Chemical Warfare Coys, R.E. post-Dunkirk 1940

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Re: Chemcal Warfare Coys, R.E. post-Dunkirk 1940

Post by RichTO90 » 12 Dec 2014 16:51

phylo_roadking wrote:Well, if you're going to base the judgement call on those two items only - it's really correct for Egypt only. Especially now that we know courtesy of Nuno that 8RTR had MkIs in service through the summer of 1940.
No, I'm not basing a "judgment call" on anything like that. Think for a moment. 127-140 A.11 built, with the last three completed in June. 97 were lost in France. 27 were assigned to 8 RTR. At least 2 were sent to Egypt and eventually written off there. What happened to the remaining 1-14?
Regarding the comment - it's most commonly referenced to George Forty's Tanks of World War I and II


Do you mean the 1995 Osprey World War II Tanks? I believe Fletcher's reference predates it by at least a year.
IIRC the contract cards at Bovington record production rather than acceptance; but I'll email them and check that.
Okay. That might explain it. I suspect, given the above, the possibly "1" remaining was the prototype. In any case, if there was as many as "14" they were not recorded with operational units, so were either in training or test/development establishments.
If we take the 345 Valentine and 392 A.12 completed to the end of 1940 and subtract them from Postan's 878, we get 141, which is even more confusing...
...though only by one compared to the 140 contract-card number; which, using a secondary course and working backwards, is better than most thumbnail calculations!
Yeah...except the thumbnail calculation actually includes known losses and known availability with units as of 15 September 1940, but does not resolve if there were 1-14 remaining after that. :D
I was basing my comment on the material in Newbold, not figures in Postan. When I find it again I'll post up what he says.
Then it would have been easier for my understanding if you had referred to Newbold rather than Postan as you did. BTW, "WHEN you find it again"? The link was posted by Nuno yesterday...did you lose it again? :P And he is quite clear on the numbers. 27 A.11 with 8 RTR.

A couple of other notes of interest to the subject:

1) I do not recall from the records of BFME if they recorded the number of A.11 at any time. Unfortunately those records are now locked away at the former offices of TDI and I no longer have ready access to them. :cry:
2) I had recalled that the COMPASS shipment included 54 I Tanks; Newbold indicates it was 50 A.12, which may be correct. Other sources mention 48 though, which could still mean that the other 2 were the A.11 sent to Egypt. Again, the records of the MGRAC BFME would be helpful...if I could get to them easily again. :cry:
Indeed they weren't; there were the various cruisers....or remnants thereof after France. I'll have to check (as above) but IIRC Newbold details crusiers being sent to the Delta as well.
Yes, indeed, but they weren't "remnants thereof after France" any more than those of 7 RTR were. The cruisers were the 52 with 2 RTR from 3rd Armoured Brigade of 1st Armoured Division. The lights were the 52 with 3rd KOH from 2nd Armoured Division. They three regiments departed OOA 20 August. There still remained in the UK, as of the 27 August, 295 tracked and 60 wheeled light tanks, 138 cruiser tanks, and 27 A.11, 125 A.12, and 33 Valentines assigned to units, increasing to 306 tracked and 64 wheeled light tanks, 154 cruiser tanks, and 27 A.11, 132 A.12, and 65 Valentines assigned to units as of 15 September, and 318 tracked and 64 wheeled light tanks, 179 cruiser tanks, and 27 A.11, 131 A.12, and 107 Valentines assigned to units as of 29 September. That of course doesn't include the 400-odd tanks at any one time produced, but not issued, and obsolescent/obsolete types in training establishments and/or depots.
IIRC standard British Army convoy speed in the period was actually 15 mph (I think I opened a thread on that question literally years ago on here...?)...which was the commonly-referenced road speed for the MkII. You regard the 8 mph figure as a coincidence, I regard it as too much of a coincidence.

Now that Nuno has posted and confirmed that there were indeed Matilda Is in 8RTR hands as of the date in question...it it should be checkable by their war diary for the period.
And of course Knouterer cleared that up from the 8 RTR War Diary.

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Re: Chemcal Warfare Coys, R.E. post-Dunkirk 1940

Post by Knouterer » 13 Dec 2014 12:59

So I did, but I don't mind repeating it for those with short memories: - 24.8.1940: "New organisation of "I" tanks in Sqns. "C" Sqn entirely equipped with Mk. II tanks and "A" and "B" Sqns with Mk. I tanks."
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Re: Chemcal Warfare Coys, R.E. post-Dunkirk 1940

Post by Knouterer » 13 Dec 2014 15:44

According to the War Establishment for an Army Tank Battalion (Inf. tanks) as published by Philson for the BEF (WE III/1931/33A/3, which was presumably still in force in September, perhaps with minor changes), a tank squadron (Philson calls them "companies" but I believe that since the formation of the R.A.C. in 1939 everybody was supposed to use cavalry terminology) consisted of 5 sections/troops of 3 tanks each, plus one Inf. tank and one light tank in the Squadron HQ. The battalion/regiment HQ had two Infantry and four light tanks.

Therefore, if there were only 27 Mk. I tanks left, A and/or B Sqn must also have had a few Mk. IIs.

According to the WE - which in practice may not have been reached of course - the Bn HQ had, apart from those 6 tanks, 12 motorcycles, 1 4-seat car, 22 lorries/trucks (8, 15 and 30cwt, 3-ton) and 2 carriers, divided over No 1 Group (fighting) and No 2 Group (admin).

At squadron level, there were 7 motorcycles (1 with sidecar), 1 4-seat car, 7 trucks/lorries and 2 carriers.
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Re: Chemcal Warfare Coys, R.E. post-Dunkirk 1940

Post by phylo_roadking » 13 Dec 2014 18:47

Rich...
Well, if you're going to base the judgement call on those two items only - it's really correct for Egypt only. Especially now that we know courtesy of Nuno that 8RTR had MkIs in service through the summer of 1940.
No, I'm not basing a "judgment call" on anything like that. Think for a moment. 127-140 A.11 built, with the last three completed in June. 97 were lost in France. 27 were assigned to 8 RTR. At least 2 were sent to Egypt and eventually written off there. What happened to the remaining 1-14?
I'd be very much interested in finding out! See comment below *...

First of all - I take it you'd now agree...given Nuno's comments and what we now know about 8RTR having them, that whoever had them/wherever they were, "in training" meant "not used again in combat"?

Well, technically every unit in the UK was in training for the invasion in the the summer of 1940.
Regarding the comment - it's most commonly referenced to George Forty's Tanks of World War I and II

Do you mean the 1995 Osprey World War II Tanks? I believe Fletcher's reference predates it by at least a year.
I've no problem with that; given that we know the MkI was still in service, which of them said that about training first is pretty moot now.
IIRC the contract cards at Bovington record production rather than acceptance; but I'll email them and check that.
Okay. That might explain it. I suspect, given the above, the possibly "1" remaining was the prototype. In any case, if there was as many as "14" they were not recorded with operational units, so were either in training or test/development establishments.
I emailed Bovington yesterday evening with that and another query, but won't get an answer until next week...

...but that possibility in bold occured to me too; thing is, the training establishments were combed out over the summer of what could be used...so I don't want to even think of the possibility at this point that the 27 received by 8RTR weren't all new-builds 8O

That's a puzzle we'd never get to the bottom of now!
If we take the 345 Valentine and 392 A.12 completed to the end of 1940 and subtract them from Postan's 878, we get 141, which is even more confusing...
...though only by one compared to the 140 contract-card number; which, using a secondary course and working backwards, is better than most thumbnail calculations!
Yeah...except the thumbnail calculation actually includes known losses and known availability with units as of 15 September 1940, but does not resolve if there were 1-14 remaining after that. :D


* I have a thought on that, but I'll go and track it down first.
I was basing my comment on the material in Newbold, not figures in Postan. When I find it again I'll post up what he says.
Then it would have been easier for my understanding if you had referred to Newbold rather than Postan as you did.
Rich, I didn't refer to Postan - you started doing that a page ago.
BTW, "WHEN you find it again"? The link was posted by Nuno yesterday...did you lose it again? :P And he is quite clear on the numbers. 27 A.11 with 8 RTR.
No, I meant when I get time to go through Newbold and find it.
A couple of other notes of interest to the subject:
1) I do not recall from the records of BFME if they recorded the number of A.11 at any time. Unfortunately those records are now locked away at the former offices of TDI and I no longer have ready access to them. :cry:
2) I had recalled that the COMPASS shipment included 54 I Tanks; Newbold indicates it was 50 A.12, which may be correct. Other sources mention 48 though, which could still mean that the other 2 were the A.11 sent to Egypt. Again, the records of the MGRAC BFME would be helpful...if I could get to them easily again. :cry:
That explains a lot. A couple of years ago, when trying to track down EXACT details of the COMPASS shipments I found it difficult and noone could help me with exact details...but I didn't know why and noone could tell me why.
IIRC standard British Army convoy speed in the period was actually 15 mph (I think I opened a thread on that question literally years ago on here...?)...which was the commonly-referenced road speed for the MkII. You regard the 8 mph figure as a coincidence, I regard it as too much of a coincidence.
Now that Nuno has posted and confirmed that there were indeed Matilda Is in 8RTR hands as of the date in question...it it should be checkable by their war diary for the period.
And of course Knouterer cleared that up from the 8 RTR War Diary.

Yes, it should be that clear, shouldn't it? But there's a funny...
So I did, but I don't mind repeating it for those with short memories: - 24.8.1940: "New organisation of "I" tanks in Sqns. "C" Sqn entirely equipped with Mk. II tanks and "A" and "B" Sqns with Mk. I tanks."
The WD of "Milforce" states quite clearly that as of 18 Sept. C squadron 8 RTR had Mk II Matildas and the other two squadrons, which would follow on behind later, Mk Is. There's no question about that.
It's no longer as clear-cut as that despite what the War Diary says, as Knouterer as ALSO now noted...
Therefore, if there were only 27 Mk. I tanks left, A and/or B Sqn must also have had a few Mk. IIs.
By September..."B" Sqn. certainly did :wink:

I checked last night, Stuart Hamilton, ex of "B" Sqn 8RTR, recalls in his very-well respected Armoured Odyssey being plonked into a new-build MkII in "B" Sqn in September 1940. He's very specific about it.

But then...."A" and "B" Sqns. are still going to have to move down the Ashford Road at the road speed of their slowest vehicle...which is their MkIs.
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Re: Chemcal Warfare Coys, R.E. post-Dunkirk 1940

Post by phylo_roadking » 13 Dec 2014 19:14

What cross country 'sweep'? In none of the documents, instructions or diaries relating to MILFORCE and the NZEF have I ever encountered the term 'sweep'. It is your word and assumption only.
Gooner - how do you police up paratroopers? :roll: They're light troops, and they're not necessarily going to come to you. Look at the instructions again, they describe clearance actions across set areas; you don't do that by just driving across them on a road!
BTW its probably worth reacquainting yourself with the '30s OS map to see how dense the roadnet was.
It's worth looking at a late 1930s 4x2 motor coach and working out what Kentish lanes they were not suitable for.
Now - tell me what the glaringly obvious problem in there is for MILFORCE on S-Day....it's in point 4, by the way...
The only glaringly obvious problem I can think of would be one that existed almost entirely in your mind :D
(a) N.Z. Div. less 7 Inf. Bde. Gp. is to be prepared to counter-
attack enemy in area:
....
(ii) N.W. of FOLKESTONE from the direction of SELLINGE (5356)
Plan "B".
Now - look at the couple of maps we have elsewhere about the FJ's deployment on the morning of S-Day...

If the MILFORCE Advance Guard/covering force is to be some 4-5 miles ahead of the main force...or rather, the convoy comprising the main force...

It's going to contact the FJ a lot closer than 4-5 miles beyond "SELLINGE" :wink: Any plans made previously, any debussing areas identified in or around Sellindge for Plan B...note that little sentence in Section 27 about debussing areas being identified previously, as I did say :wink: ...are not going to survive Clausewitz, 5 Bde is going to have to debus further back up the Ashford Road than Sellindge - potentially a few miles further back - adding to the time taken to cross the ground between wherever they debus and their arrival in the vicinity of RAF Lympne etc..
I think what got left out of the MILFORCE Operational Instruction No.4 transcription was Method, in this case the road march order - that is probably whats confusing you. To wit:

METHOD.

8. Adv. Guard Mob Tps: "C" Sqn. Div. Cav.
Main Gd: 1 Tp. 'C' Sqn. 8 R Tanks.
MILFORCE HQ.
Comd. Inf. & MG. Gp.
'C' Sqn. 8 R Tanks (less 1 Tp.)
H.Q. Inf. & MG. Gp.
32 A/Tk. Bty. (8 vehicles)
MG. Coy. (10 vehicles)
'C' Coy. 21 Bn. (7 vehicles)
Not at all; see my comment above. The order doesn't actually matter, it's what INSTRUCTION NO.4 says about the speed they're to do that matters to what I was saying.

There's nothing odd or incomprehensible about the order at all - in fact it's very logical. Can you tell me why? :wink:
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Re: Chemcal Warfare Coys, R.E. post-Dunkirk 1940

Post by Clive Mortimore » 14 Dec 2014 00:00

I am very confused over what role the Fallschirmjäger troops were to undertake on S-day, they seem to be all over the place. In the British Army September 1940 thread they are landing at RAF Lympe and rushing down to the Royal Military Canal to capture the bridges, in this thread they are taking on a Tank Regiment with no heavy anti-tank weapons and there is this thread on another part of the forum http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 3&t=154629 they are landing elsewhere and then attacking RAF Lympe.

All this when they are not battle ready and are short of aircraft. :? :?
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Re: Chemcal Warfare Coys, R.E. post-Dunkirk 1940

Post by phylo_roadking » 14 Dec 2014 00:21

Clive - quick answer is - all of it! They were indeed all over the place...

Two blocking forces were to drop - one behind Lympne in the direction of Sellindge to block forces coming down the road from Ashford...whoever they may have been; being one of the main roads into the invasion area, SOMETHING coming down it was pretty certain sooner or later. One behind Folkestone to the north and west of the town to do the same for traffic coming down from that direction...to reinforce the defenders of Folkestone and Shorncliffe.

A small drop immediately south of the crossings of the RMC inshore from Hythe, to try and grab crossings over the Royal Military Canal...and a force that was to assemble and prepare to attack the defended perimter of RAF Lympne at the same time as a Norway/Holland-style landing ON the field inside the perimeter - thus hopefully avoiding the sort of casualties suffered in Norway etc. by attempting an unsupported on the ground airborne attack on an airfield.

(The Sealion planners were at first against any such attempt by the FJ; they regarded it as a busted flush of a tactic, it had been tried just too many times...and the British would have prepared accordingly. The idea of a simultaneous attack on an airfield looks to have been simply an attempt to overcome any preparations the British would obviously have made. Also, in early planning they were concerned that trying it too far behind the front lines....and the focus of Heer operations in the area becomes trying to dash to their relief - not unlike Rotterdam. Remember how close RAF Lympne was to the invasion beaches...)

There were to be at least two FJ drop waves, to make the best use of the "limited" number of aircraft...although it was calculated elsewhere that the LW would have had somewhere between 425 and 435 Ju52s available again by mid-September or after given the numbers surviving Norway and Holland, the rate of repair of downed aircraft at Junkers (and Fokker IIRC), and the rate of new builds...the first of which was to drop at 6AM; the timing for the second wave is not clear (so far?), depending on turn-round of the aircraft....with the landing inside RAF Lympne's perimeter being in effect a small third wave.

The FJ were battle ready in the sense that the majority of the blank files caused by losses in Norway and Holland had been filled; the FJ were not short of volunteers. But not fully battle ready in the sense that the rebuilt squads etc. hadn't had long to exercise/train together. And there's a questionmark over how trained the replacement FJ dispatchers - two per Ju52 - would have been, after their losses in Holland; not only were they responsible for getting their stick out of the door, they were responsible for pushing out the airdropped weapons canisters and stores baskets after them.

The question we'll never know is - how the Sealion-period FJ would have compared in battle to the Young Soldier companies, the holding battalions, the units rebuilt after Dunkirk, etc...
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Re: Chemcal Warfare Coys, R.E. post-Dunkirk 1940

Post by RichTO90 » 14 Dec 2014 04:47

phylo_roadking wrote:I'd be very much interested in finding out! See comment below *...
Okay.
First of all - I take it you'd now agree...given Nuno's comments and what we now know about 8RTR having them, that whoever had them/wherever they were, "in training" meant "not used again in combat"?
First of all - why ever would you imagine I ever disagreed that "in training" meant "not used in combat"?
Well, technically every unit in the UK was in training for the invasion in the the summer of 1940.
You're reaching now.
I've no problem with that; given that we know the MkI was still in service, which of them said that about training first is pretty moot now.
Interesting. Are you now agreeing or disagreeing with the "widely-disseminated comment"? As usual, I have no idea which it is.
I emailed Bovington yesterday evening with that and another query, but won't get an answer until next week...
They must be slipping now that David's left.
...but that possibility in bold occured to me too; thing is, the training establishments were combed out over the summer of what could be used...so I don't want to even think of the possibility at this point that the 27 received by 8RTR weren't all new-builds 8O

That's a puzzle we'd never get to the bottom of now!
Well, it's unlikely they were all new, since production was ramping down and the last three were delivered in June. But possible.
* I have a thought on that, but I'll go and track it down first.
Yes, there's an even simpler thought...that the last 14 were never actually completed.
Rich, I didn't refer to Postan - you started doing that a page ago.
Sorry, I was mixing another post of yours n with this one.
No, I meant when I get time to go through Newbold and find it.
Um, I just did. Those were the figures I was giving.
That explains a lot. A couple of years ago, when trying to track down EXACT details of the COMPASS shipments I found it difficult and noone could help me with exact details...but I didn't know why and noone could tell me why.
Newbold pretty well clears that up. The only question really remaining is when the two A.11 were shipped.
Yes, it should be that clear, shouldn't it? But there's a funny...
Uh, no, not really.
It's no longer as clear-cut as that despite what the War Diary says, as Knouterer as ALSO now noted...

By September..."B" Sqn. certainly did :wink:

I checked last night, Stuart Hamilton, ex of "B" Sqn 8RTR, recalls in his very-well respected Armoured Odyssey being plonked into a new-build MkII in "B" Sqn in September 1940. He's very specific about it.

But then...."A" and "B" Sqns. are still going to have to move down the Ashford Road at the road speed of their slowest vehicle...which is their MkIs.
A rather tortuous way to note that the 8 RTR was on a mixed establishment with only C Squadron likely containing a full 19 A.11. Except none of the regiments were at full establishment. The "norm" seemed to be about 50 I tanks for the regiment, not the 59 called for. So we really don't know what the distribution might have been.

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Re: Chemcal Warfare Coys, R.E. post-Dunkirk 1940

Post by Gooner1 » 14 Dec 2014 13:19

phylo_roadking wrote: Gooner - how do you police up paratroopers? :roll: They're light troops, and they're not necessarily going to come to you. Look at the instructions again, they describe clearance actions across set areas; you don't do that by just driving across them on a road!
.
I suppose I should have included section 2. of the Operational Instructions:
"Enemy landings by sea and or air are likely."
But I am a bit surprised anyone would assume that N.Z. Divisions orders would only apply to an airborne landing. What would you think would happen if the Germans hade decided to drop their paratroops at Brighton say, that the New Zealand division would all go down the pub? :D Or perhaps carry on their daily exercises whilst not playing a blind bit of attention to what's happening on the coast?
Now - look at the couple of maps we have elsewhere about the FJ's deployment on the morning of S-Day...

If the MILFORCE Advance Guard/covering force is to be some 4-5 miles ahead of the main force...or rather, the convoy comprising the main force...

It's going to contact the FJ a lot closer than 4-5 miles beyond "SELLINGE" :wink: Any plans made previously, any debussing areas identified in or around Sellindge for Plan B...note that little sentence in Section 27 about debussing areas being identified previously, as I did say :wink: ...are not going to survive Clausewitz, 5 Bde is going to have to debus further back up the Ashford Road than Sellindge - potentially a few miles further back - adding to the time taken to cross the ground between wherever they debus and their arrival in the vicinity of RAF Lympne etc..
And you are making the assumption that MILFORCE encountering the paratroops will be the occasion for the debussing of 5th NZ Brigade. Refer to section 41 of the FSR Vol.II Advanced Guards - general :wink:
"to brush aside minor resistance without delay and to give the main body time to deploy for action when the enemy is met in force"
Considering how weak the German paratroopers would be in anti-tank weapons and how quickly MILFORCE could be upon them I don't think the resistance they could mount could be considered as anything other than minor.

Not at all; see my comment above. The order doesn't actually matter, it's what INSTRUCTION NO.4 says about the speed they're to do that matters to what I was saying.
And you didn't read/understand it properly :P The speed did not state 8 miles per hour but 8 miles in the hour.
Did you really think the NZ Divisional Cavalry would abandon the practice of moving by bounds to obey some absurd artificial order on how fast their vehicles should move? :lol:

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Re: Chemcal Warfare Coys, R.E. post-Dunkirk 1940

Post by phylo_roadking » 14 Dec 2014 23:15

First of all - I take it you'd now agree...given Nuno's comments and what we now know about 8RTR having them, that whoever had them/wherever they were, "in training" meant "not used again in combat"?
First of all - why ever would you imagine I ever disagreed that "in training" meant "not used in combat"?
I was just trying to establish a base line - given that we now know that in the summer of 8RTR had MkIs that were "not used in combat"...but they were on active service, so to speak.
Well, technically every unit in the UK was in training for the invasion in the the summer of 1940.
You're reaching now.
...but that possibility in bold occured to me too; thing is, the training establishments were combed out over the summer of what could be used...so I don't want to even think of the possibility at this point that the 27 received by 8RTR weren't all new-builds 8O
That's a puzzle we'd never get to the bottom of now!
Well, it's unlikely they were all new, since production was ramping down and the last three were delivered in June. But possible.
This has to do with the lead I want to chase down first, so I'll come back to it.
I emailed Bovington yesterday evening with that and another query, but won't get an answer until next week...
They must be slipping now that David's left.
Well - no; "yesterday evening" was friday evening, I doubt they'd have a full office staff at the weekend.
* I have a thought on that, but I'll go and track it down first.
Yes, there's an even simpler thought...that the last 14 were never actually completed.
I think I know where they were ;) But I want to check first.
Yes, it should be that clear, shouldn't it? But there's a funny...
Uh, no, not really.
It's no longer as clear-cut as that despite what the War Diary says, as Knouterer as ALSO now noted...
By September..."B" Sqn. certainly did :wink:
I checked last night, Stuart Hamilton, ex of "B" Sqn 8RTR, recalls in his very-well respected Armoured Odyssey being plonked into a new-build MkII in "B" Sqn in September 1940. He's very specific about it.
But then...."A" and "B" Sqns. are still going to have to move down the Ashford Road at the road speed of their slowest vehicle...which is their MkIs.
A rather tortuous way to note that the 8 RTR was on a mixed establishment with only C Squadron likely containing a full 19 A.11. Except none of the regiments were at full establishment. The "norm" seemed to be about 50 I tanks for the regiment, not the 59 called for. So we really don't know what the distribution might have been.
Unless there's a way we can find out...
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Re: Chemcal Warfare Coys, R.E. post-Dunkirk 1940

Post by phylo_roadking » 14 Dec 2014 23:44

"Enemy landings by sea and or air are likely."
But I am a bit surprised anyone would assume that N.Z. Divisions orders would only apply to an airborne landing. What would you think would happen if the Germans hade decided to drop their paratroops at Brighton say, that the New Zealand division would all go down the pub? :D Or perhaps carry on their daily exercises whilst not playing a blind bit of attention to what's happening on the coast?
On the contrary, INSTRUCTION NO.4 is quite clear why they're where they were...as is the OH...

But look at exactly what it says...
The tasks of N.Z. Div. in order of priority are:
(a) to counter attack vigorously any enemy landing in 1 Lon.
Div. area, especially in the area North and N.W. of DOVER
and FOLKESTONE.
(b) To re-establish the line of ROYAL MILITARY CANAL eastwards
of HAM STREET.
(c) Concurrently with the above, to deal with any hostile air
borne landings in the area SITTINBOURNE - FAVERSHAM -
CHARING - MAIDSTONE.
...and in the OH -
The order from GHQ Home Forces ran as follows: ‘Emergency Move. NZ Force and 8 R Tanks under command General Freyberg will move to area EAST of TUNBRIDGE WELLS to be selected by Commander 12 Corps. On arrival this area FORCE will come under command of 12 Corps and will be held in reserve for counter offensive role.’ For further information the General went to GHQ Home Forces, where he learnt what the commander had not been willing to say over the telephone—that after the heavy bombardment of Dover from Gris Nez, Mr Churchill had ordered that if an invasion took place and Dover was captured it must be retaken at all costs. To take part in this all-important counter-attack the New Zealand brigades were being transferred to the outskirts of the Dover-Folkestone area. The signals strength for this role was increased by 100 British signallers who had served in France or Norway, 8 Royal Tank Regiment came under command and, after 12 September, 157 Anti-Aircraft Battery.

The brigades left Aldershot late on 5 September, stopping and starting all through the night, listening to the drone of aircraft on their way to bomb London and eventually settling down under cover in the woods before first light. East of Maidstone there was 5 Brigade, north of the Maidstone-Charing road was 7 Brigade, now commanded by Brigadier Falconer, and at Charing there was Milforce, an armoured group, commanded by Brigadier Miles and formally constituted the following morning.

Their instructions were specific and detailed. Seventh Brigade would deal with airborne landings in the Chatham-Maidstone area; Milforce and 5 Brigade would prepare to counter-attack in the direction of Dover and Folkestone.
They were positioned against a recognised weakness/risk...remembering that landings "North and N.W of DOVER and FOLKESTONE" have to be by definition airborne landings ; If you can produce any other such detailed instructions for Second Echelon NZEF and MILFORCE for any other location as of September...such as Brighton...I'm sure we'd all be glad to see them.

Not at all; see my comment above. The order doesn't actually matter, it's what INSTRUCTION NO.4 says about the speed they're to do that matters to what I was saying.
And you didn't read/understand it properly :P The speed did not state 8 miles per hour but 8 miles in the hour.
Did you really think the NZ Divisional Cavalry would abandon the practice of moving by bounds to obey some absurd artificial order on how fast their vehicles should move? :lol:[/quote]

Not at all - but if the order was so absurd...think why was it there? :wink: Remember the discussion I'm having with Rich...we haven't yet confirmed 100% that "C" Sqn didn't have MkIs.

If it means 8 miles per hour - well, see all the discussion above; if you're going to interpret 8 miles in the hour as being the distance to be covered...it doesn't actually matter if the Div Cav dashes forward at more than 8mph by bounds- the dashes and the waits were to average out so that they covered no more than 8 miles IN the hour. The point is to not get more than 4-5 miles ahead of the main force coming down the Ashford Road.

And think why it was the NZ Divisional Cavalry and one troop from 8RTR that was out in front of the main body of MILFORCE. We don't actually know which "C" Sqn troop - but I've a feeling I can guess which one...
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Re: Chemcal Warfare Coys, R.E. post-Dunkirk 1940

Post by Gooner1 » 15 Dec 2014 14:38

phylo_roadking wrote: On the contrary, INSTRUCTION NO.4 is quite clear why they're where they were...as is the OH...

But look at exactly what it says...

The tasks of N.Z. Div. in order of priority are:
(a) to counter attack vigorously any enemy landing in 1 Lon.
Div. area, especially in the area North and N.W. of DOVER
and FOLKESTONE.
(b) To re-establish the line of ROYAL MILITARY CANAL eastwards
of HAM STREET.
(c) Concurrently with the above, to deal with any hostile air
borne landings in the area SITTINBOURNE - FAVERSHAM -
CHARING - MAIDSTONE.

They were positioned against a recognised weakness/risk...remembering that landings "North and N.W of DOVER and FOLKESTONE" have to be by definition airborne landings ;
Uh, no. I thought section 2 should have cleared this up - "Enemy landings by sea and or air are likely." :roll:

So landings, by definition, can be from the sea or the air.
If you can produce any other such detailed instructions for Second Echelon NZEF and MILFORCE for any other location as of September...such as Brighton...I'm sure we'd all be glad to see them.
You so really want to believe that NZ Div only task was to fight German paratroopers you imagine them to have other operational instructions? 8O :D

Not at all - but if the order was so absurd...think why was it there? :wink: Remember the discussion I'm having with Rich...we haven't
yet confirmed 100% that "C" Sqn didn't have MkIs.
You not believing it is not the same as it not being already 100% confirmed that C squadron 8 RTR only had Matilda IIs

if you're going to interpret 8 miles in the hour as being the distance to be covered...it doesn't actually matter if the Div Cav dashes forward at more than 8mph by bounds- the dashes and the waits were to average out so that they covered no more than 8 miles IN the hour. The point is to not get more than 4-5 miles ahead of the main force coming down the Ashford Road.
Now you're starting to get it :lol: . Except the Div Cav will be 4-5 miles ahead of the advance guard not the main force.

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Re: Chemcal Warfare Coys, R.E. post-Dunkirk 1940

Post by gambadier » 17 Dec 2014 02:12

The 4.2 inch mortar was of course introduced for the CW Coys. IIRC it was first used at Alamein and the entire theatre stock of HE was expended. Clearly this was a weapon system far to useful too be left in RE hands, and with its transfer the CW coys ended.

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Re: Chemcal Warfare Coys, R.E. post-Dunkirk 1940

Post by phylo_roadking » 17 Dec 2014 19:21

Uh, no. I thought section 2 should have cleared this up - "Enemy landings by sea and or air are likely."

So landings, by definition, can be from the sea or the air.
I had hoped that my point was clear enough. Obviously not...
(a) to counter attack vigorously any enemy landing in 1 Lon.
Div. area, especially in the area North and N.W. of DOVER
and FOLKESTONE.
Can I recommend you take a map of the area and look at what is "north and north-west of Dover and Folkestone"? 8O

By definition they HAVE to be airborne landings...
You so really want to believe that NZ Div only task was to fight German paratroopers you imagine them to have other operational instructions?
Not at all, it's quite clear they have another role..."(b) To re-establish the line of ROYAL MILITARY CANAL eastwards
of HAM STREET
" - for example.

But your point wasn't about the role, it was about the location...
But I am a bit surprised anyone would assume that N.Z. Divisions orders would only apply to an airborne landing. What would you think would happen if the Germans hade decided to drop their paratroops at Brighton say, that the New Zealand division would all go down the pub?
...so, show us anything in relation to the NZEF on or around the 22nd of September 1940 rgearding to operations elsewhere than those geographical locations/areas listed in INSTRUCTION NO.4...
Except the Div Cav will be 4-5 miles ahead of the advance guard not the main force.
Not necessarily...
7. MILFORCE will act as Div. Adv. Guard. and will take up a position covering the debussing of 5 Inf. Bde.
It's "MILFORCE" that is the Divisional Advance Guard, and be 4-5 miles ahead of the rest of the division I.E. 2NZ.

The Divisional Cavalry are the Advance Guard for MILFORCE's main force, so they will in turn be in front of
Main Gd: 1 Tp. 'C' Sqn. 8 R Tanks.
MILFORCE HQ.
Comd. Inf. & MG. Gp.
'C' Sqn. 8 R Tanks (less 1 Tp.)
H.Q. Inf. & MG. Gp.
32 A/Tk. Bty. (8 vehicles)
MG. Coy. (10 vehicles)
'C' Coy. 21 Bn. (7 vehicles)
Question is - does the advance guard for an advance guard maintain the SAME 4-5 miles' clearance in front?

if you're going to interpret 8 miles in the hour as being the distance to be covered...it doesn't actually matter if the Div Cav dashes forward at more than 8mph by bounds- the dashes and the waits were to average out so that they covered no more than 8 miles IN the hour. The point is to not get more than 4-5 miles ahead of the main force coming down the Ashford Road.
Now you're starting to get it
No - you're the one not getting it; whether 8 miles PER hour or 8 miles IN the hour, it doesn't matter for what's going on elsewhere....it's still a measurement of TIME-over-distance...and a given time to cover a given distance...

...while things are going on elsewhere - such as the simultaneous attacks on RAF Lympne at some point in the morning.

You not believing it is not the same as it not being already 100% confirmed that C squadron 8 RTR only had Matilda IIs
Well, we have TWO quotes from the 8RTR War Diary...
24.8.1940: "New organisation of "I" tanks in Sqns. "C" Sqn entirely equipped with Mk. II tanks and "A" and "B" Sqns with Mk. I tanks."
The WD of "Milforce" states quite clearly that as of 18 Sept. C squadron 8 RTR had Mk II Matildas and the other two squadrons, which would follow on behind later, Mk Is. There's no question about that.
...and yet...
Therefore, if there were only 27 Mk. I tanks left, A and/or B Sqn must also have had a few Mk. IIs.
I checked last night, Stuart Hamilton, ex of "B" Sqn 8RTR, recalls in his very-well respected Armoured Odyssey being plonked into a new-build MkII in "B" Sqn in September 1940. He's very specific about it.
....there IS some question about that now, the situation in "A" and "B" squadrons isn't actually as clear-cut as the War Diary says it is as of the 18th of September. So how therefore do we know what it says for "C" squadron is 100% correct?
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Re: Chemcal Warfare Coys, R.E. post-Dunkirk 1940

Post by Knouterer » 18 Dec 2014 15:02

phylo_roadking wrote:
The question we'll never know is - how the Sealion-period FJ would have compared in battle to the Young Soldier companies, the holding battalions, the units rebuilt after Dunkirk, etc...
And if Operation Sealion had taken place as planned we still would not know - or only to a very limited extent - because the FJ would mainly have been fighting the New Zealanders and the troops of 1st and 2nd (London) Brigades, which did not fall in any of the above categories :milwink:

Parts of the 6th (Home Defence) Battalion of the Buffs, which was based in Folkestone and (apparently) provided companies to guard Hawkinge and Lympne on a rotating basis would have been involved, probably. Also, the Commandos, Royal Marines, etc. ...
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