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  #1  
Old 28-08-13, 17:31
David Dunlop David Dunlop is offline
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Default Grizzly Firefly

This vehicle generated a great deal of conversation among the experts attending CMP 84. The debate, not resolved at the end of the conference, was whether or not this was strictly a one off vehicle, or if a number of Canadian Grizzleys were in fact converted to Fireflys. That also generated a spinoff discussion as to whether or not any of these particular Fireflys ever saw combat.


David
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  #2  
Old 28-08-13, 20:23
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Hanno Spoelstra Hanno Spoelstra is online now
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David,

Are any notes of the conference available?

Today's common understanding ist that this is a one-off Firefly, assembled in Canada by fitting a converted turret + 17-pdr gun shipped over from the UK to a locally manufactured Grizzly hull.

IIRC, the Grizzly was surely a likely source of 75-mm gun Shermans, which could be converted with 17-pdr guns. The supply of Sherman tanks with 75-mm gun, needed as the basis for the Firefly conversion, dried up after US production switched over to 76- and 105-mm guns fitted to modified turrets on large hatch wet stowage hulls with HVSS. In the end the need for Fireflies could be met by the supply of available, converted 75-mm gun Shermans, and there was no longer a need to convert Grizzlies. In fact the assembly of Grizzlies stopped after 188 examples because of the need for 75-mm gun Shermans could be met by US production.

Yes, while Sherman tanks seem to be common, they are a fascinating subject to study!

Hanno
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  #3  
Old 29-08-13, 14:49
David Herbert David Herbert is offline
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Has anyone managed to get inside to see if this Grizzly has the full Firefly conversion or is just a Firefly turret and gun sitting on a standard Grizzly hull. The Firefly conversion entailed an almost complete rearrangement of the hull stowage and deletion of the hull gunner to make room for 17pdr stowage, hence the welding of a plate over the bow 30cal hole. The turret basket was heavily butchered with a massive structure of steel joists to provide a mounting for the elevation mechanism.

As Hanno says, by the end of 1943 the production of Shermans in the US has built up to the point where the desperate need had subsided and so Canadian production got cut back more and more, leaving Sextons as the only output as they were of no interest to the Americans despite being much better designed than Priests.

I have seen no evidence that any Grizzlies actually saw combat but one Skink (the anti aircraft version) was sent for trials in action. As the Germans had few planes in action by then this trial did not prove much and the Skink project died. However the Grizzlies did provide a modern tank to train with in Canada.

David
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  #4  
Old 29-08-13, 17:44
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Frank v R Frank v R is offline
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Default Firefly

Hi Guys, I have been through the inside of this vehicle and it is in very good condition and complete , no engine, it does have the ammo bin in the bow gunner's position, last time I looked was about 6-7 years ago , the school that had it did manage to do some damage to the vehicle ,( sand shield brackets at the rear), other than that I'm sure some small bits went missing , I wish Borden would stop sand blasting these vehicles without looking for markings in the layers of paint and losing all the history , ie the Panther now in Ottawa, great job but no unit history , somewhere there should be a test report file for this vehicle with photos as I'm sure there would have been files for all the items that Farley Mowat gathered and were shipped back for testing,
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  #5  
Old 29-08-13, 17:55
David Dunlop David Dunlop is offline
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Check for new thread on the Borden Panther.


David
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  #6  
Old 29-08-13, 23:18
David Dunlop David Dunlop is offline
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Default Hanno, regarding notes.

To my knowledge, the only printed information from this conference was the package Bill Gregg and Peter Ford mailed out to attendees that outlined the weekends events.

The seminars/discussions were videotaped, but the audio quality of some of those tapes is suspect. I think there was a thread earlier this year in which Peter Ford's son advised he may have originals of those tapes still in his Dad's collection. I took a quick look but could not relocate that thread to see how it ended.

Nothing was ever formally recorded/documented at the evening BBQ at Bill's home or during the various field trips to my knowledge. I do know I very much enjoyed chatting with Bart at Bill's home. Bart's family certainly had an interesting time in Holland during the war. Bart told me of a Canadian soldier he met at a camp not far from his home, who gave him a CMP manual. This same soldier I believe later dropped by their home and gave them all candies and other food items, which were very much appreciated. Bart's one curse from the war, he said, was that he smoked far too much.

And now that I think of it, Bill Gregg had tracked down that soldier and he was going to take Bart out to his place for a visit/reunion after the conference.

Bart had also mentioned his daughter collected thimbles and I was able to find a few from Canada and post them off to him some time later.

Cheers for now,


David
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  #7  
Old 30-08-13, 02:00
rob love rob love is offline
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I have that video buried in the collection somewhere. Not sure I have a working VCR anymore though.
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  #8  
Old 30-08-13, 12:47
Roger Lucy Roger Lucy is offline
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Default Grizzly Firefly

Three Firefly turrets were sent to Canada in the spring of 1945, to be fitted to Grizzlies for gunnery training. (see RG24, Volume 2603, file HQS 3352-11). My guess that this vehicle was fitted with one of them.
Roger
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  #9  
Old 30-08-13, 17:16
Darrell Zinck Darrell Zinck is online now
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Hi fellas

Would this be one?

regards
Darrell
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  #10  
Old 30-08-13, 17:33
David Dunlop David Dunlop is offline
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Interesting marking on the lower front of that hull. Looks like a fir tree.

David
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  #11  
Old 30-08-13, 19:35
Darrell Zinck Darrell Zinck is online now
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Hi David

I think the photo is post-WW2 and taken in Camp Borden. Not sure, though.

However, I notice the current CFB Borden's crest....................

regards
Darrell
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  #12  
Old 30-08-13, 23:17
tankbarrell tankbarrell is offline
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That's a standard 75mm Grizzly.

The Borden Grizzly does indeed have a correct Firefly interior but I suspect was a one off.
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