Sir General Miles Dempsey and Operation Goodwood

Discussion in 'Higher Formations' started by Drew5233, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Morning Pak75,

    You say that the route taken to achieve victory is open to question. I guess it is easy to so question these matters, some 70 years on and from the comfort of one's armchair. I tend to accept that they were difficult times, our armies were largely conscripts and working with imperfect war materiel, and that in war things don't always go as planned; that's certainly the case for the loser(s). I celebrate what was achieved in the circumstances.

    So, the Allies had/developed a plan for Normandy that was largely a battle of attrition, drawing the bulk of the enemy might onto the British/Canadian front, in order to fix it/destroy it and enable the Americans to 'breakout' in the west. It was perhaps a crude plan and opportunities were no doubt missed, but 'so what' - the BIG plan worked exceptionally well.

    Surely Operation Goodwood in isolation (and not as part of the bigger and successful plan for Normandy), and Monty and Dempsey's roles in it, can only be judged against the 'Operational Directive' issued by Monty and the derivative orders issued by Dempsey. Ergo, what did they want to achieve and did they achieve it?

    I don't give a stuff about what, for example, Tedder, Eisenhower, Patton, certain German Generals, The Times opinion column or the Beano, thought was the intention of Goodwood or what it should have achieved, only in the 'Operational Directive' and what was achieved against it. This 'Operational Directive' is key to determining whether Goodward was successful (in isolation).

    Has anyone got a copy?

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  2. Pak75

    Pak75 Junior Member


    PS re artillery targets: CRA Guards Armoured Division was not using the artillery to engage "Four, Bras and Ifs, maybe even Bourgubus" Instead he but CRA ordered a series of Mike targets, on Cagny, Hameau de Francqueville, Vimont, Chicheboville and Frenouville, answered by 8 AGRA, 153 Fd and 51 Hy Regts.

    On the 11 Armoured Division front the fire was mainly DFs to break up German counterattacks. 13 RHA were pushed forwards in support of 11 Armoured Division to provide close support for their armour..

    If you plot the number of villages and the number of batteries in range, I suspect there is a shortfall - hence the use of bombers to provide fa fireplan for phase 2 of Op Totalize..

    A plot is what I would like to do or see.
    You have already said that CRA 11 AD was engaging Cagney in the afternoon which is odd as this was a Guards Armoured Division objective and battle while 3RTR and 2F&F were struggling towards Hubert Folie and Bourguebus apparently with little artillery support apart from divisional mobile batteries.

    Steve Mac
    There are many directives for this operation: Monty's original, Monty's later notes (that went missing enroute to SHAEF), Dempsey's instructions and O'Connor's orders. A transcript of Monty's revised notes below:

    Notes on Second Army Operations 16th July-18th July

    1. Object of this operation.
    To engage the German armour in battle and 'write it down' to such an extent that it is of no further value to the Germans as a basis of the battle.
    To gain a good bridgehead over the River Orne through Caen, and thus improve our positions on the eastern flank.
    Generally to destroy German equipment and personnel.

    2. Affect of this operation on Allied policy.
    We require the whole of the Cherbourg and Brittany peninsulas.
    A victory on the eastern flank will help us to gain what we want on the western flank.
    But the eastern flank is a bastion on which the whole future of the campaign in North West Europe depends; it must remain a firm bastion; if it became unstable the operations on the western flank would cease.
    Therefore, while taking advantage of every opportunity to destroy the enemy, we must be very careful to maintain our own balance and ensure a firm base.

    3. The enemy.
    There are a lot of enemy divisions in the area south-east of Caen:
    21 Panzer Division 16 GAF Field Division
    1 SS Panzer Division 272 Infantry Division
    12 SS Panzer Division
    Another one [116 Panzer Division] is coming and will be here this week-end.

    4. Operations of 12 Corps and Canadian Corps - 16th and 17th July.
    Advantage must be taken of these to make the Germans think we are going to break out across the Orne between Caen and Amaye.

    5. Initial Operations 8 Corps.
    The three armoured divisions will be required to dominate the area Bourgebus-Vimont-Bretteville, and to fight and destroy the enemy.
    But armoured cars should push far to the south towards Falaise, and spread alarm and despondency, and discover 'the form.'

    6. 2 Canadian Corps.
    While para 5 is going on, the Canadians must capture Vaucelles, get through communications and establish themselves in a very firm bridgehead on the general line Fleury-Cormelles-Mondeville.

    7. Later Operations 8 Corps.
    When 6 is done, then 8 Corps can 'crack about' as the situation demands.
    But not before 6 is done.

    8. To sum up for 8 Corps.
    Para 5.
    Para 7.
    Finally.
    Para 6 is vital.

    B.L. Montgomery
    15-7-44
     
  3. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Gunner Tours

    PS re artillery targets: CRA Guards Armoured Division was not using the artillery to engage "Four, Bras and Ifs, maybe even Bourgubus" Instead he but CRA ordered a series of Mike targets, on Cagny, Hameau de Francqueville, Vimont, Chicheboville and Frenouville, answered by 8 AGRA, 153 Fd and 51 Hy Regts.

    On the 11 Armoured Division front the fire was mainly DFs to break up German counterattacks. 13 RHA were pushed forwards in support of 11 Armoured Division to provide close support for their armour..

    If you plot the number of villages and the number of batteries in range, I suspect there is a shortfall - hence the use of bombers to provide fa fireplan for phase 2 of Op Totalize..

    A plot is what I would like to do or see.
    You have already said that CRA 11 AD was engaging Cagney in the afternoon which is odd as this was a Guards Armoured Division objective and battle while 3RTR and 2F&F were struggling towards Hubert Folie and Bourguebus apparently with little artillery support apart from divisional mobile batteries.


    My typo. It was CRA Guards Armoured Division. GOC 11 Arm,d Dov had already pointed out that his divison was advancing with just its armoured Brigade.

    I'll let you know what and if I plot the battery locations for Op Goodwood. However, the AGRAs deployed North and West of Caen were all just about in range up to Bourgebus.

    There was more to the fire-plan than Rob's summary.

    In Phase 4, from H+80 (0905 hrs) to H+200 (1105 hrs), 11 Armd Div would advance to Bourguebus with 13 RHA and 151 Fd Regts still under command, followed by the Gds Armd Div with 153 and 55 Fd Regts under command. CB would continue under the control of 4 AGRA with the 51 Div Arty group, 7 Cdn, 15, 68, 79 and 107 Med Regts and 107 and 165 HAA Regts and HMS Roberts, Enterprise and Mauritius and the Air OP s of 652 Sqn. 25 Fd, 61, 63, 77, and 146 Med and 53 Hy Regts grouped under 8 AGRA were to fire concentrations in support of the armour, with 77 Med Regt at call to 11 Armd Div and 63 Med Regt at call and the two 155 mm batteries of 51 Hy Regt in support of the Gds Armd Div. 12, 13, 14 and 19 Fd Regts and 3 and 4 Med Regts RCA would be in support of 3 Cdn Div and 7, 33, 76 and 128 Fd, 53 and 65 Med and the two 7.2-inch batteries of 51 Hy Regt would support 3 Div. (

    Although three AGRA supported Op Goodwood the artillery had to be divided between CB tasks (including flak suppression) and support for the two subsidiary actions by I Corps (3 Div & 51 H Div) and II Canadian Corps) as well as VIII corps.
    The only guaranteed support for 11 Armd Div was 13 RHA, 151 Fd, 77 Med at call with a 77 Med FOO with them one for 53 Hy with the other 8 AGRA assets shared with the Guards Armd Div.
     
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  4. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

  5. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

  6. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

  7. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

  8. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

  9. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    [​IMG]
     
    Pak75 likes this.
  11. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Gunner Tours

    Thanks Rob you are a star!
     
  12. Pak75

    Pak75 Junior Member

    Thanks Rob
    Orders don't give battery locations, however. A movement table is mentioned, do you have this and can share?

    And for the uninitiated, what is difference b/w single OPs and double OPs?
    Cheers
     
  13. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Gunner Tours

    Rob posted a copy of the 8 AGRA Op Order (Probably 53 Heavy Regiment's copy. ) T[SIZE=13.63636302948px]he AGRAs were not [/SIZE]affiliated[SIZE=13.63636302948px] to any formation. [/SIZE]Unlike the field regiments which provided BC and FOO Parties dedicated to support "Their" infantry or armour and whose possition i9n battle was with them. Thus any orders needed to specify how many Op Parties needed to be provided by which unit in the AGRA and which units to support.

    I would interpret a double OP as two OP Parties, Note that 53 Heavy are tasked with providing a single OP but with two wireless sets.

    These would be expected to deploy in Artillery OP tanks, .
     
  14. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    The thread seems to have evolved into a Arty topic for 'Goodwood'. Probably from the "casual" comments in my 1st post.
    Apologies for that to the chaps, as it takes it off topic i'm afraid.

    There is no movement table with the 8 Corps (8AGRA) Op Order, Sorry!
    Sheldrake is correct, the Op Order comes from 53rd Hvy, I have gone through all the Regt / AGRA diaries i have for 'Goodwood' & the 53rd is the only one with any substance.
    Locations of Regts, let alone Btys is a big ask, as i'm sure Sheldrake will tell you. Most only give: "N.W. of Caen" or "In the Field".I can find no Location Statements either.

    These are the few Corps Regt Arty ones i can pull up:

    2Cdn AGRA HQ + 3rd/4th Cdn Med Regts & 15th Med RA - Vieux Cairon
    65th Med - Chateau De La Londe
    107th Med - Le Mesnil
    51st Hvy - Sth of Perier
    53rd Hvy - Villiers Les Bressons
    1st Hvy - Villeneuve

    Best
    Rob
     
  15. mapshooter

    mapshooter Senior Member

    WE III/220/2 effective date 14 Jan 44 shows that a Heavy Battery only had one Observer in addition to the BC. They were also tankless and I suspect remained that way because OP tanks were generally only provided to batteries assigned in support (ie Direct Support in post-1950 terms) to armd regts. That said OP tanks (vehicles not parties) were sometimes operated as a pool under control of an armoured brigade HQ.
     

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