Another D-Day Anniversary

It's been a couple of years since this post:, so I feel it is again time to bring the V&C military watches together for a portrait on this very auspicious day.  Please feel free to add your military timepieces, V&C or otherwise.

Another D-Day Anniversary

The three bottom watches are WWII naval pieces (Royal Navy and Kriegsmarine), while the top two with radium numbers are WWI US Army.  All have been profiled here before and should be readily found with the search function for anyone wishing more details.

The invasion of Fortress Europe was one of the most closely guarded secrets, revealed to the world by Winston Churchill in the House of Commons with these words:

I have to announce to the House that during the night and the early hours of this morning the first of the series of landings in force upon the European Continent has taken place.  In this case the liberating assault fell upon the coast of France.  An immense armade of upwards of 4,000 ships, together with several thousand smaller craft, crossed the Channel.  Massed airborne landings have been successfully effected behind the enemy lines, and landings on the beaches are proceeding at various points at the present time.

Another D-Day Anniversary

Scale models have been an interest since childhood and this military vignette was commissioned to honor the Allies landing at Normandy in 1944.  Represented here is a Canadian Firefly tank and crew, proceeding inland towards the unknown.  The Firefly was an up-gunned American Sherman, fitted with the British 17-pounder anti-tank gun.  It was realistically the only Allied tank that could take out the German Panthers and Tigers they were sure to meet.

Another D-Day Anniversary

A squadron of four tanks was lucky to have one Firefly.  The Germans knew of this long-barrelled menace and had instructions to target them first.  A partial solution was two-fold; the barrel was painted to disguise it's length, and many Canadian units welded spare tracks to the front hull as "insurance".

Another D-Day Anniversary

Because of the gun's massive size within the rather small turret, the radio operator's position was eliminated so the Firefly was actually crewed by one less person than a standard Sherman tank.  It was also very typical to find the Allied tanks loaded down on the outside with spare gear and supplies, due in part to the cramped quarters within and the fact they were proceeding in the early days of the invasion without established supply lines.

Another D-Day Anniversary

This particular tank, of A Squadon, Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment, was to score a tremendous victory on August 8th when it met up with counter-attacking forces led by German tank ace Michael Wittmann.  Although there is much historical debate about who actually destroyed Wittmann and his Tiger I, the latest research has established this tank was in-fact the closest with the means to do the job!  Of course, that is still months ahead...

So, today spare a thought and raise a glass to those who landed on June 6, 1944 yes

Re: Another D-Day Anniversary
06/06/2014 - 10:17

I'll certainly drink to that!!

A momentous day indeed and one that almost ended in disaster. 

One cannot but be beholden to the Allied troops for an unbelievable effort against an indomitable and cruel foe. The invasion of Festung Europa and its sequelae owes so much to those who survived to enjoy their later years and those very many that did not. And an extra glass to those on the home front, men and women who provided the wherewithal for the Allies to acheive victory. 

Na zdrowie!
06/06/2014 - 12:09

A fantastic hobby, Dean. Congratulations!

A day that changed the face of history. On a side note love your
06/06/2014 - 13:08

collection of models, and thanks for the story

I knew we could count on you, Dean
06/06/2014 - 14:54

...for an interesting post on June 6.  Thank you!  I love seeing pictures of these scale models and reading about the Firefly.  Really fascinating.  The opening photo of the pocketwatches ain't bad either. 

I expect another post from you on August 8th...




Re: Another D-Day Anniversary
06/06/2014 - 15:18

Dean, I've returned to your despatch dated 6th, June 2012 before taking time to read your present submission.

Your research at that time was, I felt, most poignant as we viewed your excellent photographs and supporting copy. Your entry in the diary today continues the reflection of that period beautifully embroidered with fascinating models. I join you, indeed along with many others, and spare a thought for everyone that was involved in the campaign.

We've much to be grateful for.

I shall raise a toast in appreciation and thanks.


D-Day +1
06/07/2014 - 03:15

Thanks for all your comments smiley.  I waited for the day to pass in quiet rememberance but now, on D-Day +1, the story can continue.  The Sherbrooke Fusiliers and their brigade moved towards Caen as their objective.  The first tank encounter was simply astonishing!  The infantry reported a line of nine Panther tanks heading down a road in full view.  Dozens of Shermans were arranged in a field and fired into their vulnerable flanks without response.  Nine Panthers down without casualties.  Many thought they would be in Berlin within weeks.  Still, 28 tanks of the Regiment were lost on the first day.  It was to get much worse on D-Day +1 as Eastern Front veterans were rushing to meet the Allies.

D-Day +1

76 Canadian prisoners were executed by SS troops during this first week, for which Kurt Panzer Meyer was tried at Nuremburg after the war for giving a "no prisoners" order.  His death sentence was commutted at the last moment and he was freed after eight years.  Ironically, it was the senior Canadian commander in theater that granted clemency, admitting in a rare flash of honesty that Allied commanders had given the same order on many occasions. Meyer died on his 51st birthday of a "heart attack".  Hmmm...


I love your models!
06/07/2014 - 20:36

Some of mine, along with some watches I've had. Today, I definitely left this typology out of my interest*.


*Actually nor the PAM, nor the Type are military watches, as only the Zenith has been given to A.M.I.



Is that the wooden Alcione with your Panerai?
06/08/2014 - 01:01

Nice grouping yes.

SM 79 "Sparviero" :-)
06/08/2014 - 13:19

The closest thing to the "Alcione", is a SM82 "Marsupiale"  made, by pure coincidence, for the Folgore Division (Paratroopers) cheeky

Lovely diorama, Dean!
06/08/2014 - 09:11

How long did it take you to build it?

looks like 1/72 scale with the usual great pieces from Verlinden right down to the French posters. 

I love their stuff but have done mainly aircraft (in

days gone by). 

I still have their catalogues though. :-)

their was an Edmonton group, I think it was part of the 4th Canadian Army , 29th tank reconnaissance unit that also used the Firefly. 


Re: Lovely diorama, Dean!
06/08/2014 - 09:14


should be "There" was an Edmontonblush


Joseph, I was only the quarterback
06/09/2014 - 17:43

My time building models was also in days gone by, mostly because of our move into smaller residence when I had to give up the spray booth and other essential equipment...really you need a dedicated room.  Nowadays I research a historical incident and either commission or purchase built components then modify them to suite the scenario.  The Firefly, for example, was made by a fellow Canadian who's relative served with the Fusiliers in 1944.  He had some pretty good family stories to tell!