Tanks in WWI

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Re: Tanks in WWI

Post by tigre » 20 Jan 2016 12:10

Hello to all :D; thanks for joining Sheldrake :wink:. Now a little more........................................

The Battle of Amiens 1918. THE ATTACK SOUTH OF THE SOMME. (See Sketch No. 7).

Advance to the third objective.

The British resumed the attack from the second objective with fresh troops. Even before arriving on the second objective, the Cavalry Corps had passed through the attacking infantry with one division north and one south of the Luce. Sixteen British armored cars now appeared on the scene. They had been towed over the difficult terrain by tanks.

The last reserves of the German XI Corps, two infantry battalions and an improvised artillery battalion, occupied hill 84 north of Proyart. One of the batteries disabled four tanks by direct fire. Then British aviators attacked the battery with machine guns and bombs. The attacking tanks finally succeeded in enveloping the position from the south, and the entire resistance crumbled. Only a few of the Germans got away. The Australians occupied the hill, but did not push their attack farther as they were now on their third objective. The armored cars followed the main road to Foucaucourt, then turned about and milled around in the vicinity of Proyart and Framerville, firing on columns and increasing the panic existing in the services of the rear. The front of the German XI Corps had been definitely penetrated. Aside from some weak elements still resisting at Mericourt, only an open breech faced the Australians. They had only to march forward; an attack was not necessary. But they failed to move; they had gained their day's objective! This halt in the attack permitted the Germans to close the gap with army reserves. By 10:00 PM they occupied a defensive position extending from Méricourt to FramerviIIe with the 107th Division and two-thirds of the 243d Division.

The German LI Corps was more fortunate than the XI. It had as reserves at the beginning of the battle three rest battalions of the 1st Bavarian Division, three of the 192d Division, and the entire 109th Division. The Canadian Corps pushed its attack vigorously with the Cavalry Corps, which had passed through the 1st and 2d Divisions, and the 4th Division, which had passed through the 3d. The six German rest battalions put up stubborn resistance, particularly in the area: Cayeux-Beaucourt. But the results were everywhere the same. The German infantry could resist the hostile infantry and cavalry, but when tanks appeared on the flanks and rear of the German infantrymen, they would give way. The German 109th Division was ordered to the vicinity of Harbonnieres to counterattack and secure the line: Harbonnieres-Cayeaux. The elements of this division had from 2.5 to 17 kilometers to march into position for the counterattack. The leading elements of the division were attacked by British cavalry, tanks, and attack aviation before the division could form for the counterattack, and thus it was compelled to take up a defensive position which extended from Framerville to the southwest. From the German corps to the south, the 1st Reserve Division was sent to the support of the LI Corps. The leading elements of this division arrived in time to participate in the fighting about Beaucourt. But here also tanks turned the scale. The 1st Reserve Division was compelled to fall back to a defensive position. In the meantime the German 119th Division, reserve of the army on the south, also appeared on the scene, and was turned over to the LI Corps. At 6:15 PM, the corps commander ordered this division to counterattack to secure a line generally from Harbonnieres through Caix, but darkness intervened before the action could be launched. However, the division had closed the gap that was forming in the center of the corps.

Source: TANKS AND ANTITANK DEFENSE DURING THE WORLD WAR. ["Kampfwagen und Abwehr wahrend des Weltkrieges." Sanct Christophorus, October 1936.] Abstracted by Lieutenant Colonel S.J. Heidner, Infantry. RML. June 1937.
http://www.ww1westernfront.gov.au/mont- ... valley.php#

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Tanks in WWI

Post by tigre » 23 Jan 2016 13:12

Hello to all :D; a little more, now the French attack........................................

The Battle of Amiens 1918. THE ATTACK OF THE FRENCH XXXI CORPS.

The French XXXI Corps attacked the left regiment of the German 225th Division and the right and center regiments of the 14th Bavarian Division. There were two and two-thirds divisions in the first attack wave on a front of 4 kilometers.

The French 153d Division followed as the second wave. The French started their attack without tanks because their light Renault tanks could not be used until after the German trench system had been conquered. Hence the tanks were all allotted to the 153d Division. Since the infantry had to break through the first resistance without tanks, a 45-minute artillery preparation was planned. The artillery bombardment was to start at the same time as that of the British, but since the British attack followed immediately behind their barrage, the French attack was scheduled to start 45 minutes later than that of the British. The schedule for the French attack was as follows:

5:20 AM-Commencement of the artillery preparation
6:05 AM-Attack jumps off, first objective, the east edge of Granatwald
7:34 to 8:43 AM-Halt on first objective
8:43 AM-.-Attack continued, second objective, west edge of Mezieres
10:05 to 10:45 AM-Halt on the second objective
10:45 AM-Attack continued, third objective, west edge of Resnoy.

Moreuil was not to be attacked from the front until 7:55 AM and, farther to the south, the attack over the Avre was not to begin until 9:20 AM. Thus Moreuil and the Avre position were not to be attacked until the envelopment from the north was beginning to make itself felt.

The French believed that the tank should be used to overcome resistance in villages and woods. They considered it a weapon for attacking objectives which the artillery could not see and therefore could not take under fire.

The French attack moved off as planned at about 6:05 AM. The combat outposts, which had been thoroughly shaken by the heavy barrage, were quickly overrun. As the attacking troops advanced farther, they encountered some heavy German machine guns which had weathered the bombardment, and the attack began to stall. Then a British tank appeared from the Canadian zone to assist the French, but each machine gun had to be fought down singly. The regimental reserves in the Granatwald were blocked by the artillery barrage and could not come to the aid of the front line. So the troops on the main line of resistance and the regimental reserves were attacked and defeated successively. The three rest battalions of the 14th Bavarian Division, which operated farther to the north initially under corps control, reverted to their own division at about 8:50 AM. With these battalions the Bavarian division was able to hold the French generally along the east edge of the Granatwald until the French 153d Division with its tanks appeared. Then the Bavarian battalions fell back, and the battle of that division was quickly over. South of the 14th Bavarian Division, the German 192d Division held its position along the Avre until it was outflanked from the north. Although minus its three rest battalions, which were under corps control at Beaucourt, this division continued a stubborn resistance, especially at Plessier, and at dark it held the general line shown on Sketch No 8.

Source: TANKS AND ANTITANK DEFENSE DURING THE WORLD WAR. ["Kampfwagen und Abwehr wahrend des Weltkrieges." Sanct Christophorus, October 1936.] Abstracted by Lieutenant Colonel S.J. Heidner, Infantry. RML. June 1937.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Tanks in WWI

Post by tigre » 27 Jan 2016 13:46

Hello to all :D; last part........................................

The Battle of Amiens 1918.

This day, 8 August, was the "Black Day"; the day that brought the German army its greatest disasters. The British Fourth Army and the French XXXI Corps, with a combined strength of 8 rested and 8 tired infantry divisions and 3 cavalry divisions, accomplished more in less time than had been done before in the War. For the second time, the tank had helped the British not only to gain important terrain by an overwhelming attack, but also to completely wipe out the German garrisons which had been defending it. Seven German divisions were defeated, and two more which had just been taken out of line for reconditioning were forced back into the battle. The Germans lost from 650 to 700 officers, from 26,000 to 27,000 men, and 400 guns. Again for each tank destroyed, four guns were lost.

Although the British cavalry accomplished more in this battle than any other cavalry unit had done during the War, it failed in its mission of pushing forward to the Chaulnes-Roye railroad and thus opening a breach in the German front. The armored cars also failed to accomplish anything decisive or to report any essential information although they drove around for hours beyond the front.

While the British, attacking with 8 infantry and 3 cavalry divisions on a front of 13 kilometers against 4 German divisions, penetrated to a depth of from 7 to 12 kilometers, the French with 5 infantry divisions on a front of 5 kilometers against 2 German divisions, penetrated only to a depth of from 5 to 8.5 kilometers. The British did not push farther because they had reached their third objective; the French were unable to gain. their third objectives. There were several reasons for this. In the first place, the French were too methodical; they arranged for two halts on intermediate objectives. Then too, they employed too many troops for their narrow front, and they made a mistake in attaching all their tanks to the 153d Division. Finally, it must be remembered that the French light Renault tank, with its single weapon, was much inferior to the British tank.

The attack had been planned without making proper provisions against antitank defense measures. Had the Germans taken appropriate counter measures, the results of the battle would have been different. On account of the terrain, the tank attack was canalized initially into definite lanes. Antitank weapons properly placed to protect these lanes would have been very effective. There were no special antitank guns available, but the task could have been performed by the light artillery of the divisions. Finally, the German main line of resistance was too lightly held. It was doctrine that the main line of resistance should be held at all costs, but in all the divisions the infantry fire-power was so dispersed that this could not possibly be carried out.

After the battle of Amiens, the Germans also gave serious consideration to the question of passive antitank defense. Instructions issued on 10 August, called attention to the importance of considering natural tank obstacles such as water, swamps, and steep slopes in the organization of defensive positions. And on 15 August, general headquarters prescribed that not only fire-power, but also mechanical means, especially mine fields and road blocks, must be used to stop tanks. On the same day a tank officer was placed at the disposition of each army group commander to act as technical expert in advising the commander over which terrain hostile tank attacks were most to be expected.

Source: TANKS AND ANTITANK DEFENSE DURING THE WORLD WAR. ["Kampfwagen und Abwehr wahrend des Weltkrieges." Sanct Christophorus, October 1936.] Abstracted by Lieutenant Colonel S.J. Heidner, Infantry. RML. June 1937.

It's all folks. Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Tanks in WWI

Post by tigre » 09 Mar 2017 23:53

Hello to all ; last part........................................

Tanks in the defensive - Tanks at Cantigny.

The French command felt that the first offensive action of American troops must be successful and the conditions of the Cantigny attack were carefully studied. The terrain (see Map No.1) was considered quite suitable for the execution of a limited objective attack. Cantigny and the orchards and gardens surrounding it extended on the southwest slope of a northnorthwest-south-southeast crest. At the, south of the village another parallel crest was held by the Americans and a change of direction of the valley separating these two crests closed the horizon some 500 meters southeast of Cantigny. Thus the attackers could operate in a closed compartment of terrain, well seen from the American position, and excluded from the view of distant hostile observers.

Preliminary reconnaissance showed that the slopes south of Cantigny were impracticable for tanks because of sunken roads, and consequently the tank support was limited to one group of 12 tanks which was charged with the support of the attack against the west edge of the village and outflanking it on the north. Initially in the zone attacked by tanks there would be one tank to each 70 meters of front and in the latter part of the attack, one tank to each 50 meters.

The battalions of the American 28th Infantry had some ten days in which to establish liaison and train with the French tank group (Captain Noscereau) designated to support the attack. In addition to a half company of the French 262d Infantry, which normally accompanied the group in an attack, twelve American French-speaking soldiers were attached to the group five days before the attack. They were to be utilized as liaison agents with the tank commander and subordinates and with the battalion and company commanders of the infantry unit which was to attack the west edges of Cantigny. A tank lieutenant was sent as liaison officer to this battalion and another to the regimental commander of the 28th Infantry and the most careful reconnaissances were made by the subordinate commanders.

The tank group left its station (to the west of the map) at 11 :00 PM, 27 May, and reached assembly positions as shown on Map No.1 about 3:30 AM. In each battery of four tanks, one tank towed a trailer carrying some 90 gallons of gasoline. An assortment of spare parts was constituted in a quarry at 03.25 and an emergency repair post later was pushed forward on the road: Plessier -Cantigny.

Source: "Les chars dans la defensive: Avec la 1re Armee (avril-mai 1918); la contre-attaque de Mery-Belloy (11-13 juin 1918)". RML. June 1938.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Tanks in WWI

Post by tigre » 17 Mar 2017 01:09

Hello to all :D; more........................................

Tanks in the defensive - Tanks at Cantigny.

At H-55 (5:50 AM) the three tank batteries (as units of four tanks were then called) left their assembly positions and about H-15 reached their assault positions as shown on the map. At H-5 the tanks moved forward, taking advantage of the fact that hostile observatories had been blinded by smoke and the dust raised around Cantigny by shell bursts, as well as by a slight fog which was blown toward the American lines.

The 1st Tank Battery (Lieutenant Mainardy) had the mission of helping an American company reach the west edge of Cantigny. It was to enfilade the south edge of the village, if this proved necessary, and then to assemble in reserve at the northwest edge. At the start this battery was reduced to two tanks, tank 97 having had mechanical difficulty at the assault position and tank 318 having been attached to the 2d Tank Battery to replace a tank of that unit which had been immobilized in the assembly position. (The commander of tank 97, Lieutenant Rouillot, took his crew and a machine gun and moved with the American infantry to the final objective).

Near the southwest crossroad of Cantigny, tank 194, without having to fire, dispersed several groups of Germans who were soon captured by American infantry which penetrated the orchards. The tank remained in surveillance a few minutes, prepared to open fire on the south edge of the village, and then seeing that American.infantry had reached· that point, moved to the designated rallying point.

Tank 361, followed closely by American infantry, destroyed a machine gun at 18.15 near the road: Plessier - Cantigny, and then went to the northwest corner of the village where it remained in surveillance for a while.

The 2d Tank Battery (Lieutenant Chenu) was to precede an American company to the northwest corner of the village and the cemetery, and then neutralize the north edge of the orchards. Tank 384 reduced a hostile nest in the isolated house situated at the northwest corner of the village; it later became stuck in a shell hole. Tank 318 of the 1st Battery which had been attached to the 2d Battery, debouched in rear and to the left of 384; it progressed through the orchards and silenced by cannon fire a machine gun at 22.18 and then, attracted to the north by resistance disclosed along the road: Cantigny -Bois de Lalval, it destroyed a machine gun in position in a bit of trench at 26.17.

Here American infantry made numerous prisoners. Tank 189 in which was the battery commander, had a little trouble at first keeping up with the eager American infantry which "leaned" on the barrage; however, the tank pushed ahead when abreast of the cemetery, where the infantry was stopped by fire from the orchards. The tank opened fire with its cannon and machine gun in the direction of flashes seen; the enemy fire ceased, and the tank and the American infantry moved to the road: Cantigny -Bois de Lalval.

From the hedge along this road came heavy fire; the Americans were pinned to the ground. The supporting barrage passed onward. The tank stopped but had difficulty in locating the resistance. Lieutenant BIancot, liaison officer with the American battalion, ran toward the tank and endeavored to point out the enemy. At first he was unsuccessful. He then drew his pistol and fired toward the enemy. The tank crew recognized the target just as Lieutenant BIancot was killed. The tank opened heavy fire and continued this at close range for some time.

Suddenly the Americans cheered, and rushed forward with the bayonet, led by the tank which crushed through the hedge. By this time tank 124 which had debouched to the left rear of 189 and had then reduced a machine-gun nest near the cemetery, had come up and joined in the attack on the hedge. The hostile fire ceased and the tanks and Americans found some twenty German bodies and an abandoned machine gun in a small trench.

Source: "Les chars dans la defensive: Avec la 1re Armee (avril-mai 1918); la contre-attaque de Mery-Belloy (11-13 juin 1918)". RML. June 1938.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Tanks in WWI

Post by tigre » 23 Mar 2017 22:46

Hello to all :D; more........................................

Tanks in the defensive - Tanks at Cantigny.

The 3d Tank Battery was to support the infantry as far as the objective and then was charged with surveillance to the north in order to break any counterattack coming from this direction. Tank 349 moved south of the cemetery and executed rapid fire on the northeast corner of the orchards from which hostile fire was being received; it then reached the road: Cantigny -Bois de Lalval and to the left of the tanks of the 2d Battery began to neutralize resistance along the hedge. Tank 383, closely followed by American infantry, moved along the north edge of the cemetery and the hedge which prolonged it, and destroyed two machine guns near 26.20, one of which was in a silo and the other under an apple tree. It then opened fire upon a third machine gun, which was being dragged forward near 27.20 by four crawling men. Then while the infantry was organizing upon the objective, it fired upon the edges of the Bois de Fremicourt and Bois de Lalval.

Tank 235 passed about 80 yards to the north of the cemetery, destroyed two machine guns with its cannon near 18.19 and then opened fire on a trench on the south side of the ravine. Tank 315 debouched to the left rear of 235, silenced a machine gun near 18.22 in a trench; got stuck in a shell hole, got out after a quarter of an hour's work and reached the objective.

The tank of the group commander 397 at first followed the 2d Battery; abreast of the cemetery he noted that tank 318 had deviated slightly to the north of its assigned direction, and learned that tank 384 was stuck in a shell hole. At this moment the Americans approaching the edge of the village had stopped. The group commander moved his tank to this region, sent orders to tank 361, which by now was in reserve at the northwest edge of Cantigny, to rejoin him and these two tanks led the infantry on to the objective. Captain Noscereau then advanced to 26.14 to ascertain the situation, then moved north along the objective and about 8 :00 AM, considering the consolidation of the position by the infantry to be well under way, and his mission therefore terminated, ordered the tanks back.

Of the twelve tanks which the night before had left Visigneux farm, several miles to the rear, ten were back there before noon; one rejoined in the afternoon; only the tank of the group commander, hit by a shell on the way back, was a casualty. Each tank on the average fired 12 shells and 8 bands of machine-gun ammunition. The tank crews had one officer killed and one man gassed, and two of the American liaison officers were wounded. Moreover, the losses of the American infantry during the attack proper were not high.

Source: "Les chars dans la defensive: Avec la 1re Armee (avril-mai 1918); la contre-attaque de Mery-Belloy (11-13 juin 1918)". RML. June 1938.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Tanks in WWI

Post by Sheldrake » 23 Mar 2017 22:51

Great stuff. Keep it coming!

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Re: Tanks in WWI

Post by tigre » 23 Mar 2017 23:15

Thanks for your support :wink:. All the best. Raúl M 8-).

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Re: Tanks in WWI

Post by Sheldrake » 24 Mar 2017 00:17

Have you got much on tanks in the 18th July counter stroke?

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Re: Tanks in WWI

Post by tigre » 30 Mar 2017 23:16

Hello to all :D; Sheldrake I found this early in jun........................................

Tanks in the defensive - Mery-Belloy (11-13 jun 1918).

On 9 June a strong German attack struck the French Third Army southeast of Montdidier. (See Map No.2.) The French held successfully on this day on the flanks of the front attacked but in the center the Germans captured the first position. On 10 June they pursued their advantage in the center and widened the breach on the flanks.Virtually all the French army reserves had been thrown into the fight by this time. However, General Fayolle, commander of the group of armies, had three fresh divisions west of the salient created by the Germans and General Petain had two other divisions some fifty miles away which could be brought up quickly in trucks from the region east of Paris. A general counterattack was decided upon.

General Mangin was designated on 10 June to organize and command this attack. Mangin was convinced of the absolute necessity of striking quickly and in the afternoon of 10 June he insisted to General Fayolle that the attack must be launched on the morning of 11 June, despite all difficulties, and it was obvious that these would be considerable for the available divisions were widely scattered. General Fayolle approved Mangin's ideas. He directed the latter to counterattack the advancing enemy in flank in the general directions: Mery -Cuvilly. Because of the instability of the situation, no line of departure was selected.

The 129th, 152d, 165th, and 48th Divisions were to attack in first line with the 133d in reserve. General Mangin likewise was placed in command of all troops in the general sector of the attack and of four tank groupments. These were in excellent condition; however, the problem was quite different from those to which the tank units were accustomed. In a few hours they were going to have to do everything they had been accustomed to do in several days, a long approach march, supply, maintenance, liaisons, reconnaissance, and finally an attack in conjunction with infantry which could only get into position at the last moment.

Rapidity and surprise were depended upon by the French command for success. The air forces were given· instructions to protect the nreliminary movements from hostile air observation.

The terrain over which the enemy would have to be approached is quite destitute of cover. The divisions, leaving the zones in which they were located during the night of 10-11 June would execute an approach march in their respective zones and move to the attack as soon as they met the enemy. In order to coordinate their actions, the hour at which each division crossed the Montdidier - Wacquemoulin railroad (see Map No.3) was fixed. These hours from north to south: 9:45 AM, 10:00 AM, 10:15 AM and 10:30 AM, were so calculated that all divisions were expected to reach a general north and south line through Mery at about the same time.

The divisions destined to take part in the attack began their movement by marching or by truck on 10 June. During the night 10-11 June, General Mangin fixed the zones of action of the attacking divisions, and their station at the end of the movement then in progress. Boundaries were grid lines, each division having exactly a two-kilometer front (see Map No.3).

The four tank groupments were alerted at 4:25 PM, 10 June, and ordered to move generally toward the front attacked, initial destinations being designated. The tank groupment commanders were ordered to report to General Mangin at a corps command post. Before they left, they issued orders for their units movement to the points designated and later, after having received orders concerning the mission of the tanks and their attachments to divisions, they selected assembly positions for each group.

Source: "Les chars dans la defensive: Avec la 1re Armee (avril-mai 1918); la contre-attaque de Mery-Belloy (11-13 juin 1918)". RML. June 1938.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Tanks in WWI

Post by tigre » 07 Apr 2017 20:40

Hello to all :D; more........................................

Tanks in the defensive - Mery-Belloy (11-13 jun 1918).

An artillery preparation was to commence at 10:30 AM, 11 June, and it was expected that the actual attack would be at 11:00 AM. During the night division and tank groupment commanders settled upon missions and orders for the tanks and certain liaisons were realized, and orders given for the action of tank groups and batteries.

The Germans continued their advance during the night of 10-11 June although the French still resisted. The assembly of the counterattacking troops on the morning of 11 June was favored by a light fog. Most of the infantry got into position in the assigned zones without notable incident; however, the 48th Division only detrucked during the night and although it moved at once, arrived a little late near the line of departure.

Some of the artillery likewise only got in position just prior to H hour and was not well prepared to fire accurately at that hour; in fact, some batteries of the 152d and 165th Divisions did not arrive until the afternoon of 11 June and the morning of 12 June. The movement into position of the tanks was successful in general. It started late in the afternoon and all movements were completed before daylight. There was little mechanical trouble, and all units were complete when they left the assembly positions.

The groups managed to get liaison with the infantry they were to support, and with the artillery, although this was done imperfectly in some cases. The tanks supporting the 48th Division only established liaison during the action itself because of the delay of that unit. The deployment of the artillery of the 152d Division being likewise delayed, the tank commander in that zone was unable to arrange for artillery support which he considered indispensable, fires against certain antitank guns and against hostile observation posts.

The artillery preparation started on time and woods and villages were heavily shelled, particularly Mortemer, the wood south thereof, Cuvilly, the wood southwest of Ressons, Lataule, Saint Maur Farm. However, the preparation had neither the the ,desirable power nor precision and besides the high ground to the north of the attack and the region of Conchy-les-Pots where many hostile observation posts and batteries were located was insufficiently treated since the French heavy artillery was located too far back.

Shortly before 11:00 AM the fog lifted and the hostile artillery, which was far from having been silenced, came into action. The 129th, 152d and 165th Divisions crossed the railroad at the prescribed hours and at 11:00 AM were generally abreast of Mery. The tanks were ahead of the 129th and 152d Divisions, but the tanks of the 165th 'Division were well in rear of its leading battalions. The 48th Division was 30 minutes behind time, but its tanks were with it.

Source: "Les chars dans la defensive: Avec la 1re Armee (avril-mai 1918); la contre-attaque de Mery-Belloy (11-13 juin 1918)". RML. June 1938.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Tanks in WWI

Post by jluetjen » 08 Apr 2017 15:20

Do you have any French accounts of French Tank activities around Soissons in August of 1918?

Interesting, the French Saint-Chamond tank seems to be very much of the same concept as the German Stug's in WWII, and it would seem were used in a similar fashion. I'm stating the obvious I'm sure.

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Re: Tanks in WWI

Post by tigre » 09 Apr 2017 00:28

Hello jluetjen :D; thanks for joining here :wink:. About French Tank activities around Soissons in August of 1918, I've to check. About the Saint-Chamond, you've right, they were assembled in twelve artillery groups called “Artillerie Spéciale” and were used as assault guns to deal with German batteries. Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

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Re: Tanks in WWI

Post by tigre » 13 Apr 2017 18:52

Hello to all :D; more........................................

Tanks in the defensive - Mery-Belloy (11-13 jun 1918).

Hostile counterpreparation fires and barrage fires grew more and more violent and after some progress, the progression of the 129th Division on the north became quite difficult. Its zone of attack was perfectly seen by the German observation posts and the hostile reaction rapidly broke the infantry-tank system. The supporting tanks were nearly annihilated and only a few hundred meters were gained in all.

The 152d DivIsion, next to the south, in close liaison with its tanks, captured Mery and pushed on, the tanks neutralizing numerous machine-gun nests and breaking several local enemy counterattacks. However, after passing over the crest southeast of Mery, they came under heavy artillery fire and suffered heavy losses. The infantry also suffered and was brought to a stop. About 3:00 PM a German counterattack was broken by infantry and the remaining tanks, but no further progress was made.

The 165th Division debouched without its tanks; came under heavy machine-gun fire and progressed quite slowly. Finally, between 12:30 and 1:15 PM the tanks came into action, neutralized the edges of Belloy and resistance farther south. By 3:00 PM Belloy had been captured. In the northern portion of the division zone the tanks continued their advance but when crossing the crest northeast of Belloy suffered heavy losses by artillery, firing over open sights. The attack was stopped.

The 48th Division on the south flank, although starting late, quickly captured the high ground northeast of Wacquemoutin, and pushed forward. After considerable progress, the infantry eventually came under the fire of long range machine guns which stopped them. The tanks' advance enabled some slight further infantry progress.

The attack on the entire front came to a standstill between 3:00 and 4:00 PM. On the next two days some efforts were made to develop the success but no great advantage was gained.

Nevertheless, this hastily-mounted counterattack had achieved much of what had been expected. Its progress at most was only 2 or 3 kilometers and the prisoners numbered about 1,000. But just the same, it completely ended the German offensive. The author quotes Ludendorff to show that a decision was made by the German high command on 11 June to suspend the offensive, because of this tank counterattack.

Of 144 tanks which took part in the attack, there were 69 casualties. The losses were particularly heavy in the northern portion of the front. Nineteen of the 24 tanks of the 129th Division were casualties, 'and 32 out of the 48 tanks of the 152d Division. On the contrary, only 4 tanks out of the 36 with the 48th Division were casualties. The losses were heaviest where the tanks were debouched under the eyes of the German observers in the region south of Orvillers, which were insufficiently neutralized, and when the tanks moved over the Mery -Belloy crest coming under good German observation at the time when they disappeared from the eyes of the French artillery observers.

Source: "Les chars dans la defensive: Avec la 1re Armee (avril-mai 1918); la contre-attaque de Mery-Belloy (11-13 juin 1918)". RML. June 1938.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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tigre
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Re: Tanks in WWI

Post by tigre » 15 Apr 2017 12:46

Hello to all :D; more........................................

Tanks in the defensive - Mery-Belloy (11-13 jun 1918). The "Rue d'enfer", at Courcelles-Epayelles on June 11, 1918.

For the attack of June 11, 1918 the 10th Battalion (359º RI), placed in first line to the right of the deployment of the regiment (lineTricot / Courcelles) attacked with two companies at the front-line. On 11 June 1918, the 37th Company had 25 killed, wounded and missing. The tank belonged to the AS 36. It was the St Chamond 62712 of the MdL Paulet belonged to the 3rd Battery. The tank was immobilized by a shell of 77 in the caterpillar. He then received three more shells that set him on fire. The gunner was killed and the Brigadier deputy chief of the tank was wounded.

Source: "Les chars dans la defensive: Avec la 1re Armee (avril-mai 1918); la contre-attaque de Mery-Belloy (11-13 juin 1918)". RML. June 1938.
http://pages14-18.mesdiscussions.net/pa ... 8642_1.htm
http://pages14-18.mesdiscussions.net/pa ... 7965_1.htm

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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