Commonwealth "Tank Aces"

Discussion in 'General' started by Warlord, Jul 26, 2018.

  1. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    Lads, long time since I opened a thread, so thought this subject could deserve one:

    Even though Commonwealth brass didn't recognize the "tank ace" status as the Wehrmacht did, there must have been commanders who deserved it in recognition of high numbers of enemy tank/vehicle kills, and more so because of, most of the times (if not all), having to fight with generally inferior armour.

    Can someone suggest some tankie names?

    BTW, thinking of this, the WD comes to me mind as an "ace factory", being such a target-rich environment (at least against Benito's lot), and a field of dreams for armoured-warfare wallahs.
  2. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    This may be relevant? :
    Was there ever a ministry approved "official" tally" for allied tank crews? or even individual tanks

    I have most often heard, I think, that the allies more often tended to (aim to) fight as "whole troops" / squadrons etc. and with support of infantry, artillery, air power etc. not as "lone guns" - so individual allied tank commanders going off and picking off enemy tanks wasn't a "thing" ;-)

    I have seen refs however to this or that allied tank commander having knocked out so many tanks (3, 5 etc) i.e. Sgt.Dring SRY

    e.g. George Dring - Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry Regimental Association

    & Sergeant George 'Killer' Dring

    There is a David Render (SRY) quote: Normandy 44: The Battle Beyond D-Day

    "David Render, a British tank officer in Normandy, said that the Allies had a more team based approach. Troops of tanks would work together, with the destruction of an enemy tank being attributed to the troop rather than to an individual commander as was the case with the Germans."

    Ps. This was posted a few months bacK: 24th Lancers, M4 vs Panthers. Rauray 1/7/44

    And whilst it mentions the tank troop etc. it doesn't detail individuals or tanks knocking out particular German tanks (i.e. as an example)
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
  3. ceolredmonger

    ceolredmonger Member

    British practice didn't recognise the concept of attributing tank 'kills' in the way airforces did. It was totally impractical for anything but a propaganda tool.
    It became standard practice to hit a target with multiple shots, often from different tanks (sometimes days apart if the hulk was still perceived as a threat). Unlike aircraft which crash (and contrary to computer games and films where tanks always explode) a tank kill was not always obvious. It would have been an unnecessary burden to try to sort out who killed what and how. War diaries tend to keep after action or daily tallies, attributing individual vehicles if appropriate. Occasionally individuals actions stand out however these again are for conspicuous activity over a short period of time.
    See above and my favourite - Sgt Harris's tank of the 4th/7th RDG around and at Lingevres - five shots, five Panthers. The action has been widely written up. Attached Photo is of the Late Dick Eagles, Harris's Loader/Operator taken on the spot in 2005 (my copyright).

    Attached Files:

    gpo son and Chris C like this.
  4. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Lt. G. K. Henry of "C" Squadron, 1st Hussars, merits a mention.

    On 9 June 1944, his firefly knocked-out five Panthers from the 12th SS Panzer Division in rapid succession during the defense of Norrey-en-Bessin. Other Shermans were credited with two more Panthers in the same engagement.

    "During the afternoon Tpr. A. Chapman, crack gunner in Lieut. G. K. Henry's tank, established a bridgehead record. When six tanks penetrated his position he held his fire until all were visible; then with Tpr. "Sass" Seaman slapping the rounds into the 17 pdr., he fired five times. Five rounds—five Panthers. Before he got to the sixth one another "C" Sqn. tank, commanded by Sgt. Boyle, had accounted for it. In this action Tpr. Chapman's record was made possible by distracting HE fire, provided by other tanks at the crucial moment."

    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
  5. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Can't be absolutely certain but it might be worth asking George Drings son whether George had any thoughts on said subject. His son(?) lurks on Facebook. George Dring died in 2003 at the age of 85.
  6. gpo son

    gpo son Senior Member

    Rad Walters and his crews are reported to have 18 confirmed kills...his troop is likely the troop that knocked Wittmann out for good...
    canuck likes this.
  7. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    A previous thread on that subject:

    Sherbrooke Fusilier Reg't & Michael Wittman
  8. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    This is what I was referring to; the kind of havoc the Allies could wreak with the right set of tools in hand! (And this, taking into consideration the Firefly was nothing but a good and powerful gun, on the same under-armoured Ronson chassis).
    gpo son and canuck like this.
  9. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    BTW, any records about exploits on the WD? Haven't been able to find any, so far...
  10. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    New footage of Dring and crew plus Christopherson's 'O' group. Dring  .jpg Screenshot_27.jpg Screenshot_29.jpg Screenshot_30.jpg Screenshot_31.jpg Screenshot_32.jpg Screenshot_33.jpg
    Chris C and Guy Hudson like this.
  11. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    BOWDEN, NORMAN WILLIAM, Seargent, Royal Artillery

    His MM was awarded for his part in an action on 8 July 1944 and was announced in the London Gazette on 21 December 1944, almost 2 months after his death in Holland. At the time of his death, he was part of a composite Infantry Force called Clark Force and displaying the same qualities which won him that MM. He was killed at a Brickworks South East of Wouw.

    His citation reads as follows:-

    BURON - 8 JULY 1944

    Sgt. Bowden’s gun was in position at S.E. of Buron when the enemy counter attacked with a considerable number of tanks. Sgt. Bowden knocked out at least 8 tanks and was mainly responsible for driving off the attack. The success of this gun was due mainly to the coolness and steadiness of Sgt. Bowden.

    LG - 21.12.1944

    Rank: Serjeant
    Regiment/Service: Royal Artillery
    Unit Text: 62 Anti-Tank Regt.
    Age: 35
    Date of Death: 28/10/1944
    Service No: 1087954
    Awards: M M
    Additional information: Husband of Verdie Mary Bowden, of Oakley, Bedfordshire.
    Grave/Memorial Reference: I.D.20.

    (I contacted CWGC to have his headstone altered to show his M.M. - This was done).

    BOWDEN, N.M (Large).JPG

    He was from London and this Regiment was formed from men in his area. A local newspaper said he was known as the "Brixton Tank Buster".

    An article by Tony Foulds:-

    " Two Troops of 245 Battery had been attached to the Canadian 9th Brigade and at 0730 hours on the morning of 8 July they crossed the startline near les Buissons behind the Highland Light Infantry of Canada and advanced towards the heavily defended village of Buron. After a fierce and costly struggle the HLI established a hold on the greater part of the village and shortly after 0900 hours the M-10s were able to move through the rubble strewn streets to the forward edge where they then deployed, with "A" Troop covering the southern and western approaches and "B" Troop facing southeast. Not long afterwards the barrage of incoming shell and mortar fire grew heavier and a counterattack was launched by the German armour. In the course of this a battlegroup of 20 to 30 Mark IVs and Panthers moved across the front of the gun positions and in the ensuing action 13 enemy tanks were destroyed before the remainder withdrew to the southeast. This was perhaps the most celebrated British anti-tank engagement of the Normandy campaign, but the victory was not won without cost. By the end of the encounter six 17-pounder M-10s had been put out of action (four were later recovered), two officers and four other ranks were dead and a further six men had been wounded. Later in the day the three guns that were still serviceable joined the North Nova Scotia Highlanders as they passed through Buron and advanced to Authie where they were deployed along the left flank of the village. At 2200 hours the remnants of the two Troops were withdrawn to the north of Buron for maintenance and reorganisation. A Military Cross was subsequently awarded to the Battery Commander and Military Medals to two of the gun sergeants in recognition of the parts they had played in this battle".
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019

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