Picking up those brushes again.

Hi and welcome to the occasional mutterings of Dave Doc, a military modeller and some time gamer. Gaming and model making has given me a real education, History & Geography(obvious really), Artistry, Politics, Economics, Logistics, Project Management -you try building miniature armies without the last 3.

I will use the blog to record my creations & the odd occasion I actually do some gaming.

I have always been inspired by the aesthetic side of gaming. Playing on well constructed terrain using excellently painted units is always a joy.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

A Norman Adventure part 3 - Gold Beach

Managed another day out exploring, This time taking in the area of Gold Beach . Led by the tanks of the 79th Armoured Division -(Hobarts Funnies) and the Royal Dragoon Guards, three brigades of the 50th British Infantry Division came ashore here. .


First up was the casemate WN37 at Asnelles which housed a 88mm A/T gun which was sited to fire along the beach toward Ver Sur Mer with the gun embrasure being protected from frontal fire and observation by a reinforced concrete screen.
We visited at around low tide as per D Day and the width of exposed beach to be covered from the landing craft is some distance. The Germans had however expected a landing at high tide to give the shortest distance and hence the guns had a limited traverse and angle of fire. The rising tide allows the sea to lift off any stranded landing craft and allowed the obstacles to be tackled and destroyed before further landing waves arrived - and was another element of surprise for the allies. WN37 was still able to destroy 6 tanks on the beach before being knocked out by a self propelled 25lb gun armed Sexton under command of Sergeant R.E. Palmer 147th Field Regt (Essex Yeomanry) from a distance of 300 yards. I had to do my own personal invasion from the sea across the beach. Certainly makes you think.

Immediately out to sea from WN37 can be seen the remains of the Pheonix caissons of the eastern end of "Port Winston"  the Mulberry Harbour. These are a site to behold with the huge structures still sitting in the sea in a massive curve around to Arromanches. The effort involved in planning and construction of the Mulberry Harbour was immense , and very ingenious.



The view from the next casemate along on the higher ground  towards Arromanches - from WN38 really starts to give a sense of the scale

At Arromanches there are more remains on the beach of the floating piers carried by the Beetle pontoons

We pushed on inland to Crepon driving through narrow lanes with high walls - it seems not much has changed I could see the old films in my minds eye. 

We were in search of the memorial to the Green Howards - my local regiment -well until it finally succumbed to amalgamation - now part of the Yorkshire Regiment. In the village of Crepon stands the life size statue of Company Sgt Major Stanley Hollis, VC, near the site of the second action he performed on D-Day for which he was later awarded his Victoria Cross.


Hollis has been called up in 1939, been evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940 - earning his sergeant stripes there.He fought on through North Africa, and was wounded in Sicily at Primasole Bridge. 

For his actions on D Day he was awarded the Victoria Cross. The only one that day - and one of 5 in the Normandy campaign.

His VC citation reads
in Normandy on 6 June 1944 Company Sergeant-Major Hollis went with his company commander to investigate two German pill-boxes which had been by-passed as the company moved inland from the beaches. "Hollis instantly rushed straight at the pillbox, firing his Sten gun into the first pill-box, He jumped on top of the pillbox, re-charged his magazine, threw a grenade in through the door and fired his Sten gun into it, killing two Germans and taking the remainder prisoners. 

Later the same day... C.S.M. Hollis pushed right forward to engage the field gun with a PIAT from a house at 50 yards range... He later found that two of his men had stayed behind in the house...In full view of, the enemy who were continually firing at him, he went forward alone...distract their attention from the other men. Under cover of his diversion, the two men were able to get back.

Wherever the fighting was heaviest he appeared, displaying the utmost gallantry... It was largely through his heroism and resource that  the Company's objectives were gained and casualties were not heavier. ....he saved the lives of many of his men.

the Imperial War Museum and the Green Howards Museum have a recording of CSM Hollis talking about war and D Day experiences - well worth a listen if you if get the chance.


Lastly we moved further inland to the higher ground at Ryes and visited the British Cemetery cemetery which was the site of the the first burials after D Day.



It was a grand day out - and we even managed to drive back home via Villers Bocage - but that's another story.

8 comments:

  1. You certainly seem to be having a fantastic break. Judging by the photographs you seem to be missing all the horrendous weather too!

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  2. I served in the Essex Yeomanry in the 1980s & Sgt Palmers exploits were still recounted then!

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  3. What an ideal holiday you are having Dave. I am going to have to drop a few hints to the wife. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. A fantastic trip, I can see. Very interesting places.

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  5. Very interesting Dave, I went to many of those gun emplacements etc in the 70s as a boy on a family holiday. Great to see they're still there!

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  6. Fabulous stuff, Dave. Thanks very much for posting this.

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  7. I rarely get out of my neighborhood...and look where you are...must be a great experience.
    My uncle (my fathers twin brother) was at Normandy while my father was at Iwo Jima

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Work in hand

The RULES!

No more than 3 things on the PAINTING table at once. Nothing new added until something is finished.

PREPARATION work is done when I don't fancy detail painting. Cleaning up, converting, undercoating etc.

PLANNING is expressions of interest or things that have inspired me to be created with no definite timescale as yet.


On the PAINTING TABLE
10mm ACW, 28mm Stradiots

On the PREPATION table.
ACW Terrain, Egyptian and Sudanese troops for the Sudan

In the PLANNING
Death in the Dark continent stuff
Pulp Alley