Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

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Aber
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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Aber » 04 Nov 2014 14:06

Which divisions' vehicles were they fixing?

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 04 Nov 2014 21:40

I think that they were collecting from an Army Back-loading Point so no specific division's vehicles as far as I can tell.

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Tom

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 05 Nov 2014 21:03

Aber,

From 2nd Army REME Sitreps for Sep 44 contained in WO171/248:
Subject: REME Second Army Sitrep.
SA/Sitrep/ME
19 Sep 44.
D.M.E.,
21 Army Gp.

REPAIR
8 Corps
15 Inf Tps Wksp moving forward to 8 Corps area.
6 Gds Tk Tps Wksp having completed repair commitment for 6 Gds Tk Bde, which is grounded, has been brought forward to ARRAS where it will repair any crocks left by 43 Inf Div and 3 Inf Div on their move forward. It will be moved forward shortly.
12 Corps
7 Armd Tps Wksp and 31 Tk Tps Wksp are in Daimler Bentz [sic] Works.
53 Inf Tps Wksps is doing repairs for 53 and 15 Inf Divs.
30 Corps
8 Tk Tps Wksp and 43 Inf Tps Wksp are moving forward, having completed their rearward repair commitment.
11 Armd Tps Wksp will remain at AMIENS till Oct 9. BLR Tks will be reported 11 L of C for repair at ABW. at ARRAS.
Army
3 Inf Tps Wksp is working in Veh Park commitment but is losing ground and the waiting list grows daily.
34 Tk Tps Wksp (not required by Cdn Army) is being moved to Veh Park to help in urgent repairs to Carriers.
12 Corps are screaming for 3 Inf Tps Wksp which cannot be released until daylight can be seen in the Veh Park repair commitment.
Further to call for maximum workshops output in mid-September is this snippet from the 30 Corps DDME war diary (WO171/361):
13 September 1944
Corps Comd called for max number of replacement tks ex wksps for forthcoming operations. Wksp comds were asked for max output over next few days and the whole of the Corps REME resources of tptrs were assembled to collect tks from VERNON (ex 8 Tk Tps Wksps), AMIENS (11 Armd Tps Wksps) and ANTWERP (7 Armd Tps Wksps). As a result of this effort, between 45 and 50 tks ex third line were delivered to Corps Del Sqn between 15 – 19 Sep, whilst second line shops produced another 30 – 35.
Regards

Tom

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 05 Jan 2015 21:31

A bit more information about Austin K5 issues taken from WO171/630 - 30 Armd Bde Ordnance Field Park:
24 April 1944
23 Austin 3 ton 4 x 4 G.S. lorries collected ex Nos. 31 and 32 V.R.D's (Operational vehicles replacing Fords).
So, this provides further confirmation that the Austins (1400 in number) were issued to British Assault Force formations for D-Day to replace existing vehicles (in this case existing Canadian and British Ford (Fordson?) 3 ton 4 x 4's). I don't know which vehicles the Canadian Assault Force units were issued with - anyone have an idea?

This also adds further confirmation that the Austins were distributed throughout 21st Army Group rather than being limited to RASC transport companies as per Wilmot's assumption.

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Tom

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 31 Jan 2015 21:07

Well blow me down, and there we were looking for problems with Austin engines:

WO171/2550 - 44 Transport Column RASC (Second Army)

23 October 1944 OVERPELT
Acute shortage experienced in Bedford replacement engines.
Curious that this "acute" problem seems to be less well-known about... 8O

Regards

Tom

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by phylo_roadking » 31 Jan 2015 22:28

Well, it would only affect Bedfords who's engines needed replacement ;)

It might not have affected the number of Bedfords in use that much; the stock of spare engines could simply have been used up keeping them on the road....but re-filling all those empty shelf spaces - bringing repair depots back up on inventory - might have been the actual issue.
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Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 01 Feb 2015 20:17

OK, I agree that "acute shortage" of Bedford replacement engines does not mean none available or that the shortage was affecting available vehicle numbers but it is interesting that I haven't come across anything similar in RASC Transport Column diaries re Austin engines!

Tom

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by phylo_roadking » 01 Feb 2015 20:21

Tom from Cornwall wrote:OK, I agree that "acute shortage" of Bedford replacement engines does not mean none available or that the shortage was affecting available vehicle numbers but it is interesting that I haven't come across anything similar in RASC Transport Column diaries re Austin engines!

Tom
But something is niggling me about Bedfords and all this...at some point somewhere didn't we both happen by a forum thread post somewhere that had someone talking about problems with his Bedford lorry even though we were talking about Austins??? Might have been the ww2talk thread....

EDIT: there is indeed quite a lot of mentions of Bedfords in the early days of the ww2talk thread, mostly Sapper getting on his horse about them....

But there's a mention of something I'd forgotten about - you finding a GT Coy diary entry about a unit being issued with Bedfords out of the Reserve to replace its Austin K5s...

There may indeed not have been a problem with the Bedfords except normal wear and tear, and them needing replacement engines eventually and using up the available stock - if they were indeed brought into use to replace the sidelined K5s! They'd have been running up the Austins' miles in their place...and eventually, with the increased number of Bedford GS' in use, there'd be an increased drain on shelf spares.
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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 02 Jun 2016 20:32

Hi all,

I've not been able to look for Austin K5's for a while due to other research commitments, but have recently found another unit with an Austin K5 3-ton 4x4 which was 15th Infantry Division's 44 Infantry Brigade Workshop REME which, according to the unit war diary [WO171/647] had one issued on 17 April 1944. No sign of it being struck off charge all through the rest of 1944.

For some reason, last year I was convinced that 44 Brigade was fully equipped with K5's - I'll have to go back and see if I can work out what made me think that. But, suffice to say, yet another sign that not all of Wilmot's K5's were dedicated RASC load vehicles and so his estimate of impact of the K5 issue was exaggerated.

Regards

Tom

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 31 Dec 2017 19:24

Hi,

I have finally found some evidence of problems with 4x4 3-ton GS lorries in an RASC GT Company. This is detailed in WO171/2422 - WD of 282 Coy RASC (GT) which began to land on D-Day and was equipped with a mixture of Austin K5 and Ford WOT6 3-ton 4 x 4 GS lorries on landing. This is revealed as the unit needed 4 of each as replacements by the end of June 44 (ref the WD of Second Army ST - WO171/245) due to losses sustained both by drowning in the landings and by enemy air action. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find out how many of each type the Company was issued with - but as they were only issued during May 44 I shall keep looking at possible files containing details of vehicle issues in the run up to D-Day.

By 5 August, the coy had a deficiency of 5 task vehicles which by 18 September had increased to a total of 28 vehs needing evacuation. Clearly suggesting that the 4 x 4 vehicles were struggling with the longer daily journeys indicated by the transport details which 282 Company were beginning to meet in September 44. Indicative also, perhaps, that sufficient replacement vehicles were on hand is the fact that on 21 September a party left for ROTS (in the old beachhead area) "to take over 30 new vehicles". The difficulties clearly continued, however, and by 27 October, further replacement vehicles were needed with instructions being issued for the collection of a further 20 3-ton vehicles and for 8 motorcycles; and on 30 October "instructions were received to backload 24 4x4 and collect 4x2 from CAEN...".

What to make of this? Although not conclusive, the changeover of vehicles as far into the autumn as the end of October suggests that Austin K5's were still being used this late into the campaign which is not the impression given by the original source for the whole "Austin Saga" nor the subsequent repeated regurgitation of the story by subsequent historians, especially those who use it to suggest that it had a large impact on Op MARKET GARDEN.

I also still find it interesting that 1400 Austin K5 were reportedly issued to the Assault Force and suffered issues due to changes made in May 44 to support their ability to wade in the early stages of the Normandy invasion. The exact same number (1400) are reported as being "defective" later in the campaign despite the fact that I have found quite a few examples of Austin K5's being lost to enemy action early in the Normandy campaign. I'm beginning to consider the likelihood of the 1400 figure referring to all the Austin K5's issued to 21 Army Group units for the invasion and the subsequent use of "1400" by the 21 A Gp Admin History as a rough description to show the scale of 3-tonners affected but not a carefully calculated total.

Regards

Tom

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 01 Jun 2018 11:55

Indicating that the Austin K5 issue was not the only problem for 21 Army Group logisticians to wrestle with are the following details of issues with Bedford OY 3-ton 4 x 2 lorries (source: WO171/2500 - 559 Coy RASC (GT)):
14 September 1944
0600 D Pln departed. Availability 28.
0900 C Pln departed. Availability 29. Rations carried for 6 days. POL 400 miles.
1030 Availability of B Pln 15. This Pln experiencing many punctures (blow-outs), 11 on one trip. Vehicles after 5/6000 miles are showing excessive wear on valves, many being burnt out completely. Top overhauls being carried out on all vehs.

[...]

22 September 1944
0900 B Pln returned and availability of 27 rendered immediately. Tyre problem with this Pln is still heavy. 30 replacements are required.

[...]

24 September 1944
1200 D Pln reported in. Availability 25. Large number of vehs require top overhaul.
1400 C Pln reported in. Availability 27, detailed to load ORD stores at St Leger R/Head 1800 and return to location. Depart from Unit location at 1000 25th.
1800 Of the above only 4 required. Remainder returned to location empty.
2000 A Pln arrived. Total absence of this Pln one month. Availability 28.

[...]

5 October 1944
0900 Drive on maintenance with as many vehicles as possible passing through W/Shops as possible. All vehs are now requiring top overhaul. Valves appear to be main trouble in Bedford engines. A new type is being fitted and a report will be sent to IMT after similar mileage has been completed.

[...]

1 November 1944 St Aubin D’Ecrossville
0900 Unit under Command 35 Tpt Coln RASC, and Located at St Aubin D’Ecrossville M.R. 8F/2 088824. Bad weather conditions are now making location for parking Platoon vehicles almost untenable. New sites have been recced, and found suitable in the location of three villages, i.e. La Londe, St Ouen and Bose-Roger, all three being west of ELBEUF. Confirmation to move is now awaited from 35 Tpt Coln.
Main UP and DOWN Routes of L of C have switched to those North of Louviers, running through Elbeuf. Platoons are now running on full 6 day turn-round i.e., RMA – Brussels and Antwerp. General duties being lifting of Units from Bayeux area forward.
Vehicles on the road 98 x 3-Ton – available 14 x 3-Ton, VOR 11 3-Ton, Maintenance 9 x 3-Ton, thus leaving a possible availability of 23 x 3-Ton. Spares required urgently are in the main, Engine Assemblies, Sparking Plugs and Valves for Bedfords.
Note that despite the issues with burnt out valves, etc, there were still vehicles on the road at all times although clearly availability was impacted to some extent by the need for additional maintenance on top of the normal 10%.

Regards

Tom

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 24 Jun 2018 16:53

Hi,

Further evidence that the shortage of lorries in 21 Army Group caused by the poor serviceability of Austin K5 3-ton 4x4 load carriers was overemphasised by Chester Wilmot can be found in the war diary of 1 Cdn Army's ST Branch (WO179/2630) which reported on 20 Sep 44 that:
Q (AE) advise that 120 vehicles are available for us to be issued as an additional section of six per transport platoon.
These vehicles were reserve vehicles held in the RMA (Rear Maintenance Area) in Normandy.

Regards

Tom

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Aber » 24 Jun 2018 19:36

Tom from Cornwall wrote: was overemphasised by Chester Wilmot
IIRC he only put it in a footnote. :)

However since then it has taken on a life of its own. 1400 lorries sounds a lot, but the % of 21st Army group reserves not so much.

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 22 Jul 2018 20:34

Little extract from WO179/2630 - 1 Cdn Army ST Branch that shows that there were sufficient reserve vehicles in theatre to allow the issue of an extra section to each tpt platoon in the RCASC Coys under comd:
71-8-0/SD
Main First Cdn Army
5 Sep 44
GOC in C
Resources
1. This submission seeks your approval under 1/Cdn/1/5 dated 27 Jun 44, for the addition of one sec and relief dvrs for that sec to each tpt pl of the following types of RCASC coys, viz
(a) GT Coys
(b) A Tpt Coys
(c) C Tps Comp Coys
(d) C Tpt Coys
(e) Armd Div Tpt Coys
(f) Inf Div Tps Coys
(g) Armd Div Tps Coys
(h) Inf Bde Coys
(i) Armd Bde Coys

2. The necessity for this submission arises out of the recent rapid adv. Existing RCASC resources are stretched to the limit to ensure the continued and efficient maint of the fwd tps. With further speedy advs the sup situation is certain to deteriorate unless steps are now taken to offset the increased time of turn round by adding to the load carrying capacity.

3. Within the RCASC Coys listed in para 1 above and operating under First Cdn Army there is a total of 72 tpt pls. The addition of one sec and three relief dvrs to each pl will mean that 720 rft personnel, 416 vehs and 72 MCs will be required from existing rft and veh holdings.

4. The statistics of this theatre and of ITALY show that the rate of wastage of RCASC rfts does not exceed that in non-operational theatres, such as the UK. No danger therefore exists of interfering with the availability of rfts or slowing down the sup of such rfts.

5. Sufficient vehs are held in res within this theatre to equip each sec. Veh losses have been well below those estimated and an adequate number will also remain available for replacement purposes.
In the transport sitrep for 13 Sep 44, it was recorded that the Transport under comd First Cdn Army consisted of:
Vehs Tonnage
756 x 3-ton 2268
180 x 6-ton 1080
240 x 10-ton 2400
30 x 30-ton 900
90 x TCV 6648
Of course, that does not include all the vehicles in units such as inf bns, armd regts, arty regts, fd coys, etc, etc....

Regards

Tom

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