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I thought you guys might like this....

In conjunction with a French historian and publisher, I am currently researching a major RAF bombing operation which took place in Normandy days after D-Day in June 1944. We have conducted a few location field visits of the target area, and have located some nice finds of German origin.

Major Panzer elements were targeted in this attack.

The story starts with the secret code breakers of Ultra, based at Bletchley Park.

This picture is a copy of the actual Enigma intercepted coded message, which was broken and translated, before being urgently passed to the relevant Intelligence agency, and London for evaluation by the War Office and ultimately Churchill...

This Enigma intercept started a flurry of action and planning, before the execution of a major RAF bombing raid on German forces in Normandy.

I will post more relating to this project for anybody interested in reading it...

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The gaps in the research of the event timeline are slowly being filled with research and investigation.

During the research I located a file at the National Archives which contained copies of all intercepted Enigma traffic by Ultra for the days leading up to and including the day of the RAF attack covering this project.

I then also located through the MOD, a copy of the Bombing Analysis Unit report for this attack, which was a detailed multipage document with the results of this raid, containing technical data, diagrams, maps and pictures.

We managed to overlap one of the diagrams with an aerial reconnaissance photo, and from this have managed to accurately locate many German positions including a number of vehicles.

This is a copy of the overlap we created...

The black dots are detonation points of Allied bombs, the numbered circles are German positions to be investigated with a field visit.

To be continued, PANZER HUNT - IT'S OUT THERE

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The following document was confirmation that 'Panzer Elements' were indeed targeted in this attack.

This document is an entry into the Squadron Operation Book for one of the squadrons involved in this attack, it reads...

'Detailed to attack a tank concentration at (target area)'.

'Results - 17 aircraft dropped bombs with good results, and dropped bombs in centre of target'

'Heavy flak - weather conditions visibility good no cloud'

To be continued...

PANZER HUNT - IT'S OUT THERE...

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While researching for this project, I managed to locate through the Imperial War Museum (IWM) actual gun camera footage from one of the lead aircraft in this RAF attack. It is over 4 minutes of airborne film.

From the footage I have created some photo stills of the bombing run. There were over 100 aircraft involved with this raid, attacking in waves of between 10/30 aircraft, time delayed between waves of Mitchell Bombers carpeting the target area, and waves of Rocket Propelled Typhoons attacking low and fast, destroying anything on the ground that the bombers missed.

These stills show bomb release from a Mitchell (B25) of the 1st wave attacking the target area. We have had further stills made of a much higher resolution and magnified, in an attempt to locate German flak positions.

The locating of this actual film footage of the attack was amazing. As one of the researchers of this project, to be able to actually see the event unfold from the 1st wave was important, as still shots taken from the 4 minutes of footage have revealed clear mid level altitude aerial shots of the target area and approach to target area.

To be continued,

PANZER HUNT - IT'S OUT THERE..!!!

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Very interesting reading, and showing us actual images off the bombing raid on D Day, and again thank you for sharing these findings with us, it's great when someone who works in the field of history research can share his work with us :smile:

 

Keep up the good work,

 

Lou

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Very interesting reading, and showing us actual images off the bombing raid on D Day, and again thank you for sharing these findings with us, it's great when someone who works in the field of history research can share his work with us :smile:

Keep up the good work,

Lou

Hi

Thanks for taking the time to reply...

This is just a brief insight into the project. We have been investigating this event for around 3 months now, and have an extensive project folder, along with a detailed event timeline. The timescale for event research has been extended, as links have also been made to this attack with German Generals who were involved with the Valkyrie plot to assassinate Hitler...

We have recently carried out 2 field location visits, to make initial sweeps of the target area for confirmation of the German positions that we located through the research.

There have already been a number of finds of German origin, however I will post more at a later date.

This research is to be used for a future publication to be released next year.

Oh, and they missed Rommel in this attack by an HOUR...!!!

Thanks for reading...

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Whilst conducting further research on this attack at the National Archives, I stumbled across the wartime diary pages of a Typhoon pilot whose entry on the day of attack makes interesting reading. It states,

'The last show of the day was the best however, for a team consisting of Tim, Andy, Jock, Bob and Tatters took to the air and attacked the HQ of the 21 Panzer Division causing we hope much damage'....

What is also interesting to note in the entry, is the end note of one Typhoon pilot being attacked by an American Mustang causing a bit of a panic. It reads,

'There was some panic when a Mustang attacked Killer of the Reds, making him break so violently that he spun. It's about time some of these Yank pilots got in some aircraft recognition hours, or else pulled their fingers out a bit'.

This diary entry confirmed that another major Panzer element was targeted in this attack, adding to the platform of multiple elements targeted. Location confirmation was researched next for the day of attack.

Interesting...

PANZER HUNT - IT'S OUT THERE...

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BEWARE - LIVE ORDNANCE CAN KILL...!!!

It wasn't the 1000 year Reich as proclaimed by Hitler, however the legacy of WW2 lives on in France. Every year hundreds of live shells are unearthed in the fields and orchards of Normandy, killing and injuring the innocent people of France.

Already within 3 field visits to the researched target area we have had to contact the bomb disposal authorities twice, causing much delay in the location investigation.

In the pictures of ordnance we have found, you can clearly see the decay and corrosion to these shells, making them highly unstable and dangerous.!!!

At least these deadly munitions have been removed from the Normandy countryside.

LIVE ORDNANCE CAN KILL - IF FOUND, LEAVE WELL ALONE AND CONTACT THE AUTHORITIES TO REMOVE THEM. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MOVE THEM - IT'S NOT WORTH THE RISK - STAY SAFE...

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I liked your'e posted on the diary of a Typhoon pilot, and still today the near miss off friendly forces, and yes how true a warning of unearth live ordnance, I am so amazed when I see image of part time diggers digging up live ammo, mines etc, without anything thought it may blow up in their hands!   I use to be a pioneer with the Australian Army, and I can tell you that "100% SAFETY PROCEDURE" was drummed in to us in a big way!  So I always treat any ordnance I come across that hasn't had the fuze or been drilled as live.   Saying all this I still see news reports about someone loosing legs or getting killed:-(.

 

Lou

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I liked your'e posted on the diary of a Typhoon pilot, and still today the near miss off friendly forces, and yes how true a warning of unearth live ordnance, I am so amazed when I see image of part time diggers digging up live ammo, mines etc, without anything thought it may blow up in their hands!   I use to be a pioneer with the Australian Army, and I can tell you that "100% SAFETY PROCEDURE" was drummed in to us in a big way!  So I always treat any ordnance I come across that hasn't had the fuze or been drilled as live.   Saying all this I still see news reports about someone loosing legs or getting killed:-(.

 

Lou

Hi

Thanks for taking the time to reply, it's appreciated.

The diary pages were a nice find in the National Archives, and confirmed to us another Panzer element targeted in this attack.

The friendly fire incident shows that in the heat of the moment of war mistakes happened. It seems that the Allied pilot (Killer) was able to evade the Mustang's ordnance through an extreme manoeuvre that caused him to spin...!!!

As for digging live ordnance, it has to be SAFETY - SAFETY - SAFETY at all times, every time. As you would know it only takes one mistake to cause serious injury, loss of limbs, or even death. That is NOT a risk worth taking.

I have heard many stories of French farmers still today being injured or killed while ploughing their fields and driving their tractors over live shells. After all, these shells were designed to kill, and after 70 odd years corroding in the ground they are now highly unstable and dangerous....

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I agree Dave, but some people just can't resist poking/moving live munitions they find in a field...

 

LEAVE WELL ALONE!

Wise words mate, it's not worth the risk....

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All of this is very interesting, thank you for sharing it with us.

 

Here in the US there isn't much opportunity for on-site research into WW2, so I envy you.

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After much research into this project over the last few months, I visited the site last weekend on a 3 day trip.

The target area investigated on this trip was the woods towards the bottom of the overlap document that we created (mentioned early in this thread). The field finds pictured below were found in the area's of circled numbers 2 - 3 and 6 on the overlap document, with number 2 being a 'Mobile German Communications Truck', number 3 was a large 'Field Tent' and number 6 was a large 'Staff Car'...

The location was fully documented and photographed for the project folder. In due course I will be asking you guys for help in identifying some of these items, although there are a few which are self explanatory...

This is a very small selection of the German field relics found, as we have found a number of incredible items which I will post once they have been cleaned up ready for photography...

PANZER HUNT - IT'S OUT THERE...

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All of this is very interesting, thank you for sharing it with us.

 

Here in the US there isn't much opportunity for on-site research into WW2, so I envy you.

Thanks for the comments Ryan, I'm glad that you like it.

There is so much more to come yet...

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During the location investigation we found this car registration plate at the position of number 1 on the overlap document.

It is the registration plate of one of the Staff Cars. As per research of the Bombing Analysis Unit Report, this location was listed as a 'Generals Staff Car', and it is reported that the General was wounded in this attack.

PANZER HUNT - IT'S OUT THERE...

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The cleaning process in progress. This is the last batch of field finds starting the process.

I will document the items as the process develops.

If any of you guys out there would like to assist with the project research and take up the challenge of identifying these German field items (Once prepared and individually photographed), then drop a post on here, or email me at davidlamey@rocketmail.com

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Rommel did visit this location. References were found during the research, that confirm that the Field Marshall was indeed at the target location on the day of the attack.

Further research has revealed that the attack missed Rommel by an hour. Below is pictured a photo of the Flight Book of a Canadian Typhoon Pilot involved in this attack. In it he has kept a newspaper report of the event...

During the recent field visit, I was introduced to the owner of the location, who at the time of this attack, was a 14 year old boy. As I interviewed him about his memories of the attack, he told me of his recollection of seeing Rommel leaving the location in his Staff Car before the attack started, as this is a tiny sleepy French village, and the only movement on the street was that of German Panzer elements. He went on to describe the terror of the constant explosions, as waves of bombers delivered hundreds of 500lb bombs to target, followed by waves of RP Typhoons, destroying anything still moving on the ground that the bombers missed.

This was a fascinating interview, and has been documented and added to the project folder.

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Great stuff Dave, there must have been Panthers in that column...

 

I'm just shocked that any one would want to hurt a nice little well behaved sdkfz 171 Panther :ohmy:

 

Shocking :crying:

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Great stuff Dave, there must have been Panthers in that column...

 

I'm just shocked that any one would want to hurt a nice little well behaved sdkfz 171 Panther :ohmy:

 

Shocking :crying:

I am currently researching what the tank concentrations mentioned in the RAF Squadron Operation Reports consisted of...

Further research has revealed interesting information of these tank concentrations and the divisions they were attached too...

The quest continues...

PANZER HUNT - IT'S OUT THERE...

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This was a really nice location find. A German flak shell casing which was found just an inch under the surface.

What is unusual about this casing, is that it had been sawn. We missed this detail at first, however after it had been cleaned it was noticed...

We have come to the conclusion, that this was done and used as an improvised field candle holder...

It cleaned up really well, and the marking stamps are really clear...

PANZER HUNT - IT'S OUT THERE...

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So strong was the intelligence provided by the code breakers of Ultra at Bletchley Park, that it had to be diluted before being actioned...

After researching the memoirs of a Major in Military Intelligence (Hut-3 Bletchley Park) In which he quotes,

'Commanders were strictly forbidden to order any action which might imperil the source, by seeming to be ascribable only to the reading of Enigma traffic'.

With this in mind, the RAF initiated a simple but brilliant deception tactic. Already armed with the information of location, position, strength, and schedule of the German divisions, they flew reconnaissance missions over and around target areas, with the sole purpose of being observed by the Germans. RAF pilots had to report being positively spotted by German ground forces, before any attack took place.

This simple reconnaissance flight was then pinpointed as the reason for the attack, and not the fact that Ultra were reading German Enigma signals traffic.

In our project attack, German officers were reported as being seen observing the reconnaissance aircraft from the target area through field glasses...

The picture below was located at the target area, in one of the investigated locations. It is confirmation that the German officers did indeed spot not only the reconnaissance aircraft, but also the aircraft of the bombing raid itself. In one of the researched reports, it states that German officers were watching the approaching aircraft, thinking that the attack was on a location elsewhere. They were caught by surprise when realising that they were actually the target...

This was an exceptional find...

PANZER HUNT - IT'S OUT THERE...

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Nice "finds" Dave, I would agree with the theory that the shell would have been used as a Candle holder. Given it's size.

 

I have a smaller one, different type of shell, used for trenches.

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Nice "finds" Dave, I would agree with the theory that the shell would have been used as a Candle holder. Given it's size.

 

I have a smaller one, different type of shell, used for trenches.

Hi

These are just a few of the finds. I'm saving the really good stuff for a later date ( although the field glasses were an exceptional find )...

I can't think of any other reason of why a German soldier would have sawn the flak shell like that, other than for an improvised field candle holder....

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A German truck fuel/oil cap found at the target location. This was at a shallow depth of 2 inches. It has corroded badly and was caked in mud and rust. It has cleaned up quite well so far, but I'm hoping it will clean up better yet...

It is a bung type cap, as there is no screw thread on it. After cleaning out the mud from the inside section, traces of oil were visible, therefore I'm thinking this was an oil cap rather than fuel.

It had taken quite a hit, as you can see, on the inside section it has been knocked out of its perfect circular shape...

This truck was part of an important Panzer element. This is the first of many pieces of this truck that we found at the location.

PANZER HUNT - IT'S OUT THERE...

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