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Gapping on Nan White

September 12 2007 at 8:43 PM
Paul  (Login paul.i.w)
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1 refers to the Troop in this Squadron (80 Assault Squadron) and E and F are the particular tanks in the Troop. There were 6 in a Troop. 1E was the AVRE carrying the Small Box Girder (SBG) commanded by Sgt Smith, and 1F was a normal AVRE undr Lt Oxtoby’s command. The attempt to clear an exit of the beach was just one of many such actions on D-day morning. The gapping teams on D-Day were a mix of flails and AVREs. On this sector of Nan White the 1 Troop gapping team landed between two Canadian infantry companies. The flails were first off and a lane was flailed to the 5 foot seawall, then Sgt Smith in 1E dropped his SBG against the wall and this AVRE then climbed up. At the top it struck a mine, blocking the exit. Then two flails flogged along the beach to an area where the seawall had broken down, and managed to climb the wall and started flailing back towards the bridge along the lateral road. Meanwhile a bulldozer had managed to get up and move the disabled bridge AVRE 1E away from the exit at the top of the wall, and mines were cleared from around it by hand. Sgt Smith’s crew did this with help from Lt Oxtoby’s crew from 1F. (Later, after trying to clear a vehicle away from the SBG the Bulldozer driver was killed when he stepped on a mine).

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