The 6th Guards Tank Brigade, which included the 4th Coldstream Guards, landed in France on the 20th of July 1944, and rolled immediately into action. Three weeks later the Brigade was no longer green, they had ripened, and they certainly smelled it! After three weeks the Germans had started the great retreat across France. For the 6th Guards it was time to rest and refit.. and to wash. During this two weeks of resting they even had a visit from George Formby as part of an ENSA show.
The "refit" part of rest and refit however was where the interesting stuff happened. The brigade intelligence officer collected a number of fitters and disappeared. They moved to an area of the Falaise Gap, in between Chambois and Trun. The group was split up into smaller groups and given an area to work where they catalogued all the enemy equipment in the area. A significant portion of it had just been abandoned, not destroyed. The aim was to create a Panther platoon for the brigade. One Panther was found, and the intelligence officer even drove it, heading back to the brigade. He got as far as Flers, but for some undisclosed reason the project was dropped. However the brigade did end up with two wireless command cars, a welding plant and several German telephones and typewriters.
Then a pair of Churchill's were knocked out by a Panther tank. On the other flank there were mines and these were covered by anti-tank guns which started knocking out tanks. However during a fierce afternoon of fighting one flank managed to push into the outskirts of the town, and a gap was cleared in the mines in front of Overloon allowing the HQ tanks to move into the town and link up with the battalion commander and the infantry he was with.
|Look at the rear most tank|
At 0900 the festivities got under way with the entirety of two squadrons firing for the first two hours. Then the Royal Artillery took over until a break for lunch. During lunch several visitors showed up, including a group of Typhoon pilots who came to see the action.
The afternoon was kicked off again with the artillery. This time a 5.5" gun was used in direct contact with quite some impressive effects. The Germans then got into to the swing of things by firing some high velocity HE shells over the head of the observing VIP's.
Then a flight Of Typhoons attack with bombs and cannon, however the second pilot mistimed his drop and landed his bombs closer to the visitors than the castle. The Typhoon pilots after enjoying this pleasant day out were rather sceptical of how hard life in the field was. So the Germans, once again obligingly landed a very heavy mortar barrage on the VIP's. It took some time to persuade them to climb out of the muddy holes they'd found after the barrage was over.
|The final picture of Cuckoo|
odkrywca.pl, www.strijdbewijs.nl, www.warrelics.eu and www.ww2incolor.com.