PARACHUTE 2 CLUB Newsletter No. 72. June 2004.

‘TAMERA’. By Neville Robinson. Intelligence Section, 2nd Parachute Battalion.

2003 was the 60th anniversary of the battle honour ‘Tamera’ so I thought I would pen a few of my memories.

We went in at night and the artillery fired to cover the noise of the Lincolnshire Regiment coming out and us going in, and I recall the night being lit up by the flashes of the guns to our left, and the glow of the shells landing as we tumbled out of the 3 Ton Bedford TCV’s and the Lincolnshire’s scrambled in.

The Germans had penetrated the Lincolnshire’s position and had taken quite a few prisoners, and felt that they were going to have an easy time as they attacked at dawn. They kept at it all day but as they ran into the first company position and got the first dose of “Wahoo Mohamed” they soon found out that they had met a different breed of cat. Their MG 34’s & 42’s used a very high rate of fire compared to the Bren Gun [LMG], but 2 PARA had learned to use the Bren on ‘Single Shot’ accurately so as not to give away the Bren Gun [LMG] position.

We soon had a whole bunch of German LMG’s; and they beefed up our defences, but it didn’t help the CO control the battle as he didn’t know who was firing what, and since the ‘Cork Wood’ reduced visibility to very short ranges; the battle was fought very much at Platoon level.

The first night we were sent to the Company position with new maps; but the Int Section member left Battalion HQ in the culvert under the railway line and was never seen again. The following day it was decided to try again in daylight; and I was despatched having wrapped the maps in the camouflage scarf we were issued with in the hope that I would not be so much of a target. I got the delivery done alright; but was not a popular visitor to the Company area as my movement through the Cork Woods would incur enemy attack, so the Company NCO’s could vent their feelings on a lowly rifleman; where they couldn’t on the CO or his visitor!

Soon after we arrived a Troop of 1st Parachute Field Squadron RE arrived to fight as infantry, and established a Platoon size position on the left flank. I delivered their maps to the Troop Commander who had the deepest slit trench I’ve ever seen and I recall lying down on the ground to hand the maps down to him over the edge of the trench.

Sergeant Fleming of C Company brought in a big bunch of German prisoners; who proudly claimed their membership in the ‘Bavarian Regiment’, an elite outfit according to their Feldwebel. We kept them in the culvert overnight until Brigade could collect them.

One day the ‘Sherwood Foresters’ were ordered to attack ‘Djebel Bel’ which overlooked our position in Cork Wood, it was a large Djebel with leafy woods up to 100 yards short of the crest, which was pretty bare and full of German positions. I was detailed to guide the ‘Foresters’ Support Company, Mortars and MMG’s [on mules] up through the woods, progress was slow and the awkward loads kept getting caught on the branches, the ground was slippery and the steam rose in clouds off the mules backs. Suddenly all hell broke loose just ahead of us; and bits of bark and leaves were raining down as the German machine guns fired.

We halted and then found ourselves in the middle of the ‘Foresters’ rifle companies coming back down the hill and going past us. After a few minutes we got the mules turned around and found ourselves to be a four legged rear guard, slipping and sliding and hanging onto the halters until we got to the bottom.

In retrospect, as we lost 50% of the Int Section delivering the 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 maps to the rifle companies and RE Troop, I’ve sometimes wondered how valuable those maps were; since visibility at Cork Wood was restricted to a few yards, and ‘Djebel Bel’ was the only recognisable feature, which was never taken but just abandoned by the Germans when they withdrew.

Anyway they were to be in the hands of the companies; and so they were, I got plenty of opportunities to use my German as the POW’s from the ‘Bavarian’, the ‘Witzig Fallschirmjagers’ and the ‘10th Panzer Grenadiers’ passed through our hands before Brigade HQ picked them up.


Researched by R Hilton

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