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Author Topic: British Tank Markings - A Guide  (Read 2749 times)

Offline Cubs

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #60 on: July 02, 2020, 12:15:27 PM »
I've got a big library of images from the old Armoured Acorn website, with tank and AFV camo and markings in WW2 and on into the NATO Pact era. It covers just about everything Canadian, British and other Commonwealth armoured goodies in PDF form.

If anyone wants them, drop me your email on PM and I'll send them across.
'Sir John ejaculated explosively, sitting up in his chair.' ... 'The Black Gang'.

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Offline Etranger

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #61 on: July 02, 2020, 12:43:29 PM »
You're not kidding...



Thankfully I've been lucky enough to get access to the AoS tables via a third party (ahemhem), as there's no way to justify these ridiculous prices. Each volume was 20 when it came out, which I don't think is unreasonable, but to charge ten times that for a second hand copy when it's not even ten years old is just ludicrous.

That is ridiculous! I think my local shop still has a new copy of Vol 3 for around $50 Oz...
"It's only a flesh wound...."

Offline Eclaireur

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #62 on: July 02, 2020, 01:15:18 PM »
Quote
It continues to baffle me that Osprey have never seen fit to do a series specifically on vehicle markings. There's clearly a market for it.

Very true - an Osprey series would serve both AFV modellers and wargamers. It ought to have very good market potential,
EC

Offline SquireBev

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #63 on: July 02, 2020, 01:38:37 PM »
That is ridiculous! I think my local shop still has a new copy of Vol 3 for around $50 Oz...

Better get it snapped up PDQ!

Offline Cubs

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #64 on: July 02, 2020, 06:07:49 PM »
Vol 4 seems more affordable. Have a look on Abebooks and Biblio.

Offline fred

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #65 on: July 02, 2020, 07:04:50 PM »
I think some of the pricing on Amazon is driven by bots

I've found Bouchery The British Soldier vol 2 very good for markings - but it only covers NW Europe 44-45

Squire Bev - perhaps you should have a word with Osprey - if you have gathered the info then turning it into a book wouldn't be that big of a next step!

Offline SquireBev

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #66 on: July 03, 2020, 07:36:21 AM »
Vol 4 seems more affordable. Have a look on Abebooks and Biblio.

Volume 4 only covers post-war markings, alas. Possibly explains why it's less sought-after.

Offline Cubs

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #67 on: July 03, 2020, 09:50:21 PM »
Volume 4 only covers post-war markings, alas. Possibly explains why it's less sought-after.

Ah, I did wonder.

Offline Will Bailie

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #68 on: July 03, 2020, 10:05:48 PM »
Great job, SquireBev, that's a fantastic resource.  Thanks for sharing.

I was going to ask if you'd seen the information on canadiansoldiers.com, then noticed that you referenced it in your sources  ;)


Offline Eclaireur

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #69 on: July 04, 2020, 12:39:50 PM »
A couple of things ... firstly I gave a link to this thread to someone at Osprey and they were very positive about the possibility of a series on AFV markings. 'Pushing at an open door' was the phrase used, saying they'd already thought about it, and also a series on aviation markings. So it could happen, but with the time needed to define the spec, commission, edit, and produce, it will be a year plus.

Second - one that might amuse you Squirebev, illustrates the idiosyncrasies of British tank markings

https://twitter.com/WW2Facts/status/1278682590724141061/photo/1

A Valentine of 50th RTR during the Tunisian campaign. It's got the 67 for junior armoured regiment in the first brigade of an armoured division (in the middle east), and the 23rd Armoured Brigade 'Liver Bird' emblem. Although this brigade deployed to the middle east as part of the 8th Armoured Division, by the time this photo was taken it had been operating as an independent armoured brigade for several months. So why not give it a number like 153 or 157 for a junior regiment in an independent armoured brigade?

And this one shows 46th RTR tank in January 1944. Same brigade (albeit with the brigade and AoS symbols switched around), still with the Middle East style AoS number, 86, for a regiment in an armoured division even though it's an independent brigade, and well after a number of the published sources suggest units operating in Italy had adopted the home numbering system (would be 52 in this case).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/23rd_Armoured_Brigade_(United_Kingdom)#/media/File:The_British_Army_in_Italy_1944_NA11308.jpg

It's a puzzle!!
EC   

Offline Etranger

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #70 on: July 04, 2020, 12:59:45 PM »
The short answer is that probably they just hadn't had the time to get around to it, but as you note, being the British army there were always exceptions.

To add to the confusion, Bryan Perrett in Tanks Illustrated 21 - Allied Tanks in North Africa Page 17 shows what is meant to be a 40 RTR Valentine  (Helen, then renamed Marg!)with the comment "the names of 50 RTR's tanks all began with the letter R whereas the Fortieth were allowed considerable latitude." If that's accurate, then this (Hood) is a 40RTR vehicle, not 50RTR. There is a very similar picture to yours in the same book of (presumably) 50RTR's 'Respond' with AoS of 67, so something odd was definitely going on. Sadly the censor has removed the AoS on the 40RTR vehicle.

23AB was also unusual in that in addition to 40 RTR (40), 46 RTR (86), and 50 RTR (67), after Second el Alamein 8RTR was added to the strength, which should therefore have taken the senior AoS of 40, which would bump the above numbers. I've got no idea what the AoS for the 4th armoured regiment in an AB is though!

23AB was marked as an 'Armoured Brigade' rather than an 'Army Tank Brigade',  even though it was equipped with  'I' tanks, which would have another set of AoS numbers altogether.

Of course you can just paint them like the Valentines and Crusaders in this clip from Tunisia, with no visible AoS or divisional signs, and only the odd RAC flash. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuHITtS6ESQ They're probably 6AD, based on the shoulder flash on one of the officers, and what a mixed collection of MT on display too!

(EDIT - but see below)
« Last Edit: July 05, 2020, 12:44:16 AM by Etranger »

Offline Jemima Fawr

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #71 on: July 04, 2020, 01:33:47 PM »
7 Armoured Brigade were another case in point.  They arrived in Burma with out-of-date AoS serials, even though they'd just spent weeks re-painting their tanks on board ship.  Either they'd never received the new regs or they just chose to ignore them.
Suffering from insomnia?  Too much excitement in your life?  Jemima Fawr's Miniature Wargames Blog might be just the solution you've been looking for: www.jemimafawr.co.uk

Offline Etranger

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #72 on: July 04, 2020, 01:47:02 PM »


Front and back of the IWM original print. The allocation of the tank to 50RTR is not on the original.  That of course just means that the AoS is for the third regiment in a 4 regiment AB, which should make this actually 46RTR in March 1943.....
« Last Edit: July 04, 2020, 01:59:42 PM by Etranger »

Offline Eclaireur

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #73 on: July 04, 2020, 04:28:54 PM »
Etranger - will happily take your word for it. Though now I admit you've got me puzzled by reference by a reference to an armoured brigade with four armoured regiments. What AoS number would that fourth regiment have under the Middle East scheme?
By my reckoning 23rd Armd Bde had 40, 46, and 50th RTRs in March 1943. So what was the other regiment?
EC

Offline Etranger

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #74 on: July 05, 2020, 12:41:10 AM »
Etranger - will happily take your word for it. Though now I admit you've got me puzzled by reference by a reference to an armoured brigade with four armoured regiments. What AoS number would that fourth regiment have under the Middle East scheme?
By my reckoning 23rd Armd Bde had 40, 46, and 50th RTRs in March 1943. So what was the other regiment?
EC

It puzzled me too, but further research (ie Google :D) adds to the story. The reference is in the Perrett book I mentioned above & he mentions that 8RTR was attached after second El Alamein . I haven't dug up a definitive OOB for the period December 1942 to May 1943 to confirm that. 8RTR would be the senior regiment then, but it looks like it was a very temporary arrangement.

That mystery deepens when one looks at Regiments.org https://web.archive.org/web/20071010050226/http://www.regiments.org/deploy/uk/reg-cav/rtr8.htm which has 8RTR handing over it's tanks to 46 & 50RTR in November 1942. Information that somewhat contradicts the wiki entry on
23AB:

Quote
" Before the Second Battle of El Alamein, the brigade was reinforced by the addition of the 8th Royal Tank Regiment to a strength of about 186 Valentines; the 5th RHA was exchanged for the 107th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, with sixteen Bishop self-propelled guns. During that battle, most of the regiments supported the infantry divisions of XXX Corps. The 8th RTR was attached to the 1st South African Division, 40th RTR was attached to the 9th Australian Division and the 50th RTR was attached to 51st (Highland) Division. The brigade suffered heavily during the battle and it remained in Egypt to refit and reorganise. The 8th RTR was transferred to Palestine in early November, after having turned over all its surviving tanks while the 46th RTR was removed from the brigade, as was 107th Field Regiment.[5][7]" 

Tunisia "In December 1942, elements of the brigade, now with the 11th (Queen's Westminsters) Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps (KRRC) under command, began to move forward but it saw no combat until it entered Tunisia on 17 February 1943. In the Tunisian Campaign the brigade served as an independent armoured formation under XXX Corps, Eighth Army and fought in most of the battles of the campaign. On 3 May, the 50th RTR was withdrawn to convert to M4 Sherman tanks. After the campaign, the 46th RTR was reassigned to the brigade, although it was still converting to Shermans and the 40th RTR began to convert to the new tank.[7]" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/23rd_Armoured_Brigade_(United_Kingdom)

A couple more snippets of information, including why 23AB kept it's 'divisional' AoS
Quote
"Because much of 8th Armoured Division had not arrived, 23rd Armoured Brigade was organised as an independent brigade group attached to 1st Armoured Division.[12] Without any desert training, and in the unfamiliar role of 'Infantry tanks', it was given a task in the second phase of Eighth Army's attack on El Mreir (the Second Battle of Ruweisat Ridge)." [ie it was still officially part of the incomplete 8AD, but attached temporarily to 1AD]

"After Alamein, 23rd Armoured Bde remained in Egypt to refit and did not take part in the pursuit. In December some of its units set off across North Africa, but 46th RTR was left behind, officially leaving the brigade on 1 December 1942. It remained in Egypt as part of Middle East Forces until after the conclusion of the Tunisian Campaign.[12][20]" [So 23AB was down to 2 tank regimetns during this time]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Liverpool_Welsh


To summarise, post El Alamein, 40RTR, 50RTR remained in 23AB, but were  refitting in Egypt & Palestine at this time. 46RTR was formally detached in December 1942, rejoining in May 1943 after the conclusion of the Tunisian campaign. It looks like 8RTR's tanks were reallocated to the other regiments in 23AB during the refit, which would coincide with the regiments.org timeline.

An 'H' named tank could be an ex 8th RTR one, reallocated and partially re-marked to 40 and 50RTR & would explain the apparently contradictory information thrown up by the photos. Of course, if 46RTR was not in the OOB in March 1943, (the date of the photo) the AoS should be 86 for the second regiment. Well it is the British Army ...

Anyone have the relevant Nafziger volume? The British Armies in World War II: An Organisational History, Volume One: British Armoured and Cavalry Divisions by David Hughes, Alan Philson, James Broshot, James Groshot. Published 1999. ISBN 9781585450503 or the unit histories?

50RTR has a published history https://www.lutterworth.com/title-info.php/title/50th-royal-tank-regiment
« Last Edit: July 05, 2020, 01:12:15 AM by Etranger »

 

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