US Half Tracks in British use

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
yantaylor
Member
Posts: 635
Joined: 20 Mar 2011 14:53
Location: Cheshire

US Half Tracks in British use

Post by yantaylor » 17 Oct 2019 12:10

Hello everyone.

Can anyone please give me any infomation on US Half Tracks in British use during the Normandy campaign?
I can find data on various trucks and carriers, but no real mention about half tracks.

I am trying build up some structure on how a British infantry company would look if it was equipped with US half-tracks and scout cars, along with carriers and dingo’s etc.
I have found that a Churchill tank squadron has three halftracks in its admin troop, so is that it?

I think Garry has mentioned somethings in the past along these lines and he may also know just what other vehicles would be in the admin section, I have come across vehicles like ‘4-Seater Car’, ‘15-ctw Truck’ ‘water bowser and 1-ton trailer’, so would these be standard vehicles or just what they could get in the field.

Thanks
Yan

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 2235
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by Sheldrake » 17 Oct 2019 16:24

You can find the answers you seek on Trux pages which list the establishments (T&OE as known to colonials) http://ww2talk.com/index.php?categories ... group.163/

The 1944 Motor Battalion is pretty close to what you are looking for. http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/mo ... its.23759/

There was one APC mounted battalion per Armoured division - the same proportion as in the 1944 Panzer Division.

If you are looking for extra half tracks, look within the artillery establishments.

The May 1944 A self propelled artillery regiment establishment included 34 X 15cwt halftrack FFW and 12 X 15cwt half track with winches. There were seventeen such regiments in the 21st Army Group. Each artillery regiment had the APC lift for the rifle companies of an infantry battlaion
The anti tank regiments of armoured divisions had at least 26 as 17 pounder anti tank gun tractors. There were five Armoured Divisions.

When the British wanted to mount lots of infantry under armour they raided the gunners. Planned for Op Jupiter but executed in Op Totalize. This involved two assaulting infantry brigades in a night mechanised assault. There were only 72 defrocked priests available, which was enough transport two battlaions. The rest came from the gunners.

Gary Kennedy
Member
Posts: 774
Joined: 28 Mar 2012 18:56

Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by Gary Kennedy » 17 Oct 2019 17:49

British vehicle nomenclature identified what type of role the vehicle was to fulfil. A 15-cwt truck, GS, would be configured for general load carrying, but could come from anyone of a variety of manufacturers. There was standardisation in the capability of the vehicle, in terms of load carrying capacity (by weight or volume), but not in terms of manufacturer.

Halftracks are occasionally mentioned specifically in WE tables. They were certainly issued to Motor Bns and are commonly referenced for the Assault Tps of the Recce Regts, but their relevant WEs only ever refer to 15-cwt trucks, 4x4, personnel.

Gary

yantaylor
Member
Posts: 635
Joined: 20 Mar 2011 14:53
Location: Cheshire

Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by yantaylor » 17 Oct 2019 20:56

Thanks lads, I will delve into that data tomorrow.

Gary, I can't seem to access your site from google, do I need a new link, as the one on this site workd okay.

Yan

Gary Kennedy
Member
Posts: 774
Joined: 28 Mar 2012 18:56

Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by Gary Kennedy » 18 Oct 2019 11:00

Everything still seems to be up and running Yan, perhaps Google was having an off day...

Gary

yantaylor
Member
Posts: 635
Joined: 20 Mar 2011 14:53
Location: Cheshire

Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by yantaylor » 19 Oct 2019 20:06

Hi guys, I am having a bit of trouble with the British motor battalion in the links by Sheldrake, as I can only find the part of the motor company which looks like a infantry company, this has these units;

Company HQ
Mortar Detachment
Admin Section
Scout Platoon
3 x Motor Platoons

Now each of the motor platoons contains four armoured trucks, the infantry trucks carry only a single NCO, a driver and six infantry men, which comes to eight in total, so if I convert this unit into a company which is based in half-tracks, do I add add a full section of 10 plus a driver?
That would take me to 36 men per platoon riding in three halftracks, which is pretty much what I need.

Would you change the name of the scout platoon from scout to carrier platoon?

Yan

Gary Kennedy
Member
Posts: 774
Joined: 28 Mar 2012 18:56

Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by Gary Kennedy » 20 Oct 2019 02:10

The Motor Platoon was smaller in strength than the Rifle Platoon of a standard Infantry Battalion, 31 all ranks for the former against 37 all ranks for the latter (on the 1943-45 WEs). Three Motor Platoons in a Motor Company, plus a Scout Platoon. The Scout Platoon was carrier equipped but was always referred to as a Scout Platoon.

Gary

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6040
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by Michael Kenny » 20 Oct 2019 02:30

Schematic from Taylor's VBTTL
page 325 ,,601.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

yantaylor
Member
Posts: 635
Joined: 20 Mar 2011 14:53
Location: Cheshire

Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by yantaylor » 20 Oct 2019 19:40

Thanks Michael, I think that those types of illustrations along with the breakdown of personnel in Sheldrakes www2/talk link, makes it a lot clearer for everyone.
Gary, so the toatals be the same either if the motor company had trucks or halftracks?

One question I may have asked before, in the George Forty British army handbook, Forty shows that even in 1944, the British Cruiser tank squadrons had two close support tanks, so if a tank squadron had Sherman equipped troops and had either four or five Firefly’s, then which tanks would make up the CSs AFVs? I don’t think the British had any M4/105 tanks, so the only other option would be to add Centaur Mk. IV CS tanks, which I don’t think they did, so is this a error by Forty and a squadron HQ had just two M4s?

BTW; would you add a PIAT to the weaponry of each of those infantry halftracks in the motor company?

Yan

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6040
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by Michael Kenny » 20 Oct 2019 20:17

Only CS in Cromwell Regiments.

Gary Kennedy
Member
Posts: 774
Joined: 28 Mar 2012 18:56

Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by Gary Kennedy » 20 Oct 2019 20:32

The Motor Platoon would be the same strength whether it was carried in 15-cwt personnel trucks or halftracks. The issue of PIATs included one per Motor Pl, generally carried in the HQ vehicle.

Just to note, the scheme above (from Villers-Bocage through the lens?) is somewhat abbreviated. The Atk Pls had four 6-prs each (with 8 Loyds and 1 Universal carrier) and the MMG Pls each 8 Universal carriers (4 for Pl and Section HQs and 4 mounting Vickers guns). Motor Coy HQs were authorised two 15-cwt trucks, as opposed to the three scout cars apparently shown. There were something like 100 cars, trucks and lorries, plus 6 scout cars and 82 carriers (all types), so obviously no way to show them all in the confines of such a diagram.

Gary

yantaylor
Member
Posts: 635
Joined: 20 Mar 2011 14:53
Location: Cheshire

Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by yantaylor » 20 Oct 2019 20:35

Hi Gary, I have found a few differences between the link and the photo, mainly in motorcycles and carriers, as there are no M/Cs in the photo and many more carriers then in the link, unless I have got square eyes after watching the UTD and Liverpool match.

Yan

yantaylor
Member
Posts: 635
Joined: 20 Mar 2011 14:53
Location: Cheshire

Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by yantaylor » 20 Oct 2019 20:37

Michael Kenny wrote:
20 Oct 2019 20:17
Only CS in Cromwell Regiments.
Thanks Gary, would you omit the CS tanks and just have this;

SQHQ
2 x M4s
4 x Fireflys

5 troops [3 x M4s each]

Yan

Gary Kennedy
Member
Posts: 774
Joined: 28 Mar 2012 18:56

Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by Gary Kennedy » 21 Oct 2019 00:42

Units did have leeway in how they organised their 17-prs. In general, for a Sherman Regiment the preferred option was Squadron HQ with three tanks (all 75-mm) and four Troops (instead of five), each with four tanks (instead of three). When using the Troop of four it would usually be one 17-pr and three 75-mm armed tanks. Some units did though put their 17-prs into a single Troop within the Squadron, though it seems to have been a much less common choice.

Gary

yantaylor
Member
Posts: 635
Joined: 20 Mar 2011 14:53
Location: Cheshire

Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by yantaylor » 21 Oct 2019 11:36

Thanks Gary, you have nailed it mate.

What about the Cromwell armred squadrons, would they look like this?

British Tank Squadron [Cromwell]
Squadron HQ
2 x Cromwell Mk. IVs [75mm]
2 x Centaurs CS [95mm]

Five Troops Each Containing;
3 x Cromwell Mk. IVs [75mm]

Would the Challenger be issued in the same way as the Firefly was in Sherman squadrons, with a troop of four?

Yan

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