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Kingforce churchills

September 4 2003 at 12:17 AM
steve osfield  (no login)
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Response to Kingforce


Just to add to Chris's input. Kingforce to some extent seems to be a "flag-waving" exercise, there is film footage of three of the Churchills moving through the El Alamein dust, where opon the comentator (after all it was cricket!) exclaims "oh these are the new Churchill tanks" as though everyone watching in there local "Odean" cinema had regular access to British A Vehicle ID documents.

The action that took place was intense to say the least the unfortunate Lt. Applbys tank taking no less than 45 hits from 50mm and 75mm A/T guns, according to official reports an Australian Army 6pdr A/T put a further 8 shots into its rear quarters. According to the Australians this was after the tank had been destroyed by the Germans and they "only fired at it to hasten its burning time" as they claim the smoking tank was obsucuring their field of fire. According to David Fletchers book the Australian fire was put down to a blue on blue incident, in that the Australians aware of enemy tanks in the area and being unfamiliar with the Churchills shape to the obvious action, (however it must be remembered that the Germans regularly used captured equipment).

The 2nd action of kingforce effectively finished it as a unit, moving into action in support of a Sherman Squadron it was met with withering fire, 3 tanks were disable by gunfire jamming the turret (not the first time this happened in a Mk3 but considering 9 50mm hits in the turret ring probably would have been the end for most other British tanks. Of the other two, one lost its track after taking 30 hits and the commander Major King had a close shave when a 50mm went through the open drivers visor and lodged in the engine, fortunately without any injury.

The 5 tanks were returned to Alex, and that ended the Churchills use in the Eygptian campaign, it would be interesting to know whether anyone has any knowledge of the fate of these tanks, all the T. numbers are known so they should be tracable.

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