Who are the REME, a US ARMy officers memoirs. -1 reply

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UTHER

ARTE ET MARTE

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5th December 2003

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#1 13 years ago

For anyone whos interested in my Corps from an independent perspective.

Memoirs of an Exchange Officer by Major Ronnie M. Williams, USA (Ret.) The Army's last exchange officer to serve in the training organization of the British Army's Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers recalls the rich heritage of the Corps. I had the privilege of serving with the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) of the British Army as an American exchange officer from June 1992 until July 1994. I was a company commander in the School of Electronic Engineering. During my tour, I participated in numerous activities and social functions within the school and the Corps. The most memorable occasions were the celebrations of the Corps' 50th anniversary in July 1992 and the D-Day commemoration on 6 June 1994, honoring those soldiers who fought and died some 50 years earlier during World War II. I felt a short story of the accomplishments of the Corps during World War II and its effort to maintain a special, mutual friendship with the U.S. Army would be appropriate. REME was formed in 1942 to concentrate the British Army's equipment resources into one organization. REME, similar to our own Ordnance Corps, was responsible for providing electrical and mechanical maintenance for the British Army. The Corps also was expected to introduce innovative, improved methods of maintenance and repair. The Corps' responsibilities covered practically the entire range of British Army equipment-air defense, armaments, artillery, aviation, electrical, fire control, medical and dental, radar, telecommunication, and wheeled and tracked vehicles. During World War II, some 3 weeks after the formation of REME, the British Eighth Army, reinforced with much U.S. equipment, fought its main battle at El Alamein in North Africa, halting the German drive to the Suez Canal. Success of that battle may not have been possible had it not been for REME's demonstrated ability to recover and repair equipment quickly. That ability brought great praise to the new Corps. The Corps went on to support Allied forces landing in Morocco and Algeria, contributing to the success of the North African campaign. It was during this time that the Corps discovered that British Churchill tanks could be fitted with guns from wrecked U.S. Sherman tanks. Since the guns of the Sherman tank could use a wider range of ammunition, substituting the Sherman gun extended the capability of the Churchill tank. The Corps outfitted two tank regiments with Sherman guns, and those regiments served in Italy. The U.S. Army base of operations in 1942 was in Great Britain, which was under attack from the German air force. Enemy ships isolated the British Isles, and, even though the Blitz had ended, occasional air attacks continued late into the war. Beginning in mid-1944, Vl and V2 rockets intensified the threat, falling mostly on London and southeast England. These attacks led to REME units constantly updating coastal defense artillery and antiaircraft defense with the latest radar installations. Other REME responsibilities in Great Britain included manufacturing and repairing equipment in base workshops, modifying materiel in service, training REME officers and tradesmen, and establishing and outfitting new workshops for the field army. REME elements were dispatched with the 1st Army to Tunisia in 1942 and with reinforcements that were sent to the Mediterranean and India. The main emphasis, however, remained with the buildup of forces in England for the 1944 Normandy invasion. REME contributed significantly to assault landings from the sea by the large-scale waterproofing of vehicles. REME developed the waterproofing design for the beach armored recovery vehicles that could wade into deep water and recover "drowned" vehicles in amphibious operations. It also developed specialized recovery vehicles and workshop trucks and designed an improved armored recovery vehicle that included a winch to ease the task of "unditching" tanks. REME designed one of Britain's first radar-guided antiaircraft missiles. Unfortunately, it was perfected too late for operational use during the war. REME personnel served in the Ministry of Supply, where they worked hand-in-hand with Ministry personnel to overcome numerous design problems that affected British tank performance. REME officers and soldiers were sent from Britain to provide specialist technical training to other Commonwealth countries and to serve in liaison roles to the United States, the supplier of much of Britain's war materiel. D-Day, June 1944, marked the beginning of the Allied forces' recapture of Western Europe from Germany. The invasion was primarily an amphibious assault on the beaches of Normandy by American, British, and Canadian forces. REME beach recovery sections were among the first ashore. They were tasked with removing damaged vehicles and keeping exits clear. Special-purpose armored vehicles were concentrated in the 79th Armoured Division, whose REME workshops were among the largest deployed. The first of REME's accolades in the campaign was for perfecting vehicle waterproofing techniques. Failures were less than 1 percent. As the major battles moved forward, REME workshops were established quickly to recover damaged equipment and repair it for reissue. Improvisation was necessary to get this equipment back to the units as quickly as possible. Other significant REME contributions included creation of the tracked armored personnel carrier, the Kangaroo; the conversion of tank transporters to carry bulk supplies and stores; and the use of captured German tanks to overcome the shortage of armored recovery vehicles. The sheer number of divisions deployed and the amount of equipment in use created an enormous volume of work. There were four semimobile advanced base workshops in France. Some later moved into Belgium and eventually into Germany. To support this fast-moving campaign, the technique of "leapfrogging" workshops was used. This consisted of one divisional workshop remaining static to repair equipment while another moved forward, and then reversing roles REME provided support in the biggest airborne assault ever to be undertaken when, in September 1944, two American divisions and a British division attempted to capture crossings over a number of waterways in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the British assault on Arnhem failed, and many of those taking part, including a large number of REME personnel, became casualties or prisoners of war. The German surprise attack in the Ardennes in December 1944 was directed mainly at a U.S. Army-held area. A wedge was driven into the Allied line that cut off some of the forces from their main supply bases. To alleviate this problem, American troops were temporarily issued British equipment, which the REME workshops modified. Crossing the Rhine River was the next major operation that involved airborne troops in an assault using amphibious vehicles. One of REME's contributions to that effort was the modification of tank transporters to carry small landing craft from the coast for use in the river crossing. A shortage of infantry at one point led to the creation of a "services battalion" to which REME contributed a company. The battalion served in the front line while an infantry battalion rested. In another incident, a REME light aid detachment led an attack on a German-held area. After reinforcements arrived, the Germans were routed. By April 1945, the Allied armies-pressing the enemy from both east and west-were on the verge of meeting when the enemy surrendered on 8 May 1945, marking "victory in Europe." Since REME's formation, it has performed its mission extraordinarily well and served with distinction, not only in World War II during the 1940's, but also in Cyprus, Kenya, Korea, and Malaya in the 1950's; Malaysia in the 1960's; Belize and Cyprus in the 1970's; the Falkland Islands in the 1980's; the Persian Gulf War in the 1990's; and Northern Ireland from 1990 to the present. During the Corps' first 54 years, its responsibility for equipment support has increased consistently. The work of the Corps today covers, with exceptions, the inspection and repair of all electrical and mechanical equipment in the British Army. It also must be prepared to manufacture large quantities of equipment in overseas theaters in an emergency, and it is directly involved in efforts to incorporate design improvements in each new item of equipment developed in order to increase reliability and simplify maintenance and repair. The Corps' Golden Jubilee Year was celebrated throughout 1992. Fifty years is a significant milestone to be celebrated, and the sense of pride, esprit de corps, and satisfaction among the old and young REME soldiers-knowing their contributions had affected every facet of the British Army-was overwhelming. The Corps emphasizes skill perhaps more than the profession of arms, but history shows that the men and women of REME shared the same discomforts and dangers as did their colleagues of other arms and services in carrying out their mission. This holds true not only in World War II but also in other conflicts, including the most recent, the Middle East War, where REME soldiers were among the casualties. REME is recognized throughout the British Army for its superb performance in both war and peace. ALOG Major Ronnie M. Williams, USA (Ret.), is a consultant with International Consulting, Inc., in Fayetteville, Georgia. When he wrote this article, he was a logistics officer in Headquarters, Third U.S. Army, Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and holds a master's degree in economics from Virginia State University. He is also a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College.




Beast of War

Born to kill

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28th May 2003

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#2 13 years ago

Did anyone read that ? :lol:




Flippy Warbear

One of Kelly's Heroes

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2nd January 2004

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#3 13 years ago

TL DR ;) I'd read it at work but my printer is kaputt.




MkH^

FH tester

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25th September 2003

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#4 13 years ago

Paragraphs?




Civius

FH Dev (retired)

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23rd July 2004

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#5 13 years ago

Abstract?




Gobo12

Addicted to GF

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19th August 2004

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#6 13 years ago

what does this have to do with fh?




Beast of War

Born to kill

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28th May 2003

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#7 13 years ago

Nothing probably.....dunno....i didn't read it.

How about this Anlushac : :moved:




[nl]Invincible

FH Betatester

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29th December 2004

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#8 13 years ago

Wate *^%#@#!!!!!!

T0 Much Information!!! ....




Guest

I didn't make it!

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#9 13 years ago

......skip go....




[nl]Invincible

FH Betatester

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29th December 2004

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#10 13 years ago

:withstupid:

its more like this! :KTA: hahaha;)