Fred "Buck" Kite MM** in 1944

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keith A
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Fred "Buck" Kite MM** in 1944

Post by keith A » 06 Apr 2020 13:01

Fred Kite was a famous tanker in WW2, winning three Military Medals. I am interested in the two occasions he is stated to have engaged enemy tanks in close combat.

In the first, during Operation Goodwood (July 18-19 1944) according to his squadron commander Bill Close, he knocked out two ATG (88mm?) guns before destroying two SPGs. He then led his troop to destroy two Panthers (not sure whether Close means Kite destroyed the Panthers or the troop did). This event is pared down however in his medal citation "When the Squadron was held up by two enemy tanks and two 88 mm guns on the high ground at Bras, this NCO by clever use of the ground pressed forward under heavy anti-tank fire and knocked out one Mark IV tank, one Panther and one of the 88s..."

The next occasion (3 August)s often recounted as him destroying a Tiger tank and four Panthers however Kite himself is less certain and his citation is equally muted "Sgt KITE kept his own tank in action and secured at least 5 hits on the enemy tanks at short range before his own tank was hit and he himself was seriously wounded." According to Kite

‘I managed to halt the two tanks I’d first seen – they got out of it but whether they were hit or whether they had reversed out of the fields on to the road I don’t know. In any case, by this time three more had appeared. We fired so many shots at these three Jerries that I ran out of armour-piercing and started to use HE which wasn’t a great deal of use against armour but was better than nothing."

Theerfore he fired at the first two tanks which then disappeared and then used up all his AP shells and a few HE as well on the remaining three, but he doesn't claims them as being either "k.o'd" or "brewed up". He changed tank (to the troop's Firefly) later in the battle and continued to fire on the enemy but does not appear to have done substantial damage before his Sherman Firefly was hit, and he was wounded.

My questions are:

What actually happened during the first encounter. Were the enemy SPGs of tanks.

Was he officially credited with the tank kills on 3 August?

regards

Keith

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