Losses of the 10th Mounted Rifles, Polish 1st AD, on 9 Aug 1944 around Hill 111 SSE Soignolles

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Losses of the 10th Mounted Rifles, Polish 1st AD, on 9 Aug 1944 around Hill 111 SSE Soignolles

Post by Juha » 16 Jan 2019 12:09

According to Számvéber's Waffen-SS Armour in Normandy during the morning of 9 August 1944, SS-Oberscharführer Rudolf Roy’s JgPz IV, his gunner was SS-Rottenführer Fritz Eckstein, from 1./ SS-Pz.Jg.Abt. 12, reportedly destroyed nine Cromwells of the 10th Mounted Rifles around Hill 111 on the Maiziéres - Estrées-la-Campagne road SSE of Soignolles. According to Michael Kenny the 10th Mounted Rifles tank losses 8-27 August were 16 knocked out and 12 damaged Cromwells and 4 knocked out and 2 damaged Stuart according to a history of the division. The Cromwell losses included the losses suffered during the Operation Totalize and also those suffered during the Operation Tractable i.e. during the closing of the Falaise Pocket. According to Michael Kenny this allows 3 Cromwell and 2 Stuart KO and 3 Cromwell damaged to be possible victims on Aug 9th. Any loss reports of the Polish 1st Arm.Div. or the 10th Mounted Rifles for 9 August available? Would John be so kind and look from The Black Devil's March by Evan McGilvray what it tells on 9 August combats?

TIA
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Re: Losses of the 10th Mounted Rifles, Polish 1st AD, on 9 Aug 1944 around Hill 111 SSE Soignolles

Post by histan » 16 Jan 2019 18:02

Extracts from book

"After 8 August 1944, the Poles began to enjoy more success. Maczek and Skibinski's fears had been justified and the Poles began to attack on broader fronts. Reconnaissance became more important, with 10 PSK and 1st Anti-Tank Regiment being deployed to reconnoitre the regions of Hills 140 and 132, which lay in the direction of Couvicourt, two kilometres northwest from Estree La Campagne.
The two hills were the objectives of 10 BK panc's next offensive. This was to prove risky as from Couvicourt, 10 PSK had to cross two kilometres of open country, and once again the left flank was exposed due to the lack of units available to cover it. In addition, the enemy had been alerted to the possibility of an offensive as the 4th Canadian Armoured Division was already fighting in the area. 10 PSK's operation plan was that after an artillery barrage, 1st Squadron was to reconnoitre the hills to the north of Couvicourt in order to investigate reports of Tiger tanks operating in the area. 2nd Squadron as a prerequisite to entering St Sylvian, had to secure the eastern approaches of the town. In turn, 3rd Squadron, with the anti-tank regiment, was to ‘leapfrog’ 1st Squadron, which was to provide covering fire for 3rd Squadron's operation. The whole area meanwhile remained under direct observation of enemy artillery that did everything to stall 10 PSK's offensive. 1st Squadron was ordered to pass Couvicourt from the east and Renesnil from the west, while 3rd Squadron successfully took the area of Couvicourt without meeting any enemy resistance, before moving north in order to hold the edges of both flanks. In contrast, 1st Squadron encountered very strong resistance from German antitank units and infantry, some of whom were equipped with a hand held anti-tank weapon, the Panzerfaust, positioned on the ridges of Hill 84. 3rd Squadron under the command of 10 PSK's commanding officer, Major Jan Maciejowski, went to the aid of 1st Squadron, giving support fire, but still 1st Squadron lost a tank to Panzerfaust fire, which left three men dead and one wounded. Eventually, 3rd Squadron was able to advance to the east of Renesnil. From there it moved to Hill 84 and then into enemy held woodland (map ref: 130520) where enemy infantry, about a company in strength, was overrun and taken prisoner. Furthermore the Poles destroyed two guns (88mm and 75mm). Allied tank crews especially feared the 88mm guns. 10 PSK's losses were slight, one tank, which had broken down, and one man wounded.77 For the Poles it was a great victory and a morale booster. However the overall picture was not so good.

Footnote 77 10 Pulk Strzelcow Konnych. p. 11.

McGilvray, Evan. Black Devils' March - A Doomed Odyssey . Helion and Company. Kindle Edition.

The book then simply states that:
"12th SS had been quick to counterattack and had destroyed many Sherman tanks."
With no reference and no details.

The book the jumps to 11 August.

Regards

John

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Re: Losses of the 10th Mounted Rifles, Polish 1st AD, on 9 Aug 1944 around Hill 111 SSE Soignolles

Post by Michael Kenny » 16 Jan 2019 18:27

Given this is the most quoted Polish War Dairy I bet its the only one to go into any real detail about losses. It seems to be the basis of all the accounts I have read.

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Re: Losses of the 10th Mounted Rifles, Polish 1st AD, on 9 Aug 1944 around Hill 111 SSE Soignolles

Post by Juha » 16 Jan 2019 21:33

Hello John
Thousands thanks!
Not much connection between German and Polish descriptions. Hill 84 is some 2½ km NW of Hill 111. No wonder that Agte and Reynolds gives the date of Roy’s/Eckstein’s (and Hurdelbrink’s) Cromwell kills as 10 August, not 9th, even if the facsimiles of the recommendations for the Knight's Cross for Eckstein and Roy give the date of the action at Hill 111as 9 August. The facimile of of the recommendations for the Knight's Cross for Hurdelbrink isn't shown in the preview but its verbatim in English also show the date of the actions as 9 August. In fact Reynolds' source SS Second Lieutenant Zeiner's diary, a member of the 1./SS-Pz.Jg.Abt. 12, according to it Hurdelbrink and his gunner Eckstein, knocked out 11 Cromwells, and Roy 7 more during the fighting around Hill 111. It is maybe worth of noting that the recommendations for the Knight's Crosses talk about englische Panzer-Kampfwagen not about Cromwells. But in his main text Számvéber identified the 9 victims of SS-Oberscharführer Rudolf Roy and his gunner SS-Rottenführer Fritz Eckstein as Cromwells. The Polish 24 L seems not to be a possible opponent of the 1./SS-Pz.Jg.Abt. 12 but maybe the Polish 1st Arm. Rgt was, it operated left of the Polish 24 L so potentially in right area.

Juha

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Re: Losses of the 10th Mounted Rifles, Polish 1st AD, on 9 Aug 1944 around Hill 111 SSE Soignolles

Post by Michael Kenny » 16 Jan 2019 23:02


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Re: Losses of the 10th Mounted Rifles, Polish 1st AD, on 9 Aug 1944 around Hill 111 SSE Soignolles

Post by Juha » 17 Jan 2019 01:55

Looked from http://www.polishwargraves.nl/info/1.panc.htm#normandy and fond the article having very sparse text but found this:
9th August when the Regiment in a sharp attack broke the strong German defences by the river Laison and reached the hill 111;
Question is what Hill 111, that of S of Estrées-la-Campagne or that on the Maiziéres - Estrées-la-Campagne road SSE of Soignolles, probably the latter because 24 L occupied La Croix just W of Estrées-la-Campagne and 1st Arm. Rgt operated left of the 24 L.

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Re: Losses of the 10th Mounted Rifles, Polish 1st AD, on 9 Aug 1944 around Hill 111 SSE Soignolles

Post by MarkN » 17 Jan 2019 12:28

Losses of the 10th Mounted Rifles, Polish 1st AD, on 9 Aug 1944 around Hill 111 SSE Soignolles

None. They were not there.

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Re: Losses of the 10th Mounted Rifles, Polish 1st AD, on 9 Aug 1944 around Hill 111 SSE Soignolles

Post by Juha » 17 Jan 2019 14:05

Hello Mark
that seems to be the answer. According to Maczek's report, it was the Polish 1st Arm.Rgt that fought around Hill 111 and "suffered quite by losses". Possible scenario is that JgPz IVs from the 1./ SS-Pz.Jg.Abt. 12 knocked-out several Shermans of the Polish 1st Arm.Rgt there, so the PzKpfwagen in the recommendations for the Knight's Crosses. Somewhere, maybe because Reynolds used SS Second Lieutenant Zeiner's diary as a source, the tanks became Cromwells and so the opponent of the 1./ SS-Pz.Jg.Abt. 12 changes to the 10th Mounted Rifles.

Juha

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Re: Losses of the 10th Mounted Rifles, Polish 1st AD, on 9 Aug 1944 around Hill 111 SSE Soignolles

Post by MarkN » 17 Jan 2019 16:20

Juha wrote:
17 Jan 2019 14:05
that seems to be the answer. According to Maczek's report, it was the Polish 1st Arm.Rgt that fought around Hill 111 and "suffered quite by losses".
2nd Sqn, 1st Armoured Regiment (1. Pułk Pancerny), followed by RHQ and then 1st Sqn [MarkNote: 3rd Sqn was not involved at all as it was elsewhere] attacked Pt.111 SE of Soignolles on the Estres-Maizieres road in the evening of 9 August 1944. Note: the evening NOT the morning. They took heavy casualties.
Juha wrote:
17 Jan 2019 14:05
Possible scenario is that JgPz IVs from the 1./ SS-Pz.Jg.Abt. 12 knocked-out several Shermans of the Polish 1st Arm.Rgt there, so the PzKpfwagen in the recommendations for the Knight's Crosses. Somewhere, maybe because Reynolds used SS Second Lieutenant Zeiner's diary as a source, the tanks became Cromwells and so the opponent of the 1./ SS-Pz.Jg.Abt. 12 changes to the 10th Mounted Rifles.
I have no interest in trying to work out why book-writing storytellers are either too lazy or too incompetent to do/check their own historical research and prefer just to footnote some other storyteller's falsehood.

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Re: Losses of the 10th Mounted Rifles, Polish 1st AD, on 9 Aug 1944 around Hill 111 SSE Soignolles

Post by MarkN » 17 Jan 2019 21:31

Juha wrote:
16 Jan 2019 12:09
According to Számvéber's Waffen-SS Armour in Normandy during the morning of 9 August 1944, SS-Oberscharführer Rudolf Roy’s JgPz IV, his gunner was SS-Rottenführer Fritz Eckstein, from 1./ SS-Pz.Jg.Abt. 12, reportedly destroyed nine Cromwells of the 10th Mounted Rifles around Hill 111 on the Maiziéres - Estrées-la-Campagne road SSE of Soignolles.
Have you figured it out yet?

There was a major firefight about Pt.111 from sunrise until early afternoon on 9 August 1944. But it wasn't the Poles that were there. It was the Canadians. And they didn't have Cromwell's either.

Here is an aerial photo taken early afternoon of 9 August with the engagement still ongoing.
Image

Blue circle = Pt.112
Box 1 = destroyed Canadian pantsers
Box 2 = destroyed Canadian pantsers and German AFV
Box 3 = surviving German AFV

You can also see alot more Canadian pantsers lurking in the rectangual enclosure on the left of the main picture.

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Re: Losses of the 10th Mounted Rifles, Polish 1st AD, on 9 Aug 1944 around Hill 111 SSE Soignolles

Post by Michael Kenny » 17 Jan 2019 22:27


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Re: Losses of the 10th Mounted Rifles, Polish 1st AD, on 9 Aug 1944 around Hill 111 SSE Soignolles

Post by dgfred » 17 Jan 2019 23:00

Eww... thanks for that Mr Kenny.

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Re: Losses of the 10th Mounted Rifles, Polish 1st AD, on 9 Aug 1944 around Hill 111 SSE Soignolles

Post by Juha » 17 Jan 2019 23:00

Yes, the Worthington Force. My problem has been that on the sketch in the Számvéber's book, p. 169, the 9 "Cromwells" arrived from North, from le Grand Fauces, skirted Soignolles from west and then turned east along the Estrées-la-Campagne - Maizieres road but the Worthington Force came from NW along Chemin Hausse. And Roy's JgPz IV, which claimed to have destroyed all 9 was positioned in the southern outskirts of Soignolles when the destruction of the Worthington Force is allocated to Tigers and panthers firing and attacking from southeast, southwest and south. But the Shermans shown in the box one might well be victims of Roy/Eckstein. In the sketch the 9 tanks were destroyed just north/NW of the Point 111, north of the Estrées-la-Campagne - Maizieres road. I must reread Bechthold's article and what Hart writes on the Wortington Force in his Oper Totalize.

Juha

PS: Thanks a lot Mark for the extra info on the Polish 1st Arm.Rgt attack on Point 111, Maczek's report does not give the time, only that the CO of the rgt decided at 1300 hrs to attack Hill 111.

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Re: Losses of the 10th Mounted Rifles, Polish 1st AD, on 9 Aug 1944 around Hill 111 SSE Soignolles

Post by Juha » 18 Jan 2019 00:07

If we forget the sketch, taking only the position of the JgPz from it, the A Sqn /BCR, which was decimated before it got to the main defensive position of Worthington Force, is the most probable opponent of Roy/Eckstein team.

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Re: Losses of the 10th Mounted Rifles, Polish 1st AD, on 9 Aug 1944 around Hill 111 SSE Soignolles

Post by Juha » 19 Jan 2019 10:26

Hello again
Could not find the WD of the BCR but that of the Algonquin Rgt mentioned that also the main part of Worthington Force that dig in SSW of Point 111 came under heavy "88mm" fire from N and NE around 0800 hrs. Bechthold mentions the fire from NE, Hart mentions nothing on deadly fire from N or NE and nothing on the almost complete destruction of the A Sqn on the way to the Les Trente Acres. I had completely forgot what Bechthold writes on the A Sqn, even if I remembered the forey of the 2 Troop/B Sqn/BCR towards Hill 195. Getting old and and it seems that I remember only the latest description of subject X I have read unless the earlier reading happened at least 35 years ago.:) And also my thinking seems to have lost at least some of its former flexibility. So thanks Mark for reminding of Worthington Force. Not all the A Sqn losses during the approach march happened near Point 111, it lost three Shermans to a Tiger (or a "Tiger") at Estrées-la-Campagne and of course the "88mm" fire might well have been and probably is at least partly 75 mm fire.

Juha

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