Varsity - crash site Horsa BF 473?

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by alberk, Dec 6, 2020.

  1. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Without checking the map that reference puts the original MDS slightly north of the Heggemans farm? Perhaps the original MDS was set up then moved when that farm (being a big building) was under British control?
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  2. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Alex1975uk - it is admittedly a bit confusing: Hagemannshof was owned by a family called Heggemann. Mr Heggemann after the war made the list he gave to the local German authorities. Nitrowski misspelled the name of the farm as "Hegemannshof" in his text while on the map in his book it clearly is called "Hagemannshof."

    There also was a Heggemannshof in the area, just a little further south.
    Hülshorst area.png
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  3. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    MDS & RAP

    Here's another photo from the Major Sale collection. In the background just behind the Hamilcar is a building draped with a large Red Cross flag. A few power line pylons can be seen in distance. The Hamilcar came to rest after skidding through an orchard resulting in wing and wheel damage. Not sure if that is the roof of a building further along to middle right.

    107446 Major WHJ Sale.jpg

    So presumably that is Hagemannshof located here on Google Satellite? Also attached a page from the book "13 - Lucky For Some" that claims a RAP located in a barn at the next farm north of Hagemannshof was struck by a Hamilcar. That farm also housed 13 Para HQ.

    13 - Lucky For Some-Page 507.jpg

    Regards ...
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2020
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  4. BrianHall1963

    BrianHall1963 Well-Known Member

    Good morning all I know this is the wrong place but you guys are on it . Can some one put this up for me last time I tried it didn’t work the CWWG have given their gardeners and masons base in Europe that come from the UK three weeks to change their contracts going to 1/2 of their pay or return to UK . Can we draw attention to this please they are the guys that do a great job
  5. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Hello Cee - very perceptive of you and a great addition the the latest subject on this thread. Here's my take on the glider's position: Hamilcar at Hagemannshof.png
    It is a bit difficult for me to measure the distance between the house the Hamilcar - the above is my estimate. The angle is definately correct. I drive past Hagemannshof very often - every time after I leave the Autobahn and head to the hamlet of Bergerfurth where I grew up.The gilder is not damaged very much... so skidding through the orchard probably just meant it touched the odd tree.

    I think I can confirm the other story you mention - I read that in the book by Johann Nitroski and will look up what it says there when I get home from work. And the war diary for 6th Airbore Armoured Reconnaissance Rgt states in the appendix:
    "Tank Half Sqn. 8 T.9s commanded by C.O. and 4.2" mortar tp (Capt O'Hanlon). Took off at Woodbridge and at Little Dunmow respectively. Take off 0730 in good weather.Flight without incident under perfect conditions. Cast off 1050 approx. LZ obscured by smoke and covered with intense flak. COs tank landed, very wide of RV and within one field of another which somersaulted and landed on its back, crew OK. En route to RV, CO picked up one more which had gone through a house, a runner but guns out of action."
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  6. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Yes a glider hit a barn within 13 Para HQ complex just over the road from this MDS, the roof caved in but then a minute later the light tank drove out of the rubble and off it went.
    Also another glider hit one of the MMG positions of 13 Para and bent one of the guns making it U/S. that may well have been this glider in the picture.
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  7. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Is there a link to this collection of photos Cee?
    Many thanks.
  8. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    I believe most of the photos taken by Major Sale in the Hamminkeln area are on this page at the NAM site. Some of them are still a mystery as to exact location.


    It's good to know I'm in the ball park with my speculations. Attached is a crop from a poor quality aerial found in the book "Stirlings in Action with Airborne Forces". I won't mark it as you can see the Hamilcar just beyond orchard in lower middle right.

    LZ P Varsity-Crop.jpg

    Regards ...
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  9. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Great, Cee. Another amazing find!

    By the way - I was going to come back to the photo by Adolph C. Byers. If he landed with the 139th Airborne Engineers on LZ "N" - which I suspect he did - the photo of the Horsa which crashed into the wood could have been taken very close to the crash site of Slade's Platoon.
    Byers photo could show the (Horsa)-dot at the very bottom in the blue circle - this one is closest to LZ "N". Some photos in the book about the 139th Engineers suggest that the photographer came back to LZ "N" later in the spring or summer 1945.
    Plot of Landings.jpg
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  10. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Revisiting LZ "N" Byers LZ N.jpg
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  11. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    That’s DZ B as view from the South. The Kidney shaped wood in the centre of the picture was 12 Para and 5 Bde HQ RV point.
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  12. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    In my German book on Varsity a soldier serving with 13 Para is quoted. Derek Kenyon told the author of that book, Johann Nitrowski, the following when he visited Hamminkeln in 1980:
    "We assemled - not far from our battalion HQ - at a farm, situated directly by the road. On that farm (Brambergskath) a medical aid post had already been established. While we stood in the yard, talking and waiting to see what would happen next, one of those large Hamilcar gliders came swooshing in, right in our direction. It all happened at lightning speed and we struggled to jump out of the way and get behind a corner of the house. The glider sped over the yard and with a large boom it came to a halt at the far end of the yard in a shed that housed some farm carts. In front of hedge to the right of the yard there were some small apple trees which the wing had simply razed to the ground. Two or three of our own men had reacted too late and didn't have a chance to get out of the way. They were smashed by the glider. While we stood there - in shock - the cockpit on top of the glider opened and an officer looked around and down at us - without speaking a word. Soon after, the large front door of the Hamilcar opened and a small tank drove out and passed us, crossing the yard and disappearing somewhere in the area - again without a word being spoken. I am still puzzled today by the complete speechlessness on both sides." Hamilcar crash site.png
  13. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    As we were talking about "Locust" tanks I am digressing from the original subject (as happens so often) to add these two photos with an accompanying Story. Photo No. 1 is quite well known, No. 2 was new to me. All content below comes from this site:
    M-22 Locust

    Number 1

    Number 2:

    "The above photos are two of the few surviving photographs of the M22 Locust in combat. The photo to the left (No. 1) is the tank of Lieutenant Kenward of the 6th AARR. It was taken moments after his crew had left their glider upon landing. The nose of the glider failed to open automatically as it should have as the tank rolled forward, so Lt. Kenward ordered his driver to drive straight through the nose of the glider. The damaged skirt over the rear portion of the track may have been due to driving through the nose of the glider. The photo to the right (No. 2) is of Lt. Kenward's tank after his crew's duel with the german Panther tank. Identification of the tank can be confirmed by the damaged skirt visible in the previous photo.
    The violence of the impact of the german tank gun fire can be witnessed from the condition of the tank. The gun pointing over the driver's hatch toward the left front of the tank indicates the direction of the Panther that Lt. Kenward's gunner was engaging. The imact of the german round(s) cannot be seen, but presumably entered the gunners side (left, or far side as seen in this photo) of the turret, tearing off the gunner's hatch which is seen in the photo laying on the front slope of the hull. The round presumably passed right through the tank, and the evidence of the broken track on the right side of the hull indicates the round exited the right rear side of the tank, tearing the track apart as it left, with the tank shedding the track as it coasted forward to a stop.
    The black and white photo cannot show the color of the tank, but the blackened mangle on the near side of the turret behind the smoke grenade launcher is the remains of the Bren gun that was strapped to the outside of the turret for use in defense against enemy aircraft. Also, it can be determined that the tank has burned completely, as the painted unit and recognition markings on the front of the hull and turret sides have been completely burned off.
    Remarkably, Lt. Kenward and at least one of his two other crewmembers survived, being evacuating across the Rhine that night."
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  14. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

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  15. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Cee - yeah, I too had seen the situation in No. 1 on film before.
  16. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Speaking of film: between TC 01:50 and 02:44 this film has some nice Varsity scenes - including shots in Hamminkeln with the local population being herded together (to be locked up in the two churches - not shown here), and a sequence at the Issel bridges.
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  17. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    Do you know the location in Hamminkeln where the attached Sgt. Jim Christie photo, BU2295, was taken? His cine partner, Sgt. Harry Oakes, must have caught the entry of jeeps into village along road seen in background around the same time. Also wondered if soldier standing to far left was Oakes himself... probably not?

    BU 2295.jpg Into Westphalia 2.00..jpg

    Regards ...
  18. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Hello Cee,

    here's the view that the photos show: Bislicher Straße( to the left of the shop) leads out to LZ "R" and then to LZ "P".
    Hamminkeln view.jpg
    And this is the house with the shop - I believe back then it was a grocery. Later, when I was a teenager, it was a bakery. Today it looks like this:
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  19. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Came here to say it’s now a kebab shop! But you beat me to it!
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  20. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    I always thought this was one of strongest images taken in the village of Hamminkeln: ABB_108.JPG If you turned your view to the right of the grocery (now kebap shop) you'd see the home of th Kloppert family (the taller of the tow buildings). Behind this buidling they operated a brewery .

    Hamminkeln marked.jpg
    This is an extract from a British 1:12500 map-
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