Op Veritable fireplan

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Wapen, Aug 29, 2020.

  1. Wapen

    Wapen Active Member

  2. Bedee

    Bedee Well-Known Member

    Artillery and the effects will be always an discussions, questions to ask are the need of an Observer, Artillery or Rocket systems. True the years the equipment improved.
    When i have time this weekend i will read this, but after a quick scan is see the number of 1,852 guns. I never counted the guns, but i think the number is a bit to high, according the other articles.
    For example the Report on Operation Veritable they mention 1034 Guns.
  3. Wapen

    Wapen Active Member

    [When i have time this weekend i will read this, but after a quick scan is see the number of 1,852 guns. I never counted the guns, but i think the number is a bit to high, according the other articles.
    For example the Report on Operation Veritable they mention 1034 Guns.[/QUOTE]
    Cheers Bedee. You're right about the post op report's 1034 but I think this was a planning figure that left out AA, AT and tanks firing pepperpot (and maybe a battery or two of the traditional guns). A recount was done in 1946 - Military Operational Research Unit, ‘Operation Veritable’, 1946 (NA CAB 106/991) and I cross-referenced this with war diaries where I could.
  4. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place.... Patron

    We both seem to be working in the field of the psychology of artillery fire. I was co-author of Gunners in Normandy and am currently writing a Battleground Europe guide to the artillery on the first day of the Somme. I have written a paper on the psychology of military amnesia. The subject is how the army forgot how close the infantry needed to be to artillery bombardment to be effective, the reasons why this might be and why they need to think about this for the future.. which I had hoped to present at a now postponed conference and am hoping to get into a military journal.

    I agree with you that the British Army has lost sight of the psychological effects of artillery fire. When I served in the 1980s we used to lecture the infantry and armour on this topic with the support of "the effects of artillery fire"

    This was shot with my old regiment 40 field, the lowland gunners - the BC was Tony Boyce BC 38 battery and the FOO Steve Sanderson.

    My reservation is that one operation is too small a sample from which to extrapolate a theory. Op Veritable is untypical. There was a high proportion of predicted fire in the fireplan and huge safety margins were applied with the infantry arriving five to ten minutes after the end of the bombardment, and sometimes half an hour. This is in ORS memo No 7 Morale effects of artillery, which draws on the work undertaken on Ops Veritable and Clipper. Did you look at this document?

    There might be a minor misprint. I think the ORS report on OP Veritable is No 26 not no 2
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  5. Wapen

    Wapen Active Member

    Hello Sheldrake,
    Nice to see someone else on the case. I'm an old MOD psychologist and operational research geek. My focus is on tactical psychology generally - flanking, combined arms, closing with the enemy etc - but I'm using Veritable as my data source (long story) and having another bash at the Swann Report was a good place to start. Agreed that one day of Veritable is too narrow but it has been the key source of data for 75 years. Thanks for the video link, pointer to ORS7 and the typo spot - there's always one in my stuff, and usually six.

    I've got conflicting info on barrage hugging. One of the Canadian units was near 20 mins late but one of 15 Scottish was 75 yds behind the lifts. I'll dig out ORS 7 and have a look.

    Is there anything I can do to help you in return? PM me.
  6. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Re the Canadians: it was the 5th Cdn Inf Bde (2nd Cdn Inf Div) which attacked under cover of an artillery barrage with two battalions; the Calgary Highlanders of Canada and Le Régiment de Maisonneuve.

    Those that were 'late' probably were the Calgary Highlanders at Wyler ... the leading Coy of this battalion unfortunately ran into an uncharted mine field, full of those devilish Schu-mines. Le Régiment de Maisonneuve, on the other hand, made a highly successful attack on Den Heuvel because it followed close to the barrage. The Maisonneuves took a large number of POWs and killed many of the enemy, at very little cost to themselves. The French Canadians had specially trained for this type of manoeuvre, on Feb 5th, just prior to Op Veritable. They found many of the defenders completely shaken by the deluge of fire which had gone on for many hours. Most stumbled with raised arms from their positions. "It was terrible and inhuman", one captured German officer complained.

    See: VERITABLE 1945: the Canadian attack on Wyler & Den Heuvel, 8 Feb 1945.

    The rehearsal of the Maisonneuves, which was attended by Horrocks, is mentioned here: VERITABLE 1945: the Canadian attack on Wyler & Den Heuvel, 8 Feb 1945

    Overall, during the opening phase of Veritable, the built-in pauses in the artillery barrage enabled the infantry to catch-up in case their advance had been slowed.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2020
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  7. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Was there a harassing artillery fire plan in advance of the Veritable offensive?

    Brigadier P.A. Stanley Todd, who commanded II Canadian Corps artillery, was a particularly strong advocate of focused, harassing fire, both for the practical and psychological benefits.

    His fire plan in advance of the March 1945 attacks on Hoch Elton and Emmerich was noted for it's effectiveness. His task was to soften up the heart of the enemy positions and he devised a system of dividing the target area into 100-yd squares. A single gun was assigned to each square and over the course of 4 days, each fired four shells per hour at irregular intervals. Todd's philosophy was that if you landed a shell within 50-60 yards of a man, he would generally cower. He wanted no German soldier to go more than 15-20 minutes without having a shell land within 50 yards of his location. His goal was to pin them to the ground, unable to sleep, crawl to the latrine, obtain food, meet as group and unable to effectively give orders. The attack on the main enemy feature went in without opposition, the Germans putting up white flags.
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  8. Wapen

    Wapen Active Member

    [Those that were 'late' probably were the Calgary Highlanders at Wyler... the leading Coy of this battalion unfortunately ran into an uncharted mine field] Before this even. Zuehlke has them crossing the start line 12 mins late (I haven't checked the diaries) becasue the defenders were expected to be overwhelmed by the barrage. Then of course by doing a right hook they went against the grain of the barrage and lost more time.
  9. Wapen

    Wapen Active Member

    Ooh! Lovely stuff. Thanks for sharing. That's just my kind of thing. Have you got a reference handy?

    There was no harrassing fire for Veritable (in an effort to not give the game away) but 5 1/2 hours of prep and counter-battery. The average rate for that was [waves wet finger in air] about 10 times Todd's harrassing rate.
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  10. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    From 21AG RA bulletin No.14, April 1945.

    An account of the emp of arty in op “VERITABLE” is given at Appx A att. This account was prepared by the CRA of the Cdn Inf Div which had been holding the front through which the attack was launched on 8 Feb. It covers in particular the main fire plan, the counter-mortar programme and the “PEPPER POT” programme.
  11. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

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  12. Wapen

    Wapen Active Member

    Thanks for the link Richelieu. There's some lovely useful nuggets in there. You are a lovely human being.
  13. Wapen

    Wapen Active Member

    Thanks Richelieu! Lots of lovely stuff in there. Sorry if this post comes twice. Last send disappeared.
  14. Wapen

    Wapen Active Member

    Yeah it came twice... numpty... computers have hated me since I said those nasty things about Bowman.

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