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  #91  
Old 24-10-20, 17:10
Alex van de Wetering Alex van de Wetering is offline
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Quote:
It cannot be AVALON, although the spare track links disposition does look similar.
Also; it has the Whyman lane marker system, which as far as I know was never fitted to "Avalon". The Westminster Dragoons War diary mentions the first fitment of the Whyman lane marker system on November 13, and on december 29 it reads "jig for fitting Whyman lane markers received and fitting begun".

However, it's still a very interesting picture....it appears on at least 3 websites, so I am not sure where it originates from; I am presuming the picture was taken in 1945, possibly even shortly after the war ended. It also shows that the fitment of the track armour and the storage bins on the hull sides are somewhat similar on Westminster Dragoon crabs.
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  #92  
Old 24-10-20, 23:06
Alex van de Wetering Alex van de Wetering is offline
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Some more IWM pictures.

BU 1213
source: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/i...ject/205206892
BU 1211
source: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/i...ject/205206891

Both pictures are taken on 17 October 1944 near Venray. Again, not Avalon, but I do think these are A Squadron Westminster Dragoons.
It also shows that the tanks weren't yet fitted with the track link armour, which is something I presume was done about half november.....and a very faint number on the side of the turret, of the crab missing part of the armour around the flail gear-case.
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BU 1213.jpg   Screenshot_2020-07-26 THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORTH-WEST EUROPE 1944-45(1).jpg   DuvHVO_V4AA4tMV.jpg   Uitsnede  BU 1211-2.jpg  
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  #93  
Old 24-10-20, 23:21
Alex van de Wetering Alex van de Wetering is offline
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B 12028

Here is another fascinating shot that appears in a number of books with different dates and locations.
According to the IWM the picture was taken on 22 november 1944 "east of Beringe". It has "West Dgns" on the back written in pencil.
I wonder if the picture shows A Squadron Crabs again, as the second crab in line has a similar (the same?) configuration of storage boxes on the left hull side that can be seen on the pictures taken in Tilburg.

The war Diary describes A Squadron active near Steeg, which is 10km North-North East of Beringe.

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/i...ject/205206478
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  #94  
Old 25-10-20, 22:57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex van de Wetering View Post
B 12028

Here is another fascinating shot that appears in a number of books with different dates and locations.
According to the IWM the picture was taken on 22 november 1944 "east of Beringe". It has "West Dgns" on the back written in pencil.
I wonder if the picture shows A Squadron Crabs again, as the second crab in line has a similar (the same?) configuration of storage boxes on the left hull side that can be seen on the pictures taken in Tilburg.

The war Diary describes A Squadron active near Steeg, which is 10km North-North East of Beringe.

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/i...ject/205206478
This storage configuration is typical of the whole of W Dgns, not just of 'A' Sqn. Although the naming system (if any) of W Dgns tanks is still a mystery to me, I would bend towards 'C' Sqn, because next photo (B12029) shows Crab 'CITY O' GLOUCESTER':


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  #95  
Old 25-10-20, 23:13
MicS MicS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex van de Wetering View Post
Some more IWM pictures.

BU 1213
source: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/i...ject/205206892
BU 1211
source: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/i...ject/205206891

Both pictures are taken on 17 October 1944 near Venray. Again, not Avalon, but I do think these are A Squadron Westminster Dragoons.
It also shows that the tanks weren't yet fitted with the track link armour, which is something I presume was done about half november.....and a very faint number on the side of the turret, of the crab missing part of the armour around the flail gear-case.
Yes, from the turret number (28, possibly 29) of the Crab in BU1211 this should be 'A' Sqn. Also, the Crab on BU1213 is probably T147892 of 'A' Sqn, listed as 'bogged' in the AFV Cas State dated 30 Nov 44 (see my post #54 above).

Michel
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  #96  
Old 29-10-20, 00:09
Alex van de Wetering Alex van de Wetering is offline
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Quote:
I would bend towards 'C' Sqn, because next photo (B12029) shows Crab 'CITY O' GLOUCESTER':
Good point Michel! I couldn't find a conclusive answer in the war diaries, but hadn't looked at the other pictures in the series.

I note the track armor on these tanks are placed top to bottom, rather than on it's side as seen on Avalon. I wonder if this is just a coincidence, or an actual way to tell the different squadrons apart.
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  #97  
Old 29-10-20, 00:50
Alex van de Wetering Alex van de Wetering is offline
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I am still trying to find a picture of Avalon during WW2, before being knocked out (or just after being knocked out). Sadly, the angle of most pictures and the presence of camouflage netting and stowage make it hard to see which is which.

Avalon is somewhat different from most Crabs in that it has a direct vision M4A4 hull, which means the covers for the periscopes are fitted to the hatches rather than fitted on the hull itself. This means that if the hatches are open in a picture, you could possibly determine if a tank is an early direct vision one.
The picture attached shows the difference between the periscope covers layouts. (This is a picture of the London victory parade in 1946 and shows Westminster Dragoons Crab mk2's) .

source:https://www.imcdb.org/v996741.html

The other picture attached is a picture that has always fascinated me. Sadly you can't see the hatches, but it does have the same gun mantlet, sight and .30 mount as Avalon..... and I think I can just make out the type of skid on the first bogie...... but it doesn't show an antenna on the right hand side of the hull.....even though you often see Shermans with just the aerial base without the actual antenna fitted.
The picture was taken on D-day, Queen beach (Sword) which is where some tanks of A-Squadron Westminster Dragoons landed. Does anyone know of any more pictures of the same tank....or film footage?
Michel, what are your thoughts on this picture.....Westminster Dragoons?

source:https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/i...ject/205201950
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i996741.jpg   Screenshot_2020-07-26 D-DAY - BRITISH FORCES DURING THE INVASION OF NORMANDY 6 JUNE 1944.jpg  
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  #98  
Old 29-10-20, 01:27
David Herbert David Herbert is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex van de Wetering View Post
Avalon is somewhat different from most Crabs in that it has a direct vision M4A4 hull, which means the covers for the periscopes are fitted to the hatches rather than fitted on the hull itself.
Alex is quite right here but he is referring to the special covers fitted only to Crab hull periscopes. His first photo shows them both rather well.

With ordinary gun tanks the hull hatches of direct vision port Shermans are exactly the same as later small hatch Shermans. The difference was that the direct vision ports were replaced by a mounting for another identical periscope to the hatch periscope. This second mounting could be adjusted for elevation but not turned sideways as the hatch mount could be. Both mountings had a hinged sheet metal rain cover which was sprung to the closed position. The hatch periscope mount could also have a guard made of about 8mm diameter steel rod fitted to prevent damage to the top of the periscope but this was a later feature and is often missing even on later tanks.

However, on very early Shermans it was possible to open the hull hatches so that they laid flat on the top of the hull if the periscope was not mounted. This was changed at ABOUT the time that direct vision ports were deleted and a stop was added that limited hatch opening to about 135 degrees so that the driver's head was protected a bit from the side and the hatch could be closed more easily in an emergency. Thus if the hatch can be seen to be lying flat on the hull roof, the tank is PROBABLY a direct vision port one. Many tanks were upgraded to prevent the hatch lying flat so it not lying flat proves nothing about direct vision ports.

David

Last edited by David Herbert; 29-10-20 at 01:49.
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  #99  
Old 29-10-20, 01:28
Alex van de Wetering Alex van de Wetering is offline
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A couple of observations.

On closer inspection of the picture of the children sitting on the Tank, shortly after the museum opened....it does show the extra aerial mount on the side of the turret, mentioned earlier in the thread. Today only the welds remain.
source:https://beeldbank.spaarnestadphoto.c...0&page=1&pos=9

Another picture shows one of the periscope covers laying on the front of the tank....sadly, those have disappeared a long time ago.

Alex
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  #100  
Old 29-10-20, 01:43
Alex van de Wetering Alex van de Wetering is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Herbert View Post
Sorry Alex but the hull hatches of direct vision port Shermans are exactly the same as later small hatch Shermans. The difference was that the direct vision ports were replaced by a mounting for another identical periscope to the hatch periscope. This second mounting could be adjusted for elevation but not turned sideways as the hatch mount could be. Both mountings had a hinged sheet metal rain cover which was sprung to the closed position. The hatch periscope mount could also have a guard made of about 8mm diameter steel rod fitted to prevent damage to the top of the periscope but this was a later feature and is often missing even on later tanks.

However, on very early Shermans it was possible to open the hull hatches so that they laid flat on the top of the hull if the periscope was not mounted. This was changed at ABOUT the time that direct vision ports were deleted and a stop was added that limited hatch opening to about 135 degrees so that the driver's head was protected a bit from the side and the hatch could be closed more easily in an emergency. Thus if the hatch can be seen to be lying flat on the hull roof, the tank is PROBABLY a direct vision port one. Many tanks were upgraded to prevent the hatch lying flat so it not lying flat proves nothing about direct vision ports.

David
David,

I am talking about the periscope covers specific on Crabs. If you see a head on picture of a crab with the hatches open and the covers attached to the hatches, you know it's a direct vision hull.
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  #101  
Old 29-10-20, 01:55
David Herbert David Herbert is online now
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Sorry Alex, I realized my mistake before reading this and corrected my post. Thanks for the drawings though !

David
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  #102  
Old 29-10-20, 14:21
Alex van de Wetering Alex van de Wetering is offline
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David,

No worries; my choice of words might not have been the best.....as what I called periscope covers are actually called "forward station keeping visors" in the manual!
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  #103  
Old 29-10-20, 16:43
Chris Suslowicz Chris Suslowicz is offline
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I don't see the third aerial base?

The usual complement (Commonwealth) would be a WS19 with a 'through the turret roof' aerial feed, and Aerial Base No.8 or 10 for the 'A' set (fitted with and 8-ft whip aerial), plus Aerial Base No.9 (on a pillar mounting) for the inter-tank 'B' set. A third aerial base (if fitted) would be another No.8 or 10 for a WS38 to communicate with supporting infantry.

Best regards,
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  #104  
Old 29-10-20, 17:00
Maurice Donckers Maurice Donckers is offline
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Chris , can you explain then why there are 3 aerial bases mounted on Avalon , and other command tanks , plus a B set one ?
I know that an additional 38set was fitted in the turret , but where was the aerial mount on the co drivers side used for ?
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  #105  
Old 29-10-20, 21:33
Chris Suslowicz Chris Suslowicz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maurice Donckers View Post
Chris , can you explain then why there are 3 aerial bases mounted on Avalon , and other command tanks , plus a B set one ?
I know that an additional 38set was fitted in the turret , but where was the aerial mount on the co drivers side used for ?
Command tanks could have 2 x WS19 + 1 x WS38 and would be rather cramped inside. I think the usual arrangement was:

Standard WS19 in turret bustle, provides A1 set for inter-unit comms, B set for inter-troop comms, and tank intercom. Second WS19 provides A2 set for rear link comms. (Control Units No.12 and No.2 are used instead of No.1 and No.2, with a repurposed WS 38 Mk.2 for communication with supporting infantry. There was a later WS38 AFV that used Control Units 17 and 16 instead of 12 and 2, and I think there was also a No.33 that allowed 2 x WS19 + WS38AFV (or the later WS88 and WS31 AFV variants) for command or artillery OP tanks.

The 'Rear Link' set could be a WS19HP, but I don't think that tanks had enough internal space.

Louis Meulstee has an entire chapter on the WS19 control boxes and their use in Wireless for the Warrior Volume 2.

The Royal Signals Pocket Book section "Wireless Diagrams" shows the standard communications setup for various units up to Corps or Division size, together with the number and type of sets used and how they were allocated.

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  #106  
Old 30-10-20, 15:35
Alex van de Wetering Alex van de Wetering is offline
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Quote:
I don't see the third aerial base?
Chris, check the last picture in post #99, you can see the bracket just barely hanging on, just left of the track armour.

Attached is a picture of the Aerial base in the right hand side hull front on Avalon, as mentioned by Maurice.
Also attached are two pictures of the aerial bracket and conduit as described in the scan Colin posted.....One picture shows the Sherman V in Oosterbeek and the other the Sherman V in Balgerhoeke, Belgium, which is an ex-crab.

Alex

picture source for the Oosterbeek picture:http://www.primeportal.net/tanks/jan...dex.php?Page=2
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  #107  
Old 30-10-20, 21:03
Chris Suslowicz Chris Suslowicz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex van de Wetering View Post
Chris, check the last picture in post #99, you can see the bracket just barely hanging on, just left of the track armour.

Attached is a picture of the Aerial base in the right hand side hull front on Avalon, as mentioned by Maurice.
Also attached are two pictures of the aerial bracket and conduit as described in the scan Colin posted.....One picture shows the Sherman V in Oosterbeek and the other the Sherman V in Balgerhoeke, Belgium, which is an ex-crab.

Alex
OK, the Avalon picture shows what I think is a US or Canadian "Aerial Base No.8 Mounting No.1", which is a steel + rubber composite that is fixed to the hull by the variometer feeder and a few spacer and centering components. The aerial base fits on top of this, retained by the six hex bolts which screw into the steel insert.

The other two pictures show the later-added aerial mounts (or remains of them) for the Wireless Set No.38 Mk.II for communication with supporting infantry. The conduit is to protect the aerial feeder to this base and is obviously joined to the mounting for the Aerial Base No.9 used by the 'B' set.

(There's enough room down the 'B' set mounting for the extra feeder which was simply a length of P11 cable with a plug on one end for the set and a ring terminal on the other for the aerial base or its connector plate.)

I suspect they just cut a hole in the 'B' set mount and welded the conduit into it.

Best regards,
Chris.
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  #108  
Old Today, 00:20
Alex van de Wetering Alex van de Wetering is offline
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Today was the 76th anniversary of the battle of Broekhuizen and the day that Avalon was lost due to a mine explosion. I was in Broekhuizen today; no ceremonies, but to me it always feels special to be at a historic site on the original date....only 76 years later.

The weather was OK.....cold, damp, but definately not as muddy as it was in 1944.

I took some pictures from the starting point of the attack on the Broekhuizen castle, which started at 10 o' clock, november 30th 1944.
The first picture with the path in the centre shows the approximate angle of attack.....The location of the castle is roughly on right hand side of the wooded area on the horizon.
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The 2nd picture is taken from the same position, but looking to the right, this was the starting point of the tanks. Machine guns were set up on the other side of the path (in the first picture) in the treeline. The view from the machine gun positions can bee seen in the 4th picture. I wasn't able to spot any remains of foxholes or trenches.
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The 4th picture is approximately where Avalon was put out of action; the mine field was a rounded shape around the castle and the village of Broekhuizen....it crossed the street and the path and field in the picture.
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The 5th picture shows the wooded area close to the castle
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  #109  
Old Today, 00:38
Alex van de Wetering Alex van de Wetering is offline
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The Broekhuizen castle was defended by about 18 Fallschirmjäger.....they had an excellent view over the fields and were protected by the thick walls of the castle. The castle was heavily shot at by tanks, until the last remaining Germans surrendered. The castle is only a ruin today. It seems it also had a moat at the time and a small bridge, with the concrete bases still remaining.
I am not sure if the red crumbling brick in the pictures is actual battle damage, or just erosion, but it is the side pointing towards the British forces.

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  #110  
Old Today, 00:46
Alex van de Wetering Alex van de Wetering is offline
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The first picture shows the old lawn (?) of the castle and the ruins can just be seen through the trees......This is the direction of one of the previous attempts to take the castle on November 28th.
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The second picture is taken 180 degrees from the first and shows the old access road to the castle.
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The third picture shows another old road....at the time, this road ran along the castle and into town. An attempt was by 2 flails to take this road, but they got bogged done quickly.....these tanks were later recovered.
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The fourth picture shows the view of the German position towards the British attack.
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The 5th picture is taken at another access road into Broekhuizen....along the Maas river. This is approximately the location where Sam Halls flail was hit by a Panzerfaust.
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  #111  
Old Today, 00:56
Alex van de Wetering Alex van de Wetering is offline
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After visiting Broekhuizen, I also had to visit "Avalon" in the Overloon museum again.
I took some measurements of the remaining welds on the left and right hand side of the hull. The welds on the RH match up with that of the (ex-wading) box on the LH, so I am now sure Avalon had one of these boxes on each side. The other weld remains on the LH more towards the rear match up exactly with the brackets for the Sherman V rear hull storage box....So, the box that can be seen on early museum pictures....either laying on the front of the hull, or in front of the tank, is most likely to have come from the left hand side of the hull. Avalon had two of these boxes, as a very crused example can also be spotted on the rear of the hull in early museum pictures.
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Also....a more close-up pictures of some of the hits in Avalon. The larger holes seem to have the same diameter all the way through.....no taper.
A ring of small hits can be seen around some of the larger holes.
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Last but not least....I also visited Groesbeek war cemetery (You can see I was alreasy loosing daylight!), to visit the grave of Lieutenant Cooper. As mentioned by Michel, Cooper was killed by a shoe-mine while attempting to recover the Flail tanks on December 1st.......76 years ago, tomorrow.
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  #112  
Old Today, 11:18
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Hanno Spoelstra Hanno Spoelstra is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex van de Wetering View Post
Last but not least....I also visited Groesbeek war cemetery (You can see I was alreasy loosing daylight!), to visit the grave of Lieutenant Cooper. As mentioned by Michel, Cooper was killed by a shoe-mine while attempting to recover the Flail tanks on December 1st.......76 years ago, tomorrow.
Great photos Alex, and thank you for visiting Lt Cooper's grave on the eve of the day he was killed 76 years ago
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