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Western front-interesting bits of information

Discussion in 'Western Europe 1943 - 1945' started by Kai-Petri, Jan 2, 2003.

  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Air Chief Marshal Sir Alec Coryton KCB, KBE, MVO, DFC

    Alec Coryton was considered by many a first-rate group commander, knowledgeable and capable. Yet, in February 1943, he was sacked by Harris for refusing to send a small force of Lancasters from his group on a sneak raid to Berlin in bad weather.

    http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/group.html
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    King George VI of the United Kingdom: "How many men have you killed in war, General Patton?"
    Patton: "Seven, sir.".
    Eisenhower: "How many did you say, General Patton?"
    Patton: "Three, sir."
    Eisenhower: "Ok, George, we'll let you get away with that."

    Anecdote from The Reluctant King {1989) by Sarah Bradford.
     
  3. Hawkerace

    Hawkerace Member

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    We don't really have a home front bits of information thread so I figured since Norway in my eyes, is more west then east..

    Little Norway, Training Camp in Canada

    Little Norway was a Norwegian Army Air Service/Royal Norwegian Air Force training camp in Canada during World War II. The camp was opened in November 1940, located in the bay area of Toronto, on the shores of Lake Ontario. Its first commander was Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen. Major Ole Reistad took over around New Year 1941.

    In may 1942 the training camp was moved to Muskoka, about 70 miles north of Toronto. Here the training continued until February 1945, when the camp was moved to the air base Winkleigh in Devon, England.[1]

    In total during the war, over 2500 Norwegian airmen of all categories (pilots, navigators, mechanics) were educated in the camp.

    [edit] Airplane types used in Little Norway

    Army

    * Fairchild M-62/ PT-19 and PT-26 Cornell
    * Douglas 8A-1
    * Curtiss Hawk 75-A8

    Navy

    * Noorduyn Norseman
    * Stinson SR-9 Reliant
    * Northrop N-3PB

    Little Norway - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Interesting info on the strengthening of the German forces in Normandy:

    The Replacement Army in the spring of 1944 delayed the formation of new divisions that Hitler certainly would have promptly sent to the front. Instead, it concealed about 600,000 men in a variety of noncombat units, including Schatten (shadow) divisions formed to rebuild battle-worn divisions in the future.

    If the German Replacement Army had released fifty or more combat replacement battalions (800 to 1,000 men each) between 7 June and 25 July at a rate of one per day, each carried by a single train, the battered divisions could have been restored to nearly full strength. A combat replacement battalion could be loaded on a single twenty-car train in Germany and reach Paris by dark. From Paris the train could travel by night, to avoid air attack, to within thirty miles of the front. The battalion could march the final distance in one or two nights. There were multiple lines from Paris to the Normandy area, one of which would have been open on most nights. Instead, the Replacement Army released only 10,000 men during the seven weeks. The 243rd, 91st, and 77th Divisions and the battle group of the 265th could have been brought up to a reasonable strength with five replacement battalions each. The effective combat strength of the forces facing VII and VIII Corps would have more than doubled. As it was, when the Americans broke the crust of the German line, they were able to slice through France in the next two months. Only after the Germans had created or rebuilt nearly sixty divisions and placed them in the line would the rapid American advance come to halt.

    Second World War Books Review
     
  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    " On nights when there were no main force operations we flew what were called "Foulsham Follies". Two Halifaxes would be sent on shallow penetration over the continent, dropping "Window" all the way to stimulate raids by 50+ aircraft. Each Halifax then dropped flares over its target to raise 150 fighters.It was reckoned that at least ten would crash on take-off or landing so it was more effective than Intruder operations."

    From " Confounding the Reich " by Bowman and Cushing
     
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    " From 25 June to 7 July 1945 Exercise Post-Mortem was carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of RAF jammimg and Spoof operations on the German early-warning radar system.Simulated attacks were made by aircraft from four RAF groups incl 100 Group, the early-warning radar being manned by American and British personnel on this occasion. Post-Mortem proved conclusively that the countermeasures had been a great success."

    From "Confounding the Reich" by Bowman/Cushing
     
  7. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    John Smale, who took part in one of the Lofoten raids, in march 1941, recalled:

    One of our rather sillier officers went to the post office- a chap called Dick Willis. He wrote a telegram and got them to send it off to Germany: To Adolf Hitler from Second lieutenant Willis. You said that no German territory would ever be invaded-well, we´re here.

    From Commando by Sally Dugan
     
  8. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    World War II unit histories & officers

    Didnt know really where to put this but figured no one would mind it here.

    Possibly been found by someone before, but just in case....an interesting little site.
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    " Another practical problem came with Scottish Commandos, who insisted on smuggling their kilts on board ( They were not officially allowed a change of uniform ). They were particularly attached to their kilts. They wanted to fight in them- and if necessary, die in them."

    Commando by Sally Dugan
     
  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Luftwaffe and invasion in the West 1940

    May 10

    Between dawn and dusk the Luftwaffe flew more than 1,000 individual bombing sorties against targets in the three countries in the course of some 150 attacks.

    In the morning, 400 He 111´s, Do 17s and Ju 88s had struck at 72 air bases, 47 of them in Northern France, in an attempt to destroy a large portion of the Allied air force on the ground. In fact, the Luftwaffe failed to achieve more than a fraction of its objectives during this opening phase. In the French Northern Zone of Air Operations (ZOAN) only four aircraft were destroyed on the ground during the initial onslaught, with a further 30 or so damaged;while in the Eastern Zone of Air Operations (ZOAE) the only real result was obtained by the Do 17s of KG2, which destroyed five Amiot 143 bombers and two Royal Air Force Hurricanes. ( Far greater destruction was achieved on 11 May, when the German bombers caught considerable numbers of Allied machines refuelling and rearming at their bases between sorties).

    From Stuka Squadrons by John Ward
     
  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Pillbox affair - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The Pillbox affair was a British military/political crisis in November and December 1939 concerning the building of pillbox defences in France prior to the German invasion. It led to the dismissal of the British War Minister, Leslie Hore-Belisha.

    In October 1939, during the Phoney War, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) under Lord Gort as commander-in-chief moved to their position in north eastern France, where they found inadequate defences. The concrete pill-boxes needed alteration to accept British guns, and there was no defence in depth. Hore-Belisha arranged to recruit experienced British civilian contractors to carry out the changes, and to build new pill-boxes. Gort welcomed this and assisted by studying new pill-box designs, while Hore-Belisha took a keen interest in progress.

    In November Hore-Belisha visited the British front, asking to see the men rather than the defences, and also had discussions with Lord Gort's chief engineer Pakenham-Walsh, although he saw little of the defences. Unfortunately, he decided that pill-boxes were not being built fast enough and too many designs were being considered. On his way home through Paris he understood General Gamelin to say that the French were building pill-boxes in three days, although it was explained that was after all materials were at a prepared site. In all, the building of a French pill-box required three weeks.

    After returning to London, Hore-Belisha wrote to Gort:

    "The impression that is deepest in my mind is of the great knowledge which you show of every detail. Your interest in the task and in the men is most inspiring. I do not suppose we have ever had a commander who kept in such close touch with men and things. You will emerge from this business having done a good job of work for the country and as a national figure. I am seeing the engineers tomorrow. I really think the pillboxes should spring up everywhere. The Dominions representatives and Anthony Eden commented on their absence. I thought you would like to know this. Gamelin told me in Paris that they could make them in three days apiece. He also said they were lining and flooring their trenches with cement and that you could have cement works in the area. He hoped you would send down some officers to study their methods."

    Although meant as a friendly letter, the implication that the French were doing better caused annoyance at Gort’s headquarters, because the British were building with far greater enthusiasm than their neighbours on the right and left.

    Hore-Belisha consulted Pakenham-Walsh and the Controller of Engineering Services at the War Office, Lieutenant-General D. S. Collins, but was not happy with their explanations. On 24 November he informed the War Cabinet of his disquiet, only after the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS), Ironside, had left the room. Unaware that the new French defences on the left of the British sector had in fact been built by the BEF, he made the blunder of comparing them favourably with what he had seen on the British front.

    The King had received a report from Ironside, and was angered by what he heard and distressed by the offence evidently given to his army in the field. The King visited Gort’s headquarters on 4 December and remained in France a week. The King was shown the defences as well as the men, and he returned to Buckingham Palace with full personal confirmation of the angry discontent seething in the BEF. He spoke to Chamberlain who decided he, too, must visit the British front.

    On 15 December the Prime Minister arrived at Gort’s headquarters. Gort took this opportunity of giving the Prime Minister a list of the principal deficiencies in equipment and he followed this up with a memorandum to the War Office about the alarming shortage of tanks. It was clear to Chamberlain that even the confidence formerly seen as existing between the officers of the BEF and their Secretary of State had dissolved.Chamberlain was sorry, but decided that Hore-Belisha must leave the War Office.
     
  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Heeding Churchill's advice, spies have used deceit to win wars--and to prevent them - US News and World Report

    June 9, 1944. D-Day plus 3. The most important wireless message of World War II came into the German High Command at 12:07 a.m. and continued until 2:09. Germany's top spy in England signaled that the Allies had planned the Normandy invasion as "a diversionary maneuver designed to draw off enemy reserves in order then to make a decisive attack in another place." The spy, code-named Cato, based his opinion on "the strong troop concentrations in Southeast and Eastern England which are not taking part in the present operations." His assessment was buttressed by earlier reports that the Allies had shipped to that region large numbers of vomit bags, life belts, C rations, condoms, and landing craft. Thus, Cato predicted a second massive landing at one of the shortest points across the English Channel, the Pas de Calais.

    The decision would be fatal, for the German Cato was also the English Garbo, a double agent code-named after the legendary actress.
     
  13. Xtrbacklash

    Xtrbacklash Member

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  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The Battle of Drøbak Sound

    Battle of Drøbak Sound - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Oscarsborg Fortress engaged a German fleet sailing up the Oslofjord with the objective of seizing the Norwegian capital and capturing Haakon VII, the Norwegian king, and his government.

    The effect of halting the German fleet was huge. On board the Blücher were troops specially designated to capture the King, the Norwegian cabinet, the Storting (Norwegian Parliament) and the national gold reserve. The delay made it possible for all these to escape from Oslo. Later in the day of 9 April, the Storting was able to convene at Elverum and give the cabinet a wide authorization to govern until a Storting could again assemble. Thus, the Norwegian government was able to continue the defence of Norway until it had evacuate to exile in the UK on 7 June, with the Norwegian Army putting down their arms on 10 June.
     
  15. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Do 217

    The night fighter outweighed the bomber by approx 750 kgs. This was partly due to the bombing apparatus and of both aft-facing guns. At the behest of the German Air Ministry, this equipment had to be retained, because it would enable the conversion of the night fighter to be a bomber, if and when this was required....( march 1942 ).

    manfred Griehl Do 217-317-417
     
  16. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    D-day some interesting figures:

    BBC NEWS | Programmes | From Our Own Correspondent | France's rendezvous with history

    The historian Andrew Roberts has calculated that of the 4,572 allied servicemen who died on that day on which, in retrospect, so much of human history seems now to have pivoted - only 19 were French. That is 0.4%.

    Of the rest, 37 were Norwegians, and one was Belgian. The rest were from the English speaking world - two New Zealanders, 13 Australians, 359 Canadians, 1,641 Britons and, most decisively of all, 2,500 Americans.
     
  17. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    On JG 2 " Richthofen" pilot losses

    Although proud of its status as a veteran frontline unit, JG2´s dual role would cost it dear. By the end of 1943 almost 200 pilots would have been killed or posted missing. To put this in perspective, the Geschwader´s losses for 1940, encompassing both the Blitzkrieg in the west and Battle of Britain, totalled just 36! And although the bulk of 1943´s casualty lists would be made up of newer less experienced replacement pilots, they also contained a disturbing number of formation leaders, including nine Staffelkapitäne.

    From JG 2 "Richthofen" by John Weal
     
  18. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Oberst Walter "Gulle" Oesau (28 June 1913–11 May 1944) was a German World War II fighter ace who served in the Luftwaffe from 1934 until his death in 1944. He rose to command Jagdgeschwader 1, which was named in his honor after his death. He died on 11 May 1944 while facing Allied escort aircraft over the Ardennes.

    Walter Oesau - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    During his career, Oesau was mentioned five times in the Wehrmachtbericht. These were the daily reports by Oberkommando der Wehrmacht and even one mention is considered to be high military honor. The last one on 15 May 1944 was after his death.
     
  19. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  20. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Squadron Leader Roy Emile Lelong

    He became the first pilot to destroy an enemy aircraft in direct support of the Normandy landings. On an intruder patrol in the early hours of 5 June 1944, over the German airfield at Evreux, he saw and attacked an Me 410 which crashed and exploded.

    NZFPM |Squadron Leader Roy Emile Lelong
     

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