Universal carrier at Pozieeres

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Graham Hough
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Universal carrier at Pozieeres

Post by Graham Hough » Mon Feb 03, 2020 2:13 pm

On a visit to the Tank Corps Memorial at Poziers I was shown a few bullet holes in the bronze models of WW1 tanks. The story was that during WW2 the Germans had an anti tank gun alongside this memorial pointing down the D929 Albert - Bapaume road controlling the exit from Pozier village a few hundred yards north of the village. The Germans knocked out the lead tank of a column Shermans(?) coming out of village. This blocked the road for the other tanks, however the crew of a universal carrier saw that the German gun had jammed and whilst the frantic gun crew were trying to repair the gun the carrier raced up the road and killed the German gun crew. Hence the bullet damage to the memorial.
How true this is I don't know but it was told to me by a knowledgeable battlefield guide.

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Stephen White
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Re: Universal carrier at Pozieeres

Post by Stephen White » Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:28 pm

Graham, it's an interesting tale, not one I'd heard before but I would never let that stand in the way of a good battlefield guide story. I don't recall seeing any "bullet holes" when I was last there in 2016 for the 100th Anniversary of Flers. I can't see any evidence of bullet holes on the SW side of the monument (the Whippet and Mk IV side but see the attached photos). Given that the monument sits on the highest point on the road from Pozieres towards the Sugar Factory, it would be a pretty inept anti-tank gun crew who sited their weapon near a prominent landmark, in an area with little cover and giving them a head on shot. Anti-tank guns were more usually sited in defilade. That's not to say the story hasn't got some substance but it would be useful to know more about the circumstances the battlefield guide cited. It would also help to know who the guide was. Thanks for posting. There's no such thing as an uninteresting tank story.

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After I'd written this, I had another look at the map - he wasn't confusing the Tank Corps Memorial, which is to the NE of Pozieres, with the Pozieres Memorial, which is to the SW?

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Chris Hall
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Re: Universal carrier at Pozieeres

Post by Chris Hall » Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:26 pm

It's been too long since I visited the Tank Corps Memorial at Pozieres, but there are certainly a few 'impact marks' (for want of a better term) - on the Mark V, if memory serves. I've heard variations on this story, but there's a pretty common consensus that any such action would have occurred in 1944 rather than 1940. Hitler, as a WW1 veteran, gave strict instructions that the proper War Memorials and Cemeteries should be left untouched (he made an exception for Compiègne, which was just the French gloating :roll:). But things would have been different during a chaotic retreat.

Whatever the story, it's a monument that all tank enthusiasts should visit, of any nationality, as it's where our history began. The surrounding barrier is actually made from 6-pdr gun barrels and drive chains taken from original tanks !

All the best,

Chris
Mark IV (Liesel, Abteilung 14, France 1918)
Morris Quad, 25-pdr & 2 x limbers (45RA, Korea 1951)
M3 Lee (25th Dragoons, Burma 1944)
Rolls-Royce Armoured Car (10(RN)AMB, German E. Africa 1916)

Pete Nash
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Re: Universal carrier at Pozieeres

Post by Pete Nash » Thu Feb 06, 2020 9:41 am

I think the Mk. I Gun carrier might be an interesting addition to the Armortek range, especially with BL 60 pounder?

Graham Hough
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Re: Universal carrier at Pozieeres

Post by Graham Hough » Sat Feb 08, 2020 2:46 pm

Stephen, thank you for you comments. Bit of a delay because I was looking for my notes and photos. I saw the bullet damage in 2008 when I was guided there by Mike Boyatt who was living in Flers. On checking I read he said there were tank traps at the exit from Poziers and the gun was an 88.

Here is a photograph taken in 2008. I cant find another photo of more damage.
Tanks Corps memorial damage 2008.jpg

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