Searching 17-pdr on Sword Beach

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by 312, Apr 6, 2021.

  1. 312

    312 Member

    Hello, I'm just searching some informations about 17-pounder AT gun use in Sword Beach area during the D-day. I read an article who says that 17-pdr were used against 21 Panzer Division but to my informations the only AT guns availables in this area were the M10 Wolverine (with US original gun) and towed 6-pdr of the 20th AT Regiment. It could be an author's mistake but I would be very interested if you have any informations about these mysterious 17-pdr

    Thank a lot !
     
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  2. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

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  3. 312

    312 Member

    I'm not sure because the 1st Suffolk is an infantry unit so it should use 6-pdr and not the heavier 17-pdr
     
  4. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    Only speculating as this is not my field, but assume they needed 17 pdrs due to the thickness & construction of the bunkers. It says the Suffolks "brought the guns up", so maybe they called for the artillery to bring them up. to finish the job.
     
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  5. 312

    312 Member

    In the article below (well detailed) it is said that the AT Reg of the assault divisions are equipped with M10 and QF-6 pounder. The only unit equipped with 17-pdr (self-propelled Achilles) that landed on D-day was a battery of the 73rd AT Reg on Gold Beach but the junction between the troops of Gold and Sword was not made until after June 06

    Hobby
     
  6. 312

    312 Member

    I think that on the article I read and the one you sent me the authors confuse the M10 Wolverine with the 17-pdr
     
  7. Firefly 17 pr maybe?
     
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  8. 312

    312 Member

    In fact it could be a Sherman Firefly of the 27th Armoured Brigade
     
  9. 312

    312 Member

    But the article I was talking about at the beginning (appeared in the special edition Ligne de Front on the Normandy landings)
    says A Squadron, Staffordshire Yeomanry (27th Armoured Brigade) was aided by a battery of 17-pounder anti-tank guns so I think it refers to a Royal Artillery anti-tank unit
     

    Attached Files:

    Chris C likes this.
  10. Can't read the images you posted but I would not pay too much attention to details in articles such as the one you mentioned, unless they give specific primary sources...

    I've stopped buying this kind of magazine (except some of those published by Heimdal), because they usually do little more than recycle old stories, with little or no research on their own to check whether what they write conforms to actual events.

    The vague statement that 17 prs were used against 21. Pz.Div., without stating any more precise unit on either side, tends to comfirm my judgment.

    Michel
     
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  11. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place.... Patron

    That was the interpretation I first heard at Hillman in 2003, from a student of one of the staff college bottlefield tours whose veterans may have been the sources for "Brightly Shone the Dawn". It also seemed a plausible explanation for the scoring on the western bunker I recall seeing in situ in 1994 , but seems to have been removed. (Is it in the museum at Vierville? )

    I looked tonight at the CAB classified history of 1st Corps Ops on D Day. These are based on the war diaries. There are two references to tanks supporting the attack on Hillman by 1 Suffolk.

    1,. During the attack by A Company 1300-1500 hrs, after it became obvious that there were no anti tank guns on the positions tanks were brought up to the edge of the perimeter wire, but this did not materially effect the situation "for their 75-mm guns could make no impression on the concrete emplacements,"

    2. In the account of the battalion attack 1900-2025 it mentions a preliminary bombardment of five minutes HE from the tanks and two artillery batteries.

    So no mention of 17 pounders as bunker busters.

    The bunkers were observation bunkers not artillery emplacements and In suspect the machine guns were emplaced in tobruks. So the bunkers were irrelevant.

    To my knowledge, no towed 17 pounder equipment was landed on Sword Beach on D Day. The whole reason to equip the assault divisions and assault AA Brigades with SP Guns was to avoid the congestion likely to arise from softskin tractors breaking down or knocked out in obstacle gaps. This is why 20 Anti tank regiment had a mix of 6 pounder and M10. (yes I know the 6 pounder is towed, but it was by a tracked AFV and Parham made rude observations about the congestion casued by their paralytic cross couyntry performance on Ex Smash).

    By D Day only twenty four M10s had been up gunned with 17 pounders. These were issued 12 to each corps anti tank regiment.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021
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  12. 312

    312 Member

    So for the assault against Hillman there were only standard Sherman and during the fights between 3rd Infantry Division (helped by 27th Armoured Brigade) and 21 Panzer Division the "17-pounder" are finally the M10 Wolverine from the 20th AT Reg ?
     
  13. At HILLMAN they were Sherman tks from 13th/18th Royal Hussars, some of which were Fireflies, if I remember correctly. I'll would have to check to confirm this last point however, but again, I do not feel that trying to confirm or disprove what is in the magazine article is of much interest. There are plenty of much more precise and reliable accounts of these events out there.

    Michel
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021
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  14. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place.... Patron

    It all depends when the 17 Pounder Fireflys landed from LCTs, married up with the 75mm DD tanks that swam ashore.

    The Gunners in action against 21st Panzer Division were B troop of 41st Anti tank battery. No 4 gun is credited with two Pz IV. Sgt Mitchely No 1 Gun was KIA in the duel with 21st Panzer Division after a round hit the joint of the turret ring, and three gunners wounded, one dying days later but the driver backed the gun away. The M10 SP was a good SP anti tank gun and did their bit on D Day and thereafter. M10 detachments did not seem to share the inferiority complex felt by RAC crews in their much better armoured Shermans.
     
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  15. 312

    312 Member

    So the only Royal Artillery unit to have participated in D-day was a 73rd AT Reg (XXX Corps AT Reg) battery equipped with 17-pdr M10 ?
     
  16. All of C Sqn (the non DD Sqn) 13/18 H took part in the assault on HILLMAN, so there must have been at least 4 Fireflies there.

    STAFFS YEO, including their 17 pr Sherman Vc tanks (together with various A tk units) were decisive in repelling the German counter attack. From East to West:
    C Sqn (and A tk guns from 185 Bde), then A Sqn against II./Pz.Rgt. 22
    B Sqn (with 41 A tk Bty) against I./Pz.Rgt. 22. Fireflies are specifically mentioned there.

    Michel
     
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