So, let's have give this report a bit more thought - and perhaps flip bits on the head.

a) Lack of use of binocs/reliance on cupola/less awareness of incoming fire/losing nerve.

British tank comds tended to unbutton to fight. So their cas rate is higher... /1
#WW2 #SWW #History
Once you seal yourself inside a metal box you lose a huge amount of senses, that said you are less likely to become a casualty to arty/mortar fire etc.

This isn't particularly surprising, but does perhaps indicate German crew should have been more willing to unbutton. /2
But again, there is this key cultural difference between British and German approaches - that underpins a).

Losing nerve is harder to judge, but numerous German tanks were KOed around Rauray so it's likely confidence was undermined & unexpected losses shook tank crews. /3
b) Probably German doctrine! Be static and aim for quick KO of enemy over manoeuvre. Panther's in theatre reliability at this point was pretty garbage. Mechanical failure saw Panthers repeatedly stutter out around Rauray and get KOed in crap positions. /3
Comment about bailing from 75mm HE ? Well... they were probably suitably shaken up by HE & suffered some internal catastrophe. HE bails fairly common.

c) You don't get no kill confirmation in real life. Fire helps.

d) A general shift to HE over AP against front armour... /4
This was part of a more common trend and appears effective, as the aim was to just throw crew inside around a bit/damage optics etc.

e) No point plinking away if you just reveal your position to get knocked and can't KO target. /5
f) Meaty one. Fire and manoeuvre helped 24th Lancers appear move numerically superior, repeatedly frustrating German tank crews. Just as they solved one tactical puzzle, another presented itself. Numerous KOed tanks/anti-tank guns were also used as lures etc. /6
This also points to German doctrine adherence, remaining static & engaging targets to guarantee quick KO. Indecision points to slow adaption in theatre, as the terrain in Normandy doesn't really fit what they've trained for. It takes several weeks for them to adapt. /7
British crews have to be patient and wait for quarry to move, then when they do so - exploit the window and engage side/rear armour.

The funny thing is... many elements of this report mimic elements of German comments about Allied tank crews!/8
It's further material that indicates German tank crew DID struggle to adapt to conditions in Normandy & pretty rigidly adhered to doctrine.

Also spicy pointers at why both sides set out to burn out AFVs - thus proving kill. /thread

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More from @ReassessHistory

12 Mar
There is so much written about 12th SS-Panzer that it is *very* easy to cobble a book together on them.

It'd take me a few weeks to do, esp if you solely rely on secondary forces.

Their photo record is also extensive, making things *much* simpler. /1
#WW2 #SWW #History
One of the key problems in military history, and history in general, is that researching/writing on new topics is exhaustively time and resource intensive.

At one stage my book's comprehensive biography (pre-edits) was something like 60+ pages of A4 in Times New Roman 10. /2 Image
Hundreds upon hundreds of archival sources, tens of thousands of files within, and I suspect maybe a million pages of read material - before considering secondary sources.

Just to write a book about 53rd Welsh Division who were effectively erased from the Normandy campaign. /3 Image
Read 13 tweets
15 Feb
Proud standards rolled up.
Fade to black.

Issue No 54, July '09, appears to be N.V.A. News' final ed, core newsletter for the Normandy Veterans' Association.

E. Slater's (editor) comments are particularly poignant as ultimately legacy was lacking. /1
#WW2 #SWW #History #DDay80
The NVA went from being a proud, national organisation to melting away like chaff in a handful of years by 2014 as age took the members & left no obvious successor organisation.

The NVA died a very slow death with some branches hanging on for several years after last parade.../2
this was further compounded by comparatively few branch collections ending up in regional or national archives, meaning many accounts have been lost a second time round.

The Spirit of Normandy Trust is a successor but lacks the clout of it's illustrious predecessor. /3
Read 12 tweets
14 Feb
UK taxpayers throw nearly 1/2 bn A YEAR at DCMS-funded nationals who do little engagement & increasingly seek to lock their publicly owned collections/archives etc behind closed doors.

This is why we get bad history.

Funding reform is needed.

Not this.
#Museums #Heritage
This entire shambles is an exceptionally painful episode in how little Dowden appears to understand his portfolio, UK Heritage PLC and the creative sector in general.

I mean that DCMS has little control over institutions they substantially fund must be frustrating.
These organisations are nebulous corpo-QUANGOs often operating under a veil of dozens of subsidiary companies and various additional charities/trusts to stow away comfortable rainy day funds with director salaries frequently above the PM's own!
Read 5 tweets
4 Feb
Stretcher Bearers - not Medics

A glance at British and Canadian SBs in Normandy. /1
#WW2 #SWW #History Image
tldr: the british army favoured rapid casevac, two stretcher bearers run the gauntlet with their stretcher, pop casualty on stretcher (probs already had a dressings applied to wounds by mates) then race them back to a collection point for ambulances to take back to RAP or hosp /2 Image
This was generally felt preferable to in-field treatment by medics not least as 21st Army Group boasted arguably the most advanced medical infrastructure in the world, staffed by exceptionally talented and creative surgical and nursing staff. /3 Image
Read 23 tweets
28 Jan
Rhino Barges

One of the dullest, coolest, more bizarre and fascinating pieces of kit used in Normandy.



#WW2 #SWW #History
Planning for Overlord and Neptune had a serious snag, how to get troops from LSTs onto the beach as simply ramming them onto the beaches and dropping the ramp was known to damage the exceptionally vulnerable LSTs and felt to be unsustainable in the mid to long term. /2
LSTs were essential in sustaining Overlord's progress and were a subject of major headaches in the planning phase, and a real subject of friction when it came to launching additional amphibious operations such as Dragoon.

A single LSTs loss represented a capability nick. /3
Read 14 tweets
27 Jan
So what were conditions like in Hamburg in 1945?

A thread for #HolocaustMemorialDay

53rd Welsh Division arrived in the city to find it in complete ashen ruins from the firebombing, only one building - the Atlantic Hotel - still stood. /1

#WW2 #SWW #History
There were over 400 camps around the city, containing around 100,000 malnourished, half-starved and desperately ill slave workers drawn from across Europe.

With obliterated infrastructure & filthy conditions, the scale of humanitarian crisis was overwhelming. /2
Of course for many liberation came too late.

Eduard, Elisabeth, and Alexander Hornemann of Eindhoven.

Elisabeth died of typhus in Auschwitz.

The two boys were subject to tuberculosis experiments at Neuengamme. /3
Read 13 tweets

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