Sword Beach - The Day After - 22nd Dragoons

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Mikal, Jun 9, 2009.

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  1. Wednesday 7th June 1944
    A Sqdn stayed under command 185 for support onto Start/[illegible].
    Remainder moved North to high ground South of Hermanville where best placed to engage armour. Arrived there about 0600hrs.

    At 0800hrs Flails ordered to Bde Reserve Area just on East edge of Hermanville.

    Short sharp bomber attack soon after arrival. At least 4 down in few seconds but cloud cover gave them some chance.

    Air cover ground.
    “No atheists in Foxholes!”

    Spent morning sorting out casualties.

    Situation at 1200hrs.
    Killed 4* }
    Wounded 5 } A & C
    Missing 50 }

    Vehicles Fit - 4
    Without Flail - 2
    May get on road - 7
    13 out of 26 in A/C

    Tim Wheway has done a magnificent job – earned at least an M.C. Victor Boal and his gunner (Gillard) put an 88mm out on the beaches. Gun in concrete and 4 rounds of H.E. into slit destroyed it.

    Victors tank hit as he was leaving craft – he engaged at once and destroyed it. But for this action we’d undoubtedly have lost many more chaps as all casualties were from 88s.

    Pat Sadler showed a lot of dash and guts getting into the town and clearing up on his own initiative.

    David Knapp did well and put in a tremendous amount of work eventually coming on and joining me. Full of fight and [words illegible]

    Donald Robertson had rotten luck in having all his commanders casualties, Turner and Aird killed and Brotherton missing. Brotherton never got off the craft which was hit and the bangalores went up – Col. Cocks A.R.E. reported killed (awful loss). Craft reported to have put to sea again with Brotherton still aboard having requested a tow off.

    No sign of Charles Mundy yet (time inserted here 1700hrs) but hear he and his Tp are alright.

    John Allen’s tank hit on water coming ashore and set on fire! Crew(?) bailed out and machine gunned in water. John missing and likewise his crew. Rumour that he and others evacuated UK last night but no confirmation. Pray that its true.

    Spent afternoon assessing damage and trying to recrew but pretty impossible until all likely to return come in. 50 missing is too many to sort out on spec. Snipers in village. Blowing up houses.

    Situation at 1700hrs
    Killed - 4
    Missing - 1 Officer/9 Ors
    Wounded - 6 Ors

    Pz Div made threat from East towards Canal – airborne reported breakthrough of 20 Tigers at Ranville. 13/18 dispatched and Inf turned up to support and meet the threat. We took over defence of Hermanville.

    4 Tp to East/S, WD (Tp 4) to North, 1 Tp (DJ and Cpl Agnew) to West.
    After wettish morning with lots of cloud had a fine afternoon and evening.

    Flails rather out of a job now expect for last ditch work – expect the situation will be a bit “fluid” for several days yet but we made fairly good progress today and the Canadians got onto the Caen line and our chaps on towards the high ground overlooking Caen.

    Threat to East contained.

    All the above comes from the diary of OC A Sqn, Major Peter Clifford, 22nd Dragoons.

    I have omitted references to the Westminster Dragoons. They unexpectedly had to supply 2 troops of flails to add to the force landing after the initial assault. This was due to the realisation that maybe Sword would actually be tougher to crack than originally planned. They did not train for D Day like B & C Sqns WD so they were expected to ahve problems loading into the landing craft but this proved groundless. There are few records to their activities off Sword Beach though they did sustain very light casualties.

    Acceptable causalties according to 30 Armd Bde for Sword Beach were set at 50%.
  2. One of the things i find interesting about reading any diary or report like this, from either side, is what effect they think they had on the enemy and what they think they were up against.

    In this case, evry anti-tank gun seems to become an 88 and every tank a Tiger. The panzer division mentioned was in fact the 21st Pz.Div. and the '20 tigers' were in fact Pz.Kpfw. IV of panzer regiment 22.

    there were in fact relativly few Tigers in Normandy throught the whole campaign, around 90 all told iirc, grouped in 3 battalions. The first of which to reach the front, schwere SS-Panzer abteilung 101, which included in its number the most successful tank commander in history, Michael Wittmann, arrived on the 12th June.
  3. Airborne never very good at AFV recognition....

    B Sqn 22nd Dragoons moved over the canal to support them on 7-8 June.
  4. The A/T really was an 88 in a fixed position. Lt Boal's crew posted a letter to clear it.
  5. Richard Doherty's book 'Normandy 1944: The Road to Victory' is dedicated to Tpr Leonard Kemp of 22nd Dragoons who was killed on 6 June 1944. Any idea what happened to him?
  6. It's in my thread for D Day. Kemp was the G/M on Sgt Cochrane's crew. They were part of 4Tp, C Sqn.

    You can find the full details of the day here

    In brief, if you don't want to read the challenges of the day -

    "An 88 mm AP goes straight into the front of Sgt Cochrane's tank killing the operator Tpr Kemp, and wounding Sgt Cochrane, Tpr Mackinnon. "

    This happened jsut after reaching the beach.
  7. I don't like Doherty's book. He used some excellent sources yet basic errors have been made but that's another topic.
  8. Such as? And do you know anything about Leonard Kemp's death?
  9. Try read the entry further up - there is info there for you in brief plus a link to the TimForce commander's diary for 6th june.