|Title||REPORT ON THE USE OF FLAME THROWERS IN THE OPENING STAGES OF THE CAMPAIGN IN NORMANDY (D to D + 55)|
|Description||Use of flame throwers in opening stages of campaign in Normandy|
On the 9th July ’A' Sqdn. moved to Bronay for Operation 'Jupiter' They were to support the Somerset Light Infantry along with the 7th R.T.R.- objectives Esquay and Maltot. They put in their attack against a strong-point. now well known as Point 112. Covered by the gun fire 0f 7th R.T.R. the Crocodiles 'flamed' the hedgerows and dugouts and the position was captured. Some very badly frightened prisoners of was were taken and our own Infantry were greatly impressed by the performance of the Crocodiles. It was here first demonstrated that the effect of flame on an enemy well dug in is very largely one of shock and there is a tremendous advantage in the Infantry following up right under the flame barrage. Our own infantry in this case suffered very light casualties, and the Crocodiles lost two wounded only. A most successful show.
Meanwhile No. 8 Troop had a minor disaster in helping the East Yorks into Chateau la Landell where the Germans were concealed behind my walls and thick hedgerows. The Troop was put in unsupported without adequate information or reconnaissance and achieved nothing but the loss of its Commander and all his crew.
On the 12th July 'B' Sqdb. came under the command of the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade in support of the 9th Canadian Brigade with the object of attacking Carpiquet and its aerodrome. The Sqdn. was divided into three parts - one supporting the North Shore Regt; another the Regt. de Chaudieu and the remainder the Royal Winnipeg Rifles. The Sqdn. was intended to be in reserve but the troops were soon called forward into action. No. 6 Troop ‘flamed’ two underground defences with success and with no casualties to themselves. No. 9 Troop 'flamed' a pill box using H.E. , Besa and flame and silencing an 88 mm, as well as capturing the pill box No. 7 Troop had a fierce fight in attacking trenches and dugouts in a quarry north of the aerodrome runway. An enemy tank engaged the leader of the Troop and an amour-piercing shell pierced the link setting the trailer on fire A most determined enemy attack on the Crocodiles ensued A large number of Germans sprang out of the trenches and attempted to climb on the tanks and trailers in the quarry. The assistance of the neighbouring Crocodile troops was called for over the air, and they quickly came to the rescue and with Besa fire accounted for about 25 Germans - an object lesson in the necessity for the close co-operation of Infantry with Crocodiles. Touch had been lost with the Canadian Infantry here, so the position was never really cleared of Germans and remained a nuisance for some time after the fall of Carpiquet village.
On the 6th July 'B' Sqdn. was ordered to report to 5rd British Div. to support an attack on Caen, 6 Troop in support of 7th Canadian Brigade, the 8th Troop in support of 176 Brigade , No. 9 in support of 197 Brigade, and No. 10 Troop in Divisional reserve. The Squadron was thus split up over 4 Brigades on three Divisional fronts, (3rd British, 59th Div. and the 3rd Canadian) .
very strong enemy position running west of la Bijude and South of Canned had inflicted heavy casualties on the S. Staffs and held up the attack, and it was decided to put in an attack with the 1st R. Norfolks, supported by the 13/18th Hussars, and No. 3 Troop of Crocodiles. In the first phase No. 8 Troop crossed the start line, supported by the fire of the 13/18th Hussars. Almost immediately one tank was hit by a German Bazooka and immediately afterwards penetrated by a 75 mm. through the flame gun ball mounting. The tank "brewed up" and was lost The second Crocodile had ignition trouble and shortly afterwards had his gear box compartment penetrated and the steering dislocated; this tank, nevertheless. continued to give fire support to the one remaining Crocodile which continued firing until its pressure failed. At this moment, No. 9 Troop, which had been called to assist arrived on the scene and without any adequate knowledge of the ground or the plan went straight into action. The Troop Commander led his Troop most gallantly straight onto the objective 'flaming' the enemy position and firing H.E. and Basa. This time the Infantry went on and right through, and the position was captured.
Meanwhile 'C' Sqdn. had moved to Cristot under the command of 49th Div. and carried out a series of small, but important mopping up operations against German infiltrations in the Rauray area and many nests of snipers were 'flamed' out.
On the 6th July the Sqdn moved to the area of La Senaudiere under the command of 50th Division and in support of 56th Brigade. Here they spent two days and on four occasions ware called upon to attack and 'flame' machine gun
(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)