" Which would your men rather be, tired or dead "   Erwin Rommel

HOME DAGGERS            BAYONETS            SWORDS            KNIVES            MISC / CONSIGN            GALLERY         is located on the South Coast of the United Kingdom and has been trading and dealing in mainly German authentic military collectables online for over 5 years. I am a UK citizen and have personally collected Third Reich daggers and related edged weapons and accessories for over 30 years. We offer a free valuation and assessment service and we are always interested in purchasing German Officers WWII daggers, German WWII knives and swords and Authentic German Militaria.
 Due to our location on the South Coast, the area was fortified during WWII and was often the target for Luftwaffe bombing and strafing runs. It was also a strategic offensive location as the war progressed serving as a base for British and American troops in the lead up to the Normandy Invasion. Many of our local ports contributed fishing boats, yachts and cruisers who aided in the Dunkirk evacuations.
The following two pages recount moments from history of a small fishing port's involvement during WWII and is dedicated to the Men and Women of the local Parish who served, fought and died for their Country.
This website, the owner an all persons associated with it's upkeep bear no affiliation to any hate groups, political organisations or outlawed parties. The site's purpose is to aid the collecting community and individuals with an interest in Military history and in no way condones, approves or supports Nazi ideology.
German daggers
Page 1 ( Allied ) LOCAL WW2 ALLIED MILITARY HISTORY Page 2 ( Axis )
  US Troop Embarkation June 4th 1944  
LOCATION  - Brixham Harbour, Torbay, South Devon, United Kingdom
DATE -  June 4th 1944

 This picture taken on June 4th 1944, two days before the Normandy beach landings and was shot in a small fishing port ( pop 17,000 ) called Brixham on the South Devon coast. It was a typical scene repeated up and down the South coast as US and British troops embarked on the channel crossing and to the beaches of Normandy. The US LST pictured here, number 499 was to sink four days later as a result of enemy action. Originally the Brixham section of LST group 32 consisted of LST's US 499, US 289 and US 507 but less than five weeks prior to this picture being taken, a convoy of two sections of LST's out of Brixham and Plymouth, participating in Operation Tiger ( Practice beach landings ) was attacked in Lyme Bay by nine U-Boats operating out of Cherbourg. The US 507 was sunk along with a Plymouth based LST the US 531, the 289 returned fire but was also torpedoed and badly damaged barely making it to port ( picture below ). Another LST from Plymouth was badly damaged by friendly fire in the confusion. 638 servicemen where killed, 441 from the US army and 197 Navy personnel.
 There is more information regarding Operation Tiger listed below but back to the picture above. I can only assume that because two of three Brixham based LST's had been sunk 5 weeks prior, that number 380, 284 and 382 shown above loading supplies and troops where replacement craft drafted to assist LST 499 which had escaped unscathed from Op Tiger but was to succumb four days later on the beaches of Normandy.
 Directly behind the mast of LST US 284 you can see an area of grass and undergrowth, this part of the coast was heavily fortified with bunkers, searchlights and two 17 foot 4.7" Mark V guns that overlooked the Bay with a range of 7 miles. Also 37mm & 40mm anti aircraft guns. Also note the barrage balloon. To the right and out of shot in this picture is a 3/4 mile long stone breakwater that protects the inner harbour completed in 1916.
Out of interest, if anybody can identify what is sticking out from the rear of the truck on the far left, I would love to know please.

 Originally black and white, this picture has been colourised by me and as such is not to be used without my express permission please.
  Normandy - June 6th 1944  
US LST 284 Normandy 1944 Motor Launch 284-2 Normandy June 6th
US LST 499 Utah Beach June 6th 1944
LOCATION - Normandy, France
DATE - June 6th 1944

 After hours of searching online and trawling through period pictures of the Normandy beach landings, the three pictures above show the US LST's 284 & 499 along with a motor launch from LST 284. The first picture showing wounded being loaded into ambulances was probably taken on the 7th or 8th June, the motor launch 284-4 can be seen in the background along with the 284-2 in the upper right picture. The US LST 284 survived the Normandy campaign and the invasion of Southern France in August and September 1944 and was then assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific theatre and participated in the assault and occupation of Okinawa in May and June 1945. She was decommissioned in March 1946 after performing occupation duty in the far East and earned three battle stars for WWII service.
 The US LST 499 shown in the lower right picture was taken on June 6th off Utah beach along with other craft and barrage balloons, she was to sink two days later on the 8th June as a result of enemy action. She had a short career and was commissioned on the 10th January 1944 earning one battle star for WWII service before having her name struck from the Navy list on the 22nd August 1944. I was unable to find any information regarding the casualties or indeed the details regarding her sinking although several references state that she struck a mine.
The other two US LST's 380 and 382 originally shown above moored in Brixham harbour survived the Normandy landings, they where commissioned within three days of each other from the same shipyard ( Bethlehem Steel Co ) in February 1943. They both participated in the Sicilian campaign in July 1943, the Salerno landings September 1943 and the Normandy landings in June 1944. Both earned three battle stars for WWII service and survived the War.

   Operation Tiger 22nd-30th April 1944  
Blackpool Sands April 1944 Slapton Sands April 1944
LOCATION  - Slapton Sands, South Devon, United Kingdom
DATE - April 1944

 The left picture above, I believe is looking down onto Blackpool Sands, Salcombe, Devon during Operation Tiger and the US practise beach landing. The right picture was taken on Slapton beach itself which is a mile further around the coast and can be seen in the upper left corner of the first picture.

Operation Tiger was a D-Day training exercise that ran from 22nd - 30th April 1944 under the command of Admiral Don P Moon. It proved to be a disaster and human tragedy and resulted in the deaths of 946 servicemen from both the US Army and Navy contingent. The loss of life came in two stages and was blamed on poor communications and planning and it is alleged that the tragedy ultimately led to Admiral Moon shooting himself with a .45 calibre pistol three months later. The incident was hushed up for forty years with personnel and hospital staff under threat of court martial for speaking of the tragedy.
The first stage involved a surprise attack on two LST sections of 32 group out of Plymouth and Brixham and part of the T45 convoy destined for Lyme Bay, by a group of nine S-boats of  the 5th and 9th Schnellboote Flotilla's operating out of Cherbourg. This attack resulted in the sinking of two LST's ( 507 & 531 ) and severely crippling another, the US LST 289 which can be seen below pictured shortly after the attack.
The US LST 507 lost 202 men and the US LST 531 which was torpedoed twice lost 424 and sank within 6 minutes, the LST 289 managed to limp to port after taking a direct frontal hit with the loss of 13 lives. Further information regarding this incident can be read below and its taken directly from WIKI.

 The second stage and far less publicised incident that followed involved the practise landing itself on Blackpool and Slapton Sands. A further 308 lives would be lost from friendly fire following an order from Dwight D Eisenhower to use live ammunition in an attempt to harden the troops and expose them to real battle conditions. A tragic loss of life and one that luckily did not affect the outcome of Operation Overlord, the actual D-Day Normandy beach landings in which a further 4414 personnel would die.
  Memorial to Operation Tiger - Slapton Sands  
US LST 289 Torpedo Damage Sherman Tank recovered from Slapton waters in 1984

Landing Operations

In late 1943, as part of the war effort, the British Government evacuated approximately 3,000 local residents in the area of Slapton, now South Hams District of Devon. Some of the residents had never left their villages before being evacuated.

Landing exercises had started in December 1943. Exercise Tiger was one of the larger exercises that would take place in April and May 1944. The make up of Slapton Beach was selected for its similarity to Utah Beach, namely a gravel beach, followed by a strip of land and then a lake. The exercise was to last from 22 April until 30 April 1944, at the Slapton Sands beach. On board nine large tank landing ships (LSTs), the 30,000 troops prepared for their mock beach landing.

Protection for the exercise area came from the Royal Navy. Two destroyers, three Motor Torpedo Boats and two Motor Gun Boats patrolled the entrance to Lyme Bay and Motor Torpedo Boats were watching the Cherbourg area where German E-boats were based.

Battle of Lyme Bay

The first practice assaults took place on the morning of 27 April. These proceeded successfully, but early in the morning of 28 April, nine German E-boats that had left Cherbourg on patrol spotted a convoy of eight LSTs carrying vehicles and combat engineers of the 1st Engineer Special Brigade in Lyme Bay and attacked. One transport (LST-507) caught fire and was abandoned. LST-531 sank shortly after being torpedoed while LST-289 was set on fire but eventually made it back to shore. USS LST-511 was damaged by friendly fire. The remaining ships and their escort fired back and the E-boats made no more attacks. 638 servicemen were killed - 441 United States Army and 197 United States Navy personnel. Many servicemen drowned in the cold sea while waiting to be rescued. Soldiers unused to being at sea panicked and put on their lifebelts incorrectly. In some cases this meant that when they jumped into the water, the weight of their combat packs flipped them onto their backs, pushing their heads underwater and drowning them. Dale Rodman, who travelled on LST-507, commented "The worst memory I have is setting off in the lifeboat away from the sinking ship and watching bodies float by."

Of the two ships assigned to protect the convoy, only one was present. HMS Azalea, a corvette was leading the nine LSTs in a straight line, a formation which later drew criticism since it presented an easy target to the E-boats. The second ship which was supposed to be present, HMS Scimitar, a World War I destroyer, had been in collision with an LST, suffered structural damage and left the convoy to be repaired at Plymouth. The American forces had not been told this. When other British ships sighted the E-boats earlier in the night and told the corvette, its commander failed to inform the LST convoy, assuming incorrectly that they had already been told. This had not happened because the LSTs and British naval headquarters were operating on different frequencies. British shore batteries defending Salcombe Harbour had seen silhouettes of the E-boats but had been instructed to hold fire so the Germans would not find that Salcombe was defended.

When the remaining LSTs landed on Slapton Beach, the blunders continued and a further 308 men died from friendly fire. The British heavy cruiser HMS Hawkins shelled the beach with live ammunition, following an order made by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander, who felt that the men must be hardened by exposure to real battle conditions. British Marines on the boat recorded in its log book (the only log which has since been recovered from any of the boats) that men were being killed by friendly fire. "On the beaches they had a white tape line beyond which the Americans should not cross until the live firing had finished. But the Marines said they were going straight through the white tape line and getting blown up".

Page 1 ( Allied ) LOCAL WW2 ALLIED MILITARY HISTORY Page 2 ( Axis )
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