Today's Battle

Goatman

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In that case: 10 March 1915 - WW1 Flanders - Battle of Neuve-Chapelle

...11,000 British/Indian army casualties..... Ten VCs awarded.

Inc Rfn Gabar Singh Negi , 39th Garwhal Rifles,posthumous.

His widow died in 1981.
 
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FWIW, My Great Uncle John Murray Jackson died today in the trenches close to Fleurbaix serving in the 1st Canadian Division today 1915. His history relates that it was 7 years to the day that he first set foot in Canada, he served in the 28 Perths there before going to Valcartier. He was one of three Brothers, the eldest was George William who was Previously in the Rifles 1906-1912. It is sad from the point of view that George William sailed for India with 1/5 Hampshires exactly a week before John Murray arrived in the UK to go to France. They therefore just missed each other by a whisker
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Today's battle ( well yesterday's actually - I was at work, who know not the joy of Arrse) - significant to a few folk on here.

19 March 2003 - Operation TELIC , Southern Iraq

' What does TELIC stand for feller? '
' Fook knaws - I reckon it's 'Tell Everybody Leave Is Cancelled'
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Sunday 22 March

Today's battle

1885 Sudan - Battle of Tofrek
For this action The Berkshires won the honour of being named The Royal Berkshire Regiment
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Battle of Tofrek - Wikipedia

-Source - taken from the diary of one of the RMLI officers present:

On this day reveille was sounded at 3.30 am & after a good deal of hard work left our bivouac at 5.30 & took up our position near the water fort.
Two squares were formed, one of Berkshires and Royal Marines, the other of Indians. The squares were frightfully crowded with animals, transport &supplies.

We moved off in the direction of Tamaai over very difficult ground for marching, with very thick prickly
bush. On arriving at a tolerably open space about 5 miles from Suakim Gen’l McNeill decided to form a zariba as
the enemy was reported by scouts to be in front in large numbers. Soon after halting we began the zariba.

Apparently some carelessness was shown in the matter of precautions fro safety. Men were sent out to cut mimosa
bush without arms and no covering parties. At about 2.30 pm when the zariba was almost finished & the squares
were full of animals & supplies, the enemy made a bold skillful and determined attack. Several men were killed
outside whilst cutting down bushes. The Indian drivers were panic stricken and rushed thru the zariba with their
animals, followed by the enemy chasing them, thus the enemy got into the squares causing havoc. The Berkshires
& Royal Marines behaved splendidly. Some of our officers and men were taken clean out and were attacked, but
formed rallying square and drove off the enemy with great loss. Indian casualties were very high.

Our loss was heavy including 6 officers & 33 men killed. Lieut Seymour RN was killed at his Gardner gun at a corner of the zariba where the enemy had broken through, and 5 sailors were killed and four wounded. It is estimated that over 2,000 of the enemy were killed, and as the hot fire lasted for only about 15 to 20 minutes things were looking serious at one time. Approx 700 camels were killed altogether. After the first startling surprise the Berkshires and Marines, behaving splendidly, soon got into fighting trim, and did good execution.

Total casualties for RM: 8 killed, 12 wounded. For RN: 1 Officer 6 ratings killed, 4 wounded.
------------------------- ---------------------- ------------------------


The Gardner gun was a two or five barrelled hand cranked machine gun. bought by the RN for ship borne use. It was superseded shortly after by the Maxim, from which the British Army's standard Vickers .303 MG was derived.
 
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Goatman

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Book Reviewer
Saturday 28th March - The Raid on St Nazaire 1942



1585396309137.png


To some unfamiliar with the intent behind Operation CHARIOT - this shot may look as though the Andrew carelessly parked one of their destroyers ashore.

The aim of the raid ,from the Navy's point of view, was to deny the Nazi war machine the use of one of the only drydocks on the French Atlantic coast that could accommodate the German Navy's largest threats - the battleships Bismarck and Tirpitz.

HMS Campbeltown, pictured, was one of the vintage US destroyers which had arrived as part of the 'Lend Lease 'deal. She had been laid down in 1919 and served for 20 years as the USS Buchanan.

With 260 RM commandos onboard, plus a large explosive charge in the bow, she rammed the dry dock gates at 01:30 in the morning at 19 knots.

Fitted with time fuzes, the charge exploded next day at noon, taking with it 320 casualties from the occupying forces. These included a party of German staff officers who were aboard inspecting the damage to the dock gates at the time.

An accompanying force of MTBs and MGBs was detected by the port garrison and shot to ribbons. With their seaborne escape route cut off , the Commandos fought their way into town until they were forced to surrender.

Only 5 men escaped through Southern France into Spain , the rest being taken prisoner.

The scale of the Kriegsmarine U-Boat pens in St Nazaire, which were NOT the aim point of the raid, can be seen in the French video of St Nazaire today.


As a major U-Boat base, the port was extensively bombed by both the RAF and the USAAF subsequently. It didn't stop the U-boat ops.


Saint-Nazaire - Wikipedia

The U-boat threat to supply convoys across the Atlantic made Saint-Nazaire a constant target of Allied air forces, in the face of determined Luftwaffe fighter opposition to raids by United States Army Air Forces Eighth Air Force bombers. On 3 January 1943 Colonel Curtis LeMay led 85 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 1st Bombardment Wing against the U-boat pens at Saint-Nazaire, on the Eighth Air Force's sixth raid against the facility. LeMay also introduced the combat box defensive formation, echeloning three-plane elements within a squadron, and squadrons within a group, to concentrate defensive firepower against fighter opposition. Only 76 aircraft found and hit the target and during the mission seven bombers were shot down and 47 damaged.

As a result of the raid, on 14 January 1943 under directive (S.46239/?? A.C.A.S. Ops), the Allies implemented incendiary bomb tactics against U-boat pens, under the Area bombing directive. To minimize civilian casualties during air attacks, the Allies devised a plan to force an evacuation of the town. For three days in 1943, British Royal Air Force and American aircraft dropped scores of leaflets warning the population of a planned fire-bombing raid. At the end of the third day, the raid came and burned the entire city to the ground. Casualties were light as most of the civilians had heeded the warning and fled to the safety of the countryside but after that point, except for the self-contained U-boat base, Saint-Nazaire remained abandoned until the end of the war.

After D-day and the liberation of most of France in 1944, German troops in Saint-Nazaire's submarine base refused to surrender, and they holed up (as did their counterparts in the La Rochelle and Lorient bases). Since the Germans could no longer conduct major submarine operations from the bases without a supply line, the SHAEF commander, U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower decided to simply bypass these ports, and the Allied armies focused their resources on the invasion of Germany. Saint-Nazaire and the other two German "pockets" remained under German control until after the last day of the war in Europe, 8 May 1945.
 
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^ Much as I have real admiration for the action, I came away some time ago thinking they really had missed the boat. With Bismarck sunk, Operation Cerberus to get the Salmon and Gluckstein home in February of that year and Tirpitz already in the Fjords it must have become clear that it could no longer be possible for the Germans to use SN. I know it was about denial to the enemy but I think in retrospect it should have been cancelled. The X craft did more damage with fewer resources.
 

Goatman

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Book Reviewer
With Bismarck sunk, Operation Cerberus to get the Salmon and Gluckstein home in February of that year
undone by Autocorrect...Scharnhorst and Gneisenau ?

The Tirpitz hiding in a fjord in Norway ( where she was eventually sunk not by the gallant X-Craft submariners but by an RAF raid ) meant that the Admiralty HAD to consider her a possible threat.

Bear in mind the First World War mantra of the threat posed by ' a Fleet in being' was still well within the learned habits of the men at the top of the Admiralty.



Captain Roskill's 'History of the War at Sea' doubtless explains the thinking behind Op Chariot.

It would be interesting to know whether 'Magic' product was also involved in a Go/No Go decision.

One must also consider the atmosphere of the time. 1942 was pretty much the highwater mark of Nazi expansion. Stalingrad hadn't happened yet and the whole of Western Europe was resignedly coming to terms with The Thousand Year Reich.

Just as during the Napoleonic War - when such tedious raids from the sea were described in Parliament as 'mere breaking windows with a hatful of Guineas' - there was merit in showing the enemy that Festung Europa was by no means untouchable.

The fact that a 5,000 strong Nazi garrison was deployed to guard the U-Boat pens - where they stayed ,unused until 8 May 1945 - was assuredly a useful drain on the resources available to the OKW.

Sadly, if understandably, the people of Ste Nazaire are still not over fond of the English having seen their town utterly razed from the air.
 
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QRK2

LE
Sadly, if understandably, the people of Ste Nazaire are still not over fond of the English having seen their town utterly razed from the air.
The same could be said of any part of France closely associated with their navy since Op Catapult.
 

joey88

Old-Salt
Just watching the Jeremy Clarkson documentary The Greatest Raid of All, and raising a glass to their memory. Balls of steel.
 
undone by Autocorrect...Scharnhorst and Gneisenau ?

The Tirpitz hiding in a fjord in Norway ( where she was eventually sunk not by the gallant X-Craft submariners but by an RAF raid ) meant that the Admiralty HAD to consider her a possible threat.

Bear in mind the First World War mantra of the threat posed by ' a Fleet in being' was still well within the learned habits of the men at the top of the Admiralty.



Captain Roskill's 'History of the War at Sea' doubtless explains the thinking behind Op Chariot.

It would be interesting to know whether 'Magic' product was also involved in a Go/No Go decision.

One must also consider the atmosphere of the time. 1942 was pretty much the highwater mark of Nazi expansion. Stalingrad hadn't happened yet and the whole of Western Europe was resignedly coming to terms with The Thousand Year Reich.

Just as during the Napoleonic War - when such tedious raids from the sea were described in Parliament as 'mere breaking windows with a hatful of Guineas' - there was merit in showing the enemy that Festung Europa was by no means untouchable.

The fact that a 5,000 strong Nazi garrison was deployed to guard the U-Boat pens - where they stayed ,unused until 8 May 1945 - was assuredly a useful drain on the resources available to the OKW.

Sadly, if understandably, the people of Ste Nazaire are still not over fond of the English having seen their town utterly razed from the air.
Indeed Fleet in being is a weapon all of it’s own. Commando raids such as they were certainly reminded Germany that it was assailable. But bear in mind Dieppe being a political stunt and that was costing us resources too. It’s all about the concept of demonstrating that something was being done. Moreover Cerberus proved to be a bit of an embarrassment For us as well.
 
undone by Autocorrect...Scharnhorst and Gneisenau ?

The Tirpitz hiding in a fjord in Norway ( where she was eventually sunk not by the gallant X-Craft submariners but by an RAF raid ) meant that the Admiralty HAD to consider her a possible threat.

Bear in mind the First World War mantra of the threat posed by ' a Fleet in being' was still well within the learned habits of the men at the top of the Admiralty.



Captain Roskill's 'History of the War at Sea' doubtless explains the thinking behind Op Chariot.

It would be interesting to know whether 'Magic' product was also involved in a Go/No Go decision.

One must also consider the atmosphere of the time. 1942 was pretty much the highwater mark of Nazi expansion. Stalingrad hadn't happened yet and the whole of Western Europe was resignedly coming to terms with The Thousand Year Reich.

Just as during the Napoleonic War - when such tedious raids from the sea were described in Parliament as 'mere breaking windows with a hatful of Guineas' - there was merit in showing the enemy that Festung Europa was by no means untouchable.

The fact that a 5,000 strong Nazi garrison was deployed to guard the U-Boat pens - where they stayed ,unused until 8 May 1945 - was assuredly a useful drain on the resources available to the OKW.

Sadly, if understandably, the people of Ste Nazaire are still not over fond of the English having seen their town utterly razed from the air.
A single ship, without escorts, and a country apparently starved of fuel. Tirpitz seems to me to have been much more totemic, for both sides, rather than realistic.
 
The fact that a 5,000 strong Nazi garrison was deployed to guard the U-Boat pens - where they stayed ,unused until 8 May 1945 - was assuredly a useful drain on the resources available to the OKW.

Sadly, if understandably, the people of Ste Nazaire are still not over fond of the English having seen their town utterly razed from the air.
Far more Italians died (mostly civilians) once Italy joined that Allies in 1943 than when the country had been part of the Axis.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Indeed Fleet in being is a weapon all of it’s own. Commando raids such as they were certainly reminded Germany that it was assailable. But bear in mind Dieppe being a political stunt and that was costing us resources too. It’s all about the concept of demonstrating that something was being done. Moreover Cerberus proved to be a bit of an embarrassment For us as well.
Dieppe was five months after this. And Adolf was so ticked off with pinprick raids that in October 1942 he ordered all Commandos captured to be shot out of hand - CF The History Press | Hitler’s Commando Order

The execution of British and other allied soldiers in uniform, following their surrender, was a war crime. But it was a war crime with which the German military was long familiar. Particularly on the eastern front, surrendering to the Wehrmacht had never been a guarantee of safety. It has been estimated that about 60% of Soviet soldiers who surrendered to the Germans died in captivity – a loss of up to 3.5 million lives. The rules of war on the eastern front were now to be applied to the west, at least in the case of British and other Allied special forces.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Today's Battle

Battle of Towton - War of the Roses 29 March 1461

Battle of Towton - Wikipedia


Casualties on both sides estimated at between 20,000 to 30,000 making this the bloodiest battle on English soil.

The battle took place on Palm Sunday.


' Handheld Firearms were beginning to appear on the battlefield but were still unreliable and dangerous to discharge.

Artillery, although widely used in warfare, was heavy, cumbersome and difficult to move and fire.

There is no indication that artillery was used at the Battle of Towton.'
 

QRK2

LE
Dieppe was five months after this. And Adolf was so ticked off with pinprick raids that in October 1942 he ordered all Commandos captured to be shot out of hand - CF The History Press | Hitler’s Commando Order

The execution of British and other allied soldiers in uniform, following their surrender, was a war crime. But it was a war crime with which the German military was long familiar. Particularly on the eastern front, surrendering to the Wehrmacht had never been a guarantee of safety. It has been estimated that about 60% of Soviet soldiers who surrendered to the Germans died in captivity – a loss of up to 3.5 million lives. The rules of war on the eastern front were now to be applied to the west, at least in the case of British and other Allied special forces.
IIRC the Commando Order was issued after a specific raid on Sark (Op Basalt). During that raid the Commandos took some prisoners and for whatever reason they were subsequently killed during the exfil (in contact) whilst still having their hands tied.
 
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Saturday 28th March - The Raid on St Nazaire 1942

Only 5 men escaped through Southern France into Spain , the rest being taken prisoner.
One of them was an old boy from my village who's name I sadly can't remember. He's long dead now. He was awarded the MM and when being presented with the medal at the Palace, the King asked him how he'd managed to escape. He replied, "I didn't escape sir, I was never captured."
 
Dieppe was five months after this. And Adolf was so ticked off with pinprick raids that in October 1942 he ordered all Commandos captured to be shot out of hand - CF The History Press | Hitler’s Commando Order

The execution of British and other allied soldiers in uniform, following their surrender, was a war crime. But it was a war crime with which the German military was long familiar. Particularly on the eastern front, surrendering to the Wehrmacht had never been a guarantee of safety. It has been estimated that about 60% of Soviet soldiers who surrendered to the Germans died in captivity – a loss of up to 3.5 million lives. The rules of war on the eastern front were now to be applied to the west, at least in the case of British and other Allied special forces.
Hmm, I think we should keep Russia separate. Stalin had a similar order re Political officers in German units and both sides practiced a level of barbarity on each other that was not practiced elsewhere, unless the russians an Chinese or the Japanese on the Chinese. Most of the German soldiers captured by the Soviets did not make it home and the survivors,in many cases did not come home till the fifties. The Kommisar order was quite deliberate on both sides requiring units to be stiffened by indoctrination.

the other issue was that Commandos in our forces trained in escape and evasion procedures and in all militaries, escaped/escapee pows were liable to be shot and any person assisting the enemy could be summarily punished. It was also part of our training to escape and it does not presume that kid gloves will be used In the process

there is one final point make, estimations of who did what or why. The Soviets had a concept of retribution for survivors. Bearing in mind that in these circumstances there would be no witnesses, they could be attributed to enemy action, since survival had by implication required collaboration.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
IIRC the Commando Order was issued after a specific raid on Sark (Op Basalt). During that raid the Commandos took some prisoners and for whatever reason they were subsequently killed during the exfil (in contact) whilst still having there hands tied.
yeah...I looked it up.....another college day.

Two of the guys on Op Basalt were subsequently captured (in Italy) and were executed. Befehl Ist Befehl.....

Turns out it was actually an OKW Directive, issued in secret, sehr GEKADOS

SOURCE

On 18 October, after much deliberation by High Command lawyers, officers and staff, Hitler issued his Commando Order or Kommandobefehl in secret, with only 12 copies. The following day Army Chief of Staff Alfred Jodl distributed 22 copies with an appendix stating that the order was "intended for commanders only and must not under any circumstances fall into enemy hands". The order itself stated:

  1. For a long time now our opponents have been employing in their conduct of the war, methods which contravene the International Convention of Geneva. The members of the so-called Commandos behave in a particularly brutal and underhanded manner; and it has been established that those units recruit criminals not only from their own country but even former convicts set free in enemy territories. From captured orders it emerges that they are instructed not only to tie up prisoners, but also to kill out-of-hand unarmed captives who they think might prove an encumbrance to them, or hinder them in successfully carrying out their aims. Orders have indeed been found in which the killing of prisoners has positively been demanded of them.
  2. In this connection it has already been notified in an Appendix to Army Orders of 7.10.1942. that in future, Germany will adopt the same methods against these Sabotage units of the British and their Allies; i.e. that, whenever they appear, they shall be ruthlessly destroyed by the German troops.

  1. I order, therefore:— From now on all men operating against German troops in so-called Commando raids in Europe or in Africa, are to be annihilated to the last man. This is to be carried out whether they be soldiers in uniform, or saboteurs, with or without arms; and whether fighting or seeking to escape; and it is equally immaterial whether they come into action from Ships and Aircraft, or whether they land by parachute. Even if these individuals on discovery make obvious their intention of giving themselves up as prisoners, no pardon is on any account to be given. On this matter a report is to be made on each case to Headquarters for the information of Higher Command.
  2. Should individual members of these Commandos, such as agents, saboteurs etc., fall into the hands of the Armed Forces through any means – as, for example, through the Police in one of the Occupied Territories – they are to be instantly handed over to the SD
    To hold them in military custody – for example in P.O.W. Camps, etc., – even if only as a temporary measure, is strictly forbidden.
  3. This order does not apply to the treatment of those enemy soldiers who are taken prisoner or give themselves up in open battle, in the course of normal operations, large-scale attacks; or in major assault landings or airborne operations. Neither does it apply to those who fall into our hands after a sea fight, nor to those enemy soldiers who, after air battle, seek to save their lives by parachute.
  4. I will hold all Commanders and Officers responsible under Military Law for any omission to carry out this order, whether by failure in their duty to instruct their units accordingly, or if they themselves act contrary to it.[1]
1585488993521.png


This guy wasn't SS or a political appointee. He was a Regular Wehrmacht officer who had served since 1914. He was in overall command of the German Army from August 1939 to 8 May 1945.

He was hanged at Nuremburg in October 1946, following his trial for war crimes.

 

Yokel

LE
Today is the anniversary of winning the Battle of Matapan, a fleet action in the Mediterranean in 1941. Mussolini's fleet lost two cruisers and two destroyers with a battleship damaged, the British fleet under Cunningham had a few ships damaged and a carrier aircraft was lost. The carrier HMS Formidable and her aircraft played a full part in attacking the enemy fleet.
 
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