Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Discussions on the fortifications, artillery, & rockets used by the Axis forces.
Artee
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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Artee » 17 May 2018 02:47

Richard,

Just pointing out firstly that I was editing my post whilst you were sending your response....

WO 291/246 is a fantastic, and floored document. Yes indeed there are multiple references to shelling and mortaring in WO 291/246 - and yet the casualty correlation specify's MG's and Mortars only.

Slightly curious that you of all people should pop up on the forum right now though. It was partly in reading "Cracking Hitler’s Atlantic Wall" several years ago that I was stimulated to look at the deployment of German Artillery on and behind the Calvados coast in detail. I've used the casualty figures in the book - checking and expanding on your efforts (nice job by the way), whilst looking in particular at the German artillery that was deployed behind the coast. This ongoing work has taken years and involves reading through hundreds of War Diaries, reports, memoirs etc. The conclusion (in brief) is that German Artillery inflicted a sizeable proportion of casualties in ALL of the Allied sectors.

Thanks to your efforts (& Joseph Balkoski & Steven Zaloga for example) the US sectors have been examined in some detail ie. more recently than 1945. However as far as the Brit/Canadian sectors go, WO 291/246 needs to be stamped "RESUBMIT".

An example...the COHQ Special Observer Party’s Beach Report (DEFE 2/433) specifically mentions that 3 anti-ship batteries (Riva Bella, Longues & Mont Fleury) and 9 4-gun/howitzer open field batteries were located in the British sector [the report does not mention the number of gun/howitzer batteries in casemates in the British sector but does refer to Colleville, Ver Sur Mer & Ouistreham II being listed for inspection]. The team that put together WO 291/246, referenced the COHQ report, quantifying the number of mortars found in the Brit/Canadian sectors. However the total number of Artillery pieces mentioned in WO 291/246 was NONE. They apparently chose to deliberately ignore the fact that there was almost four times as many German artillery pieces than German mortars in position in the Brit/Canadian sector.

The example you sighted from the Notts Yeomanry is interesting in itself. Yes I read and noted it some time go - a strange reality perhaps - whereby the members of an Armoured unit are not particular interested in a type of enemy fire that does not particularly endanger them. Even the WO 291/246 team makes a comment about this mentality!


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Artee

Richard Anderson
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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 17 May 2018 06:09

Artee wrote:Just pointing out firstly that I was editing my post whilst you were sending your response....

WO 291/246 is a fantastic, and floored document. Yes indeed there are multiple references to shelling and mortaring in WO 291/246 - and yet the casualty correlation specify's MG's and Mortars only.
Okay, I see where you were going. However, the reason the correlations were only to MG's and mortars is because that was what they felt they could measure accurately by beach. While they had a good idea of where the batteries were, they only had assumptions on where they fired and how many rounds. The decision to use "MG's and Mortars" was a slightly artificial construct, but that tends to be the norm in modeling. It was also the pattern established for the various "Fire Support on the Beaches" studies.
Slightly curious that you of all people should pop up on the forum right now though. It was partly in reading "Cracking Hitler’s Atlantic Wall" several years ago that I was stimulated to look at the deployment of German Artillery on and behind the Calvados coast in detail. I've used the casualty figures in the book - checking and expanding on your efforts (nice job by the way), whilst looking in particular at the German artillery that was deployed behind the coast. This ongoing work has taken years and involves reading through hundreds of War Diaries, reports, memoirs etc. The conclusion (in brief) is that German Artillery inflicted a sizeable proportion of casualties in ALL of the Allied sectors.
"Pop up"? :D I've been on this forum around 16 years, as richto90 and under my name. :lol: I'm glad you got something out of my work, it was a lot of fun, even if it didn't sell well.
Thanks to your efforts (& Joseph Balkoski & Steven Zaloga for example) the US sectors have been examined in some detail ie. more recently than 1945. However as far as the Brit/Canadian sectors go, WO 291/246 needs to be stamped "RESUBMIT".
It was fun helping Steve with Devil's Garden, even though he wrote the book I was planning on doing before I could get to it, which is a regular hazard with him. :lol:
An example...the COHQ Special Observer Party’s Beach Report (DEFE 2/433) specifically mentions that 3 anti-ship batteries (Riva Bella, Longues & Mont Fleury) and 9 4-gun/howitzer open field batteries were located in the British sector [the report does not mention the number of gun/howitzer batteries in casemates in the British sector but does refer to Colleville, Ver Sur Mer & Ouistreham II being listed for inspection]. The team that put together WO 291/246, referenced the COHQ report, quantifying the number of mortars found in the Brit/Canadian sectors. However the total number of Artillery pieces mentioned in WO 291/246 was NONE. They apparently chose to deliberately ignore the fact that there was almost four times as many German artillery pieces than German mortars in position in the Brit/Canadian sector.
Pages 154-155 give the identifications of the artillery units identified by beach, so I'm not sure how you reference "NONE"? Do you have a specific page for that? I'm afraid I don't see how there were "almost four times" the artillery as mortars in the Brit/Canadian sector either? There were 55 mortars identified on the three beaches, so you are saying there were "almost" 220 artillery pieces? How? I count roughly 66 field pieces not counting the HKA and MKA.
The example you sighted from the Notts Yeomanry is interesting in itself. Yes I read and noted it some time go - a strange reality perhaps - whereby the members of an Armoured unit are not particular interested in a type of enemy fire that does not particularly endanger them. Even the WO 291/246 team makes a comment about this mentality!
It's a mentality that has been around for a long time. We started a study in the late 1990s for the Field Artillery, which was trying to demonstrate to Armor that tanks were not invulnerable to indirect, unguided artillery fire, but Armor wouldn't believe it. :D

Cheers!
"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

Artee
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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Artee » 17 May 2018 08:02

Richard,

You've popped up again! A quick response as I've got to take off to perform earthly duties (or there will be a a war!).

Umm err, I think we both agree, somehow. The casualty correlation in WO 291/246 was indeed an artificial construct. The "on the beach" during the "assault phase" focus, whilst only figuring in MG's & mortars resulted in some mock mathematics (ie. regards casualties).

Re pages 154 & 155 of WO 291/246, I of course don't have the document to hand right now - however I was again alluding to the mortar count vs casualty count. It was clearly "too hard basket" to figure in the German Artillery, so it was conveniently ignored.

However, where did you get 55 mortars from? Are you talking about the dodgy info in WO 291/246 or your better, later and somewhat more analytical work? I'm responding with a snippet from my forthcoming book/thesis (due for release about 2050 at current rate of progress)..."A total of just 13 mortar positions were identified in the Sword, Juno & Gold areas in the COHQ Special Observer Party’s Beach Report (DEFE 2/433), which details of 2x5cm & 11x8cm mortar position. However only 12 mortars were believed to have been in action when the troops landed (WO 291/246)...."

Must dash!

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Artee

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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Sheldrake » 17 May 2018 10:31

Interesting discussion which topuchs on somehting which has puzzled me for a while about D Day.

Re German Artillery fire on the British Beaches - the dog that did not bark in the night. The 12guns of S Art bn 989 were capable of delivering a defensive barrage 600 m long or three at least 200m long across Juno beach. Its batteries had not been located before D Day and were not directly targeted by any part of the allied fire plan. So what happened? Why didn't the allied troops on Juno Beach step into an inferno of exploding medium artillery shells? It took some time for the troops at Nan White and Mike Red to get off the beach. Under German doctrine they should have been pounded by artillery while they sheltered behind the sea wall.

We know some German artillery fired. The CAB historian noted that the OR teams had inspected the Ver -sur-mer (Marefontaine) battery (SE of Versur Mer around 10.30-11.00 and counted counted the number of 10 cm rounds fired. (50,30,1& 6) empty cases. (C 20 rpg) This is light for a battery firing in support of the main defensive battle - its no more than 6-10 calls for fire.

By comparison by mid day the artillery regiment of 352 Infantry Division had almost expended its entire ammunition supply. (c. 135rpg)

Re WOI291/246.

While WO291/246 is flawed by lumping in artillery with mortars, much of the methodology looks sensible and the data better than much than obtained from any battlefield prior to the "internet of things." The one thing we can't do is ask the ORG to recollect the data.The challenge is to make sense of the data they collected with what we know now.

1. The report draw a distinction between those beaches which came under mortar fire and those which came under MG fire only. That distinction is claimed to be based on the reports from the troops landing. It seems reasonable to accept that those beaches where the troops did not report being mortared meant they weren't being shelled by artillery pieces either.

2. If the beaches where troops reported being mortared meant that they were being engaged by a mixture of mortars and artillery. This may explain the discrepancy in the report that mortars were proportionately more effective than Machine guns (after discounting for the difference between practice and wartime performance.)

3. These reports focus on the losses in the assault itself - i.e. crossing the 200 x 200 patches of beach. However, the fighting did go one - at least on Juno beach for most of the day.

4.I suspect the flaw in the AORG approach to German artillery is the assumption that German artillery had been neutralised by the fire plan.Like much wartime and early post war history, the story of the Germans is based about what our Intelligence arm said. The Germans had a lot more artillery available on D Day than the allies had identified (Including S Art bn 989).

Even so what happened to the German defensive artillery fires? The field artillery was deployed to engage troops on the beaches.

My hypothesis is that the preliminary aerial bombardment and beach drenching may have cut the all important line communications between observers and guns. Loss of comms to the COP is why the Longues -sur-mer battery fired under gun controland why the Oustrehem batterieswere ineffective even though the control towerwas not captured on D Day itself.

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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 17 May 2018 16:41

Artee wrote:Umm err, I think we both agree, somehow. The casualty correlation in WO 291/246 was indeed an artificial construct. The "on the beach" during the "assault phase" focus, whilst only figuring in MG's & mortars resulted in some mock mathematics (ie. regards casualties).
Possibly, but the devil is in the details. :D
Re pages 154 & 155 of WO 291/246, I of course don't have the document to hand right now - however I was again alluding to the mortar count vs casualty count. It was clearly "too hard basket" to figure in the German Artillery, so it was conveniently ignored.

However, where did you get 55 mortars from? Are you talking about the dodgy info in WO 291/246 or your better, later and somewhat more analytical work? I'm responding with a snippet from my forthcoming book/thesis (due for release about 2050 at current rate of progress)..."A total of just 13 mortar positions were identified in the Sword, Juno & Gold areas in the COHQ Special Observer Party’s Beach Report (DEFE 2/433), which details of 2x5cm & 11x8cm mortar position. However only 12 mortars were believed to have been in action when the troops landed (WO 291/246)...."
Sorry, but I think you are falling into the same trap the British did. The COHQ Observer Party counted "identified mortar positions" only. However, SWORD was defended by most of III./Gren.-Regt. 736, along with 2./Grenadier-Regiment 736 and 3./Ost-Batallion 642. Between them they had at least 17 mortars. JUNO was defended by II./Gren.-Regt. 736 and 2./ Ost-Btl. 441. Between them they had at least 13 mortars. GOLD was defended by 6. and 7./Gren.-Regt. 726., 1., 3., and 4./Ost-Btl. 441., and a platoon of II./Gren.-Regt. 916. Between then they had at least 11 mortars. Note that those are the mortars assigned to the units and do not necessarily include the various mortars assigned to the positions. The counts I used in Table 7 allocated 16 to SWORD, 18 to JUNO, and 21 to GOLD include those assigned to units and estimated as part of the position. So a minimum of 41 and a maximum of 55.
"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

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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 17 May 2018 16:55

Sheldrake wrote:Even so what happened to the German defensive artillery fires? The field artillery was deployed to engage troops on the beaches.

My hypothesis is that the preliminary aerial bombardment and beach drenching may have cut the all important line communications between observers and guns. Loss of comms to the COP is why the Longues -sur-mer battery fired under gun controland why the Oustrehem batterieswere ineffective even though the control towerwas not captured on D Day itself.
Yep. Best evidence is that the German planned artillery response only functioned as planned - at least partly - on OMAHA. Otherwise, artillery fire on the beaches was sporadic and uncorrected, firing on pre-planned grids by guess and by god in hopes of having an effect.
"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

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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Artee » 21 May 2018 03:43

Richard,

Apologies for a delay in response - I've been out in the real world, checking out Stromatolites etc.

Back to WO 291/246 - Sorry, but my arithmetic is sound. Again, insofar as the mortar/artillery tube count went, I was referencing the AORG’s own confusion. The information that THEY were referencing indicated 12 to 13 mortars, whilst from the Special Observer Party THEY knew of approx 50 artillery pieces. That is is about 4 times as many artillery tubes. Thus for them to completely ignore artillery in their casualty correlation was ridiculous.

Sorry again, your weapons count for the Sword (for example) is excessive – which puzzles as me as you seem fairly cluey :wink: . You lumped in together all the weapons of an entire battalion plus a flanking Company and some hapless Ost-Truppen. The III/736, like all the Battalions was well spread out, it certainly did not have a all of it’s weapons in a position to fire onto Queen beach.

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Artee

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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Artee » 21 May 2018 03:54

Sheldrake & Richard

There’s in fact quite a lot of info on German Artillery in the Brit/Canadian sector to be gleaned.

Here’s some brief notes based on some in depth research ie. digging deeper into War Dairies, Reports, Intsums, other AORG studies, memoirs et al - and I’m still working on it…

SAA989 (as one example, in brief)…As we can see from the fantastic SAA989 map the Abteilung had six OP’s spread out over 15km+ (from WN35a overlooking Jig beach to WN21 overlooking Queen beach). It was not just covering the Juno area. When the seaborne troops landed SAA 989 only had two of it’s batteries still in situ – 2./989 had been moved before dawn to respond to the arrival of 6th Airborne – it apparently still had three 12.2’s in action by the end of the day. However both 1./989 and 3./989 were over-run by Canadian troops in the afternoon. Around 1530hrs Centaurs of 2 RMASR apparently induced the gunners of 1./989 to go to ground – quite literally (into a large cave – they eventually gave up on 08June – a story in itself!). The Canadian Scottish seem to have strolled into the position of 2./989 around 1720hrs. In the meantime the Abteilung Stab had been over-run by the Regina Rifles.

It is probable that most of the personnel of the Abteilung ‘legged it’ (not a bad idea considering the size of the force coming at them!) – at least one of them, an Oberwachtmeister of “1 troop”, was later captured at the Radar station at Douvres -an extract from this guys interrogation report appears in WO 291/246 – again, the fantastic find of the map from SAA989 (which has reinvigorated this debate), might just provide a clue to his particular role on 06June - that is possibly at the Beobachtungsstelle at Tailleville - apparently co-located with the HQ of II/736.

Later still (mid June) the personnel of SAA989 were apparently fighting as infantrymen on the east of the Orne with Battle Group Grote.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
However all of the notes above obviously don’t mention when the batteries of SAA 989 were action or what they were firing at. At which point I have two rhetorical questions…
1. Do you we think that the War Diaries of Allied batteries specifically list each of their own fire missions?
Of course we know that they do not. However that obviously doesn’t mean that they weren’t in action.
2. We do not have the War Diary of SAA989 to refer to for 06June at all (if it ever existed) – does that somehow mean they didn’t fire a shot?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
And now I’m going to throw another rock in the pond.

The standard of enemy weapon recognition by the Allies was appalling! Aside from the 88 phobia, the Tiger Phobia, the endless use of the term “sniper” etc, there was the misidentification of types of incoming German fire.

Here’s a couple of tiny snippets from an Intsum (from somewhat later in the campaign)
– from an RCA officer on the battlefield, studying mortar and artillery fire…

“…there still exists considerable confusion between mortars and low velocity guns.”

“…guns are frequently mistaken for mortars.”

Just about everybody knew that the German Artillery used 88’s (apparently), the shells of which screamed in (apparently). The concept of German infantry mortars AND German artillery howitzers lobbing shells onto you was neither here nor there.

However not everybody was confused - there are multiple references to both mortar AND artillery fire on all the beaches. Here’s just two from the Juno area:

From Diary of Lt Comdr Thornton onboard LCH168 off Mike sector…. “0750...88mm? Are bursting off beach. Plane down off port beam. One of ours alleged to be hit by a rocket…0756. Assaulting infantry on the Mike green. 0805 Machine-gun fire on Mike green…About sixteen shells a minute falling in Mike green…0856. No exits. Beach under shellfire. 0900 Beach under mortar fire…”

From War Diary of 48 RM Commando 06Jun44 ie Nan red beach... “…craft were subjected to mortar and shell fire; the 'Z' Tp craft received a direct hit amidships…..On reaching the shore, troops made for the cover of the earth cliff and sea wall. Here they found a confused situation. The cliff and sea wall gave some protection from SA fire, but any movement away from them was under MG fire. The whole area meanwhile was under heavy mortar and shellfire.”

And a comment from me regards the Sword area…On Queen beach there was an overwhelming din of noise with mortar and artillery rounds landing and exploding at the same time - from 5cm & 8cm mortars, & 10cm, 12.2cm & 15.5cm howitzers. Differentiating exactly which was which was practically impossible – however it was obviously possible to perceive that mortars AND artillery fire was incoming.

On 18May18 Richard said:
"Yep. Best evidence is that the German planned artillery response only functioned as planned - at least partly - on OMAHA. Otherwise, artillery fire on the beaches was sporadic and uncorrected, firing on pre-planned grids by guess and by god in hopes of having an effect."

I’m not going to completely agree with that that. The artillery that the Germans already had in place had been largely unidentified by the Allied Intel/Recce effort. A small number of batteries were neutralised/suppressed prior to the Allied Troops (this not a generalisation by me, but an assessment of every German Battery).

Best evidence is that the Allied preliminary fire did little damage to German equipment or Troops, neither did it necessarily do much to dampen the ‘enthusiasm’ of the beach defenders - though the overall scale of the assault did.

Yes there was disruption to German Artillery Coms and some OP’s were taken out (one example – the Peilstand on Queen Red – quite possibly an Artillery OP had at least one 4.5 inch shell burst inside – ouch!), however there was high ground behind all the beaches with additional OP’s (and Artillery HQ’s).

Again, the scale of the Allied assault meant that the German batteries had to attempt to blunt an attack over a broad front – they were never going to stop the assault. However, importantly as far as Allied casualties was concerned, whether or not the fire was observed, German batteries were firing into long since pre-recorded DF target areas – at troops in the open.

Keep digging guys, and you might discover there's more to the story.

Regards
Artee

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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 21 May 2018 18:24

Artee wrote:Apologies for a delay in response - I've been out in the real world, checking out Stromatolites etc.
You must have an interesting job then...or a weird hobby. :D
Back to WO 291/246 - Sorry, but my arithmetic is sound. Again, insofar as the mortar/artillery tube count went, I was referencing the AORG’s own confusion. The information that THEY were referencing indicated 12 to 13 mortars, whilst from the Special Observer Party THEY knew of approx 50 artillery pieces. That is is about 4 times as many artillery tubes. Thus for them to completely ignore artillery in their casualty correlation was ridiculous.
I'm confused now. Originally you said that WO 291/246 promoted a "myth" that there was no German artillery on the British and Canadian beaches. Now you are saying they knew there were 50? Sorry, but it looks like the mythologizing was on your part. :lol:

Seriously, I think you are way too worked up about their faulty correlations, while falling into their same trap of being too focused on narrow parameters.
Sorry again, your weapons count for the Sword (for example) is excessive – which puzzles as me as you seem fairly cluey :wink: . You lumped in together all the weapons of an entire battalion plus a flanking Company and some hapless Ost-Truppen. The III/736, like all the Battalions was well spread out, it certainly did not have a all of it’s weapons in a position to fire onto Queen beach.
As here. SWORD Area and QUEEN Beach are not one and the same, the latter is a subset of the former. I described SWORDs defenses. You are now describing QUEEN's defenses. They are not one and the same. Are you next going to parse it down to QUEEN WHITE and QUEEN RED each being defended by 50 field pieces? :lol:

So yes, I am "fairly cluey" and also try to be careful with my language. If you want to argue the numbers with the authors of WO 291/246, then knock yourself out. However, I have never argued they were correct, or that the AORG construct was correct...rather the opposite in fact. Their wonking casualty calculations have also been a source for actual mythologizing in the history of D-Day, which I point out nine years ago in CHAW. :lol:
"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

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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 21 May 2018 18:52

Artee wrote:There’s in fact quite a lot of info on German Artillery in the Brit/Canadian sector to be gleaned.
Gee, I never realized... :lol:
(snip interesting explanations for why SAA989 was so ineffective on D-Day and after, some of which I already knew)

However all of the notes above obviously don’t mention when the batteries of SAA 989 were action or what they were firing at. At which point I have two rhetorical questions…
1. Do you we think that the War Diaries of Allied batteries specifically list each of their own fire missions?
Of course we know that they do not. However that obviously doesn’t mean that they weren’t in action.
Actually, I know that they did exist, but most of the records have been lost. For example, the original battery firing records required and maintained by U.S. Army Field Artillery units in the war were destroyed in the early 1960's at Fort Sill when they were assessed as lacking historical value. That they existed can be inferred from the Lover Report and various other OR studies done in the 1950s and early 1960's that reference them.

That being said, such records were usually not found in the "War Diary" (U.S. Report, After Action), which were narratives of events that rarely included details of fire missions. In U.S. Services those were appended to the Battalion S-3 Journal and are often referred to, usually at end of day when the firing missions and rounds fired are summarized, but, as I said, the originals are now lost. I suspect that a similar practice was followed by the British.
2. We do not have the War Diary of SAA989 to refer to for 06June at all (if it ever existed) – does that somehow mean they didn’t fire a shot?
No, and no one argued that they did not.
And now I’m going to throw another rock in the pond.
Sorry for snipping another discursus, but I know standards of recognition, especially cross branches was pretty bad. However, the standard of recognition within branches was pretty good. For example, SHELLREPS were a standard part of the repertoire of the Field Artillery S-2's job and was often done by physically examining the evidence...measuring shell entrance holes, depth and width of craters, et cetera, in order to deduce the size of rounds fired and so forth. There is no question that for most of the ordinary soldier's, officers and enlisted, the distinction between "shellfire" and "mortar fire" was pretty moot (it makes me think of Mac MacDonald's comment to me when I corrected his AFV identification in the Krinkelter Wald), but anecdotally it still appears that the "shellfire" encountered on four beach areas was a different order of magnitude than that encountered on one beach area - OMAHA. Part of the reason is already alluded to - some batteries and observation posts were overrun or neutralized early on, while the troops on OMAHA remained stuck in the artillery beaten zone for much longer and the artillery batteries and OPs suffered much less dislocation.

Cheers!
"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

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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Sheldrake » 22 May 2018 11:39

Got some questions.

Not disbelieving, but checking sources so I can reference the points in other work.

What are the sources for the following?
Artee wrote: When the seaborne troops landed SAA 989 only had two of it’s batteries still in situ – 2./989 had been moved before dawn to respond to the arrival of 6th Airborne – it apparently still had three 12.2’s in action by the end of the day. However both 1./989 and 3./989 were over-run by Canadian troops in the afternoon.
Artee wrote: Around 1530hrs Centaurs of 2 RMASR apparently induced the gunners of 1./989 to go to ground – quite literally (into a large cave – they eventually gave up on 08June – a story in itself!).
Later still (mid June) the personnel of SAA989 were apparently fighting as infantrymen on the east of the Orne with Battle Group Grote.

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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Artee » 24 May 2018 09:32

Richard

Part1…

On 21May I said Blah Blah Blah or something similar. You responded with:

"I'm confused now. Originally you said that WO 291/246 promoted a "myth" that there was no German artillery on the British and Canadian beaches. Now you are saying they knew there were 50? Sorry, but it looks like the mythologizing was on your part."

One more time, then I’m going back to Stromatolites! :D The authors of WO 291/246 were privy to the info from the Special Observer Party that there was apparently a total of 13 mortars on the Brit/Canadian beaches whilst they also had they the info, from the same source, that there was approx 50 Artillery pieces in the area (not that the figures were correct!). However their (mock) casualty correlation then completely ignored German Arty. Hence a myth created, by them.

Though it is significant that this analysis and other AORG reports was also about learning how to do things better on the battlefield. So why the hell would they deliberately ignore the casualties caused by German artillery, and the necessity of taking out enemy artillery in future operations ASAP?

That question was rhetorical, again, by the way (however perhaps that’s why I’m “worked up” :wink: ).

Part 2…

Just a reminder at this point that I think “Cracking Hitler’s Atlantic Wall” was a “Cracking” good read and I understand the depth of research behind it (NB. For anybody else reading this discussion, CHAW is available from all good online retailers, that is if you can’t be bothered getting off your rear end and finding an actual bookstore!).

However briefly returning to number crunching German weapons on the coast, you said:

“SWORD Area and QUEEN Beach are not one and the same, the latter is a subset of the former. I described SWORDs defenses.”

To which I say, thanks, I understood the concept of assault areas and beach sectors, quite a while ago.

Hang on! By the same token shouldn’t you have counted every weapon from Port-en-Bessin to the Vire estuary as covering Omaha? :wink:

Part 3…

Moving on (hopefully). Back to German Artillery.

You also said on 21May:

“…anecdotally it still appears that the "shellfire" encountered on four beach areas was a different order of magnitude than that encountered on one beach area - OMAHA. Part of the reason is already alluded to - some batteries and observation posts were overrun or neutralized early on, while the troops on OMAHA remained stuck in the artillery beaten zone for much longer and the artillery batteries and OPs suffered much less dislocation….”

Yep I’m completely in agreeance, Omaha got the worst of it. The German defences all but unscathed by the preliminary Allied bombardment, and worst still the German artillery sitting behind it not identified. The first wave stepping off into incoming MG, mortars and Arty (about the only place that happened with such ferocity in the Brit/Canadian sectors was perhaps on the left of Queen Red and perhaps on Mike Red). The mind boggles as to the casualty toll on Omaha if the German batteries had more ammo.

However I’m going to add two more snippets – which might just be directly related to the SAA 989 map posted by Valtoro…

From Lt Col Bluell OC North Shore Regt – Juno, Nan Red, H-Hour…“There was a lot of sporadic firing of small arms going on but as yet the artillery or mortar fire hitting our beach was desultory….”

From Lt Col Bluell OC North Shore Regt, later in the day - some time after 1400hrs, in Tailleville.. “I met Ralph [Maj Ralph Daughney OC C Coy North Shore] at a corner of the road in the village and he reported that the village had been cleared. I said there was still observed fire falling on the beaches and therefore the German fire control post in the village must be still functioning.
I ordered him to clear the village again and repeat this operation until the fire on the beach had ceased, even if he had to do it four or five times. Ralph was none too happy about my orders but actually it was obvious that our beach-head was of little value if the enemy could direct fire on all craft landing there...”


I’m of the distinct impression that SAA 989 were doing more than just shouting at the Canadians:

Deine Mutter war ein Hamster und dein Vater roch nach Holunderbeeren!


Regards
Artee

Artee
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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Artee » 24 May 2018 12:41

Sheldrake,

Information on the SAA 989 is very fragmentary. I’ve been adding notes to word documents created perhaps fifteen years ago – all you have to do is read every war diary, report etc that mentions events in the area in June 44!

However here are some specific sources of the above notes:

FMS B621 716 Infanterie Division to 23Jun44 – by OC 716 Inf Div Gen Richter,
War Diaries of Battalions of 7th and 8th Canadian Infantry Brigades,
War Diary 2 RMASR,
Second Army intsum 30Jun44, and,
A gem from the “internet of things" - have a look at:

http://canadianprovostcorps.ca/story-09.htm

With a quick additional snippet from the War Diary of Regina Rifles: “While the Battalion was at rest in Colomby, the troops were treated to the Canadian Army Show staged by the Legion Auxiliary War Services in the "Windmill Theatre," a cavern in the quarries of Fontaine-Henry that could seat over a thousand people.”

Regards
Artee

Richard Anderson
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Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 24 May 2018 16:51

Artee wrote:On 21May I said Blah Blah Blah or something similar. You responded with:

"I'm confused now. Originally you said that WO 291/246 promoted a "myth" that there was no German artillery on the British and Canadian beaches. Now you are saying they knew there were 50? Sorry, but it looks like the mythologizing was on your part."

One more time, then I’m going back to Stromatolites! :D The authors of WO 291/246 were privy to the info from the Special Observer Party that there was apparently a total of 13 mortars on the Brit/Canadian beaches whilst they also had they the info, from the same source, that there was approx 50 Artillery pieces in the area (not that the figures were correct!). However their (mock) casualty correlation then completely ignored German Arty. Hence a myth created, by them.

Though it is significant that this analysis and other AORG reports was also about learning how to do things better on the battlefield. So why the hell would they deliberately ignore the casualties caused by German artillery, and the necessity of taking out enemy artillery in future operations ASAP?

That question was rhetorical, again, by the way (however perhaps that’s why I’m “worked up” :wink: ).
Oh, the question was rhetorical? Is that why you keep on rehashing it? Trying to win a debating contest? :lol: Seriously though, as I understand it the purpose of the various AORG studies was examining the effects of the suppressive fire while approaching the beaches on the direct fire weapons and mortars...they had already done or were doing any number of studies on the effects of counterbattery fire and the effectiveness of artillery fire. I rather suspect the analysts said something on the order of "blast, we really don't know where those batteries fired, how many rounds they fired, or when they fired, so for the purposes of our analysis we'll simply exclude them and concentrate on the direct fire weapons and mortars that could only fire on the beach, because that will make our job ever so much easier..." Because OR analysts regularly fudge things like that. :D It wasn't about creating a myth that I had never heard of in any of the variations you went through. :lol: You may have gotten your knickers in a twist about it, but it doesn't bother me because I know how analysts regularly fudge inconvenient factors. :lol:
Part 2…

Just a reminder at this point that I think “Cracking Hitler’s Atlantic Wall” was a “Cracking” good read and I understand the depth of research behind it (NB. For anybody else reading this discussion, CHAW is available from all good online retailers, that is if you can’t be bothered getting off your rear end and finding an actual bookstore!).
Thank you.
However briefly returning to number crunching German weapons on the coast, you said:

“SWORD Area and QUEEN Beach are not one and the same, the latter is a subset of the former. I described SWORDs defenses.”

To which I say, thanks, I understood the concept of assault areas and beach sectors, quite a while ago.

Hang on! By the same token shouldn’t you have counted every weapon from Port-en-Bessin to the Vire estuary as covering Omaha? :wink:
I should have said the exclusion would be those units known to be in divisional or corps reserve. Thus,

"Inland from SWORD the first were the few fully mobile elements of 716. Infanterie-Division, including a mixed force of combat engineers, 2.Pi.-Btl. 716, eight self-propelled 2cm antiaircraft guns of 3./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. 716 at Anisy, and the division mobile antitank element, ten self-propelled antitank guns (7.5cm s.Pak Sfl. auf Lorraine Schlepper) with the Stab and 1. Kompanie of Panzerjäger-Abteilung 716 at Biéville.

The second and much more powerful element available for SWORD was a battalion of motorized infantry, II./Pz.Gren.-Regt. 192, from 21. Panzer-Division and its supporting artillery from I./Pz.-Art.-Regt. 155. The infantry battalion was headquartered at Le Mesnil with its various elements dispersed at Villons-les-Buissons, the Château de la Londe (northeast of Epron), Buron, Périers-sur-le-Dan (overlooking Hermanville-sur-Mer), and Cairon. The headquarters of the supporting artillery battalion was at Mathieu under Hauptmann Feckler, with 1. Batterie at Beuville with four ex-Soviet 12.2cm le.FH 396 (r) howitzers, 2. Batterie at Périers-sur-le-Dan, also with four 12.2cm le.FH 396 (r), and 3. Batterie at Colomby-sur-Thaon with four German 10cm sK18 guns. Also in support was an antitank Zug (platoon), 5./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. 200 with four 8.8cm Pak 43/41 antitank guns.

Further west and in positions that could support SWORD, JUNO, or GOLD was most of the rest of Panzerjäger-Abteilung 200.; 1. Kompanie with its headquarters was at Le Fresne-Camilly and had one Zug of four more 8.8cm Pak 43/41 guns each at Sainte-Croix-Grand-Tonne (1. Zug), Château de Mesnil-Patry (2. Zug), and Basly (3. Zug). At Creully was the 3. (mot.) Kompanie of the 21. Panzer-Division engineer battalion, Pz.-Pi.-Btl. 220. Finally, powerful additional artillery support was provided by an attached partly motorized, heavy artillery battalion, s.Art.-Abtl. 989 (t-mot). with its headquarters at Reviers and three batteries each of four 12.2cm s.F.H. 396 (r) at Basly (1. Bttr.), Amblie (2. Bttr.), and Creully (3. Bttr.).

However on D-Day the German reaction was sluggish, and few of these reserve forces had an influence on the actions of 1st Assault Brigade on the beaches."

And, yes, I know I included s.Art.-Abtl. 989 (t-mot) there in reserve and also just counted it with the artillery, but then I'm an analyst, see my response to Part 1, above. :lol:
Part 3…

Moving on (hopefully). Back to German Artillery.

You also said on 21May:

“…anecdotally it still appears that the "shellfire" encountered on four beach areas was a different order of magnitude than that encountered on one beach area - OMAHA. Part of the reason is already alluded to - some batteries and observation posts were overrun or neutralized early on, while the troops on OMAHA remained stuck in the artillery beaten zone for much longer and the artillery batteries and OPs suffered much less dislocation….”

Yep I’m completely in agreeance, Omaha got the worst of it. The German defences all but unscathed by the preliminary Allied bombardment, and worst still the German artillery sitting behind it not identified. The first wave stepping off into incoming MG, mortars and Arty (about the only place that happened with such ferocity in the Brit/Canadian sectors was perhaps on the left of Queen Red and perhaps on Mike Red). The mind boggles as to the casualty toll on Omaha if the German batteries had more ammo.

However I’m going to add two more snippets – which might just be directly related to the SAA 989 map posted by Valtoro…

From Lt Col Bluell OC North Shore Regt – Juno, Nan Red, H-Hour…“There was a lot of sporadic firing of small arms going on but as yet the artillery or mortar fire hitting our beach was desultory….”

From Lt Col Bluell OC North Shore Regt, later in the day - some time after 1400hrs, in Tailleville.. “I met Ralph [Maj Ralph Daughney OC C Coy North Shore] at a corner of the road in the village and he reported that the village had been cleared. I said there was still observed fire falling on the beaches and therefore the German fire control post in the village must be still functioning.
I ordered him to clear the village again and repeat this operation until the fire on the beach had ceased, even if he had to do it four or five times. Ralph was none too happy about my orders but actually it was obvious that our beach-head was of little value if the enemy could direct fire on all craft landing there...”


I’m of the distinct impression that SAA 989 were doing more than just shouting at the Canadians:

Deine Mutter war ein Hamster und dein Vater roch nach Holunderbeeren!
Yes, but it took them most of the morning to get to doing more than just shouting. At OMAHA, the response was more prompt. And that could be yet another reason the analysts chose to exclude them in WO 291/246, since they were focused on their artificial definition of "on the beach"...the narrow geographic and temporal limits of the study.
"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

Artee
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Posts: 36
Joined: 03 Oct 2010 01:56

Re: Artillery in Normandy 6.6.1944

Post by Artee » 26 May 2018 04:17

And we’re going around and around and around. :wink: I was attempting to drop it (well sort of)….but as you know the dodgy casualty figures and dodgy findings of ‘that’ report (I'm not going to type it’s number again!) have been indirectly handed down through official and unofficial historical writing over 73 years…Yes you analysts clearly love fudge, quite a lot. :D

Thanks for re-hashing the info on the units inland in the Sword area – I’ve been across all that for some years – however it’s nevertheless not a bad idea to trot it out again for other readers on the forum.

And, I should have said - about a week ago perhaps - notwithstanding ‘that’ report was focused “on the beach” (and so much written since has been), the events of the day, inland, are of particular interest - especially the Allied efforts to deal with the German Batteries - from Le Havre to Cherbourg.

Again, yes Omaha copped the worst of it. However there's more to the story. And still more to be found (eg. the SAA 989 map)

Another snippet from the Juno area….

From Major L Fulton OC D Coy Winnipeg Rifles – Mike Green … “there was all the noise in the world…Then you’d see a big spout of water come up and it dawned on me it was artillery fire and this wasn’t going to be a surprise. The Germans were awake and waiting for us…”


Must sign off, apparently I’ve got my knickers in a twist – I’m might have to see a urologist! :D
Artee

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