Criticism of British Infantry during Op Epsom

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daveshoup2MD
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Re: Criticism of British Infantry during Op Epsom

Post by daveshoup2MD » 27 Jan 2022 02:21

NickA wrote:
26 Jan 2022 17:50
daveshoup2MD wrote:
17 Jan 2022 21:50
Nick - interesting choice of a map; from: https://www.historyvshollywood.com/reel ... vate-ryan/ including the British 6th Airborne but not the US 82nd and 101st airborne divisions... from your source:
"The United States and Britain both landed approximately 54,000 troops. Canada landed 21,400 troops. ... The estimated number of allied deaths during the 24-hour period known as D-Day is roughly 4,414 (2,501 Americans and 1,913 Allies)."

I didn't realise that diagram was controversial or from a dubious source.This diagram from Shutterstock:
Image
daveshoup2MD wrote:
17 Jan 2022 21:50
Seems like honors were quite equal among the assault elements from all three armies, unless you were trying to suggest something else?
I can report that the "Poles lost more than 500 men" according to https://www.independent.co.uk/news/worl ... 41762.html and elsewhere I hear that a Polish Division landed, Polish aircraft flew air support, Polish ships supported the assault on the beaches. I believe at least some of their dead are recognised on the memorials.

But other actual casualties seem to be something of a mystery - how about the thousands of our French allies who gave their lives to free their country from the Nazi heel - did nobody bother to count their dead? I hear there is no mention of them at the memorials in Normandy.
Seriously?

The estimated number of allied deaths during the 24-hour period known as D-Day is roughly 4,414 (2,501 Americans and 1,913 Allies)

The statement is about Allied casualties on the DAY of the landing. The Polish and French divisions committed to the OVERLORD force did not come ashore until days later. There was a small French commando unit - roughly an understrength company - and no Polish ground forces committed the day of the assault.

daveshoup2MD
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Re: Criticism of British Infantry during Op Epsom

Post by daveshoup2MD » 27 Jan 2022 02:22

Sheldrake wrote:
27 Jan 2022 01:12

Not sure the point you are making here.

IRRC, there were Polish airmen and sailors on D Day. The Polish Division did not land until the end of July and oits first action was Op Totalize 8 August. It played an important part in the Falaise Gap battle - almost, but not quite overwhelmed on the Mace feature. There is a Polish Cemetery on the Falaise-Caen Road, which I think added military graves to an existing cemetery for Polish steel workers.

Only one French unit landed on D Day - No 10 Inter allied Commando, with Commandant Kiefer as featured in the climax to the Longest Day. There is a memorial on Sword Beach and a Rue Commandant Keifer. The French were there almost through an oversight. The British and US Governments were keen to avoid giving any role to the Free French to avoid giving De Gaulle political leverage. The Inter allied Commando was not obviously French and part of No 1 Special Service (Commando) Brigade who were not going to leave comrades out of the Big Show.
Thanks.

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Re: Criticism of British Infantry during Op Epsom

Post by David Thompson » 27 Jan 2022 03:42

A post from Michael Kenny, which fell short of AHF's standard of civility, was removed pursuant to forum rules,

NickA
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Re: Criticism of British Infantry during Op Epsom

Post by NickA » 27 Jan 2022 19:27

Sheldrake wrote:
27 Jan 2022 01:12
Not sure the point you are making here.
I'm trying to get to the history of these events and figure who are the heroes and who are the villains.
Sheldrake wrote:
27 Jan 2022 01:12
Not sure the point you are making here. IRRC, there were Polish airmen and sailors on D Day. The Polish Division did not land until the end of July and oits first action was Op Totalize 8 August. It played an important part in the Falaise Gap battle - almost, but not quite overwhelmed on the Mace feature. There is a Polish Cemetery on the Falaise-Caen Road, which I think added military graves to an existing cemetery for Polish steel workers.
Thankyou - the Polish infantry (understandably) were not right at the cutting edge (as their airmen and sailors were) but nevertheless acted like true allies.
Sheldrake wrote:
27 Jan 2022 01:12
Not sure the point you are making here. Only one French unit landed on D Day - No 10 Inter allied Commando, with Commandant Kiefer as featured in the climax to the Longest Day. There is a memorial on Sword Beach and a Rue Commandant Keifer. The French were there almost through an oversight. The British and US Governments were keen to avoid giving any role to the Free French to avoid giving De Gaulle political leverage. The Inter allied Commando was not obviously French and part of No 1 Special Service (Commando) Brigade who were not going to leave comrades out of the Big Show.
You make it look as if France (as a nation) and the Free French (as a group) were never recognised as allies. I don't think I'm "making a point", only distilling down who took part in this gigantic effort against the Nazis.

Is it true that the French 33rd SS Division commanded by Hauptsturmfuhrer Henri Fenet defended Berlin right up to the death of Hitler (April 30 1945)? And beyond?

Sean Oliver
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Re: Criticism of British Infantry during Op Epsom

Post by Sean Oliver » 03 May 2022 05:22

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
13 Mar 2020 18:58
Hi,
Max Hastings (Overlord, pp.169-170) quotes excerpts from an interview (conducted in July '83) with 'Major Charles Richardson of 6th KSOB [who] came out of EPSOM , his first battle, overcome with horror and disgust' about the Bn's experience during Op EPSOM and which includes (on p.170) the remark that:
After the battle [Richardson recalled that the KOSBs] talked about 'the spectacle of the Royal Scots Fusiliers cresting a hill to find the Germans dug in on the reverse slope, "something we had never envisaged".'
This was later used [and page referenced by Russell A. Hart in his hatchet-job on the British Army in Normandy (chapter 8 of Clash of Arms, p.313) in the following terms:
'EPSOM clearly demonstrated the inexperience of British troops and the weakness of their training as poor coordination and a failure to comprehend German defensive tactics marred the operation. Soldiers of the Scottish Division, in particular, suffered heavily when the enemy surprised and ambushed them from a classic reverse-slope position. […]'
...
Regards
Tom
It appears the actual source is not Max Hastings and Russel Hart and their irrational hatred of the British Army, but a comment from a British Army officer named Maj. Charles Richardson, who described a neighboring British regiment's surprise at encountering dug-in enemy defenders.

It's understandable this aspect wasn't mentioned in the KSF or KOSB WD.

gebhk
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Re: Criticism of British Infantry during Op Epsom

Post by gebhk » 03 May 2022 16:17

Just to wrap up the Polish theme, although the Polish Air Force, Navy and Merchant Marine were heavily engaged, the former two in direct combat, there were no Polish casualties recorded that day according to the PISM Schedule of soldiers of the Polish Armed Forces abroad, killed and deceased in 1939-46. The only loss that day was rifleman Anczel Weinstock, who sadly died of natural causes in Palestine, where he was buried in the Jewish Cemetary of Rehowoth.

Michael Kenny
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Re: Criticism of British Infantry during Op Epsom

Post by Michael Kenny » 03 May 2022 18:06

Sean Oliver wrote:
03 May 2022 05:22


It appears the actual source is not Max Hastings and Russel Hart and their irrational hatred of the British Army, but a comment from a British Army officer named Maj. Charles Richardson, who described a neighboring British regiment's surprise at encountering dug-in enemy defenders.

It's understandable this aspect wasn't mentioned in the KSF or KOSB WD.
\

Going through the maps and air views now and ( at first glance) there is no 'reverse slope ' position in the line of advance on St Manvieu Norrey. The only 'dip' before St Manvieu is La Mue and basically it is just a wet ditch.


Screenshot_365.jpg

The only real crest is on the way to Cheux



Screenshot_f362.jpg
and the next dip is in the centre of the town.
June 7th Norrey en Bessin bc.jpg
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Sean Oliver
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Re: Criticism of British Infantry during Op Epsom

Post by Sean Oliver » 03 May 2022 23:11

Those LOS diagrams are great, but they do show subtle dips and crests, which need only be 3-5 meters difference to conceal a tank from LOS, and far less than that to hide a few dug-in MG-42s, i.e. a reverse slope. There are also slight undulations on the flanks of the axis which could conceal a MG or 2 until the last moment.
That said, Maj. Roberts seems to be saying the RSF were walking toward the Germans, and when they reached a crest, they suddenly took fire from some dug-in Germans directly if front of them which they hadn't expected to find, a la Wellington.
This seems less about 'reverse slope tactics' and more about inadequate reconnaissance preparation, followed by moving forward as if they weren't expecting any resistance for a considerable distance.

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