Talk:Battle of Villers-Bocage/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

early discussions

I added some context so folks can see why this battle was important - not just the 'Wittman legend' stuff but the actual effect on the campaign. Also deleted some of the Wittman details (awards and so forth) since they are not gemane to the battle and there is a separate Wittman page anyway. DMorpheus 16:03, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

actualy, records show at most 6-16 brith tanks were knocked out. and the german lost all but one tiger tank. plus it could not be realy attributed to montogomerys failure in normandy. on 6th june 10 us sherman tanks were knocked out by 2 tigers, and the shermans got no kills. the tigers ran out of ammo. plus you nead to remember the uk at this point was facing about 4 fiths of the german armoured forces. and one of the 2 armoured divisions facing the americans was considered not fit for frontline duty, and was equiped with no heavy tanks and alot of outdated tanks i.e panzer 3's/. plus if operation cobra was actualy planned by monty its a bit of a harsh comment. it is likely had the campaign been left in the hand s of patton it would have failed. - rich tea man.

I would like to make a couple of points on the main page. There are a few points worth noting. TWO tanks were in the initial attack on the column. Wittman turned LEFT from the connecting road (From Les Hauts Vents)between the old road and the new one. The second tank turned RIGHT and fired the first 88mm shot, towards point 213. Although not noted anywhere, Wittman would have done this as any armour/troops to the LEFT of his point of entry were an unknown quantity having been shielded by hedges etc ! He also knew his back was covered, and, the armour to the right all had their guns trained AWAY from him.(Facing East, towards point 213)

(These points were given to me by a RB man who was on a carrier. He was close to Wittman's entry point on the main road).

Wittman's tank was NOT left in the town, but near the water tower by the RECCE HONEY tanks. (Well EAST of the Dyas tank! Which was on the extreme East fringe of the town). There is a photograph of it being towed away from that position which I believe to be correct. This shows the left track intact! I would surmise that it was the right hand track which was damaged as the 6pounder was on that side of the road. His demise could also be better explained. He was not engaged in battle but was caught out in a field by well hidden troops, who let him come out into the open past the point of no return. The British troops who destroyed his, and the two tanks with him, did not know who was in the tanks at the time. Wittman's body was only identified through dental records after being found by chance during road widening in the late 60s ?

Wittman and two of his crew were reburied in a War Cemetery plot, being placed in the ground as they were in the tank. With Wittman on top !

Montgomery was well aware of the fine balance of the invasion and there is some evidence to show 50 Div. 30 Corps. were placed to cover retreating troops. Who could have then boarded ships from beaches under the protection of 50 Div. It is also worth noting that the losses incurred on the 13th caused the 4th CLY to be merged with the 3rd CLY to become 3/4 CLY about a month later. My notes come from the half-track position destroyed in the first moments of the attack just after the RECCE Honey tanks. Carpiquet. 86.135.202.26 21:07, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

DMorpheus version

I feel the version by DMorpheus is unencylopaedic - grammar is poor, the use of dates and military terminology is inconsistent with other military history pages, and the tone is conversational rather than encylopaedic. Have attempted to clean this up; any errors of fact can be changed but please don't revert the entire page without considering why the changes were made.Michael Dorosh 06:13, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

  • DMorpheus version: consisted of a reinforced tank company, a mechanized Infantry rifle company and supporting vehicles
  • Revised version: British tank units were divided into squadrons, and the infantry component of armoured divisions in 1944 were referred to as Motor battalions, which were divided into companies. Mechanized Infantry was not a common term in the Second World War.
Concrete examples:
  • DMorpheus version: the British 17-pounder, 6-pounder, and 75mm guns were all capable of killing Wittman's tank:
  • Revised version:the British 17-pounder, 6-pounder, and 75mm guns were all capable of defeating the armour on Wittman's tank.

"killing" is colloquial and imprecise; any gun could "kill" a tank if a hit is achieved in the right spot such as an unarmoured vision port or shot trap. The real point is armor penetration capabilities.

  • DMorpheus version: but the appallingly poor small-unit tactics employed by the 7th Armored Division.
  • Revised version: but poorly executed tactics and battle procedure on the part of the 7th Armoured Division.

The correct spelling of Armoured is with a "u" when discussing British units (it is a proper noun, "armor" would be acceptable in other spots but not in proper names. As well, "battle procedure" is the correct military term for the British shortcomings, in addition to tactics. They failed to do a proper appreciation of the situation, did not recce adequately, and came up short - this is part of battle procedure, not tactics. Also, "appallingly" is a judgement call, probably not accurate in this case, and not what one would expect in an encyclopedia. I don't think any examples of "appalling small-unit tactics" are given in the article, in fact, few examples of small-unit tactics seem to be given at all - the problems were with battle procedure and the plan of action, not tactics - though the tactical move of the Shermans does seem to have been problematic. :)

These are just three; look forward to a discussion of other points.Michael Dorosh 06:23, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

I agree with many of the grammar edits; thanks for making them. I reverted because there were so many factual inaccuracies in it. I haven't got time at the moment for all of them, but let's start with the fact that there was no British I Corps in Normandy. Caen was a D-Day objective. The whole significance of the battle was the fact that Villers-Bocage is a road hub leading (among other places) northeast to Caen *behind* what was then the German front. This whole emphasis on Wittman is just missing the whole point of the battle. While I agree the British terms may be more rpesicse they are very confusing for peopkle who don't already know them. It's worth debating, I suppose, but I chose to use terms anyone could understand. More later DMorpheus 01:52, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
I British Corps was the assault formation that landed on D-Day - it included the 3rd Division and 50th Division among others - you may have seen it referred to as 1st British Corps, but the proper nomenclature is with a Roman Numeral - ie a capital "i" or I. Sorry for the confusion, but that is the proper way of writing a corps number - it is the same in US and German military writing.Michael Dorosh 02:39, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
Correct ( I erred in saying there was no I Corps) however the I Corps was not involved in Villers-Bocage. It was the XXX (30th) Corps throughout. I know how to write Corps numbers, thank you. I have observed in many books that roman numbers are consistently used for US and German Corps, and arabic for British Corps.
I also think that if the British military terms are used then they either need to be explained with their equivalents or at least referenced. Most armies use battalions, companies, and platoons. I used the most commonly-understood terms.
Finally I think the Dempsey quote should be in there. DMorpheus 14:44, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
Ah, I was not sure what your objection to I Corps was - I thought it was nomenclature - by all means change the formation names - I see you've changed it to 2nd British Army. I'm certainly no expert on this engagement and tried not to change the meaning of anything written, my edits were mostly reorganization - if I've changed meaning, they should obviously be changed back. Some awkwardly written phrases were smoothed out, I may have smoothed the proper meaning out of them!Michael Dorosh 17:14, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
Re: The 7th Armoured Div's tactics: I think "appalling" is a pretty good description. I gave at least three examples. Others are probably available. The first was the failure to establish local security in Villers-Bocage town. Second was the failure to send out any recon towards point 213. Third was the halt of a tank company on a road, bumper-to-bumper, in the face of terrain that has not be reconnoitered, and then sitting there while the infantry passed by in their halftracks. This goes beyond "poorly executed" and strays into some other term -"incompetent" would work just as well. I'm not chained to the word, but somehting needs to be said about this. I understand that wiki is not the place for opinions. However, I also think it is important to explain the very poor dispositions of the British unit and the series of errors they made in order for the reader to understand what happened. Otherwise this becomes the "Legend of Michael Wittman" all over again. That's why Dempsey's quote is so important to the article. The fact that both the Division and Corps commanders were relieved shortly thereafter also speaks volumes.
I'd argue the first is not poor tactics, but poor procedure. You make a good case for the second two. a) Failure to establish security - seems to be poor procedure. The wikipedia definition of tactics is vague and seems to include procedure; I've always thought tactics were those things you did to close with and destroy the enemy. I may be too specific with my own understanding. b) failure to send reconnaissance towards point 213 - I'd agree this was a tactical error. c) halting the tanks to let the infantry pass through - I'm not sure this is an error - do we know why the armour stopped on the road? From the description here they were probably bunched up way too much and we can see later the exposed positions all were in, however, it wasn't unheard of for infantry to go in first - in fact, leading with the tanks would have been unusual then, no?Michael Dorosh 17:14, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
I would be glad to see British spellings used with British units and US spellings used with US units. How I wish it were so throughout wiki. Intstead it seems to be tied to whoever wrote the article. I would be happy to see such a consensus. I'd also be glad to work with you to re-do a correct article. DMorpheus 14:58, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
I think if the goal is to educate people, then using the terminology of the force in question is correct, and it has been discussed at the Military History task force talk page. It is done for other armies, ie the Germans, Poles, etc. I agree with you that a quick definition after each possibly unfamiliar term is in order, I see you've done that with the Motor battalion reference - good work.Michael Dorosh 17:14, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
"Tactics" , when I learned it in the US Army, is simply a term that encompasses the procedures used to fight battles at the unit level. It does not include individual tasks such as, say, loading or aiming a weapon, nor does it include operational or strategic actions such as, say, planning the Normandy invasion. It does include all the issues noted in this article. The "procedures" for how a tank company fights, for example, are tactics. I think most editors, and most folks who've served in the military, would agree that things like local security, patrolling, reconnaissance, movement-to-contact, etc. are all tactics. So "tactics" and "procedures" are the same thing at this level.
Whether "the infantry go in first" is not the issue with the approach to point 213. The advance could have been led by a scout element, by Infantry, or by tanks depending on what the local commander thought best. I can imagine scenarios where you'd lead with tanks - for example, if the scout element reported the hill unoccupied or very weakly held, a valid tactic would have been to send a tank platoon (sorry, "troop" ;) charging up the hill in hopes of quickly taking it. But if the scouts tell you the hill is strongly held, that tactic would be suicidal. The tactical error was to send the tanks out of town, advance part way up the hill on a sunken road, and then stop on the road without deploying while the infantry passed by. That was the point in time when the Germans (correctly) chose to attack. It was obvious to them that the British had no idea anyone was there, because they failed to do their recon.
Point 213 overlooks Villers-Bocage. There are several things the British could have done differently. I admit hindsight is 20/20, but there are standard things most units will do in a situation like this that were not done and which led directly to the debacle. A scout element should have gone immediately to point 213 to determine if it was occupied, even before they consolidated in the town. Local security in the town should have been established. If Point 213 was to be taken, the force taking it should have approached in some kind of tactical formation. Had they taken any *one* of these normal actions, they probably would have lost a few tanks as they approached Point 213 but nothing like what they actually lost.
Just as a comical aside, I see that someone changed a US spelling to a British spelling on another article that was about neither US nor British armor. I agree with your point on this, by the way, its just funny sometimes to see people do battle on this issue. DMorpheus 15:08, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
Recent edits look good, well done. I suppose the think to remember is it doesn't matter what you or I think of their tactics, but what superiors at the time, and historians in general, thought of them.:) Michael Dorosh 16:24, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

Propaganda

The old paragraph stated that the 6 pounder and 75mm guns could kill Wittmann's Tiger. While this is true, it was only possible while firing the best sorts of ammunition (APDS) or at ideal ranges and angles. I found this worth noting, and slightly changed that section. (209.7.38.8 12:45, 6 June 2006 (UTC))

Thanks... at the extreme close range this engagement was fought, any of those weapons could have penetrated the sides or rear of the Tiger. Six-pounders knocked out Tigers in Africa long before they had APDS. Didn't all Cromwells mount a 75mm? The article currently states that the Cromwells could have had 6-pounders. DMorpheus 15:05, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Yes, the armament for the Cromwell Mk. I through Mk. III was the 6 pounder. However, many if not most featured QF 75mm guns, 6 pounders bored out to fire 75mm shells. The idea was that all tanks in British service, aside from Fireflies and exluding some scout cars, would use the same (Sherman) ammo. The same thing happened to the Churchill series of tank. It is worth mentioning that the QF 6 pounder was a better ant-armor piece, and that mounting the 75 on the Cromwell and Churchill actually made them less effective against tanks (but more against unarmored targets and buildings).
http://wwiivehicles.com/unitedkingdom/cruiser/mk_viii_a27m_cromwell.html
Given the very geographical nature of north Africa, close in engagements between tanks was a rather rare occurance. The only tanks that mounted the 6 pounder were the Valentine Mks. VII-X, Crusader Mk. III, Churchill III/IV, and the Crusader Mks. I-III. Of those four, only the first three saw service in North Africa. The first was too slow to outflank the Tiger, and it's once great armor was no match for even the KwK 40 mounted on the tank killing Panzer IVs. The Churchills, though they could stand up to 75mm fire, could be stopped by the KwK 36 of a Tiger before they got into firing positions. The Cromwell was fast, but terribly underarmored, even the 60 caliber 50mm guns on tanks like the Panzer III Ausf. J special could penetrate it quite easily. All tanks mounted with the 6 pounder suffered from deficiency in optics, none were even beyond 4x magnification, the Tiger had no such obsticle to surmount. As such, the majority of instances in which a 6 pounder (mounted on a tank) killed a Tiger could be likely attributed to foolishness on the Tiger's part, or even luck. The only time when a Tiger could be reliably killed by 6 pounder fire was after the introduction of APDS, and only then if the sabot properly disconnected with the KE bolt.
There, now I'm registered too. (USMA2010 16:14, 6 June 2006 (UTC))

Whilst it's undeniable that the Cromwell was inadequately armoured in the face of the 75mm L70 and 88mm guns, the armour base was quite reasonable for the time. It was cetainly proof aginst 50mm guns and could resist the 75mm L43/48 at reasonable ranges. The problem was, of course, that the poor performance of the QF 75mm against armour forced them to close with the enemy if they wanted any chance of striking back. The Cromwell was certainly better protected than the Sherman from all aspects, and had a lower silhouette too. Cheers, Getztashida 10:39, 22 September 2006 (UTC)


What was "unusual" about it?

Surely you don't want to argue that it was 'usual' for a single tank to stop a Division? Put another way: Was it usual or common for a Division's main effort to be stopped by a counterattack of this small scale? DMorpheus 02:14, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

There were 13 Tiger tanks in total that mauled the British Brigade, destroying 48 vehicals. As apposed to one tank taking on a Division.Motorfix 02:50, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
I couldn't prove that it wasn't - strange things happen in war; all battles are unusual, aren't they? Even if we can agree the battle was unusual, I think it needs to be more explicitly explained, if not in the intro, then in the conclusion of the article. As it is, the "unusual" monicker is left to dangle and the uninitiated reader is left wondering why...no? As for the latter question - yes, I think entire advances were commonly held up by small scale resistance. A single sniper, for example, can stop a battalion cold in the right circumstances - I have no examples near to hand. But wouldn't be wiser to let the reader come to the "unusual" conclusion on his own? I am thinking it would be. Your thoughts?Michael Dorosh 02:51, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Why take credit away from the man?

I think this part is heavily biased: "It may be concluded that the real reason for Wittmann's success was not so much technical superiority or individual skill, but poorly executed tactics and battle procedure on the part of the 7th Armoured Division." 'It may be concluded'... by whom? This is the typical "I don't like the Nazis so I must blame all their success on outside circumstances"-attitude that's in many of these pages. Wittmann was a skilled tank commander and had scored 88 tank victories before this particular instance. Of course there's more to this extraordinary victory than just his skill, but it sure as hell played a very imposrtant part in it.

I find it funny that the paragraph is titled "The propaganda of Villers Bocage"... because the paragraph itself is exactly that: propaganda.

Feel free to edit it. But the facts are that the British chain of command was mostly sacked after the battle, even though in some instances it took a few weeks. The Army commander, Dempsey, was appalled at the performance of his own units. The British made many mistakes (summarized and debated above in this talk page) that invited agressive enemy action. After the initial attack on the road leading out of V-B, the Germans then chose to give battle inside the town istelf. This gave away the Tiger's range advantages.
This has nothing to do with "liking" Nazis or not, although I'm happy to acknowledge I don't ;). There has been a kind of 'worship' of Wittman, who was after all, a skilled but human commander in a much better-armed and better-protected tank, given a terrific opportunity by his foes. This Wittmanphilia tends to overshadow the real significance of the battle, which was a lost opposrtunity for the Allies to break the German front over a large area very early in the Normandy campaign. Remember at the time of the 7th AD attack there was almost nothing stopping the 7th AD from unhinging much of the German front southwest of Caen. Had they held V-B, wheeled northeast and kept moving, the german front between Caumont and Caen would probably have broken. The fact that it didn't is the real story - not how many tanks Wittman's tiger destroyed. I don't think this is 'propoaganda - it is putting things in perspective. DMorpheus 14:49, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Description of the battle

In the box in the top right the casualties listed do not agree with the narrative description of the battle. According to the section on the battle itself it appears that one Tiger was disabled and a score of British armour was disabled / destroyed, but according to the box the engagement was larger, with eleven axis and thirty allied vehicles disabled / destroyed. I suspect it's because the battle reads from Wittman's point of view and we can't tell what else happened. I don't actually know the specifics but I'm sure someone does so it'd be nice to see this fixed up. 121.45.153.167 22:44, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Is anyone going to act on this? 121.45.58.138 10:34, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
Why don't you? That's how wikipedia works. DMorpheus 15:44, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

Casualties and strength

We have the British armoured casulties down pretty well and am pretty sure the figures for the men are correct although i did worry after typing them in if they covered the fighting in the brigade box the following day - although since there was no figures for the other battalions involved i think it was mindless worrying.

What i do think we need to strengthen is the German losses.

Battle Zone Normandy states 6 Tiger tanks knocked out in the afternoon fighting and Wittmanns in the morning for a total of 7. In The Struggle For Europe, Chester Wilmot quotes Fitz Bayerlin stating the loss of 6 MK IV. So it would appear thats that part sorted.

But then we have no information present which states if the 2nd Panzer Division lost any tanks. Did they?

Other then that, we need some sort of figure in regards to how many men the Germans lost on the 13th during the morning and afternoon fighting around the town.

On top of that, i believe we need to get a definate figure or at least a good guess at the total number of tanks and men involved on both sides throughout the day so the strength section is even more accurate. --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 13:23, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Although I have used Hubet Meyer for information regarding how many men the 101st lost killer and captured I would rather have another source to back him up, does anyone know of any other sources which state the losses for the formation in terms of men on that day?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 11:17, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

"Uncommitted Brigades"

It appears that author who has been used as the source for this information is wrong.

7th Armoured Division on the day and in line with British regulations was made up of two brigades.

Before i go further into what 7th was made up, the closest brigade sized formation would be based around Tilly-sur-sulles and be part of or attached to the 50th (Northumbrian) infantry division and thus completly unable to take part in the action since the Panzer Lehr was sitting between the two of them (one should note that the plan for the 50th was to smash its way south to Villers-Bocage, the 7th was only there due to an open flank).

Back to the 7th, the division was made up of the 22nd Armoured Brigade and the 131st Queens Infantry Brigade. Both of whom were basically mixed together.

1/7 Queens and some other units from the 131st with elements of the 22nd Armoured Brigade held Villers-Bocage during the afternoon. One of the other battalions of the 131st along with the sole remaining uncommitted 22nd Armoured Brigade regt was keeping the road open in the division rear.

The only possible reinforcement would then be the other remaining battalion of the 131st and to be honest I don’t know what they were doing at the time (either the 1/5 or the 1/6 Queens Regt).

Hence the author is wrong. In regards to the author stating American arty support was provided, the only account of American arty support being given to the 7th Armour I have seen was during the 14th during the defence of “the Island”, the brigade boxed formed in the Tracy-Bocage area after they pulled out of the town.

To be honest, how could the Corps commander or even the Army commander effect the battle? It took the division over a day to make its way there so reinforcements would not be able to just up shoes and get there in a moments notice, not to mention they were essentially behind enemy lines.

I believe the author has overly simplified matters and in some cases got it completely wrong so I don’t think we should include this part of D'Este text. --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 16:43, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Since the content is referenced to a published work, if you disagree with it, provide additional published, cited content that contradicts it, and we'll note the disagreement between historians as best we can.
IMO it is important to recognize that the battle of V-B is not synonymous with Wittman's actions, it's a much more complex situation than that. I'd also like to revisit the order of events, since the previous version of the article had the US 1st ID's opening of the Caumont gap as the key initiating event, but now we're showing that as incidental to an ongoing operation (Perch). Without reviewing the references on this point it isn't clear to me yet.
Corps and other commanders get paid to influence battles. ;) Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 17:11, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
As Simmonds, the II Canadian Corps commander said, people have the wrong idea what a general does, once the planning is made there is little he can do to influcence the battle until reports are filtered back to them.

With the time line the action took place in, it wouldnt make sence for Monty to be attempting to influcnce events nor Dempsey. The Corps commander and the Division commander yes but again what could they do in the situation - 7th Armour basically behind enemy lines with no reinforcements.

The 7th Armoured Division order of battle is widly available. How the British organised there armoured divisions is also widly available. It was a 2 brigade organisation and with the other information available and also in the article we know it was committed alone. Although after the 15th when the net is back up at home ill be able to provide more referance :)

In regards of orders of events, of course the big red one taking Coumont was a major point in the events and led to the left hook, we must also note that there was ongoing operations which allowed this event to be taken advantage of.

I also agree that the battle is not soley about Wittmann thats why i feel we need to expand the afternoon section and get as accurate as possible figures for the casulties and strength section. --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 09:32, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Context

Russell Weigley in "Eisenhower's Lieutenants, pp. 109, has the US 1st ID opening up the Caumont gap on June 10-11. On P 110 he describes the gap as 12 km in width.
D'Este, "Decision In Normandy, p. 176, has the 7th Armoured Div striking through this gap on June 12. Their personnel (CPT Pat Dyas) are quoted as "driving unmolested" to V-B and meeting "little resistance".
Weigley further has US V Corps artillery providing supporting fire to Brit 7th Arm'd on June 13th when they were under attck by elements of 2nd Pz Div. D'Este concurs, p. 188, saying the German attack was "...crushed, largely as a result of timely artillery fire from US artillery units supporting the 1st Infantry Division around Caumont." Finally, he says Bucknall reinforced 50th Div rather than 7th Armoured Div...so reinforcements were available. Weigley, p. 112
D'Este states Wittman's unit was "surprised by the astonishing degree of unconcern displayed by the British". p. 180. Crews were dismounted, no local security was in place, no recon had been done of nearby features.
D'Este, p. 187-8, states that reinforcements for 7th AD could have come from 50th (151st Infantry Bde, which were in Corps reserve) Div or the just-landed 49th Div.
D'Este faults Bucknall for lacking agressiveness and Dempsey and Montgomery for failing to firmly direct the battle, p. 192. MG Armitage called 7th AD's "local tactics....poor". Erskine himself said "I will not try to excuse what was undoubtedly poor local tactics...", p. 193. D'Este again, "...the Battle of Villers-Bocage, one of the most decisive moments in the battle of Normandy, literally cried out for a firm and forceful leader." He calls the official British history a "marvel of obfuscation"
Dempsey, postwar, "This attack by 7th AD should have succeeded. My feeling that Bucknall and Erskine would have to go started with that failure. ...the whole handling of that battle was a disgrace." quoted in D'Este, p. 196. —Preceding unsigned comment added by DMorpheus (talkcontribs) 23:34, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Will get back to you soon about this, cant bring books into work lol :(--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 09:42, 11 January 2008 (UTC)


“Russell Weigley in "Eisenhower's Lieutenants, pp. 109, has the US 1st ID opening up the Caumont gap on June 10-11. On P 110 he describes the gap as 12 km in width.”

Correct, however Battle Zone Normandy: Villers Bocage and the OH state quite clearly that Operation Perch was already underway and that it was combat operations undertaken by XXX Corps after landing to capture Bayuex, strike south towards Tilly, head south to capture Villers-Bocage, then head southeast to capture Evercy and then head towards the Orne to envelop Caen. The US opened the gap, Dempsey ordered it to be exploited but Operations had already been underway but where bogged down at Tilly - this was Perch

“D'Este, "Decision In Normandy, p. 176, has the 7th Armoured Div striking through this gap on June 12. Their personnel (CPT Pat Dyas) are quoted as "driving unmolested" to V-B and meeting "little resistance". “

He is basically correct, will provide page reference number when I get home later, the 7th Armour was commited around Tilly where ordered to brake contact and head for the gap to outflank the Panzer Lehr.

“Weigley further has US V Corps artillery providing supporting fire to Brit 7th Arm'd on June 13th when they were under attck by elements of 2nd Pz Div. D'Este concurs, p. 188, saying the German attack was "...crushed, largely as a result of timely artillery fire from US artillery units supporting the 1st Infantry Division around Caumont." “

From the OH, Battlezone Normandy and some book on the rats wrote via personal accounts they make no note of American arty support on the 13th. All accounts ive read make note of it being used on the 14th. Am pretty sure Weigley has the dates confused.

“Finally, he says Bucknall reinforced 50th Div rather than 7th Armoured Div...so reinforcements were available. Weigley, p. 112 “

The 7th were ordered to brake contact on 11/12 (ill get date later and edit it in here), arrived somewhere near Caumont late on the 12th and completed there march on the 13th to Villers-Bocage but where still strung out across the road. 50th Division with attached armour brigade were committed around Tilly, the 49th were in the process of landing so what was in reserve – a brigade of the 50th … how would they be able to catch up with the 7th Armour in less then a day if it took the 7th longer then that to get to Villers-Bocage?

“D'Este states Wittman's unit was "surprised by the astonishing degree of unconcern displayed by the British". p. 180. Crews were dismounted, no local security was in place, no recon had been done of nearby features. “

Will address this point later when am home.

“D'Este, p. 187-8, states that reinforcements for 7th AD could have come from 50th (151st Infantry Bde, which were in Corps reserve) Div or the just-landed 49th Div. “

Not to sound harsh, but we have to be logical here, 49th was in the process of landing and Villers-Bocage is many miles inland, how could they reinforce the 7th in less then a day? How could the 50th Division brigade in reserve help the 7th in less then a day?

To be extremely fair, how could the 7th be reinforced other then by other units from within the division, which were strung out along the road to Villers-Bocage and some of which had other missions?

“D'Este faults Bucknall for lacking agressiveness and Dempsey and Montgomery for failing to firmly direct the battle, p. 192. MG Armitage called 7th AD's "local tactics....poor". Erskine himself said "I will not try to excuse what was undoubtedly poor local tactics...", p. 193.”

The battle is not within the scope of Army or Army Group command, if Dempsey or Monty had attempted to take personal control of the battle they would have been hounded like mad etc It wasn’t even a division sized battle, the Brigadier i/c and the Divisional commander are really the only ones who should be directing it and Corps informed of whats going on so they can make tactical decisions outside the scope of Erskine.

Tactics wise will comment and quote sources later when am home.

“D'Este again, "...the Battle of Villers-Bocage, one of the most decisive moments in the battle of Normandy, literally cried out for a firm and forceful leader." He calls the official British history a "marvel of obfuscation" “

The OH for the campaign does not obscure or misrepresent any information, it along with most post war books focuses primarily on the ambush gives casualties which are pretty accurate and then glosses over the rest. However this is inline with the way the Official Histories have been wrote, the campaign involved so many men, divisions etc that they cannot go into massive detail on battles and the only time they do so is when there is only a few units within the theatre for example the OH for the early African campaigns have quite some detail due to the few units taking part.

However i agree it should be noted that this was a lost opporunity.

“Dempsey, postwar, "This attack by 7th AD should have succeeded. My feeling that Bucknall and Erskine would have to go started with that failure. ...the whole handling of that battle was a disgrace." quoted in D'Este, p. 196. “

Here Dempsey shows it was not his reasonability to direct the battle. Now what he says about how the battle was handled is a fair enough comment since Bucknall ordered the 7th out of there the next day and one of those two ordered them to advance without recon however – will also provide reference to this latter on – that the men on the ground gave it there best and in doing so over two days inflicted nearly 1000 casualties on the Germans along with a bunch of tanks. This should also be noted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by EnigmaMcmxc (talkcontribs) 11:50, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Please don't substitute your OR for published sources. If you have a published source that disagrees with the ones I've cited, great, we will put both sources' views in the article and note the disagreement. DMorpheus (talk) 13:16, 16 January 2008 (UTC)


Its not original research, everything stated above is via published sources bar my opinion on Monty and Dempsey not being to blame for the outcome of the battle (although Dempsey basically agrees with me there, shown in that last quote from him).

Later on today I will adjust the background section to quote the OH and the book BattleZone Normandy as on what Operation Perch was, tie it in with what is already here regarding the US infantry capturing Caumont etc so its more accurate so its not suggesting Perch was the outflanking move.

I think we should iron disagreements here in the discussion in regards to what authors have said rather then adding them into the article. I will post some of the quotes etc here later today, the books are at home and am not.

Some of the stuff in the sources include a possible second Tiger shooting up the Rifle Brigade carriers (personally I think that should have a passing note made to it in the article) and bailed out tankers being machine gunned at via German troops who had entered the town – ill post the quote and book ref later but unless you have something to back that up personally I wouldn’t add it in.

Anyhoo till later. --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:58, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

"I think we should iron disagreements here in the discussion in regards to what authors have said rather then adding them into the article." Agreed, that's a legitimate way to deal with this. But what you've in fact just done is simply put back most of what you wrote days ago, omitting important context again and omitting cited material again. DMorpheus (talk) 20:11, 16 January 2008 (UTC)


What important context would this be? That it was a road hub, that the target was Caen, that the Right Hook was Operation Perch?

These are the things i have removed and corrected, i have published sources i.e. the Official History of the campaign and Villers-Bocage wrote by the guys at Sandhusrt which state what exactly Perch was and what exactly the Right Hook intentions where.

Further more i have corrected that it was Dempsey not Monty who issued the orders, since we have the man himself stating he told the Divisional commander what to do.

As for omitting cited material, nothing prior to my edits iirc have had any footnotes within the article. I have also used the information you have supplied in one area as well.

Operation Perch was underway, the American Corp on there flank captured Caumont and Dempsey ordered the 7th to outflank the Panzer Lehr to attempt to force them to withdraw.

Thats the basic jist of the background information ... so what i have omitted? --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 21:37, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Propaganda section

This section states that Wittmann due to German propaganda was given credit of 27 of the 30 destroyed tanks. Am slightly confused, from British sources I’ve seen the losses being 27 max, do we know were the other 3 came from? --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 11:55, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Operation Perch

After reading through the Official History of the campaign and Battle Zone Normandy Villers Bocage (wrote by the dude from Sandhurst) it is clear that Operation Perch was not the "right hook" to outflank the Panzer Lehr but was the fighting XXX Corp was undertaking.

Ill type up the exact workding or a shortend down version next week when the net is back up at home but what i had typed into the article was essentially correct.

Now i understand we need to referance what we type into Wiki articles i can do this at a slightly later date but i dont think we should keep up the myth that Perch was just the Right Hook by the 7th Armour to take Villers-Bocage. --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 09:45, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Intro Section

Needs updating, Wittmann did not:

"charged his vehicle into the lead British column, splitting it, and then engaged the British forces at very short range before passing along and across the British line into the village."

British forces was already split up, A Squadron halted up on the hill, RHQ and the recon troop etc on the outskirts of town and the rest of the formation on the other side of town. —Preceding unsigned comment added by EnigmaMcmxc (talkcontribs) 11:14, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Normandy Strategy

US Commander on the ground, Omar Bradley has this to say in A Soldiers Story, Pg 241

"...the British and Canadian armies were to decoy the enemy reserves and draw them to their front on the extreme edge of the allied beachhead. Thus while Monty taunted the enemy at Caen, we were to make our break on the long roundabout road to Paris. When reckoned in terms of national pride, this decoy mission became a sacrificial one, for while we trampled around the outside flank, the British were to sit in place and pin down the Germans. Yet strategically it fitted into a logical division of labours, for it was towards Caen that the enemy reserves would race one the alarm was sounded"


Stephen Ashley Hart: Colossal Cracks:

"His theater strategy for Normandy envisaged a series of holding attacks on the British sector designed to draw the bulk of the Germans forces to that front, thus permitting the Americans to advance West. His appraoch also strove to keep the initiative, thus forcing the Germans meerly to react to Allied moves"


Bluecoat was speeded up and launched to support the American brakeout which when it happened faced little opposition tank wise since most of them were sitting facing the Anglo-Canadian Front. D'Este is wrong.

--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:53, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

It is not our place here to say that a source is "wrong" unless you can prove some factual statement is incorrect. It is more helpful and productive to show that they disagree and explore why.
In this case you have several respected sources questioning the entire 'Normandy story'. This article may not be the place to have that debate, but D'Este and Weigley are two obvious places to start, and the contested issues ought not to be stated in this article as settled fact.
"The Caen fight was a failure. Monty thought up excuses later...We would be at Caen yet but for the American advance on the right. The truth will probably never be told. ...so we will have a legend." Air Vice Marshal Sir Philip Wigglesworth, 1947.
"Nearly forty years later the debate over Normandy continues..." "In the period after D-Day reverse followed upon reverse as the Second Army either failed to take advantage of priceless opportunities like Villers-Bocage or was forced to engage in debilitating battles such as EPSOM and CHARNWOOD. The keys to achieving the goals of the master plan were retention of the initiative and flexibility, and it was at Caen that Montgomery lost both." D'Este
Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 04:11, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

While I don’t think this article is the right place to discuss strategy it is the only place to do so until an article for Perch itself is started. However I think we can safely say if an author is wrong or not. If in a book the author stated 50 000 tanks were destroyed during this battle we would omit it as it is clearly wrong.

Here is another case of this, Monty stated what is strategy was before the invasion, Bradley agreed that this was the strategy in use and stated so in his own book (reference to this posted in article), books such as Colossal Cracks which discuss the strategy and the overall plan used by Monty also backs this position up (again reference to this in the article). Many post war authors also tend to agree that this was the strategy to be used (The Battle of Normandy 1944: 1944 the Final Verdict - Robin Neillands, Clash of Arms: How the Allies Won in Normandy - R Hart). The fact an American general, who was subordinate to Monty during this time states this was the ground plan is the critical thing for me here.

appears to be half and half go with either this was his strategy or not. The fact we have a subordinate of Montys, and an American at that supports this was the ground plan should cement it as fact.

D'Este states Monty lost the initiative, flexibility and were forced to commit to debilitating attacks, that doesn’t match up with what happened. If the initiative had been lost the Germans would not be the ones reacting to all attacks, if flexibility had been lost, divisions, brigades etc would not have been able to be shifted around and attacks launched were ever the commanders decided. Debilitating wise, even though casualties were heavy, they were expected to be so, but inflicted series losses upon the German forces which they could not replace.

What I find odd is that D’Este also agrees that this was the strategy in use: it was nevertheless a strategic failure at Caen and the consequences of this were far too grave for it to be dismissed as merely a 'local setback.' To achieve the protective shield Montgomery considered so vital, the capture of Caen and the surrounding key terrain was not merely desirable, as has been suggested by Montgomery himself, it was vital.

For other examples, orders for Operations Goodwood and Totalise do not make any mention of brake out. --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 12:04, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

I think it is far to say that the Normandy campaign in general and V-B in particular remain controversial today and we might as well acknowledge that. I don't think it's productive to edit war or to try to create an article that states something as accepted fact when it is obvious the historians disagree. It is germane that you raise GOODWOOD, another controversial battle. Montgomery's messages to SHAEF do not match his operations orders to his units, which he changed just prior to the battle. This raises the possibility that he was deliberately miscommunicating. There's no way to prove it one way or the other; it is enough to say the possibility exists and leave it at that.
For V-B, the usal error made is to describe it at the tactical level only, leaving aside the operational significance of the battle. Thus the accounts of Wittman's tank-killing are quite well known, (even if in flawed form) even though they are merely small-unit tactical achievements. I am glad we've gotten the article past that stage.
However, another error we could make is to assume equality between PERCH and the battle of V-B. They are not the same, although I will agree that a focus on PERCH is better than the "Michael Wittman story". By analogy, a common error is to equate the Kursk-Orel campaign with the German Operation CITADEL; they are not synonymous, and assuming they are leads to serious errors in analysis (and wikipedia edit wars ;).
The sources for this article do not agree on the significance of the battle nor on the basic allied strategy for the Normandy campaign; at least one (D'Este) has questioned the veracity of another (the Offical British history). The best approach is to include both interpretations and acknowledge the controversy. It is not our place as editors to simply say "This source is right and this one here is wrong". That's original research.
I've put in a weasel-word placeholder till we sort this out, or, alternatively, we can spin off a separate article on the topic and reference it. I thik that would be odd but it beats constant revision of this article.
Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 14:22, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
The simple fact is that the battle was a result to force the Panzer Lehr division out of Tilly so the 50th division could carry the advance south as part of Operation Perch after the big red one opened up a hole in the German line.

Discussing theatre strategy, weather you want to believe the Official History, modern historians, Sandhurst and Omar Bradley or people like D’Este and other historians has no place here. Is mentioning there is controversy surrounding the strategy of the entire Normandy campaign in this article add to it, the answer is no hence my I removed what you had typed in as well as what I had typed.

When we return to why the 7th Armour Division was ordered to swing around the flank of the Panzer Lehr to capture Villers-Bocage it was to attempt to force the Panzer Lehr out of the Tilly area. We have established that fact from several sources in other sections so we know it was not a direct attempt to capture Caen by the 7th Armour Division … the significance lays in they didn’t force the Panzer Lehr to retreat, that they stayed in position for a further week before they withdrew etc etc what we have now at the end of the intro section is a cop out!--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:48, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Controversy

I have suggested on several occasions that the V-B engangement and indeed much of the ground strategy of the Normandy campaign are controversial. By that I mean simply that the historians disagree about what the basic strategy was; some of the participants share in this disagreement; some of the authors take shots at each others' work. Thus the notion of adding a sentence stating the fact that a controvery exists is appropriate. An even better approach is to actually describe the controversy and the views of the various authors and participants. But - since this is indeed a controversial subject, no consensus is possible on what that description ought to be! That's the second piece of evidence that this is a controversial topic.

The removal of any reference to the controversy merely pushes the POV that no controversy exists.

As I posted elswhere "Nearly forty years later [writing in the 1980s-DM] the debate over Normandy continues unabated...the Montgomery master plan is as much of an enigma now as it was in 1944." p. 476 "As Dempsey's papers consistenty reveal, the object of the Second Army was to keep the initiative so as to prevent the British front from congealing around Caen; but congeal it did, forcing Montgomery into a head-on and costly confrontation in order for the Second Army to gain more favorable terrain and the space for 21st Army Group to maneuver. ." p. 478 "The Normandy controversies were brought into sharp focus during the post-war years when many of the principals published their versions and when the first of the official histories appeared. The great disparity between these accounts, no matter how well intentioned, served only to thoroughly blur and exacerbate these unresolved questions....The most controversial account to appear about Normandy was not written by Montgomery, but by the British government...Ellis [author of the British offical history-DM] had done his fellow historians...a disservice by sweeping controversy and unpleasantness under the rug..." "Decision In Normandy, Carlo D'Este, ISBN 0-7607-5512-4 When we write these Normandy articles while ignoring this debate, we are not only doing a poor job of encyclopedia-writing, we are perpetuating the disservice of "sweeping controversy...under a rug".

I will restore the sentence, which is well-supported by sources and, obviously, by the edit-warring that has taken over this article. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 16:42, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

But none of that has anything to do with the Battle of Villers-Bocage! That’s why I have removed it. What the Normandy strategy was and weather controversy surrounds it has no place here in an article about a tactical battle which was part of larger operation - where strategy would be more appropriate to discuss but even then I doubt it would be appropriate in the article about the Operation.

I find it funny when you state were doing a poor job at encyclopaedia-writing if we omit this from the article or if do include it we plaster D’Este and his opinion all over it which is what you have done. If you are going to literally name and quote him the article, why not quote and name the Official History, Omar Bradley, Monty, Wilmot, Ike (who actually states the Anlgo-Canadians did a good job at holding the flank) or people like Ashley-Hart who book was published in more recent times.

The "Edit-War" which is taking place is because you don’t like the fact I have massively updated the article. Before I started adding to this article it was full of inaccuracies, myths, had little information regarding casualties, no footnotes what so ever, did no include many of the Commanders but spoke of company commanders instead, blew Wittmann and his role out of all proportions, basically neglected the fact that fighting went on all through the day, had a tiny list of books which covered the subject etc etc etc

You have fought me at every point during these updates, especially when I have tried to show the British were not as incompetent as you or your source would like to make out.

Omitting or not attempting to fix these problems was doing a “poor job at encyclopaedia-writing”.


Your sentence, stating that a controversy surrounds this battle is incorrect, it surrounds the Normandy strategy, which has no place being here. Your sentence stating we do not know the significance of the battle is incorrect, we know exactly why the 7th Armoured Division was sent to that town and what the intention of the entire operation and battle was. --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 17:27, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, the sources disagree. Please be mindful to discuss edits, not editors. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 17:50, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Again your doing what you did the other day, compeltly avoiding the question at hand.

If you want to put a discussion into the article on the Normandy strategy am asking you why dont you also include nameing and fully quoting these other sources which contridct D'Este.

Am asking you what is the point of having such a section in an article about a single battle when it is not an article on Normandy strategy.

Am asking you why you have fought tooth and nail agaisnt improvements being made agaisnt this article and your answer is just that? Am sorry thats a cop out! —Preceding unsigned comment added by EnigmaMcmxc (talkcontribs) 18:17, 1 February 2008 (UTC)


New tags

So what historical events are now disbuted within the article and what exactly is confusing, would you care to add some form of discussion to why you have added them? --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:52, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm truly sorry to say the article has become a mess. There is no strategic context. Disputed issues are presented as uncontested fact. The article relies heavily on a source that has been trashed by at least one other source. The grammar is appalling, and that is one of the sources of confusion. I started to fix it but it is more than I care to take on; new errors are coming in faster than I can fix them. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 03:44, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

“I'm truly sorry to say the article has become a mess.”

No its became a hell of allot better then it was before hand, it at least now covers the battle in more detail, has more information on casualties, correct background information and shows that the battle did not revolve around Michael Wittmann like it basically did two months back.

“There is no strategic context.”

Operation Perch is covered, showing what the Strategic background was. However if you are referring to weather or not the battle was a tactical or strategic victory support the position then!

“Disputed issues are presented as uncontested fact.”

We have covered this, what the Normandy strategy was does into belong here hence why I removed referenced to it in the opening sentence.

“The article relies heavily on a source that has been trashed by at least one other source”

The Official History by any chance? The source which D’Este trashes for glossing over the battle, if you have ever read it or any other of the official histories you will see that it covers the battle in the same amount of detail as other battles. It provides the background information including why the 7th Armour Division was ordered to take Villers-Bocage in the first place. Should I note this was not mentioned in the article before many edits?

If you have a problem with Fortys book, then please mention what these problems are.

“The grammar is appalling, and that is one of the sources of confusion. I started to fix it but it is more than I care to take on; new errors are coming in faster than I can fix them.”

If you are going to make personal attacks and remove any mention of why you are putting up such an attitude towards me then you should be able to take some criticism yourself.

So am sorry that I miss out the apostrophe on the end of some words and get the wrong “there” but you admit yourself that you have trouble with even the simplest words.

If you want to talk about errors, I have removed large amounts of errors from this article without complaint so why don’t you back off on this point? If you delete this I will add it back in because I have had enough of this attitude of yours – personal attacks through the edit history and having you fight very improvement made to this article and you wanting me to essentially put very admit I make through you. --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 08:50, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Yves Buffetaut source

In "Normandie 1944: Le Choc des Blindes" ISBN 2-908182-10-6, page 46, the result of the battle is described as follows: "Tactiquement, le succes allemand est donc plutot mitige, mais strategiquement, Wittman a remporte une victoire eclatante en mettant en echec une brilliante manoeuvre de Montgomery. Sans son intervention, il est probable que la Panzer-Lehr-Division, se trouvant envelloppe, aurait du se retirer vers l'est, ouvrant de ce fait une breche telle que Caen aurait ete abandonnee des le 14 ou le 15 juin...". This is not consistent with the mere "tactical victory" with which the article credits the Germans. Indeed the tactical level is trivial; what counts is the strategic setback the Allies suffered. The lost opportunity to take Caen early in the campaign is what this battle is about. Multiple sources make this point clear. DMorpheus (talk) 04:05, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

== 2nd Panzer Division ==

Some sources make mention of the 2nd Panzer Division playing a small role in the fighting during the late afternoon while others imply they only took part in the fighting the next day during the Brigade Box action.

Does anyone have other sources regarding this issue of if they where there or not? --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:44, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

I have a few other sources now which state the 2nd Panzer were involved so will write this into the article were appropriate at a latter date.

Although the more sources the better, we are still missing strength and casualty information for them--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 16:16, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

And how is this a "disaster area"?

DMorpheus since you consider the article now to be a complete disaster, which in my opinion is just point of view pushing by you as you have already shown to be somewhat bias about this article, would you care to follow up your opinion with some reasoning instead of just slapping tags over the article (at least when i did so, it was for good reason)?

As I have stated before and can be noted through the edit summaries (id like to thank the others who have helped with the structuring of this article and improved the grammar etc) which have been made:

  • The article is now more historically accurate i.e. large sums of historical errors removed
  • The article is now more grammatically correct
  • Massive amounts of unneeded links have been removed
  • Accurate casualty figures have been placed into the article
  • Everything, which has been stated to have happened, as a footnote to back it up
  • The reference section has been increased considerably
  • Photos and other illustrations added to support the article, i.e. a map of where the battle took place instead of a photo of a destroyed Cromwell
  • Quotes have been added to support the article, some maybe big but imo they add allot to the article by being here
  • Article expanded considerably to cover the battle in more detail instead of writing the entire battle off to a 15 minute ambush in the morning and two paragraphs covering the rest of the day. Article also covers the lead up the battle, planning etc (Still some things to add in)
  • Article now covers both sides of the battle (still a work in progress, a few things to iron out) then simply focusing on the German side
  • Article uses more then one main source were possible and does not relay heavily on bias material
  • Sections of the article now read more like an encyclopaedia rather then a narrative

The article now attempts to balance out both views from the battle instead of being a pro-German article

  • Article now shows that the British were not as incompent as some sources or people would like to state, it is also a dishonour to the people (German and British alike) who fought there to write off half the battle.

I could simply just refer you back to the list of faults I listed for you on your talk page which you deleted as you will not admit there was flaws in the original.

So how is this now a disaster area, please explain?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 16:14, 15 February 2008 (UTC)


I am not sure what I can say that hasn't been said already.
  • The historical context is missing. It used to be there but user EnigmaMcmxc has repeatedly deleted it.
  • There is no way to describe the historical context, the outcome of the battle or indeed the scope of what to include without reference to the larger issue of the Normandy strategy. Various authors disgaree about this. We can reference that, or we can suppress it as is now the case.
  • The grammar is so appalling it is difficult in many places to understand what is meant.
  • There is no attempt to show important disagreements among different sources as to the operation's intentions, the course of the battle, the casualties, etc. It is much more intellectually honest to openly describe where sources disagree than it is to simply declare that one source is wrong and another isn't.
  • The organization of the article could be improved.
  • Some edits betray an ignorance of military operations.
In no way do I claim the article has some past "perfect" version that is without flaws. Every article on wikipedia can be improved. This one, however, has gone over the cliff in the last two months. There is no point in trying improve it at this time because it will simply lead to wasteful edit wars. I am at a loss as to how to improve this article except by tagging it to encourage others to participate, and working on an alternative version. When that's ready I will propose it as a replacement.
regards, DMorpheus (talk) 18:08, 15 February 2008 (UTC)


“The historical context is missing. It used to be there but user EnigmaMcmxc has repeatedly deleted it. “

What “historical context” would this be. Again like when you just reverted my edits without any just reason this is the cop out line you would throw. Would you care to describe what it is exactly which I removed?

Why don’t you address that you set reverting edits which entered a correct version of events, i.e. Operation Perch, Tilly-sur-Suellles, the entire reason why the Right Hook was launched and why Villers-Bocage was important i.e. to force the Panzer Lehr to withdraw and to enable to the British divisions to carry the advance to encircle Caen.

“There is no way to describe … the outcome of the battle or indeed the scope of what to include without reference to the larger issue of the Normandy strategy.”

So your saying you cant describe that the British wanted to capture Caen, that they failed to do so, that this battle was an important part of Operation Perch which was attempting to do so without going into an in-depth analysis and comparison of weather or not D’Este is correct or weather or not, Monty, Bradley, Ike, Sandhusrt and countless other authors since the war till now are correct?

“Various authors disgaree about this. We can reference that, or we can suppress it as is now the case.”

As already discussed, discussing what the Normandy strategy was – Dempsey or Bradley to brake out – what does that have to do with this battle? The battle wasnt even a brakeout attempt, neither was the operation, its goal was to capture caen.

“The grammar is so appalling it is difficult in many places to understand what is meant.”

Really now, why don’t you give some examples. Considering the grammar is being improved on a constant basis, what is it you are finding so hard to understand?

“There is no attempt to show important disagreements among different sources as to the operation's intentions, the course of the battle, the casualties, etc. It is much more intellectually honest to openly describe where sources disagree than it is to simply declare that one source is wrong and another isn't.”

Have you actually read the current version of the article? One which has within the main text in several places stating that some sources state something to the contory? Or footnotes which reference this? If you have new information on the casualties why don’t you post them here or edit them into the article. So far ive used several sources to get to the casualty figures we currently have, its not like I can do any more, however if figures are clearly wrong even if they are in a book am not going to blindly follow them and write them in.

For an example, when editing the casualties for the Second El Alamien article, one sources states that over 1000 axis guns were lost – should I post that because a source states so? Or should I use my own judgment and note that other sources state lower numbers of guns destroyed and one source states quite clearly there was never that many there?

Do you think i should really go into a detailed rant to show that Forty states an extra man was a causalty in comparison to the 4CLY war dairy which shows one less? Would you even care to suggest where the casualties are wrong or in disbute?

“The organization of the article could be improved.”

Care to make a suggestion then?

“Some edits betray an ignorance of military operations.”

Care to provide an example?

“In no way do I claim the article has some past "perfect" version that is without flaws.”

Funny how you claim the past version is the “Valid Version” on your userpage...

“This one, however, has gone over the cliff in the last two months. There is no point in trying improve it at this time because it will simply lead to wasteful edit wars.”

Why because its been improved an expanded upon, because it isn’t so bias no more, because the mounds of errors have been removed… Should it be noted as well that most of these wasteful edits was because you refused to allow any improvements be made to this article?

How about you provide some indeapth examples, i did for the "valid version" on your userpage but you deleted it ...

“I am at a loss as to how to improve this article except by tagging it to encourage others to participate, and working on an alternative version.”

Tagging it, lets discuss these then: Neutrality: I agree it should be there for a short while until the article is no more anti British and provides view points from all angels. “All or part of this article may be confusing or unclear.” Article is being improved upon all the time, grammar is being improved upon all the time and unneeded text and links are being removed, this tag appears to have no use here … apart from yourself stating the grammar is atrocious and you don’t understand anything … although you haven’t actually provided any examples of this. “factual accuracy”: The entire article is factually correct, more could be added however but that doesn’t warrant this tag. Unless of course you don’t believe and have evidence to prove to the contory that, Operation Perch happened, orders were given to capture the town to force the Panzer Lehr to withdraw, the events which happened on both sides up to the fighting in the town, that Wittmann attacked, the events which happened on the hill, the afternoon fighting etc etc “This article needs additional citations for verification.” Well it use too … when there was absolutely nothing in this, however now there are multiple sources and footnotes for practically everything so why is this needed?

“This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject.” This is the only one I agree should be there, so that the article can be even more improved upon. --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:02, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, you've confirmed the accuracy of my comments on this page. Cheers. DMorpheus (talk) 20:26, 15 February 2008 (UTC)


Once again you just dismiss everything and address nothing, once again reverting edits to add back in what are now redundent tags and is essentially vandilism. Is there any point in even attempting to work with you, every attempt i have made you just ignore. Above i have asked you to provide some examples to support your critasims and you provde nothing other then a cope out sentance in which you state i have confirmed what you have said....--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:50, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

I've tried engaging you in a discussion of this but yes, you are correct, I've failed utterly. It's sort of like the Monty Python 'argument' skit. I pose an issue and you say "no it's not". This isn't discussion, it's simple contradiction. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 21:01, 15 February 2008 (UTC)


If you are unable to answer the most basic questions, as in ... back up what you are saying with an example (i.e you saying the grammar is rubbish, give an example of where. You saying extremely critical information is missing, give some sort of example) then yes your right there is no point in continuing in discussing anything--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 21:09, 15 February 2008 (UTC)


website of possible interest

Hi have you seen this one it covers the earl days of june 44 http://www.dickinsons-of-whitfield.org/NBL_Hussars.html js1 19:26, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

British unit names

Is it 'Queens' or 'Queen's' Royal Regiment? I am seeing it both ways in various references (and in the article). Likewise is it 131 Infantry Brigade or 131 (Queen's) Brigade? Anyone have an authoritative reference? DMorpheus (talk) 18:58, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

The full title of the regiment is the Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey), shortend to the Queen's Royal Regiment or the battalion number and the word Queens i.e. 1/5 Queen's. You will see most sources refer to it as the latter two. Likewise the brigade is the 131st Infantry Brigade, however while the 3 battalions of the Queen's Regiment were what comprised it, sources call it the 131st (Queen's) Infantry Brigade.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 19:07, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Just doublechecking - you've got it both ways in your response. Which is correct? Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 19:35, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

As far as i currently understand and i have not seen anything to condradict this, the terms are essentially interchangable for the regiment. Somewhat confusing the OH refers to them as the Queens Regiment, which to add to the confusion was iirc another regiment entirley formed after the war when the Queens Royal Rgt merged with some other one :S

Likewise from what i have seen, the term 131st Brigade or 131st (Queen's) Brigade are used interchangeably for the period the Brigade was made up of battalions from that regiment.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 19:42, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Problematic paragraph

"The four tanks of the command group parked in the town and the crews dismounted. The men and vehicles of the battle group did not form an all-around defence as doctrine demanded; local security was poor and no proper reconnaissance of Point 213 was done. [56]"

I have noted this several times in the edit summaries however you appear to be ignoring them so here it is.

The end of the section is summing up the locations of the formations at 0900 and then you decide to throw this piece of information on at the end, making the end of the section not flow correctly into the next section. I have repeatly stated that the reconnaissance portion has already been mentioned further up within the Opening Moves section, why not move it there and write it in and the same with the men dismounting from there vechiles etc

On top of that, is there evidence from British training pamphlets to support this claim by D'Este that for a temporaty stop the men should dig in and form all round defence?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 19:15, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Please refrain from personal attacks.
Tactics for armor/mech units in this sort of situation are pretty standard and have been since before V-B. Standard steps include reconnaissance to at least the next terrain feature. Indeed a large recon element from Corps was attached to 22 Bde group as you've noted. If they were ordered *not* to perform recon (which is not noted in the war diary of the 11th Hussars but....) that would simply be another error made that day. I have nowhere written "digging in". All-round defense is standard in a halt also. For mounted units that can be as simple as locating your vehicles in firing positions covering all likely avenues of approach. Note Wittman's comments that he couldn't believe the relaxed, unalert state of the British units; the fact that no warning was provided to the main element of the attack; the Division and Army commanders' own admission of their units' poor tactics. All of this us quoted elsewhere in the article and in the sources. I.e., it is all very, very well supported. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 19:34, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Am not making personal attacks am noting i have attempted to bring this to your attention however you have up to now not followed up.

The general fault with your line of thought in your reply there is, the Hussars were not tasked with recon into Villers-Bocage they were out on the flanks. The 4CLY, whom you have stated conducted no recon have evidence to support they were ordered not to do so and get the objective ASAP as noted within the article.

What am saying is, plonking this on the end of the seciton is rather probamatic for the flow of the article and should be moved further up and wrote in with what is already there.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 19:48, 18 March 2008 (UTC)


I have removed the paragraph from the end of the section and wrote it into the article, as well as using the citation to support other paragraphs instead of going over the same thing again.

However am still unsure on this claim that the Rifle Brigade did not follow doctrine and form all round defence. First off, the first Sabre Squadron of the Yeomanry had taken up hull down positions on the ridge so there front was covered. Behind them were the headquarters and recce sections along with the other Sabre Squadrons of the Yeomanry so there rear was covered. Flanking them was tall hedges and they moved off to the side of the road to allow passage of the 4CLY when they were going to carry on the advance presumably after the officer’s conference.

With flanks, front and rear presumably secure and ordered to the side of the road is it not harsh to criticise their actions? I guess the second question would be, where were they suppose to take such action?

With a bit of look there official history will cover this which i should be getting my hands on very soon--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 10:54, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

The Division commander said himself that he would not attempt to defend their poor tactics. The Army commander called the conduct of the battle "appalling". Wittman wrote that the British were unready. It doesn't really matter what I think, those three are enough. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 14:32, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

That doesn’t answer the question however.

To counter it, considering Wittmann thinks the British were unready for battle: the tanks on the hill took up hull down positions and had engaged a German staff car. The regiments commander was sent up there to ensure the squadron was in as best a position as possible and an officers meeting was being undertaken to plan the next steps. On top of that within 15 minutes his attack was repulsed, as the men on the ground were on the ball. You may have a quote from Dempsey saying the battle was handled appalling but the facts are, the town was held all day and serious losses were inflicted upon the German forces. --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:43, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

On the contrary, I have answered the question in the only way that matters. The published sources are pretty consistent in saying that the 7th Armoured Division handled this whole encourter very badly. Whether you or I agree doesn't matter; that's OR. When a brigade has the incredible opportunity the British had, and squanders it because of a handful of enemy tanks, that's "appalling" and a "disgrace" in Dempsey's own words. As other sources have shwon, there were *dozens* of vehicles present capable of knocking out Wittman's tank but they didn't until a lot of damage had been done. And nothing that happened on the 13th compelled the British to withdraw. The British chose to reinforce failure in the 50th Div instead of potential success in the 7th AD. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 15:48, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

No you’re jumping all over the place and not answering the question. Does your response there have anything to with the initial actions of the Rifle Brigade?

What does Corps decisions regarding weather to carry the attacks behind the 7th or 50th have to do with the Rifle Brigades position? Your still sticking to the Wittmann myth: "squanders it because of a handful of enemy tanks" the Brigade group retreated from Villers-Bocage because they were under attack from elements of two divisions and a heavy armoured battalion not a handful of tanks.

This is where again i question your POV on this subject, there is enough quotes and published material which shows that the men on the ground fought well, inflicted heavy losses on the Germans ... consecutively for two whole days ... yet you would rather stick with a quote from a man who was not there as that keeps up the appearance that the British were incompetent and fought like pants.

As for Fireflys and 6 pounders, your splitting hairs now ... B Squadrons Firefly was brought up as quickly as possible and A Squadrons were cut off along with at least one destroyed. The fact the men rallied and got a 6 pounder set up to engage Wittmanns tank on the way out, that Fireflys were brought forward ASAP shows that they didn’t sit there and act "appalling" or in a "disgraceful" way--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 16:24, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

You asked "What does Corps decisions regarding weather to carry the attacks behind the 7th or 50th have to do with the Rifle Brigades position?"
Everything. Read Weigley, who explicitly points out that, rather than reinforce the 7AD's success at V-B, the Corps commander reinforced failure in the 50ID's area instead. Weigley goes on to say that the Corps commander (Bucknall) could have viewed 7AD as vulnerable, stuck out on a limb at V-B.... *or*, with equal logic, as a spearhead stuck into an open German flank, i.e., a great opportunity. He chose the less aggressive option. That Corps chose to reinforce 50ID instead of 7AD directly created the situation in which V-B had to be given up due to lack of reinforcements. Had they reinforced, they might have held and gone on to continue offensive action. By the way, this also proves that reinforcements were available, as I've noted before.
You asked: "Your still sticking to the Wittmann myth: "squanders it because of a handful of enemy tanks" the Brigade group retreated from Villers-Bocage because they were under attack from elements of two divisions and a heavy armoured battalion not a handful of tanks."
Let's back up. The Caumont gap opened beginning June 10 or so. On the night of June 12, 22 Bde group halted for the night at 8pm rather than pressing on although they were only about 5km from their main objective. When they arrived, instead of scouting ahead or driving north-east, they relaxed. Wittman attacked with one tank in the morning and a reinforced platoon-sized element in the afternoon. In the critical period, the British attack was stopped by lack of aggressiveness (see Hansen, Weigley, D'Este, Dempsey for instance) and a few german tanks. Later, yes, weak elements of two divisions reinforced. By the time that happened, the best opportunity had already slipped away. Nevertheless, additional units could have been sent to reinforce the right hook at V-B instead of continuing to feed a losing cause in the 50ID area.
On the 14th you have elements of additional units on both sides involved. The British chose to give up their advantage rather than press it.
You wrote: "This is where again i question your POV on this subject, there is enough quotes and published material which shows that the men on the ground fought well, inflicted heavy losses on the Germans ... consecutively for two whole days ... yet you would rather stick with a quote from a man who was not there as that keeps up the appearance that the British were incompetent and fought like pants."
Obviously each of us has a POV. The point is to show what the published sources say. I have quoted the British commanders themselves saying their tactics were awful; that they should have succeeded and didn't because of their own "disgrace"-ful conduct of the battle (Dempsey). If you substitute your opinion for those, that is the definition of POV and OR. The issue is not how many men or tanks were lost, it is the operational situation. Once the Caumont gap opened, there was *nothing* stopping US or British units from charging forward, taking V-B, and turning northeast to Caen. That's exactly the situation armored divisions are created for - exploiting a gap to create operational success. A great opportunity to cave in a German divisional front and possibly take Caen was thrown away. That's the point; that is why the German achievement matters. It is immaterial how many tanks anyone knocked out.
You wrote: "As for Fireflys and 6 pounders, your splitting hairs now ..."
I have no idea what you mean. The 22Bde group was equipped with Sherman fireflies, Cromwells, Stuarts, M10s and towed 6-pounders. With the exception of the Stuarts, all those vehicles could knock out a Tiger in the flank at the extreme short range this battle was fought. The fireflies could do it at long range.
You wrote: "B Squadrons Firefly was brought up as quickly as possible and A Squadrons were cut off along with at least one destroyed. The fact the men rallied and got a 6 pounder set up to engage Wittmanns tank on the way out, that Fireflys were brought forward ASAP shows that they didn’t sit there and act "appalling" or in a "disgraceful" way
Dempsey and Erskine both disagree with you. There was a Firefly in every platoon (troop) not one per company (squadron)....so where were all the others? Had they deployed correctly at least one would have been in firing position already when Wittman appeared.
Given the comments of their own commanders, as well as their opponents, there is simply no escaping the conclusion that 7AD and the Corps commander screwed up badly for several days climaxing on the 13th-14th. That's not a comment on the courage of the men, it is a well-supported assessment of their officers' decisions that day. Dempsey relieved both shortly afterward, again supporting this conclusion both with his words and his deeds.
Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 14:24, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

You are again ignoring the question asked regarding the Rifle Brigade. What does the decision made by the Corps commander or the Divisional commander have to do with the decision for the Rifle Brigade to park up along side the road? This is what I questioned you about and you harp on about other things. Same with the orders for no recon of the hill and ridgeline, you come back with evidence showing the Hussars had no orders to not conduct recon … they weren’t there!

Regarding the Fireflys, no where did I state there was one per squadron. A Squadron was on the ridgeline with there rear Firefly taken out blocking the route back to town. Fireflys from B Squadron were brought up ASAP to combat the Tiger and the men in the Cromwells attempted it themselves along with a 6 pounder being set up to combat it. That counters the nonsense that the men on the scene sat there and methodically took it up the rear end.

Regarding Point of View pushing, I would rather talk about the truth … your pushing one sided opinions. You have done so since this has begun, you would rather have quotes and text which show the men of the 7th Armoured Division fought like crap then provide some text or quotes which show the opposite. Anything to the contrary of they fought like a bag of shit and you claim it is original research.

“On the night of June 12, 22 Bde group halted for the night at 8pm rather than pressing on although they were only about 5km from their main objective. When they arrived, instead of scouting ahead or driving north-east, they relaxed.”

They relexed? They had just fought for control of a village and then formed up for the night so they wouldn’t be marching through the dark to the town, which iirc is agaisnt doctrine is it not? They were also strung out and it took them until after midnight to form up. The decission for which, Hinde states was so they would be able to retain the initative the next morning. It was also more like 8km away not five and took them several hours to get there when they moved off during the morning. EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:04, 20 March 2008 (UTC)


website of possible interest

Hi have you seen this one it covers the early days of June 44 in what appears to be an area you have an interest in http://www.dickinsons-of-whitfield.org/NBL_Hussars.html , js1 19:28, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Opening moves section - inconsistencies

In this section only A Sqn 4CLY are explicitly stated to have moved from V-B to Point 213. Before I copyedited it out, it then went on to say that 4CLY reconnaissance troop, regimental headquarters and A Company (Rifle Brigade) moved to the side of the road at Point 213. Did they accompany A Sqn or did they follow it? I think this needs clarifying. Furthermore, the last para. in this section states that the 4CLY reconnaissance troop and regimental headquarters were in V-B, so they now appear to be in two places at once. --FactotEm (talk) 10:50, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

I have been waiting before going back over all these sections for my copy of Through the Lens to arrive, which it finally did yesterday. Am somewhat obessesd with this subject now lol

So cheers for the copyedits and pointing out mistakes which i have missed :)

The correct version of events is:

  • A Squadron, 4CLY arrive in VB and then proceed to Point 213
  • A Company, 1RB are behind them and halt just outside the town and park along the side of the road, there officers then proceed up to the hilltop in 3 halftracks
  • RHQ and the Recon troop were following the above two and parked along the main road inside the town but close to the 1RB (few hundred yards or so)
  • B Sqn, 4CLY would be at the western end of the town

The map within the article shows the locations of the units at roughly 0900, however as you have stated its became a bit confusing. Ill try and do some edits later to support you and make it more clear :)--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 11:58, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

My first ever EC! Yes - I figured out the map made it clearer and re-added the info about which units were parked by the side of the road back into the narrative. I may however have messed up the referencing slightly in the process. --FactotEm (talk) 13:23, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Its alright, ill go over it when am home and have the books at hand to make sure there all in the right places. I've done that myself on several occasions. :)

I know the peer review said to cut down on the quotes and to write them into the text, however the one which opened up the "Morning Action" section i thought was a nice way of opening. In your opinion is it more effective as it is now or as it was perviously as a block quote?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 12:10, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

I do think it looked a bit out of place in its original format, but agree it is quite an effective way to open the section. How about now? --FactotEm (talk) 12:35, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Repositioned images to enhance impact of opening quote. The images are slightly out of whack further down as a result, but that'll all come out in the wash. --FactotEm (talk) 12:46, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

I think thats spot on and how i should have probably done it to start with!--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 12:55, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Other than the arrival of B Sqn, I'm not sure that the para and associated quote relating to Lieutenant-Colonel Pearce adds anything to the article. I'm inclined to just delete it. I'm out of time so I'll throw it up for discussion here rather than do anything about it now. --FactotEm (talk) 13:22, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Hastings, D'Este and A Company 1st RB

I realise I am venturing into a sensitive area here, but I've felt it necessary to re-word the criticism levelled at A Coy, 1st RB at the end of the third para in the Opening moves section. Firstly, the previous version was a little weasley. Specifically it referred to "some" historians saying one thing and "others" saying another, when in fact only one source for each side of the contention has been provided. Secondly, the rationale for A Coy's actions was published by Hastings in 1950, whilst the criticism was levelled by D'Este in 1983, which technically means that D'Este's position is a rebuttal of Hasting's, and should, it seems to me, be ordered this way in the narrative.

I also think that the criticism, at this point in the narrative, is an unnecessary digression (there is at least one more such to my mind, possibly more). I suspect that it is a result of previous disputes. I don't intend to do anything about that now, but as the article develops it seems to me that the best place for such discussion is in the aftermath section. --FactotEm (talk) 18:02, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Hastings is a devoted account to the actions fought by the battalions of the Rifle Brigade throughout the war, supported by accounts from riflemen who were there. While it is not the official history of the Brigade (which i assume is the 2 volumes published by the Committee Of The Rifle Brigade Chronicle - each division and regiment (in this case "brigade") has there own official history) it provides the indeapth detail which general historys of campaigns etc lack. For example, the British Official History of the Normandy campaign by Major Ellis gives the basic details - to find out the indeapth stuff, orders, losses, actions etc one has to look to these books, the war dairies and other records.

The quotes and other information provided from the D'Este book (which i have yet to read let alone find the time to, lol i have a hell load of others which am reading though) strike me as being very one sided and only looking to show the incompentence of the British forces, which is not true. While the D'Este book is more modern compared to Hastings work, i would'not state its a complete rebuttal of pervious works and it also contains some rather dodgy information.

Currently there are a few cases of instances like this as attempts to remove them or rewrite them have been met by edit wars - hence the compromise at this current momment in time. --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 22:45, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

If I can offer some friendly advice, I think your opinion on D'Este is leading you down a difficult path. Who's to say that Hastings is not "very one sided" and looking to show only the competence of the British forces? He did after all hold a commission in the Rifle Brigade, and was a training Company commander of the successor regiment the Green Jackets in 1951-52.[[1]] I know you've had this discussion before, but if you allow your opinion on D'Este to influence your contributions to this article you run the risk of straying into issues of WP:OR. Like it or not, D'Este is a source for this event. Unless there are reliable sources that specifically discredit D'Este's work, as opposed to ones that present an alternative viewpoint, all you can do is present the counter arguments from other sources and let the reader make up his/her own mind. It's difficult I know, but that's what this encyclopedia is all about. --FactotEm (talk) 08:39, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Btw I know its probably no biggy and quite possiably didnt add anything to the article, well anyhoo Moore was B Sqn: 2003 Newsletter, Pg2 The annual get together for No2 troop, B Sqn was partially organised by Moore :) --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 22:58, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

The reason I took out the statement that Moore was B Sqn was because on p.18 of the Sharpshooters newsletter you reference above it says that Moore was responsible for the shot that forced Wittman to turn back, which then resulted in the action with Dyas. When Dyas' tank was subsequently destroyed he (Dyas) was able to run to another tank that was blazing but with radios still operational and warn B and C Sqn's about the disaster as they were not yet aware of what was going on. You see the inconsistency here? --FactotEm (talk) 07:58, 12 April 2008 (UTC What Dyas believed has no bearing on what B Squadron actualy knew. The implications of all this on the head-on meeting are obvious.Mjkenny (talk) 12:34, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Oh i know i currently have a very low opinion of D'Estes book however that was why i opted to have a comprise passage showing both points of view rather then just D'Estes'. Prehaps i could have done so a little bit better but the intention was there at least :)

Yea i see the inconsitancy now, still need to do some copyediting to help sort out the article and make it more clear.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:50, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

You might want to *read* D'Este before forming your opinion of the book. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 19:52, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
heh, same right back to you about say the Official History of the campaign...--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 21:04, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Panzer IV Losses

I am unable to get an accurate number of MK IVs knocked out or damaged during this battle. There are several different claims and none of which match up:

  • Ian Paterson website claims 8 Panzer IVs knocked out inside Villers-Bocage.
  • Fortin claims about 15 MK IV and Tigers knocked out - minus the 6 Tigers confirmed knocked out that would mean 9 MK IVs.
  • Fortys account is somewhat confusing, its either 3 MK IVs in total or 3 MK IVs during the afternoon fighting and two knocked out approaching the town making a total of 5.
  • 4CLY War Diary claims 3 MK IVs.
  • Taylor tallys the British claims as:Sharpshooters claimed 4 Tigers and 3 MK IVs, Rifle Brigade claim 1 Tiger, 1/7 claim 4 Tigers with there 6 pounder AT guns and a further Tiger and MK IV with Piats. Total 10 Tigers and 4 MK IVs ... one would assume tanks have been claimed twice and/or misidentified as Tigers when in fact they were MK IVs but that still doesnt really answer the question.
  • the article itself for ages has claimed 5 MK IVs knocked out.

I guess the quesion is what should be the correct way to approach this?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:15, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

If the recollections of those in the battle (from the Sharpshooters newsletters) show uncertainty as to whether the tank being engaged was a Tiger or a MK IV then I suspect that we can never know a definitive figure. As a reader I would be content just to know the total number of tank casualties - around 14 - 15 right? Is it really necessary to quantify by type? If you really want to go into this level of detail though, how about phrasing it along the lines of "Reports of German tank casualties vary, but around x Tigers and y MK IVs were knocked out", using what seems like the best source for those figures and adding a more detailed explanation of the differences as part of the ref? --FactotEm (talk) 09:49, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Point 213 section

This section is actually quite small and consists of short sentenced paragraphs. As part of the copyedit process I'm thinking that the best way to improve it is to roll the sentences into a single para. and remove the section heading so that it becomes the last para. in the Morning action section - the events described all take place in the morning anyway. Also, as fascinating as the quote from Lord Cranley is, I have some problems with it. First, I have Neillands "The Desert Rats" which says (p223) that Cranley's last message was "Burn your tanks and get out". Second, I find it hard to believe that Cranley, in as much personal danger as he was, and with one of his squadrons being torn to pieces, wouldn't have occupied RT bandwidth with something more germane to the predicament he and his troops were in (such as "Burn your tanks..."). I'm inclined to change it to the Neillands version. Comments? Objections? Better Ideas? --FactotEm (talk) 14:04, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Yea i think it should probably be rolled into one section, i do need to add bits and bobs to that section but i dont think its going to be that much information to expand it considably.

I have copies of the pages of Neillands book which covers this battle. If i recall correctly its made up from two peoples accounts of what happened that day and then there is the Sharpshooters mag which states his last transmission is what is in the article. In which case my impression is that probably no one reallys knows, prehaps he said both or niether.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:41, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Edit: thinking about it, prehaps it should be better split but covering the late morning and the fighting on the ridge. So:

  • The ambush
  • Point 213 and late morning fighting (temp title lol)
  • Afternoon fighting

Something like that, so the main two sections - the initial 15 minutes and the 6 hours afternoon battle are seperated by this portion of time where there was little fighting.

Your thoughts?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:56, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

The day's fighting seems to comprise two clearly definable sequences; Wittman and co's actions at the initial ambush and his foray on into V-B; and the later, larger scale battle for the town itself. I think the article would be well served if it was organised as such, but if you think there's a better way I'm good with that. The main thing is to avoid short sections like the current Point 213 one. --FactotEm (talk) 07:15, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

No i agree, am just wondering where the interim period (the rounding up of the men on the ridgeline and the arrivial or more forces before the fighting really kicked off) should go.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 09:00, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

It seems to me that the capture of the ridgeline is a concluding action from the morning action, whilst the gathering of reinforcements is an introduction to the subsequent action. No? --FactotEm (talk) 09:09, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Yep thats sounds good to me.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 09:39, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Dyas' action in V-B

I've removed the dispute over whether Dyas actually met the Tiger head on from the main body and placed it in the footnote, largely because the prose read awkwardly. The other problem was the statement that the wreckage of the Tiger was nowhere near the wreckage of Dyas' Cromwell. This statement was unsourced, and anyway Dyas' account states that his Cromwell was destroyed but that the Tiger wasn't, so why would the wrecks be close together? This confusion is compounded by the fact that a previous statement that the Tiger was subsequently disabled by a shot to the tracks by a six pounder has been removed from the narrative. --FactotEm (talk) 11:09, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

The wrecked Tiger is in a location well away the position of the Cromwell and. It could not meet a Cromwell 'head-on' when it was rendered immobile before it could get to the Cromwell.Mjkenny (talk) 12:09, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
I've reformated the above comment for readability. Notwithstanding the difficulty in finding sources that place Wittman's wrecked Tiger with any degree of certainty, I understand now the problem with wreck location and the implication for Dyas' account. If this can be reliably sourced then we can either remove the details of Dyas' action completely, or move it into the footnotes as an alternative but conflicted detail. --FactotEm (talk) 12:23, 25 April 2008 (UTC)


Dyas simply got the order of events wrong. When you are under fire, wounded and have just watched your friends being killed then a little confusion can be expected.

The fact is Dyas went after Wittmann is a tank that allowed him little chance of success. He was brave and nearly lost his life for his trouble. Over the years the story took on a life of its own. The simple explaination is that after the 'problem' with the crew member Dyas pulled out to attack the Tiger. Dyas actualy says he thought he was facing the rear of the Tiger. In his latest book Henri Marie (Villers Bocage Normandy 1944. Heimdal 2003. now only available second hand at £60 upwards) comes to the same conclusion.Mjkenny (talk) 13:24, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Tags

I've copyedited the Opening moves and Morning action sections, and whilst there is always room for improvement, I'm wondering if the copyedit tags for these can go? --FactotEm (talk) 11:12, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Disabling of Wittman's tank

I'm not sure why there is no evidence to support the possibility that Wittman's tank was disabled by a six-pounder. This was previously sourced to Forty p65, but was edited out. I don't have access to Forty to check. The article on Michael Wittman also includes an unsourced claim that it was the work of a 6 pounder. Any chance of clarifying/confirming this? --FactotEm (talk) 12:05, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

The confusion is this. Taylor was the first to put Wittmann being knocked out by a 6pdr at the crossroads. Wittmann himself claims he was knocked out by a 'heavy pak' in the centre. Wittmann never mentions the meeting with the Fireflies. That is the 'evidence' for a 6pdr hit. Mjkenny (talk) 12:27, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
There is some controversy over this, Taylor claims that the 6 pounder took out Wittmanns tank. Forty also states the same but his book, like Taylor, contains no footnotes so we dont know were each piece of information came from, he may have researched it and claimed so or it may have been a simple copy and paste.
When looking though the book on the Rifle Brigade by Hastings, he claims that the 6 pounders knocked out halftracks/armoured cars etc but i dont recall him mentioning a Tiger. Although his work isnt that indeapth in places nor is it the battalions war dairy so things may have slipped through i.e. what the guns total tally was etc.
The person who edited this, when i have been in contact with him via private messages on a forum he told me Taylor stated so because he believed the account of Dyas (we will come to him in a minute).
He stated,

"The problem is the 2nd kp. Tiger standing in the middle of the high street and Wittmann's own account. There was also another Tiger '231' that is shown knocked out in the area where the 6pdr crew made the claim. Thus Wittmann's '212' sits where he says he was knocked out (and thus the Dyas claim must be wrong as Wittmann never made it back to where Dyas was) and another wreck( '231') is in the area around the 6pdr."

I will however check out the full text of Wittmanns propaganda speech what he recorded that night (he goes through what he did), ill either post it in full here or sum up (depends how i feel :p).
As for Dyas, well it seems some of his own unit doubt his story as evident in some of the articles in the newsletters from the last few years - in paticular i believe it was Lt-Col Peace who mostly doubted him - although his accounts of the action are unsupported in some places i.e. him claiming Arid froze up etc which is not supported by Arids own crew members .... its hard to dig through everything here to find the truth.
Ill try and dig through everything i have on this battle later on and post here so we can discuss the event.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 13:37, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
There is no truth. There are several version, all valid. All we can do today is eliminate the impossible. That will still leave a lot of unresolved contradictions
Taylor is the source of the claim that Wittmann was knocked out 'at the crossroads'. This is a case of believing Dyas and thus having to put the Tiger in a location where the Dyas version says there should be a Tiger. It is directly contradicted by Wittmann's own account(Agte page 328 in the report by Dietrich dated 13/6/44) that states clearly he was knocked out in the centre of Villers. Because of a bend in the road in front of the position of Dyas's Cromwell it is impossible for the 2nd kp.Tiger in the high street to have engaged Dyas 'head-on'. It would be wise to consult Gary L Simpson's book 'Tiger Ace' (page 320)
"Question No. 4) Did Wittmann and Dyas really meet in the middle of the street like two gun fighters of the old American West?
The answer is yes, this is absolutely true, as Pat Dyas stated (during his lengthy interview, June 1980), that he was stalking Wittmann for about five minutes with tensions running extremely high within his Cromwell crew. By this time, the streets of "Villers-Bocage" were filled with black smoke from the three burning R.H.Q. Cromwell tanks, and that everyone involved were on pins and needles. Suddenly, Wittmann's Tiger I loomed out of the thick black choking smoke with Dyas being able to pump two rounds of 75mm AP into Wittmann's machine. Both main gun rounds bounced off the thick hide of the Tiger I with no effect! Estimated range was 70-80 yards!
Wittmann fired one round of 8.8cm AP and penetrated Dyas's Cromwell turret through the right front turret, and out the right rear"
Simpsons book is garbage and can not be used as a source I am only using his explaination of what Dyas said to him.
In 1980 Dyas had a different version of events. Remember the 'burning HQ Cromwells' were behind Dyas and at an angle to the High Street of Villers (Taylor pg.14) Dyas was also within yards of his starting position when he was knocked out. It would take him seconds to reach the position where his Cromwell was disabled. Because of the bend in the road any Tiger coming at Dyas would only be 'head on' for a few moments. It is also revealing that although Simpson's Book has the photo of Dyas's Cromwell he (Dyas) does not seem to know it is his tank.
There are a couple of good photos here
http://63.99.108.76/forums/index.php?showtopic=21545&st=60
There is no source for there being any 6pdrs in Villers at the time of Wittmann's attack Mjkenny (talk) 13:28, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
OK. We have a reliable source that states a 6-pdr engaged Wittman's Tiger, and I would say that that is enough to include it in the narrative. I don't think we don't need to second guess our source's source. Is your contact quoting another source re: the location of the knocked out Tigers and the consequent implication for the statement about the 6-pdr action? If so, we can also include that, either in the narrative or, if there is less weight attached to it, as part of the footnote. Alternatively, I'm wondering if your contact is conducting his own research, checking the accounts against the maps and coming up with his own theory. There's nothing wrong with this, but it does tend to disqualify the theory as reliably sourced for Wikipedia's purposes. Remember, it's not so much the truth that counts here as what can be reliably sourced. --FactotEm (talk) 14:00, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
There are no supporting accounts. There were 2 6pdrs and another is shown emplaced further east and to the south (hand drawn map of Capt Milner RB. page 38 of Henri Marie, 'Tigres Au Combat' Heimdal 1993) Even if the 6pr at the crossroads did get into action and knock out a Tiger then it most likely was Tiger '231' seen being towed in this area by Tiger '222' (Taylor 80/81) Agte has an account by a member of Pz Lehr who reported that there was a Tiger knocked out in the area(Rother: "In front of Villers Bocage I saw 2 Tigers to our left sitting at the edge of the forest. One of them had definitely been knocked out.The crew were still there. Several were wounded, unfortunately one was dead." Agte pg 323) . No member of Wittmann's crew recieved any injury but 2nd kp report 1 driver killed. The towing Tiger is indeed '222' and thus this can not possibly be the Tiger used by Wittmann in Villers.Mjkenny (talk) 13:13, 25 April 2008 (UTC]


Wittmann's Own Words

"....Drove up the colum, surprised the English as much as they had me. I first knocked out two tanks from the right of the column, then one from the left and attacked the armoured troop carrier battalion in the middle of the armoured regiment. I drove toward the rear half of the coloum on the same road, knocking out every tank that came towards me as i went. The enemy was thrown into total confusion. I then drove stright into the town of Villers, got to approximately the centre of town where i was hit by an anti-tank gun. My tank was disabled. Without further ado i fired at and destroyed everything around me that i could reach..."

Provided by Taylor, Pg 38

Taylors version of events (one should note the guys from the Sharpshooters in there newsletters seem to believe that this is the best account of the fighting)

Page 31-32:

Talks about Wittmann coming head first with Dyas, destroying his tank and heading out of the town and disabled by the Tilly-sur-Seulles junction.

Page 33:

Has a diagram placing Wittmanns tank at the junction, literally across the road from the 3 M5 Honeys and near the AT guns and destroyed carriers.

Page 34:

"Besides Wittmann's account, a radio report logged at XXX Corps at 0945 hrs claimed a that a Tiger had been knocked out by an anti tank gun to the east of Villers. The only abti-tank guns incontact with the enemy on that side of town were the two 6-pdrs of A Company of the 1st Rifle brigade. Wittmann himself states that his tank was immobilised by an atni tank gun. This gun (Taylor is talking about two photos of a 6 Pounder by the destroyed transport facing towards the down i.e. back down the main road into Villers-Bocage) is pointing in approximately the right direction towards Villers. If the intention had been to fire the gun at Wittmann when he had first appeared coming down the road from the direction of Point 213, the gun would have been trained and the trails deployed in the opposite direction."

Pages 66-67

has several photos of the same Tiger, one facing away from the town centre i.e. as if it was leaving the town and knocked out. The photos themselves leave no clue to whose tank it was as the numbering cannot be seen nor is there any other identifying marks. Taylor states: "..a forth Tiger stands with its gun pointing awat from the square. It may be the one hit by Sgt Brammal although, if this was so, it has since been moved."

He contines: "...Some sources claim that this is Wittmann's Tiger although contemporaty accounts would appear to contradict this,"


Forty

Page 65-66

Essesntially repeats the same story, Wittmann heading out of the town - struck by a 6 Pounder and immoblised ... shot at everything in sight and then left the tank

Ellis, the Campaign Official History

Quite rightly doesnt go into who nailed one Tiger tank - he covers the battle and the British losses and then moves onto the next part of the campaign (ala all the OH do, the simpely cant go into minute detail about every action, thats what the divisional and regimental histories are for)

Hastings (not Max, the guy from the Rifle Brigade)

Page 351

Sgt Bray claims engaging and hitting 2 half tracks and an armoured car.

Not mention of Tiger tanks, however this isnt the war diary of the battalion nor is it the official history of the battalion (didnt feel like one from the bunch of regimental OH i have read, i believe the OH is the one by the Rifle Brigade chonicle and is in two volumes - in London (only copy i have been able to find)

Photos of Wittmanns Tiger in Villers-Bocage

From a discussion on a forum several years ago:

discussing Wittmanns Tiger being in the centre of town and photographed...

"Nope, What you see on this pic is the tank No. 121 of Moebius 1st Coy. Wittmann was with Tiger 222 in Villers Bocage. For pics showing Wittmanns disabled 222 in front of the store Huet Godefroy in the Rue Pasteur, either look for Patrick Agte "Michael Wittmann und die Tiger der LSSAH" or Wolfgang Schneider..."

Patrick Agte - Michael Witmann and the Waffen SS Tiger Commanders of the Leibstandart in WW2 Vol. 2: p. 241 Wolfgang Schneider - Tigers in Combat II: p. 281 for Wittmanns tank

http://www.battlefront.com/cgi-bin/bbs/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=print_topic;f=13;t=010660--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 13:53, 25 April 2008 (UTC)


his is not a question about Wittmann's tank but about one of the 1st kp.Tigers. The reply correctly states that Wittmann's Tiger is in front of the store. Mjkenny (talk) 13:08, 25 April 2008 (UTC)


J.L Cloudsley Thompson

Sorry it was Thompson not Pearce i was thinking of before when i stated someone doubted Dyas claim.

Page 18, 2003 Newsletter http://www.sharpshooters.org.uk/Newsletter/Newsletters/SYA%20Newsletter%202003.pdf

"Charles Pearce wrote that he was ‘puzzled over Pat Dyas and his exploits’6.I myself, do not believe that Pat’s gunner got out ‘to have a pee’. After our escape, Pat told me that he had been delayed for a few seconds before following Wittmann’s Tiger because his gunner – who was killed a couple of minutes later – had taken a moment to calm down. Nor, for a number of reasons, do I now think that Pat met the Tiger ‘coming back’ and head on. There was insufficient time for this to have been the case. It seems much more likely that Wittmann had traversed the turret to fire over the back of his Tiger before proceeding further into Villers-Bocage."

R. Moore MM

Same page, same newsletter

Moore claims:

"It is certain that some measure of retaliation took place – several German tanks were destroyed by ‘B’ Squadron. Both Bill Cotton and Bobbie Brammall scored hits. My tank was responsible for denting Wittman’s driver’s visor which sent him back to confront Pat Dyas – hence the expression “That bloody man Moore!”

My opinion from this evidence is that Wittmann was not disabled in the centre of town but on the way out, he may have fired over his rear deck to nab Dyas but he was on the Tilly junction when knocked out.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:39, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Whilst there are no visible markings on this wrecked Tiger in Villers the front bow plate is unmarked on the left hand side(see Taylor pg 67/70). As both 1st and 3rd kp.Tigers had a Unit emblem in this location by default this must be from 2nd kp. Their markings were on the right hand side of the vechle and this is where the Zimmeritt is damaged. There were no other Tigers in Normandy on this date and all the photos show that every SS 101 Tiger had a full set on markings. The camouflage pattern visible on this wrecked Tiger matches that shown on Tiger 212 from 2nd kp
How did a 2nd kp.Tiger get left in the middle of the high street? No 2nd kp. Tiger (other than Wittmann's) went into Villers and Wittmann says he was disabled in the centre of town. Mjkenny (talk) 13:32, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
I've updated the narrative to reflect both events according to the sources. The contradictory accounts are now part of the footnotes. The Dyas events are, I think, adequately handled by introducing them with "This move is said...". As for the location of Wittman when his tank was disabled, the more reliable sources tend towards the road junction. This might change if we can get hold of the books by Agte and/or Schneider and see exactly what their accounts report (I don't think we can cite the forum itself). At the end of the day though, the exact location is a small detail, and I think the account as it currently stands, i.e. leaving discussion of this issue to the footnotes, is perfectly acceptable for this article. Do we have a source for Wittman's account though? Currently his statement is unsourced. --FactotEm (talk) 07:09, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
His propaganda speech is shown in full on Page 38 of Through the Lens by Taylor.
I think you have done a spot on job the way you have currently wrote it up.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 07:50, 25 April 2008 (UTC)


Michael, to answer you question no I don’t know.

I don’t have the Viller-Bocage photos in front of me at the moment so cant compare camo patterns on one tank over another but I can’t comprehend how one tank with no markings on it automatically makes it a 2nd Kompanie Tiger.

There are two Tigers knocked out and a MK IV in the town centre, both accounted by the afternoon fighting. However the one with no markings and claimed as Wittmanns is facing east and is further east down the street. I guess the question would be how did it get there if Wittmann states he was disabled in the centre of town?

The other question, which comes up, is why didn’t the 4CLY claim the Tiger which had ambushed them as one of their kills or made the claim for disabling him? If he was in the centre of town it would have had to have been them.

We have some members of the 4CLY who are somewhat hazy on the turn of events however it seems the most believe the Tiger retreated, something Germanys famous panzerace probably isn’t going to admit to? Although at the same time it seems Moore is correct when he doubted Dyas version of events and the time he (Dyas) believed elapsed.

The question crops up about Tigers 222 and 231, the two runners who were attacking Pt 213 … how or why did one of them then work its way towards Villers-Bocage to be knocked out by the 6 Pounders when the British were still on the ridgeline and were not cleared out until more of the 101st arrived…--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:09, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

That 2nd kp.Tiger: All SS 101 Tigers were marked on the vertical bow plate. There were three companies(kp.) of 14 tanks. The 3 command Tigers were not so well documented and we do not know the system they used but luckily for us the Tiger in Villers is not a command vehicle.

1st kp.had a shield enblem on the left hand side and a lozenge on the right hand side. 2nd kp. had the shield on the right hand side. 3rd kp. had the shield on the left hand side.

The wrecked Tiger facing the wrong way (i.e.towards Dyas) has no markings on the intact left hand side of its bow plate (close up Taylor page 70)thus it can not be from 1st or 3rd kp. The position (on the wreck)where the markings would be on a 2nd kp.Tiger has been damaged so we can not see any insignia. The other 2 Tiger wrecks in the high street (there were 3) are clearly marked as to 1st kp. Therefore the damaged Tiger in the centre of Villers can ONLY be from 2nd kp. This is beyond any dispute. Wittmann said he was disabled in the centre of Villers which is the position of all 3 wrecks really. The salient point is Wittmann did not say he was disabled on the outskirts of Villers. Dancing on the head of a pin? Maybe but let us recap. Wittmann was in a 2nd kp.Tiger. Wittmann says he was disabled in 'approximately' the centre of Villers. There is a knocked out 2nd kp.Tiger sitting in just such a position. All the other Tigers (3 from 4) in Villers are clearly marked as from 1st kp. The evidence confirming Wittmanns statement is all there. Mjkenny (talk) 14:37, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Ah, i follow now regarding the symbols! I imagine that does seal the fate of where Wittmanns Tiger ended up.
As this is the wiki, i imagine adding something like such would be speedily deleted, is there a source regarding teh Tiger markings we can use?
Ill address 3/4 Tigers bit later on when i can look at the photos etc, am a bit confused over this at the momemnt.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:50, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure I fully follow the details here, but can I advise some caution against marrying fact A with fact B and coming up with an unsourced conclusion C if that's the way this is going? As the narrative currently stands it states only that Wittman's Tiger was disabled by an anti-tank gun, sourced from Wittman's own account. I don't think we need be too concerned with where or what gun. It might be better to summarise the contradictions as part of the footnotes. Dyas' account is relatively famous, so it needs to be included, though again it might be better as part of the footnotes along with a discussion of the contradictions. Fair? --FactotEm (talk) 15:30, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

I am not really bothered about unsourced quotes as this is not on the main page. Having to rely on published work means 9 from every 10 sources are wrong and that condems the article to the same fate. You would not believe some of the rubbish still being published on this engagement. As to A+B=C all I can tell you is that wrong facing Tiger is without any doubt from 2nd kp. Anyone saying that Wittmann used another Tiger and that is the one that was knocked out at the crossroads is going to be a long time looking for a single shred of evidence to support this claim. I have every known photo (so far published) and the 2 German newsreels of the scene. I would not recomend Forty as having any special insight as to Villers Bocage itself and it contains a number of errors. Anything that says Wittmann knocked out 3 Stuarts on his way into Villers is simply recycling Taylors work. I sort the accounts in 3 categories. 1) is the '3 Tigers and a PzIV version'. This is the old pre-Taylor works where they rely on the photos showing 3 Tigers and a PzIV! 2) Those after Daniels work and they inevitably mention his list of casualties and say there were 3 Stuart tanks knocked out on the bend. 3) Original works that seek the truth and do not rely on previous accounts. In my opinion this is only Taylor, Agte and Henri Marie. To clear up any confusion here I am not criticising Taylor simply because he believes Dyas. I do not agree with his conclusion but that does not change the fact there is a there is a lot of new information in his book.Mjkenny (talk) 17:53, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Here is part of an article Taylor did for After The Battle Magazine No. 132. It is a caption to the photo he originaly used on page 66 of his book.

ATB Magazine 132 (2006) page 31

"Another alternative, not so easily discarded, is this Tiger, dis- abled further up the high street, between the town hall and the Place du Kiosque, and with its gun pointing towards the top-end of town. There are a couple of features that imply that this is at least a 2. Kompanie vehicle. Tigers of 1. Kompanie had the I. SS-Panzerkorps sign on the front right side (beside the driver's vision aperture) and the schwere Panzer lozenge on the left (beside the hull MG position), usually (though not always) painted onto a patch where the Zimmerit had been removed. Tigers of 2. Kompanie and 3. Kompanie, by contrast, had no Panzer lozenge but only the I. SS-Panzerkorps sign. the 2. Kompanie having it on the machine-gun side, the 3. Kompanie on the driver's slot side. Though the turret of this tank is badly burned and there is staining around the hull MG, the area around the driver's block appears unharmed, but there is no sign of the I. SS-Panzerkorps badge there. Hence this tank must belong to 2. Kompanie. Also, the Zimmerit pat- tern of this tank conforms to that of a known 2. Kompanie vehicle. However, the sequence of events of the battle in the town as reconstructed by Daniel leads him to conclude that this too cannot be Wittmann's and for him to stick with his original hypothesis. (BA)"

I suppose it fits the 'published source. criteria.Mjkenny (talk) 19:32, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Am confused here, 3 M5 Honeys were most certinally taken out. The 4CLY claim that number lost - however that is for the full day.
There is a photo of at least one M5 on the road and were the other should be are obsucred from the angles of the photo iirc The tank would have to have been destroyed by Wittmann as it would be pretty suidical to be there once the German infantry entered the town in force and once the second attack started.
So what happened to this other Honey, were was it destroyed if Wittmann was not the culprit? Who has claimed otherwise?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:37, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

The photos in Taylor only show 1 Stuart. Pages 33,35 and 36 for the lead Stuart Calamity Jane II. The second Stuart is referenced via a screen capture from the Germans Newsreel footage and is on page 23 l/h side. It shows Calamity Jane in front of it so it is the 2nd Stuart. The other screen grab on page 23 is claimed to be the third Stuart behind the other 2. Not so. There is an edit on the original film between the second Stuart and the sequence for the 'third' Stuart. It is not one continious take. If you look at this sequence in its entirety you can see that the house to the left of the 3rd Stuart is nothing like the houses on the road into Villers. What is more the trees and the background do not match. The 'third' Stuart was filmed somewhere else other than behind the other 2. The half track in the background fitted the descriptions of the MO's half track being knocked out here so it was a simple mistake to see what you want to see.

The following is a quote from an unpublished manuscript written during October / November 1944 from a personal point of view by C.W. Pearce whilst recovering from wound :


"The country from St. Martin-des-Besaces was very fine: a series of rolling hills untouched by the fighting. Once the armies move forward from the initial bridgehead near Caumont, ground was covered fairly rapidly until the next hold up near Vire and north of Falaise. We eventually came up near Villers and saw John Simmonds' tank - a Honey - burnt out and marked Tpr. Fox's grave. It was obviously amazing how John Simmonds and the operator had managed to get away. Also one of the M.O.'s half tracked ambulances was burnt out there - the crew also got away but one was captured later. The town itself was absolutely unrecognisable. The new streets had been made by bulldozers and all the tanks knocked out in the town were buried under the rubble. We went through the town to the scene of the great battle of 13th/14th June. A number of tanks had been moved, but the shambles was still quite amazing. There were a number of graves -not many marked- and 4 tanks knocked out. A Sqdn. must have put up a pretty stiff fight but of course were hopelessly outnumbered. We did not really get a lot of information as so much had been moved, but the most notable was that on the objective - a crest - there was an sunken track running up from the east side that could not be covered by the tanks.: in fact they probably never knew it was there. No doubt the Germans used it to very good effect A little thing like this cannot be seen on the map, and I suppose just had to be accepted as one of the major risks of war"

Next a quote from Carpiquet Bound A Pictorial History Of 4th CLY 1939-1944, (1997): Chapter 12.10 "As Brigadier Hinde had been up in his scout car and had said that the town must be held at all costs. Major Aird set about reorganizing the defence. Some of the Queen's infantry had arrived with anti-tank guns and these, with tank troops were dispersed round the roads leading into the Square. To the south Lt. Simons, in charge of a troop of Honeys, had had his tank knocked out by a mortar, so his patrol was drawn in. Simons himself had had his wounds dressed by French peasants, who looked after him until he was recovered enough to escape, but he had little fresh information to give on his return. 'C' Squadron remained on the high ground to the east of the town."

I think there you have the location of the 3rd Stuart.

If you look in these posts http://63.99.108.76/forums/index.php?showtopic=21545&st=40 post 52 shows Milners Map Post 54 shows road behind the 2nd Stuart.

http://63.99.108.76/forums/index.php?showtopic=21545&st=80 post 82 shows that there is no half tack or armoured car wreckage behind the Sherman OP tank. http://63.99.108.76/forums/index.php?showtopic=21545&st=100 post 116 explains the Stuart positions.

Daniel Taylor has several posts in the thread.Mjkenny (talk) 23:37, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

the problem is Mike, is that under the general rules of the wiki we need published sources or decent websites to back up what we have stated otherwise the call it original research and delete it. etc
Is there any published accounts (books, war diaries etc) which confirm some of the details in the photos i.e. that 3rd Stuart not being knocked out by Wittmann etc?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 12:42, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

The ATB Magazine 132 with Taylor's update of his book mentions the 'third' Stuart problem. Taylor is now not certain it was behind the other 2. (page 34/35). It was Daniel who first said there were 3 Stuarts on this section of the road.Mjkenny (talk) 13:12, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

Ok so we have published evidence which supports Wittmann being in the town centre when knocked out, publshed evidence that some think Dyas may be wrong, photographic evidence to support some stuff, Taylor published account doubting weather there was 3 Stuarts/Honeys at all and published material which states that the 6 pounders didnt engage the Tigers and XXX Corps log which has them record a tank engaged something like 30 minutes after the ambush took place.
That i think warrants the suggested outline below--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:08, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

PS: Do we have any sources for the third M5 which was destroyed, as mentioned before by a mortar round? Also do we have a source for the identifying marks on the 101st Tigers?



hand drawn map of Capt Milner RB. is on page 38 of Henri Marie, 'Tigres Au Combat' Heimdal 1993. ISBN 2840480271 This map shows Butler and his 6pdr some distance from the crossroads.


' Carpiquet Bound' Chiavari Punlishing ISBN 0952059266. W D Allen & R F H Cawston 1997 has this about the third Stuart:

Chapter 12.10 "As Brigadier Hinde had been up in his scout car and had said that the town must be held at all costs. Major Aird set about reorganizing the defence. Some of the Queen's infantry had arrived with anti-tank guns and these, with tank troops were dispersed round the roads leading into the Square. To the south Lt. Simons, in charge of a troop of Honeys, had had his tank knocked out by a mortar, so his patrol was drawn in. Simons himself had had his wounds dressed by French peasants, who looked after him until he was recovered enough to escape, but he had little fresh information to give on his return. 'C' Squadron remained on the high ground to the east of the town."



A Record of the 4th County of London Yeomanry And The 3rd/4th County of London Yeomanry in The Campaign of France From 5th June 1944 to 15thAugust 1944

(Written during October / November 1944 from a personal point of view by C.W. Pearce whilst recovering from wounds)

Pearce is explaining the re-entry into Villers in August.

"We eventually came up near Villers and saw John Simmonds' tank - a Honey - burnt out and marked Tpr. Fox's grave. It was obviously amazing how John Simmonds and the operator had managed to get away. Also one of the M.O.'s half tracked ambulances was burnt out there - the crew also got away but one was captured later"


Below is how Cloudsley-Thompson reworked his old 1956 article when writing his book in 2006. He also changed the earlier use of 'Pat' to the nickname commonly used for Dyas in The Regiment, 'Dong'.

John Cloudsley-Thompson article in Royal Armoured Corps Journal 10. 1956

"A dreadful noise was going on in the town so I decided to go back beside a wall at the rear of the houses and try to reach 'B' Squadron. As we started off I saw Pat, on foot, in the distance. He had hoped to shoot the Tiger from behind, but had met it coming back after knocking out the rest of R.H.Q. It fired once, killing his co-driver and gunner, but he and the driver managed to bale out unharmed. "


Sharpshooter. Memories Of Armoured Warfare 1939-45 by John Cloudsley-Thompson. 2006 ISBN 9781905703012

"A dreadful noise was going on in the town so I decided to go back beside a wall at the rear of the houses and try to reach 'B' Squadron. As we started off I saw Dong, on foot, in the distance. He had hoped to shoot the Tiger from behind but his shots bounced off. In reply the Tiger fired once killing Dong's wireless operator(loader) and gunner; he and the driver managed to bale out unharmed. "


The Tiger marking system is explained on page 27 of 'Tigres Au Combat'. Henri Marie, Heimdal 1993. ISBN 2840480271


Mjkenny (talk) 21:47, 28 April 2008 (UTC)


This is how Wolfgang Schneider summed up the Wittmann myth:

The action of the 1st and 2nd Companies of the schwere SS-Panzerabteilung 101 was everything but awe-inspiring. SS-Panzerkorps propaganda then gave a decisively misleading account of it. How can this be explained? First, we have to remember that - unlike the Wehrmacht - the Waffen-SS did not have a experienced tank arm. Compared with the brilliant exploits of the «old» (Wehrmacht) panzer divisions, the Waffen-SS could not hope for similar successes. At a pinch, the II SS-Panzerkorps's action in Russia, in the southern sector, during Operation Zitadelle in July 1943, commands respect. So with Obersturmfuhrer Wittmann, Sepp Dietrich tried his utmost to manufacture a hero. On the Eastern front, the Knight's Cross was awarded for «kills», as were Oakleaves. This is all the more astonishing as, both in the Wehrmacht tank arm and among the tank destroyers, many soldiers had much higher scores. As we know, the legend of the "Second World War tank commander with the highest number of kills" has been kept up to this day. This judgement is completely wrong, in terms both of the actual score and the tactics employed! A competent tank company commander does not accumulate so many serious mistakes as Wittmann made.

From Page 159 Henri Marie's Villers Bocage, Normandy 1944. Heimdal 2003. ISBN 2840481731 Mjkenny (talk) 17:50, 29 April 2008 (UTC)


Proposed new morning section structure

Am thinking we should fully show both sides of what is recorded to have happened within the town ala the above discussion.

thus starting off with Wittmann mounting the tank, the warning given to the Rifle Brigade like what is currently there and then state something like there is two versions of what took place.

1) - Taylors version of events, as also supported/copied by forty 2) - Photographic evidence along with reports etc which dont all tally with the above two

thoughts? --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 12:54, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

I'm not so sure it would need two separate sections. I think that the contradictions can be incorporated into the narrative/footnote structure easily enough, along the lines of...
  • Keep the 1st para as is.
  • Combine the 3rd & 4th paras and move it up one to read "Wittman and his crew were eventually forced to abandon their Tiger..."
  • Continue this para along the lines of "Accounts vary as to the exact details of Wittman's disengagement." and continue with the 2nd para account that relies on Dyas' version.
  • Complete the para with the alternative version based on Wittman's account of where his tank was disabled, and rely on ATB 132 as the source which allows inclusion of a discussion about photographic evidence.
This covers the pertinent info without distracting from an article which is after all about the almost day long battle of V-B, not how/where Wittman's tank was disabled. Elegant? --FactotEm (talk) 14:32, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
It was just a quick thought before, yea if it can be kept in one simple section and it all covered and referanced then yea i dont see any problems with that :)
I also agree that we should not distract from the what the battle is, as you said a day long battle and not a 15 minute (tops) action. As far as am aware there is nothing too controversal about what happened in the afternoon, the majoirty of condtrictory reports are surrounding the morning and Wittmann.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:11, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

Handling Wittman's disengagement in the Morning action section

I've updated this section to reflect the discussion about where Wittman's Tiger was disabled. It still needs work to tidy up the prose, but it would be useful to have confirmation that the section now covers the salient points. If I can get this then I'll revisit the narrative to tidy it up. My main concern now is that it might be an unnecessarily detailed digression. It might be better handled by simply stating in the main article that Wittman was forced to abandon his tank having destroyed x number of vehicles, and move the discussion of the disputed accounts to the footnotes. --FactotEm (talk) 07:34, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

Plans section

Ive just edited the article so that the British and German forces section are now subsections of a newly created one. Its only a temp name so please change it to something more fitting.

I have created the order of battle for the battle and placed it on its own page so i will be cutting down these two subsections soon.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 10:58, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

information placeholder

Just storing information here for use at a later date, information removed from infobox:



28 carriers or halftracks[1]
27 tanks and 3 Scout Cars[2][3]
1st Rifle Brigade:
80 men killed, wounded or captured[4]
1/7 Queens:
128 men killed, wounded or captured[5]
4CLY:
100 men killed, wounded or captured[6]
20 Cromwells, 4 Fireflys, 3 Honeys
5th RHA:
2 Cromwell OP, 1 Sherman OP



2nd Panzer Division:
Unknown
1Panzer Lehr Division:
3-9 Panzer IV[7]

s.SS-Pz. Abt. 101:
6 Tiger I knocked out[8]
1 Tiger I damaged[9]
23 men killed and wounded[10]

Corps numbering

The official history of the Canadian Army is available for free download

http://www.dnd.ca/dhh/collections/books/engraph/details_e.asp?BfBookLang=1&BfId=29&cat=7

It uses arabic numerals for the British corps designations. Bear in mind this is a military document, not a "popular" history. If an actual Commonwealth Army's official history is making use of the sensible "30th Corps" nomenclature, why are we using the confusing Roman numeral "XXX Corps" nomenclature? I would propose changing this to bring it inline with all the other designations (i.e. division and army designations) and also improve readability, as well as matching the practice of the actual military! I also have official contemporary documents from 1st Canadian Army that show "1st Corps" "2nd Corps" etc. was commonly used rather than Roman numerals. The latter seem to be more affectation among scholars than actual military usage.139.48.25.61 (talk) 19:08, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Roman numbers for Corps are used in US and German military documents; it's not just a scholastic affectation. I didn't think roman numbers were used in British military documents, so I am OK with changing *British* Corps numbers in any article to arabic numerals. But US and German Corps should be referred to as they were designated by their own Armies. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 19:18, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
I believe it is also the case that British usage is e.g. "30 Corps" not "30th Corps" etc. DMorpheus (talk) 19:22, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
Depends what document you seem to read, it would appear to be whatever style suits the author.
Ellis the counterpart of Stacey, who wrote the NW Europe campaign history for the British, uses Roman numerals (its not a ""popular" history"). Roman numerals are also used by the authors from Sandhurst (the British military acdemy) in there Battle zone Normandy titles.
Looking on the MOD website doing a search for 30 Corps find nothing while XXX Corps brings up information about the actual formation.
FM's Monty and Silm in there memoirs use Arabic numerals however FM Brooke uses Roman (to throw some "historical" useage in too, FM Haig uses Roman in his memoirs).
The Corps Official historys published post war for VIII and XXX Corps are called "8 Corps..." and "30 Corps....".
On top of all that, DMorpheus is correct that British usage drops the "st" or "th" when using Arabic numerals.
So with there appearring to be no set guideline, everyone from various ranks using either and myself seeing most authors use Roman (from the "popular histoys") over Arabic - i perfer the former.
All in all it seems to be making changes for the sake of it when there is no big deal.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:01, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
*If* there is no convention in offical British army documents then I agree with you - it would be a pointless change. If there is a convention in offical documents that is cearly favored we should follow it. This is the sort of thing that nmost armies will specify to be done one way or the other. I myself do not know; I suspect, based on my reading of British authors, that the arabic form is the convention. But we shouldn't go by what we suspect ;)

Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 19:53, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Precisley, there appears to be no convention in published material (which is what the Canadian OH is like the British one, they are not official military documents they are contracted historian teams within the army to produce "an official history" of events). I havnet looked at that many actual documents i.e. documents kept in the national archives so would not be able to advise further on which is used.
However, are such documents allowed to be used and is persoanal opinion from any active serving soldiers allowed to resolve such an issue as this (if it is one)?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:12, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
Good discussion. Point of order though - the Canadian Official Historian was not a contractor - he was a military officer - see C.P. Stacey. He was "on staff" as it were. :-) 139.48.25.61 (talk) 14:53, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, you have misunderstood me there. Major-General Playfair (lead author on the first 4 volumes of the Middle East series) and Major Ellis (lead author of the Victory in the West series) were also on staff and essentially the counterparts to Stacey as whoever wrote the American, Italian, NW, Aussie etc Official Histoys were. However these documents are not "military documents" they have been comissioned by there respected governments to create a national record and granted unrestricted access to documents, what they write is there own interpredation of the facts etc--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 16:11, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Great discussion. Some points in summary if I may be so bold:

  • The US and Germans definitely used Roman numberals during the Second World War. That use should be perpetuated here.
  • Current convention in the British Army is probably to use Roman numerals.
  • Contemporary Commonwealth convention seems to have been mixed.

Not sure where that leaves us. I've seen both used in contemporary accounts in British/Canadian. It may be worthwhile, if not done so already, simply making it a WP standard that all corps references are done in Roman numerals regardless.139.48.25.61 (talk) 14:57, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Silly quote box

For Christ’s sake get a move on! There’s a Tiger running alongside us fifty yards away!
Sergeant O’Connor, 1st Platoon, A Company, 1st Rifle Brigade.[11]

This is an extremely silly quote box.

  • There are no quotation marks, and no hard differentiation between where the quote ends and the attribution begins.
  • There is no context to the quote, as it doesn't describe the battle in any general or specific way. It seems like a word balloon one might find in a comic book.
  • It doesn't seem to match the intended use of quote boxes in other articles, which is to highlight some feature of the article or draw attention to a particular part of the discussion.

I'm struggling to see why it would be on the page. It seems like a cheap stunt to get people to read, sort of like those American "infotainment" shows that keep showing the same "highlight" clip before every commercial break to get you to keep tuning in so you'll watch the keynote interview scheduled during the last five minutes of the show.139.48.25.61 (talk) 19:17, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Disagree. I think it's quite an effective intro to the section, and relates directly to the events that are described in the first sentence. Quote marks are now supplied, though I would also prefer more differentiation between quoted text and source, but that appears to be a function of the quote box code. --FactotEm (talk) 20:25, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Recent Amendments

Erm, why are the dates back to front? Since this is an English story shouldn't they be 'day, month'?

One of the many things that are going to change in this article once Perch has been passed. Holding onto better source material now, and having a bunch already done, we should be able to get this one slapped into shape in no time. I may then decide to finally get around to finishing off Goodwood lol.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:36, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
I thought they were the right way round until recently?Keith-264 (talk) 21:07, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
Might have been, there has been quite a few changes to this one since i last had a punch at it.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 21:16, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

'German strategic success'? I thought it was an operational one? Keith-264 (talk) 16:17, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Sources make out that this was a major setback and that further operations had to be launched to capture Caen implying more of a strategical setback. Do we have any other sources that downplay the actions at V-B?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 16:17, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

I assume a German strategic success would be the defeat of the invasion. Foiling the attempt at manoeuvre warfare then stopping any more by digging in made the Allies fight closer to the beaches than they expected and this creates the analogies with Kursk and Cassino but the Allied strategy worked with some operational variations (I would have thought). I bet that Moltke (the elder) would have been quite complimentary about the Allied achievement and rated the German effort at containment as adequate but doomed. Keith-264 (talk) 16:36, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Actually that is a good point - a strategic success would have been something to the major benefit of the Germans; are we in agreement then that this should be changed to Operational victory for them?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 17:02, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

If the other punters agree. I'm rather curious as to what they think as I don't know how far my assumptions reflect the epistemology of the military trade in 1944. Consider that to me 'breakthrough' is synonymous with crossing the Seine and for others it means capturing Falaise.Keith-264 (talk) 19:45, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Criticisms

'Missed opportunity'? Isn't this the complaint of every armchair corporal? For as long as the Germans had the means to fight they fought. Manoeuvring them out of Caen failed because they had the fighting power to thwart the attempt. Had it succeeded the Germans would have still had the fighting power to contest an advance beyond Caen (as it turned out after Charnwood and Goodwood anyway). Shouldn't a judgement like this be based on opportunity cost rather than win-lose?Keith-264 (talk) 15:12, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

I agree with you, i recently bought Beevor's new book, on Overlord, and he implies Monty and Dempsey missed a huge opporunity to capture Caen during the Epsom offensive. I was rather shocked at what i read he basically stated the 11th Armour should have been kept in the bridgehead and mauled by the II SS Panzer Corps! The Critiscism section will be one of the last to be looked at but it will mostly echo Perch since historians comments seem to be one and the same i.e. V-B settled Perch so the same comments apply mostly. Although i agree with you - the Germans were planning on holding the Ridge to the south of Caen and mid point through the campaign couldnt care less about the city. I have that comment sourced somewhere so i might throw it in to even it out a bit?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 16:21, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

I've read a few reviews of Beevor's book which have made my heart sink - the same old crap that writers rather than historians knock out to fluff the American lay reader. Mind you I haven't forgiven him for his book on Crete so I'm biased. Doesn't Badsey have some irascible comments on amateurs poking their noses in?Keith-264 (talk) 16:29, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

To me the book is a rehash of the 80s and ignores all the progress made of the last 2 decades i.e. Hart, Taylor etc etc--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 17:04, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

German Losses

For 101. SS-Pz.Abt. Zetterling gives 37 tanks operational, 8 u/s on 1 Jun 44 and 15 operational and 21 u/s (6 'long term') on 16 Jun 44. I think this is a more authoritative source than Reynolds. The number operational tanks never rose above 20 for the rest of the campaign. "The first action for the battalion was the well-known fight around Villers-Bocage. The casualties 13 - 16 June amounted to 16 killed in action and 22 wounded. Nine Tigers were lost until 16 June." Keith-264 (talk) 20:59, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Does he give specific losses for the 13? As they did get there rears handed to them on the 14 and lost further tanks; unless you mean in regards to the comment about Reynolds calling the 14 June losses over the top?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 01:13, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

He says V-B was the first time they engaged. I assume that the losses were recorded on the 16th as they were a bit busy getting monstered beforehand. 16+22=38 (7 crews' worth). http://w1.183.telia.com/~u18313395/normandy/ has the OB's and tables of changes over the course of the campaign. From what I can see he demonstrates that claims of losses inflicted on German tank units were exaggerated if 'loss' means 'write-off' but not if it is taken to mean u/s. The tables for the units which engaged in the first fortnight show that servicability fell out of bed and in most units never recovered much after the Germans changed to static defence. I think that Zet is more reliable than Reynolds but the nomenclature seems to obscure the issue somewhat. If the number of Tigers available for action on 1 June was 37 and was 15 on the 16th, then 22 were u/s that day and only a maximum of another five were ever added to the number of serviceable Tigers in the campaign. For PzLehr he gives (for 1 Jun) 97 operational PzIV, 86 Panther and 40 JgdpzIV+StuG. By the 18th it is 29 PzIV, 23 Panther and ? JgdpzIV+StuG. Clearly in the first fortnight the German tank force declined rapidly and after that further losses were roughly balanced by the return of tanks from repair. Evidently the nature of the fighting must have changed for the Germans to have kept any tanks serviceable at all. Curious that Monty gets blamed for expecting a mobile armoured battle, then doing so well so quickly that the Germans had to stop engaging in one and go to ground instead and hardly any writer notices! I suppose that's the difference between a writer and a historian.Keith-264 (talk) 11:58, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

I completly agree with you in regards to the last points (you may want to check out Raising Churchill's Army, David French spends most of his introduction pointing out that farce!) however in regards to the number of runners Zet reports i dont think we can use that information in the article because we are told by mulptiple sources that the battalion had lost a huge number of their tanks to mechanical failures etc on the road march i.e. 3rd Coy was down to one tank! but Zet's table doesnt breakdown the info in regards to mechanical problems and combat damage i think we would be speculating; although we could throw in the info that by 16 June there was only 15 runners in the battalion, 21 in repair and nine tigers destroyed. I think the latter is a good idea, ill see where it can be fitted in.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 12:12, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
I have added in the piece of information in regards to the 101st losses and damaged tanks to the article in section 14 June.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 12:39, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

The thing I get from Zet is that the number of tanks available for action falls dramatically from 1st (i.e. 6th) Jun to 16th. Falls of serviceable tanks of 50, 67 and 75% must have had something to do with the start of the Allies' European tour. A loss in action from damage or destruction is a loss (from the point of view of serviceability), just as a breakdown en route (since it was the landings which led to the units being sent to Normandy and thus breaking down - isn't there mention of a report from Italy that the best way to get a Tiger is to make it move so it breaks down?). I had a look at that history forum and there's a debate about the validity of Zet's figures, which seems to be a matter of some people underplaying tank losses by confusing loss (destroyed) and lost temporarily for operations (damaged so u/s). His figures of serviceable tanks seem unambiguous - in ten days, the tank units which engaged the Anglo-Canadians lost at least half of their serviceable tanks to all causes and that it was this which led to a change in tactics from attack to defence and that this enabled those tank units to keep their remaining number of serviceable tanks fairly constant, until mobile warfare began again in early August, when they pretty much lost the lot. I expect that the same picture emerges with the IISSPzK when it engaged in Operation Epsom. Is the farce you mention the one where French points out that the Germans got shot to bits when they attacked even more comprehensively than the Anglo-Canadians?Keith-264 (talk) 13:52, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

Weasels

I was somewhat surprised that a comment of mine attracted the 'weasel' label. Rather than reverting the reversion I have added a rider. Stephen Badsey, Terry Copp and S A Hart I'd nominate as sceptics of the poor show school; Buckley not.Keith-264 (talk) 15:32, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

The form "Some X believe Y" is classic weasel wording.
I agree with Enigma that we are making too much of a brief point in an introductory section. I thought the original phrasing generally along the lines of "Historians believe the significance of the battle lies in the lost opportunity to take Caen early in the campaign" was good enough for the intro and could be explained and referenced more fully later in the article. No need to get too deep into it at this point.
Later in the article, by all means we should give names of those authors in each of the several camps. This is a controversial battle (which is partially why it gets edited so often) and deserves that treatment. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 16:49, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

"Historians generally agree that because of failures at the British divisional and corps command levels an early opportunity to capture Caen was squandered." I thought that the 'X generally agree' phrase was pov pushing which is why I changed it. the word 'squandered' also seemed a bit one-sided. I've had my two penn'orth though so you can change it back if you like.Keith-264 (talk) 17:46, 16 June 2009 (UTC) Copp, 'Fields of Fire' p.76, 'The humiliation of the Desert Rats, who lost more than a score of tanks to a single German Tiger, [ahem!] marked the postponement of further attempts to penetrate defences with armoured spearheads. A bridgehead had been established but different methods would be required to fight an enemy employing Panzer divisions to hold ground defensively.' Keith-264 (talk) 18:40, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Results

The results references cited in the infobox seem to all be concerned with losses of tanks etc. This makes some sense at the tactical level although it would be incomplete even at that level. But there are no references to the operational loss the Allies suffered. Surely that is the significance of this battle, not the loss of a few tanks and the tragic loss of people. If there were no larger operational or strategic significance, this would just be one more skirmish. But of course it was highly significant. DMorpheus (talk) 13:24, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

There's no consensus beyond the tactical result (and not all that much there) in the literature. Much of the 'squandered' conclusion seems to either be based on the questionable assumption that a success at V-B would have had more than tactical ramifications, such as the capture of Caen (although that also requires a belief in the 'eastern breakout thesis') or that a sharp defeat would have made the Germans retreat, when it appears that Normandy was the only place that the Germans could fight the Allies without being quickly annihilated. Much of the writing by proper historians over the last twenty years or so note that the Germans lacked the numbers, fuel, transport and air support to fight a mobile battle, something which V-B would have demonstrated to the 'easterners' in the German command structure. To my mind V-B was the moment when the Germans generally had to change their methods to avoid being crushed by Allied superiority. PzLehr and the other surviving divisions in Normandy were digging in to protect themselves before V-B, which was a tacit admission of defeat. Many would disagree but I think Bucknall was probably right to cut his losses, having inflicted a substantial amount of attrition on the forces in front of him.
DMorpheus am not sure what you expect to find in the infobox casualty section other than casualties; the citations used give a good indication of the tank losses on both sides but only provide information in regards to British personnel losses. German ones, as the note states, are not available.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:12, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
What I expected was some reference that contained statements about the tactical and operational outcomes of the battle. Instead there are references regarding tank (mostly) and personnel losses. My point is that losses are not a measure of anything except...losses. They are not a proxy for tactical win/loss nor a proxy for operational win/loss. History is full of examples of strategic victories won by the side that also took heavier losses - Kursk, Coral Sea, Jutland to name a few......so losses do not measure anything else.
If there is no consensus beyond tactical (and I agree completely with you that there isn't - thus the controversy) then let us not claim in the infobox anything beyond the tactical. Put "disputed" as the result and describe it in an aftermath/outcome-type section, with a full description of the controversy.
Just an aside, but the Germans were fighting the Allies in Italy at the time and were not being "quickly annihilated". They managed a fighting withdrawal from Sep 43 to April 45 quite nicely. "Digging in" is no admission of defeat, it is the first thing you do when you're ordered to defend.
Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 14:29, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Just to clarify my remarks, I am concerned about the "Result" section of the infobox, not the casualties section. DMorpheus (talk) 14:32, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
If you are concerned about the results section of the infobox why are you brining up personel and tank losses? The inline citations back up the statements made - Taylor confirms there was no tactical victory and the others make the point that the Germans stopped the operation and the possbility of capturing Caen. Why does that not seem suitable?
The main anyalsis section has gone much further into discussing the outcome of the battle, although there are still extra bits to add in there and maybe reorganise somewhat.
What controversy are you refering to?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:45, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Italy doesn't have much open ground between Foggia and Bologna, the terrain is Normandy plus. Consider Western Russia and the Polish plain Sep 43 to April 45 - the Germans made the best of river lines which when pierced led to them being routed like in Normandy.

The results were the losses and the relative effects they had on the contenders. Not much ground was gained, not much ground was lost. The British didn't lever PzLehr out of its positions and promenade into Caen and the Germans didn't push them into the sea. the qualitiative effects are matters of opinion which tend to follow the 'chronic caution' line or the 'skillful attrition' one. On top of that there is the politicking among the Allied management (Tedder et al) and the slightly more lethal manoeuvres around Hitler. Keith-264 (talk) 14:54, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

"If you are concerned about the results section of the infobox why are you brining up personel and tank losses? " Because that is what the references to that section show. That's my point - the references do not support the statements made in the infobox, to put it bluntly. They merely document losses. Losses are one aspect, but only one, of the outcome. DMorpheus (talk) 15:22, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
"Italy doesn't have much open ground...." Yes, thank you, I am well aware of that having walked much of it uphill both ways ;) . My point was a simple side remark; the claim was made "that Normandy was the only place that the Germans could fight the Allies without being quickly annihilated". That's just obviously not true so it cannot back any other claim. But let us avoid sidetracks. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 15:25, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Really? Hitler didn't think so. Where did the new front line form after the rout in Normandy? The Siegfried Line (i.e. a physical obstacle like the one the terrain in Normandy presented).Keith-264 (talk) 15:55, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

"The results were the losses and the relative effects they had on the contenders. Not much ground was gained, not much ground was lost. The British didn't lever PzLehr out of its positions and promenade into Caen and the Germans didn't push them into the sea. the qualitiative effects are matters of opinion which tend to follow the 'chronic caution' line or the 'skillful attrition' one. On top of that there is the politicking among the Allied management (Tedder et al) and the slightly more lethal manoeuvres around Hitler."
The results can be assessed at many levels: tactical, operational, strategic, political. I believe as it stands we are ignoring the operational and strategic levels or at least not treating them with the attention they deserve. Let's not fall into false dichotomies. There is much real analysis of this battle that need not have any political content. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 15:29, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

It's not a dichotomy, it's a paradox:-)Keith-264 (talk) 15:55, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

I will check the 4 citations when i get home but am pretty confident as it is now that they support a tactically inconclusive battle and that the Germans put a stop to an early attempt to capture Caen.
But again the infobox is for simple statements for quick reference the main body of the article has to deal with the meat of the situation, while there may be some extra things to add, it pretty much deals with both sides from the tactical side upwards.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:35, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

"Really? Hitler didn't think so. Where did the new front line form after the rout in Normandy? The Siegfried Line (i.e. a physical obstacle like the one the terrain in Normandy presented).Keith-264 (talk) 15:55, 23 June 2009 (UTC)"

Nonsense. We're getting sidetracked into irrelevant conversations but this is nonsense. The Germans fought in Italy and were not "quickly annihilated". They fought in the Hurtgen forest and were not "quickly annihilated". They fought in the Netherlands and were not "quickly annihilated". They stood at the west wall also. In some places it was an obstacle; in others it wasn't. It was pierced with very little effort by the US 5th Armored Division and other units even before Market-Garden was launched. Physical obstacles are force multipliers, not magic bullets. The Rhine was bounced at least twice too. In Normandy, some of the terrain was excellent for defense (the low-lying pays-bocage and the Orne river / Caen canal area) and other areas favored the attacker. This has little to do with the article point we're on. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 16:24, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Try to mind your manners Morphy, you're not at home. The Germans made defensive stands (1943-1945) where terrain was conducive for defence - the mountains of Italy, the bocage of Normandy (which let them split their forces) and river lines in Eastern Europe and the western approaches to Germany. Where could the Germans fight in France outside Normandy where the front line would be that short, where the Allies were cramped for room and their advantage in numbers and mobility could be frustrated? What areas of Normandy favoured the attacker? As I wrote, 'Hitler didn't think so'. Keith-264 (talk) 17:39, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Ok in regards to the citations:
Tactically inconclusive, both pages Taylor makes that claim. Will check the rest later.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 16:54, 23 June 2009 (UTC)


Mind my manners???? Your entire line of discussion here is (at best) peripheral to the point we are discussing and relies on an incorrect generalization. Of course the Germans defended where the terrain favored defense. What else would you expect them, or any army, to do? Who cares what Hitler thought?
The question under discussion is how the results are described and referenced, not on the history of german defensive doctrine. DMorpheus (talk) 18:17, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Sulky wulky. I don't have a line of discussion, I'm trying to help you catch up with twenty years of scholarshipKeith-264 (talk) 18:51, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

The Wilmot ref is fine, the D'Este ref is fine and likewise for Reynolds none talk about "tanks and people". The pages cited all talk about the operational setback the Germans had inflicted on the British so whats the problem?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 19:55, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Sulky wulky. I don't have a line of discussion, I'm trying to help you catch up with twenty years of scholarshipKeith-264 (talk) 18:51, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the attack; let's stick to the issues shall we? Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 15:35, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

Stop having a go and I will stop retorting.Keith-264 (talk) 18:02, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

The issue being? Please see my above post, i am failing to see what the issue is.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 16:08, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Pg254 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Forty, Pg 78
  3. ^ 4CLY War Diaries
  4. ^ Taylor, Pg 85. Major Hastings, Pg 352 also states casualties as 80, he also mentions that additional 30 men were missing but eventually returned to allied lines
  5. ^ Forty, Pg 78 states the overall losses for the battalion. Taylor, Pg 85 shows the actual number of men killed from this battalion as only 7 men
  6. ^ 4CLY War Diary, casualties broken down into 4 killed,8 wounded,88 missing (presumably captured)
  7. ^ Sources vary: The 4CLY war Diary claim 3 MK IV. Taylor tallys all British claims for MK IV destroyed and arrives at 4 (1/7 claim 1 with PIATs, 4CLY claim 3). Ian Patersons website claims 8 MK IVs lost. Fortin claims 15 MK IV and VI lost at Villers-Bocage, if we deduct the confirmed 6 Tiger losses this would leave 9 MK IVs lost.
  8. ^ Forty Pg 65. Taylor, Pg 76. Wilmot Pg 309 quotes Fritz Bayerlein who admits the lost of 6 MK VIs that day
  9. ^ Taylor, Pg 76
  10. ^ Meyer, Pg 237, broken down into 11 killed and 11 men wounded. Taylor Pg 85, casualties broken down into 10 killed, 13 wounded
  11. ^ Cite error: The named reference FortyPg57 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).