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Exercise “Tiger”

Discussion in 'The War In Normandy' started by brianw, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. brianw

    brianw Member

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    I can’t remember when I first heard of the Exercise “Tiger” disaster, but I was reminded of it while watching an episode of “Foyle’s War” quite recently.

    Exercise Tiger was a pre-invasion rehearsal at the end of April 1944 in Lyme Bay on the south coast. The area known a Slapton Sands was deemed to be a close approximation to the conditions which would be found on Utah beach on the 6th June.

    A number of American LSTs (Landing Ship Tank) were to take part in the exercise along with some naval vessels as escorts to ensure the safety of the exercise.

    However due to factors which could only be described as the usual wartime SNAFU; the one old destroyer stuck in port unserviceable and the seemingly endless problems with wrong radio frequencies, the exercise was unaware of the approach of nine E-Boats from Cherborg on a routine channel patrol.

    Five of the LSTs were torpedoed resulting in the deaths of almost a thousand men.

    My congratulations to Ken Small for a superb website remembering and documenting this incident which can found at:
    Exercise Tiger : The Slapton Sands Sherman Tank Memorial Website | History of Exercise Tiger

    SNAFU = Situation Normal. All F***ed Up
     
  2. Cabel1960

    Cabel1960 recruit

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    Big coincidence that the Germans was patrolling the area at the same time that this exercise was going on. Do you think they were tipped off? :sad:
     
  3. Cabel1960

    Cabel1960 recruit

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    From time to time various newspapers, writers, and television producers looking for some sensationalism have “discovered” evidence of a massive cover-up concerning the incident. There is even a locally built “monument” to the “cover-up” that serves as a tourist attraction. In fact, there was no cover-up. Information about Slapton Sands was declassified shortly after the war, and the incident is mentioned in numerous works, including the army’s official history of the Normandy operation published in 1951, by which time no one was particularly interested.
     
  4. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Seeing a programme on this subject claiming that at least 1405 soldiers had lost their lives on this exercise thou 749 is the officially figure! Claiming the 749 were soldiers from the Army only, no Navy men or other personnel were in the 749 figure, clarified from a source from the USA.

    It also claimed that because of LST 508 was unable to be part of the exercise personnel from here was transferred onto LST 507, with this happening so close to the exercise deadline no paper work was done regarding the transfer of people. Also the mention of friendly fire regarding the personnel that were on the beach, the artillery fire from the sea onto the beach was set at a certain time, but was then changed by an hour, thou no one on the beach was informed. The ships started their assault on the beach believing the beach was empty of their colleagues. Again these figures were not placed onto the final list of those soldiers killed....

    Maybe we will never know the truth, or maybe we already know???
     
  5. brianw

    brianw Member

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    To claim a deliberate cover-up is probably unrepresentative of this tragic incident, although at the time there seems to have been definite "security black-out" imposed for the obvious reasons, after all it was only about six weeks before D-Day.

    Having watched the program on C5 myself, it would appear that many of the discrepancies in numbers of casualties was often due to how each casualty was categorised; some organisations recording those killed in action but not those killed during training, others recording only US Army casualties and disregarding naval casualties and so on. In other words, there was no overall definitive categorising and recording agency, neither American nor British.

    There seemed to be no priority given to actually documenting who was doing what where and at what time. Being just a training exercise there was probably no perceived reason for doing so, after all who could have predicted that almost (or over) a thousand men would die.

    Whether the incident was totally and accurately recorded at the time, considering that grave mistakes were made and a certain amount of back-side covering might have occurred, and the "fog of war" considerations, it's not as if there was going to be a Health and Safety Executive inquiry, but the incident was documented at the time and those documents were released into the public domain quite soon after the war; the fact that they languished in some box-file on some long forgotten shelf in the National Archive for forty-odd years doesn’t mean a cover-up.
     
  6. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Agree, it doesn't mean a cover up, far from it. But there is no reason after all these years that an inquiry or at least some statement explaining whether or not an additional 600+ peoples name need to be added to the dead list.
     

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