Archer spg tank-killers?

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.
keith A
Member
Posts: 829
Joined: 19 Jan 2012 16:51

Archer spg tank-killers?

Post by keith A » 29 May 2016 17:08

Are there any instances of the Archer SPG claiming enemy tanks in 1944-1945? I know they were used as infantry support vehicles mostly but believe they were first thought of as mobile Anti-tank guns.

regards

Keith

Alanmccoubrey
Financial supporter
Posts: 2994
Joined: 19 Sep 2008 13:44

Re: Archer spg tank-killers?

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 29 May 2016 17:24

How would they have been used at "infantry support" when they couldn't advance and fire at the same time since the gun was mounted pointing over the rear of the vehicle ?
Alan

Gary Kennedy
Member
Posts: 843
Joined: 28 Mar 2012 18:56

Re: Archer spg tank-killers?

Post by Gary Kennedy » 29 May 2016 19:45

They were issued to and used exclusively by the RA/RCA Anti-tank Regiments of British and Canadian Inf Divs in 21AG, and as noted above would be hard to handle in the same manner as a Stug or M10 because of the driver's position. I'm reasonably sure you can find references to them being used in a wider support fire role where the situation allowed, but they were first and foremost tank killers.

Gary

User avatar
redcoat
Member
Posts: 1361
Joined: 03 Mar 2003 21:54
Location: Stockport, England

Re: Archer spg tank-killers?

Post by redcoat » 29 May 2016 21:21

Due to the fact that the German response to any attack which had taken an important position was a rapid counter attack, the Archer was designed to to provide infantry units with a heavy anti-tank defense on taking an objective.

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 2495
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: Archer spg tank-killers?

Post by Sheldrake » 29 May 2016 22:31

The Archer was an OK SP Anti Tank gun, optimised to fight in this role. It was based on a British Valentine chassis, which meant it was not constrained by lease lend rules. It had a low profile and deployed in "Action Rear" over the back decks.

The gunners of the SP batteries in Normandy manned M10s with 3" or 17 Pdr guns. These were a poor mans Firefly, with minimal turret armour and no overhead protection. The M4 Sherman has had a poor reputation with Allied tank crews. However, the M10 was popular with the gunners. It had a LOT more protection than a 17 Pdr towed by a quad Field Artillery tractor. In Normandy M10s, with their paper thin turret armour, fought it out with the feline menageries of Panzers, evidenced by the medal citations. When tanks weren't around M10s acted as Assault guns - more medals there.

The RA Notes for July 1944 have the feedback from M10 units. Their only wishes were for overhead cover and a coax machine gun.This could have been met by a Sherman Firefly. This seems to have worried the Gunner establishment, whom for some reason preferred something that looked nothing like a tank....

keith A
Member
Posts: 829
Joined: 19 Jan 2012 16:51

Re: Archer spg tank-killers?

Post by keith A » 30 May 2016 10:19

.....so no tank kills then? ;)

On the infantry support comment I made I was referencing "With the Jocks" by Peter Smith where an Archer mistakes his platoon for enemy infantry and kills several....

regards

Keith

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 2495
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: Archer spg tank-killers?

Post by Sheldrake » 30 May 2016 16:03

keith A wrote:.....so no tank kills then? ;)

On the infantry support comment I made I was referencing "With the Jocks" by Peter Smith where an Archer mistakes his platoon for enemy infantry and kills several....

regards

Keith
I haven't found any yet, but I have not yet made a systematic study of the Anti tank unit WDs.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6365
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Archer spg tank-killers?

Post by Michael Kenny » 30 May 2016 16:33

keith A wrote:.....so no tank kills then?
There is a mention in GOODWOOD study(18/7/44) where Guards Armoured are attacking above Cagny and see a Panther in a field. They call up the nearest M10 which despatches said Panther and everyone moves on. No fuss, no trumpets no celebration. Job done move on to next job. There were no Panthers in that area. However it was the area where a TIGER II advance was beaten back and one (possibly 2) was knocked out. A Panther and a TII look much the same to people who have never seen a TII.

Orwell1984
Member
Posts: 501
Joined: 18 Jun 2011 18:42

Re: Archer spg tank-killers?

Post by Orwell1984 » 30 May 2016 16:52

The following is from Bryan Perrett's Allied Tank Destroyers book from the old Vanguard series p 27-8:
During this same period [late 1944] an engagment took place when the sharp eyes in one of 314th Battery's Archers detected a Tiger, and the 17pdr. lashed back on recoil. The round missed narrowly, but the crack of heavy, high-velocity shot is instantly recognizable, and the German tank commander at once swung his huge vehicle out of sight behind a building. Unfotunately for him the Tiger was spotted by a Lysander Air OP, which signalled his whereabouts. The Archer fired again and the 17pdr. shot slammed straight throught the building and the tank's thin side armour as well. It was with considerable pleasure that the gunners inspected the wreck some days later
At the time this unit was fighting in Italy. Finding accurate information on Archer usage is quite a challenge. Few and far between.

User avatar
Kingfish
Member
Posts: 2881
Joined: 05 Jun 2003 16:22
Location: USA

Re: Archer spg tank-killers?

Post by Kingfish » 30 May 2016 17:52

Michael Kenny wrote:
keith A wrote:.....so no tank kills then?
There is a mention in GOODWOOD study(18/7/44) where Guards Armoured are attacking above Cagny and see a Panther in a field. They call up the nearest M10 which despatches said Panther and everyone moves on. No fuss, no trumpets no celebration. Job done move on to next job. There were no Panthers in that area. However it was the area where a TIGER II advance was beaten back and one (possibly 2) was knocked out. A Panther and a TII look much the same to people who have never seen a TII.
Weren't these two KTs mistakenly knocked out by their own Flak 88s, and have I reopened the dreaded 'Von lucke and the 88s of Cagny' can of worms? :wink:
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
~Babylonian Proverb

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 2495
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: Archer spg tank-killers?

Post by Sheldrake » 30 May 2016 18:44

I have just been working on chapter 13 of Gunners in Normandy. Here is a preview of some selected extracts from the battle for Hill 112.
Only on the right did 5th Wiltshires gain their objectives, although one company was cut off for much of the day. Captain Woods of 468th Battery's armoured OP was hit and burned out on the crest of Hill 112, fortunately without casualties. Some of the M10sof 340th Battery gave close support while others stood back destroying targets as they appeared. K Troop on the right flank claimed two Tigers, a Mk IV and a recce car while L Troop on the left claimed three Tigers and a Fw190.
As the British infantry approached the Stop line, Tiger tanks of 102nd SS Heavy Tank Battalion stopped the advance on the crest line. Sgt Cummings, No 1 of an M10 of 86th Anti Tank Regiment was asked to assist 7 RTR deal with this new threat:
“Four Churchills had been knocked out by a Tiger and that was hull down a few hundred yards away. So I recced the way forward, decided the range was 400 yards, went back and under cover gave orders to the driver and layer. We went out steadily and the layer spotted it right away. I gave the order to fire and we got the Tiger with first shot. ”
These are of course all from RA sources, and I have not reconciled 340 Battery's claims against German accounts, but I respect the courage of M10 detachments in their paper thin armour and admire Sgt Cumming's coolness.

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 2495
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: Archer spg tank-killers?

Post by Sheldrake » 30 May 2016 19:19

Orwell1984 wrote:The following is from Bryan Perrett's Allied Tank Destroyers book from the old Vanguard series p 27-8:
During this same period [late 1944] an engagment took place when the sharp eyes in one of 314th Battery's Archers detected a Tiger, and the 17pdr. lashed back on recoil. The round missed narrowly, but the crack of heavy, high-velocity shot is instantly recognizable, and the German tank commander at once swung his huge vehicle out of sight behind a building. Unfotunately for him the Tiger was spotted by a Lysander Air OP, which signalled his whereabouts. The Archer fired again and the 17pdr. shot slammed straight throught the building and the tank's thin side armour as well. It was with considerable pleasure that the gunners inspected the wreck some days later
At the time this unit was fighting in Italy. Finding accurate information on Archer usage is quite a challenge. Few and far between.
I'd be interested in where exactly this comes from. 314th Antii-tank battery was in Italy in late 1944, as part of 105 Anti tank Regiment so where was this action? The only Tiger tanks were in 508th Heavy Tank Battalion. The same story appears in this forum. http://ftr.wot-news.com/2013/12/16/the-archer/

Orwell1984
Member
Posts: 501
Joined: 18 Jun 2011 18:42

Re: Archer spg tank-killers?

Post by Orwell1984 » 30 May 2016 19:51

Sheldrake wrote:
Orwell1984 wrote:The following is from Bryan Perrett's Allied Tank Destroyers book from the old Vanguard series p 27-8:
During this same period [late 1944] an engagment took place when the sharp eyes in one of 314th Battery's Archers detected a Tiger, and the 17pdr. lashed back on recoil. The round missed narrowly, but the crack of heavy, high-velocity shot is instantly recognizable, and the German tank commander at once swung his huge vehicle out of sight behind a building. Unfotunately for him the Tiger was spotted by a Lysander Air OP, which signalled his whereabouts. The Archer fired again and the 17pdr. shot slammed straight throught the building and the tank's thin side armour as well. It was with considerable pleasure that the gunners inspected the wreck some days later
At the time this unit was fighting in Italy. Finding accurate information on Archer usage is quite a challenge. Few and far between.
I'd be interested in where exactly this comes from. 314th Antii-tank battery was in Italy in late 1944, as part of 105 Anti tank Regiment so where was this action? The only Tiger tanks were in 508th Heavy Tank Battalion. The same story appears in this forum. http://ftr.wot-news.com/2013/12/16/the-archer/
Yes that forum was the first place I found the information which was referenced from the Perrett book. I had it in my library so pulled it and checked to see what the exact reference Perrett made was and then typed it out here. Unfortunately Osprey titles, particularly the early ones, aren't known for providing sources for their information. Unable to find the 314th or even the 105th records online to verify Perrett's account so without that it seems to be a dead end without further archival research

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6365
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Archer spg tank-killers?

Post by Michael Kenny » 30 May 2016 21:09

Sheldrake wrote:I have just been working on chapter 13 of Gunners in Normandy. Here is a preview of some selected extracts from the battle for Hill 112.
What dates?

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6365
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Archer spg tank-killers?

Post by Michael Kenny » 30 May 2016 21:21

Kingfish wrote:
Weren't these two KTs mistakenly knocked out by their own Flak 88s, and have I reopened the dreaded 'Von lucke and the 88s of Cagny' can of worms?
No. This Tiger II was further north. The Germans say it 'drove into a bomb crater'. The 2 Tigers said to be friendly fire victims belong to Rosens Tiger I attack into the side of the advancng 11th AD. Rosen drove into the flank of 11th AD but had 3 of his Tigers hit and knocked out. At the time he decided it was some Allied secret weapon and left the field with his surviving Tigers to take no more part in the action. 20 years later he heard about Luck and the Cagny 88s and decided this must have been what knocked out his Tigers.
The Germans also claim that another TII was hit by friendly fire at the exact same moment it was rammed by a Sherman. 503 seemed to have a problem with admitting losses!

Return to “WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic”