45th Division and Seelöwe/Sea Lion

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Leros87
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Re: 45th Division and Seelöwe/Sea Lion

Post by Leros87 » 29 Dec 2021 23:37

Brock Force was responsible for Brighton and had its eastern flank ran from Saltdean to Falmer and was responsible for Rottingdean. The Force had near Rottingdean comprised the following:
2 Lothian and Border Horse (HQ at Ditchling, sqns at Preston, Upper Beeding and Stanmer); 352 Bty of 88 Army Field Regt RA at Rottingdean (Regt had 18 75mm and 6 4.5inch there and Brighton), part of 41 Survey Training Regt RA in an infantry role in Brighton;
50 Queens at Roedean and covering Rottingdean.

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Re: 45th Division and Seelöwe/Sea Lion

Post by Huszar666 » 30 Dec 2021 08:06

Morning,

I put the Artillery from the 1st London-thread here. Since it concerns mostly 45th Div. A big Thanks! to Knouterer!
56th Heavy Regt. (WO 166/1883):

Created Jan. 1940, parent regt. 64th Field.
21.1.40: “Major C.R.M. Hutchinson, D.S.O., M.C. posted as C.O. 56th Heavy Regt.”
On the 10th of May, the Regt came under operational control of the 134th Inf Brigade, 45th Division. Normally you would not expect a Heavy Regt to be attached to an infantry brigade, but since they had few guns as yet the gunners were mostly used to guard “Vulnerable Points” (V.P.s), to provide “mobile platoons”, and such.

According to the War Diary (WO 166/1883), the RHQ was at Bexhill until 5 Aug. and then moved to Hole Park, Rolvenden, Kent. At the end of Sept., the batteries were positioned as follows, going from West to East:

A Battery: 2x6in at Windmill Hill (indicated at the top of Schenk’s Karte 5) to cover Pevensey Marshes, BHQ at Normanhurst Court, Catsfield (six miles/9.7 km) north of Bexhill and three miles (5 km) southwest of Battle according to Wikipedia). The two other guns of this bty were apparently all the way over in Wingham, Kent, at that time (Kingsdown on the coast south of Deal according to Lofting).

D Battery: 2x9.2in at Picknill Green (2.5 km north of Cooden Beach), 2x9.2in at “Siddeley Green”, (presumably the place usually spelled “Sidley Green”, just north of Bexhill, also about 2.5 km from the shoreline). BHQ? Range 13,935 yds/12,740 m.
These guns covered (parts of) the landing zone of the 34th I.D. It is not clear to me why they were so far forward; with a range of 12,740 m and a traverse of only 60° they would have covered a much wider sector if they had been positioned further back (like the 9.2ins of B battery). Perhaps the idea was to engage enemy vessels rather than troops landing on the beach. Or perhaps more likely, they were sited at an angle to fire along the beaches instead of straight ahead.

B Battery: 2x8in at Alfriston (covering Cuckmere Haven), 2x9.2in at Peasmarsh and Aldington, BHQ at Pelham Farm, Peasmarsh.
The howitzer at Peasmarsh covered the Camber-Rye-Winchelsea sector. Aldington is eight miles (12 km) south-east of Ashford; “set on a hill top above Romney Marsh, the village offers breathtaking views over the marsh”, according to Wikipedia. This howitzer could lob its 290lb/132 kg shells just over Dymchurch on anybody attempting to land in that sector.

C Battery: 2x6in at Udimore, 2x6in at Westenhanger (north of Lympne), BHQ at Winchelsea View, Udimore. These guns had a range of 17,140 m and the guns at Udimore were intended to cover the western side of the Dungeness peninsula up to the Hope & Anchor Inn.

Ammunition situation: not so bad apparently. On 3.6.1940 a train arrived at Tenterden Station with ammunition for the Regt: 1350 x 6in, 280 x 9.2in, 360 x 8in. The 56th had so few vehicles that a R.A.S.C. M/T company had to transport the shells to the gun positions.
The pictures show a 9.2in how and a 6in gun of the 56th near Hastings in May, according to the IWM captions. According to the Official Return (WO 73/146) strength of the regiment was 31 officers and 805 ORs at the end of Sept., slightly over W/E.
Also do not forget 31 Infantry Brigade Group, which is where you will find your 1 Royal Ulster Rifles, along with the 2 Souths Staffordshires, 2 Oxs and Bucks, 75 Field Regiment RA (24 25-pounder), and 223 AT Battery RA (12 2-pounder).
I hope, I will purge the 31st Bde from memory. You can disregard it for all purposes, since it arrived at the RMC days after the last possible landing date. :D

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Re: 45th Division and Seelöwe/Sea Lion

Post by Richard Anderson » 30 Dec 2021 08:33

Huszar666 wrote:
30 Dec 2021 08:06
I hope, I will purge the 31st Bde from memory. You can disregard it for all purposes, since it arrived at the RMC days after the last possible landing date. :D
Actually, 24 September was the last possible landing date. :D The leading elements were probably pulling into Ashford that evening and I suspect the brigade closed there the following morning. It was a fully equipped Regular Army brigade after all, so a 80-odd mile motor march should not have been too big a problem.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Huszar666
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Re: 45th Division and Seelöwe/Sea Lion

Post by Huszar666 » 30 Dec 2021 13:06

Actually, 24 September was the last possible landing date. :D The leading elements were probably pulling into Ashford that evening and I suspect the brigade closed there the following morning. It was a fully equipped Regular Army brigade after all, so a 80-odd mile motor march should not have been too big a problem.
As far as I remember, the Bde showed up only on the 27th, so a few days after the last possible date :D
The point being, the Bde was somewhere else, and can not directly counted for the first day(s). Unfortunately a lot of people think the Bde was already there for a lot of time, and do count it against the very first wave.

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Re: 45th Division and Seelöwe/Sea Lion

Post by Gooner1 » 30 Dec 2021 13:57

Huszar666 wrote:
29 Dec 2021 20:15
Yeah, that was probably the last time a continental power bothered with landing in the UK. :)
No, that was a raid not a landing. The Dutch landing came twenty years later - in Devon.

There were many invasions planned by France and allies during the second hundred years war - 1744, 1759, 1798, 1805 - and probably more.
One even succeeded in landing, at Fishguard, Wales, in 1797, though that didn't end well for them.

That would probably lead to some interesting power-relations.
However, I do feel a bit suspicios, since 1st London had a pletorha of training units, and even Brocforce had quite a few of them, but the only mention for the 45th Division I found was that strange "AT Training Center" at Eastbourne - which may or may not be the same as the equially strange "Downsforce". May I hazard the opinion that there were some (unrecorded and unknown) training units within 45th Div too, and in particular in the territory of 134th Bde?
I think Downsforce probably became the Brigade reserve force, with, perhaps, their patrolling activities taken on by the local infantry battalion as they were posted more men and acquired more transport.
Apart from Lydd Ranges, which was and is a live firing range for the army, I don't think there were any permanent army establishments in 45th Div. area, so few training troops.

Early in the period there were definitely Canadian Pioneers in the area, working on the defences, planting pipe mines etc. Dunno if they were still there come September. Other military personnel in the area but recorded in different files are the R.A.F. in the radar stations and whatever airfields, if any, there were, Anti-Aircraft troops with guns - under R.A.F. command - and Royal Navy personnel of which, I seem to recall, there were nearly 500 in Newhaven.

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Re: 45th Division and Seelöwe/Sea Lion

Post by Richard Anderson » 30 Dec 2021 18:55

Huszar666 wrote:
30 Dec 2021 13:06
As far as I remember, the Bde showed up only on the 27th, so a few days after the last possible date :D
The point being, the Bde was somewhere else, and can not directly counted for the first day(s). Unfortunately a lot of people think the Bde was already there for a lot of time, and do count it against the very first wave.
I think that would have been the date the final units closed in their new area, but I have never seen a confirmation that I can recall...like much about the British deployments it is nebulous, part of the snapshots of where, when, and what were available.

Whatever the date, the order from Brooke and the brigade's movement demonstrate the British did have resources aside from those units in the beach defenses. Even before the arrival of 31 Brigade in Ashford, the New Zealand "Division" and MILFORCE were well disposed to either counterattack airborne forces landed north of the RMC, move to reinforce the defense of the RMC and beaches, or counterattack forces landed by sea from Folkestone to Dungeness. They were perhaps no more than an hour away from those missions.

Then of course there was VII Corps in reserve, massed west of London between Oxford and Redhill, four to eight hours away..
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Huszar666
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Re: 45th Division and Seelöwe/Sea Lion

Post by Huszar666 » 30 Dec 2021 21:55

Morning,

It does make a HUGE difference, if a whole Bde is there on the RMC from the get-go, or if said Bde is a day's march away. Could mean the difference the Germans reaching Ashord, or get bogged down on the RMC. :wink:
They were perhaps no more than an hour away from those missions.
A bit over one hour for the leading elements. After they left Ashford. Remember, this isn't a RTS-game, where you got a ping on the minimap and know instantly what and where it is happening.

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Re: 45th Division and Seelöwe/Sea Lion

Post by Richard Anderson » 31 Dec 2021 00:23

Huszar666 wrote:
30 Dec 2021 21:55
Morning,

It does make a HUGE difference, if a whole Bde is there on the RMC from the get-go, or if said Bde is a day's march away. Could mean the difference the Germans reaching Ashord, or get bogged down on the RMC. :wink:
Well, yes, of course it does, but that is supposing the RMC is totaling undefended, that the possibly two battalions of Fallschirmjäger are totally successful, and that a major part of the first echelon gets ashore intact...and even then that is at best a portion of those 5,000 or so lightly-armed troops that might head for Ashford. :wink:
A bit over one hour for the leading elements. After they left Ashford. Remember, this isn't a RTS-game, where you got a ping on the minimap and know instantly what and where it is happening.
Oh, you think I am a gamer RTS-gaming this? :lol:
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: 45th Division and Seelöwe/Sea Lion

Post by Huszar666 » 31 Dec 2021 09:05

Morning, folks,
Well, yes, of course it does, but that is supposing the RMC is totaling undefended, that the possibly two battalions of Fallschirmjäger are totally successful, and that a major part of the first echelon gets ashore intact...and even then that is at best a portion of those 5,000 or so lightly-armed troops that might head for Ashford.
18th RF is there and some odds and ends. End of course, 2nd NZ had one of its objectives as regaining the RMC.
As for the German part, I don't think they would have ever launched the operation, even if the LW would be successful, Hitler giving the go-ahead, and the weather was good. The same folks, who would whine about rain, snow, mud, cold, clouds a year later, and that the Quartermaster-staff not bringing forth enough stuff (oops, the frontline troops failed to take two very important cities and the railways leading up there, and there was nowhere to bring stuff forward to?) would never launch the operation. They will blame everything on weather, wind, waves, not enough barges till 1945.
Since the whole spiel was (in my opinion) a huge bluff.
But we are getting sidetracked :D
Oh, you think I am a gamer RTS-gaming this?
No, I don't. However, a lot of people don't take into account inertia. In the opening stages of operations it mostly took around six hours to get the situation straight and get the reserves rolling. The Soviets even took days.

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Re: 45th Division and Seelöwe/Sea Lion

Post by Richard Anderson » 31 Dec 2021 18:54

Huszar666 wrote:
31 Dec 2021 09:05
They will blame everything on weather, wind, waves, not enough barges till 1945.
Since the whole spiel was (in my opinion) a huge bluff.
Probably. However, my opinion is that the planning and preparation were real, but the realization set in that all the planning and preparation was likely useless, given the improvisational nature of the preparations, British naval superiority, and practical British air parity. The decision to delay/cancel was probably more rational than the decision to go forward though I suspect.
But we are getting sidetracked :D
:welcome: again... :lol:

However, good analysis never stays strictly in its lane, which is part of what makes good analysis good.
No, I don't. However, a lot of people don't take into account inertia. In the opening stages of operations it mostly took around six hours to get the situation straight and get the reserves rolling. The Soviets even took days.
For sure, and you could easily take as a case in point the inertia that beset 21. Panzer on 6 June. It had a relatively simple 50 to 60 kilometer motor march to get to its jumping off points. It was alerted at 0035 for possible invasion, at 0645 HG-B released it to 7. Armee, was attached to LXXXIV. AK by 7. Armee at 0700...but did not complete closing into its assembly areas ready for the attack until 1600 and did not begin the attack until 1620.

However, that is an extreme case. The division CG was absent and out of contact. Intelligence on Allied naval movements was absent or contradictory. Air, naval, and electronic reconnaissance was minimal and what minimal information was received included deliberate deception. Overall, operational intelligence gathering and analysis by the Germans was notably poor, with the interesting exception of meteorological intelligence, which was excellent, better assessing the weather than the Allies, but also leading the Germans to the wrong conclusion regarding the chance of invasion.

Then, the Allies had a massive and consistent plan for road interdiction, air and naval superiority, purpose designed landing craft and ships, considerable experience in shore to shore and ship to shore amphibious operations, and a unified and reasonably non-politicized command structure.

I simply do not see that in the British/German situation in September 1940. Certainly there would be some inertia in the British decision making and movements, there always is. However, to take the case of 31 Brigade again. It was ordered to make an administrative move to Ashford on 24 September. It took two to three days to complete the movement without the pressure of enemy actions. Would it have occurred slower or faster if the German invasion fleet was approaching?

Or the New Zealanders and MILFORCE. They had a fairly straightforward set of mission orders with objectives all nearby - Lympne and Hythe were just 25 to 30 kilometers away, half the distance traversed by 21. Panzer - and well reconnoitered.

So given the British would almost certainly have about three to five days notice of the loading of the German fleet, 18 to 24 hours notice of its sortieing and assembly off the coast, 12 hours notice of it beginning the cross-Channel movement, and two to three hours notice of its probable landing sites, I suspect the inertia experienced by British units in SEELÖWE would be considerably less than that of German units in NEPTUNE.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: 45th Division and Seelöwe/Sea Lion

Post by Huszar666 » 01 Jan 2022 09:06

Morning, folks

I will open a new thread for the Seelöwe-discussion, I would like to keep these ones for the Order of Battles.

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Re: 45th Division and Seelöwe/Sea Lion

Post by Huszar666 » 01 Jan 2022 15:16


Knouterer
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Re: 45th Division and Seelöwe/Sea Lion

Post by Knouterer » 06 Jan 2022 22:27

On the 31st Independent Brigade Group, From a history of the Ox & Bucks:

"On 31st July, 1940, the 2nd battalion (under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel L. W. Giles, M.C.) mobilized at Wheatley near Oxford as part of the 31st Independent Brigade Group. The other three infantry battalions in the brigade were the 1st Bn Border Regiment, the 2nd Bn. South Staffordshire Regiment and the 1st Bn. Royal Ulster Rifles. Thus began for the 2nd a partnership which lasted with the Border Regiment and South Staffordshire Regiment until the spring of 1942, and with the Royal Ulster Rifles until parting in Palestine after the end of the war.

The next few months were difficult. After eighteen years’ service in the East, the modem paraphernalia of war were strange and had to be mastered. The 2nd was not familiar with mechanical transport, the latest weapons and tactics. Drivers and wireless operators had to be trained. Meanwhile, unfamiliar equipment was arriving and being allotted to companies and platoons. Invasion and action seemed imminent and it appeared to be a race against time to learn all these new weapons and equipment before using them against the enemy. On the other hand, the majority of officers and men were Regular soldiers, administratively efficient, disciplined and well versed in the traditions of the Regiment. Morale and esprit de corps were high.

On the 6th of September the brigade was ordered to move to billets in the Maidstone area, but two days later the destination was changed to Harpenden. On the 5th September information was received that the German army had embarked for the invasion of Britain and the Regiment was placed at one hour’s notice to move (later changed to four hours’ notice). On the 9th September the Regiment left by road for Harpenden, but on the way was diverted to Berkhamsted as its new destination and accord¬ingly bivouacked outside Berkhamsted that night. The following day orders were received to go into billets in St. Albans. These were later cancelled and the Regiment finally moved into billets in Berkhamsted on the 11th September.

On the 27th September the Regiment left by road for an unknown destination, finally arriving at Wittersham (a few miles north of Rye) the same evening. Here the Regiment took over from the 18th Pioneer Bn Royal Fusiliers the line of the Royal Military Canal from Stone to Ham Street (seven and a half miles). This line was held with three companies up (C at Stone, A at Appledore and D at Ham Street), with B Company in reserve but watching the right flank and holding two bridges over the River Rother. Regimental headquarters and H.Q. Company were in Wittersham. "
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Re: 45th Division and Seelöwe/Sea Lion

Post by Richard Anderson » 07 Jan 2022 01:50

Knouterer wrote:
06 Jan 2022 22:27
On the 31st Independent Brigade Group, From a history of the Ox & Bucks:
Excellent, thank you. That helps nail things down for them. Do you have anything on 29 Brigade?
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: 45th Division and Seelöwe/Sea Lion

Post by Leros87 » 09 Jan 2022 01:17

Richard Anderson wrote:
07 Jan 2022 01:50
Knouterer wrote:
06 Jan 2022 22:27
On the 31st Independent Brigade Group, From a history of the Ox & Bucks:
Excellent, thank you. That helps nail things down for them. Do you have anything on 29 Brigade?
29th Infantry Brigade was commanded by Brigadier Oliver Leese, later described by Montgomery as the best soldier in North Africa. It had its headquarters in Staplefield, 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers at Haywards Heath, 2nd Royal Welch Fusiliers at Horsham, 2nd East Lancashire at Maresfield, 2nd South Lancashire at Wych Cross, all supported by a fully equipped 17th Field Regt RA at East Grinstead and Forest Row and the 204th AT Bty RA at Uckfield; E Coy 1/5th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (MG), 236th Field Coy REat Nutley and 154th Field Ambulance at Lindfield.
It had formed on 14 July and deployed from Aldershot on 2 Aug as XII Corps reserve, overnight its western flank. At that time its commander rated his regular infantry highly, the artillery efficient but the rest were poor. By 3 Sept General Brooke was satisfied with it.
It’s tasks, in order of importance, was to recover Newhaven, control penetrations from Pevensey Bay or Romney Marsh and lastly to occupy the Rother defence line if required.
It conducted its first full exercise on 16 Aug, a simulated counter attack on Rye, gauged a moderate success. It conducted two more exercises, occupying defensive and cover positions at Lindfield and Mayfield.
On 23 Oct it replaced 1st MMG Bde around Brighton.
Hope this helps.

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