Wednesday 31 August 2016

France 2016 - Vernon & Rommel's HQ

A platoon of the 4th Wilts. heads out across the Seine into battle under a covering smoke screen at Vernon - 25th August 1944
This week JJ's Wargames has relocated to France as I look forward to celebrating my birthday this Wednesday with Carolyn and Will who has joined us on his return journey back from Thailand where he has spent the last few weeks having fun with his brother before returning to university next month.

We have rented a pretty little house near to Versailles and as well as taking in the palace and the great restaurants of Paris are checking out some of the other interesting places to visit on this side of Paris.

On Monday we drove out to Giverny on the River Seine ostensibly to visit Claude Monet's gardens where the famous Lilly on the pond pictures were inspired and it was while planning that trip that I realised the village was close to not only Vernon but also La Roche Guyon.

So I managed to get permission from the CEO of JJ's Wargames to include the other two venues into the day's agenda.

For those not so familiar with the significance of these two places, Vernon is the scene of Operation Neptune, the assault crossing of the River Seine carried out by the men of the 43rd Wessex Division in August 1944 and the Château at La Roche Guyon is the former headquarters of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and German Army Group B during the build up to the invasion of France in 1944.

The map shows the close proximity of Vernon and La Roche Guyon handily positioned either side of Giverny 
I first became familiar with Operation Neptune when I read Ken Ford's excellent book about it back in the late eighties and I still have the first edition from 1988 on the book shelf. There is a link below that gives a review of its content using accounts from veterans still alive at the time of publication.

I think assault river crossings are some of the most difficult and interesting military operations to study from Hannibal making his way through the Alps, to Wellesley's attack on Marshal Soult at Oporto in 1809, covered in some detail on this blog with the game of the battle. Perhaps one of the most audacious river assaults was led by Major Julian Cook of the US 3/504th PIR in their daring boat crossing across the River Waal to help capture the Nijmegan bridge made famous in the film "A Bridge too Far".

By the 22nd August 1944 the fighting in the Falaise pocket and the Battle of Normandy was over with the surviving German units in head-long retreat to the opposite bank of the River Seine and with the allies in hot pursuit,

The US 79th Division were already up to the Seine and advancing on Paris and the British XXX Corps were moving up towards Vernon with the XII Corps to their left.

The Divisional insignia of the "Fighting Wessex Wyverns" of 43rd Division

General Brian Horrocks commanding XXX Corps had already determined to lead his drive over the Seine with two armoured divisions, Guards and 11th supported by 50th Division, whilst detailing the 43rd Division under Major General Ivor Thomas, to facilitate their progress with an assault on the crossing point at Vernon, to establish a bridgehead to allow the advance to continue.

Our Lady Collegiate Church, Vernon. Seventy-two years after the battle as seen below. The vehicle have changed a bit.
The assault was planned for the 25th August 1944 with the initial attack to be made by the three battalions (4th Somerset, 4th and 5th Wiltshire Regiments) of 129 Brigade, reinforced by a battalion (1st Worcestershire Regiment) from 214 Brigade using storm boats as seen in the header picture and DUKW amphibious trucks.

The opposition facing the British assault troops was an ad-hoc kampfegruppe from the 148th Grenadier Regiment with about 250 men positioned in the hamlet of Vernonnet on the opposite bank  and another 250 men further along the bank at Giverny.

The German defenders were well dug in and ensconced in the buildings that dotted the opposite bank armed principally with light machine-guns, mortars and 20mm auto-cannon positioned on the high-ground that oversees the river at this point.

The view of the German positions with the road leading along the opposite bank to the right of picture towards Giverny
The first boats carrying the first two battalions (4th Somersets and 5th Wilts) set out at 19.00 on the evening of the 25th August. Their attack was preceded by an artillery barrage at 18.45 on the heights and support fire from machine guns and tanks with 4.2" mortars laying smoke to cover the run in.

Many of the first wave boats and DUKWs were caught up in the shallows and grounded with their occupants caught in whithering machine-gun fire and it took the follow up waves taking advantage of gathering darkness and access to and via the partially destroyed bridge to get on to the opposite bank and clear the buildings in Vernonnet.

The view to the left of the German held back with less oversight from high ground behind but with a small island separating the two banks that obstructed an easy landing for the British troops
As soon as the battle commenced on the opposite bank, the Royal Engineers were attempting to move materials into position to start the construction of the pontoon crossing, however their first ambitious attempts were driven back by a hail of well directed mortar and auto-cannon fire.

The memorial to the British troops involved in the assault, on the position of the Engineer laid pontoon bridge seen below with 'Monty' crossing in the wake of his army.
The battle to consolidate and expand the bridgehead would continue through the 26th and 27th of August with the men of the 43rd Division having to resist several counterattacks supported by Tiger tanks and the order "last man, last round" issued to emphasise the need to resist the enemy at all cost.

Monty crossing the Seine at Vernon on the 1st September 1944, the bridge being anchored to the tree in the background
As the battle raged on the opposite bank the Royal Engineers worked tirelessly under sniper fire to erect the first light bridge and on the 26th August one of three bridges was up soon followed by a heavier model on the 27th and a second added by the 29th, with some vehicles ferried across in between to support the battle ashore.

In honoured remembrance of all our comrades and of the townsfolk of Vernon, who gave their lives in the
Battle for Liberation of the Town, August 1944. They died that we might live."
"On the 25th August 1944, the 43rd Wessex Division liberated Vernon and crossed the River Seine under the fire of German units dug in on the prominent hills of the eastern bank. The infantry supported by four armoured regiments fought during three days to repulse the enemy. The crossing was achieved by the use of floating bridges built by the Royal Engineers.
From this initial bridgehead the 30th Corps led the advance towards Belgium. The British troops suffered 550 casualties in this operation."

The modern day buildings below the white cliff mark the position of a rather troublesome machine gun bunker that caused the assault infantry a lot of difficulty 

The 17th century mill building on the remains of the old bridge leading out to the small island
The Chateau des Tourelles was a fortress designed to guard the access to the old medieval bridge
The 28th of August was the end of the battle as the defenders awoke to another hot sunny day, but the din of battle replaced by an eerie silence announcing the German defenders had pulled out leaving behind the odd sniper or two who were quickly neutralised by midday and the pursuit phase by XXX Corps could commence.

The building was badly damaged in 1944 and the extent of the which can be seen by the new build masonry that repaired the damage
More than 700 allied tanks would use the bridges at Vernon and on the 3rd and 4th of September British troops having crossed there liberated Brussels in Belgium, and my old Dad was one of them, just turned twenty on the 17th of August, having made the crossing at Vernon and taken part in the "Swan" or drive up to the Belgian capital with Guards Armoured Division, rounding up surrendering German troops as they went. On the 18th September he was in Eindhoven on the road to Arnhem as pictured in my post below.

The small arms damage on the original stonework suggests that the Château was a point of resistance during the battle in 1944
I have obviously summarised the battle for the Vernon bridgehead, but if you would like to know more about the planning and detail of Operation Neptune I can highly recommend Ken Ford's book which is a really good read and I have also posted some really good links below that also give great background to this battle.

I would like to have a go at re-fighting parts of this battle that raged over three days and I think a good set of company level rules like IABSM would be excellent to use for it - ah yet another project to think about! There is nothing quite like walking the ground to inspire thoughts of future games.

The next part of our trip up the Seine was to stop for lunch at La Roche Guyon and visit the former headquarters building of Army Group B and its very famous commander Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.

The Château of La Roche was first established in the 12th century as a castle tower atop the chalk cliffs with accommodation and other galleries tunnelled out in the chalk below. The building was further developed overtime into a fortified manor perfectly positioned to guard the crossing over the Seine.

The Château went through a further period of development from a medieval fortified house into an 18th century Château with a wing attached to the older structure and a corridor constructed through the extremely thick walls, which can be seen as you step through from the original building to the later creation.

Whilst walking through the large salon rooms now devoid of their period furniture it was not hard to imagine the babble of conversation as Rommel and Spiedel tried to win round Von Rundsteadt to the idea of fighting the allies on the beaches rather than run the gauntlet of allied air power to bring up the Panzer reserves.

Rommel and von Rundstedt at La Roche Guyon
The Château was always modestly arranged during Rommel's stay, with no garish red banner swastika flags draped about, so beloved in war movies.

Rommel set up his headquarters here in February 1944 and it was here that a certain British Commando referred to as Lieutenant George Lane, although I think that might be a false name, was brought in May of 1944 after being captured taking samples off the beaches being looked at as potential landing areas for D Day.

The bore samples were all part of the learning that had developed as the allies developed their amphibious landing capabilities and became aware of understanding how suitable the beaches would be to taking tanks and allowing them to traverse the sand without risk of bogging.

It was on one of these reconnaissance missions that Lane had been captured and driven in the back of a truck, not knowing his fate, as Hitler had ordered that all British commandos should be shot when captured.

Perhaps it was in the room above that Lane was taken to meet with the Field Marshal who he described as most courteous and friendly, rising to greet the British officer with a handshake as he entered the room.

Spiedel, Rommel's Chief of Staff (centre left), Rommel and von Rundstedt discuss business.
The wall tapestries can still be seen in this room but sadly I discovered this picture after my visit
and I didn't photograph this room!
The two men chatted over tea with the aid of an interpreter with Rommel soon realising that he would get no useful information from the prisoner and bringing the meeting to a close, but assuring Lane that no harm would come to him while a prisoner.

By the time Lane managed to get information about the location of Rommel's HQ to the allied command via French Resistance contacts, it was mid July and Rommel was on his way back to Germany following his wounding in an allied air attack.

The Field Marshall would soon be dead at his own hand to secure the safety of his family and staff and thus avoiding an embarrassing trial by the Nazi state, following his involvement in the plot to assassinate Hitler that month.

The view out across the Seine valley from the top of the Château
There is much debate about Rommel's relationship with Hitler and the Nazi's and a feeling that over time he came to understand the corrupting and vicious nature of the regime he served.

What ever his political leanings, I think he was very much admired and respected by the British soldiers who faced him in North Africa, Italy and North East Europe and perhaps it should be left to Churchill to have the last word.

"We have a very daring and skillful opponent against us, and, may I say across the havoc of war, a great general"

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Spanish 2nd Cavalry Division - Army of Estremadura

The Almanza Dragoon Regiment, one of the units that was part of the
Spanish 2nd Cavalry Division
It was way way back in February last year when I sat down to map out the plans for the Spanish forces that will feature in my Talavera project and precisely those parts of the Army of Estremadura that became involved in the combat on the British end of the Allied line.

As the build up of the project was all about creating smaller scenarios that would facilitate games with the collection as it grew, I started with General Portago's 3rd Division that was significantly engaged in the afternoon of the 28th July by General Laval's German Division and became a major part of the "Attack on the Pajar Vergara" the last game of which featured at this year's Legionary Show in Exeter and appeared in Miniature Wargames Magazine the following month.

The map illustrates the position of the northern valley forces (left) and the Spanish forces deployed to support the
Cerro de Medellin
With the completion of the British and French orders of battle it now just remains to complete the Spanish forces that deployed to the left flank of the Allied line that hot July afternoon in 1809 to bolster Wellesley's defences in the northern valley and resist any assault on the key Cerro de Medellin hill feature that anchored the whole Allied position.

These forces consisted of General Bassecourt's 5th Infantry Division of mainly Spanish line infantry and Marines and General Albuquerque's 2nd Cavalry Division that swung in behind the British cavalry under Generals Anson and Fane (see the map above).

Luis Alejandro de Bassecourt commanding the
Spanish 5th Infantry Division
5th Division: Major-General Bassecourt - Source Oman
Real Marina (Royal Marines), lst Infantry Regiment (2 Battalions)
3/Africa Infantry Regiment
Murcia Infantry Regiment (2)
l/Reyna Infantry Regiment
Provincial de Siguenza (Militia) (l)

José María de la Cueva, 14th Duke of Albuquerque and
commander of the Spanish 2nd Cavalry Division at Talaveraé_María_de_la_Cueva,_14th_Duke_of_Albuquerque

2nd Division: Lieutenant-General Duquede Albuquerque - Source Oman
Carabineros Reales (l Squadron)
Infante Cavalry Regiment
Alcantara Cavalry Regiment
Pavia Cavalry Regiment
Almanza Cavalry Regiment
lst Hussars of Estremadura
2nd Hussars of Estremadura

Carabineros Reales
As covered in the post about the Army of Estremadura as a whole, it was, following the Spanish defeat at the Battle of Medellin in March 1809, truly remarkable that the Army of Estremadura was still in existence.

Infante Heavy Cavalry Regiment
The aspect of that previous defeat was the need to rebuild the force from the cadres of the survivors which meant that many untried and poorly trained recruits were now in the ranks of both the infantry and cavalry.

Pavia Regiment of Dragoons
The Spanish infantry could be forgiven for having little faith in their cavalry to support them following their poor performance at Medellin which had caused them to suffer the casualties they did. However it must also be remembered that the only successful cavalry charge made at Talavera was by the El Rey Cavalry in support of Portago's infantry around the Pajar redoubt.

Battle of Medellín 28th March 1809

Alcantara Heavy Cavalry Regiment
With regard to researching the strengths of the various regiments in Albuquerque's division, it is very difficult to pin down any reliable source and I have found several contradictory guesstimates from various sources.

So what can be said about the cavalry arm in General Cuesta's army at Talavera with any degree of certainty other than the units recorded on the order of battle, and even on that point I have found some digression.

Most of the sources seem to determine the total amount of cavalry in the two Spanish divisions as numbering around 6-7,000 men and horses. Some of the units were regiments in name only with units such as the Carabineros Reales only fielding one squadron and the two regiments of Estremaduran Hussars reported to have had variously 4-6 squadrons.

Even the look of these units has to speculative given the state of Spanish arms and supplies at this time and the losses suffered in March at Medellin.

Estremaduran Hussars
I therefore have decided to make my own educated guesstimate based on the sources available and have decided to work on the basis of the 2nd Cavalry Division numbering some 2,500 men allowing for 3,500 men with the 1st Cavalry Division and leaning towards the smaller total of cavalry at 6,000 men.

This total number of 2,500 men is split between effectively five full regiments or twenty squadrons and has the Estremaduran Hussars amalgamated into one unit of four squadrons and sees the squadron of Carabineros Reales being attached out to the other regiments of dragoons and heavies at a generic four squadrons. This plan effectively has an average squadron strength of about 125 men each which looks about right.

These five regiments are pictured here in this post and will form the basis of the look of my units given all the caveats on precisely how reliable that look is.

Several sources suggest the single four gun horse battery that was with Cuesta's army was also attached to the 2nd Cavalry Division when it was detached to Wellesley's left flank, being positioned alongside the Spanish half battery of 12 lbrs on the Cerro de Medellin with the British guns, and so I will add the Spanish gun teams at a later stage for completeness.

Spanish Horse Artillery
So there is the plan for the next few months starting with these five regiments of Spanish cavalry and initially with the Estremaduran Hussars. As in previous projects I will share the information I have gathered on each unit as we go, so I hope you will find it interesting to look at the individual Spanish regiments in detail.

References consulted for this post
Talavera, Wellington's First Victory in Spain - Andrew W Field
Great Battles in History Refought - Talavera, Partidge & Oliver
Talavera 1809, Wellington's Lightning Strike into Spain - Chartrand & Turner (Osprey Campaign)
Sir Charles Oman - History of the Peninsular War.

Sunday 21 August 2016

Virginia Regiment - French Indian War

George Washington in the uniform of Colonel the Virginia Regiment - 1772
The Virginia Regiment was raised in 1754 initially under the command of Colonel Joshua Fry, a soldier, surveyor and mapmaker, and a 'West-countryman' having been born in Crewekerne, Somerset. He was and is most famous for his collaboration in producing a map of the state of Virginia in 1752.

Joshua Fry

Colonel Fry was on his way to attack the French Fort Duquense when he fell from his horse, which led to his untimely death in May 1754.

He was succeeded by the then Lieutenant Colonel George Washington, who would, as well of a spot of soldiering, later go on to have an interesting career in politics!

Virginia Militiaman 1755 -62, Gerry Embleton
The Virginia Regiment may well have not been as well uniformed as the figures presented and certainly in the early years of the regiment only the officers would have been so, with many of the men operating in civilian dress mixed occasionally with items of regimental items.

That said there are many references to the red waistcoats and blue-red faced jackets having been established by 1755. Although it seems that Washington and many of his officers may have dispensed with their 'regimentals' when joining General Edward Braddock on his ill-fated expedition that year, preferring to wear linen hunting shirts as illustrated by the man in Gerry Embleton's classic illustration.

Braddock Expedition

The Virginia Regiment bears the distinction as being the first all-colonial professional military force, distinctive from other local militias raised at the time for practising regular drill and wearing a standard uniform.

This regiment heralded the early attempts to professionalise the colonial militia in support of the regulars and laid the foundation of Virginia line regiments that were formed in 1775 at the start of the American War of Independence.

Actions participated in include Jumonville Glen, Fort Necessity, Braddock's Column and the Forbes Expedition.

Map to illustrate the key area of operations for the Viriginia Regiment along the border territory with Ohio Country
Battle of Jumonville Glen
Battle of Fort Necessity
John Forbes (British Army officer)

The figures presented are a twenty six figure project I have painted as part of Steve M's growing collection of 28mm French Indian War figures and are from the Galloping Major range of figures which with the 'heroic' 28mm size are an absolute joy to paint and made a nice break in between finishing my AB 18mm French before starting the Spanish.

I think given the descriptions of the look of the regiment when on campaign I would be inclined to mix in few hunting shirt types to represent the officers and newer recruits.

Steve and I play-tested Sharp Practice II a few weeks ago and I know he is looking at creating some sabot bases so we can more easily organise trained units such as these into formation groups as per the rules.

Sharp Practice II - First Date with a New Lady

I am looking forward to seeing these chaps out on the table.

Virginia Regiment

Next up a review of the Spanish 2nd Cavalry Division, Army of Estremadura at Talavera

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Regimental Museums in Winchester - with Steve M

Rifleman Harris
Editor's Note - I am really keen that JJ's Wargames should have lots of interesting historical and military related posts that inform our hobby. This past year I have had several posts from my old pal "Mr Steve" who has covered some excellent book reviews and trips to various events and places that have added greatly to the variety and content on the blog. 

It thus gives me great pleasure to introduce the first post from another good friend, "Steve M" who has contributed regularly to the blog behind the scenes so to speak with his participation in many of the games featured here and he brings his interest and insights in different aspects and periods within the hobby that will add yet more interesting content to JJ's.

What follows is Steve's report on several Regimental Museums visited interspersed with pictures from the trip. 

Winchester Regimental Museums – Part 1

Having being advised by JJ that I missed the opportunity to become a ‘roving reporter’ when not taking any pictures on a visit to ‘The Rifles (Berkshire & Wiltshire) Museum’ in Salisbury earlier in the year; I hoped to redeem myself on a recent trip to Winchester in Hampshire, where I visited five military museums in a day!

The Wardrobe - Home of the Infantry Regiments of Berkshire & Wiltshire

I only took pictures in three, for various reasons. One didn’t allow it, which was strange considering all the others did, and the other was quite small, of less interest to me, and I was running out of space on my memory card!!

Private 60th Royal American Regiment c1758
I have a keen interest in military history, as most wargamers probably do, but I've always had a particular interest in the individual Regiments of the British army; their history, traditions, battle honours (a whole history in itself! – see ‘Battle Honours of the British and Commonwealth Armies’-
Anthony Baker, 1986), nicknames and amalgamations.

If you’re interested in that kind of thing, I would recommended ‘A companion to the British Army 1660-1983’, David Ascoli, 1983. Clearly a bit out of date now, but good to have as a reference if you
want to know the process of amalgamation for your local, or favourite Regiment and their ‘precedence’ when on parade. Now is not the time to do a full review, but as the author points out,
‘this is neither a history of the British Army, nor a chronicle of battles and campaigns’ (p11). As an
aside, if anyone knows of a good book which guides you through the amalgamations from 1983 onwards, I’d be interested.

General Wolfe's original sash from Quebec
Back to my visit, how did I end up in Winchester? I’d found a really useful website when searching
for local Regimental Museums,

and as mentioned had tied in a visit to the museum to Salisbury following a trip to the Chalke Valley history festival. The website enables you to search by geographic area, so pulling up the South West; I found that there were five military museums in Winchester. So following a planned weekend in Essex with my sister, I set off to Winchester for a stopover on the way back to Devon, and I wasn’t disappointed!

Jacket of Lt. Colonel Hunt 52nd Light Infantry - Peninsular War
There are five museums located in Peninsula Barracks, Romsey Rd. ‘Horsepower’ The Museum of the Kings Royal Hussars; The Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum; The Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum; The Gurkha Museum and The Museum of the Adjutant General’s Corps. Of the five, four are in a stone’s throw of each other (that’s ‘very close’ to any overseas readers!), the Hussar’s and the Gurkhas being accessed through the same main door! The Hampshire’s is a short walk. There were steps on the route I took, but I think there’s an alternative.

Light Infantry Officers Pattern Sword.
Lt. Dawson 52nd Light Infantry, died
of his wounds at Waterloo
Cost wise, the Adjutant General’s is free, being housed in the on-site cafe. This is not unrealistic,
considering the size of the museum (‘museum’ being rather a grand description!). The Hampshire’s
is also free, but there is a drum for donations, and I duly obliged. The Green Jackets and Gurkhas are
£4 each, but if you ‘gift aid’ in the Green Jackets you get 12 months free return visits. The entry into
the Hussars cost £2.

On the day, I arrived around 10.30. Parking is limited, but free, I got a visitors pass from the Green
Jackets museum. The barracks is close to the town centre, so if you have to park further away it’s not
too far. I went round in the following order; Green Jackets, a good hour if not hour and a half; coffee
and cake in the cafe followed by the Adjutant General’s Corps, 15-20 minutes. A 5 minute walk to the Hampshire’s, about 30-40 minutes in there, back to the Hussars, about 30 minutes in there, across to the Gurkha’s, around 40 minutes in there. I finished around 3.30, but timings are very approximate,
as I wasn’t keeping a close eye. It would certainly be easier to spend longer in most of them.

Officers jacket, 5th Battalion, 60th Regiment (Rifles)
What follows is a quick summary of each of my visits, with photos, which are clearly not up to
standard of JJ! I was using a Sony ‘Cyber-shot’, which only has six mega pixels! However, what it does have is the ability to adjust settings to a far greater degree than my phone camera. On the camera most looked ok after some experimentation, but some were disappointing when transferred to the laptop!

The Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum

‘Tracing the history of the 43rd & 52nd, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry; the 60th Rifles, The Kings Royal rifle Corps and the 95th Rifles, The Rifle Brigade, who, in 1966 merged to form The Royal Green Jackets, which in 2007 became part of today’s Regiment, ‘The Rifles’ (from the museum leaflet).

Original jacket of Lt. Walter Clarke, 2nd Battalion, 95th Rifles c1814
There’s a great ‘Regimental family tree’ at the entrance, which is vaguely apparent in one of the
pictures, unfortunately my ‘close up’ was unusable!

But I did find one here

Outside the front of the museum is a statue of Field Marshal John Colborne, 1st Baron Seaton.
Commander of the 52nd Light Infantry at Waterloo, credited with a deceive contribution to the
defeat of the Old Guard (or winning the battle, depending on your view!)

This was the best visit for me, tracing the history of the Regiments from the French & Indian Wars,
when the 60th was raised, through Waterloo, the Indian Mutiny, the Boer War, WW1, WW2 up to
the present day, where there is a small part of the museum dedicated to ‘The Rifles’. Currently (until
11th September) there is also a special exhibition comparing Waterloo with the first day of the Somme; weapons, rations, medical facilities etc.

The 'Nock' gun made famous in the Sharpe TV series
There’s an opportunity to handle replicas of the Baker rifle and the Brown Bess musket, the Baker in
particular is a bit of a weight!

The model dedicated to ‘Rifleman Harris’ is quite impressive (see the header to this post - Ed)

Clip from the Sharpe TV series with left Captain "Sweet" William Fredrickson, 60th Rifles played by Philip Whitchurch,
Richard Sharpe played of course by Sean Bean and Sergeant Patrick Harper seen here with his 'Nock' played by
Daragh O'Malley
Of particular note is the Waterloo diorama of over 21,000 model figures, with commentary, sound
and light effects. There is a picture on the museum website (mine failed!)

There are some other very nice dioramas, including the storming of the Kashmir gate, Dehli, 1857
during the Indian mutiny, and the taking of Pegasus Bridge during the D Day landings. Unfortunately
neither of my pictures came out very well!

Snipe 1 - 1942
What is very good at both the ‘Snipe’ and Pegasus Bridge display’s, are extracts of recorded interviews with the participants, including Major John Howard who led the attack on the bridge. One of my favourites was an extract from a Lt Smith at the bridge, who describes how a German threw a stick grenade at him. "When it went off ‘I had holes in my uniform, but not my body, so I shot him!"

I hope the pictures give you a flavour of the visit, but I don’t feel they do justice to what, in my
opinion, is a very good Regimental Museum.

This is a really useful link for tracing back the formation and history of the Royal Green Jackets and its founding Regiments.

An excellent reference for the complete story of the Rifles is ‘The Rifles chronology 1865-2013’
compiled by Col Ted Shields MBE

It was then time for ‘coffee & cake’, with only a short walk to the ‘Cafe Peninsula’ and the
‘Guardroom Museum’, which houses the Museum of the Adjutant General’s Corps (AGC).

‘From the Army’s Pay Department to the Women’s Royal Army Corps and the current Corps’ role
supporting the British Army of today, the Guardroom Museum provides a fascinating insight into the
Army’s administrative services’ (taken from ‘Winchester’s Military Museums’ leaflet).

A nice little museum (so small it doesn’t have its own website, the Corps was only formed in 1992),
without being of major interest to me in particular. I saved the space of my memory card in here, so
no pictures, but I did find an interesting little snippet about the Women’s Royal Army Corps Band,
formed in 1949. For forty-five years, until 1994, they were the first and only all female band in the British Army. Well I found it interesting!

More information on the AGC can be found here;

Next up, unless this is my first & last entry as a roving reporter??! The Royal Hampshire’s, the Royal
Hussars and the Gurkhas.

Steve M