A week after the Regiment had begun their new tasks
the first issue of tanks was made to them for their
own use. To the general surprise these tanks were
not of the American Sherman type as had been expected.
In their place they got the Cromwell, the standard
British cruiser tank with which 7th Armoured Division,
unlike other British armoured divisions, was equipped.
The Cromwell was a fast, handy tank which carried
a 75mm gun and two machine-guns for the use of its
crew of five. In neither armament nor armour was it
the equal of the German Tiger or Panther, but it did
not 'brew up' easily on being hit.
The turret was cramped, and a gunner who had a long-legged
crew commander would find himself dug in the back
every time his 'skipper' sat down to study a map. Major General Roger Evans 5th Royal Inniskilling
Museum photo No. 5571/F/3
7th June 1944. Regiment landed on beaches at Hable-de-Heurat.
One Firefly and one Cromwell were lost by drowning.
Tanks proceeded to the concentration area, most of
the de-waterproofing being done en route.
8th June 1944. The country proved to be very close
in this area allowing Boche infantry to get very close
to the tanks. On one occasion a tank under command
of Lieutenant Garnett was boarded, prompt action by
the officer using a Sten gun and his (radio) operator
his revolver saved the situation. A lot of trouble
was caused by an enemy SP (self-propelled) gun working
its way into Sully village and succeeded in knocking
out one Firefly. Even at this stage it was becoming
very clear that fighting ranges would be extremely
short: upwards of 50 yards.
War Diary of 5th Royal Tank Regiment
Museum photo No. 0902/A/3
At about 1 p.m. the Regiment moved out, A Squadron
in the lead. It was a hot afternoon and they drove
down steep and narrow country roads in a cloud of
choking white dust.
Lieutenant Rampf of A Squadron had his tank knocked
out by an infantryman with a Raketen Panzerbusche
43, the German answer to the Bazooka.
At this moment the 4th County of London Yeomanry
appeared on the scene and Lieutenant Colonel Goulburn
asked them to put the company of 1st Rifle Brigade,
which was under their command, into Livry to clear
the village. This they were able to do, but as it
was by then 8 p.m. it was decided to advance no further