Will Fey and the 14 Shermans he claims for 7/8/44

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Sean Oliver
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Re: Will Fey and the 14 Shermans he claims for 7/8/44

Post by Sean Oliver » 08 Mar 2016 16:58

Punch cards? If they still exist, that would be quite a project to find a way to read them.
Yes, the records captured from the Germans at wars end were all apparently photographed in the US in preparation for war crimes trials. So they copied EVERYthing they found looking for evidence. Still, I've only seen exhaustive tank records twice among the 20-30 rolls I've looked at.
After many years the Germans would've probably thrown these out too.
But who knows? They keep all kinds of archival oddities for no apparent reason, yet throw out good stuff.
IIRC Rich Anderson on this forum knows the WO stuff, maybe he can offer pointers.

Michael Kenny
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Re: Will Fey and the 14 Shermans he claims for 7/8/44

Post by Michael Kenny » 08 Mar 2016 18:21

Look at all the 'Falaise' photos of wrecked German vehicles with paperwork blowing all over the fields around them to understand why the record is (and always will be) incomplete.
However the key to Allied losses is in Allied records not German records.

Shermaninterest
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Re: Will Fey and the 14 Shermans he claims for 7/8/44

Post by Shermaninterest » 08 Mar 2016 21:22

Btw those aerial photos are very interesting. How did you obtain these? Are these copyrighted? Reverse image search didn't help

Michael Kenny
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Re: Will Fey and the 14 Shermans he claims for 7/8/44

Post by Michael Kenny » 08 Mar 2016 22:54

Start here for the full 1947 air survey of Normandy

http://geocalvados.calvados.fr/wvsInter ... index.html

The air view icon is at the top right corner on bottom row under the other 6. Play around with the buttons to see all the options.

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Urmel
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Re: Will Fey and the 14 Shermans he claims for 7/8/44

Post by Urmel » 09 Mar 2016 05:59

Sean Oliver wrote:IIRC it was the first operation they really tried to examine in detail.
As an aside, the assessment of tanks shot up after a battle started in December 1941 during CRUSADER.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

Michael Kenny
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Re: Will Fey and the 14 Shermans he claims for 7/8/44

Post by Michael Kenny » 11 Mar 2016 19:23

Here is an online version of the after action report of 1st Polish Armoured Division for the period Aug 8-12th.

http://scholars.wlu.ca/cgi/viewcontent. ... ontext=cmh

(g) Losses of Equipment
The losses in armour (mostly from direct hits or set on fire): total number 66. They have been
replaced with the exception of ten tks destroyed. There are also destroyed 5 A Tk guns SP (4 -
3-inch and 1 – 17-pdr); 5 6-pdr A Tk guns; 1 25-pdr gun SP and 1 25-pdr gun tractor drawn.


4 tank Regiments lost 66 tanks between them over 5 days.

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Sheldrake
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Re: Will Fey and the 14 Shermans he claims for 7/8/44

Post by Sheldrake » 11 Mar 2016 21:50

Nice article.

Shermaninterest
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Re: Will Fey and the 14 Shermans he claims for 7/8/44

Post by Shermaninterest » 15 Jun 2016 01:29

Getting curious after reading the already nice research in this topic i was also digging a little bit. I think its obvious that Fey is incorrect with alot of details concerning his actions. As pointed out by m.kenny the unit in question wasn't the 23rd Hussars. Also it seems rather likely that whatever happened at Chedonell was a team effort and no single tank action.

Previously collected informations in this thread:

Unit Diary of 2nd Fife & Forfar Yeomanry for the 7th August:

Owing to their losses in tanks A and C Sqns.were amalgamated under Major J.D.Hutchinson, Major J.E.F. Miller recieving an injury to his foot the previous day
There was again an attempt by the enemy to come in from the west. This was effectively dealt with by A Sqn., who destroyed 2 Mk IV's which had come near to them.
Meanwhile a number of Tiger tanks had established themselves on the high ground on our eastern flank at Le Haut Periere( M.R. 7233) and were able to engage A Sqn. from the rear at a range of about 2500 yds. These Tigers quickly caused A Sqn. 5 tank casualties.
Major Gilmore then went forward with a troop of B Sqn.to try and engage these tanks and succeeded in knocking out one of them. During the day our position was continually under shell and mortar fire by the enemy.That night the Regt. remained in the same position. The Regt. remained in the same position. The Regt. was now reduced to 25 tanks on the road.
Casualties were as follows:- Wounded 9 OR's, Killed 1 OR and missing believed killed 6 OR's. Comdg. Offr wounded.


My observations:
A Sqn had contact with Tigers and lost at least 5 in the process. 17 casualties which to me indicates more than 5 tanks lost but can be attributed to shelling.
B Sqn had contact with same Tigers and claimed to have knocked one out but never secured the Area. No mention of casualties. Possible casualties

I was able to get the war diary of the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment. from a friendly forum member. This unit was never mentioned in the thread but check out the unit diary entry for the 7th August.

Unit Diary of the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment:
...
21:00 A Sqn report two Tigers at 720345and endevour to engage them from 100x. Tigers open up and sub unit has to withdraw
...


The entry for the day is longer but i only typed the most relevant parts. No other mention of direct combat. Mentioning of mortar fire inflicting casualties.

My observations:

Those are same Tigers which were already engaged by two other squadrons. Now at least 3 different Sqns came in contact with the same two(?) Tigers the given coordinates are identical. None of the British units took the area controlled by the Tigers which to me can mean that the fire of Tigers forced all units back. That the 3rd RTR tried to engage the Tigers and withdrew without any casualties seems extremely unlikely to me especially since the enemy force was identified as just two isolated tanks.

More observations on the unit diary of the 3rd RTR for August:

There is in general no mentioning of casualties even on days with heavy fighting neither personnel nor equipment casualties are mentioned.

The third Regiment ( the 23rd Hussars ) as pointed out by M.Kenny didn't see combat that day and had no losses. The other two regiments off the 29th Armoured Brigade both came into contact with the Tigers.

What about the 2nd Northamptonshire Yeomanry, the recce Regiment of the 11th armoured division? This regiment was recalled to a refitting area on 5th August and during this time and had no combat, AFAIK the unit had heavy casualties earlier and was disbanded soon after.

This leaves only two of the 4 regiments in actions on this day and therefore all tank casualties sustained by the 11th Armoured Division had to come from these two regiments. Unless an armoured division had other units with tanks, iam no expert so please correct me if iam wrong. According to data provided by M.Kenny the whole division reported 17 Sherman ko'ed and further 6 damaged ( which can be anything and doesn't have to be related to combat at all). Of the 17 Ko'ed tanks there are only 5 specifially mentioned in the unit diaries of all units. Less than 33%. All of the casualties which are mentioned are attributed to the two Tigers. Comparing the two units it becomes obvious that the 2nd Fife & Forfar Yeomanry was more often reporting casualties especially personnel casualties the 3rd royal tank regiments documented neither in their diaries.

How many of the 17 Sherman casualties could possibily be attributed to the two Tigers? The unit diaries mention 5 different combat situations. The defeating of the two Panzer IV, heavy shelling twice and two engagements with Tiger tanks. Its likely that the battle with the Panzer IV has resulted in some casualties furthermore its not unreasonable to assume that the shelling damaged tanks. Given the different writing style of the unit diaries i think there is a strong possibility the A Sqn of the 3rd RTR suffered considerable casualties engaging the Tigers. Another possibility are events not mentioned in the unit diaries at all. Unless there is more evidence about the reasons for the casualties i think its reasonable to conclude that the two Tigers inflicted "heavy" casualties. How many tanks got ko'ed by the Tigers and specifially Fey is impossible to establish in my opinion.

Any thoughts on that?

Edit:

Another observation on the 23rd Hussars. The entry of the 7th August:

1500 C Sqn harbour LA BARBIERE. Capt. TAYLOR and 7 OR's wounded.

The Sqn A & B were already pulled back and the C Sqn arived there about 15:00 the 3RTR writes relieving the C Sqn of the 23rd Hussars at 720345 . The C Sqn alone seems to have endured 8 casualties on the 7th August. Given that A & B already harboured i think most of those 8 were in C Sqn.
Last edited by Shermaninterest on 15 Jun 2016 12:21, edited 1 time in total.

Michael Kenny
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Re: Will Fey and the 14 Shermans he claims for 7/8/44

Post by Michael Kenny » 15 Jun 2016 07:23

Shermaninterest wrote:i think there is a strong possibility the A Sqn of the 3rd RTR suffered considerable casualties engaging the Tigers. Another possibility are events not mentioned in the unit diaries at all. Unless there is more evidence about the reasons for the casualties i think its reasonable to conclude that the two Tigers inflicted "heavy" casualties.
3 RTR lists just 1 KIA on Aug 7
2 F&F Yeo list 7 KIA.
23 Hussars have no KIA.

A total of 4 Infantry from 11 AD were listed as KIA on Aug 7.

A total of 12 deaths (Infantrymen/tankers) in 11 AD when Fey was wiping out vehicles 'too many to count'

Checking all British accounts I have shows it was not a very busy day for 11 AD. Very few mentions and then only in outline. Clearly not much happened that was deemed worthy of recording.

Shermaninterest
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Re: Will Fey and the 14 Shermans he claims for 7/8/44

Post by Shermaninterest » 15 Jun 2016 11:42

The tank units reported 8 Kia? wouldnt that correspond with around 12 tank casualties per average? Did the armoured division report personell casualties independently?

edit:
Checking all British accounts I have shows it was not a very busy day for 11 AD. Very few mentions and then only in outline. Clearly not much happened that was deemed worthy of recording.
I agree reading the unit diaries in question it does not feel like something like Fey described went down in that form but playing devils advocate here is it possible that this is explained by having three/four different Sqns from two/three different regiments being involved? If all those units suffered casualties they would be less heavy for each unit involved after all the 11th armoured reported 17 ko'ed. Is there another possible explanation for the 17? Maybe back log or something like that?

Michael Kenny
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Re: Will Fey and the 14 Shermans he claims for 7/8/44

Post by Michael Kenny » 15 Jun 2016 13:33

All KIA info taken from the 11 AD History published at the wars end in Germany. Every KIA is listed with date of death and location.
The 7 KIA in F&F include the 6 men shown as MIA in the War Diary extract.
.

Shermaninterest
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Re: Will Fey and the 14 Shermans he claims for 7/8/44

Post by Shermaninterest » 15 Jun 2016 13:59

Michael Kenny wrote:All KIA info taken from the 11 AD History published at the wars end in Germany. Every KIA is listed with date of death and location.
The 7 KIA in F&F include the 6 men shown as MIA in the War Diary extract.
.
Thanks for the info

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Re: Will Fey and the 14 Shermans he claims for 7/8/44

Post by Richard Anderson » 15 Jun 2016 15:16

Michael Kenny wrote:All KIA info taken from the 11 AD History published at the wars end in Germany. Every KIA is listed with date of death and location.
The 7 KIA in F&F include the 6 men shown as MIA in the War Diary extract.
.
To clarify Michael, 7 August is the date their status was changed from MIA to KIA? If so, then they could have been killed anytime since 0600 20 June when the first MIA of the division was recorded.

It is also interesting that the division reported 7 KIA and 8 MIA as of 0600 8 August, but 13 KIA and 37 MIA as of 0600 7 August.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Shermaninterest
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Re: Will Fey and the 14 Shermans he claims for 7/8/44

Post by Shermaninterest » 15 Jun 2016 15:36

Richard Anderson wrote:It is also interesting that the division reported 7 KIA and 8 MIA as of 0600 8 August, but 13 KIA and 37 MIA as of 0600 7 August.
What does that mean? The reports are the casualties of the day before? Is it correct that the times are 2 hours behind the German time back then? Meaning 0600 would be 0800 German time? The division sustain 15 KIA/MIA on 7th august? Wouldn't that together with the wounded be a reasonable number for ~ 10-17 tank losses? Not implying that those were ko'ed by Fey but rather that the casualties number correspond with the last light numbers of the division?

Shermaninterest
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Re: Will Fey and the 14 Shermans he claims for 7/8/44

Post by Shermaninterest » 15 Jun 2016 15:41

Further question about the unit history of the 11th. Is this the book you guys are referring to "The Black Bull: From Normandy to the Baltic with the 11th Armoured Division (Stackpole Military History Series)". I don't want to buy the wrong book :-)

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