Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

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Aber
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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Postby 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

Postby 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

Postby 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

Postby 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.

Regards

Tom

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Postby 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

Postby 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

Postby 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

Postby 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

Postby 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

Postby 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

Postby 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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