Sunday, 21 April 2013

Durham Light Infantry part 1

The research and trying to recreate the actual units is proving to be very enjoyable! Never painted any Flames of War stuff before and definitely nothing in this scale! After years of painting only in 28mm painting in 15mm is proving to be a novel challenge!!

Next update:
67184 Lieutenant Colonel Humphrey Reginald Woods, D.S.O, M.C & Bar.
The King's Royal Rifle Corps
Commanding Officer of the 9th.Bn. Durham L.I
Killed in action on 14th.June 1944, aged 28.
Son of Colonel Reginald Herbert Woods, O.B.E.,M.C., and Ivy Oswald Woods, of
Stevenage, Hertfordshire.
He is buried in Plot XV.F.26 Bayeux War Cemetery.
Sgt.Charles Eagles, who was feet away from him when he was wounded by mortar fire,
remembers his last words being, "surely they haven't hit me?"

 Major John Mogg 9th Durham Light Infantry

Major John Mogg was the second in command of the 9th.DLI. He had joined the Battalion in a sealed camp, one week before D-Day.
The following is his account of the action, which was written in the 1970's for the Staff College.

The Battle
' We crossed the Start Line at 10:15 on the morning of the 14th. behind an immense fire plan from the Corps Artillery and the Air. The wood literally appeared to be devastated immediately to our front some three hundred yards away.
Typhoons with rockets and bombs straddled and plastered the wood. We crossed the SL with infantry leading two platoons up and one in reserve trying to keep up with the timings of the Artillery and Air support. In the Bocage the normal form was for infantry to lead but supported very closely by tanks from the flanks and in certain cases with individual tanks travelling with the infantry. This helped communication and was greatly different to the battles in the desert and in the open country of the Goodwood operation and the NW German plain later on.
As we crossed the standing corn, and supported by 4/7th.RDG, the barrage gradually lifted and we thought we should reach the wood with little difficulty. Gradually the enemy came to life. Two tanks opened up from the wood and withering fire from Spandaus caught the leading companies in enfilade fire. There were many casualties but the leading companies reached the wood where bitter fighting ensued. The enemy were well dug in and had sited their Spandaus to give excellent cross fire. We discovered afterwards that many of the Spandaus which had continued to fire during the barrage had string attachments enabling the enemy to fire on fixed lines from the bottom of the trench.
'A' Coy on the left suffered tremendous casualties, including all their Officers. 'C' Coy on the right were making some headway with heavy fighting towards Lingevres.
At this stage the Commanding Officer ordered the two reserve companies to pass through and try to gain the objective. 'B' Coy passed through 'A' but immediately suffered heavy casualties, losing all their Officers but one.
The Commanding Officer was with his Tac HQ following 'A' Coy on the left. I was with 'C' Coy on the right and we had a conversation on the wireless. It was clear that the companies on the left would make no further progress and he ordered me to push on with the two right hand companies to Lingevres. He would withdraw the remnants of 'A' and 'B' and reinforce us on the right. Three minutes later he was killed by a mortar bomb and his IO was wounded.
By noon I found myself in command of what was left of 9 DLI in the village of Lingevres, with 'D' Coy fairly strong, 'C' Coy at about one platoon strength and the remnants of 'A' and 'B' on their way to reinforce us. I had a quick 'O' Group.
I ordered 'D' Coy to occupy the East and SE edge of the village facing towards Tilly and 'C' Coy of one platoon to look after the approaches from the South. I made a DF fire plan with my gunner, Ken Swann of 86 Fd. Regt.
I ordered the support weapons to move forward, putting the carriers to guard the Western approach and set up my Bn. HQ in the area of the Bridge over the stream just North of the village and on the Bn axis. I sited the five remaining A.Tk. guns singly, facing down the road approaches. This was a fatal mistake as in the first counter attack four of the five were knocked out by advancing tanks coming down the road. It taught me never to site A.Tk. guns to fire frontally, but always to engage tanks from a flank.
From midday onwards enemy tanks attacked the village, but luckily with no infantry support, but much shelling. I ordered three tank hunting patrols to go out and accompanied one myself. A very inexperienced and foolish thing to do when I was commanding a Bn. I only mention it as an amusing side line in that having crept under Bocage banks across four fields and sited the PIAT A.Tk. weapon on top of a bank to fire at a Panther tank I ordered the gunner to fire, the Geordie said " I don't know how the bloody thing works". He had carried it across the channel and for seven days in Normandy!! A lesson perhaps. In fact the Panther was eventually made a non-runner by this PIAT and the crew 'baled out'.
At about 1630 the expected counter attack materialised, developing strongly on the left flank. The attack was mostly from enemy tanks supported by about a company of infantry. A call for support from our Artillery and the Air assisted in repelling the infantry.......
By nightfall we still held the village and were in touch with the 6th. DLI in Verrieres. At about nine o'clock we were relieved by the 2nd Glosters and heaved a very large sigh of relief.
The casualties between 10:15 and 21:00 hrs. amounted to:-

22 Officers and 226 Other Ranks Killed wounded or missing.
Major Mogg was awarded a D.S.O. for this action and for destroying a Panther tank at close range with a PIAT. He went on to become a General in the Post- War British Army.
Sadly, General Sir John Mogg died on the 28th.of October 2001.

The CO and 2ic of 9th Bn DLI:

Sniper teams attached to the Btn HQ:

No comments:

Post a Comment