Gorman and the TII...............

Discussions on the vehicles used by the Axis forces. Hosted by Christian Ankerstjerne
Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6151
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Gorman and the TII...............

Post by Michael Kenny » 10 Oct 2008 04:41

The most detailed account published in 1945.

Note there is no claim for taking the German crew prisoner only mentioning a brief meeting as they all bailed out..

IG WW2 History

Pages 378-383

"Cagny itself is a long, straggling village with the houses, as in an Irish village, scattered along the side of the main road from Caen to Vimont. East of Cagny the ground rises gently up to the low ridge which runs from Emieville southwards, dominating the left flank and hiding Vimont. Between Cagny and the top of the ridge the ground was open. The top, however, was festooned with thick hedges which merge into a strip of wood just where the road from Cagny passes by the village of Frenouville, a mile farther south-east. The German tanks and tractor-drawn 88-mm. guns were established along tihis ridge; it was from here that they had been shooting the Grenadiers in the flank as the advanced due south towards Cagny. Infantry and more guns were concentrated at the southern end of Frenouville and the strip of wood; and it was they who had halted the Coldstreamers.

The squadrons formed up in a line ahead - No. 2, No. 1, Battalion H.Q., and No. 3 Squadron. In every tank the words were repeated again and again - “Follow the pylons.” Lieutenant Anthony Dorman’s troop led the Battalion down the slope, passing some Grenadier tanks, to a ford across a small stream. Crossing the stream, No. 2 Squadron raced off to climb the ridge north of the road. Major Nial O’Neill led his squadron (No. 1) farther south and crossed the road in Cagny before he swung left and headed for Frenouville. Half-way up the slope the leading troop of No. 2 Squadron came under fire from the bulge in the ridge around Emieville. Lieutenant Anthony Dorman drove hastily into a little hollow, traversing his gun to the left to cover flank. The squadron veered off the right, while he unhooked his binoculars and prepared for one of the long-range gun duels he had heard so much about on training. Beginning his formal “anticipatory fire order,” “Seventy-five, traverse left, fire when …” he ended “straight ahead, let him have it!” A German 88-mm. gun tractor was backing noisily out of the hedge just forward of the crest 300 yards away. With one shot the gunner destroyed it, and Lieutenant Dorman started his formal order once again. When No. 2 Squadron reached this hedge farther to the right, they halted to let No. 1 Squadron in the orchards south-east of Cagny come up level with them. Then, together, they plunged forward to fight their way into Frenouville. Major John Madden, No. 2 Squadron commander, only now noticed that his second troop was missing. “What happened to John Gorman?”

Lieutenant John Gorman had bogged his tank while crossing the stream and his troop had stayed with him. It was firmly stuck, and there was nothing to do but leave it there and transfer himself into “Ballyragget,” one of his two other 75-mm. tanks. By the time he had cautiously negotiated the stream there was no sign of the rest of the squadron. He could get no reply to his wireless appeals - “the air was bedlam” - so, being a simple, straightforward young man, he put his head down and charged straight ahead. As he came up the hill he saw Lieutenant Dorman busily engaging the gun tractor and anther gun. “Where are they?” shouted Gorman. Dorman, interested only in Germans, waved towards the hill. Happy again, Gorman continued up the hill - if he did not find the squadron there at least he would be able to look around for them. Dorman watched him go, wondering what “Blockhead” Gorman was up to, but he soon thought of something else when he was wounded in the foot by a mortar bomb.

Lieutenant John Gorman, earnestly following the pylons, struck the lane from Cagny to Emieville and swung cheerfully up it with his second tank just behind him. As he came over the brow he gave a wild cry “Gunner!” Two hundred yards away were four German tanks - a Royal Tiger, an old-fashioned Tiger, a Panther and an old Mark IV - “having a conference they were, sitting in the middle of the field.” The Germans were equally surprised and were all facing the wrong direction. “Gun’s jammed, sir.” Guardsman Schole’s voice was despairing. “Oh, Christmas, why?” The nearest German tank was slowly traversing its massive gun. It was a Royal Tiger, the first seen on the Western Front. “Driver, ram!” shouted Gorman, and Lance-Corporal Baron saw what he must do. “Ballyragget” crashed through the thin hedge and careered down the slope towards the Tiger. It slid down beside the long barrel of the 88mm. and struck the Tiger at the rear of its right track. The muzzle of the 88 projected two feet beyond the Sherman, so Gorman and crew were like birds sitting on a sportsman’s gun. The Tiger’s crew jumped out with their hands up; but the other Germans turned their attention to the second Sherman. Sergeant Harbinson, its commander, hadn’t a chance. Three shots struck it as it came over the crest and it burst into flames. The driver, Lance-Corporal Watson, and operator, Guardsman Davis, were killed instantly, and the three others wounded and burnt. Guardsmen Melville and Walsh were able to climb out, but only Walsh had the strength to go back again into the blazing hill and extricate the dying Sergeant Harbinson.


This distraction gave Lieutenant Gorman and his crew a moment to get away from the tanks and run to a cornfield on the other side of the lane. “Corporal Baron.” “Sir.” “Melville.” “Sir.” “Scholes.” “Sir.” “Agnew” - there was no reply. The voices of the driver, co-driver and gunner all answered from the depths of the corn, but there was no sign of the operator. In a minute he came crashing through the corn to join them. Guardsman Agnew was the last man out of the tank. As he dropped to the ground he saw four men rushing for a ditch and promptly joined them. They were the German crew; after an exchange of cold stares, Agnew moved out to join his own side.

When Lieutenant John Gorman got an idea into his head he clung to it stubbornly. His present idea was to destroy those German tanks. “You stay here while I get a Firefly,” and he slid away leaving Lance-Corporal Baron and the Guardsmen lying in the cornfield. They lay there in the corn for some time and then began to crawl. They must have crawled in the wrong direction - which is easy enough to do when all you can see is a jungle of stalks - for they got caught in an artillery barrage. They continued to crawl till Melville and Scholes were both wounded by shell splinters. Corporal Baron beat down the bloodstained, shell-torn corn to make a rough bed and stayed to guard and tend his wounded friends until they were picked up by a passing tank. Lieutenant Gorman walked back alone to the orchards round Cagny. There he found what he wanted, his own 17-pdr. gun, which alone would penetrate the heavy armour of a Tiger or Panther. It looked undamaged, but there was no sign of life in or around it. He hammered on the hull. “Sergeant! Sergeant Workmann!” A face popped out of the turret. “He‘s inside, sir. He is dead, sir.” The solid shot that killed the Troop Sergeant had thrown his body back on top of the crew, but had left them and the tank undamaged. They lifted the poor body and Lieutenant Gorman clambered in through the turret. It was no use trying to report to Squadron H.Q. - the air was full of voices all reporting “hornets” - so he returned on his “remount” to the battle.
Lieutenant Anthony Dorman had by now moved up to the ridge and was sitting there nursing his foot and directing the fire of his tank. In Wiltshire he had spent most of his time on training studying dippers and writing long letters to The Field describing the peculiar habits of these birds. But now, in Normandy, “Dipper” Dorman was busy watching “hornets” - the trade name for enemy tanks - and had little time for nature study. Gorman knew exactly where the “hornets” were. Covered by Dorman he moved cautiously forward, avoiding the lane this time and following the line of a thick hedge. The hedge reached up above the level of the turret, so he nosed the Firefly gently forward through it till he could just see the Germans. “Gunner.” Five shots went high and wide, rocketing up into the sky. The gunner’s hand was shaking and the sights were smeared with blood, but five misses in succession was too much. “Take it easy, boy, and have a go at the old Tiger.” The gunner was years older than he, but Lieutenant John Gorman had the paternal manner of a policeman, for he had been reared in, and was going back to, the Royal Ulster Constabulary. The gunner took a deep breath and tried again. “Well done! Two hits on the turret; now put one into the new Tiger.” Three seconds later both the disabled Tiger and the Sherman were burning brightly. The following day, and the following year, they were still there, to be seen by the curious. Lieutenant Gorman, like every other tank officer, had often been told that naval tactics applied to armour, but he was the only one who practised this theory literally. It was a remarkable sight - the Sherman jammed into the side of the Tiger, its turret only a few inches from the barrel of the 88-mm. gun. The German gunner had a power traverse to swing his heavy gun and given another second he could have blown the Sherman to pieces, but he saw it just too late. In size there is not really much to choose between a Tiger and a Sherman, but at close quarters the Tiger completely overshadows the Sherman. It is indeed a few inches taller, but it is the length of the 88-mm. gun and the general impression of the massive power that seem to crush the Sherman.

As too many Germans were now firing at him from all directions, Lieutenant Gorman reversed out of the hedge and turned back to look for Sergeant Harbinson and his crew. He found them by their burnt-out tank and carried them back to the Regimental Aid Post. In his search for the Regimental Aid Post, he found the tanks of Brigade H.Q. lined up in a wood in Cagny. “This made me feel I was very far back,” he said. “It was a most confusing day.”


======

John Gorman's book told it this way.

"By now the Squadron was far ahead and fragments of speech on my radio conveyed that the enemy was by no means obliterated. Then we came on the tanks of 11th Armoured Division, dozens of them mostly on fire, with crews tending to their mates who had managed to get out of their burning tanks. A pitiful sight. There was nothing we could do for them and we could see that the tracked ambulances which had seemed so unnecessary in the morning were now saving lives.

Pressing James Baron on to top speed, with Sergeant Harbinson following 200 yards or so behind, and taking the pylons as my guide, I found the Squadron. It was halted to the west of Cagny and Tony Dorman, “Dipper”, was on his feet, evidently wounded, but gesticulating wildly forward. Since the whole strategy of our leftwards attack on Cagny had been to take it by speed and dash which we had learned on Salisbury Plain and the Yorkshire Wolds, I took it that Dipper was urging us on and we charged up a cornfield, towards a hedge at the top of the rise, and turned the corner into a lane which ran along the hedge. To our right was another hedge at right-angles to the first. When we swung round into the lane it was horror personified. There 300 yards ahead was a Tiger Royal; behind it and to my right were three other Tigers in support.

This is the moment to describe why the Tiger Royal was such a dreadful enemy. The Germans had gone for quality, not quantity, in their tank production. They realized that the US output of tanks would numerically swamp them. So they designed a tank with superior armour, with the famous 88mm anti-aircraft gun of 20 foot in length and the result was a tank which was as close to perfection as any produced in the War.

We had been warned of the existence of such a monster. Corporal Baron and I had discussed it. We had rather light-heartedly concluded that, if confronted by a Tiger Royal, there was only one thing to do and that was to use the naval tactic of ramming, which my Portora hero had demonstrated. Baron agreed that it would be right to use the Sherman’s speed to counteract the rather slow traverse of the Tiger Royal’s 88mm gun turret. We concluded that, mad as it seemed, the only hope in a 75mm Sherman was to ram. When the Tiger Royal came into view its turret was at 90o from us, with the gun towards the 2nd Battalion tanks at the bottom of the rise where I had seen Dipper. We had an HE round our gun, as Albert Scholes, my gunner and I had earlier concluded that this would be more useful than the ineffective allegedly armour-piercing round which was the alternative. This was a lucky decision because, as Corporal Baron was accelerating towards the Tiger Royal, Guardsman Scholes from 50 yards was able to put a high-explosive shell onto the Tiger’s turret. The effect of such an explosion on a crew confined in a small space is quite devastating and as we raced towards it, the Commander’s head emerged from the turret. He mush have been totally bemused by what was happening to his impregnable monster. Here he was, supported by three other Tigers, of almost equal impregnability armour-wise, having used his superb long-range 88mm gun to knock out the tanks in the valley, now dependent on the slow speed of his turret traverse to shoot at an enemy by now only yards from him. The Sherman crashed into the left rear of the Tiger. The German tank crew started to evacuate; the three supporting Tigers were clearly aiming at us. I ordered “Bail Out”. The Germans and ourselves were trapped in the little space between the two tanks. At this moment Sergeant Harbinson emerged from the hedge corner and with incredible bravery took on the three supporting Tigers. “Run, sir, run,” cried Corporal Baron, so I led my crew along the hedge, turned the corner into the tall cornfield and we made a sort of nest there. Passing Sergeant Harbinson’s tank, we saw it had been hit at close range by the Tigers and we concluded that all five crew must be dead. While we were discussing this, a figure suddenly jumped into the “nest”. It was Guardsman Agnew, our front gunner, who had been trapped by the German gun above his escape hatch. When I ordered “Bail out” he found himself having to crawl along the belly of the Sherman in an lengthy escape procedure. When he got out of the turret he glimpsed a number of men running to his right along the hedge, so he followed and jumped into a ditch where they were sheltering. They were the Tiger Royal’s crew; he gave them a hasty salute and ran the other way, by luck finding us.

My feelings at this our first action were certainly not of triumph that we had at least decommissioned the only Tiger Royal seen on the Western Front. They were more that it was a job only half-done, and, having ordered Corporal Baron and the three Guardsmen to stay where they were, I ran through the cornfield towards some woods at the bottom of the rise, about 400 yards away. As I got closer I found there was a Firefly on its own, with apparently no one in it. I climbed on the turret and looked in. There was the body of Sergeant Workman. … The crew helped me to get the body out … There was no hesitation when I ordered the driver to advance over the cornfield to the tall hedge which had been on our right when we turned into the lane and saw the Tiger Royal reversing into the lane, its turret at right-angles to us fortunately.

By easing the Firefly gently into the tall hedge we were able to see the three ordinary Tigers, still in the same position, and the Tiger Royal and Ballyragget locked together. Our first shot was at the Tiger Royal, but it was high; the gunner was shaking. His next one hit the Tiger Royal and we got another shot into Ballyragget, so that it could not be towed, or driven away, by the enemy. The guns of the three Tigers were now pointing towards us, so we went 100 feet further along the hedge and pushed into it again until we could see the enemy. By now they were pointing to their front and we were able to get away four rounds, two of which were hits. Once again at least one of the Tigers was traversing towards us, so we withdrew towards the lane, intending to try the same tactic again. By now we were close to the blazing Sherman and to my joy, three scarecrows … emerged from the ditch. It was Sergeant Harbinson, with his two turret-crew members. W got them onto the flat deck of the Sherman and at full speed headed across the cornfield again, through the wood, and found the Regimental Aid post and our Doctor Ripman, with his team. They dealt with the three casualties, and got Pat Harbinson away that night to the famous burns hospital at Lingfield where Mr McIndoe, the plastic surgeon, operated. Harbinson lived for nearly two weeks, was able to talk to his mother and sister, but as more than 50% of his body was deeply burned he died, as did so many others who experienced the Sherman’s flammability."
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6151
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Gorman and the TII...............

Post by Michael Kenny » 10 Oct 2011 04:20

The 2nd Armoured Battalion Irish Guards War Diary entry for July 18.
As is to be expected the TII's seem to have been identified as Panthers.
This is the very first time this incident was committed to print and on the day it happened.

July 18

S of ARGENAY
The Bn halted for four hours, topped up with petrol, cooked breakfast and washed. We had expected to move about 1030hrs, but 11th Armd Div passed over the bridges quicker than was expected and at 0815hrs we got the order to move at 0800hrs.
The Bn moved forward over Bridge YORK, down route PALE to the Start Line. Just as we moved some slight shelling came down without causing any damage or alarm.
The Bn crossed the SL, our own minefields, and debouched on LA BUTTE de HOGUE where fairly heavy shelling and mortaring greeted us. Just as well to get the baptism of fire over early. No casualties were suffered.
The Bn advanced S; we were in reserve in the Brigade, the 2 Armd Bn GREN GDS and 1 COLDM GDS leading, and passed through a sort of alley way 3 miles wide between tow lines of smoking villages, bombed ruins by the RAF at H hour.
We lost our first tank, Lt. L.B. LIDDLE’s, which was hit by an unlocated tank or gun from the SE. No-one was injured and the tank was recovered later.
Lt. WE. DODD’s troop then pushed on towards LA PRIEURE, but on reaching a hedge between the railway and it, Sjt FERGUSON’s tank was hit, “brewed up” and of the crew, Sjt FERGUSON, Gdsm WINROW, and Gdsm HUNT were killed, Gdsm BECKETT badly burnt and wounded, and L/Cpl O’HARA is missing, believed wounded. A few minutes later L/Sjt McNALLY’s FIREFLY was also hit, though no-one was hurt and the tank recovered later. Lt. W.E. DODD then spotted the source of trouble - 2 PANTHERS sitting in the edge of LA PRIEURE’s orchard. He tried shooting with 75 AP to no effect and asked for the loan of someone else’s FIREFLY, his own having been K.O’d. Capt P. STOBART also locate the PANTHERS but again could not get a “kill”. Both he and Lt. DODD gallantly offered to climb on the back of FIREFLIES and point out the target, Capt STOBART actually did mount SSM PARKES‘, aimed his gun and claims that a cloud of white smoke resulted from his first shots. No “kill” was found however, in the area later. Capt. J.R. DUPREE’s tank was hit on the rear of the turret by a mortar bomb. Luckily no-one was hurt though the tank was out of action temporarily. Meanwhile a deal of gunfire was being exchange between No. 3 Sqn and the PANTHERS. One shot took a scoop of Armour out of the front of Capt. M.J.P. O’COCK’s tank, who was very indignant that shots obviously aimed at Capt STOBART should hit him.
Orders were received from the Brigade Commander for the Bn to pass through the 2 Armd GREN GDS, take over CAGNY and push on to VIMONT. The order of march was No. 2 Sqn, No. 1 Sqn, Bn HQ, No. 3 Sqn. En route Lt. A.E. DORMAN destroyed a SP 7.5 in full retreat. No. 1 Sqn then crossed the stream running N from CAGNY and moved up the ridge the far side with the objective of X rds by FRENOUVILLE. Lt. J. GORMAN’s Troop on the left literally ran into 3 PANTHERS just over the crest. Lt. GORMAN rammed one - he was too close and the PANTHERS too surprised for either to shoot - jumped out and led his crew back to CAGNY. L/Sjt HARBINSON in the following tank was hit as he crossed the road CAGNY - EMIEVILLE and was badly wounded himself. Of his crew L/Cpl WATSON and Gdsm DAVIS were killed, and Gdsm WALSH and Gdsm MELVILLE wounded. Of Lt. GORMAN’s crew Gdsm AGNEW and Gdsm SCHOLES were slightly wounded. Back by the orchard Lt GORMAN found L/Sjt WORKMAN’s FIREFLY, L/Sjt WORKMAN had just been killed, though the tank was intact - so Lt GORMAN pulled out the body and returned re-mounted to the battle. Lt. A.E. DORMAN had by now reached the ridge and between them they shot up the 2 remaining PANTHERS which had withdrawn to the houses S of EMIEVILLE. No. 3 Sqn followed up and came into line on No. 2 Sqn’s left rear, where Lt COLL and Capt P. STOBART and others, killed two 8.8 Pak 43s with their half track owing machines. On the extreme left SSM PARKES and L/Sjt VENABLES engaged another PANTHER which in due course “brewed up”. On the right No. 1 Sqn penetrated to the outskirts of FRENOUVILLE, lost 1 tank, in which Gdsm FORBES and O’SULLIVAN were badly wounded: but Lt. M.A. CALLENDER revenged the loss by killing a 7.5 SP and the crew. No. 1 Sqn later lost FIREFLY to 8.8s in the wood left of the main road to VIMONT; when Sjt ANDREWS was slightly wounded. The fight continued till dark; No. 3 Sqn lost another tank, Sjt ROBINSON’s which was repaired however next day.
CAGNY
The Bn harboured in close formation just over the stream. The 3rd Bn IG and 5th Bn COLDM GDS took over CAGNY, and our ? Coy which had been holding the main road just E of CAGNY, rejoined us. Their contribution to the battle was a good patrol to FRENOUVILLE and the destruction of a German Section in a house by the X rds.
F2 Echelon, which had been sitting at LE ?ESNIL FREMENTAL since 1600hrs suffering from some heavy mortar attacks, came into the harbour. It had some difficulty with the bad tracks and sniper but arrived safely, and delivered its petrol and ammunition. Gdsm SAXTON was slightly wounded by a sniper on
the way.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6151
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Gorman and the TII...............

Post by Michael Kenny » 20 May 2012 20:08

Spellmount recently published an English translation of a Schneider book from 2004

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tigers-Normandy ... 0811710297

Originaly published in German the book has not been updated in any way and thus is somewhat dated in its content.

It has several (churlish)observations on the Gorman incident:


Gorman probably hoped that his version of what happened would be accepted without too much question. Fortunately, we are not limited to assumptions.
A previously unpublished photograph from the Canadian Military Archives disproves Gorman’s story. The tracks made by the tank moving in reverse can be clearly seen in front of the Tiger. There is also a sharp turn to the left, that is, in the direction of the Sherman. This proves that the Tiger rammed the Sherman. The fact that the Tiger was in reverse is also demonstrated by the drooping of the track behind the drive sprocket. If the tank had been moving forward, it would have been tight. It is also not true that the German crew was taken prisoner immediately afterwards.
Gorman probably intended his story to cover for his own miserable performance. If the Sherman had only run into the Tiger, it could have been put back into operation again. This was not possible, however, since the tank had been hit on the left-hand side of the turret after the Tiger had been fired at. A later engagement by a Sherman Firefly is pure fantasy. The two hits of a German antitank gun on both of the tanks are easily seen in the photos. A memorial at the scene attests to Gorman’s .“heroic deed." The victor always writes the history books . . .




The 'previously unpublished' photo he refers to is this one.

Image

Schneider believes the disturbance in front of the Tiger II is the mark of its tracks.
There is another view where more of the foreground is visible.

Image

I fail to see any tank tracks that match up with the tank alignment (the yellow line is roughly the hull side and pointing in the the direction of travell)

Image

The 'track-sag' is visible here:

Image

Image

Image
Image
I suggest a 35 ton tank crash into your rear idler is going to seriously impact on track tension!

On the front of the Tiger is a 'popped' armour joint that Schneider mistakes for a penetration


Image

Image

Apart from this there are no visible AP holes in the Tiger but we do know for certain at least one round went in.
Note that Gorman's account(s) clearly state the Firefly was used to fire at both the Sherman/Tiger II and they were left burning.


Never accept an authors conclusions without first examining the evidence!
Last edited by Michael Kenny on 21 May 2012 06:36, edited 1 time in total.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6151
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Gorman and the TII...............

Post by Michael Kenny » 21 May 2012 06:34

Careful study of the wheel centres relative to the position of the sprocket confirms an obvious fact-that this Tiger has completely burnt out and its torsion bars have collapsed.
Yet another reason why there is 'slack' in the track tension.

Undamaged suspension in photo 3 for comparison:

Image
Image
Image

The hull side has seperated from the glacis and has been forced upwards. This gives the illusion that there is still the correct amount of space between the top of the track and the bottom of the hull sponson.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6151
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Gorman and the TII...............

Post by Michael Kenny » 24 May 2012 15:09

Schneider said:

It is also not true that the German crew was taken prisoner immediately afterwards.....
A later engagement by a Sherman Firefly is pure fantasy.


This claim that the German crew were taken prisoner was used in the 503 Unit history.
Though a very complete Irish Guards Regimental History of WW2 was available they instead opted to pick a quote from Aleander McKee's 'Caen, Anvil Of Victory' from 1964.
In it (page 273) an unnamed Guards Officer is quoted saying:

I then collected my crew and the Tigers crew and went back and got another tank

The reference is strange in that the complete quote is said to be in 2 parts. A section from a 1956 Battlefield tour and the rest from McKee's book. I do not understand why (if a more complete version of the claimed Gorman quote was available) the full quote was not simply referenced to the Battlefield tour rather than the book and the Tour
Anyway it is clear that confusion has crept in. At no time was it said Gorman took the Germans prisoner when he went to find a Firefly This was not some random search for a Firefly but Gorman trying to find his 2 Troop/2nd Squadron Firefly that he knew to be somewhere near.

The 2nd Armoured Battalion Irish Guards War Diary entry for July 18.
Lt. J. GORMAN’s Troop on the left literally ran into 3 PANTHERS just over the crest. Lt. GORMAN rammed one - he was too close and the PANTHERS too surprised for either to shoot - jumped out and led his crew back to CAGNY.

HISTORY OF THE IRISH GUARDS IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR.
FITZGERALD, Major D. J. L. With a Foreword by Field-Marshal The Viscount Alexander of Tunis.
Gale and Polden 1949
“You stay here while I get a Firefly,” and he slid away leaving Lance-Corporal Baron and the Guardsmen lying in the cornfield.............Lieutenant Gorman walked back alone to the orchards round Cagny. There he found what he wanted, his own 17-pdr. gun


The Times of My Life by Sir John Gorman 2002
having ordered Corporal Baron and the three Guardsmen to stay where they were, I ran through the cornfield towards some woods at the bottom of the rise, about 400 yards away. As I got closer I found there was a Firefly on its own


There are the differences of detail and timeline one would expect to find but on the main point it is clear. The German crew are not claimed to have been taken prisoner.

Schneider's claim the Firefly incident is 'fantasy' is inexplicable. The facts are clear. Lt Gorman in command of 2 Troop led his 3 75mm Shermans and 1 Firefly into the gap between Cagny and Emieville. Whilst crossing the Cagny stream one of his 75mm Shermans bogged and was left behind. The remaining Shermans went forward to the field where the Tigers were engaged. The Firefly had become detached from the 75mm tanks and 1 of the 75mm was hit and knocked out with the death of 2 of the crew and one who later DOW :

Lance Corporal HORACE JOHN WATSON 2721048, 2nd Bn., Irish Guards who died age 28 on 18 July 1944
Guardsman WILLIAM THOMAS DAVIES Mentioned in Despatches 2719685, 2nd Bn., Irish Guards who died age 26 on 18 July 1944
Lance Serjeant HUGH PATRICK HARBINSON 2719491, 2nd Bn., Irish Guards who died age 38 on 28 July 1944


Gorman rammed the TII and all his crew survived.

Gorman then went and found the Firefly stopped with the crew shocked at the death of their commander:

Lance Serjeant GEOFFREY GEORGE WORKMAN 2719982, 2nd Bn., Irish Guards who died age 26 on 18 July 1944

and took it to the field where he left the Tiger He fired several rounds into both tanks and left them burning. He then picked the badly burned HARBINSON and his surviving crew (Melville & Walsh) before retiring. Gorman's own crew were picked up by another tank.
Last edited by Michael Kenny on 25 May 2012 05:03, edited 1 time in total.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6151
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Gorman and the TII...............

Post by Michael Kenny » 24 May 2012 20:50

1947 Air View

Image

Locations marked

Image


Image


Image

Modern Map

Image


The field today from the central road

Image



Image

Modern air view with pylons and wreck site marked

Image

Image

This is a modern day view of area where the 2 tanks collided.

Image

User avatar
maxdenormandie
Member
Posts: 29
Joined: 12 May 2012 18:48

Re: Gorman and the TII...............

Post by maxdenormandie » 06 Jun 2012 08:28

thank's for the post. :milsmile: :milsmile: I live near Cagny, and I have never believed in the history of Gorman. have you the other photos of this tigerII and 503 in Normandy?

in area in TigerII and Sherman, there is one Pak43 :milwink:

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6151
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Gorman and the TII...............

Post by Michael Kenny » 06 Jun 2012 19:12

Speaking of Cagny .................


http://www.ww2f.com/western-europe-1943 ... post621561

User avatar
maxdenormandie
Member
Posts: 29
Joined: 12 May 2012 18:48

Re: Gorman and the TII...............

Post by maxdenormandie » 07 Jun 2012 08:26

in fact, there is one Pak 43 this area Tiger II vs Sherman :milwink:

I have pics for the Pak :milwink:

Image

for Cagny, I met von Luck and he clearly indicated me the location of 3 flak88 and two Pak43/1

Image

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6151
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Gorman and the TII...............

Post by Michael Kenny » 07 Jun 2012 13:00

Do you have the number for the pak photo?
I have seen it many times but never with the proper reference number.

User avatar
maxdenormandie
Member
Posts: 29
Joined: 12 May 2012 18:48

Re: Gorman and the TII...............

Post by maxdenormandie » 07 Jun 2012 13:50

Pak number, I believe B 7832

this more pics in Cagny
clic for zoom
Image

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6151
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Gorman and the TII...............

Post by Michael Kenny » 07 Jun 2012 14:53

dup
Last edited by Michael Kenny on 07 Jun 2012 15:05, edited 1 time in total.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6151
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Gorman and the TII...............

Post by Michael Kenny » 07 Jun 2012 14:56

maxdenormandie wrote:Pak number, I believe B 7832

That would place it around July 20-22. At this time it was overcast or raining.
What is the source of the B number and the data that came with it?
Are you assuming it was at Cagny or have you evidence?
Last edited by Michael Kenny on 07 Jun 2012 17:58, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
maxdenormandie
Member
Posts: 29
Joined: 12 May 2012 18:48

Re: Gorman and the TII...............

Post by maxdenormandie » 07 Jun 2012 15:02

The photo results from archives of the Calvados. ( ex Uk archive) the pics taken on July 18th after noon. I remember only a that for the moment.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6151
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Gorman and the TII...............

Post by Michael Kenny » 07 Jun 2012 15:09

It can not have been taken then as Cagny was still in German hands.
What I am asking is do you have the confirmed B number?


Image

There seems to be a pretty relaxed 17pdr crew in the background so I suspect a posed shot.
Note the men are not carrying their full equipment so they are not the infantry that assaulted Cagny on the 18th or 19th.

Return to “The Ron Klages Panzer & other vehicles Section”