British Assault Troop

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yantaylor
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British Assault Troop

Postby yantaylor » 12 Jan 2018 13:31

Hi everyone.

I have come across a small unit which was a part of a British Recce Regt. and it was called "Assault Troop"
The best data I can find on this is that around 1942, it contained four sections each containing two NCOs, four Privates and one truck driver [who drove a light truck]
It also contained a small HQ, which I have no data on at all.
Another site says that by 1944, this unit was carried in four M3 Half-Tracks, but fails to mention any numbers for personal.
So can anybody help me find any data on this small but important unit?
Thanks and Regards
Yan.

Gary Kennedy
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Re: British Assault Troop

Postby Gary Kennedy » 12 Jan 2018 15:35

Assault troop (from War Establishment II/251/2, Notified in ACIs 19th January 1944, Effective date 17th December 1943)

Headquarters

Motorcycle, solo - Orderly (S)

15-cwt truck, 4x4, personnel - No.19 set, PIAT, 2-inch mortar

Subaltern (P)
Serjeant (R)
Driver-operator (R)
2 Mortarmen (S, R)
Batman-driver (S)

Four sections (each);

15-cwt truck, 4x4, personnel

Corporal (S)
Lance-corporal (R)
5 Troopers (4R, LMG)
Driver, IC (S)

Note that the WE did not specify halftracks replacing 15-cwt trucks.

Gary

yantaylor
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Re: British Assault Troop

Postby yantaylor » 12 Jan 2018 16:52

Thanks Gary, your a star.

Regards
Yan.

Alanmccoubrey
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Re: British Assault Troop

Postby Alanmccoubrey » 12 Jan 2018 22:49

Gary Kennedy wrote:
Note that the WE did not specify halftracks replacing 15-cwt trucks.

Gary


And yet they did replace them, mind you it gets confusing when you consider that the WE referred to the half-tracks as 15cwts as well !
Alan

yantaylor
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Re: British Assault Troop

Postby yantaylor » 13 Jan 2018 11:36

The only data I can find about half-tracks is this;

British Infantry Divisional Reconnaissance Regiment 1944

Total Strength: 41 x Officers & 755 x Other Ranks

RHQ & HQ Squadron
1 x Humber Scout Car
9 x Bren Carriers
8 x 6pdr Anti-tank Guns
6 x 3in Mortars

Signal Platoon
REME Detachment

3 x Armoured Car Squadrons (A, B & C): each with:

Headquarters
1 x Humber Scout Car
1 x Reconnaissance Car

Assault Troop:
4 x Half-tracks

3 x Scout Troops: each with:
6 x Bren Carriers
2 x Humber Armored Cars
2 x Humber Scout Cars

Regards
Yan.

Gary Kennedy
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Re: British Assault Troop

Postby Gary Kennedy » 13 Jan 2018 16:57

I think that's the description from Jean Bouchery's work, which might also appear in the old British Army Handbook by George Forty from memory. It misses out a few vehicles, the full list for armd cars, LRCs and carriers being;

The Reconnaissance Regiment, circa 1944 to 1945

Regimental Headquarters (6 Officers, 30 men);
Armoured car
2 Light reconnaissance cars

Headquarter Squadron (9 Officers, 184 men) comprised of;

Squadron Headquarters (2 Officers, 8 men);
Light reconnaissance car

Signal Troop (1 Officer, 23 men)

Mortar Troop (1 Officer, 40 men)
6 Universal carriers (fitted for 3-in mortar)

Anti-tank Battery (3 Officers, 64 men)
12 Loyd carriers for eight 6-pr atk guns

Administrative Troop (2 Officers, 49 men)

Three Reconnaissance Squadrons (9 Officers, 187 men), each comprised of;

Squadron Headquarters (2 Officers, 38 men);
Light reconnaissance car

Assault Troop (1 Officer, 38 men)

Three Scout Troops, each comprised of; 

Troop Headquarters (2 Officers, 7 men);
Armoured car
Universal carrier
Reconnaissance Section (12 men);
2 Armoured cars
2 Light reconnaissance cars
Two Carrier Sections, each comprised of 9 men;
3 Universal carriers

Total Strength of;
817 all ranks (42 Officers and 775 men)
28 Armoured cars
24 Light reconnaissance cars
69 Universal carriers
12 Loyd carriers

On the issue of halftracks, it has occurred to me for a while that if someone asks for the source for the 15-cwt trucks, personnel, being replaced by halftracks, I'd be a bit nonplussed to provide one. It's one of those things we know happened, same thing did with the Motor Bns, it's just wondering where it was officially ordered. However, this is the British Army we're talking about, so plenty of room for manoeuvre :>

Gary

yantaylor
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Re: British Assault Troop

Postby yantaylor » 13 Jan 2018 20:45

That is a really good description Gary.

I wonder how they used the assault troop, at full strength it only has less then 40 all ranks. The German's also used infantry components to their recce battalions, but these are a lot bigger and stronger that five trucks. The reconnaissance battalions in Panzer divisions have a full company of infantry and these could be fully armoured.

Yan.

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Sheldrake
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Re: British Assault Troop

Postby Sheldrake » 14 Jan 2018 01:10

yantaylor wrote:That is a really good description Gary.

I wonder how they used the assault troop, at full strength it only has less then 40 all ranks. The German's also used infantry components to their recce battalions, but these are a lot bigger and stronger that five trucks. The reconnaissance battalions in Panzer divisions have a full company of infantry and these could be fully armoured.

Yan.


IIRC Its a sort of an odd job unit. I suspect it was genuinely trained as infantry, but a platoon sized infantry unit in a battalion isn't enough to do much. Post war medium recce also had an assault troop. They did recce, but if the unit had to man a reserve demolition, lay mines etc., these were the boys

The British Recce concept was kind of cavalry lite. British recce is/was more about recce by stealth than combat.

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Sheldrake
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Re: British Assault Troop

Postby Sheldrake » 14 Jan 2018 01:11

yantaylor wrote:That is a really good description Gary.

I wonder how they used the assault troop, at full strength it only has less then 40 all ranks. The German's also used infantry components to their recce battalions, but these are a lot bigger and stronger that five trucks. The reconnaissance battalions in Panzer divisions have a full company of infantry and these could be fully armoured.

Yan.


IIRC Its a sort of an odd job unit. I suspect it was genuinely trained as infantry, but a platoon sized infantry unit in a battalion isn't enough to do much. Post war medium recce also had an assault troop. They did recce, but if the unit had to man a reserve demolition, lay mines etc., these were the boys

The British Recce concept was kind of cavalry lite. British recce is/was more about recce by stealth than combat.

yantaylor
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Re: British Assault Troop

Postby yantaylor » 14 Jan 2018 14:05

You are probably correct there Sheldrake, as there was only one assault troop per recce squadron, which would be useless in any major skirmish, especially as there was three recce troops in the same formation.

Gary Kennedy
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Re: British Assault Troop

Postby Gary Kennedy » 14 Jan 2018 14:33

I seem to recall, from a similar discussion on another site, the Assault Tp being described as a bit of an odd job unit, so if a Recce Sqn was delayed by mines or roadblocks that were not necessarily covered by fire, the Assault Tp could undertake the clearance. It was also useful to have an infantry element in a Recce Regt (the three Assault Tps pretty much add up to a reinforced Motor Coy) because there would be times a stronger dismounted presence was needed than could be provided by LRC or carrier crews moving on foot. I have a reprint of "MTP no. 60: Tactical employ Recce Regt. part I" but unfortunately it doesn't detail the Assault Tp, which would be covered in the associated Part IV (Div Recce Regt), which I don't have a copy of!

Oddly enough I was just having an off board natter about the way Br/US reconnaissance units tended to be vehicle mounted with minor dismount, while Pz Divs were more infantry reinforced by armd cars, and in the latter Inf Divs just infantry made mobile by bicycles (Fusiliers).

Gary

Gary Kennedy
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Re: British Assault Troop

Postby Gary Kennedy » 14 Jan 2018 14:41

Of course I could just have searched for Part IV on line;

http://www.6thairbornearmouredreconnais ... nuals.html

Assault Tp roles in brief - detailed recce of built up areas, infiltration of small enemy units holding up an advance, recce on foot, to form a strongpoint, establish OPs, clear gaps through minefields and remove minor obstacles, test depths of water obstacles.

Gary

yantaylor
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Re: British Assault Troop

Postby yantaylor » 14 Jan 2018 19:59

That's a marvelous link Gary, thank you.

It seems like the Assault Troop was a jack of all trades.

aghart
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Re: British Assault Troop

Postby aghart » 14 Jan 2018 22:14

The Jack of all trades/odd job description of Assault Troop is quite accurate. Assault Troop stayed with Armoured Recce Regiments until the late 1970's, when it became Surveillance Troop equipped with the ZB298 ground surveillance radar set. Surveillance Troop did not last long and was disbanded when ZB298 was withdrawn from Service. I actually served in an Assault Troop, but that was in Northern Ireland (1973/4) where for that particular period we were simply the Squadron's own internal Infantry Platoon.

yantaylor
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Re: British Assault Troop

Postby yantaylor » 15 Jan 2018 11:50

Hi aghart.

Would it be attached to Squadron Headquarters?

With the assault troop being so versatile, it would make sense to have it on hand for HQ security for one.
The problem is though, that because of its small size, it couldn't be split into three and parceled out to the three recce troops.

Regards
Yan.


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