Crossing the Rhine.

Discussion in 'Home' started by Trux, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    You are absolutely correct Stolpi. I am not so sure about the scale. Including US forces Montgomery had some one and a quarter million men and a staggering amount of supplies and stores. The naval involvement is almost lacking though.

    Mike

    PS.
    Actually I came from the opposite direction. I thought D Day was the crossing of a large river.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2021
  2. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    ABB_049.JPG
    Marker flares over Wesel - March 23rd.

    And this is what the smouldering ruins of Wesel looked like on the morning of th March 24th:
    ABB_050.JPG
    The buidling on the right - with the tower and spire - is the boys' grammar school ("Staatliches Jungen-Gymnasium" in German) which I attended from 1973 onwards...
    On the lower third of the photo to the left you see the ruins of the artillery barracks. Wesel had been a Prussian garrison town since the early 18th century. At the beginning of WW1 two Prussian infrantry regiments (No. 56 and No 57) and two field artillery regiments (No. 7 and No 43) were garrisoned in Wesel... after WW1 no more troops until Hitler brought them back in 1936.

    Top left the ruins of St. Willibrord church. The bombing prior to operation Widgeon on the night of March 23rd was preceeded by another attack on the afternoon of that day. These attacks finished off the city which already had been largely destroyed by three air attacks on February 16th, 18th and 19th.
    Abb 210_klein.jpg
    The cratered area at the bottom of the photo shows the meadows outside the town with the railway line that led to the bridge across the Rhine. It is also the area which the Commandos had to cross at night to infiltrate Wesel.
     
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  3. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    Wesel.

    It is one of the, many, tragedies of war that fine old cities are destroyed simply because it is convenient. Wesel was an ancient Hanseatic city, a member of the Hanseatic League. This was an early trading alliance including seaport cities round the Baltic and down into the Low Countries. In its hey day Wesel was very wealthy and its merchants controlled trade on the Rhine. Goods were imported from other Hanseatic cities and transhipped for forwarding up the Rhine.

    The Rhine and its tributaries have many fine old cities along their banks. Those that have survived almost unchanged were those that were once rich trading centres but when railways and politics changed trading patterns they remained, fossilised. Not being communications centres and not having heavy industry they escaped destruction by bombing in WW2.

    Towns and cities were very different in character. In 1800 there were some 120 independent ‘states’ in what is now Germany. There were duchies, electorates, bishoprics, principalities etc.

    I have not seen Wesel although I have passed it on a Rhine cruise, in the early hours of the morning, but who could fail to like Heidelberg, Boppard, Wurzburg, Nuremberg, Rothenberg et al. Yes I know the last three are not on the Rhine.

    Wesel was virtually destroyed in February 1945 since it was a road and rail centre and could be used to send reinforcements forward or provide a means of withdrawal. Most of what remained was destroyed on 23 March 1945.

    Sorry.

    Mike
     
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  4. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Aboslutely posed. The men are pointing their guns to the south west in the direction of area which was their approach route from Grav-Insel...
    Here's another view of the cratered meadows west of the city taken by an Australian war photographer - I found this in the AWM data base:
    AWM_Wesel.JPG
    The school I mentioned - also in the background of the photo of the Commandos Trux posted - is to be seen a bit left of the middle of this image; the tip of the wing pointig at it...
     
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  5. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Mike - it is my home town and I love it in all its post-war ugliness. And I feel for the families who lost loved ones. But our German cities suffered what countless other cities across Europe had suffered by German hands. The war came back to haunt those who started it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2021
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  6. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    Beautiful.

    Mike

    Wesel old.jpg
     
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  7. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    This is Wesel with defence overprint on a British map dated March 15th, 1945. The red arrow marks the school visible on the photo of the Commandos posing that Trux posted above.
    Wesel 1945.jpg
     
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  8. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    And this is the area where the Commandos crossed the Rhine:
    Grav Insel.jpg
     
  9. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    Thank you Alberk. Very nice.

    Stolpi.
    From XII Corps Planning Instruction No1. 5 February.

    This operation is in many respects akin to an assault landing on an open beach, and the problem will be tackled from this angle. The proved techniques for an opposed landing will therefor be modified to suit this wide river problem, and so far as possible the already established and understood nomenclature employed for beach landings will be adopted.

    Mike
     
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  10. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    I think the Germans thought the same when they began planning Sealion.
     
  11. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2021
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  12. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    Thank you very much Stolpi. That really does give a good idea of the terrain. It looks quite different to what I imagined from maps. A lot more trees for a start. One can see the problems of movement in such an area.

    I thought my wife and I had seen everything in Germany but we have obviously missed an interesting part. Over a period of 50 years we have travelled over much of the country by car and train. Once by river cruise. We have even taken day trips from our local airport to many Geman cities. Flight out at 7am, breakfast on the plane, full days sightseeing, evening meal on the plane or at the airport and home in time for bed.

    Mike
     
  13. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Mike - Please note that there were far fewer trees at the time. The landscape looked much more barren. So your initial impression was right.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2021
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  14. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    stolpi - did it really look more barren? What would be the explanation for that?
     
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  15. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    XXX CORPS.
    Operation Turnscrew.


    The following is intended only as a very brief outline of the Rhine crossing by XXX Corps. It is intended to supplement the main task of illustrating XII Corps crossing. For far more detail follow the link to Stolpi’s thread in Post 95. A similar brief outline of the activities of XVIII Airborne Corps will follow.

    IMG_20210822_0002 (2).jpg


    Red = Positions at midnight 24 March.
    Black + Movements 25 March.

    51 Division was selected to make the assault crossing in XXX Corps area, or Rees, 153 Brigade on the right and 154 Brigade on the left. 152 Brigade was to follow.

    152 Brigade.
    2 Seaforth Highlanders.
    5 Seaforth Highlanders.
    5 Cameron Highlanders.

    153 Brigade.
    5 Black Watch.
    1 Gordons.
    5/7 Gordon Highlanders.

    154 Brigade.
    1 Black Watch
    7 Black Watch.
    7 Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

    1/7 Middlesex Regiment. Machine Gun.

    454 Mountain Battery RA.

    XXX Corps was to cross the Rhine and secure a bridgehead on the far bank. 153 Brigade was to land either side of the city of Rees and clear it of the enemy. 154 Brigade was to move to secure the left flank by taking the fortified villages of Esserden and Speldrop. 152 Brigade was to follow up and advance north east towards the high ground where the airborne troops ere to land. Hopefully the other two brigades would have succeeded in their tasks and join in the advance.

    The plan was much as for 15 Division. There was a massive artillery bombardment starting at 1800 hours and then the assault was launched at 2100 hours on D-1 (23 March). As for 15 Division the two leading battalions of each brigade were carried across the Rhine in LVTs. The third battalion followed in stormboats.

    154 Brigade.
    On the left two battalions of 154 Brigade were across the river by midnight. On the right 7 Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders landed on the far bank at 2107 hours.

    The position of 154 Brigade remained confused but it was known that 1 Black Watch entered Speldrop but not managed to clear it. The brigade attacked northwards and by midnight established a foothold in Bienen.


    Speldrop was one of several sticking points for 51 Division. 1 Black Watch fought its way into the fortified village but was evicted when the German 15 Panzer Grenadier Division counterattacked. No where near its establishment strength it was still a formidable opponent. 1 Black Watch was forced to withdraw to Kleineresserden. The situation was restored later in the day when the Highland Light Infantry of Canada from 9 Canadian Brigade arrived and cleared Speldrop.

    Counterattacks were also made against 7 Black Watch on the left flank of 154 Brigade and 7 Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders who were trying to advance north westwards on the right flank of the brigade


    153 Brigade.
    153 Brigade was to land on either side of the town of Rees. 5 Black Watch were to land downstream of the town while 5/7 Gordon Highlanders were to land downstream. By midnight all three battalions of 153 Brigade were across the river.

    5 Black Watch.
    5 Black Watch crossed downstream of Rees. They landed without difficulty and soon established a secure bridgehead. They then advanced inland to attack the village of Esserden. Fighting here went on all night and was not reported to be clear of the enemy until first light.

    5/7 Gordon Highlanders.
    The 5/7 Gordon Highlanders crossed the river against only light opposition and were soon established on the far bank. From first light however they came under sniper fire and any unconcealed movement was almost impossible. Later

    By midday 5/7 Gordons reported that they had completely cleared the area of Reesereiland, an area of land along the river to the east of Rees which was cut off from Rees and the area inland by a flooded section of the Alter Rhine, an abandoned section of the river. However the battalion was unable to move forward across this water obstacle because of heavy mortar and shellfire.

    1 Gordon Highlanders.
    1 Gordon Highlanders crossed the river as soon as the LVTs used in the first wave of crossings were able to carry them. They crossed the river without casualties and landed downstream of Rees and followed the Black Watch, passing through them and moved forward to the Rees to Speldrop road. The two lead companies then swung right to attack the western outskirts of Rees. A further company joined them later and they slowly but steadily cleared their way towards the strongpoint that the enemy had established in the ruins of the town church. They met with stiff opposition all the way.


    454 Mountain Battery RA.
    An interesting unit which had been training for a role in mountain fighting. At one time an invasion of Norway had been considered and units trained and equipped for the mountain role.

    The weapon of the battery was the 3.7” howitzer. These guns could be rapidly dismantled and the various pieces carried by mules. No mules were used on this occasion. Each gun was ferried across the river in a LVT and towed by a Jeep. The guns were able to move into Rees with the leading troops and supported the Gordons at very short range. The gun crews hauled the light guns over the rubble strewn streets and one was even dismantled and carried into an upstairs room of a building.

    Each troop had only two 3.7” howitzers, giving a battery four 3.7” howitzers. Each howitzer could be dismantled into eight loads.


    152 Brigade.
    This was the reserve brigade to be ordered across when the GOC 15 Division thought it was needed.

    2 Seaforth Highlanders.
    2 Seaforth Highlanders were the first battalion to cross the river, just before midnight. They crossed in stormboats and on landing moved to the northern end or Rees and became involved in heavy fighting around the factory area of the town. They attempted to establish a position from which they could launch an attack on the village of Mittelburg.

    5 Cameron Highlanders.
    5 Cameron Highlanders crossed to join 2 Seaforth Highlanders but both were stalled by an anti tank ditch and further progress was impossible.

    5 Seaforth Highlanders.
    5 Seaforth Highlanders had been held back in reserve and was finally ordered to cross the river at dawn. They were to cross by stormboat ferry but many of the boats had been knocked out, damaged or suffered engine failures and the battalion could only cross in small numbers at a time. When the battalion was finally across the river they moved to a forming up area south of Esserden where they were subjected to constant shelling. They were later ordered to move northwards to the factory area of Rees where they became entangled with 5 Cameron Highlanders who were still trying to launch an attack on Mittelburg. After waiting much of the day the battalion was ordered to take the village of Groin, to the east of Mittleburg.

    By midnight 152 Brigade was stablished north of Rees.

    The day ended with 51 Division stalled. They had cleared much of Rees and had formed a good secure bridgehead but were unable to move forward. By midnight telve infantry battalions were across the river.

    9 Canadian Brigade.
    9 Canadian Brigade crossed the river under the command of 51 Division and moved to clear Speldrop.

    Staffordshire Yeomanry.
    1 squadron of DD tanks crossed the river. They found the banks difficult to cross but by 0600 hours two troops were across. Some 30 DD tanks were across the river by midnight.


    Enemy resistance was not strong at first but with daylight there was an increased amount of sniping and the near bank was receiving mortar and shell fire. By evening this fire increased and was being directed at the ferry and bridging sites and preventing their operating in this area. It became obvious that the enemy had artillery observers in Rees who were directing the fire.

    XXX Corps laid strong emphasis on the clearing of Rees and overnight 5 Black Watch launched an attack there.



    D+1. 25 March.

    152 Brigade.
    In the morning 152 Brigade attacked to the east and cut the Rees to Haldern road.

    9 Canadian Brigade.
    9 Canadian Brigade passed through 154 Brigade and cleared Bienen.

    1 Gordons.
    1 Gordons were steadily clearing Rees but they suffered from persistent snipers and by nightfall small pockets of the enemy were still holding out.


    43 Division began to cross the river during the afternoon. It assumed control of the left sector of the bridgehead. They took 9 Canadian Brigade under command for this task.


    Overnight 25/26 fierce fighting continued in the north and east as attempts were made to extend the bridgehead. 5/7 Gordons finally manged to cross the Alter Rhine.

    7 Black Watch crossed the road and railway bridge three miles north of Rees but confused fighting continued all night.

    In the west 130 Brigade of 43 Division cleared Androp.


    During the day shelling decreased and made the work of the ferries much easier.
    The Class 9 rafts were all concentrated opposite Honnepel
    The Class 50 rafts between Rees and Honnepel had started work at 1015 on D Day.
    DUKW ferries started at 1015 hours on D+1.

    The decrease in shelling was attributed to a new method of air support. A cab rank of medium bombers operated every thirty minutes from 1300 hours to 1800 hours. This enabled the corps to put in medium bomber attacks on opportunity targets with a seed normally only possible for fighter bombers.



    XXX Corps bridges.
    XXX Corps area.
    Rees was the bridging point on XXX Corps front and again had good road communications. Bridge building was delayed by enemy action. The following were constructed.

    Waterloo Bridge.
    A Class 9 Folding Boat Equipment Bridge. Built by 18 GHQ Troops Engineers. 1,300 foot long. Construction started under the cover of smoke at 08.00 on 25 March. Completed 02.00 on 26 March.

    Lambeth Bridge.
    A Class 15 tactical Bailey Pontoon Bridge. Built by XXX Corps Troops Engineers. 1,206 foot long. Construction started early on 25 March. Completed early on 26 March.

    London Bridge.
    A Class 40 Bailey Pontoon Bridge. Built by 8 GHQ Troops Engineers. 1,174 foot long. Construction started at 17.00 on 25 March. Completed 23.00 on 26 March.

    Blackfriars Bridge.
    A Class 40 Bailey Pontoon Bridge. Built by 2 Canadian Corps Engineers. 1,764 foot long. Construction started at 10.00 on 26 March. Completed at mid day on 28 March.

    Westminster Bridge.
    A Class 40 all weather Bailey Pontoon Bridge. Built by 6 Army Troops Engineers. 1,402 foot long. Construction started at 11.00 on 26 March. Completed 18.00 on 29 March. This bridge had to cater for a wide range of river level. This was the last of the bridges constructed for the assault and it was officially opened by General Dempsey, GOC 2 Army, in the presence of detachments from all engineer units involved in the crossing.

    Mike
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2021
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  16. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

  17. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    XVIII AIRBORNE CORPS.

    The landing of XVIII Airborne Corps, consisting of British 6 Airborne Division and US 17 Airborne Division, was a massive operation. Flying from airfields in England and France 21,680 troops would be carried by 1,696 transport aircraft and 1,348 gliders. A total of 889 aircraft would escort them.

    Lessons had been learnt from previous airborne operations and for this operation airborne troops would:
    Land on their primary objectives and close to their secondary objectives.
    Land in a concentrated area and within a time slot of two hours.
    Land within range of artillery on the near side of the Rhine.
    Land in daylight.
    Be reached by ground forces on the same day that they landed.

    The enemy had identified this area as a likely place for an airborne landing but were somewhat wrong footed when it did not arrive early in the day as expected.

    IMG_20210827_0001 (2).jpg

    P Hour was 1000 hours but the air armada was some nine minutes early. The weather was clear and cloudless which made it easier to identify landmarks and drop zones. When the parachute troops dropped there was only light opposition and casualties were few but when the gliders began to arrive at P+30 minutes (1030 hours) enemy anti aircraft fire opened up and caused casualties to towing aircraft, gliders and personnel.


    6 Airborne Division.
    3 Parachute Brigade. Landed on Drop Zone ‘A’.
    8 Parachute Battalion moved to secure the north west corner of the airborne area.
    1 Canadian Parachute Battalion moved south through the woods to capture the Schneppenburg feature overlooking the Rhine.

    5 Parachute Brigade. Landed on Drop Zone ‘B’ to hold the northern edge of the airborne landing area and to seize the crossroads at Mehr-hoog

    6 Airlanding Brigade.
    2 Oxs and Bucks Light Infantry landed on Landing Zone ‘O’ and seized the bridges over the railway and the River Issel between Hamminkeln and Ringenberg.
    1 Royal Ulster Rifles landed on Landing Zone ‘U’ and seized the bridge over the River Issel east of Hamminkeln.
    12 Devons landed on Landing Zone ‘R’ and moved to take the town of Hamminkeln.

    Landing Zone ‘P’ was used to land the brigades artillery, services and headquarters.


    17 US Airborne Division.
    US 513 Parachute Infantry Regiment was to have landed on Drop Zone ‘X’ but missed the zone and landed in the British sector. It moved to Zone X to regroup and then attacked westwards to clear the Diersfordter Woods and attacked eastwards towards the River Issel. 17 Airborne Division guns also dropped on Drop Zone ‘X’.

    US 507 Parachute Infantry Regiment landed on Drop Zone ‘W’. 1 Battalion of 507 Regiment landed a mile to the north west but moved rapidly to the forming up point. The remainder of the regiment moved to clear the southern part of the Diersfordter Woods. 3 Battalion of 507 Regiment captured the village and castle of Diersfordter.

    US 194 Glider Infantry was divided between Landing Zone ‘N’ and Landing Zone ‘S’.
    Part of 194 Glider Infantry, 17 Division guns and the divisional staff landed on Landing Zone ‘N’. One battalion moved eastwards to seize the line of the River Issel.
    Part of 194 Glider Infantry landed on Landing Zone ‘S’ and moved to capture a series of bridges over the River Issel.


    Immediately after the initial phase a re supply mission of 240 B24 Liberator heavy bombers carrying 540 tons of petrol, food and ammunition was carried out. This represented one days supply for the airborne troops.


    By midday it was clear that the operation had been a success. There was still some stiff fighting to be done but the airborne troops were well established.

    In US 17 Airborne Divisions area 194 Glider Regiment and 507 Parachute Regiment were in the areas east of Diersfordt and of Isselrot. 513 Parachute Regiment had dropped too far north but was moving south.

    6 Airborne Division was in the area of all its objectives. 6 Airlanding Brigade reached the area north east of Hamminkeln and cleared the town. 5 Parachute Brigade was in the area north west of Hamminkeln and 3 Parachute Brigade was astride the main road from Wesel to Haldern in the north west corner of the Diersfordter Wald.

    In the early afternoon patrols from 507 Parachute Infantry made contact with 1 Commando Brigade in Wesel. Later in the afternoon 6 Kings Own Scottish Borderers from 15 Division joined up with 507 Parachute Infantry south of Diersfordter and thus linked the river and airborne assault forces.

    By midnight the position was as follows.

    US 17 Airborne Division.
    In the south 194 Glider Regiment had captured the two bridges over the Issel east of Isselrot. 513 Parachute Regiment had moved south out of the area of 6 British Airborne Division and was preparing to attack the wooded ridge to the east of Diersfordter. 507 Parachute Regiment was on its objective at the south end of the Diersfordter Wald.

    6 Airborne Division.
    6 Airborne Division was on all of its objectives. 6 Airlanding Brigade was holding Hamminkeln with 12 Devons and 1 Royal Ulster Rifles. 2 Oxs and Bucks Light Infantry were on the Issel holding the intact bridges east of Hamminkeln. 3 Para and 5 Para were on their objectives at the north end of the Diersfordter Wald.

    Since firm contact had been made with XII Corps the re supply drop scheduled for 25 March was cancelled.

    During the night 2 Oxs and Bucks were attacked by tanks and infantry and the northern of the two road bridges, which had been prepared for demolition, had to be blown. The attack was repulsed but some infantry infiltrated the Oxs and Bucks positions.

    Mike
     
  18. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    AIR SUPPORT.

    RAF 2 Tactical Air Force had been heavily committed in the air plan preparing for the Rhine Crossings. Now it would be fully committed to supporting 2 Army formations in their assault.

    23 March, D-1.
    On D-1, 23 March, Typhoons of 121 Wing and Spitfires of 126 Wing attacked anti aircraft positions which were beyond the range of 2 Army artillery. Between 1700 and 1800 hours the medium bombers of 2 Group attacked targets immediately over the Rhine.

    Bomber Command made two attacks on Wesel to clear the way for 1 Commando Brigade. At 1530 hours 77 Lancaster Bombers dropped some 400 tons of bombs. At 2235 Wesel was attacked again by 212 Lancasters and Mosquitos from 5 and 8 Groups. They dropped 1,100 tons of bombs.


    24 March, D Day.
    Direct air support to 2 Army on D Day was restricted by several factors.

    It was difficult to know exactly where the ground troops were. There was a ‘bomb line’ inside which air support could not operate. This line had been set at the most forward line it was thought that the ground troops could have reached.

    The air support tentacles of ground controllers were not yet across the river in the early hours.

    Priority was given to destroying as much of the enemy’s anti aircraft capability as possible before the vulnerable airborne troops arrived.

    For much of the day ground troops were well within the range of their own artillery support and forward observers could call for almost immediate fire on targets.


    The air forces were not idle however. During the day 83 and 84 Groups flew the following close support missions:
    162 sorties on pre arranged support. This was largely on known artillery sites and troop areas.
    279 sorties on immediate support. This included support from cab ranks of fighter bombers called for by ground units
    37 sorties on armed reconnaissance. More free ranging sorties looking for targets of opportunity.

    In preparation for the airborne landings 83 and 84 Groups of 2 TAF concentrated on attacking enemy anti aircraft guns in and around the airborne drop and landing zones as far as a north south line marked by an abandoned autobahn to the north east. The medium bombers of 2 Group and US IX Bomber Command attacked targets beyond the autobahn. Between them they dropped 550 tons of bombs.

    Typhoons carried out a series of low level attacks on known or suspected anti aircraft sites in the area of the airborne drop zones. This programme was not completed because of the early arrival of the airborne forces.

    During the airborne landings the fighter bombers of 83 and 84 Groups concentrated on suppressing the anti aircraft fire directed at the allied aircraft. The gliders and glider tugs were particularly vulnerable targets. A cab rank system operated in which ground observers and tactical reconnaissance aircraft could report active gun sites and this information was acted on immediately by the circling fighter bombers of 2 TAF.

    After the airborne landings the Typhoon fighter bombers of 83 Group continued to attack gun sites which were identified by ground troops, Air Contact Teams or tactical reconnaissance aircraft. In addition localities which were thought to house headquarters or to be concentration areas for reserves were also attacked by Typhoons of 84 Group.

    2 TAF Tempests and Spitfires were required to provide escorts for the airborne armada.

    All roads leading to the battle area were covered by 2 TAF aircraft and any movement was attacked.

    All day long the high performance fighters maintained an air umbrella against enemy aircraft and no enemy aircraft interfered with the river crossings or landing zones in daylight. There were some sneak attacks at night.


    25 March, D+1.
    On this day 83 and 84 Groups flew 251 sorties on armed reconnaissance, 24 on pre arranged support and 258 on immediate support.

    In the early morning it was apparent that the enemy had been moving up reserves and there was an increase in the number of enemy vehicles and tanks in the forward areas. Sorties at first light saw some movement on roads but it ceased.

    Armed reconnaissance sorties found plenty of targets. Some vehicles were spotted by the pilots and attacked, some were reported by tactical reconnaissance Mustangs and the information passed on by the FDP/GCC. From 0830 hours there was also a cab rank of fighter bombers which could be directed onto targets by forward controllers working with the troops. Sections of four aircraft were sent every twenty five minutes, increasing to every fifteen minutes as demand increased. As demand slackened planes were again sent every twenty five minutes and then aircraft were kept at runway readiness. The forward airfields were ten to twenty miles from the Rhine so aircraft could be over the target in minutes. Targets were often self propelled guns which darted out of cover, fired and then withdrew to cover. The fighter bombers did not need to see their target. They simply launched rockets at the target area as directed by the forward controller or the GCC radar.

    A major task for air support was the silencing of the enemy artillery which was making the supply and exploitation of the bridgehead difficult by observed fire on bridging sites. Some artillery positions had been plotted on air photographs taken the previous evening. Others were observed and reported by forward troops. Those positions which had been positively identified were attacked by fighter bombers but where locations were less certain sections of six medium bombers from 2 Group laid carpets of bombs across the area. Later in the day enemy artillery positions which opened fire were engaged by aircraft of the cab rank.


    Mike
     
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  19. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    MOLCAB.

    I would have liked to finish this contribution by recording the activities of the Royal Navy. There are plenty of good photographs but I have found little in the way of details of the organisation and activities of MOLCAB (Mobile Landing Craft Advanced Base).

    Any suggestions or information would be welcome.

    Mike.
     
  20. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place.... Patron

    Germany has more trees now than for much of the past. I found this looking at C18thn Battlefields. These are the conclusions I drew.

    1. In the past wood was more important as a source of fuel and building material. Trees might not reach maturity as they would have been cut down as soon as useful.

    2. There was pressure on farm land. In Westfalia there were lots of small farms and lot of people on the land. The EU agricultural policies have been to ease the cost of transferring these people into other sectors. Modern subsidies encourage habitats for animals and birds.

    I may be wrong and am
    interested in any other theories.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2021
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