Britain's completely underrated role in WWII

The area most underrated IMO would be the British Coastal Commands contribution
 
Now that is just taking the piss! Ally as f*** though! :-D
Note, one of them is extra ally... its a Firefly Tulip.

The usage of the Tulip is pretty well documented on the web and in Boscawen's Armoured Guardsman. I would caution you that the guy is a biff when it comes to ID'ing equipment in the book, but as he was sort of, the inventor of the Tulip, he's bang on the money.

Then those crazed Canadians had to go one better...


Now the book didn't describe the vehicles used. I got the impression is was lorries for some reason
LandMatress was the same rocket as the Tulip, married with a HE shell liberated from some Artillery types.

Of course the Canadians were involved, and this was the result:

Note the rear left fender, that was caused by the back-blast. speaking of which...

They weren't quite mad enough to fire it while inside!
 
Note, one of them is extra ally... its a Firefly Tulip.

The usage of the Tulip is pretty well documented on the web and in Boscawen's Armoured Guardsman. I would caution you that the guy is a biff when it comes to ID'ing equipment in the book, but as he was sort of, the inventor of the Tulip, he's bang on the money.

Then those crazed Canadians had to go one better...




LandMatress was the same rocket as the Tulip, married with a HE shell liberated from some Artillery types.

Of course the Canadians were involved, and this was the result:

Note the rear left fender, that was caused by the back-blast. speaking of which...

They weren't quite mad enough to fire it while inside!
It was the Firefly Tulip I was talking about! I've seen them mounted on standard Shermans before but never a Firefly. When you absolutely have to annihilate everything in front of you! Land Mattress I think was a 5in shell attached to the end of the standard 60pdr rocket.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
It was the Firefly Tulip I was talking about! I've seen them mounted on standard Shermans before but never a Firefly. When you absolutely have to annihilate everything in front of you! Land Mattress I think was a 5in shell attached to the end of the standard 60pdr rocket.
Read the wiki link I posted, it has pictures too!
 
This Wiki entry sums it up quite nicely.

Commonwealth forces (United Kingdom, Colonial, Imperial and Dominion), totaling close to 15 million serving men and women, fought the German, Italian, Japanese and other Axis armies, air forces and navies across Europe, Africa, Asia, and in the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Arctic Oceans. Commonwealth forces fought in Britain, and across Northwestern Europe in the effort to slow or stop the Axis advance.

Commonwealth airforces fought the Luftwaffe to a standstill over Britain, and its armies fought and destroyed Italian forces in North and East Africa and occupied several overseas colonies of German-occupied European nations. Following successful engagements against Axis forces,

Commonwealth troops invaded and occupied Libya, Italian Somaliland, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and Madagascar.[4]

The Commonwealth defeated, held back or slowed the Axis powers for three years while mobilizing their globally integrated economy, military, and industrial infrastructure to build what became, by 1942, the most extensive military apparatus of the war. These efforts came at the cost of 150,000 military deaths, 400,000 wounded, 100,000 prisoners, over 300,000 civilian deaths, and the loss of 70 major warships, 39 submarines, 3,500 aircraft, 1,100 tanks and 65,000 vehicles.

Link to Wiki Page Here
View attachment 384455
I reckon that this is one of the most powerful and emotive posters of World War II. Probably not particularly PC but it does show the members of the Commonwealth united and equal. The graphics are brilliant, too.
 
The area most underrated IMO would be the British Coastal Commands contribution
The Imperial War Museums:
RAF Coastal Command played a pivotal role in the Allied war effort, most notably against Hitler's U-boats... Coastal Command was denied its fair share of home-grown aircraft [the “Cinderella Service”]. Instead, it relied mostly on American-built Liberators, Catalinas and Flying Fortresses, and the obsolescent cast-offs from RAF Bomber Command. Ironically, aircraft numbers only reached satisfactory levels after the Battle of the Atlantic had been won, but U-boats were pursued until the very end of the war.

As I found out last year; besides complaining about resources, CC crews spent in excess of ten hours often at low altitude, at night and low on fuel. One amusing first-hand tale was of a returning CC crew, who thought they wouldn't make it home, releasing two homing pigeons (Op Columba the secret pigeon service aka the SPS). "They got home before we did".

Pigeons were used by bombing crews including Coastal Command for alternative communications if anything went wrong. Allegedly, survivors of the Special Pigeon Service were sworn to secrecy and never squawked.

The birds were also dropped in baskets by parachute with messages to the occupied territories. With luck, locals would send valuable INT back. I've seen a statement that claims Germans sent one pigeon back with the message: "We are returning your pigeon as we have plenty to eat already".

"The U-boats were utterly routed"... "Coastal Command saved the invasion fleet in Operation Overlord": Admiral of The Fleet Viscount Cunningham said. "Our comparative immunity to submarine attack was principally due to the enthusiastic efficiency of Coastal Command [in one of its two main roles]. Quoted from Chester's “A Sailor’s Odyssey”, London, 1951, p.404. Also appears in Simpson's biography of Cunningham, and Andrew Hendrie's book on Coastal Command is a decent read.

David Owen Steinbach
May 2016:
"THE CONSTANT ENDEAVOR: RAF COASTAL COMMAND AND THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC":
No force was more efficient or professional than RAF Coastal Command. This elite force of pilots and ground crews helped to turn the tide in the Battle of the Atlantic and no other Allied force inflicted as much destruction or created as much chaos for the U-boats. RAF Coastal Command was a crucial factor in turning the tide of the Battle of the Atlantic and preventing the British from suffering defeat as a result of a lack of supplies with which to wage war.
 
The Imperial War Museums:
RAF Coastal Command played a pivotal role in the Allied war effort, most notably against Hitler's U-boats... Coastal Command was denied its fair share of home-grown aircraft [the “Cinderella Service”]. Instead, it relied mostly on American-built Liberators, Catalinas and Flying Fortresses, and the obsolescent cast-offs from RAF Bomber Command. Ironically, aircraft numbers only reached satisfactory levels after the Battle of the Atlantic had been won, but U-boats were pursued until the very end of the war.

As I found out last year; besides complaining about resources, CC crews spent in excess of ten hours often at low altitude, at night and low on fuel. One amusing first-hand tale was of a returning CC crew, who thought they wouldn't make it home, releasing two homing pigeons (Op Columba the secret pigeon service aka the SPS). "They got home before we did".

Pigeons were used by bombing crews including Coastal Command for alternative communications if anything went wrong. Allegedly, survivors of the Special Pigeon Service were sworn to secrecy and never squawked.

The birds were also dropped in baskets by parachute with messages to the occupied territories. With luck, locals would send valuable INT back. I've seen a statement that claims Germans sent one pigeon back with the message: "We are returning your pigeon as we have plenty to eat already".

"The U-boats were utterly routed"... "Coastal Command saved the invasion fleet in Operation Overlord": Admiral of The Fleet Viscount Cunningham said. "Our comparative immunity to submarine attack was principally due to the enthusiastic efficiency of Coastal Command [in one of its two main roles]. Quoted from Chester's “A Sailor’s Odyssey”, London, 1951, p.404. Also appears in Simpson's biography of Cunningham, and Andrew Hendrie's book on Coastal Command is a decent read.

David Owen Steinbach
May 2016:
"THE CONSTANT ENDEAVOR: RAF COASTAL COMMAND AND THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC":
No force was more efficient or professional than RAF Coastal Command. This elite force of pilots and ground crews helped to turn the tide in the Battle of the Atlantic and no other Allied force inflicted as much destruction or created as much chaos for the U-boats. RAF Coastal Command was a crucial factor in turning the tide of the Battle of the Atlantic and preventing the British from suffering defeat as a result of a lack of supplies with which to wage war.
I would be careful about attributing the demise of the U-boats to Coastal Command. I mean don't get me wrong they helped (as did all forces) and they did a great job of keeping the coastal areas locked down, and rescuing a alrge number of people. But to attribute the defeat to one arm, especially one that had limited range seems to be a bit of a mistake.
 
I
I would be careful about attributing the demise of the U-boats to Coastal Command. I mean don't get me wrong they helped (as did all forces) and they did a great job of keeping the coastal areas locked down, and rescuing a alrge number of people. But to attribute the defeat to one arm, especially one that had limited range seems to be a bit of a mistake.
Thanks, I was quoting Cunningham, who was there, obviously. I certainly wouldn't attribute the U-boat defeat to one arm.
 
The Imperial War Museums:
RAF Coastal Command played a pivotal role in the Allied war effort, most notably against Hitler's U-boats... Coastal Command was denied its fair share of home-grown aircraft [the “Cinderella Service”]. Instead, it relied mostly on American-built Liberators, Catalinas and Flying Fortresses, and the obsolescent cast-offs from RAF Bomber Command. Ironically, aircraft numbers only reached satisfactory levels after the Battle of the Atlantic had been won, but U-boats were pursued until the very end of the war.
I wonder how much of that could be laid at the feet of Harris? Harris seems to be single mined and obsessed that only his way could win the war and that all possible resources must go to bomber command.
 
Now the book didn't describe the vehicles used. I got the impression is was lorries for some reason
Ugly, the Canadian Land Mattress (Projector, Rocket 3in No8 MkI) as used by the 1st Rocket Battery RCA was mounted on a carriage:-

 

They weren't quite mad enough to fire it while inside!
The Grand-daddy of a Ferret fitted with Vigilant......
 

ancienturion

LE
Book Reviewer
against Hitler's U-boats
Yet another example.
I am unhappy about the fact that nobody seems to realise that it was actually Germans who manned the U-boats, a trait which seems to pervade all media. I suppose it's specifically for the young who are only taught about the involvement of Hitler and his Nazis and not the Axis.

Just one more bit which irritates me though I could put it in another thread I suppose.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Ugly, the Canadian Land Mattress (Projector, Rocket 3in No8 MkI) as used by the 1st Rocket Battery RCA was mounted on a carriage:-

I posted a wiki link after my post which showed pics. I assume the launchers were towed by ammo trucks.
 
Yet another example.
I am unhappy about the fact that nobody seems to realise that it was actually Germans who manned the U-boats, a trait which seems to pervade all media. I suppose it's specifically for the young who are only taught about the involvement of Hitler and his Nazis and not the Axis.

Just one more bit which irritates me though I could put it in another thread I suppose.
Agreed and yes of course they were German U-boats; the phraseology quoted - "Hitler's U-boats" - is the IWM's, for reasons best known to them. There are plenty of resources that don't pussyfoot about, such as the self-declared 'apolitical' U-boat.net and the U-boat memorial at Möltenort. Moreover, eminent military historians with the clout to counter irritating dumbing-down and pop history are no longer around.

I wonder how much of that could be laid at the feet of Harris? Harris seems to be single mined and obsessed that only his way could win the war and that all possible resources must go to bomber command.
My understanding is that it wasn't just him in the midst of military politics and interservice rivalry nor the 'intense disputes' between the Admiralty and the Air Ministry .

Without pointing fingers at individuals there was an appetite for strategic bombing campaigns. In short, it's been said that the Air ministry resisted providing aircraft to Coastal Command at the expense of the strategic air offensive against Germany.

I think it's fair to say the Admiralty struggled to get aircraft for both Coastal Command and the Fleet Air Arm. And that the government of the day could perhaps have adjudicated more effectively.

That's only one assessment or opinion ^ - others are available.
 
Ugly, the Canadian Land Mattress (Projector, Rocket 3in No8 MkI) as used by the 1st Rocket Battery RCA was mounted on a carriage:-

The 3"UP rocket was a UK development by Dr Alwyn Crow, and used in a number of applications from anti aircraft to shore bombardment and fighter ground attack, The No 8 Mattress was also developed in UK, although used by Commonwealth units.

Although it does not register in the official record, the mattress's intended use was for laying chemical agent. This has a need to throw a load of agent a short distance in a short time interval, and without a need for pinpoint accuracy. A rocket projector was ideal for this task, and was the genesis of many of these multiple launch rocket systems.

Thankfully they were never used in this role, and were used in various guises to add background sound effects to the more serious business of war fighting..
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Thankfully they were never used in this role, and were used in various guises to add background sound effects to the more serious business of war fighting..
According to Canadian Intelligence summaries of German prisoners taken during Veritable: The initial bombardment was worse than anything ever experienced and even the Canadians felt it was fore firepower than used in Normandy. The Germans actually complained about the rocketing! Well fancy that!
 
According to Canadian Intelligence summaries of German prisoners taken during Veritable: The initial bombardment was worse than anything ever experienced and even the Canadians felt it was fore firepower than used in Normandy. The Germans actually complained about the rocketing! Well fancy that!
The problem with all the multi barrel rocket systems (even to this day...) is that they are essentially a one shot event. The reload time and resupply effort is generally too great to sustain. "Fire all of your guns at once and explode into space..."

Most of them were procured for a purpose they were never used for. Guns are much more flexible and sustainable in the long run, but are more expensive to procure. Not trying to suggest that the German complaints were unfounded, but this is not really a justification. If someone had not shelled out for these rockets to meet another requirement (chemical attacks) then I doubt whether the system would have been built just to use in the opening salvo of an attack.

If you have rocket motors in store, they are easy to modify and building the launchers is cheap. The expensive bit is setting up the cordite presses etc to make the rocket motors!
 
Last edited:

ugly

LE
Moderator
If you have rocket motors in store, they are easy to modify and building the launchers is cheap. The expensive bit is setting up the cordite presses etc to make the rocket motors!
So land mattress was a good use and further development of something we had the kit to built in store. Interesting that it was possibly deemed unsafe/unsuitable post war yet the US Army developed a similar one and it saw limited use in Korea. I would think that anywhere massed infantry in the open is a target description something like a regiment of Land Mattress would be devastating!
 

Similar threads


Latest Threads

Top