British Armoured Divisions

Discussions on all aspects of the The United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth during the Inter-War era and Second World War. Hosted by Andy H
Aber
Member
Posts: 871
Joined: 05 Jan 2010 21:43

Re: British Armoured Divisions

Post by Aber » 04 May 2017 16:38

Sheldrake wrote:
Armoured Divisions needed more infantry than just one brigade, and, as you can see from the Orbat the 6th Armd Div has two infantry and one Armoured brigades.
And Wikipedia quoting Joslen p225-6 says that 1st Guards Brigade was replaced in the Division by 61st Infantry Brigade on 29 May 1944. :D

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 2747
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: British Armoured Divisions

Post by Sheldrake » 04 May 2017 16:59

Aber wrote:
Sheldrake wrote:
Armoured Divisions needed more infantry than just one brigade, and, as you can see from the Orbat the 6th Armd Div has two infantry and one Armoured brigades.
And Wikipedia quoting Joslen p225-6 says that 1st Guards Brigade was replaced in the Division by 61st Infantry Brigade on 29 May 1944. :D
....and if you look to p226, right hand column, two up from the bottom, you can see it was back under command 6th Armoured Division from 18th October 1944 until the end of the war.

which is consistent with my post dated 1 May including an extract from CAB 44/148 [1957] Section IV, chapter R: final operations, Lombardy, 1945 Apr.-May, by Major F. Jones.

yantaylor
Member
Posts: 879
Joined: 20 Mar 2011 14:53
Location: Cheshire

Re: British Armoured Divisions

Post by yantaylor » 04 May 2017 19:38

I think that I may need to edit my data, as some of my dates may conflict with you guys;

6th ARMOURED DIVISION
Nick Name:
The Iron Fist

Formed:
12th September 1940
Service Record:
Tunisia
Italy
Austria

Operations and Campaigns:
Tunisian Campaign
Operation Torch
Italian Campaign
Operation Diadem

Unit Structure 1939 to 1945:

Divisional Staff:

Commanding Officers:
Major General J.T. Crocker (27th September 1940 to 9th January 1941)
Brigadier E.D. Fanshawe (9th January to 22nd February 1941)
Major General J.T. Crocker (22nd February to 15th October 1941)
Major General H. Lumsden (15th October to 29th October 1941)
Major General C.H. Gairdner (29th October 1941 to 19th May 1942)
Major General C.F. Keightley (19th May 1942 to 19th December 1943)
Major General V. Evelegh (19th December 1943 to 15th February 1944)
Brigadier W.E.G. Hemming (15th February to 19th March 1944)
Major General V. Evelegh (19th March to 24th July 1944)
Major General G.W.R. Templer (24th July to 5th August 1944)
Brigadier C.A.M.D. Scott (5th August 1944 to 13th August 1944)
Brigadier F.N. Mitchell (13th August to 21st August 1944)
Major General H. Murray (21st August 1944 to 27th July 1945)

Brigades:

20th Armoured Brigade (16th October 1940 to 23rd April 1942)
Commander;
Brigadier E.D. Fanshawe (14th April 1940 to 9th January 1941)
Units;
1st Royal Gloucestershire Hussars
1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry
2nd Northamptonshire Yeomanry
2nd Battalion the Rangers
10th Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps

26th Armoured Brigade (9th November 1940 to 2nd May 1944)
Commanders;
Brigadier M.B. Burrows (12th October to 1st December 1940)
Brigadier A.C.W. Richardson (1st December 1940 to 9th July 1941)
Colonel W.P. Wyatt (9th July 1941 to 14th July)
Brigadier W.P. Wyatt (14th July 1941 to 25th August 1942)
Brigadier C.A.L. Dunphie (25th August 1942 to 13th March 1943)
Brigadier G.P.B. Roberts (13th March to 18th December 1943)
Brigadier R.A. Hull (19th June to 29th September 1943)
Colonel G.W.C. Draffen (29th September to 10th October 1943)
Brigadier R.A. Hull (10th October to 18th December 1943)
Colonel G.W.C. Draffen (18th December 1943 to 7th January 1944)
Brigadier F.N. Mitchell (7th January to 12th August 1944)
Units;
16th/5th Lancers
17th/21st Lancers
2nd Lothians and Border Horse
4th Queen's Own Hussars
2nd Battalion, Tower Hamlets Rifles
10th Battalion, Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)
1st Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps

6th Support Group (1st November 1940 to 31st May 1942)
Commander;
Brigadier T. Lyon-Smith (2nd November 1940 to 1st June 1942)
Units;
12th Regiment Royal Horse Artillery
72nd Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery
51st Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery
9th Battalion Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment

38th Irish Infantry Brigade (9th June 1942 to 16th February 1943)
Commanders;
Brigadier M. O’Donovan (12th January to 1st July 1942
Brigadier N. Russell (1st July 1942 to 20th February 1944)
Units;
2nd Battalion London Irish Rifles
1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers
6th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

1st Guards Infantry Brigade (24th March 1943 to 29th May 1944)
Commander;
Brigadier F.A.V. Copland Griffiths (14th July 1940 to 14th April 1943)
Brigadier S.A. Foster (14th April to 24th July 1943)
Units;
3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards
2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards
3rd Battalion Welsh Guards

61st Infantry Brigade (29th May 1944 to 31st August 1945)
Commanders;
Lieutenant Colonel D. Darling (21st May to 25th May 1944)
Brigadier A.C. Gore (25th May 1944 to 11th January 1945)
Lieutenant Colonel R. Fyffe (11th January to 5th February 1945)
Brigadier A.C. Gore (5th February to 27th July 1945)
Units;
2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)
7th Battalion Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)
10th Battalion Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)
1st Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps
1st Battalion Welch Regiment
2nd Battalion Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders
1st Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment

24th Guards Brigade (18th May to 12th June 1943)
Commander;
Lieutenant Colonel W.S. Stewart Brown (1st May to 13th May 1943)
Brigadier A.S.P. Murray (13th May 1943 to 12th February 1944)
Units;
1st Battalion Scots Guards
1st Battalion Coldstream Guards
5th Battalion Grenadier Guards

36th Infantry Brigade (22nd January to 2nd February 1943)
Commander;
Brigadier B. Howlett (17th December 1942 to 30th November 1943)
Units;
5th Battalion Buffs
6th Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment

21st Indian Infantry Brigade (16th April to 4th May 1944)
Commander;
Brigadier B.S. Mould (15th March 1943 to 31st August 1945)
Units;
1st/5th Mahratta Light Infantry
3rd/15th Punjab Regiment
5th Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment

Divisional Troops:

Royal Corps of Signals:
6th Armoured Divisional Signals Regiment

Reconnaissance:
1st Derbyshire Yeomanry (10th November 1940 to 31st August 1945)

Infantry:
"B" Heavy Support Group (19th December 1944 to 11th February 1945)
1st Heavy Support Company (12th February to 31st August 1945)

Royal Artillery:
12th Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery (1st June 1942 to 31st August 1945)
152nd (Ayrshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery (15th June 1942 to 31st August 1945)
72nd Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery (1st June 1942 to 31st August 1945)
51st Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery (1st June 1942 to 3rd November 1944)

Royal Engineers:
5th Field Squadron, Royal Engineers (19th November 1940 to 6th March 1944)
8th Field Squadron, Royal Engineers (15th December 1940 to 31st August 1945)
625th Field Squadron, Royal Engineers (7th March 1944 to 31st August 1945)
144th Field Park Squadron, Royal Engineers (19th November 1940 to 31st August 1945)
6th Bridging Troop, Royal Engineers (25th December 1943 to 21st August 1945)
Last edited by yantaylor on 05 May 2017 12:24, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 2747
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: British Armoured Divisions

Post by Sheldrake » 04 May 2017 20:05

I am not sure how Joslyn's team compiled CAB 44/55- 44/56. In theory they should also be derived from the War Diaries which record changes of command. There may be inconsistencies within the official records. War diaries are not always accurate. I have seen some which incorrectly name attached sub-units.

The CAB 44 series authors had to piece together the CAB historical papers from the war diaries and interviews. Joslyn's team may have come to a different conclusion to Jones. I'd take Jones over Joslyn because he was looking at the detail of the campaign and probably spent more time reading the orders that identified the orbat of 6 Armd Div.

The difference between whether the extra support company was B or C is minor, though will rankle those of us who care about the detail.

Aber
Member
Posts: 871
Joined: 05 Jan 2010 21:43

Re: British Armoured Divisions

Post by Aber » 05 May 2017 12:20

Sheldrake wrote:
Aber wrote:
Sheldrake wrote:
Armoured Divisions needed more infantry than just one brigade, and, as you can see from the Orbat the 6th Armd Div has two infantry and one Armoured brigades.
And Wikipedia quoting Joslen p225-6 says that 1st Guards Brigade was replaced in the Division by 61st Infantry Brigade on 29 May 1944. :D
....and if you look to p226, right hand column, two up from the bottom, you can see it was back under command 6th Armoured Division from 18th October 1944 until the end of the war.

which is consistent with my post dated 1 May including an extract from CAB 44/148 [1957] Section IV, chapter R: final operations, Lombardy, 1945 Apr.-May, by Major F. Jones.
No problem. :D

As you point out later there are always inconsistencies in the paperwork, some people are just too busy fighting the war.

yantaylor
Member
Posts: 879
Joined: 20 Mar 2011 14:53
Location: Cheshire

Re: British Armoured Divisions

Post by yantaylor » 07 May 2017 10:49

You still see authors using the term "close support tanks" as late as 1944, but in a British armoured regiment, I cannot see what tanks they refer to, as the Sherman was still used in large numbers and the we never used the 105 version [or did we?] so what are these CS Tanks?

Yan.

Gary Kennedy
Member
Posts: 881
Joined: 28 Mar 2012 18:56

Re: British Armoured Divisions

Post by Gary Kennedy » 07 May 2017 14:38

Cromwell equipped Armd Regts had two 95-mm CS tanks in Sqn HQs throughout. Sherman equipped Regts in NWE used 75-mm and 17-pr tanks, but not 105-mm how models. However 105-mm how Shermans were used in Italy, on the usual scale of two per Sqn HQ, but not (I think) until the later part of 1944. 5th Cdn Armd Div brought 105-mm Shermans with it went joined up with First Cdn Army in early 1945. Also Churchill equipped Regts had two 94-mm CS tanks in their Sqn HQs.

Gary

yantaylor
Member
Posts: 879
Joined: 20 Mar 2011 14:53
Location: Cheshire

Re: British Armoured Divisions

Post by yantaylor » 07 May 2017 18:56

Gary, I would guess that these CS tanks in Arm Regt. [Shermans] 1944-45 were probably like you said, just 75mm gun tanks.
Was the Firefly's kept in a single troop at Squadron HQ or issued to each of the troops, giving each troop four instead of the usual three vehicles?

The Cromwell tanks armed with the 95mm how, were known as Centaurs and the only unit issued with these tanks was the Royal Marine Support Group.
I think that only 80 of these CS Centaurs were made.

So would the Cromwell Regt. just have standard Cromwell's plus Challenger?

Yan.

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 2747
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: British Armoured Divisions

Post by Sheldrake » 07 May 2017 21:08

yantaylor wrote:Gary, I would guess that these CS tanks in Arm Regt. [Shermans] 1944-45 were probably like you said, just 75mm gun tanks.
Was the Firefly's kept in a single troop at Squadron HQ or issued to each of the troops, giving each troop four instead of the usual three vehicles?

The Cromwell tanks armed with the 95mm how, were known as Centaurs and the only unit issued with these tanks was the Royal Marine Support Group.
I think that only 80 of these CS Centaurs were made.

So would the Cromwell Regt. just have standard Cromwell's plus Challenger?

Yan.
Fireflys were usually distributed one per troop, but could be consolidated as a troop at Squadron level or even within a squadron. At least one Regiment started operations in Normandy with Fireflys concentrated in a single squadron.

Centaurs were not quite 95mm armed Cromwell" The A27 went through several development stages. The A27 body was ready before the Roll Royce meteor engine was ready, and different suppliers had different variants. The A24 built by Nuffield used a high proportion of Crusader components and was known as an A24 Cavalier. The A27L was a transitional model powered by the (unreliable) 1918 vintage liberty engine. This was the Centaur - and hundreds had been built before the first true Cromwell rolled off the production line. These were all scrapped, less for the 95mm versions used by the RM Armoured Suopport Group - a disposable assault gun brigade.

In Normandy the standard Cromwell Armoured Regiment had one Sherman Firefly per troop. The armoured Recce Regiments (one per division) had no Fireflys and were at a serious disadvantage if facing German armour.

yantaylor
Member
Posts: 879
Joined: 20 Mar 2011 14:53
Location: Cheshire

Re: British Armoured Divisions

Post by yantaylor » 08 May 2017 15:33

Did the British try and provide every armoured unit with tanks mounting 17 pounder guns?

Armoured regiments; Firefly's
Armoured Reconnaissance Regiments; Challengers
Heavy Tank Brigades [Churchill Tanks]; Achilles

Yan.

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 2747
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: British Armoured Divisions

Post by Sheldrake » 08 May 2017 16:24

yantaylor wrote:Did the British try and provide every armoured unit with tanks mounting 17 pounder guns?

Armoured regiments; Firefly's
Armoured Reconnaissance Regiments; Challengers
Heavy Tank Brigades [Churchill Tanks]; Achilles

Yan.
... eventually - but not until the end of the war. You need to visit Trux's pages. He had posted detailed research from thr war establishments and the answers to these questions:-
Armoured Regiment http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/ar ... ers.23761/
Armoured Recce http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/re ... nce.23766/
Tank Battalions http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/ta ... ion.23762/
Last edited by Sheldrake on 08 May 2017 16:32, edited 1 time in total.

Gary Kennedy
Member
Posts: 881
Joined: 28 Mar 2012 18:56

Re: British Armoured Divisions

Post by Gary Kennedy » 08 May 2017 16:29

Just to concur with Sheldrake, the 95-mm armed Cromwell was a different machine to the Centaur. The Cromwell VI was the original CS version, latterly joined by the Cromwell VIII.

I did try and piece together the evolution of 17-pr tank issues in 21AG for a project a few years back. Unit Entitlements (UEs) in Jun44 were 12 Sherman 17-pr tanks per Armd Regt in an Armd Bde (whether the Bde was in a Div or Indep role). The aim had been to provide one 17-pr per Tp of three tanks, requiring fifteen for an Armd Regt on WE II/151/3. There weren't sufficient to allow this so a reduced scale of 12 was used, which saw an adjustment in Sqn org to four Tps, each of four tanks, meaning Sqn HQ dropped to three tanks to maintain an overall strength of 19 tanks in the Sqn; I've not seen anything to suggest that Regts added an extra three tanks apiece to cover the change, which was an interim.

UEs for Dec44/Jan45 had increased to 30 Sherman 17-pr tanks, which allowed for a return to five Tps of three tanks each, and for two to be 17-prs. Apr/May45 saw a swift adjustment to 24 Sherman 17-prs for Armd Regt UEs, which would roll back to four Tps per Sqn, with two 17-prs per Tp. Excluded were Regts with the new Comet, which were based on all Comets, but there was an increase in CS Cromwells at the same time which allowed for two per Sqn HQ.

Cromwell equipped Armd Recce Regts maintained a UE of 15 Challengers at most. As noted above Armd Recce Regts had no 17-pr equipments at this time. I can't recall offhand now but I think the general view I reached was that the 17-pr Challengers began to reach Recce units round(ish) Aug44.

Just to underline these were Unit Entitlements, not holdings. Finding out what tanks a particular Regt had for a certain period or engagement is exceedingly difficult. As a quick example Guards Armd Div shows a high of 57 Sherman 17-prs in 21AG AFV returns for Jan45, which fell to 46 by May45, both figures well short of the 90 and 72 allowed for in UEs. Meanwhile 4th Armd Bde during this time was showing in the 70 to 80 bracket.

Now someone will take issue with the term Heavy Tank Brigades, they were Tank Brigades until Feb45 when they were retitled Armd Bdes. I've seen a few references to Achilles being paired specifically with Churchill tanks, and it's not something I know enough about to say is right, wrong or in the middle. 17-pr M10s were found in two units, the Atk Regts of Armd Divs and the Corps Atk Regts; it's this latter unit which I think is being referred to. As far as I know Corps Atk Regts were just that, non-Div atk assets that could be deployed as required, and had no specific link with the Tank Bdes. Corps Atk Regts mirrored the organisation of Armd Div Atk Regts, both with two M10 Btys and two towed 17-pr Btys, twelve guns in each Bty type. It took a while for M10s to be brought up to 17-pr standard, I'm pretty sure there were a few 3-in reported into 1945 on the AFV returns.

All in all quite straightforward really ;>

Gary

yantaylor
Member
Posts: 879
Joined: 20 Mar 2011 14:53
Location: Cheshire

Re: British Armoured Divisions

Post by yantaylor » 09 May 2017 12:22

Those links were excellent Sheldrake, thank you.

I was not thinking there Gary, of course you are correct, Churchill Tank Brigades were not termed "Heavy".
I recall an ex-soldier mentioning that Churchill regiments had M10 [17 pdr] with them, but these were not organic to the regiment but attached for a certain task, don't know if he was right or not, but I just remember the conversation.

I will check up on the later marks of Cromwell.

Yan.

yantaylor
Member
Posts: 879
Joined: 20 Mar 2011 14:53
Location: Cheshire

Re: British Armoured Divisions

Post by yantaylor » 09 May 2017 12:32

Just been looking at the Cromwell CS, and there was two marks like you said Gary and Sheldrake, but the totals are a bit confusing as both are listed as 341, now I cannot see that 341 of each variant was produced, so was the Mark VIII an upgraded version of the Mark VI?.

Yan.

yantaylor
Member
Posts: 879
Joined: 20 Mar 2011 14:53
Location: Cheshire

Re: British Armoured Divisions

Post by yantaylor » 09 May 2017 14:51

So do we have two 95mm CS tanks serving in France 1944?

Cromwell VI 27M CS [Cromwell regiments]
Centaur VI 27L CS [Royal Marine Support Units]

I have found that the Centaur CS was first produced in 1943, but some sites list the Cromwell CS to be 1944, which again seems wrong to me.

Yan.

Return to “The United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth 1919-45”