Fate of E-Battr 722

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Manuferey
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Re: Fate of E-Battr 722

Post by Manuferey » 19 Sep 2011 02:11

Jos,

Guy François has indicated that the gun which derailed in Frogère was No. 919079. This is indeed one of the guns of E.722 (see p.96 of Eisenbahnartillerie).

We can also look at it this way in reference to EAA 780:
The only other battery equipped with 24 cm Th.Br.K. was E.664 of EAA 780. It was stationed at Guethary in the far southwestern corner of France in early June 1944.
The derailment of the 24 cm gun happened north of La Rochelle and the train was coming from the northwest (see map on http://histoire.bournezeau.free.fr/nonze/deraille.htm).
Therefore, it is hard to imagine that a railway gun coming from the south would have travelled past east of La Rochelle to come back from the northeast to reach La Rochelle.

Regarding the German document, I assume that the three batteries of EAA 780 were E.664, E.674 and E.721. In "Eisenbahnartillerie", Guy François mentions that Stab EAA 780 and the batteries E.664, E.674, E.721 and E.765 (earlier with EAA 725 in the Caen area as you had mentioned) had been able to withdraw in the Saarbrucken area with their equipment.

Emmanuel

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Re: Fate of E-Battr 722

Post by jopaerya » 19 Sep 2011 16:33

Hi Emmanuel

I have great repect for Guy François , but in his book page 84 you can see the 919084 ( E 722 )
captured by the French , please note last page the 919084 ( E 674 )

The one at Torigny-sur-Vire the end of the barrel is blowed-off and the one at bridge at Frogère
with the barrel total loss under the bridge of the carriage derailed on top of the bridge with the
number 919079 please note again the last page . Maybe I made a mistake but it looks the 919079
was used by both E 664 and 722 ??

Regards Jos

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Re: Fate of E-Battr 722

Post by Manuferey » 20 Sep 2011 03:17

Jos,

I don't have the book "Eisenbahnbatterie" with me (I'm travelling) but I seem to recall that Guy François mentions that 919079 was used first by E.664 until 1943 and then by E.722 (or the other way round). It would have been exchanged for 919084 then. :idea:

Emmanuel

P.S. It's "Torigni" with an "i" at the end, not a "y". I often do the same mistake myself. :oops:

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Re: Fate of E-Battr 722

Post by jopaerya » 21 Sep 2011 15:38

Hi Emmanuel

You are right about the about the text 1943 about the 919079 , would be nice to know were
the captured gun ( 919084 ) was found that was in French stock after the war .

Regards Jos

P.S. Thanks for the correction , I will keep it in mind .

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Re: Fate of E-Battr 722

Post by jopaerya » 25 Sep 2011 19:11

Hello

End mai 1944 no E 722 on the west front

Regards Jos
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Re: Fate of E-Battr 722

Post by Manuferey » 25 Sep 2011 21:01

Thanks Jos for this document but it brings several questions:

I cannot see 1./725 either on the document even if this E-batterie was located near Calais. Maybe it is because it was in transit towards the Cotentin peninsula.

In addition, there is no unit of the AOK 7 sector on the document (except schwere Stellungs-Werfer-Regt. 101 which has been crossed but was present in the Cotentin peninsula) and in particular no mention of Art. Regt-Stab z.b.V. 621 with sA.A. 456. and 457, both motorized, nor of Panzer-Abt. 206.

What do you think? Were units of AOK 7 listed on a separate sheet?

Emmanuel

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Re: Fate of E-Battr 722

Post by jopaerya » 26 Sep 2011 04:20

Yes , they were placed on left colum , but there was no E 722 ??

Regards Jos
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Re: Fate of E-Battr 722

Post by jopaerya » 29 Sep 2011 20:14

Here a document from the Nara archive from the trapped troops in the Cherbourg peninsula .

Regards Jos
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Re: Fate of E-Battr 722

Post by Manuferey » 30 Sep 2011 02:18

Yes, I know this document: it lists indeed the units that were positioned in the northern half of the Cotentin peninsula on June 20, 1944. However, not all units listed in the document were trapped: StuG-Abt/Brigade 902 is known to have escaped and was located near La-Haye-du_puits on June 22. On the other hand, AOK 7 Sturm-Btl. is not mentioned but it retreated towards Cherbourg as well and the last remnants of the battalion fought in the Cap de la Hague peninsula until June 31st.

Emmanuel

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Re: Fate of E-Battr 722

Post by Simon Trew » 30 Sep 2011 13:58

Sorry - just tried posting reply but it disappeared in electronic ether. Here's a second attempt.

Photos of two guns from this battery can be found in the Imperial War Museum. B 8573-6 (inclusive) show gun number 919 084, photographed (according to the caption) on the railway at Villers-Bocage by a British Army photographer on 6 August. Photos B 8979-82 (inclusive) show gun number 519 080 photographed at Vire on 10 August.

Also, USNA RG 407 Box 1402, FUSA Artillery Report # 49, 8 August 1944 notes that US V Corps reported that it had found five [sic] railway guns near Torigni-sur-Vire (captured by US 35 ID on 31 July). Three just west of the town and one to the east had their gun barrels removed; only damaged carriages on turntables were left. A fifth gun was discovered 5 km east of the town and although the weapon was complete, it was badly damaged. According to local French police, the gun was hit by air bombardment soon after D-Day and never fired.

Hope this helps and is of some interest.

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Re: Fate of E-Battr 722

Post by jopaerya » 30 Sep 2011 14:06

Thanks Simon

For your information , do you have the photo's from the I.W.M. from the guns ??
because we can try to track down the guns , we have 7 railway guns now i.s.o. 4 .

Regards Jos

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Re: Fate of E-Battr 722

Post by Manuferey » 01 Oct 2011 02:49

Simon Trew wrote:... gun number 919 084, ... gun number 519 080 photographed at Vire on 10 August.
Great find Simon ! Thank you for sharing. :D
According to Guy Francois in "Eisenbahnbatterie", 919 084 (and I assume 919 080 as well - not 519 080 as all numbers started with "9") belonged to E.664 which was positioned in the French southwest on June 6, 1944.
Simon Trew wrote:... five [sic] railway guns near Torigni-sur-Vire (captured by US 35 ID on 31 July). Three just west of the town and one to the east had their gun barrels removed; only damaged carriages on turntables were left. A fifth gun was discovered 5 km east of the town and although the weapon was complete, it was badly damaged. According to local French police, the gun was hit by air bombardment soon after D-Day and never fired.
E.722 had 4 guns and we know that one derailed at Frogeres. The fifth gun above had to be the well known gun from E.722. In addition we know that 1./725 was also positioned in the St-Lo area on June 6 with 2 x 28 cm Neue Bruno K. (the 3rd one had been damaged inthe Calais area). So the five guns captured near Torigni-sur-Vire could have been three from E.722 (plus the two from 1./725. :idea:

Emmanuel

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Re: Fate of E-Battr 722

Post by Simon Trew » 01 Oct 2011 07:02

Glad to help.

Jos - sorry, I don't have scans or prints of the images. I took old-fashioned photocopies when I was in the IWM photo archive some time ago, but the quality is poor. The original prints are very clear, however, and it wouldn't be too hard to order copies via the IWM website if you wanted them.

Emmanuel - Quite right, it is a '9' at the start of the serial number, not a '5'. As mentioned above, my photocopies are not very clear, but with a magnifying glass I can see I mis-read the number.

I must admit I was confused that V Corps claimed to have found 5 weapons at or near Torigni, especially as from the descriptions none seem to correspond with the one famously photographed in the Torigni railway sidings (the only intact piece found by V Corps is stated to be 5 km from the town, and as far as I know the Torigni sidings are pretty close to the town). So assuming V Corps had not simply badly misidentified the four carriages from which guns had allegedly been removed, that would give a total of 8 pieces (4 carriages without guns, 1 badly damaged gun 5 km from the town, 1 apparently intact piece at Torigni itself, 1 gun at Vire and 1 at Villers-Bocage). Or maybe the one photographed at Torigni by the US Signal Corps cameraman is indeed the damaged piece mentioned by V Corps. Difficult to say.

Still, you seem to be correct that more than one railway battery was operating from positions behind the German lines during the summer. I'm afraid my expertise on such things is close to nil - I was trying to caption the well-known image at Torigini for a book of Normandy photos that will be published in the UK next spring and came across this page on the forum during my research. But if I come across anything else I will try to remember to post it here.

Simon

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Re: Fate of E-Battr 722

Post by jopaerya » 02 Oct 2011 10:46

Hello

The gunnumbers does not seem to fit with the books we have ??
According to Guy Francois in "Eisenbahnbatterie", 919 084 (and I assume 919 080 as well - not 519 080 as all numbers started with "9") belonged to E.664 which was positioned in the French southwest on June 6, 1944.
Here a map from 10-08-1944 you can see the E721 and E.A. 780 ( E664 and E674 ) in transport ( Operation Cobra
was 25 July ) so these guns would never have reached Normandie . This document fits with derailing of the bridge at Frogère .

Map = http://www.wwii-photos-maps.com/

Regards Jos
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Re: Fate of E-Battr 722

Post by Manuferey » 02 Oct 2011 13:30

Jos,

Great find ! 8-)
91084 is indicated in “Eisenbahnartillerie” as belonging to E.664 and 919 080 to E.722 but in 1943. However, I have received information from Guy François mentioning that the same guns could have been assigned successively to different batteries depending on repair or maintenance schedules. The information given in “Eisenbahnartillerie” reflect data found in German documents at a certain date.

Based on your map, it could indeed mean that the gun at Frogères (No. 919 079) belonged instead to E.664 in August 1944 and was retreating back towards La Rochelle. 8O

This would also mean that the two guns No. 919 084 and 919 080 belonged to E.722 (the only unit with E.664 equipped with 24 cm Th.Br.K.) in August 1944. The guns were captured by the British Army in a 30 km radius from Torigni-sur-Vire : Villers-Bocage is about 25 km east of Torigni and Vire is about 30 km south of Torigni. In “Eisenbahnartillerie” (page 72), Guy Francois confirms that some 24 cm Th.Br.K guns had been captured by the British Army in Normandy.

So if we go back to Simon’s information of five railway guns captured by the 35th US ID around Torigni, we would have:
- 2 x 24 cm Th.Br.K. from E.722 including the one on the famous picture.
- 2 x 28 cm Neue Br.K. from 1./725
- one gun of unknown unit. I think it was 28 cm K5 from E.688. :idea: Here is why:

This last gun could have been indeed a 28 cm K5 from E.688 or E.765 since these units had been sent in Normandy (711 ID’s sector). If we go back to “Eisenbahnartillerie » again, on page 68 we find : « On September 1st, 1944, EAA 780 (Stab) and the batteries E.664, E.674, E.721 and E.765 had been able to retreat to Sarrebrück with its equipment » and « among the units that had lost all their equipment : E.722, E.688, E.1/725 ».

Emmanuel

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