US Half Tracks in British use

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yantaylor
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Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by yantaylor » 21 Oct 2019 11:48

Well lads I have looked at three different sets of organisations for a British motor company, Leo Niehorster and ww2talk has one scout platoon in the battalion support unit, the graph by VBTTL has the scout platoon organic to the company which mean three scout platoons.

Yan

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Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by Gooner1 » 21 Oct 2019 12:47

yantaylor wrote:
21 Oct 2019 11:48
Well lads I have looked at three different sets of organisations for a British motor company, Leo Niehorster and ww2talk has one scout platoon in the battalion support unit, the graph by VBTTL has the scout platoon organic to the company which mean three scout platoons.

Yan
Probably the difference is whether the motor battalion has parcelled out its companies each to support the brigades armoured regiments or kept whole.

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Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by Juha » 21 Oct 2019 14:26

Hello Yan
in fact Trux/WW2Talk also has the scout platoon organic to the coy.

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Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by Gary Kennedy » 21 Oct 2019 18:53

Yan,

Attached (hopefully) is a WW2 outline of the Motor Bn, just a wire diagram type affair but it shows the format adopted in June 1943. There were a few tweaks to transport later on, including the addition of two scout cars and deletion of one carrier. The other links already provided are based on the WE tables, I haven't looked them over but I'm sure they're in line with the official organisation. You've not looked at the Lorried Infantry Battalion by any chance? That was a normal Infantry Battalion with an increment for a few extra vehicles. It didn't have a separate WE, and used the same table as for the standard Infantry Battalion, with a few notes on changes for units being used in the Lorried role.

Fingers crossed I'll get my own Motor Bn stuff back up one day so you can compare!

Gary

Re the Cromwell Squadron, yes, as you've laid out for the unit when all Cromwell equipped. Challengers were to be introduced at the rate of one per Troop, replacing a 75-mm gun tank. They appeared during August 1944, I think Michael has a firmer date from his own research. 22nd Armoured Brigade (of 7th Armoured Division) had 17-pr Shermans rather than Challengers (which went to Cromwell equipped Armoured Recce Regiments). In 22nd Armd Bde they had the same average of twelve 17-pr Shermans per Armoured Regiment, normally allocated one per Troop, which meant three Cromwells and one 17-pr for a Troop, four Troops for a Squadron, and three Cromwells (two of which were CS types) at Squadron HQ. Always dependent on availability and mechanical reliability.
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Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by Michael Kenny » 21 Oct 2019 19:15

Gary Kennedy wrote:
21 Oct 2019 18:53
Challengers were to be introduced at the rate of one per Troop, replacing a 75-mm gun tank.
Challengers are like Unicorns. Often referenced but seldom seen. There were very few in NWE. Perhaps 20 in service at any one time. 8th Hussars for certain used both types together.
There are 3 Challengers and 2 Firefly in this photo:
8TH HUS SARS.jpg
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Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by yantaylor » 21 Oct 2019 21:01

Great stuff lads thanks!

Love that picture by the way, can I use it? I also can't find a good shot of British troops in M6 Halftracks.

I remember buying a rule book plus other papers off a company called 'Britania Minatures' based just over the water from where I live, and the author was an ex-army chap and stated that the Churchill tank squadrons had Achilles in the same way the Sherman equipped troops had Firefly's, but I cannot find any reference to this.

Yan

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Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by Michael Kenny » 21 Oct 2019 21:07

yantaylor wrote:
21 Oct 2019 21:01


Love that picture by the way, can I use it?
It is cropped to make the tanks more prominent. I believe it is IWM pic and they might have it as one of their super-size pics. Its 8th Hussars waiting to cross the Rhine.

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Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by Juha » 21 Oct 2019 22:12

Hello Yan
I have not read on Achilles being part of Churchill sqns but have read Achilles attached to a Churchill regt to give it A/T capacity against Tigers during some offensive ops. The problem was that TDs were vulnerable to German indirect fire, mortars, Nebelwerfers and artillery.

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Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by Sheldrake » 21 Oct 2019 23:49

Juha wrote:
21 Oct 2019 22:12
Hello Yan
I have not read on Achilles being part of Churchill sqns but have read Achilles attached to a Churchill regt to give it A/T capacity against Tigers during some offensive ops. The problem was that TDs were vulnerable to German indirect fire, mortars, Nebelwerfers and artillery.
SP Anti tank guns were often placed in support of Churchill and Armoured Recce regiments when necessary. They weren't used as tanks, buty as anot tank guns and close support assault artillery.

The M10 was much less vulnerable to indirect fire that it might seem. It would take a direct hit or an airburst. 91st Anti tank Regiment (5th Argylls) regimental history by Desmond Flower records 35 dead and 70 wounded from a regiment of around 800. . The author, adjutant and then a battery commander praised the open top. "The Open top, even taking into account the danger of sniping and the minute risk of a direct hit - gives good observation and saves any tendency to claustrophobia and premature exhaustion among the crew."

This was the 8th British Corps anti tank regiment and worked closely with the 6th Guards Armoured Brigade's Churchills

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Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by Juha » 22 Oct 2019 02:43

Foremost in my mind was 129 Btry, 86 A/T Regt supporting 9 RTR during Oper Jupiter

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Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by Sheldrake » 22 Oct 2019 09:56

Juha wrote:
22 Oct 2019 02:43
Foremost in my mind was 129 Btry, 86 A/T Regt supporting 9 RTR during Oper Jupiter
86 Atk Regiment war diary has a note that three M10s destroyed by shell or mortar fire on 10 July. 129 Bty WD notes at 18.30 that seven M10s remaining in action. Undoubtedly the M10s were more vulnerable than tanks, not just because of the open top, but because the armour was much thinner than a tank's. The splinters from a near miss from a big shell could penetrate. However, the SP anti tank gunners made their comparisons were with the towed batteries, which suffered many more casualties. I suspect that a lot of casualties among the SP units - as with the RAC armour occurred when soldiers were out of their AFVs or among unarmoured elements of the unit.
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Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by Sheldrake » 22 Oct 2019 10:00

Returning to the thread topic. The assignment of half tracks to units did not always follow the Eastablishment. The history of 91st Anti tank Regiment mentions that they did a deal with 121 Light AA to swap one ton trailers for half tracks and a 3 ton truck. They then adjusted their own structures to give half tracks to gun troops and 3 tonners to the REME. This only caused problems when they regiment disbanded at the end of the war.

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Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by yantaylor » 22 Oct 2019 20:30

I was surprised that the British motorized company had no White Scout Cars, I would have thought that these would have been in the HQ along with jeeps and motorcycles.
Would an armoured squadron equipped with Comets be exactly the same as the ones with Cromwell’s and Sherman’s but with Comets? Or did the British bring in a new organization late in the war.

Yan

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Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by Michael Kenny » 22 Oct 2019 21:29

yantaylor wrote:
22 Oct 2019 20:30
I was surprised that the British motorized company had no White Scout Cars, I would have thought that these would have
They were some about
B9183 Aug 15th Pip Roberts White.jpg
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Re: US Half Tracks in British use

Post by OpanaPointer » 22 Oct 2019 21:43

So how did they keep the crew from driving on the wrong side of the front?
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