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Old 11-07-04, 10:42
John Tapsell John Tapsell is offline
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Default "CB" Fireflies

I'm looking for information relating to four(?) Sherman Fireflies that were landed on Juno Beach with the engineer assault teams at (or near) H-Hour on D-Day.

They belonged "officially" to a composite Troop of six Fireflies of 259 delivery squadron but were assigned to 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade (and were probably crewed by men from one or more of the Canadian DD regiments). My guess is that two were assigned to each of the assault brigades.

Their role was to shoot up concrete bunkers and obstacles on the run-in to the beach (CB = concrete buster).

Two Fireflies were landed on Sword Beach via LCT (CB) 2337 at H+5 minutes. They belonged to 13/18 Hussars.

What I'm trying to do is trace the activities of the four Canadian Fireflies.

Any thoughts?

Cheers,
John
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Old 11-07-04, 20:48
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This might be what you are looking for. The following is from Mark Zuehlke’s book “Juno Beach.”

(p111-112) “There were disruptions to the carefully drawn manifests that also had nothing to do with loading procedures. On June 3, the 1st Hussars Regiment's 'C' Squadron and Regimental Headquarters tanks lined up on a street next to the Southampton docks to load on several Landing Craft, Tank. Trooper Ralph Burley was loitering beside the tank in which he was a gunner when a group of the regiment's officers came up and one announced, "This tank won't go in on D-Day." Burley and his mates were dismayed. They had been working towards this moment for years and now were to be denied a role. The officer curtly informed them that the tank would be shuffled over to join the regiment's rear echelon elements as a security detail and would land well after the invasion.

No sooner had Burley absorbed this unwelcome news than the squadron's sergeant major approached Burley. "You're not getting off that easy," the man said. "You're going with Lieutenant Irving. He's going to be on a landing craft with two 17-pounder Shermans mounted on the bow and you're going to be ammunition detail. You and three other guys." The twenty-one-year-old Torontonian joined Lieutenant Fleming Ladd Irving's party on an LCT and found the two tanks chained down on the vessel's bow. Irving told the four men they were to pass ammunition stored behind the tanks up to the loaders while the gunners engaged a fortification next to Courseulles-sur-Mer that was protecting a German gun. The lieutenant explained that the ammo-passing detail was necessary so that when the tanks finished the fire mission they could immediately land with still full ammunition racks.”

(p157) “Also joining the vessel-based shelling contingent were the two 1st Hussars 17-pounder Firefly tanks commanded by Lieutenant Ladd Irving of 'C Squadron. These were to knock out a fortification near Courseulles thought to be immune to destruction by the less accurate naval and aerial bombardment.”

(p162-163) Well ahead of the LCTS bearing the DD squadrons was the one with the two 1st Hussars 17-pounder tanks mounted on its front that were commanded by Lieutenant Irving and tasked with firing on the fortified gun position near Courseulles. Standing behind the tanks in readiness to hand ammunition up to the loaders, Trooper Ralph Burley and three other Hussars tried to ignore the icy seawater sloshing around their ankles. The LCT was heaving in the swells, making it hard for the men to keep their balance. During the crossing, some of the tankers had tried cooking up some food with a propane burner, but Burley had been too seasick to eat any. Everyone was seasick now and the run towards shore was a misery.

Then the two tanks opened fire with a deafening crash that set Burley's ears ringing despite an earlier attempt to protect his eardrums by wrapping a scarf around his head. Burley and the others formed a chain and started passing shells to the gun loaders. Coming up from a crouch while passing one round up to the man on the back of the tank, Burley struck his forehead on a bracket bolt mounted on the tank and opened an inch-long gash above one eye. Blood blinded him and the trooper was gripped by a convulsive fit of vomiting. Frantically swiping the streams of blood from his eyes so he could see enough to handle the shells, attempting to ignore the vomiting attacks, Burley kept passing the ammunition.

Because the shells were being manhandled through the hatch in the top of the turret, the tank crew commanders were forced to use periscopes to direct the guns onto the target. Halfway through the shoot, one periscope lens became so covered with seawater that the crew commander was no longer able to see through it. "Somebody get up here and wipe off these periscope sights," he bellowed. Burley's crewmate, Trooper Harold Newburgh, jumped to the task by straddling the 17-pounder's muzzle and reaching up from this position to wipe the periscope lens clean with a rag. Just as he finished the job, the gunner accidentally triggered the gun. When the badly dazed Newburgh returned to the deck, Burley saw that the man's eyebrows had been blackened and singed by the muzzle blast.

Although the LCT carried two hundred rounds of loose ammunition for use in the firing mission, Irving ordered ceasefire after each tank had fired only about thirty rounds. Then the LCT broke off its advance and swung back out to sea.”

(p179-180) “Following close on the heels of the 1st Hussars DD tanks was the LCT carrying Lieutenant Irving and Sergeant Lamb's 17-pounder Sherman Fireflies that had been tasked with knocking out a fortification in Mike Sector. Although the other LCTS carrying 'C' Squadron tanks were not scheduled to land until forty-five minutes after the first assault wave, this one was to go in early to get the two heavy guns into action. Trooper Ralph Burley and the rest of the ammo passing party were huddled down behind the protective cover of the tanks and LCT'S armoured hull because of the heavy small-arms fire striking the craft. On the bridge, one of the Royal Navy sailors was returning fire with a pintle-mounted 20-millimetre machine gun. When Burley looked up to see how the man was doing, he was no longer visible and the weapon was burning. He thought German bullets must have hit it.

The front ramp dropped and Burley could see the shore coming up fast. "What's that sticking out of the water near shore?" Burley shouted to one of the sailors. "Looks like bulrushes to me."

"Bulrushes be damned," the man bellowed. "They're mines on cedar posts."
That should make it pretty exciting, Burley thought, as the LCT started weaving through the obstacles. He could hear posts scraping against the sides of the craft, but no mines exploded. Then the LCT bottomed out and the signal was given for Irving and Lamb to disembark. The tanks rolled out into water only three feet deep and Irving yelled over his shoulder how happy he was with the nearly dry landing as the two Shermans barrelled onto dry ground and headed up the beach.

As the LCT started backing out to sea from the beach, Burley caught sight of scattered infantry running across the sand but he could no longer make out the two Fireflies and the only DD tanks visible were a couple in the surf that appeared to have been swamped. When the ramp was back up, Burley glanced over the side of the LCT and saw some bodies wearing tanker overalls floating in the water nearby. He recognized one that was face up as a friend. Although Burley was aware he would soon be reassigned to another tank and rejoin the regiment in the battle lines, he was not sorry to be granted a short reprieve from the beaches of Normandy.”

Also this is from the following link;

http://www.warchronicle.com/canadian...ormandypt1.htm

“During the actual landing operations two 17 pdr. Shermans, commanded by Lieut. F.L. Irving and Sgt. Lamb, were to engage and destroy specific forts from their LCT. The scheme was carried out according to plan, but while proceeding inland Lieut. Irving was killed when his tank was hit by a 50 mm. The tank, however, was repaired by the unit fitters and put back into action two days later.”

Last edited by John McGillivray; 12-07-04 at 02:52.
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Old 11-07-04, 23:31
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Default A possible error in Zuehlke's book?

There is a possibilitiy that Zuehlke may be wrong in stating that the two Fireflies belonged to “C” Sqn. On the web site which I gave the link to, on the previous post, Lt Irving’s and Sgt. Lamb’s Fireflies are referred to under the section describing the landings of “B” Sqn. Also I have another book which lists the Officers of 1st Hussars’ “C” Sqn. just before D-Day as followers:

Major D’Arcy Marks; Capt. Harry Harrison; Capt. A.B. Conron; Lt. G. Stoner; Lt. G. Henry; Lt. F. Allen; Lt. “Rip” Gordon and Lt William McCormick.

Lt Irving is not listed as being a member of “C” Sqn.

It appears that while the four men in the ammunition detail may have belonged to “C” Sqn., while the two Fireflies and their crews were part of “B” Sqn.

Can someone else confirm this?

Last edited by John McGillivray; 12-07-04 at 02:53.
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Old 12-07-04, 14:22
John Tapsell John Tapsell is offline
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John,
Thanks for your reply - much appreciated.

Although it may have no relevance to your own query, the same confusion over who crewed the CB Fireflies exists with 13/18 Hussars.

The 13/18 tanks were commanded by Lt Knowles and Sgt Ellis, with Ellis being assigned to A Sqn after landing and Knowles to B Sqn. What is not clear however is where they came from.

At the moment, the most likely explanation is that these CB tanks were crewed by "1st reinforcement" (reserve) crews, but even that isn't 100% certain.

I was recently shown a photo that includes a pair of Fireflies on an LCT in Southampton - the LCT is surrounded by engineer assault team LCTs. I'll see if I can track it down as i believe that they are probably Canadian CBs, rather than 13/18 H (the photo isn't good enough to show markings unfortunately).

Cheers,
John
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Old 12-07-04, 19:12
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Default Re: "CB" Fireflies

Quote:
Originally posted by John Tapsell
Two Fireflies were landed on Sword Beach via LCT (CB) 2337 at H+5 minutes. They belonged to 13/18 Hussars
John;

Just a note, there is no mention at all of these 'Two Fireflies' of the 13th/18th Hussars, in their Regimental History.

According to their history: History of the 13th/18th Royal Hussars (Queen Mary's Own), 1922-1947, on 6 June, 1944 - "A" and "B" Sqns were the 'Assault Squadrons', being equipped with 75mm Sherman D.D. tanks - which landed across 'Queen Beach White' ("A" Sqn) and 'Queen Beach Red' ("B" Sqn). Neither of these Squadrons had 17pdr Fireflies on their charge.

According to the Regimental history, the 4x 17pdr tanks that the Regiment had on charge 6 June, 1944, were held in "C" Sqn (one per Troop), which was the Regiment's 'Wading' Sqn on 6 Jun, and who landed across 'Queen Beach White' at H+45 minutes.

No where in their history is any mention made of these 'tasked CB Fireflies', according to their history, the 4x 17pdr 'Fireflies' of the Regiment, landed along with the rest of "C" Sqn at H+45 minutes, with "C" Sqn itself tasked with the support of 1st Suffolks.

Attached is the table of Organization of the 13th/18th Hussars for 6 June, 1944, as it appears in their Regimental history and a map of the Regiment's landings.

Cheers
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Old 12-07-04, 19:41
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Default Re: A possible error in Zuehlke's book?

Quote:
Originally posted by John McGillivray
There is a possibilitiy that Zuehlke may be wrong in stating that the two Fireflies belonged to “C” Sqn. On the web site which I gave the link to, on the previous post, Lt Irving’s and Sgt. Lamb’s Fireflies are referred to under the section describing the landings of “B” Sqn. Also I have another book which lists the Officers of 1st Hussars’ “C” Sqn. just before D-Day as followers:

Major D’Arcy Marks; Capt. Harry Harrison; Capt. A.B. Conron; Lt. G. Stoner; Lt. G. Henry; Lt. F. Allen; Lt. “Rip” Gordon and Lt William McCormick.

Lt Irving is not listed as being a member of “C” Sqn.

It appears that while the four men in the ammunition detail may have belonged to “C” Sqn., while the two Fireflies and their crews were part of “B” Sqn.

Can someone else confirm this?
John;

This is a quote from the history of the 1st Hussars, page 59:

"During the actual landing operations two 17pdr Shermans commanded by Lieut. F.L. Irving and Sgt. Lamb, were to engage and destroy specific forts from their LCT. This scheme was carried out according to plan, but while proceeding inland Lieut Irving was killed when his tank was hit by a 50 mm. The tank, however, was repaired by the unit fitters and put back into action two days later".

The section that the above quote appears in, deals with the landings of "B" Sqn. I would assume that both Irving and Lamb, belonged to "B" Sqn and not "C" Sqn.

Also, on page 54, it mentions, that at approx. 1630hrs (6 Jun), two 17pdr Shermans (commanded by Sgt Doherty and Cpl. Boyle) of "C" Sqn (Wading), were given to Lieut. Mills to reform 2nd Troop ("A" Sqn).

Hope this helps.

Cheers
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Last edited by Mark W. Tonner; 12-07-04 at 19:48.
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Old 12-07-04, 22:43
John Tapsell John Tapsell is offline
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Mark,

Thanks for the reply.

Ahhh - it's always wise to be wary of official histories AND War Diaries. Like any other form of record, errors and omissions creep into them from time to time. You're quite right, the CB Fireflies aren't mentioned in the regimental history by Miller.

The two tanks were commanded by Lt Knowles and Sgt Ellis.

Various unpublished memoirs and sources identify the vehicles in question - including an online memoir from an RNVR Sub-Lieutenant from LCT (CB) 2337.

http://www.eurosurf.com/John_Brooke/

Maj Wormald (O/C A Sqn) refers specifically to Sgt Ellis in his own unpublished notes and confirms that Ellis' Firefly was one of the six tanks left in A Sqn after D-Day.

"The five remaining tanks (S/Ldr, Capt. Lyon, Lt Hunter, Sgts Hepper and Morris) went into Hermanville and took up posns. on the south edge of the village. They were joined by Sgt. Ellis with his Sherman V(c). He was particularly welcome with his powerful armament."

(the 13/18 War Diary records A Sqn strength at 2000 on 6th June as six tanks)


Similarly, the Loading Tables for Sword Beach record a single LCT (CB) due to land at H-Hour.

The CB Fireflies are also recorded in WO171/102 at the Public Record Office:

"Six Sherman 17 pdr are being issued to 1 Corps on a priority, to be used in LCTs for concrete busting. These vehicles are to be manned by First Reinforcements of 27th Armoured Brigade and 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade. They will held on charge by 259 Delivery Squadron (1 Corps)"

(from Mark Hayward's "Sherman Firefly" - page 23)

So - strictly speaking none of the six Fireflies were "on charge" with the regiments in question and don't necessarily show up on their records. However, they were still crewed by regimental personnel and operated as part of the regiment for an unspecified period of time during and after D-Day.

Thus, although the official history doesn't mention them, other sources do and there's sufficient cross-referencing possible to satisfy me that both vehicles existed and that they didn't belong to C Sqn.

Which leaves an interesting question - were CB Fireflies used on Gold Beach (I presume so...)?

Cheers,
John
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Old 13-07-04, 00:35
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Post Re: CB Fireflies

Quote:
Originally posted by John Tapsell
Various unpublished memoirs and sources identify the vehicles in question - including an online memoir from an RNVR Sub-Lieutenant from LCT (CB) 2337.
John;

In regards to the above link, this may sound dumb, but, he doesn't say if the 'Hussar Shermans' loaded on the raised after deck for the actual invasion were 17 pdrs or not, although, he does mention that during exercises before the invasion, these two positions were 17pdr Shermans. The two Shermans for the actual invasion may have been two 75mm Shermans.

Quote:
Originally posted by John Tapsell
The CB Fireflies are also recorded in WO171/102 at the Public Record Office:

"Six Sherman 17 pdr are being issued to 1 Corps on a priority, to be used in LCTs for concrete busting. These vehicles are to be manned by First Reinforcements of 27th Armoured Brigade and 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade. They will held on charge by 259 Delivery Squadron (1 Corps)"

(from Mark Hayward's "Sherman Firefly" - page 23)
John;

In regards to the above, is your source WO171/102, or is your source Mark Hayward's "Sherman Firefly" - page 23, regarding the quote.

Also, I found this, which you may find of interest, its from:
History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series - Victory in the West, Volume I, The Battle for Normandy, (by Maj. L.F. Ellis) - Appendix II - Allied Naval Forces in Operation Neptune - Part II, where it states the following:

"In addition to the bombarding forces listed above each naval assault force included landing craft equipped with various weapons to give additional close support to the assaulting troops. The type of craft and the nature of their armament is as follows:"

and under the column Type, is listed, for the Eastern Task Force -

'Landing Craft Tank' - and for number - '103(b)' - with a note regarding armament - 'temporarily mounting army weapons'; and under Notes, in regards to the '103(b), it states:

"(b) On the British front the following weapons were mounted in L.C.T.s to give close fire support: 80 Centaur tanks mounting 95mm howitzers; 20 Sherman tanks mounting 75mm guns; 240 self-propelled 25pdr or 105mm field guns. Three craft carried 17pdr high velocity guns for destroying concrete defences."

It does not say if these '17pdr high velocity guns', were 'tank mounted' or 'standard carriage mounted' 17pdrs.

Cheers
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Old 13-07-04, 03:46
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Post Re: 'CB' Fireflies

John and John;

This subject made me curious and got my interest, which lead to some digging, and this is what I found, for what it's worth.

1. - we know that 2x 17pdrs gun tanks of the 6th Cdn Armd Regt (1st Hussars)(Lt. Irving and Sgt Lamb crew commanders, respectively), were tasked with the engagement of a fortification next to Courseulles-sur-Mer during the run in to Juno, being mounted on the bow of an L.C.T. carrying AVREs of one of the attached Assault Sqns, R.E.

2. - L.C.T. (CB), I have found, referred to the Landing Craft Tank(s) which carried the assault squadrons of the Royal Engineers, which across the beaches - Gold: 50th Inf Div - 81 & 82 Assault Sqns, R.E.; Juno: 3rd Cdn Div - 26 & 80 Assault Sqns, R.E.; and Sword Beach: 3rd Inf Div - 77 and 79 Assault Sqns, R.E. - all of whom were equipped with AVREs. I have found nothing which suggests that L.C.T. (CB)s carried anything other than the Assault Squadrons, R.E. - there is nothing which points to any of these L.C.T. (CB)s carrying or employing 17pdr gun tanks for the sole purpose of 'Concrete Busting', except for the two 1st Hussars 17pdr gun tanks employed on Juno for the purpose of engaging a specific target (fortification next to Courseulles-sur-Mer)

3. - in an earlier post, I had mentioned, that in the Eastern Task Force, there were three L.C.T.s that 'carried 17pdr high velocity guns for destroying concrete defences' out of a total of 103 L.C.T.s that were mounted 'with army weapons' to give close fire support. (It does not say or specify if these '17pdr high velocity guns' were 17pdr gun tanks or the standard 17pdr A/Tk gun (carriage mounted)

4. - except for the 2x 17pdrs gun tanks of the 1st Hussars, that were assigned a specific task & target, I have found nothing indicating that any other 17pdr gun tanks were used for this purpose across Gold, Juno or Sword beaches.

5. - the AVREs were assigned the task of 'Concrete Busting' across all three beaches, hence the designation of L.C.T. (CB) for the craft which carried them.

General note: on the diagrams of the assault craft deployments, it shows the line of landing craft directing behind the swimming D.D. tanks to be that of the 'L.C.T (CB) AVRE', followed by that of the L.C.A.s of the assault infantry battalions.

Anyways Guys, just some points I dug up.

Cheers
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Last edited by Mark W. Tonner; 13-07-04 at 03:51.
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Old 18-07-04, 18:10
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Default Fireflies on LCT

Here is a close up of part of NAC photo PA132653. It shows two Sherman Fireflies at the front of a LCT. I wonder if these are the tanks commanded by Lt. Irving and Sgt. Lamb?
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Old 18-07-04, 22:26
John Tapsell John Tapsell is offline
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John,

That's the image I was after.

If you look closely, they are higher than the camo net behind them (on a raised deck).

The LCT pennant number is 2338.

LCT (CB) 2337 is the vessel that carried the 13/18 Hussar CB Fireflies ashore.

Too close for coincidence? It would make sense to convert a batch of LCTs to a specific role rather than picking random examples. I suspect that they may have converted before or shortly after they were commissioned.

Most of the LCTs in the photo are carrying engineer vehicles and the pennant numbers vary. The chalk numbers however, are fairly sequential

I disagree with Mark - the CB Fireflies for 13/18 Hussars can be traced fairly easily and they didn't land with C Sqn - all four C Sqn Fireflies can be linked to a commander and neither Knowles nor Ellis feature in that list.

Cheers,
John
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Old 19-07-04, 02:18
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Post Re: 'CB' Fireflies

Quote:
Originally posted by John McGillivray
Here is a close up of part of NAC photo PA132653. It shows two Sherman Fireflies at the front of a LCT. I wonder if these are the tanks commanded by Lt. Irving and Sgt. Lamb?
For: John McGillivray

John - these tanks belong to the Fort Garry Horse. You'll see I've circled the Arm of Service marking, which in this case is '52' with a white bar below. '52' w/white bar being the AoS of the Fort Garry Horse, who were Army Troops (2nd Cdn Armd Bde). Also, there sitting on the tank deck, not on a raised platform. See attached image.

Quote:
Originally posted John Tapsell
The CB Fireflies are also recorded in WO171/102 at the Public Record Office:

"Six Sherman 17 pdr are being issued to 1 Corps on a priority, to be used in LCTs for concrete busting. These vehicles are to be manned by First Reinforcements of 27th Armoured Brigade and 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade. They will held on charge by 259 Delivery Squadron (1 Corps)"

(from Mark Hayward's "Sherman Firefly" - page 23)
For: John Tapsell

John - have you actually read or seen WO171/102?

Cheers
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Old 19-07-04, 03:53
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Default AHQ Report 054, para 157

The following is from AHQ Report 054, Para 157. Note the final part of the paragraph.


157. The organization of 6 and 10 Cdn Armd Regts each into two squadrons of normal Shermans has bee referred to previously (para 103). This arrangement was designed to give close support to each assaulting battalion at the crucial moment of landing. Reserve battalions, jmaking an unopposed landing, would be supported ashore by “normal” squadrons. For a detailed description of the manner in which it was proposed to operate the amphibious tanks, reference should be made to the memorandum, Drill for Launching and Run-in of DDs, issued by 2 Cdn Armd Bde, 13 Apr 44 (W.D., H.Q. 2 Cdn Armd Bde, 20 Apr – 31 May 44: Appx 11). Launching was to take place at 5000 yards from the beach under cover of smoke laid by L.C.G. (L), touchdown being made at H minus 5 minutes. D.D. tanks were thus to form the first wave of the assault, going in five minutes before the leading flight of landing craft hit the beach (See diagram at Appendix “H”). Although it was considered improbable that the operation would be mounted if seas were rough, it was nonetheless entertained as a possibility that the launchng of D.D. tanks might have to be cancelled altogether (Ibid), 6 and 10 Cdn Armd Regts were each in addition to supply two Sherman tansk Vc to be employed as “concrete-busters” in the assault. These would be borne in L.C.T. (C.B.) (see Ships and Craft of Force “J”, Appendix “B”) and would disembark so as to deliver observed fire from their 17-pounder guns against emplacements (R.C.A., 3 Cdn Inf Div O.O. No. 1). Concrete-busters would revert to regimental command on completion of their tasks (2 Cdn Armd Bde O.O. No.1).

http://www.forces.gc.ca/hr/dhh/Downloads/ahq/ahq054.PDF

Last edited by John McGillivray; 19-07-04 at 04:00.
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Old 19-07-04, 05:08
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Default Re: AHQ Report 054, para 157

Quote:
Originally posted by John McGillivray
The following is from AHQ Report 054, Para 157. Note the final part of the paragraph.


157. "and would disembark so as to deliver observed fire from their 17-pounder guns against emplacements"
Good find John, but what John Tapsell referred to in his first post was 17pdr Fireflies - mounted on a raised platform - to fire on targets during the run in to the beaches - the one's mentioned above were to engage targets - after landing.

But it also explains why two 17pdrs of the FGH are loaded on the LCT in the photo, to be the first off.

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Old 19-07-04, 15:11
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Mark, No I haven't read the document - it's on my list to peruse on my next visit to PRO (to trace the context of the quote that Hayward uses).

I'd dispute the idea that the tanks are sitting on the tank deck. They've far too high when compared to the hull sides. If they were on the tanks deck, the sides should extend as least as far as the turret sides and these clearly finish somewhere around track/sponson level.

Maybe the exact purpose of the CB teams varied from unit to unit. Whilst they were all tasked with bunker-busting, maybe it was left up to the regiments exactly how that "busting" was carried out. Alternatively they had TWO roles - to fire at the beaches on the way in and then to carry out specific tasks once ashore.

Whilst AVREs make much better bunker busters, their effective range was only around 80 yards. The Fireflies provided a long-range, high velocity alternative.

On the other hand, contemporary acounts of 13/18 Hussars activities around the 'Hillman' bunker complex indicate that tank fire (75mm and 17pdr) made little impression on the defences (and that's stationary and at close range, not the wallowing deck of an LCT).

Perhaps the planners were overly optomistic about the value of 17pdr guns as assault weapons? According to John Brooke's account, neither 13/18 H tanks fired their guns on the way in, despite that being the plan. Why else would you put them on a raised deck when they could sit on the normal tank deck perfectly adequately?

If the two tanks in the photo are FGH, the pattern continues. So far, all the CB Fireflies discussed belong to DD Regiments (FGH were a DD Regt?). However, I'm lacking any records for Gold beach, so it's not possible to assess whether all DD regiments used them.

Cheers,
JOhn
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Old 19-07-04, 15:46
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John Tapsell


Morning John - to answer a question from your last post, yes the FGH were 'D.D.' equipped - two squadrons 'Swimmimg' (D.D.) and one squadron 'Wading' (Deep Wading Trunk), of which, the two tanks in the photo would seem to belong to since they are not 'D.D.s'.

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Old 19-07-04, 18:35
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Post Re: "C" Sqn 13th/18th Hussars - # 1

Quote:
Originally posted by John Tapsell
I disagree with Mark - the CB Fireflies for 13/18 Hussars can be traced fairly easily and they didn't land with C Sqn - all four C Sqn Fireflies can be linked to a commander and neither Knowles nor Ellis feature in that list.
John;

The attached pictures are from the loading of "C" Sqn, 13th/18th Hussars on 3 Jun 44 at Gosport. You'll notice that 'Carole' (71) a 17pdr of the Regt is in all three photos. The tanks in these photos all belong to "C" Sqn and are all for LCT 212, which is 'chalked' on them (circled in red). "C" Sqn used the numbers 66-80 inclusive, for their tank I.D. numbers (painted usually on the turret sides and rear). You'll also notice, in the top photo, that 'Carole' is loaded on LCT 212, with vehicles in front of her.

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Old 19-07-04, 18:39
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Default FGH Organizaton, 6 June 1944

Hi all,

Here is an excerpt from the War Dairies of 10th Canadian Armoured Regiment (Fort Garry Horse). It mentions two B Squadron Vc tanks attached to the RN for "breaching" activities. Perhaps they are the two in the picture.

This detachment from the unit may also explain why LCT 2338 does not appear in our War Diary list of LCTs and LSTs, shown below.


•RHQ CO and Adjt in LCT (with A Sqn HQ)
2IC and RHQ tp leader later in on LST Complete duplication being insured.

•A Sqn (Non DD) Sqn HQ in two alternative halves. Five tps of two SHERMAN IIIs and one Vc each. These tps were in some cases a little broken up due to shipping problems. A spare tk to come in on D plus 8.

•B & C (DD Sqns). These decided to swim in two spare tks each, making up scratch crews a total each of 20 tks. After breaching, two SHERMAN Vc tks who were working initially under the RN were att to B sqn. Other than these two tks B and C sqns had no Vc tks.

•HQ Sqn Only three light tks were allowed on the loading table and these were kept in hand by the CO throughout. Certain other vehicles - the sqn leader's 4 x 4 5 cwt, etc., and a VALENTINE br layer from 2 Cdn Armd Bde, a SHERMAN rec tk (A sqn) and a scout car for the regt int offr and one for the regt sigs offr (these latter did not arrive till the evening of D day).

FGH LCT and LST numbers 6 June 1944:

1510 LCT4 1 tp A Sqn
1511 LCT4 (no 541) A Shq , half Rhq
1512 LCT4 (no 932) 2ic A
1513 LCT4 (no 934) Troop A Sqn
1552 LST A Sqn Ech
1554 LST A Sqn Ech
1523 LCT4 1 A Sqn tk
1522 LCT4 1 A Sqn tk

(DD Squadrons)
Bernieres sur Mer
1400 LCT3 B Sqn
1401 LCT3 B Sqn
1402 LCT3 B Sqn
1403 LCT3 (no 341) B Sqn
St. Aubin sur Mer
1404 LCT3 (no 382) C Sqn
1405 LCT3 (no 354) C Sqn
1406 LCT3 (no 317) C Sqn
1407 LCT3 (no 313) C Sqn

Second Tide

1557 LST
1560 LST
1561 LST
1565 LST


Gord Crossley
FGH Museum and Archives
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Old 19-07-04, 18:40
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Post Re: "C" Sqn 13th/18th Hussars - # 2

John;

The loading of LCT 212 and loaded. Again, the LCT Number circled in red.

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Old 19-07-04, 18:47
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Quote:
Originally posted by John Tapsell
I'd dispute the idea that the tanks are sitting on the tank deck. They've far too high when compared to the hull sides. If they were on the tanks deck, the sides should extend as least as far as the turret sides and these clearly finish somewhere around track/sponson level.
John;

To give you an idea of how low the sides of an LCT actually were:

-top photo - an M10 loaded on an LCT for D-Day

- bottom photo - all of PA 132653 - with the 2x 17pdrs of the FGH circled in red (left), and if you look in the bottom right hand corner, you'll see an AVRE. Compare the AVRE to the LCT's side.

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Old 19-07-04, 23:13
John Tapsell John Tapsell is offline
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Mark,

With regard to 13/18 H CB Fireflies, try the following source:

"A Conscript Goes to War: in a tank", by John Brookes.
Tracprez Publications,
Old Twenty Parts Company,
Cavendish Bridge,
Shardlow,
Derby.
DE72 2HL
ISBN: 9 9530782 7 2

(it's listed on the Amazon.co.uk site too)

Brookes crewed one of the CB Fireflies (that of Lt Knowles of B Sqn).

It's strange - I think I must be getting my LCTs mixed up. I could have sworn that the hull sides were higher on the LCT 4. Oh well, I take your point.

LCT "212" is an old friend.

The loading tables at PRO say that she carried six Sherman III, one Sherman Vc and one Sherman ARV (plus a universal carrier and five porpoise ammo sledges).

On the other hand the 13/18 war diary comments that the three LCTs due to carry C Sqn and HQ Sqn were overloaded and therefore two Shermans from each were loaded onto a reserve LCT.

212 actually carried the following:

right hand column - rear to front
10 - Balaclava (Sherman III - regt command tank)
-- - 1 x ARV
77 - (Sherman III C Sqn)

left hand column - rear to front
1 x Carrier (in this case belonging to regt Intel Officer)
11 - (Sherman III - HQ Sqn)
70 - (Sherman III C Sqn)
71 - Carole (Sherman Vc C Sqn)

1(?) X GPA (amphibious) jeep placed centrally between the two rows.
5(?) x Porpoises.

Cheers,
John
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Old 20-07-04, 01:33
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Post Re: FGH Organizaton, 6 June 1944

Quote:
Originally posted by gcrossley
It mentions two B Squadron Vc tanks attached to the RN for "breaching" activities. Perhaps they are the two in the picture.

This detachment from the unit may also explain why LCT 2338 does not appear in our War Diary list of LCTs and LSTs, shown below.
Hi Gord;

In regards to the two 17pdrs in the photo (PA 132653), the one on the left of the photo (with a magnifing glass) clearly shows the AoS marking of the Fort Garry Horse ('52' w/white bar below) and I would assume that the right one is also FGH, both of which are on the top of the ramp of LCT 2338. I've attached the part of PA 132653 showing the two 17pdrs on LCT 2338, with the AoS in question circled in red. If you can find a good clear copy of this photo, and with the use of a glass, you can clearly make out the FGH AoS. Another one of life's little mysteries solved.

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Old 20-07-04, 02:36
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Post Re: Canadian 17pdr Fireflies used for 'Concrete Busting'

Good Evening All;

Just a comment on our discussion to date:

Ref: Canadian 17pdr Fireflies used for 'Concrete Busting'

After what we've read and learned while studying this thread, would it be safe to assume, that at least across JUNO beach, there were 4x 17pdr Fireflies employed, with the role of 'Concrete Busting', two each from the First Hussars and the Fort Garry Horse (6th and 10th Cdn Armd Regts respectively), and that none of these four were 'D.D.s', but were in fact 'Wading' tanks. Also, that at least the two from 1H, were involved with the direct engagement of a specific target during the run in and that all four of these tanks were positioned on the top of the ramp (as evidenced by PA 132653 and the statement from John McGillivray's first post below, "with two 17-pounder Shermans mounted on the bow") of their respective LCTs, so that they would not only be able to engage targets to their front, but also to be the first off, so has to further engage their assigned targets upon landing.

My reasons for the above statement are thus:

from John McGillivray's posts:

"You're going with Lieutenant Irving. He's going to be on a landing craft with two 17-pounder Shermans mounted on the bow and you're going to be ammunition detail. You and three other guys." The twenty-one-year-old Torontonian joined Lieutenant Fleming Ladd Irving's party on an LCT and found the two tanks chained down on the vessel's bow. Irving told the four men they were to pass ammunition stored behind the tanks up to the loaders while the gunners engaged a fortification next to Courseulles-sur-Mer that was protecting a German gun. The lieutenant explained that the ammo-passing detail was necessary so that when the tanks finished the fire mission they could immediately land with still full ammunition racks.”

"Well ahead of the LCTS bearing the DD squadrons was the one with the two 1st Hussars 17-pounder tanks mounted on its front that were commanded by Lieutenant Irving and tasked with firing on the fortified gun position near Courseulles."

“Following close on the heels of the 1st Hussars DD tanks was the LCT carrying Lieutenant Irving and Sergeant Lamb's 17-pounder Sherman Fireflies that had been tasked with knocking out a fortification in Mike Sector."

from John McGillivray's posts and one by myself:

"During the actual landing operations two 17pdr Shermans commanded by Lieut. F.L. Irving and Sgt. Lamb, were to engage and destroy specific forts from their LCT. This scheme was carried out according to plan, but while proceeding inland Lieut Irving was killed when his tank was hit by a 50 mm. The tank, however, was repaired by the unit fitters and put back into action two days later".

from one of my posts:

"we know that 2x 17pdrs gun tanks of the 6th Cdn Armd Regt (1st Hussars)(Lt. Irving and Sgt Lamb crew commanders, respectively), were tasked with the engagement of a fortification next to Courseulles-sur-Mer during the run in to Juno, being mounted on the bow of an L.C.T. carrying AVREs of one of the attached Assault Sqns, R.E."

from John McGillivray's posts:

"6 and 10 Cdn Armd Regts were each in addition to supply two Sherman tansk Vc to be employed as “concrete-busters” in the assault. These would be borne in L.C.T. (C.B.) (see Ships and Craft of Force “J”, Appendix “B”) and would disembark so as to deliver observed fire from their 17-pounder guns against emplacements (R.C.A., 3 Cdn Inf Div O.O. No. 1). Concrete-busters would revert to regimental command on completion of their tasks (2 Cdn Armd Bde O.O. No.1). "

from Gord Crossley's post:

"It mentions two B Squadron Vc tanks attached to the RN for "breaching" activities"

So in conclusion, we now know that their were four Canadian 17pdr Fireflies employed in 'Concrete Busting', two each from the First Hussars (6th Cdn Armd Regt) and the Fort Garry Horse (10th Cdn Armd Regt), and that all four of which were 'Wading' tanks and not 'D.D.s' and that all four of these tanks (two apiece) were positioned in the bow of their respective LCT, positioned, more or less, at the top of the ramp, so's they would be the first vehicles off, enabling them to continue the engagement of their assigned targets, as quoted above, from various sources.

Comments.

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Old 22-07-04, 01:35
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Quote:
Originally posted by John Tapsell
LCT "212" is an old friend.

The loading tables at PRO say that she carried six Sherman III, one Sherman Vc and one Sherman ARV (plus a universal carrier and five porpoise ammo sledges).

On the other hand the 13/18 war diary comments that the three LCTs due to carry C Sqn and HQ Sqn were overloaded and therefore two Shermans from each were loaded onto a reserve LCT.

212 actually carried the following:

right hand column - rear to front
10 - Balaclava (Sherman III - regt command tank)
-- - 1 x ARV
77 - (Sherman III C Sqn)

left hand column - rear to front
1 x Carrier (in this case belonging to regt Intel Officer)
11 - (Sherman III - HQ Sqn)
70 - (Sherman III C Sqn)
71 - Carole (Sherman Vc C Sqn)
1(?) X GPA (amphibious) jeep placed centrally between the two rows.
5(?) x Porpoises.
John;

Loading Gosport - 3 June 1944 - look what I found.

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Old 22-07-04, 10:14
Alex van de Wetering Alex van de Wetering is offline
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Hi Guys,

I have been interested in the story of C-squadron 13/18 th Hussars for some years now. It all started with the plan to build a scale model of "Carole" and now I have plans for models of the ARV, the GPA, one of the Sherman III's etc.
So I started to gather information and met a fellow modeler who was also very much interested in the story of C squadron. We exchanged information and he even knows the only serviving crew-member of Carole, personally! I'll ask him to join this discussion. He might have some interesting information!

In the meantime...Here are some pictures of Sherman III "Charmer", number 68 of C-squadron 13/18 th Hussars:

http://www.archertransfers.com/AR35173pix.html

The GPA can also be seen in one of the pictures that Mark posted:



Some other info:
1 The ARV aboard LCT 212 is a Sherman III based ARV I. (most ARV mk I's were based on the Sherman V)
2 LCT 213 mostly carried Carriers and one Caterpillar Co D6 Armored Dozer
3 LCT 211 can also be seen in several books about D-day and carried a Sherman BARV.

You can find more pictures of C-squadron 13/18 Hussars in the the book "Gold, Juno, Sword" of "Georges Bernage".

Alex van de Wetering
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Old 22-07-04, 16:08
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Post Re: "Charmer"

Quote:
Originally posted by Alex van de Wetering
Sherman III "Charmer", number 68 of C-squadron 13/18 th Hussars
Alex;

Came across this photo:

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Old 22-07-04, 16:42
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Quote:
Originally posted by John Tapsell
212 actually carried the following:

right hand column - rear to front
10 - Balaclava (Sherman III - regt command tank)
-- - 1 x ARV
77 - (Sherman III C Sqn)

left hand column - rear to front
1 x Carrier (in this case belonging to regt Intel Officer)
11 - (Sherman III - HQ Sqn)
70 - (Sherman III C Sqn)
71 - Carole (Sherman Vc C Sqn)

1(?) X GPA (amphibious) jeep placed centrally between the two rows.
5(?) x Porpoises.
John;

I came across this photo:

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Old 22-07-04, 16:44
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Post Re: LCT 213

Quote:
Originally posted by Alex van de Wetering
LCT 213 mostly carried Carriers and one Caterpillar Co D6 Armored Dozer
Alex;

LCT 213 loading:

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Old 22-07-04, 18:07
Alex van de Wetering Alex van de Wetering is offline
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Mark,

Yes, Great pictures! They are also in the "Gold, Juno, Sword-book"

Alex
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Old 25-07-04, 04:17
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Post Re: Cdn 17pdr Sherman Vc in "CB" role

Find these paragraphs pertaining to the use of Canadian 17pdr Sherman Vc in the "CB" role on 6 Jun 44:

CMHQ Report No. 147 - Dated: 3 Dec 45 - prepared by Major J.R. Martin J.R.

122. The organization of 6 and 10 Cdn Armd Regts each into two
squadrons of D.D. tanks and one squadron of normal Shermans has been referred previously (para 73). This arrangement was designed to give close support to each assaulting battalion at the crucial moment of landing. Reserve battalions, making an unopposed landing, would be supported ashore, by "normal" squadrons. For a detailed description of the manner in which it was proposed to operate the amphibious tanks, reference should be made to the memorandum, Drill for Launching and Run in of DDs, issued by 2 Cdn Armd Bde, 13 Apr 44. (W.D., H.Q. 2 Cdn Armd Bde, 20 Apr - 31 May 44: Appx 44. (W.D., H.Q. 2 Cdn Armd Bde, 20 Apr - 31 May 44: Appx 11.) Launching was to take place at 5000 yards from the beach under cover of smoke laid by L.C.G. (L), touchdown being made at H minus 5 minutes. D.D. tanks were thus to form the first wave of the assault, going in five minutes before the landing flight of craft hit the beach. (See diagram at Appendix "H".) Although it was considered improbable that the operation would be mounted if seas were rough, it was nonetheless entertained as a possibility that the launching of D.D. tanks might have to be cancelled altogether. (Ibid.) 6 to 10 Cdn Armd Regts were each in addition to supply two Sherman tanks Vc to be employed as "concrete-busters" in the assault. These would be borne in L.C.T. (C.B.)(see ships and craft of Force "J", Appendix "B") and would disembark so as to deliver observed fire from their 17-pounder guns against emplacements. (R.C.A., 3 Cdn Inf Div O.O. No. 1.) Concretebusters would revert to regimental command on completion of their tasks. (2 Cdn Armd Bde O.O. No. 1.)

313. The diaries of the armoured regiment make no mention of the performance of L.C.T. (C.B.) One instance is recorded of a concretebuster engaging a casemate. (Lt.-Col Matheson, as above.) The commander of Force "J" further reported their fire to be very destructive when used against buildings. (C.B. 04385 B.)

AHQ Report No 54 - Dated: 30 Jun 52 - prepared by Lieutenant R.H. Roy.

103. The requirements of the assault phase necessitated complete reorganization of 6 and 10 Cdn Armd Regts (under the command, respectively, of 7 and 8 Cdn Inf Bdes). Two squadrons in each regiment were equipped with D.D. or swimming tanks (Sherman V Duplex Drive armphibious tanks), the third squadron retaining its normal Shermans, including five Sherman Vc (17-pounder). 27 Cdn Armd Regt, under command 9 Cdn Inf Bde, comprised three normally constituted squadrons, but with only four Sherman Vc per squadron.

157. The organization of 6 and 10 Cdn Armd Regts each into two squadrons of normal Shermans has bee referred to previously (para 103). This arrangement was designed to give close support to each assaulting battalion at the crucial moment of landing. Reserve battalions, jmaking an unopposed landing, would be supported ashore by “normal” squadrons. For a detailed description of the manner in which it was proposed to operate the amphibious tanks, reference should be made to the memorandum, Drill for Launching and Run-in of DDs, issued by 2 Cdn Armd Bde, 13 Apr 44 (W.D., H.Q. 2 Cdn Armd Bde, 20 Apr – 31 May 44: Appx 11). Launching was to take place at 5000 yards from the beach under cover of smoke laid by L.C.G. (L), touchdown being made at H minus 5 minutes. D.D. tanks were thus to form the first wave of the assault, going in five minutes before the leading flight of landing craft hit the beach (See diagram at Appendix “H”). Although it was considered improbable that the operation would be mounted if seas were rough, it was nonetheless entertained as a possibility that the launchng of D.D. tanks might have to be cancelled altogether (Ibid), 6 and 10 Cdn Armd Regts were each in addition to supply two Sherman tansk Vc to be employed as “concrete-busters” in the assault. These would be borne in L.C.T. (C.B.) (see Ships and Craft of Force “J”, Appendix “B”) and would disembark so as to deliver observed fire from their 17-pounder guns against emplacements (R.C.A., 3 Cdn Inf Div O.O. No. 1). Concrete-busters would revert to regimental command on completion of their tasks (2 Cdn Armd Bde O.O. No.1).

256. The diaries of the armoured regiments make no mention of the performance of L.C.T. (C.B.). One instance is recorded of a concrete-buster engaging a casemate ((HS) 145.2R11011(D4): Memorandum of Interview with Lt -Col F.M. Matheson). The commander of Force “J” further reported their fire to be very destructive when used against buildings (Report by Naval Commander, Force “J”).

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