Losses of the Polish 24th Lancers on 8 August 1944 SE of Saint-Aignan-de-Cramesnil?

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MarkN
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Re: Losses of the Polish 24th Lancers on 8 August 1944 SE of Saint-Aignan-de-Cramesnil?

Post by MarkN » 14 Jan 2019 20:28

Juha wrote:
14 Jan 2019 19:30
Hardly any cooperation between sub-units of the same unit - let alone with sub-units of other formations. The British, Canadians and Poles had had 4 years to practice in the UK to get combined arms and such like worked out. They didn't. Why? The capbadges were too busy fighting amongst themselves for various parts of the glory to bother to work together. By Normandy, August 1944, finally they were starting to put together 'battle groups'. But they were not a formation trained together, they were random sods thrown together and told to get on with it. They may have been standing closer together than ever before, but they still weren't communicating or making any effort to work out how they could do things any better.
IMHO you are a bit too harsh,
Harsh. Too harsh. Not harsh enough???

Depends on where you set the bar.

After 4 years of war, I'd have expected a professional army to have learned far more of the right lessons than the British managed. It was as if they were deliberately not learning the right lessons.

Juha
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Re: Losses of the Polish 24th Lancers on 8 August 1944 SE of Saint-Aignan-de-Cramesnil?

Post by Juha » 14 Jan 2019 22:28

MarkN wrote:
14 Jan 2019 20:28

Harsh. Too harsh. Not harsh enough???

Depends on where you set the bar.

After 4 years of war, I'd have expected a professional army to have learned far more of the right lessons than the British managed. It was as if they were deliberately not learning the right lessons.
IMHO British army in early 40s was more a conscript army. And IIRC British Army did not have very high esteem in British society during the inter war period. The RN had highest prestice of the military branches and was the most professional. In the army probably the technical and logistical arms were most professional, they had to work reasonable well also in peacetime in an army with global responsibilites. IMHO artillery was also good and the RTR had good professional core but when cavalry was mechanized too many cavalry officers from presticious regiments and good conditions diluated that when RAC was formed. But colonial campaigns can be misleading, maybe because of those British put too much weight to movement. Fast columns might well work well against natives but be disastorous against a first-class Europen army. And the North African Campaign gave some wrong lessons for ETO. One must remember that while for the Germnas it was a side show for the British it was the main show almost 3 years. But I admit that the Britsh/CW should have learnt more from Sicily and Italy Campaigns.

Juha

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Re: Losses of the Polish 24th Lancers on 8 August 1944 SE of Saint-Aignan-de-Cramesnil?

Post by MarkN » 14 Jan 2019 22:49

Juha wrote:
14 Jan 2019 22:28
IMHO British army in early 40s was more a conscript army. And IIRC British Army did not have very high esteem in British society during the inter war period.
The British Army of 1940 was a professional army that had just received a massive influx of untrained recruits. The problem was not the untrained recruits; the problem was the career officer with 15, 20 and more years of military life behind him. The career officer who had bought into the 'club' (of which there were many within the Army) and its rules. The career officer who put the 'club' and the rules above battlefield success. The problem was how the leadership thought and lead. The masses were the victims of their incompetence. The level of public esteem is quite irrelevant to this issue.

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Re: Losses of the Polish 24th Lancers on 8 August 1944 SE of Saint-Aignan-de-Cramesnil?

Post by Juha » 15 Jan 2019 00:01

Hello Mark
OT but usually 'the best and brightest' choose highly regarded careers not careers with low esteem. Of course family traditions has some influence. I agree that British army was too regiment oriented and too much 'a gentlemen club'. But there was still some truth in the old saying that its officer corps was largely made from second sons of nobility who were not bright enough for an ecclesiastical career.

Juha

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Re: Losses of the Polish 24th Lancers on 8 August 1944 SE of Saint-Aignan-de-Cramesnil?

Post by MarkN » 15 Jan 2019 17:17

Juha wrote:
15 Jan 2019 00:01
OT but usually 'the best and brightest' choose highly regarded careers not careers with low esteem. Of course family traditions has some influence. I agree that British army was too regiment oriented and too much 'a gentlemen club'. But there was still some truth in the old saying that its officer corps was largely made from second sons of nobility who were not bright enough for an ecclesiastical career.
The other day, j keenen confused me with his MMM.

Now you're doing the same with OT. :cry: What does that mean?

I really do think your understanding of the the professional British Army requires a bit more research. The idea that it performed so poorly on the battlefield being down to "the best and brightest" going elsewhere due to esteem is about as daft as a box of frogs as it gets.

Every organization has its fair share of thickies. However, the British Army had more than enough smart people with the intellectual capability to do the right things. The problem was (to a large extent still is) that they collectively were persuing different goals and objectives.

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Re: Losses of the Polish 24th Lancers on 8 August 1944 SE of Saint-Aignan-de-Cramesnil?

Post by Hanny » 15 Jan 2019 17:22

Juha wrote:
15 Jan 2019 00:01
Hello Mark
OT but usually 'the best and brightest' choose highly regarded careers not careers with low esteem. Of course family traditions has some influence. I agree that British army was too regiment oriented and too much 'a gentlemen club'. But there was still some truth in the old saying that its officer corps was largely made from second sons of nobility who were not bright enough for an ecclesiastical career.

Juha
Try here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Raising-Church ... 0198206410

Kudos to all,for the effort put on to this thread, really liked popping in tom follow it. :D
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Juha
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Re: Losses of the Polish 24th Lancers on 8 August 1944 SE of Saint-Aignan-de-Cramesnil?

Post by Juha » 15 Jan 2019 22:03

Hello Mark
OT = Off Topic
I agree that my knowledge on British higher command is limited and even that little is in most part on late 19 century and WWI period. And my intrests are mainly towards tactical and technical matters, higher military matters I gladly leave to professionals and armchair generals. That suits my military training, that of a sapper corporal, got almost a half century ago.

Hello Hanny
thanks for the link, interesting!

Juha

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Re: Losses of the Polish 24th Lancers on 8 August 1944 SE of Saint-Aignan-de-Cramesnil?

Post by David Thompson » 16 Jan 2019 02:58

The subject is the Losses of the Polish 24th Lancers on 8 August 1944 SE of Saint-Aignan-de-Cramesnil. Please stay on it.

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Re: Losses of the Polish 24th Lancers on 8 August 1944 SE of Saint-Aignan-de-Cramesnil?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 19 Jan 2019 20:38

I found another account of the events of 8 August 1944 for the 1 Polish Armd Div in a report in the war diary of 18 C Armd Car Regt (12 Manitoba Dragoons) and thought it might be of interest. It doesn't solve any of our questions but might provide another useful viewpoint:
RG 24, C-3, vol. 14248 File/dossier 977, T-12715 - 18 Cdn Armd C Regt (XII Manitoba Dragoons)

[folio 0095]
Appendix 26
“C” Sqn 18 Cdn Armd C Regt
(XII Manitoba Dragoons)
15 Aug 44
2nd in Command
18 Cdn Armd C Regt
XII Manitoba Dragoons

REPORT ON PHANTOM PATROL WITH H.Q. POLISH ARMD DIV.

GENERAL
At approx 1100 hrs 8 Aug 44 Capt. Phillips contacted 3 Polish Inf Bde HQ in a fd in the vicinity of IFS 0463, and Lt Laird remained with them as the bde link. Soon after, the whole division concentrated in the same fd and Capt. Morris and Capt. Phillips reported to 10 Polish Armd Bde and the Polish Armd Div HQ respectively. At about 1400 hrs the division began moving in a south easterly direction, and when halted in the vicinity of 046628, SE of IFS, an air attack by heavy bombers, later reported to be American, was made on the area of CORMELLES, directly north of us. Quite heavy losses were sustained by the allies, including the Polish Armd Div.

The column then moved on, and whilst stopped in the area 072598, came under quite hy shell fire from the south. There were numerous casualties, including a direct hit on the General’s tank – luckily it was a dud. After the shelling had ceased, Capt. Phillips contacted the GOC Polish Armd Div, for the first time. Contact previously had been rather hard, as Tac HQ, travelling well forward with the Armd Bde, was moving rather fast. The General wanted infm as to where the flanking tps were, as his leading tps were being fired at from both flanks in the area 085585. We informed him that the Highland Div had not achieved its objective – the wooded area 1059, and that his right flank was ahead of the adv of 4 Cdn Armd Div. With that infm, he withdrew his armour towards last light, having sustained fairly hy casualties, approx 38 tanks. At this time, Tac Div HQ pulled out very suddenly, leaving Capt. Phillips Armd C, First Cdn Army AASU and the British Phantom vehs behind. As no one had said where or when they were going – and no infm could be obtained from anyone as to their whereabouts, these three vehs did not catch up to them again until 0845 hrs the following morning. TAC HQ was harboured in a fd with 10 Polish Armd Bde in the area CRAMESNIL 0857. The tactical picture from this point on was the same as set out in Major Black’s report, but the following points are considered worth noting.

REMARKS.

1. It was rather hard at first to get any infm from the Polish staff, but after a while they found that as we were sup them with most of their infm, it was worth their while to keep us in “the picture”. I was even told to move my car nearer the ACV at one time. The GOC was very helpful, having stated that he was once an LO, and knew what it was like.

2. It was found that the AASU Phantoms and our own phantoms worked well together – as we could “gang up” on the Polish staff and share the infm.

3. In order to get infm, one had to listen in to all conversations.

4. Air sp from flanking divisions could normally be obtained with a minimum of delay.

5. On several occasions the Polish Comd would not have known the whereabouts of the flanking tps, and in some cases his own fwd tps, if it had not been for the infm sup by our Phantom service.


[folio 0096]
Page 2.

6. It is considered that the Tac HQ was rather too far fwd at times for good control. There were times when it was right up with the fwd tps. It moves in a very “bunched” fmn, and is vulnerable to air or arty attacks.

RECOMMENDATIONS.

1. That a relief crew be carried in a Sc car as the hours are normally too long for one operator.

2. A loudspeaker and portable table of some description necessary.

3. A separate slidex for this net – as it does not fill the bill for the required purpose, and also might compromise the regt slidex.

4. The most convenient map is the 1/50,000.

5. Two teams necessary – one for the set, and one to decode and encode.

(I.L. Phillips) Capt.
2nd in Command “C” Sqn
18 Cdn Armd C Regt
XII Manitoba Dragoons.
Major Black was the 2nd-in-Command of the 18 Cdn Armd Car Regt. Anyone seen a report by him? It's not in the regiment's war diary as far as I could see.

Regards

Tom

Juha
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Re: Losses of the Polish 24th Lancers on 8 August 1944 SE of Saint-Aignan-de-Cramesnil?

Post by Juha » 19 Jan 2019 22:34

Thanks a lot, Tom
IMHO very interesting and confirmed the communication problems between Canadians/British and Poles which I have seen mentions earlier. And once again shows that while securing radio communocations was vital it meant extra work and strangely that seems to have surprised British/CW hierarcy.

Juha

Juha
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Re: Losses of the Polish 24th Lancers on 8 August 1944 SE of Saint-Aignan-de-Cramesnil?

Post by Juha » 25 Jan 2019 13:42

Juha wrote:
14 Jan 2019 16:27

During the day 8 Aug some StuPz IVs were deployed in the area between Cintheaux and Quilly or Cailloet, cannot remember which and cannot remember right now from where I read that. Also StuPz IVs were sometimes attached to HJ and sometimes to 89. Div during the last days before the beginning of the Oper. Totalize.

Juha
I found it, Reid, No Holding Back p. 225 a battery of 150 mm Sturmpanzer IVs of Sturmpanzerabteilung 217 was deployed in the woods SW of Gaumesnil. A question is what a battery means in this case, means it a company (Stu.Pz.Abt. had three companies, à soll 14 StuPz IVs), means it a troop ( 4 or maybe 3 StuPz IVs, I don't know the organisation of a Stu.Pz.Abt. below the coy)? 4 is the normal size of a German battery, 8 of a British/CW artillery battery.

Juha

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