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The Scots Guards at Caumont

….the Scots Guards, still holding the hill at Les Loges, were in an unenviable position. They were a full four miles into enemy territory, perched on the one feature in the whole area which commended the vital Caumont – St. Martin road.

At about 6pm, just as the BBC news of the battle was coming over the air, the Germans put down a very heavy “stonk”, hitting Captain Beeson's tank twice, the second shot killing him as he jumped out to rescue his wounded hull gunner. Five minutes later, the long-awaited counter-attack arrived, but from an entirely unexpected direction. It began with a hail of armour piercing from the depths of a thick wood some 300 yards to the rear, an area which according to plan should by now have been cleared by the 43 rd Division. They were, alas, far behind.

Tank Museum photo No. 0007/C/5 Tank Museum photo No. 0007/C/5

The first three shots knocked out the whole of Lieutenant Cunningham's troop, the guardians of that flank, thus clearing a path for the enemy attack. The force consisted of three enormous SP guns, Germany 's latest and most formidable weapon, the Jagd Panther, which had never been seen by the British before. Two of these monsters, covered by the third, charged through the gap in the centre of S Squadron and then slipped out of sight over the ridge to the left front, leaving eight more flaming hulks in their wake.

Tank Museum photo No. 5690/C/2 Tank Museum photo No. 5690/C/2

Their approach had been masterly, covered from the supporting squadron by a cottage and a thick hedge. They were engaged going over the hill, not without effect, as sometime later two of them were found 200 yards away, their tracks leading back to the scene of the action. One had evidently been hit by Lieutenant Bankes' gunner.

Tank Museum photo No. 2392/C/5Tank Museum photo No. 2392/C/5

Though over in perhaps five minutes, this was a heavy blow, more so since Major Cuthbert, the second-in-command of the squadron had chosen this moment to move across to look at the left flank. He must have met the enemy head-on because his tank was found penetrated through the heaviest frontal armour with its turret blown off. Nevertheless the hill was safe and the enemy withdrew, not to appear again.

From 6th Guards Tank Brigade by Patrick Forbes


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