A Tiger in Fontenay-le-Pesnel !

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Little Black Devil, Nov 4, 2019.

  1. Little Black Devil

    Little Black Devil Active Member

    Here is the right location for SRY HQ which is next to the 7th DWR one (see 7th DWR WD + its appendices + 147th Inf. Brigade WD and its appendices). SRY is settled down right next to it.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
  2. Little Black Devil

    Little Black Devil Active Member

    Yes sorry by that. Thing is, it's a bit technical for my poor English... I wish we were having this conversation in French and on the Battlefield... It would be way easier.
    Tiger "114" is violently stuck against the hedge on the road leading from the crossroad (north of Rauray) to the town of Rauray itself. If you pay attention to the Tiger and its tracks, the right hand side one is clearly in the bank of the hedge.
    PLUS, the Sherman belongs to 'B' Squadron Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry, not 'A' Squadron. ('A' Sqn attacked on June 26th while 'B' Sqn attacked on June 27th)
    This Sherman stopped the Tiger by attacking it on the flank. I mean isn't it obvious the Sherman charged the Tiger on its left hand flank? To stop it?
    Then, if some people think this whole scene was staged for purpose, I mean for the good of Sergeant Christie and his colleague Lieutenant Handford. What is the point of doing this?
    Those two tanks stopped on this road are in the way of Rauray, bothering considerably the 11th DLI progression.
    Look at the Bren Carriers on the Part 1 footage, they are forced to drive on the field, not on the road.

    So, we are on June 27th, Sherwood Rangers 'B' Squadron lost 13 Sherman on that day, the Sherman who stopped the "114" Tiger belongs to this squadron. Plus everything I already mentioned about this Tiger and Möbius, it can't have been stopped on June 26th. It must have been stopped on June 27th around noon.
  3. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    It is the Sherman that is blocking the road not the Tiger. It is not really touching the Tiger either. The most obvious reason why the Tiger is in the hedge is it was bumped there to clear the road. Another tank pushed it out of the way and the side-skirts are flattened on that side. They can only pushed in to the width of the tracks and not completely flattened against the hull side.


  4. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    There is no dispute the film was shot on the 27th June. That does not mean the Tiger was stopped on the 27th. The account in Hill's book is detailed enough for us to be absolutely certain he is describing Tiger '114' on June 26th.
    Hill says that the Tiger hit on June 26th was hit on the drivers visor.
    This is the hit on the visor of Tiger '114'. The top-half of the drivers visor is missing . It has been blown-off by a hit and the scoop is clearly visible. This matches the description in Hill.

    Tiger-114-Rauray-captured (2)ju.jpg

    This is the 'Semken' Tiger.

    Tiger Fontenay.jpg

    There is no signs of any hit on the visor. This is not the Tiger being described in Hill. This Tiger has clear evidence that it was demolished by its own internal demolition charges. Thus even if it was knocked out by another tank then the crew had time to set off the explosive charges.

    This is 334

    Tiger 334 ,,hj.jpg

    There is no sign of a hit on the drivers visor. This can not be the Tiger Hill mentions.

    This is the unknown 2kp Tiger

    B6155-28 June Handford Tiger Rauray v.jpg

    There is no sign of a hit on the drivers visor. This can not be the Tiger mentioned in Hill.

    Of the 4 Tigers the only match to the one mentioned in Hill's detailed account is Tiger '114'.
    Hill clearly links the Tiger he saw as the one knocked out by Semken on June 26th.

    Do you know anything about the two Tiger wrecks inspected in a field above Mouen on July 31st?
  5. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    I thought a couple of pages from the regimental history of the Duke Of Wellington's regt might be of interest to this discussion.

    First a map showing the stages of the 1/7 DWR attacks:

    DWR p.226.PNG

    And then a description of the fighting on the evening of 25th June (incidentally the history notes that "Tiger tanks" had been reported in Fontenay village during the morning of 25th June).

    DWR - p.228.PNG

    Isn't it possible that the "Fontenay Tiger" was damaged in the fighting on the 25th and then blown up by its crew when they saw it was likely to be overrun by the Dukes' attack that evening?


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  6. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    Anything is possible but if the 2 kp Tiger was a casualty on June 25 then it was not Semken who hit that 2 kp Tiger. The only certain detail is that 2 kp Tiger was photographed twice in Fontenay on unknown dates after the capture of the town and that a so far undiscovered Technical examination was done with at least one (and likely several more) photo was taken. Everything else here is complete speculation.
    Tiger 114 (1 kp) has the exact same damage that Hill describes on the Tiger he says was knocked out on June 26th. This damage was not noticed on the photos until a few years ago and long after Hill published the (then unknown) details. I know for a fact he had never seen the film because I got in touch with him and sent him a copy. That was when it became widely available in the SRY community. He identified the men on the Tiger for me.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  7. I regrettably have no access to the War Diary, but the CWGC clearly states that it was on 26 Jun:

    Service Number 325846
    Died 26/06/1944
    Aged 25
    "C" Sqn. Nottinghamshire Yeomanry
    Royal Armoured Corps
    Son of Burton and Lilian Renney, of Retford, Nottinghamshire.



    P.S. Oops, sorry, I didn't notice the link in Michael's post #33 above to the same information posted by Tony56. I should have known that Michael would already have used every means to check this date :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
  8. idler

    idler GeneralList

    How much time/effort did it take to fire the demolition charges? Is it something that could be done by a crew bailing out under fire, or was it a more deliberate process?

    Could the 'new' Tiger have been a crock that they'd decided to abandon?
  9. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    Given they are stowed and need to be found and their cases opened, detonators connected and the engine hatch lifted to place the one that flattens the turret bin I would suggest not something you can do as you leave in a hurry.
  10. It is possible that the Engineers used the Tiger's own dem charges to destroy it. By then they must have been aware of the existence of dem charges in Panzers.
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  11. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Apart from some Italian tanks captured in the W Desert and issued to the Australians was there much use by any of the Allies of captured Axis tanks? It would seem that the biggest user of captured armour was Germany.
  12. Little Black Devil

    Little Black Devil Active Member

    Michael, you are focusing on ONE account, the one written by Hill.
    Have you read reader's one? Have you seen his drawing in his book?
    Few 75mm APC shot by Semken' crew hit the front armored plate of the Tiger in Fontenay.
    Render wrote there was a massive cloud of dust and smoke in the narrow street, specifying even if both tanks (Semken's Sherman and the Tiger) could see at each other because of the smoke, Semken's crew carried on shooting. It might be an explanation about the fact impacts on the Tiger armour weren't very gathered.

    You said :
    There is no signs of any hit on the visor. This is not the Tiger being described in Hill. This Tiger has clear evidence that it was demolished by its own internal demolition charges. Thus even if it was knocked out by another tank then the crew had time to set off the explosive charges.

    => Hill is not the only one who wrote about it as I already said. Render was closer, knew Semken well... etc.
    => Don't you know Royal Engineers units put demo charges inside German tanks as well? They could have filled it with British charges knowing or not knowing German charges were already in it... And exploding the same way another Tiger would have exploded with his own charges.
    It's not the point, really. Haven't you seen the demo charges put inside the two Panther inside Bretteville-l'Orgueilleuse? I knew personally the Canadian officer who was in charge of their destruction, why he did it and who asked him to do it. Most of the time it was a precaution and they needed the tanks to be out of the road.

    Tiger "114" couldn't have been destroyed on June 26th as Mobius stated he and Amselgruber lost both their Tiger on June 27th, not 26th.

    The Tiger was bumped to clear the road??? Who could have done that ? With which vehicle?
    11th Bn. DLI lauched their attack on June 27th in the morning, this portion of the road wasn't in British hands.
    And to me it's quite obvious the Sherman is stuck in the Tiger track, look at the tightness of the Tiger track.
  13. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Some further Fontenay Tiger "incident" ref material... this from p45 of Kevin Baverstock's "Breaking the Tiger" - re. one of the Tiger's gun barrels...

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  14. Little Black Devil

    Little Black Devil Active Member

    Extract from the 8th Armoured Brigade HQ War Diary for June 26th.
    No mention of a Tiger knocked out or destroyed in Fontenay during June 25th nor during the night of 25th to 26th.

    So... Those two Tigers are the one destroyed by Semken in Fontenay plus the 223 destroyed by Sergeant Dring.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
  15. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Some pages from the War Diary.



    PICT2026  edit.jpg PICT2027  edit.jpg PICT2028 edit.jpg
    PICT2029  edit.jpg PICT2030  edit.jpg
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  16. Little Black Devil

    Little Black Devil Active Member

    Alright... So here is the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry WAR DIARY for JUNE 26th 1944.
    I already post a map showing where the SRY's Headquarters was.
    Now everything would agree this TIGER tank has been destroyed or rendered harmless by Major John Semken in rue Massieu the "narrow street", right after the corner next to the SRY HQ.
    Capture d’écran 2019-11-10 à 14.25.06.png
  17. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    And yet Hill is the only one who wrote about the damaged visor. That is proof he saw the Tiger or spoke to someone who saw it. Hill also mentions 2 knocked -out Shermans and named the casualties which are confirmed for June 26th. So far Hill's account is the only one that can be said too have been fact-checked and his book is the proof Tiger '114' was hit on June 26th. The film was shot the next day June 27th.

    Only if the knew where the charges were normally placed in a Tiger and decided to do exactly the same. Engineers carried around their own explosives and there is a massive difference in the damage done by the small devices carried in a Tiger and the way an Engineer would stuff it and make sure it was blown into little pieces.

    If you blow up a tank to make it easier to remove then you blow it into small pieces. You do not just destroy the engine and crack the hull.


    Anther tank. It was done all the time.

    There is not the slightest doubt Tiger '114' was knocked out on Monday June 26th. and not June 27th. If a Tiger is knocked out by a Sherman then there is a Sherman there to push it out of the way.

    Not obvious to me. In fact there is not enough detail to be able to say anything for certain but the Sherman is not rammed into the side of 114. It is not even possible to confirm they are touching each other.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
  18. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Cheers. That's what I'd assumed, rather than a big red 'self destruct button' in the tank.

    As the damage from the charges is consistent with other scuttled examples, it seems safe to assume it was done by the Germans at leisure, which supports the 'crock not casualty' hypothesis. British sappers would be unlikely to use the demo charges in the manner intended, particularly if the were trying to break it up for clearance.
  19. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    I "have" this SRY WD detail transcribed...

    cf. 26th June 1944 "A Sqn remained on Pt.102 and C Sqn tried to push through the village of FONTENAY. The rest of the Bde tried to attack from the WEST but this was a complete failure owing to the thickly wooded country and presence of a wide stream which presented a complete Anti-Tank obstacle. Late in the evening the Regt was ordered to complete Phase III of the operation which was to advance from FONTENAY to RAURAY, a distance of 2,500 yds. No plan had been laid on either with Arty or Inf, so after moving A + B Sqns down from the high ground into the area of FONTENAY, I had a conference with the Inf Comd and Gunner O.P. in order to make such a plan. We had to do this at Inf. H.Q. in Fontenay, which was in an orchard under heavy enemy mortar fire. The Inf had had rather a sticky time and were not at all enthusiastic about giving us any sp. However, we eventually decided that a very heavy artillery concentration should be put down on all suspected enemy locations on our line of advance from FONTENAY to RAURAY and that this should be called for according to the speed of our adv. The Inf should follow the tanks for the first thousand yards and then dig in. The attack was to start at 1730 hrs. At 1720 hrs the C.O. was sitting in the middle of FONTENAY, inside his tank with a raincoat over the open turret to keep out the rain which had been falling incessantly. He was speaking to Bde H.Q. on the air, and the leading tank of A Sqn – John Senken himself had just passed me up a very narrow street no sooner had he passed then round a corner approaching from the opposite direction came a “Tiger” tank. Fortunately John Senken had an armour piercing round in his 75mm. which he released immediately followed by six others. Most of the shots hit the front of the tank but did not penetrate, but eventually he scored one on the turret ring which made the crew bail out. “C” Sqn led for the first part of the adv. following behind an excellent concentration put down by our guns. “A” Sqn passed through and began to meet some real opposition. However they had a most successful shoot and knocked out approx. 13 enemy tanks, of which Sgt Dring claimed four. They eventually reached the outskirts of RAURAY which was defended by German Infantry dug in. It was impossible to get them out of their trenches in spite of firing at them with everything we had and throwing hand grenades. Ronnie Crellis was in one of the leading tanks, and was trying to deal with a German Infantryman from his tank, but eventually dismounted, and dealt with him on foot. At nightfall, we drew back and another Bn of the D.L.I. arrived to dig in. However they dug in short of RAURAY and we left B Sqn with them all night, while the rest of us drew back to leaguer.

    27th June 1944: B Sqn sent out two tps to find out the position in RAURAY. Unfortunately, the Germans had brought up some tps which they cleverly concealed in some trees and knocked out Ray Scott and his trp. Sgts Biddel + Green were also killed during the morning. RAURAY was eventually cleared of the enemy and in the village itself we found about 8 or nine enemy tanks including Panthers + Tigers and Mk IV’s which were in various stages of being knocked out. 2 of these a Tiger + a Panther were in complete working order and we brought them back to our lines."
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  20. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    Tried for years to run that one down and could not find a thing that matched. For sure there are no known Tiger wreck photos that remotely match. I think it will be a case of 'every tank a Tiger'.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
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