of Tilly-sur-Seulles and Villers Bocage from early June to early August."

    "Moving south from positions just east of Bayeux, the column advanced only as far as Tilly-sur-Seulles before encountering fierce enemy resistance. The Panzer divisions that had been delayed on D-Day had finally reached the front. On June 7, elements 12th SS Panzer Division arrived on the left flank of the 50th and elements of the Panzer Lehr Division arrived in Tilly-sur-Seulles on the following day.55 The direct route to Villers Bocage was now blocked by two Panzer divisions."

    "Before the 7th Armored Division could seize Villers Bocage, the road through Tilly-sur-Seulles had to be opened. On June 9, the 50th Division once again ordered the 8th Armored Brigade’s mobile column south, but added firepower by attaching the 8th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, to the brigade. Late on June 9, the column reached St. Pierre, a small village on the high ground just northeast of Tilly-sur-Seulles. Described by Brigadier James Hargest as an “excellent” combined arms attack, the mobile column took St. Pierre and dug in for the night"

    "On June 11, the 7th Armored Division attempted to break through the German resistance at Tilly-sur-Seulles. The Panzer Lehr Division and the elements of the recently arrived 2nd Panzer Division, however, had effectively deployed their infantry in ditches and destroyed houses, and emplaced well camouflaged tanks on the avenues of approach to the village. The German defenders had also emplaced obstacles on the roads, forcing the tanks of the 7th Armored into the adjacent woods. By using the dense bocage to maximum effect, the German forces denied the British armored forces mobility allowing infantry and snipers to stop the armored attack. To overcome the enemy resistance, the 7th Armored Division attached an infantry battalion to its armored brigade and attached an armored regiment to its infantry brigade. This technique proved successful and the 7th Armored reached the outskirts of Tilly-sur-Seulles."
    .............................................................................

    Just to "pick out" a few though there's plenty that reads less well in there. I still think it's funny though that for the Hitler and many of the Germans this was all still just a "crafty feint" and that the allies were "still" trying to trick them into thinking that this Normandy thing was the "real" invasion - whereas the "real" thing was just waiting to be launched against them, led by Patton, across the Straights of Dover., aimed at Calais!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erwin_Rommel#Defending_the_Atlantic_Wall_1944


    On 5 June Rommel set out to visit his family on 6 June, planning to then go on to meet with Hitler at the Berchtesgaden to persuade him that the 12th SS Panzer Division should be moved forward to the St. Lo-Carantan area.[N 8].[133] Several units, notably the 12th SS Panzer Division and Panzer-Lehr-Division, were near enough that they could have caused serious havoc. However Hitler refused to release these units over his continued concern over a second landing at the Pas de Calais. Facing relatively small-scale German counterattacks, the Allies quickly secured all beachheads except Omaha. Rommel personally oversaw the bitter fighting around Caen where only the determined defence of Kampfgruppe von Luck prevented a British breakout on the first day. Here, again, the on-site commanders were denied freedom of action and the Germans did not launch a concentrated counterattack until mid-day on 6 June.
    The Allies pushed ashore and expanded their beachhead despite the best efforts of Rommel's troops. By mid-July the German position was crumbling. On 17 July 1944, Rommel was returning from visiting the headquarters of Sepp Dietrich, the commander of 1st SS Panzer Corps, being driven back to Army Group B headquarters in his staff car. According to a widely accepted version of events, an RCAF Spitfire of 412 Squadron piloted by Charley Fox strafed the car near Sainte-Foy-de-Montgommery.[134] The car sped up and attempted to get off the main roadway, but a 20 mm round shattered the driver's left arm, causing the vehicle to come off the road and crash into some trees. Rommel was thrown from the car, suffering injuries to the left side of his face from glass shards and three fractures to his skull.[134][135] He was hospitalised with major head injuries.


    (Interesting that Sainte-Foy-de-Montgommery leads to another incidence of Montgommery jinxing Rommel, almost like a Shakespeare play and the Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill, I could imagine someone telling him to "beware Montgommery", and him thinking "Oh I don't need to worry there....I think I can handle Montgommery ;) )

    Rm.
     
  9. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    One of those "odd" mysteries of "google image search" criteria, whilst "looking" for an image of "Jerusalem crossroads in 1944":
    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Jerusalem+crossroads+normandy+1944&es_sm=93&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=VzcyVbbFPMq9aaa7gNgB&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1280&bih=685

    It serendipitously came up with this: http://www.militarymodelling.com/sites/1/images/member_albums/42220/heimdaltilly1944%20(3).jpg (shame it has brackets in it's web address - as you might need to cut and paste this "link" in order to get it to work)

    You can get an idea just from this "little map" in the Heimdal book just how dizzying this "stage" in the Normandy Bridgehead is and also kind of see why many accounts these days can seem to just "gloss over" this complexity. And even talk about the British getting "bogged" down and "stopped".

    I was beginning to wonder if Tilly might not have been an example of an "early" WW2 bridge too far. In fact though, by "keeping" the German's "pinned" there, there must have been an "assist" in enabling the allies to sweep around, around the western side.

    It also explains somewhat how Tilly could be "captured" in mid June but still effectively be close to the "front" line until mid July. Something I was finding a bit hard to grasp, as having expended the "effort" to get there, there didn't seem to be a plan to exploit the position by a "further" advance from there. In essence - why go to Tilly at all - if you were going to "go around" it any way? i.e. you had to keep the "pressure" up there at the crux to prevent the German's from putting more effort into preventing themselves from being outflanked.

    All the best,

    Rm.
     
  10. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Further bit of "detective work" : Google Translate

    To quote from which: "Castle Chateau Brouay - In this castle park near Tilly-sur-Seulles was shortly after D-Day, the headquarters of the II. / Panzer Grenadier Training Regiment 902nd. At dawn on June 08, 1944, lying there in reserve units came under heavy fire from British reconnaissance tanks and naval artillery. As the SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment 26 during the day reached the castle park they found the shot-units, as well as the formal plowed regimental headquarters of Colonel Gutmann. A soldier described the sight as the most horrible picture of the war he had experienced."

    Except this is it appears a place between Audrieu and Putot-en-Bessin (closer to Leucelles i.e. in Brouay) - I would not say that this was particularly nr. to Tilly-sur-Seulles? Between Caen and Bayeux might have been a better description there in the above?

    It does make the above bit a "bit" interesting though as this is where the "recon" tanks of the 24th L were on the 8th June 1944? As well as "B" and "A" squadrons 24th L probably too. But also there were probably Canadian tanks there as well, as this was where their area's crossed.

    Still not the one below though as contemporary maps seem to call this area to the south east of Tilly - "Chateau Tilly" - but this is not a "unique" name in France as there is quite a famous completely different "Chateau Tilly" quite near to Rouen.

    And: Vestiges du château de Tilly-sur-Seulles is in the list of monuments in http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilly-sur-Seulles#Lieux_et_monuments

    [sharedmedia=gallery:images:28212]
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2016
  11. Dubman

    Dubman Well-Known Member

  12. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Thanks "Dubman" I've put this up in the "books" section nr. the start of this thread in post #2.

    I think it's well up on the "list" as a number of people have recommended it and a few people have asked if this is now the most "definitive" source for this battle out there, it certainly seems like a "must read" though whether there is still anything really left to find out or questions that might remain "unanswered" as yet out there? is really interesting me at the mo.

    So for example: http://www.fireandfury.com/scenarios/tillysphinx.pdf
    Has a lot of detail and some nice maps and I was picking my way thorough it briefly to see if there was anything in there that was contentions or worthy of discussion at all? (And It might perhaps be useful to help me plot out some battle maps for specific dates) For example there's a paragraph at the bottom of page 17: "A final assault on Tilly was made on the 18th by the re-constituted 2nd Essex, this time properly supported by tanks and AVREs. Their revenge against Panzer-Lehr was completed on the 19th as the last German resistance in Tilly was stamped out. At the end of the Battle of Tilly-sur-Seulles, Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 901 had been reduced to only 200 men."

    And I think that the "tanks there" might have been the 24th L (or some other?) And perhaps the Chateau Tilly-sur-Seulles was "in use" as the HQ (temporary or otherwise) of the "Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 901". Hence the reason for "targetting" it there? It might have been a line of concealed/dug-in Panzers or SPs though? lined up facing St.Pierre across the Seulles?

    But also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/County_of_London_Yeomanry#4th_County_of_London_Yeomanry
    Might have attacked Tilly on the 11th as noted in http://www.fireandfury.com/scenarios/tillysphinx.pdf but then had the "back" luck against Wittman on the 13th? I wanted to "work" out if the 4th CLY had a "battle honour" for Tilly-sur-Seulles? On 1 August, 1944 the two regiments were amalgamated to form 3rd/4th County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters) - but "Tilly" doesn't seem to be a battle honour of the 3rd/4th CLY that emerged? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3rd_County_of_London_Yeomanry_(Sharpshooters)#Battle_honours - so I have an "interesting little mystery" to solve there somehow at some stage ???

    The book Tilly-sur-Seulles 1944: The Battle of Tilly, Stéphane Jacquet. Following the success of Death Row, the Battle of the Odon and Cote 112, here is a new field of work devoted to the Battle of Normandy. Tilly-sur-Seulles, south of Bayeux, defended by the Panzer-Lehr-Division, was a hard fought forehead. The fighting that took place in the sector are still taught at Sandhurst military school. Based on many photos, maps and mostly unpublished stories as well as the units running newspapers, author, Head of the battle of Tilly sur Seulles Museum, this day after day and hour after hour These heavy fighting on the Tilly Front, which opposed the British XXX Corps divisions of the two elite SS divisions I PANZERCORPS the 12th SS PANZER HITLERJUGEND and LEHR. These titanic battles took place in the midst of civilian populations also paid a heavy price for the battle.

    Puts two elite SS divisions I PANZERCORPS the 12th SS PANZER HITLERJUGEND and LEHR as there. I don't think that there's really a "wiki" page specifically devoted to all this - in detail - though as yet? As as of "yet" 19d4m1944 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilly-sur-Seulles is empty of battle detail and "Battle of Tilly-sur-seulles wiki" leads to Operation Perch, the Battle for Caen and the Battle for the Villers Bocage.

    One of the ones that's surprising me a little at the moment is that the SRY don't seem to have got the battle honour for this one (I've tried to "work" out the 10 that might have got it in post # 4 above) and I guess this might be because they didn't do much fighting there (?) though this seems pretty odd to me as a lot of the time they were on Point 103 and presumably will have fired a few shots in that direction at some point? (But perhaps those few shots - or "receiving mortar fire" from Tilly would not have been enough to have put the SRY there i.e. for a Tilly-sur-Seules" battle honour?

    Battle Honours for regiments are still a bit of a mystery to me. I noted that the 24th L didn't get one for the "Normandy Landings" and I guess that this is because "strictly speaking" they might not have been fighting there? Again that's odd though as I think that some 24th L said that they were sporadically fired on whilst coming ashore?

    Rm.
     
  13. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    There's a very moving little video here, I can point people towards, on the museum at Tilly-sur-Seulles, with some pics on detail of the 1944 battle there and there abouts:

    Video

    La vidéo du musée : http://www.tilly1944.../memo/video.php
     
  14. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    I like to match photos to maps and have noticed how many new 'roads' appear on battlefields that make if very difficult to match a location to an air view. Below is an example. The early pic is low quality but the main roads are all there (you just need to look hard) but the later traffic has added a maze of new roadways. It is a railway embankment running N/S
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    One of the odd things to me about the:

    [sharedmedia=gallery:images:28212]

    CRAF recon pic on the 24th June 1944 - was how little "traffic" seems to have crossed any of the fields near to and around the town (around this point of the war on 24th June 1944).

    Though it does look like the routes by the roads are really the only ways in or ways out?

    This may be due to the particularly "boggy" nature of the fields around the river there? not being a place to drive tanks without risking them getting "bogged" down but also because the period from 19th-22nd June 1944 (after the town was captured by the allies on the 19th June) was also marked by the terrible stormy weather that extensively damaged the Mulberry Harbours north on the Normandy landing beaches. This restricted a lot of "activity" at this stage and as far as I can see at the moment of the 24th June things went "fairly" quiet on the front line in this area - at this stage.

    Couldn't quite "pick" out any "occupiers" there on the 24th June, and I wonder if the place wasn't largely abandoned by that stage?

    Rm
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2016
  16. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Something to look forward one day to having available on line? Currently this item is limited to just a contents description only.

    I am wondering now if some items at the IWM are not "available" because some of the contents might be deemed a bit "sensitive" (i.e. the mercy killing of doomed wounded is mentioned here) to just release generally on line? If so couldn't they just "excise" these bits from the audio that is released? and make a note of this in the description file? Such things may not be an issue though, I do not know???

    http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80020549

    Rosier, Frank Robert (IWM interview)
    British private served with 17 Platoon, D Coy, 2nd Bn Gloucestershire Regt in GB and Normandy, 1943-1944

    REEL 3 Continues: use of 'Tommy lighters'; use of condoms to waterproof personal items; dealing with German sniper; reluctance of unit Bren gunner to kill sniper. Recollections of operations as private with 17 Platoon, D Coy, 2nd Bn Gloucestershire Regt, 50th Div in Normandy, 6/1944-8/1944: move to Bayeux, 7/6/1944; reception by French civilians in Bayeux, 7/6/1944; how D Coy dumped their bicycles on route to Tilly; in action against Panzer Lehr at Tilly; amusing story of bull that scattered D Coy; role in played in rescuing group of trapped tankman; ferocity of fighting at Tilly; chaotic character of fighting; US troops preference for British Army food; pollution of water supply; scavenging for water and food; mercy killing of doomed wounded; in action during patrol at Thury Harcourt, 11/8/1944; in action at Epaignes, 25/8/1944; reaction to killing German soldier.
     
  17. dfielder

    dfielder Junior Member

    Hello All,

    I have just received the Grave Concentration Unit entry for my grandfather, FJW Fielder, noting that he was originally buried just north of Audrieu and reinterred to Bayeux cemetary on Feb 14, 1945.
    It's noted in several accounts that Lt. Edward Webb was killed the same evening (June 11th) and finally rests at Hottot-Les-Bagues cemetery - much closer to the battle front. Does anyone know how a decision was made as to who finally rested where?

    Just wondering if anyone has plotted the grid locations of 24th Lancer burials during battle to get some idea of their movements, thereby filling in blanks? While not completely accurate, it may shed some interesting light on their movements?

    I'd be interested in anyone's thoughts on the topic.

    David Fielder
     
  18. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    David

    This whole subject of 24th Lancers battlefield burial and then concentration seems shrouded in mystery. I'm sure though that's nothing to do specifically with 24L!

    See the Parc de Boislonde thread for recent posts re Sgt Sidney Norton.

    To my knowledge, no one has attempted to plot battlefield burial locations. Would sadly be quite a task.

    Have you got many map references for battlefield burials? I could make a start on a locations map.
     
  19. dfielder

    dfielder Junior Member

    Steve,

    I've got a high resolution copy of the 1944 Caen 7F/1 map and have a number of map references for battlefield burials.
    With that, I've overlaid a 100x 100 grid in Photoshop and was thinking about plotting the battlefield buried locations. Most if not all are now available by the CWGC.

    David
     
  20. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    David

    That's brilliant. Thanks for the update re CWGC data.
     

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