10-11 July 1944
5th Battalion The Black Watch, 153rd Infantry Brigade, 51st Highland Infantry Division
1st Battalion The Gordon Highlanders, 153rd Infantry Brigade, 51st Highland Infantry Division
5/7th Battalion The Gordon Highlanders, 153rd Infantry Brigade, 51st Highland Infantry Division
148th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps
The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, 8th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division
The North Shore Regiment, 8th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division
Régiment de la Chaudière, 8th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division
Luftwaffen-Jäger Regiment 32, 16. Feld-Division (L)
Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503
II/Panzergrenadier-Regiment 125, 21. Panzer-Division
Werfer Regiment 54
Origins of operation Stack
On July 9, 1944, after the cessation of Operation Charnwood north of Caen, the Germans reinforced their positions and in particular Colombelles. General Montgomery, commander of the 21st Army Group, then ordered the destruction of the chimneys of the Société Métallurgique de Normandie (Metallurgical Society of Normandy) factory, used by German artillery observers: this operation took the name Operation Stack. It opposed the following German units: the Luftwaffen-Jäger Regiment 32 of the 16. Feld-Division (L), the Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 and the II/Panzergrenadier-Regiment 125 of the 21. Panzer-Division.
Conduct of operation Stack
On the night of July 10-11, the 153rd Infantry Brigade, consisting of the 5th Battalion The Black Watch, 1st Battalion The Gordon Highlanders and 5/7th Battalion The Gordon Highlanders, launched an attack on positions defended by the Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503. Infantry is supported by the Sherman and Firefly tanks of the 148th Royal Armored Corps (RAC). The British soldiers were quickly pinned down by violent bombardments of mortars and Nebelwerfer of the Werfer Regiment.
The tanks of the 3rd squadron under the command of Oberleutnant Richard Freiherr von Rose (the unit commander, Hauptmann Scherf, temporarily replaces the unit commander, sick) counterattack at dawn and destroy 9 of 10 Sherman of A Squadron of the 148th RAC. Three other armored vehicles were put out of action and the Germans captured two Shermans: one of them was later used as a tow truck for the benefit of the regiment. The 153rd Infantry Brigade retreated, abandoning the hope of achieving the goals of operation Stack.
Results of operation Stack
The British, who at that time were unaware of the presence of Tiger II tanks in front of them, lose a total of 14 Sherman tanks during this engagement. Operation Stack is a failure and once again shows the superiority of German tanks compared to their allied counterparts.
It was not until July 18 and operation Atlantic (Canadian part of operation Goodwood) that the smelter and its chimneys finally fell into the hands of the Allies after the Canadians attacked the 8th Infantry Brigade (3rd Infantry Division).