The Defence of Hondeghem by K Bty 5 RHA

Discussion in '1940' started by idler, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Seeing as K Battery, Royal Horse Artillery are taking over the latest Villers-Bocage thread, it's an opportunity to remember one of their earlier urban escapades that led to them becoming known as K (Hondeghem) Battery:

    The Defence of Hondeghem, 27 May 1940
     
    Owen likes this.
  2. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Isn't there an article on this in the Royal Artillery War Commemoration Book as well?
     
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    thanks for that, shall print it off.
    had a look for some 5 RHA casualties from that time.

    001 ARMOUR RF 932084 5 REGT 27/05/1940 ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY
    002 DAVIS T 815054 5 REGT 27/05/1940 ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY
    003 FOSTER J 884483 5 REGT 27/05/1940 ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY
    004 GREGORY FJ 951390 5 REGT 27/05/1940 ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY
    005 HEATON C 816146 5 REGT 27/05/1940 ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY
    006 HINDLE RCS 868198 5 REGT 27/05/1940 ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY
    007 KEMP E 1045277 5 REGT 27/05/1940 ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY
    008 PALLANT GH 1061463 5 REGT 27/05/1940 ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY
    009 PARKER HC 802264 5TH REGT 27/05/1940 ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY
    010 PINNER GH 805682 5 REGT 27/05/1940 ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY
    011 RASTRICK F 935469 5 REGT 27/05/1940 ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY
    012 WALLACE W 884435 5 REGT 27/05/1940 ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY
    013 WRIGHT M 872475 5 REGT 27/05/1940 ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY

    002 ADAWAY AC 821128 5 REGT 27/05/1940 - - 27/02/1941 ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY

    039 FROST G 932189 5 REGT 25/05/1940 - - 29/05/1940 ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY

    071 MANNING RJ 786647 5 REGT 27/05/1940 - - 02/06/1940 ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY

    074 MCKAY AB 813964 5 REGT 25/05/1940 - - 29/05/1940 ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY

    075 MCVEIGH E 828240 5 REGT 29/05/1940 ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY

    096 PONTING WC 1041942 5 REGT 27/05/1940 - - 29/05/1940 ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY

    103 RIMMER J 794743 5 REGT 28/05/1940 ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY
     
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    HyperWar: The War in France and Flanders 1939–1940 [Chapter XII]

    The enemy's main attack on Cassel itself began about ten o'clock in the morning of the 27th, coming in from the south and south-east, and it was maintained throughout the day. German forces tried, too, to work round the northern outskirts but were driven back by the 2nd Gloucestershire, and on the south-east they attacked Hondegham. There K Battery of the 5th Royal Horse Artillery and a troop of the 2nd Searclight Regiment fought back all day, but they suffered heavy casualties and by the evening were almost out of ammunition, when a squadron of the 1st Fife and Forfar Yeomanry arrived and relieved the pressure. These were part of Brigadier C. W. Norman's 1st Light Armoured Reconnaissance Brigade, which had come under the command of the 48th Division and was to play a notable part in the fighting of the next few days
     
  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    In the last paragraph of that article idler linked to it says...

    'A photo printed in a recent issue of Artillertistische Rundchau shows the remains of D Troop's material at cassel after the action was over.'


    this photo is from the Battleground Europe book DUNKIRK by Patrick Wilson.
    I think this may be the photo referred to, as it a Quad with an 18 pdr supposedly at Cassel.
    If so I'm sure some of those men I listed in post #3 are in that photo.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Ooooo another place to visit and photograph this year - I wonder if Rob will want to come on this one too?

    Saved to favourites, cheers for the heads up Andrew :)
     
  7. Buteman

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

    "Ooooo another place to visit and photograph this year - I wonder if Rob will want to come on this one too?

    Saved to favourites, cheers for the heads up Andrew :)

    Andy"


    Thought you might like a map to help you find your way around.:lol: From the aforementioned RA Commemoration Book.

    [​IMG]


    Cheers - Rob

    Will type up the article as the book won't fit on the scanner.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Thats a Carlsberg map !
     
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I've just been comparing this map to Google Earth and they fit quite nicely. Interesting to see there is a Rue de la Ker Battery heading south from the town too.

    Just one Q though. On the maps legend above what does a sub-section consist of? The icon looks like a artillery piece.

    Cheers
     
  10. Buteman

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

    Andy - Just looked at the article accompanying the pic. You are correct. A sub-section is one artillery piece.

    PS Just realised I was supposed to type up the report. Just dug out a larger scanner and will try and scan the pages asap.
     
  11. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Just one Q though. On the maps legend above what does a sub-section consist of? The icon looks like a artillery piece.

    Cheers


    I think a sub-section is two guns as a troop is four guns and a battery is eight guns.

    British Artillery Organisations 1939-45
     
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers,

    Two guns makes sense looking at the lettering for a sub sec. Although the icons suggest one gun where the mark is. There is two guns marked L which is what I assume to be L Troop. K, I and J Troops have only one gun each marked on the map so I wonder if they had already lost a gun each or they were deployed elsewhere off this map?

    A
     
  13. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Mead's Gunners at War has a copy of the mess painting of the action on the dustjacket. Will see if I can get a scan when (if) I can get back onto my PC so you can do a then & now reconstruction!
     
  14. idler

    idler GeneralList

    From nigelf's Glossary:

    Section Commander:
    Traditionally the term used for the 3 subaltern officers in a battery, each of whom commanded a section of 2 guns in barracks and in the field, analogous to an infantry platoon commander or a cavalry troop commander. The term lapsed in the 1938 re-organisation. In 1942 it was resurrected to mean any officer, warrant officer or NCO temporarily appointed to supervise a section of 2 guns in action.

    Logically, a sub-section would be one gun, and I'm sure I've seen the term 'sub' used in the context of a single piece. Did L Subrelocate during the action? I'll have to re-read it...
     
  15. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Now it's bugging me. Nigelf says:
    Field and RHA Regiments 1939 - This is the organisation used by the BEF in France in 1940. Field regiments were organised in 2 × 12 gun batteries, while RHA regiments were 2 × 8 gun batteries. Field regiments could have all 25-pdr or a mixture of 18-pdr and 4.5-inch How.

    If RHA Btys were 2x 4-gun Tps, how could K Bty have F Tp in Hondeghem and D Tp outside - the tp idents should be consecutive?

    The answer seems to be that 5 RHA was a two bty regiment (not three): G & K Btys RHA. Each Bty was organised as for RA: 3x 4-gun Tps. Assuming the usual sequential 'numbering' of tps through the regt, G Bty would have A, B & C Tps, K Bty would have D, E & F Tps.

    To compound confusion, sequential subsections in each bty would give:
    D Tp: ABCD Subs
    E Tp: EFGH Subs
    F Tp: IJKL Subs
    Which tallies with what we know.
    I believe that two positions are being shown for L because it was moved to engage the cookhouse.

    The US FA Magazine article also shows a different (wrong?) position for I Sub near J.
     
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    So do you think the two L Guns marked on the map are the same gun but moved later in the day?

    It makes more sense to me that I,J and K are missing a gun each and L has two guns?
     
  17. Buteman

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

    Here are the pages I promised from the Royal Artillery Commemoration Book.

    DSCF4354.JPG
    DSCF4353.JPG
    DSCF4355.JPG
    DSCF4356.JPG
    DSCF4359.JPG
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
  18. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Andy: the more I read, the more I'm convinced that sub = gun. That's not to say that I'm right, though...

    ramacal: It's coming together - Douglas Williams authored the contemporary book The New Contemptibles which includes waht looks like a lightly-censored (no names) and edited version of the above. I wonder if he was also the source for the Gunner article upon which the US FA magazine article was based?
    Not seen the Opie account before; I believe he was also TSM (Troop Sergeant Major) at the time of the action so he would have been a WOIII and, presumably, the Troop Leader. Cheers.
     
  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    3rd Corps Tps. Royal Artillery.

    For conspicuous gallantry in man handling guns under rifle and machine gun fire so as to enable them to knock out enemy posts. He set a splendid example to all ranks.

    MID 6.4.44
    MBE 8.6.50

    DCM Gazetted 27.8.40

    For Distinguished Conduct in the Field - George E. Brown.
     
  20. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    :mellow:
    Just to add my 2pence worth.
    Sub - is one Gun. Section- is half a Bty.
    Field Regts did not have 4.5's which came online in 1942.
    sorry to interupt
    Rob
     

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