Old 01-12-2010, 03:04 PM   #1
The Lady From Hell!
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 864
Default The Essex & S.Sasks in Op Atlantic July 20-21st.

Hi! If someone can help with my research, The Essex on the 21st I think suffered more casualties I believe 60. Which I don't believe nobody added it to the Total since the Total I researched or documented are for the 20th I think? Anybody has more info, would be appreciated. I wanted to write a 3 page article on the Battle For Verrières Ridge, I now have 70 pages

I'm still working on It this, First Draft For July 20-21

Black Watch O.R. War Diary. IFS, 20th. Sun.

Weather - clear and fine. F. Ech. rejoined the Bn around 0400 hrs at IFS and all were dug in by 0600 hrs. Snipers were active all day in buildings and fields around our positions and during the day 10 were brought in a very shaky condition. Enemy mortars and shelling caused some casualties during the day, prompting us to seek the security of our slit trenches. Moaning Minnies were quite plentiful on our front and that of the CALGARY HIGHLANDERS. The Medical section under Capt OHKLE in picking up and caring for the wounded. The 6th Cdn Inf Bde attacked through us, with Artillery support, at 1500 hrs. The attack went off as planned and objectives were taken. An enemy counter attack forced the SOUTH SASKATCHEWAN REGIMENT to withdraw with many casualties. Our Bn remained firm and was placed under command of the 6th Bde to counter attack. End

On July 20, 1944, the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division 6th Brigade launched the first attack to capture Verrières, under the name Operation Atlantic. As the Canadians pushed early morning south of Ifs to Point 67 towards the Start Line, a squadron of 1st Hussars tasked with supporting the attack on Saint-André-sur-Orne with Beaureoir and Troteval farms by Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal. Initially they captured the village and the farm, and immediately came under immediate storm of fire and where unable to push up the slope to Verrières, being pushed back by counter-attacks from 1SS Panzer division and the 272nd Infantry Division. They started At 15:00hrs, The Saskatchewan Regiment on lead, supported on right flank by The Exxes Scotts, on their right flank was The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. The Cameron start line being in front of Point 67 on Route N185, The Sask’s and Exxe's start line was next to the Train rail lines, as they proceeded down the tracks while British, Canadian artillery fired concentrated barrages on frontal targets, while a Typhoon squadrons struck the enemy. The Cameron Highlanders secured the position in St Andre-sur-Orne, immediately they’re pinned down by “Jerry” snipers, as an effective German infantry and merciless Panzers response, while heavy fire west of the Orne from Point 112, still in German hands targeting them, with excellent field visibility.

The South Saskatchewan Regiment lead by acting C.O. Major G. R. Matthews, supported by Hawker Typhoon ground attack aircraft and tanks, moved directly up the Gentle slopes of Verrières Ridge. The heavy downpour of rain set in, half an hour before they reached their objectives at 17.30hrs on the central portion of the Ridge. Air support and artillery was cancel, before they could celebrate the successful attack and get their anti-tank guns up into place, All Hell was unleashed as they’re struck by enemy tanks and destroyed effortless to pieces. Due to the Heavy rain and lightening that started in the late afternoon, the Canadian attack had lost effectiveness which rendered air support useless, turning the ground into sticky heavy mud which made advancing difficult. The Germans counterattacked with two Panzer divisions and repelled the South Saskatchewan’s back past to their support lines &, supporting battalion. To add insult to injury, numerous reports by field commanders complaining being hit by friendly fire, causing numerous casualties from "Simonds Infamous Artillery." Unsupported by heavy anti-tank weapons they soon scattered and suffered heavily, as messages to cease fire never reached 6th Brigade for more than two hours after 17:55hrs, and reported being counterattacked and asked urgently for help. Many soldiers took refuge in the tall grass, "None of 1st Hussar Tanks" arrived in support. The South Saskatchewan’s had taken 208 casualties, Major Matthews was among the 66 dead, 116 wounded and 26 taken prisoner.

The Essex Scottish where ordered forward to occupy and hold objectives between "Beaureoir Farm and St. André." As the leading elements of the Sak's were retreating they Literally Collided With the Essex's before they met their objective. The Enemy tanks and artillery fire, now struck the Essex two companies reported to have broken, became disorganized and lost heavily as It’s main body hung on northward of its assigned objective, in the early hours of July 21st. The two companies had to temporally withdraw, after being reorganized by The Brigadier, and sent forward to rejoin it’s main force. Under attack with a relentless barrage of fire power from Jerry, lost 244 casualties 37 of them being fatal, as they tried to hold back the advance of the 12th SS Panzer Division with no avail. At the northeast end of the wheat grassed covered Gentle sloped Ridge. Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal had a similar experience, their two forward companies which obtained a foothold on the Ridge were literally wiped out, as had the Royal Regiment of Canada meet the same faith, very few men survived without injury or returned to the start-line. Over night and in the early morning hours, the Pipers became stretcher bears removing the wound, while facing counterattacks by Jerry. By days end these battles ended in slaughter and The Ridge was still in Jerry's hands.


Last edited by Spaniard : 12-30-2010 at 02:37 PM. Reason: Had problems downloading
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Old 01-12-2010, 03:09 PM   #2
The Lady From Hell!
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The Black Watch O.R. War Diary; IFS, HILL 67, 21st. Mon:
Weather - Very heavy rain. Shelling and mortaring against our positions continued. During the night the 6th Bde had taken quite a knocking but no ground was lost. In the late afternoon we were told that we would have to attack HILL 61 to relieve the ESSEX SCOTTISH who were having a bad time. At 1800 hrs, the Bn, under cover of a creeping barrage attacked successfully and consolidated, while the CAMERONS of CANADA attacked ST. ANDRE-sur-ORNE. During the night we were attacked by planes, but we suffered no casualties. Maj. FRASER commanding D Coy was wounded by a shell fragment while digging his slit trench and died a few hours later”. End

On July 21 they managed to contain Dietrich's armoured formations, and by the time the operation was called off, Canadian forces held several footholds on the ridge, including a now secure position on Point 67. As the Battle progressed on the 21st fighting off counterattacks from midnight, the Saks passed through the two lead companies of The Essex Scottish who’re already taking heavy casualties from mortar bombs, snipers and heavy machine gun fire. “Dog Company”, led by Capt. Cy Steele, overwhelmed by the superior numbers of Jerries, with the immense fire power zeroing in on there location, vigorously fought back Jerry counter attack, with heroics and gallantry, as small-arms fire thickened with overwhelming intensity, all around them bodies lay scattered in a horrific surreal seen as they already battled for two days. The wounded were mixed with the dead screaming and yelling in despaired from their wounds. As “Pvt. Bill Greaves” of the Essex describes it, “I had to step around and over the bodies of The South Saskatchewans carpeting the slope”. They only had moments to contemplate what had accrued, as all went quite for a few seconds when in an instance they’re hit by a hail of 88 mm shells fired at them by “Jerry” tanks. Machinegun fire laced into their ranks from several directions with no mercy, as they went to ground mortars zeroed in on them. Although the two companies had gone to ground, there was no protection. They ordered an immediate withdraw, as the vestige trace of the two Essex companies pulled back badly battered. The remnants of the South Saskatchewan had been withdrawn to reorganize. The enemy broke into the positions of the Essex Scottish, who suffered further heavy casualties, as the Camerons and Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal, penetrated deep into the position of the enemy. The fragmented remnants of the Essex in the forward area were also ordered to withdraw by afternoon. Their lines were very unstable and ready to be overrund by the Germans.

Simonds ordered The Camarons of Canada and The Black Watch placed under Brigadier Young's command, as the Regiments were sent to restore the Front Line, with support from the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. The barrage began at 18:00hrs as it rained heavily, The Camarons headed down Route d’Harcourt which leads from Point 67 to Saint Martine through May, attacking St. Andre-sur- Orne the first village from Point 67. They suffered 81 casualties, 29 dead. Since it was expected from the Generals, The Watch uphold their fitting spirit reputation. The Black Watch hastily moved parallel fallowing the train tracks which The Saska’s and The Essex move down a day earlier and withdrew from in the afternoon that day, a few hundred meters away on their right flank the “Ladies” leaned into it with grit, moving up the ridge in small scattered groups with determination, in a WWII “text-book operation”. Tanks remained on the road until the battalions antitank guns were deployed, with an effective tank and artillery support they recovered some ground that had been lost earlier that day, and were able to halt the aggressive counterattacks by the two SS Panzer divisions and 272 infantry with Air Support. That late night the forward positions were stabilized, on the lower slopes of the north end of the Ridge between the train tracks and Beauvior Farms situated on their left flank were the F.M.R with 7th armoured division held ground on the 20th. “The Ladies from Hell!” Lead by Cantlie, who was never in the rear with the gear, a soldiers soldier front line Officer with hart and guts, always in the lead as his men fallowed from behind, participating in Recce patrols assessing and seize up the enemy for the next battle to come, always insuring the well being and safety of his men came First before Regimental Pride and Honour. Under the command of Lt.-Col. Cantlie a well seasoned respected Leader. You couldn’t deny the “Gameness”, the wiliness and the ability to conquer above all odds, that fitting spirit of “The Ladies” “that resembled the “Dead Game” of 13th Batt! The honoured Gallantry and heroics of the Regiment, undeniably ever be questioned or at stake!

By days end, and despite these setbacks, Lt. –Gen. Simonds arrogant and opinionated attitude, in spite of all the appeals from many High ranking Officers, he forcefully urged on “that Verrières Ridge should be taken no matter the cost”. Jerries 272nd Infantry Div., reduced by casualties in Operation Goodwood, and Atlantic held Verrières Ridge with four battalions estimated at 600 men each. Battle groups of 2nd and 9th SS Panzer Div. were known to be in support. East of the Caen-Falaise highway, 1st SS Panzer Div. held Tilly-la-Campagne. 10th SS Panzer Div. was in reserve and 116th Panzer Div. on its way to the battlefront from north of the Seine.“Jerry” by midnight still held the ridge itself. The Operation declared a successes which in fact was a disasters shame of needles carnage, 2nd Division in Op Atlantic had resulted in casualties estimated lost 1,349 men, including 249 killed and 200 evacuated for battle exhaustion, with no ground gain.

For the 2nd Division the comparable figures were 1149 casualties, with 254 men losing their lives.

2nd Division casualties:
The South Saskatchewans with 215 casualties 62 dead.
The Essex Scottish with 244 casualties 37 dead.
The Camerons 81 casualties, 29 dead.
The Black Watch ?? casulties, 9 dead on the 21st. 8 dead on the 22nd. 6 dead on the 23rd.

During the whole four days the nine infantry battalions of the 3rd Division suffered a total of 386 casualties, of which 89 were fatal.

3rd Division Casualties:
The Queens Own Rifles 100 casualties 77 wounded 23 dead.
Le Régiment de la Chaudière 92 casualties 72 wounded 20 dead.

The total casualties for all Canadian units in the theatre of operations, for the four days' fighting, were 1965 in all categories; 441 men were killed or died of wounds.

It was an unimaginable defeat. Monty in total lost over 500 tanks and 5,537 Casualties.

From its ordeals and misfortunes of 2nd Division suffered, and they recovered quickly. After the war Gen. Charles Foulkes, claimed that “when we bumped into battle-experienced German troops we were no match for them.” Foulkes, however, never explained why some battalions were highly effective in their first battles. Evidence suggested that with the exception of a brief period on July 20, in the late afternoon when weather a well executed German counterattack devastated the South Saskatchewans and Essex Scottish, the battalions and armor regiments, battled with Gallantry and held their own in the face of a determined, powerful enemy

Spañiard over and Out,,,,,,..................

the Second Canadian Division had been given the task of taking Verriers and Bourguebus Ridge. The task was necessary as the 250-foot slope dominated the fields South of Caen, hiding tanks and guns that blasted the advancing Allied Armour. It was a vital obstacle on the way south to Falaise, alone Route National 158. On July 20, Brig. H.A. Young's 6th Brigade with the Essex Scottish added, moved south to the Orne riven for the assault on Verriers. By then, the man of the 7th Armoured had already tried and attack, failed and withdrew beyond the highway. They and two squadrons of Sherbrooke Fusiliers would back up the assault with artillery. For whatever reason, the infantry was to proceed forward alone.

Last edited by Spaniard : 12-31-2010 at 09:17 PM.
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