Testing the Firefly...

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Ramiles, Feb 5, 2020.

  1. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Around February / March 1944 the regiments of the 8th Armoured Brigade received and tested their Fireflies on the UK ranges.


    Chippenham Park to Titchwell: Google Maps


    Other Links

    Operators during WW2: Sherman Firefly - Wikipedia

    The Firefly VC | The Sherman Tank Site

    The US Army Tests Firefly
    The US Army Tests Firefly - The Chieftain's Hatch

    PICTURE GALLERY: Tanks at Titchwell - rusting relics of wartime Norfolk | Latest Norfolk and Suffolk News | Eastern Daily Press

    Titchwell Marsh - Wikipedia

    With: "Between 1942 and 1945, the marsh was used by the Royal Tank Regiment;[10] an armoured fighting vehicle gunnery range was established and new banks were constructed for firing practice, with targets set at 900 m (980 yd) intervals. Some of the still extant islands were built to hold "pop-up" targets, operated by cables from winches in a building whose foundations lie below Island Hide. Remains of the triangular concrete track used by the tanks also survive"

    Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve, Norfolk - The RSPB

    World War 2 tanks buried in Titchwell... (C) Richard Humphrey

    Remains-of-two-World-War-Two-armoured-vehicles-Titchwell-Marsh - Norfolk Heritage Explorer
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
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  2. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

  3. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

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  4. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

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  5. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    I was intrigued by that entry too SDP, it made me look a little further afield.

    Brother of this unfortunate maybe?


    Kind regards, always,

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  6. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    With that surname I feel like you'd be destined to be made Major, but subsequent promotion might be a bit of a demotion, from a major one to "just" one generally... :-(
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  7. Vintage Wargaming

    Vintage Wargaming Well-Known Member

    Must have been some other Bastard.
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  8. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    There's a bit on early Firefly testing / training in here:
    "Sherman Firefly" By David Fletcher - Osprey - New Vanguard 141 : Bloomsbury Publishing, 20 May 2012 : Sherman Firefly


    e.g. Sherman Firefly

    And some refs to their earliest deployments and D-day use etc.

    Book description: "The most powerfully gunned tank fielded by the Allies during World War II was the Sherman Firefly. An ordinary American-built Sherman modified by the British, the Firefly had the firepower that could finally match the awesome German tanks that had dominated Europe. David Fletcher examines the controversy that dogged the Firefly and the psychological boost the tank provided to Allied forces. Exploring its successes and failures on the battlefield and providing a realistic assessment of the tank's worth, this is essential reading for anyone wanting to know the facts about a tank variant that quickly developed its own mythology."
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2020
  9. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    There's a bit here too.... : Research – Sherman Firefly (VC)

    ...about one tank's "Journey"

    "the restoration pages of Sherman M4A4 s/n 4873, Census Number T-289477"



    March 1944

    Shipped in March as one of 104 M4A4s to England to be converted to the “Firefly” configuration with the 17pdr anti-tank gun at the *Royal Ordnance factories in Nottingham under ORD3/LL/04765 on convoy 4-G-5491.

    “June” 1944 to June 1945

    History unknown – can you help please?


    * ROF Nottingham - Wikipedia


    World War II production

    Nottingham had two main production lines during the war; the 3.7-inch medium anti-aircraft gun and the Bofors 40 mm gun. For the latter, Nottingham made the mobile mounts for the British Army from 1938 onwards, and was the main producer of mountings for British ships, including the Stabilised Tachymetric Anti-Aircraft Gun, STAAG. The 2 Pounder anti-tank gun was made at Nottingham from 1937 to 1939. The BL 5.5-inch Medium Gun (1940–42) and the 17 pounder gun, including conversions of the Sherman tank into the 17 pdr armed Sherman Firefly. The hull and suspension units for the first prototype A41 tank, later to be named as the Centurion tank, were built at Nottingham.
  10. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    There's a lot about the Fireflies in: "Ironsides"

    "Ironsides": Canadian Armoured Fighting Vehicle Museums and Monuments
    By Harold A. Skaarup


    And a bit further re. testing and training with the Firefly / Mayfly, e.g. in early 1944.

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  11. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Is there really? That seems... odd. I am reading Mark Hayward's book about the Firefly and he refers to the Grizzly Firefly at Borden, but I really feel a bit dubious about whether it can be considered evidence for anything outside itself. And I wouldn't have thought there were any other Fireflies in Canada.
  12. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    I've not yet seen a very great deal on the early testing and training with the Firefly so just looking at whatever there might be.

    Accounts re. first impressions of them interest me too and the necessary secrecy prior to their deployment etc. and how that was dealt with in the relevant war diaries.
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  13. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    23rd Hussars

    Regimental History, pages 25/26:


    Page 27:

    During March 1944 the Regt was at Rowlston Range 1-2, Midhope Range 6-7, Fylingdales 9-11, Rowlston 13, Hornsea 21-22.

    War Diary, Apr 1944 (Aldershot):
    Apr 8 - "Firefly" gunners to Warcop AFV range.
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  14. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Title: The first and the last : the story of the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards, 1939-1945 /
    Author: Stirling, J. D. P.
    Publication Date: 1946

    The First and the Last: The Story of the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards 1939-1945 Compiled From the Regimental War Diary, Squadron Diaries, Personal Narratives, and the Unofficial 'Actions of the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards in France': J.D.P. Stirling, S. Oxley: Amazon.com: Books


    Continues (with just a little more on the next page).... "...heartening. We felt that in this very secret weapon we had something which really would be a nasty surprise for the Germans; as in fact was the case."
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  15. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    From The Tank Museum: Second World War Veterans: British - Part 3

    Has... "Training for tank crews lasted 21 weeks. This was broken down into “so many weeks in each job in a tank, so many weeks driving, so many weeks gunnery, so many weeks as tank commander, and a couple of more weeks extra for … wireless operator, loader.” Slarks became an operator, Tout a gunner on the new Sherman Firefly: “I came down to Lulworth to do the transfer to the 17 pounder… but because the Firefly was only just being introduced our training on it was limited to one day on the ranges.”"

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