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Nine O Nine

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  • Location
    Force O Embarkation area, England.
  • Interests
    Operation Overlord. 82nd/101st Airborne In Normandy. Utah/Omaha Beaches. Battle for Cherbourg Normandy Breakout.

    Medics in the ETO and medical equipment.

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  1. 76 years ago today the Exercise Tiger tragedy took place. Here is a photo of LST 507 which was lost that night. The photo was taken by M I C H A E L M A Z U R a crew member aboard LST 55. This photo was taken in Brixham Harbour the day before the Exercise. Below is a brief history of that night taken from ExerciseTiger.org.uk For another item related to Exercise Tiger please see my collection thread in the Displays section. April 1944, preparations for the Normandy Landings were well under way. All around the British Isles, men and women of various nationalities were making ready for the forthcoming advance into Nazi-occupied Europe. One of the many military operations was taking place on the South Devon coast at Slapton Sands. This area had been evacuated of civilians during the previous year, the beach there having been specially selected for its resemblance to the area between Pouppeville and La Madeleine in Northern France – codenamed Utah beach. Taking part in the practice landings at Slapton Sands were 30,000 American troops consisting of Infantry, Artillery, Engineers, Medical personnel, Tank Battalions and support staff. The purpose of this operation was to prepare these troops for the D-Day Landings in surroundings as similar as possible to those they would eventually face on June 6th, including the use of live ammunition. The codename given to this operation was Exercise Tiger. In the early hours of 28th April 1944, with the bulk of the infantry already ashore, eight tank landing ships (LSTs) were making their way towards Slapton. These ships carried engineers, quartermaster staff, signallers, medics and some infantry as well as tanks, trucks, jeeps and equipment. These men and their supplies formed part of the vital support for the initial assault troops. Without warning, the LSTs suddenly found themselves under attack. Unbeknownst to the American servicemen, a flotilla of nine German E-boats had been ordered to investigate unusual radio activity in the area. The E-boat logs show that they believed they had stumbled across several destroyers and they immediately opened fire. LST507 was the first to be torpedoed. Lieutenant James Murdock was the Executive Officer on board. He stated that, noticing these boats on the radar, they had assumed that ‘perhaps they were part of our escort’. His account continues: ‘As they came abeam we were suddenly hit by a torpedo on the starboard side which tore through the sides and exploded in the near vicinity of the auxiliary engine room. In addition to her crew of 165 men, LST507 was also carrying 282 Army personnel together with trucks, jeeps and gasolene, which immediately caught fire. The flames quickly spread to the decks and as the fuel spilled and leaked over into the water, the sea too appeared to catch fire. The ship’s company tried to extinguish the flames on board, but to no avail and she began to sink by the stern. Eventually, the ship’s Captain, James Schwartz, gave the order to abandon ship. Although only two lifeboats were undamaged by fire, these were quickly lowered. Both the army personnel and the ship’s company were wearing life jackets and those that could not make it to a lifeboat found themselves in the chilling water, swimming as best they could, away from the sinking ship and flaming water. Many of these men died from shock or exposure, including Captain Schwartz – who, according to Naval tradition had been the last man to leave the stricken ship. The survivors, including Lieutenant Murdock, were picked up by LST515. Within minutes of this initial strike, two more ships were hit. LST531 was torpedoed and sank inside six minutes, with the loss of over 400 lives, while LST289, having been hit in the stern, managed to eventually limp back to port.
  2. Its been a while since i posted any updates of my collection but it seemed fitting to do so today the 76th Anniversary of the Exercise Tiger Tragedy. From my personal collection I have posted 2 items, the first a photograph of LST 507 lost in the early hours of the 28th of April after being hit by 2 German Torpedoes. The ship caught fire and lost all electrical power before sinking forcing her naval crew and Army passengers into the freezing water of the English Channel. This photo was taken in Brixham harbour the day before 507 was lost by a crew member on board LST 55 and forms part of a large photo collection i recently acquired. The second item is the Posthumous Purple Heart of 1st Lt H E R R E L P O W E L L. He was 31 years old and a member of the 478th Amphibious Truck Company of the 1st Engineer Special Brigade and had already seen combat in Italy. He boarded LST 507 for exercise Tiger along with other units who were due to land on Utah Beach in the coming Invasion. When the ship was torpedoed he was one of the men lost. He is buried in Maddingly American Cemetery near Cambridge, "On the night of 27th of April, few minutes after 10 pm a group of nine German E-Boats set out on a normal reconnaissance mission from their base in Cherbourg into the Lyme Bay area. They followed the usual channel route without any sign of a convoy or ‘enemy’ ships. As they headed towards the Lyme Bay area, they suddenly came in visual contact with the LST convoy. Since they could not see any naval escorts, they quickly positioned themselves for a torpedo attack.As the convoy approached Lyme Bay it was maneuvering a loop to head back towards the shore. It was here that the E-Boats made contact and opened fire. A few minutes past 2 am LST 507 was torpedoed, hitting its auxiliary engine room cutting all electric power.The ship burst into flames, the fire fighting attempted by the crew proved futile as most of the fire fighting equipment was inoperative due to the power failure.Trapped below decks hundreds of soldiers and sailors went down with the ships. There was little time to launch lifeboats and some of the lifeboats were jammed. Many leapt into the sea, soon many drowned, some weighed down by the waterlogged coats and others who had wrongly put on their life belts around their waists rather than under their armpits. Others succumbed to hypothermia in the cold water. In all 749 American soldiers and sailors died that night, 946 in total during Exercise Tiger."
  3. So after almost a year there have been a lot of changes to my collection as I focus on my Normandy and Medical collections. I will add some new photos of my collection room and focus on my Normandy items as we commemorate the 75th Anniversary of D Day. To start in case its missed in the ephemera section here is a V mail written on the eve of D day by Harold Morgan a member of the 17th infantry regiment 29th division who landed as part of the follow up forces most likely on D+1 he would fight in Normandy until being captured by the Germans during the fighting to take St Lo.
  4. To mark the 75th anniversary of D Day and the start of the Battle of Normandy I wanted to share with you this V mail written on the 5th of June somewhere in the English channel. You may of seen it before as it once once in the collection of another forum member who kindly sold it to me a few years ago but even so I think its worth sharing again. Harold Morgan was a member of HQ company of the 175th infantry regiment of the 29th Division and part of the divisional reserve most likely landing late on the 6th or more likely on the 7th of June. He would eventually be captured near St Lo during the ferocious fighting in that area. His sentiments likely echo the thoughts of many other men that Day.
  5. Thank you all for your kind messages about my collection and Ronnie thank your for sharing your photo he looks like he's having a great time. This is actually my old room and a lot of what you see has gone so I can focus on the Normandy Campaign and my Medical collections. Joop I still have the 447th group I know there are a few items such as his flying helmet that are still out there. I will be updating my new collection topic soon. Thanks again.
  6. Thanks for the kind words, Yes that is a vehicle siren I bought it directly from a farmer in Normandy along with a Wehrmacht jerry can which had been found on his land. The siren still has a lot of its OD paint and has obvious shrapnel damage. I will post a better photo when I can.
  7. A few more general views of the room. Most of my field gear, I have everything I need with the exception of boots for a full D Day mannequin but no space, for now anyway. Part of my 8th airforce display.
  8. Thanks both for the nice comments, i'm really pleased with the Detolf cases although I spend too much time rearranging them
  9. And one more, the Red Cross at the back is a Medical marked meat can pouch. More to come.
  10. First up in detail my Combat aidman display.
  11. Two views of the Display cabinets. Medical and Normandy items (U.S. British/Canadian) as well as personal items, Relics from Normandy. Ration stuff. 8th Airforce 91st Bomb Group and a small TR display.
  12. So after 2 long years of having to store the collection away I have finally settled in a new house and have a dedicated "War Room" It's not huge but I couldn't be happier. I used to live near to a lot of former 8th Airforce bases but now I live In Dorset on the doorstep of the D Day Marshalling areas and the port used by the Omaha beach landing force. Since I first displayed my collection 5 years ago a lot of items have been sold to concentrate on my medical and Normandy items, but i still have an 8th AAF collection focused on B17 groups as well. I initially thought of just adding to my previous thread but so much has changed i've decided to start a new one, The plan is when time allows to focus on specific groups and items as well as the room as a whole. If anyone wishes to see the collection as it was here is the link: http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/173291-nine-o-nine-collection Hope you enjoy the collection.
  13. Bringing this thread back to the top in memory of PFC Edward Coleman of the 315th Infantry Regiment of the 79th division killed in action in Normandy 72 years ago today. RIP.
  14. I'm not sure if you're aware or not but T5 Clifton being part of D company made the assault on Pointe Du Hoc with LT Col Rudder. He's listed as being killed in action most probably on the pointe as the LCA he landed on made it to shore. He would have been on one of the boat teams in LCA 860, LCA 668 or LCA 858. I hope that's of some help. Thanks for sharing these items.
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