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Author Topic: British Tank Markings - A Guide  (Read 5973 times)

Offline SquireBev

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #120 on: September 22, 2020, 12:03:23 PM »
I'm not dead, honest!

Another timeline - this time covering the armoured regiments and motor battalions of armoured divisions in NW Europe and Italy.

Pieced together from various sources but mostly from the excellent OOB documents to be found here: https://www.britishmilitaryhistory.co.uk/documents/
Comments, feedback, corrections, etc all welcome, as ever.

I acknowledge that my information on the South African and Polish divisions may be a bit shaky, so I'd particularly welcome any feedback on these units in particular.

https://tank-markings.blogspot.com/p/europe-armoured-divisions.html



Offline Eclaireur

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #121 on: September 22, 2020, 02:43:15 PM »
Ah @SquireBev, bless you, continuing the Lord's work!

One thought though... Did the order of seniority not change sometimes? Looking at the 22nd Armoured Brigade, when the 5th Inniskilling Dragoon Guards joined, I believe they became the senior regiment. Certainly the 5th Tanks ended the war with blue markings, having been shunted down from yellow, and I assume that 1st Tanks changed from red markings to yellow. The 5th Skins came into the brigade in early August 1944 I think,
EC 

Online Jemima Fawr

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #122 on: September 22, 2020, 03:46:35 PM »
Ah @SquireBev, bless you, continuing the Lord's work!

One thought though... Did the order of seniority not change sometimes? Looking at the 22nd Armoured Brigade, when the 5th Inniskilling Dragoon Guards joined, I believe they became the senior regiment. Certainly the 5th Tanks ended the war with blue markings, having been shunted down from yellow, and I assume that 1st Tanks changed from red markings to yellow. The 5th Skins came into the brigade in early August 1944 I think,
EC
Excellent stuff!

Yes, I concur with Eclaireur and we did discuss it earlier in the thread.  Unfortunately, as regiments were shuffled around they potentially upset the seniority of regiments within brigade and everyone then had to repaint their markings.  The order of seniority was:

Household Cavalry (never brigaded in any case during WW2)
Dragoon Guards (which included the Carabiniers - seniority by number)
Line Cavalry (Dragoons, Lancers & Hussars - seniority by number)
Regular & TA RTR Regiments (1-12 RTR - seniority by number)
Yeomanry Regiments (seniority by date of formation)
War-Emergency RTR Regiments (40-51 RTR - seniority by number)
RAC Regiments (seniority by number)
Indian Cavalry Regiments (seniority by number)
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

Online Jemima Fawr

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #123 on: September 22, 2020, 03:49:21 PM »
Spot-on with the Poles!  :D

Online Jemima Fawr

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #124 on: September 22, 2020, 03:51:22 PM »
I've had a look back through the thread and the NW Europe re-shuffles are covered on page 2 of this discussion.  All the info is there for who changed their markings and when.

[edited to add]

Here are the relevant bits:

22 Armd Bde (7 Armd Div)
4 CLY transferred to 4 Armd Bde on 29 July 1944 (amalgamated with 3 CLY).  Replaced by 5 RIDG, who became the senior regiment, forcing 1 RTR and 5 RTR to go down the list and repaint their markings.

31 Army Tank Bde
The brigade was broken up in late August 1944, with 9 RTR going to 34 Army Tank Bde and 7 RTR for a time becoming an independent tank regiment.  The brigade was then re-formed as an all-Crocodile brigade in September 1944 as part of 79 Armd Div (141 RAC had already been working semi-independently as the Army Group Crocodile Regiment).  141 RAC was eventually reunited with 7 RTR and in November was joined by 1 Fife & Forfar Yeomanry.  The order of seniority was 7 RTR - 1 F&FY - 141 RAC.

33 Armd Bde
148 RAC was disbanded on 29 July 1944, being replaced by 1 ERY from 27 Armd Bde.  1 ERY filled the middle seniority slot, so bumped 144 RAC into junior place, forcing a repaint of markings.  The brigade repainted its markings in any case at some point between August and October 1944, to comply with the standardised serial scheme (50-53). 

The brigade was transferred to 79 Armd Div during the winter of 1944/45, was re-equipped with Buffalo II & IV and was increased to four regiments with the addition of 11 RTR.  144 RAC was also then re-badged as 4 RTR, to become the senior regiment in the brigade!  Seniority then was 4 RTR (created from 144 RAC), 11 RTR, 1 Northants Yeo & 1 ERY.  The markings scheme was further complicated as 30 Armd Bde was already using the 50-53 serials in 79 Armd Div... They still used red AoS squares, but adopted non-standard serials: 11 RTR briefly had '54' and white squadron signs (also seen with red signs) as an independent regiment under HQ 79th Armoured Division, but later changed to '67' and yellow signs when transferred to 33rd Armoured Brigade.  4 RTR seems to have had '55' and red squadron signs, but I can't find any AoS details for 1 NY or 1 ERY.  Just to add a further embuggerance: the Staffs Yeomanry replaced 1 ERY in the brigade in the last week of April 1945 and were senior to the Northants Yeomanry, so bumped them down the list... This is so late in the war that it can probably be ignored...  ::)  It is interesting that 1 NY started the campaign as the senior of three regiments in the brigade, but ended it as the junior of four regiments... I just love the British Army...  lol

34 Army Tank Bde
153 RAC was disbanded on 28th August 1944 and was replaced by 9 RTR from 31 Army Tank Bde.  9 RTR became the senior regiment and bumped 107 RAC and 147 RAC down the orbat, forcing them to repaint their markings.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2020, 08:20:16 PM by Jemima Fawr »

Online Jemima Fawr

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #125 on: September 22, 2020, 08:43:16 PM »
Curiouser and curiouser... It seems that 1 NY and 1 ERY painted their old 51 & 52 serials on their Buffalos, even after the move to 79th Armoured Division and even though those serials were already in use by 30th Armoured Brigade within that division!  Utterly baffling. ??? ::)
« Last Edit: September 22, 2020, 08:57:15 PM by Jemima Fawr »

Offline Eclaireur

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #126 on: September 22, 2020, 11:06:46 PM »
JF,
I suspect the 79th Armoured Division puzzlement results from it acquiring a second armoured brigade.
But even so, if you look back to the period when armoured division organisation had two armoured brigades the AoS numbers were 51-53 (on red) for armoured regiments in its senior brigade and in the junior brigade (if based in UK) were 61-63, on a green background. 7th Armoured Division also had a second armoured brigade at this time (1941), but with distinct, Middle East,  AoS numbers.

So for some reason in late 1944, 55-57 emerged as AoS numbers for 79th Armoured Div's second brigade. 4 RTR took 55 as the senior regiment. Why they didn't revert to the earlier numbering scheme for a junior armoured brigade is a mystery!
EC

Online Jemima Fawr

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #127 on: September 23, 2020, 04:31:15 AM »
Yes, very true, but they seem to have been a right bugger's muddle: 55, 54 (changing to 67), 51 and 52!  ??? :o

Offline Etranger

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #128 on: September 23, 2020, 04:51:53 AM »
It must have confused German Intelligence!

Mark, could you guess as to how long it might take for the changes to be physically made? Presumably that is at least in part a function of the availability of time and paint; and vehicle transfers between units (& the RSM's wrath!) but any delay might help to explain some of the oddities seen in photos etc.

 Eclaireur will recall the discussion we had earlier about the AoS on Valentines in Tunisia, where similar issues came up.
"It's only a flesh wound...."

Online Jemima Fawr

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #129 on: September 23, 2020, 06:26:44 AM »
It must have confused German Intelligence!

Mark, could you guess as to how long it might take for the changes to be physically made? Presumably that is at least in part a function of the availability of time and paint; and vehicle transfers between units (& the RSM's wrath!) but any delay might help to explain some of the oddities seen in photos etc.

 Eclaireur will recall the discussion we had earlier about the AoS on Valentines in Tunisia, where similar issues came up.
Armoured units in NW Europe usually came out of the line for a couple of days every couple of weeks (i.e. between operations and during other operational lulls) and the Sgt Majors would invariably make the 'rest' as miserable as possible, so they seem to have painted up replacement vehicles, new markings and captured vehicles relatively quickly.  In other theatres not so much... I'm currently trying to track organisational changes in the Indian Tank Brigades and it's clear that they frequently didn't bother repainting very much, or simply painted out the old markings and left it at that! :)

Offline SquireBev

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #130 on: September 23, 2020, 07:49:11 AM »
Excellent stuff!

Yes, I concur with Eclaireur and we did discuss it earlier in the thread.  Unfortunately, as regiments were shuffled around they potentially upset the seniority of regiments within brigade and everyone then had to repaint their markings.  The order of seniority was:

Household Cavalry (never brigaded in any case during WW2)
Dragoon Guards (which included the Carabiniers - seniority by number)
Line Cavalry (Dragoons, Lancers & Hussars - seniority by number)
Regular & TA RTR Regiments (1-12 RTR - seniority by number)
Yeomanry Regiments (seniority by date of formation)
War-Emergency RTR Regiments (40-51 RTR - seniority by number)
RAC Regiments (seniority by number)
Indian Cavalry Regiments (seniority by number)

Thanks for this!

One possible spanner in the works, and I can't recall if it was on here or another forum, but I've also been told that RAC regiments converted from Infantry regiments would have kept the seniority of the original infantry regiment, and so it's not always as simple as numerical order.

Is this the case?

Offline Eclaireur

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #131 on: September 23, 2020, 09:03:22 AM »
Quote
I've also been told that RAC regiments converted from Infantry regiments would have kept the seniority of the original infantry regiment

I don't think that's right. If you look at the RTR regiments that were converted from TA infantry battalions you see that 40 & 46th RTR, which were grown out the Kings Regiment ranked ahead in armoured brigade seniority of 50th RTR which traced back to the Gloucester Regiment. The original regimental seniority of those infantry regiments was the other way around - the Kings coming from the 8th Foot, and Gloucesters from the 6th.
EC

Offline SquireBev

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #132 on: September 23, 2020, 10:16:50 AM »
I don't think that's right. If you look at the RTR regiments that were converted from TA infantry battalions you see that 40 & 46th RTR, which were grown out the Kings Regiment ranked ahead in armoured brigade seniority of 50th RTR which traced back to the Gloucester Regiment. The original regimental seniority of those infantry regiments was the other way around - the Kings coming from the 8th Foot, and Gloucesters from the 6th.
EC

Righto, I'll stick with numerical order then!

I now can't find the conversation in which I was told otherwise, anyway.

Online Jemima Fawr

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #133 on: September 23, 2020, 03:14:49 PM »
Righto, I'll stick with numerical order then!

I now can't find the conversation in which I was told otherwise, anyway.
They certainly were lined up in order of precedence at the moment of creation (so the senior regiment would be given the lower number if converted to RAC at the same time as other regiments), but once they were given an RAC number their previous regimental affiliations were ignored in terms of precedence.  The same was true of ex-infantry and Yeomanry RA regiments; they just lined up in regimental number order.

Offline SquireBev

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Re: British Tank Markings - A Guide
« Reply #134 on: September 23, 2020, 03:24:37 PM »
They certainly were lined up in order of precedence at the moment of creation (so the senior regiment would be given the lower number if converted to RAC at the same time as other regiments), but once they were given an RAC number their previous regimental affiliations were ignored in terms of precedence.  The same was true of ex-infantry and Yeomanry RA regiments; they just lined up in regimental number order.

Brill, thanks.

Updated:


 

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