Slapton Sands - The Disaster Before D-Day

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Auld-Yin, Mar 18, 2012.

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  1. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

  2. Thanks for the heads up Auld Yin

    Already got it on record, these documentaries seem to be well put together. I would say that the soubriquet 'secret' is a bit of a misnomer these days, this is the second, third, or maybe even fourth in-depth examination on this disaster. Plus the various references before the full story was revealed.

    The loss of LCTs was deeply felt during the invasion. I believe the DD Sherman displayed at Slapton Sands was recovered from the incident.

    Edited once for politeness,
  3. Think the Wheatcroft collection have one of the S boats that is supposed to have taken part in the attack
  4. It was. It was recovered in 1984 (the story of the recovery is told in a book by Ken Small who was instrumental in campaigning for its raising). BTW, it's not a DD Sherman.

    The mass evacuation of the inland area is an interesting story in itself.
  5. "). BTW, it's not a DD Sherman."
    It was a few years ago when I looked at it- the bevel gearbox drives were still visible on the rear - I believe the boxes and props were removed to help with a restoration project.
  6. phil245

    phil245 LE Book Reviewer

    the book was called " The forgotten dead". 946 American servicemen died when U-boats infiltrated rehearsals for D-Day. Ironically among the dead were a grave registration unit. very informative book.
  7. I thought so, I couldn't find the photos I took at the time, and all the internet ones seem to be of the front armour and sides. I e-mailed the trust at Slapton last night, so will get a definitive answer some time soon.

    I'm not going ga-ga yet, hooray!
  8. They weren't U-Boats, they were E-Boats ("Enemy" boats). The Germans themselves referred to them as S-Boote - short for Schnellboote (fast boats).
  9. phil245

    phil245 LE Book Reviewer

    if you read the book, it states that it was a DD Sherman. The reason it sank was because a cover plate had been left off underneath, so that when it disembarked for the landing craft, it sank. the crew escaped and Ken Small, the author, managed to track them down and invite them over to Slapton sands for the unveiling of the the recovered tank.
  10. IIRC, a big issue was remains recovery after it was found out something like 23 of the missing were on the BIGOT list. everyone of the bodys had to br recovered and indentified to make sure the S-Bootes hadnt captured one and now had the Overlord plans.
  11. Ten of the fatalities were of great importance. When D-Day was planned, the men who had prior knowledge of the invasion were known as ‘bigots’. While the date was not yet known to the ‘bigots’, the landing sites were. Ten ‘bigots’ were unaccounted for in the immediate aftermath of Operation Tiger. No one knew if by chance any one of them had been captured by the S-boats. It was only after the ten bodies had been accounted for that the plans for D-Day continued.
  12. phil245

    phil245 LE Book Reviewer

    The term " Bigot" was chosen by Winston Churchill, it is just the words " To Gib" short for " to Gibraltar" reversed.
  13. Apologies, you are correct.
  14. Post war the US interregators asked the German admiral Doenitz about the incident. He is reported to have said that he remembered the incident well, not more than twelve boats were involved. They were mot aware of the exercises in advance. They were alert for a possible invasion and had been ordered to slip as close to British ports as possible to extend the range of their recce. The excellence of the air protection overt the South Coast meant that the Germans were not gettign any information from air recce. After hitting the US boats the E Boats felt they were outnumbered and withdrew.

    One indirect result of the action may have been to raise German awarenss of the need to for air recce over the Ports in the western half of the channel. The Germans did manage to ger some air recce over Poole Weymouth and Portland in mid May. The OB West report for W/e 21 May reports "enough shipping to transport two and a half divisions" and notes that there are only a small number of vessels in Folkstone or Dover. If interpreted correctly that would havce givne a big clue about the landing area. However that pice of information is masked by "Op Bodyguard "measures such as reports of the British clearing minefields off the Dutch coast and reports of large forces of landing craft in other Ports off the SE Coast later in May.

    von Runsteadt's overall report on 22 May -

    "The focal point of the enany's oonoentration for invasion is in the South and South east of England. The Isle of Wight area
    (Portsmouth-Southampton) is a fooal point of preparations. The threatened main front is still definitely the Channel front between the Schelde and Normandy as well as the northern coast of Brittany" So it could be anywhere...