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Hanno Spoelstra 11-02-18 17:51

Operation Infatuate II: Sherman tanks at Westkapelle
 
1 Attachment(s)
The past few months, on and off, I have been researching the use of Sherman tanks during the landing at Westkapelle in November 1944, part of Operation Infatuate II or the battle for Walcheren Island.

The objective of this research is to document the sole surviving tank used during this Operation. It is very much a work in progress and I am posting my findings here so others can chime in - please add to or correct the information provided here.

For those who have access to Facebook, see my photo album "Sherman tanks at Westkapelle" which contains all the photos I have been able to find. I will post all of them, plus more, on here too in due time, but in a more sorted/ chronological order.

This will not be a full account of the Operation, as that has been described elsewhere in detail. I used the following sources to find as much as I could about the use of the Sherman tanks, plus other AFVs. I am hoping to identify as much as possible of them: WD census numbers, unit markings & names, crew names and actions they were involved in.

Sources:

[1] Story of the 79th Armoured Division from October 1942 to June 1945. Hamburg: BAOR, 1945. (See background review on this book.)

[2] Brooks, Richard: Walcheren 1944: Storming Hitler's island fortress. Osprey Publishing, 2011.

[3] Stacey, C.P. (Col.): The Victory Campaign: The Operations in North-West Europe, 1944-1945 (Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War, Volume III), 1966.

[4] Thompson, R.W.: The Eighty-Five Days: The Story Of The Battle Of The Scheldt. Hutchinson, 1957.

[5] Sabarly, Michel: various internet forums (including Maple Leaf Up Forum).


Attachment 97857

Hanno Spoelstra 11-02-18 22:19

Sherman V Crab, T-212645, RHODERICK DHU, Turret no.20
 
3 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hanno Spoelstra (Post 247706)
LCT 1005 "4 Apple":
  • Sherman V Crab, RHODERICK DHU
  • Sherman V Crab, Turret No.27
  • Sherman V Crab
  • Churchill AVRE SBG
  • Churchill AVRE
  • D7 Armoured Bulldozer

Sherman V Crab, T-212645, name RHODERICK DHU, Turret no.20, landed from LCT 1005 "4 Apple". This Sherman was commanded by Cpl. Leishman during the assault on Westkapelle.

It got stuck on the beach and drowned when the tide came in.

Attachment 97867
(Source)

Photographed in 1945, it's markings are all but obliterated:
Attachment 97868
(Source)

View from the rear, note "4 APPLE" painted on the wading trunk:
Attachment 97871
(Source)

Hanno Spoelstra 11-02-18 22:24

Sherman V Crab, Turret No.27
 
1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hanno Spoelstra (Post 247706)
LCT 1005 "4 Apple":
  • Sherman V Crab, RHODERICK DHU
  • Sherman V Crab, Turret No.27
  • Sherman V Crab
  • Churchill AVRE SBG
  • Churchill AVRE
  • D7 Armoured Bulldozer

Another Sherman V Crab which landed from LCT 1005 "4 Apple" had Turret no.27. This also got stuck on the beach and drowned when the tide came in.

Pictured in 1945:
Attachment 97872
(Source)

Hanno Spoelstra 11-02-18 23:01

unidentified Sherman V Crab on LCT 1005
 
3 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hanno Spoelstra (Post 247706)
LCT 1005 "4 Apple":
  • Sherman V Crab, RHODERICK DHU
  • Sherman V Crab, Turret no.27
  • Sherman V Crab
  • Churchill AVRE SBG
  • Churchill AVRE
  • D7 Armoured Bulldozer

The (as of yet) unidentified Sherman V Crab on LCT 1005 was commanded by Lieutenant S.A. Miller. This Crab got ashore first, but it got stuck when it tried to tow the second Crab "RHODERICK DHU" off the beach. It too got swamped by the incoming tide, rendering it useless.

Pictured in 1945:
Attachment 97876
(Source)


I do not know its name or Turret number, but it has a WD census number ending with “...53”:
Attachment 97877
(Source)


The WD census number may be seen on the left-hand flail arm, but is too vague to read:
Attachment 97899
(Source)

Hanno Spoelstra 11-02-18 23:02

Sherman V Crab, "DANDY DINMONT", Turret No. 15
 
5 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hanno Spoelstra (Post 247706)
LCT 737 "5 Bramble":
  • Sherman V Crab, DANDY DINMONT
  • Sherman V Crab, Turret No.2
  • Sherman V Tank, WOLF OF BADENOCH
  • Churchill AVRE
  • Churchill AVRE SBG
  • D7 Armoured Bulldozer

Sherman V Crab, name DANDY DINMONT, Turret No.15. Photographed while unloading from LCT 737 "5 BRAMBLE". It was nicknamed MEG II (white handwriting on the front of the left flail jib) by its commander Sjt Ferguson in fond memory of his first tank MEG MERRILEES (source).

It was one of the Crabs which made it off the beach, but was swamped during the first night.

Attachment 97895
IWM (B 11631)


While the name and WD census number cannot be read, the nickname MEG can be seen as white handwriting on the front of the left flail jib. This picture was taken in 1945 when the DANDY DINMONT was standing in front of the wrecked doctor's house at the Zuidstraat. Its flail seems to have been damaged, or partly dismantled. Its turret has been traversed to the rear.
Attachment 97941
(Source)


Later during 1945, DANDY DINMONT is still standing were it was left. Progress in rebuilding the village can be clearly seen: a narrow gauge railroad is laid in the middle of the street for transportation of the rubble and building materials. Many of the wrecked houses have been cleared. Meanwhile, the Crab lost it flail booms to the scrapper. The turret has been traversed to the left front quarter the the gun has been raised.
Zooming in on the photo reveals what must be its name and WD census number on the top left corner of the left hand hull side. It cannot be read, but with a little effort the turret No.15 could be seen on the right hand side of the turret.
Attachment 97942 Attachment 97943
(Source)


Circa 1948, it was photographed in Westkapelle with a young man on the turret. The turret has been traversed further to the left and the gun has been lowered. It's flail gear has been further dismantled and it has shed its left hand track. It has been moved to another location, as it is no longer in front of the doctor's house.
The Turret No. and name can still be read, but the WD census number is unreadable. Noteworthy is that the name is in the same spot as in the photos above. Construction details also match, so this must be DANDY DINMONT:
Attachment 97878
(Source)

Hanno Spoelstra 11-02-18 23:04

Sherman V, T-148829, WOLF OF BADENOCH, Turret No.10
 
4 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hanno Spoelstra (Post 247706)
LCT 737 "5 Bramble":
  • Sherman V Crab, DANDY DINMONT
  • Sherman V Crab, Turret No.2
  • Sherman V Tank, WOLF OF BADENOCH
  • Churchill AVRE
  • Churchill AVRE SBG
  • D7 Armoured Bulldozer

Sherman V, T-148829?, name WOLF OF BADENOCH, Turret No.10 was one of 1st Lothians and Border Yeomanry, A-sqn HQ's tanks. It was commanded by Major D.R.R. Pocock who was the Squadron OC. It did get ashore and gave sterling service to the Commando forces.

One of only two Shermans left in battle-worthy condition, together with 2 Churchill AVREs, it played a considerable part in the Commando operations against the Domburg battery and also against the strongly fortified Black Hut area lying behind it. Between 2-8 November the two Sherman tanks fired 1,400 rounds of HE ammunition plus a large amount of AP shot. The accuracy of the shooting was outstanding, German guns in concrete emplacements being immobilised by shells fired through the gun slits: suitable tank positions were extremely difficult to find but fire from them was largely responsible for keeping down casualties to the assaulting troops. By 8 November the northern rim of the island was in British hands.

Attachment 97880
(Source: [1])


After the Operation, it was left derelict in the Zuidstraat in Westkapelle with the other Sherman and Churchill tanks. In July 1946, it still proudly displays its turret number "10", while the hull side is adorned with random paint splashes. Could this be the result of a house painter cleaning his brushes?
More interesting is the WD census number which is harder to read. I deciphered it as T-148829, but would like confirmation from this or other sources.
Attachment 97913 Attachment 97914
(Source)


Note it still sports "5 BRAMBLE" on the wading trunking and turret no.10 can be clearly seen. It was photographed on 27 May 1947, by which time reconstruction of the village - which had been nearly obliterated by the bombing and flooding - had been started. Houses were reconstructed while the derelict tanks still lined the streets.
Attachment 97879
(Source)

Hanno Spoelstra 13-02-18 13:07

Sherman V Crab, Turret No.2
 
4 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hanno Spoelstra (Post 247706)
LCT 737 "5 Bramble":
  • Sherman V Crab, DANDY DINMONT
  • Sherman V Crab, Turret No.2
  • Sherman V Tank, WOLF OF BADENOCH
  • Churchill AVRE
  • Churchill AVRE SBG
  • D7 Armoured Bulldozer

The Sherman V Crab wallowing through the mud, making its way ashore is DANDY DINMONT. The Sherman V Crab in the background, about to leave the ramp of LCT 737 "5 BRAMBLE" is Turret No.2. The Churchill AVRE with SBG bridge can be seen still on deck of the LCT. The other Churchill AVRE and Armoured Bulldozer cannot be seen in this photo.

Attachment 97896
Caption: A Sherman Crab flail tank coming ashore from an LCT during the invasion of Walcheren Island, 1 November 1944.
IWM (B 11632)



Of this Sherman V Crab, we only know it had Turret No.2. When zooming in on the photo, another 2 can be discerned, but it is not outlined in white. So this could also be Turret No.22.
It has a unique identifying feature: the bridge classification sign, a black 40 on yellow circle, can be seen on the right hand flail boom. It is unique in the sense that on other Crabs used in Infatuate II it was absent or painted over with temporary markings. Below the bridge classification sign "5 BRAMBLE" is chalked. Like the other Crabs, it was left in the Zuidstraat after they were swamped in during the night of 1-2 November. It is pictured here in the Zuidstraat in 1945:
Attachment 97946
(Source)


Next picture is dated ca. 1945 too, but was taken later as more of the rubble has been cleared and a temporary building erected:
Attachment 97947
(Source)

Another ca.1945 photo showing Turret No.2. According to the caption of this photo it is located at the address Markt 92-96 in front of the monumental house "'t Herenhuis". Markt is a section of the road adjacent of the long Zuidstraat, so this caption helps us to pinpoint the location more precise.
Attachment 97958
(Source)

Hanno Spoelstra 13-02-18 21:09

Sherman V Crab, T-148656
 
5 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hanno Spoelstra (Post 247706)
LCT 650 "6 Cherry":
  • Sherman V Crab
  • Sherman V Crab, T-148656
  • Sherman V Tank, COCK O'THE NORTH
  • Churchill AVRE SBG
  • Churchill AVRE
  • D7 Armoured Bulldozer

Sherman V Crab, T-148656, landed from LCT 650 "6 CHERRY" (source). This Crab made it off the beach and into Westkapelle, only to be flooded during the night after the landing rendering them useless. This is the Crab which would later be turned into a monument on the dyke.

It is pictured here in the Zuidstraat, circa 1945:
Attachment 97948
(Source)


Circa 1946, still in the same spot and still complete but the WD census number seems to have been painted out. Maybe because it has been struck off census?
Note the road wheel missing from the left rear bogie:
Attachment 97949
(Source)


Circa 1947 the Crab was dragged out of the main street by ex-Army trucks: a Ford Canada CMP (left) and GMC CCKW-353 (right).
By that time it was still complete with flail arms:
Attachment 97950
(Source)


By 1960 it had lost its flail booms and was left as a memento halfway on the dyke, on the land side:
Attachment 97951
(Source)


Shortly after, T-148656 had all the flail remains removed. It was then moved to a spot on top of the dyke with a memorial plaque in front.
The turret was still trained to the right and the right hand track seems to be broken:
Attachment 97953
(Source)

Hanno Spoelstra 13-02-18 21:14

Sherman V Tank, COCK O'THE NORTH
 
3 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hanno Spoelstra (Post 247706)
LCT 650 "6 Cherry":
  • Sherman V Crab
  • Sherman V Crab, T-148656
  • Sherman V Tank, COCK O'THE NORTH
  • Churchill AVRE SBG
  • Churchill AVRE
  • D7 Armoured Bulldozer

Sherman V, T-147976, "COCK O'THE NORTH", Turret No. 11, of "A" Sqn HQ, was the second Sherman gun tank to successfully reach the village. Like WOLF OF BADENOCH, Turret No.10, it played a considerable part in the Commando operations between 2-8 November. After the Operation, it was driven back to the other tanks left in Westkapelle, and abandoned.

Pictures taken on 31 July 1946:
Attachment 97954
(Source)


It's name "COCK O'THE NORTH" proudly displayed on the applique armour plate on the right hand sponson:
Attachment 97955
(Source)


The WD census number T-147976 and Turret Number 11 are clearly visible:
Attachment 97956
(Source)

Hanno Spoelstra 13-02-18 21:17

unidentified Sherman Crab on LCT 650 "6 Cherry"
 
1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hanno Spoelstra (Post 247706)
LCT 650 "6 Cherry":
  • Sherman V Crab
  • Sherman V Crab, T-148656
  • Sherman V Tank, COCK O'THE NORTH
  • Churchill AVRE SBG
  • Churchill AVRE
  • D7 Armoured Bulldozer

The second Sherman V Crab on LCT "Cherry" remains unidentified.
Judging by the marking "CHERRY 6" on the right-hand front of the flail, it must be this Crab pictured in an unknown street in Westkapelle in November 1944:
Attachment 97957
(Source)

Hanno Spoelstra 14-02-18 00:54

synopsis
 
1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hanno Spoelstra (Post 247706)
The armoured support element totalled 24 armoured vehicles:
  • 2 Sherman V gun tanks
  • 10 Sherman V Crabs
  • 8 Churchill AVREs: 4 with SBG bridges, 2 with fasciness
  • 4 D7 Armoured Bulldozers

When summarising this thread, one can conclude that of the 12 Shermans committed to this Operation, 2 of the Sherman gun tanks landed and went into action.
Of the Crabs, 3 did not land. Of the 7 that did land, 3 were bellied on the landing beach. While contemporary sources mention either 2 or 3 of the Crabs made it off the beach, this analysis proves in fact 4 Crabs made it off the beach and into the village.

For now I would ask if anyone can add any more identifiers for the Sherman tanks, like WD census numbers, unit markings & names. And let's not forget about the crews!

Last picture for today is this one from 1946, showing three Crabs in relative position to each other in the Zuidstraat.
From left to right: Sherman V Crab T-148656, with Sherman V Crab DANDY DINMONT behind it, and Sherman V Crab Turret No.2:
Attachment 97960
(Source)

The photographer is looking East, as the light house can be seen in the background. This lighthouse is an iconic landmark as it was built on top of an old church tower. Therefore it is located almost 1 kilometre inland, rather than directly at the seafront.

I will provide more detail on the landing and subsequent actions later. It was a harsh Operation - the Commandos involved found it much harder fighting than during Operation Overlord!

Thanks,
Hanno

maple_leaf_eh 14-02-18 04:19

Superb effort Hanno!

The number of rounds fired by the surviving gun tanks begs a second question - where did they get it all? The combat load of a single Sherman 75 was not in the thousands! Did the remaining crews salvage all consumables to keep the operating tanks firing? Most likely. How did other supplies get forward? By LSTs or other amphibious craft? What sort of "ADREP" or administration report did the OC and his NCOs make up and send backwards? Interesting questions.

Mike Cecil 14-02-18 05:23

Ops Report and Unit War Diaries?
 
Hanno,

Nice work. Great images. Clearly much work has gone into this research thus far.

Are the Ops Report and Unit War Diaries for the various units involved, resident in the National Archives at Kew? You may find the titles at least on line, even if the contents are not. They may provide some illumination of the decision not to undertake any form of battlefield recovery of the stranded/swamped AFVs, at least, and possibly list losses by Census Number.

Others with more knowledge of the Brit archival system can doubtless inform us foreigners of the likelihood of the above.

Capturing Antwerp was one thing: clearing the Boche from the approaches was much, much more difficult.

Mike

David Dunlop 14-02-18 05:28

Hanno.

You mention that several of the various Shermans made it successfully off the beach and/or into town only to be swamped shortly thereafter. Was this an unusual tidal phenomenon or was the area deliberately flooded by the German troops?

David

MicS 14-02-18 16:40

No.10 Gun tank WOLF OF BADENOCH WD number
 
3 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hanno Spoelstra (Post 247713)
Sherman V, T-148829?, name WOLF OF BADENOCH, Turret No.10 (...)
More interesting is the WD census number which is harder to read. I deciphered it as T-148829, but would like confirmation from this or other sources.

Great thread Hanno!

My take on No.10's WD number would be T-148028. The T-148x2x part is quite clear, only the fourth and sixth digits being more difficult to make out.

For the fourth digit, the following two photos should be of help:

The left vertical half appears to be rounded and uninterrupted here:
Attachment 97978
Source

Same applies to its right vertical half:
Attachment 97979
Source

The sixth and last digit is more debatable, looking as it does like a possible 8, 9 (see first photo above) or even 0. On the last photo above, I see both its left and right vertical sides as uninterrupted and with a slight inflexion. The following photo is inconclusive, but still compatible with an 8:
Attachment 97980
Source

Unfortunately, I have not found any of these possible numbers (T-148028, T-148029, T-148828 or T-148829) in the 1 LOTHIANS War Diary. Maybe one of them appears in some other documents, as suggested by Mike above.

Michel

David Herbert 14-02-18 16:59

I see the fourth digit as a 3, and the 6th digit as an 8. I wonder if T-148328 shows up in the war diary ?

David

Mike Cecil 14-02-18 17:16

Do the Census No. lists for Brit Shermans still exist, maybe at the Tank Museum? These should at least define what number/number range went with which vehicle type (gun tank, flail, etc) which may help to narrow down the possibilities.

Mike

MicS 14-02-18 17:39

No fourth Crab in Westkapelle town
 
1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hanno Spoelstra (Post 247761)
The second Sherman V Crab on LCT "Cherry" remains unidentified.
Judging by the marking "CHERRY 6" on the right-hand front of the flail, it must be this Crab pictured in an unknown street in Westkapelle in November 1944:
Attachment 97957
(Source)

This is actually yet another photo of the 'Memorial' Crab T148656:

Attachment 97981
Crab T148656
Source

Just the three Crabs made it out of the beach, only to get flooded during the night of 1 Nov when stationed in Zuidstraat in Westkapelle town.

The second Crab in '6 CHERRY' could not land because it was pinned down by the fallen SBG bridge which had been shot off the AVRE behind it on the LCT.

Michel

MicS 14-02-18 18:30

No.22 Crab
 
1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hanno Spoelstra (Post 247754)
(...)
Of this Sherman V Crab, we only know it had Turret No.2. When zooming in on the photo, another 2 can be discerned, but it is not outlined in white. So this could also be Turret No.22.

The turret number is indeed 22. There was no Crab numbered just '2'. The lack of a visible outline on the first '2' on the right side of the turret is because it has faded.

On this photo, we can see that the outline on the lower part of the first '2' on the left side of the turret has begun to fade as well:

Attachment 97982
No.22 Crab - gahetna 487087_002
Source

Same happens to RHODERICK DHU's turret number (see the first photo in your second post above).

Michel

Hanno Spoelstra 14-02-18 21:40

Thanks for the interest and for all the useful input!

Will get back on this subject later. Meanwhile, I leave you with an interesting documentary "Commandos strike at Walcheren", showing a great synopsis of Infatuate II - including the tanks in action.

Thanks,
Hanno

Colin Alford 15-02-18 06:45

1 Attachment(s)
Hanno,

While searching through Canadian War Diaries on a completely unrelated topic I stumbled across "Op INFATUATE - 4 SS Bde Outline Plan No. 3 - 18 Oct 44" which can be found at this link:

http://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oo...69/488?r=0&s=5

Once you finish reading that document, you will get to "Op INFATUATE - 4 SS Bde Provisional Outline Plan No. 4 - 21 Oct 1944" at image 494.

These documents won't give you the level of detail about the Shermans that you are after but at image 489 there is a list of the Armoured units in support of the Operation. (also attached as an image)

I conducted a quick internet search for the 4 SS Bde War Diary but couldn't find anything.

I don't know the types of vehicles held by "27 Aslt Sqn RE", or "One Amphibious Aslt Regt RE/RAC" but I presume that the Shermans came from "'A' Sqn 1 Lothians"

My inclination would be to obtain a copy of the 1st Lothians War Diary as it may provide the level of detail that you desire.

Link to request the 1944 1st Lothians War Diary:

http://discovery.nationalarchives.go...ils/r/C4440967

Colin

MicS 15-02-18 10:53

Quote:

Originally Posted by Colin Alford (Post 247801)
(...)
I don't know the types of vehicles held by "27 Aslt Sqn RE", or "One Amphibious Aslt Regt RE/RAC" but I presume that the Shermans came from "'A' Sqn 1 Lothians"

"27 Aslt Sqn RE" does not exist. It's a typo for "87 Aslt Sqn RE", who provided the AVsRE.

The "Amphibious Aslt Regt RE/RAC" provided the LVsT (actually 5 Aslt Regt RE plus 82 Aslt Sqn RE and a number of LVsT from 11 RTR attached, hence the "/RAC" part).

And as you rightly presumed, 'A' Sqn 1 LOTHIANS provided the Sherman gun and flail tanks.

Michel

Hanno Spoelstra 20-02-18 08:52

2 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by maple_leaf_eh (Post 247769)
Superb effort Hanno!

The number of rounds fired by the surviving gun tanks begs a second question - where did they get it all? The combat load of a single Sherman 75 was not in the thousands! Did the remaining crews salvage all consumables to keep the operating tanks firing? Most likely. How did other supplies get forward? By LSTs or other amphibious craft? What sort of "ADREP" or administration report did the OC and his NCOs make up and send backwards? Interesting questions.

Thanks Terry! The troops and tanks were resupplied by LVTs doing several resupply runs. The LVTs were indispensable in this operation, the Weasels were not suited for the strong currents and were all lost.
I have not read about the crews salvaging all consumables from the swamped tanks, but that sounds like the thing they would have done.

This is Sherman V, WOLF OF BADENOCH, Turret No. 10, being resupplied by an LVT, most likely at Domburg. WOLF OF BADENOCH was carried ashore by LCT 737, hence the marking "5 BRAMBLE" on the deep wading trunk at the back:
Attachment 98140

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike Cecil (Post 247772)
Nice work. Great images. Clearly much work has gone into this research thus far.

Are the Ops Report and Unit War Diaries for the various units involved, resident in the National Archives at Kew? You may find the titles at least on line, even if the contents are not. They may provide some illumination of the decision not to undertake any form of battlefield recovery of the stranded/swamped AFVs, at least, and possibly list losses by Census Number.

Others with more knowledge of the Brit archival system can doubtless inform us foreigners of the likelihood of the above.

Capturing Antwerp was one thing: clearing the Boche from the approaches was much, much more difficult.

Thanks Mike! Indeed, and as per Stacey (p. 407) "The costly opposed landing at Westkapelle became the most controversial portion of the whole Scheldt battle." Infatuate II was a true amphibious operation, involving Navy, Air Force and Army to get the job done.

I have not been able to locate the war diary via the National Archives. I hope to read it some day, meanwhile Michel apparently has.

Quote:

Originally Posted by David Dunlop (Post 247773)
You mention that several of the various Shermans made it successfully off the beach and/or into town only to be swamped shortly thereafter. Was this an unusual tidal phenomenon or was the area deliberately flooded by the German troops?

David, the dykes of the island of Walcheren were bombed by Bomber Command. The flooding was to immobilise the German troops, if not to take them out of action. From 17 September through 30 October, Bomber Command had flown 2219 sorties against Walcheren and dropped 10,219 tons of bombs (Stacey, p.411).

One of the largest breaches, the one at Westkapelle, was also used as a landing beach as it provided access to the island without have to scale the huge sea dyke.

The pic below shows how the village of Westkapelle and the area behind it being swamped each time the tide came in.

Hanno

Attachment 98128
(Source)

Hanno Spoelstra 21-02-18 09:16

Sherman V Crab, T-148656
 
3 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by MicS (Post 247786)
This is actually yet another photo of the 'Memorial' Crab T148656:

Attachment 97981
Crab T148656
Source

Thanks Michel! I had not seen that photo before. It indeed clearly shows the "CHERRY 6" marking identifying the same Sherman on both pictures.

This picture must have been made during the operation as it shows two soldiers sitting on top. It came from the "collection Hillsman, John A.B." - does that name ring a bell with you?
Attachment 98165
(Source)

The first picture confused me as all other pictures show it in a different location. This is the well known spot where it stayed until ca. 1947 or a few years until it was dragged away to be placed on the dyke.
Not having seen the 'CHERRY 6" marking on the right hand flail boom before, I drew the incorrect conclusion this was another Sherman V Crab.

Was this picture the source for your remark on WW2Talk forum?
Quote:

Incidentally, the Crab used as a monument did not even land from '5 BRAMBLE', but from '6 CHERRY' (LCT 650)...(source)
Attachment 98166
(Source)

As luck would have it, when I was typing this message a new photo came in! Courtesy of Marcel van Hoepen from Westkapelle, it shows T-148656 in front of his grandmothers house.
The marking "CHERRY 6" can be clearly seen:
Attachment 98167

I will correct my postings above, same for Turret No.22.

Thanks,
Hanno

David Herbert 21-02-18 10:24

I expect Marcel will be happy to see another view of his grandmother's house. Bet she wasn't too happy to have the Sherman parked outside for so long !

David

Hanno Spoelstra 21-02-18 10:27

Quote:

Originally Posted by David Herbert (Post 248061)
I expect Marcel will be happy to see another view of his grandmother's house. Bet she wasn't too happy to have the Sherman parked outside for so long !

I would be very happy - and have made sure to park it on my premises :D

Hanno

MicS 21-02-18 16:24

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hanno Spoelstra (Post 248062)
I would be very happy - and have made sure to park it on my premises :D

Hanno

So would I, but with the gun pointing away, just in case :yappy:

The abandoned tanks were moved around town quite a bit, as can be seen from the photos.

Pic 4250 (T 148656 with two soldiers sitting on top) shows what looks like a tow rope and shackle in front of the Crab, possibly in preparation for moving it to the other side of the street. That picture was indeed the source for my remark on ww2talk, conforted by the fact that the only other Crab in CHERRY was already accounted for.

Major John Albert Burwell HILLSMAN was in command of No.8 Canadian Field Surgical Unit, Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, and landed at Westkapelle on 1 Nov 44 from LCT LTIN 26. He wrote the book "Eleven Men and a Scalpel" (Winnipeg: Columbia Press, 1948) about 8 Cdn FSU in WW2.

For example, search for 'Hillsman' on the following link:
http://www.oorlogsmuseumossendrecht....ollection.html
which leads to this page:
http://www.oorlogsmuseumossendrecht....e-schelde.html

This exhibition would be interesting to visit...

See also his Report on Walcheren Ops here:
https://books.google.fr/books?id=hra...ppendix%20H%22

The date of the photo is given as November 1944, which is correct since the medical units left Walcheren on 13 Nov.

The photo from Marcel van Hoepen is fantastic, as it shows that T 148656, or at least its flail jib, previously belonged to 22 Dragoons (cf the cleanly painted AoS number '51' showing under the fading overcoat and '52'), which may explain why no turret number nor name is visible on any of the photos of this tank. Or perhaps would Marcel have more photos, of this and/or other tanks?

Michel

Hanno Spoelstra 06-04-18 16:24

3 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by MicS (Post 248071)
The photo from Marcel van Hoepen is fantastic, as it shows that T 148656, or at least its flail jib, previously belonged to 22 Dragoons (cf the cleanly painted AoS number '51' showing under the fading overcoat and '52'), which may explain why no turret number nor name is visible on any of the photos of this tank. Or perhaps would Marcel have more photos, of this and/or other tanks?

Michel, I have attached the other photos Marcel posted.

Interesting you mention that T 148656 previously belonged to 22 Dragoons. I was wondering why it did not have a name nor turret number and was already trying to sift through your 1st Lothians and Border Yeomanry list of vehicle names, to look for possible contenders. I realise that list pre-dates Infatuate II by 6 months, so in the meantime a lot could have changed.

Do you have any information on the other vehicle's names, turret numbers, census numbers?

Would the 1LBH war dairy not have a list of vehicles and crews loaded on each LCT?

Thanks for any further help in this research!

Hanno


Note - all pictures courtesy of Marcel van Hoepen from Westkapelle:
Attachment 99033 Attachment 99034 Attachment 99035

Hanno Spoelstra 21-05-18 18:01

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hanno Spoelstra (Post 247711)
The (as of yet) unidentified Sherman V Crab on LCT 1005 was commanded by Lieutenant S.A. Miller. This Crab got ashore first, but it got stuck when it tried to tow the second Crab "RHODERICK DHU" off the beach. It too got swamped by the incoming tide, rendering it useless.

I do not know its name or Turret number, but it has a WD census number ending with ...53:

The WD census number may be seen on the left-hand flail arm, but is too vague to read:

Just came across a new picture of locals posing in front of Lt. Miller's Sherman V Crab after WW2:

Attachment 99961

Source

Hanno Spoelstra 18-06-18 21:51

1 Attachment(s)
Not only tanks littered the area for years after the Operation: this picture shows two LCT's on the sea dike. They were broken up in situ in September 1949, five years after they stranded.

In the background is Radar Station W 154. In November 1944 this was one of the targets of the Commando's, who found it abandoned.

Attachment 100366

Source: http://proxy.handle.net/10648/a8cf0a...8-003048976d84


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