52nd Lowland Division Royal Artillery-Airborne and NWE Campaign

Discussion in 'Artillery' started by 312, Mar 23, 2022.

  1. 312

    312 Member

    Hello ww2Talkers !

    During search on Op Plunder and the 52nd Infantry Division I found that Mountain Regiments, Royal Artillery equipped with 3.7-inch Howitzers were used but I wasn't able to find informations about the organisation of these regiments on Internet that's why I ask the forum.

    Regards

    PS : Excuse me for my english
     
  2. Aixman

    Aixman War Establishment addict Patron

    Hello 312,

    easy question, answer not too easy.

    Following the subsidiarity of war establishment volumes, there were no divisional Mountain Regiments, R.A. at all, at least not in North-West Europe.

    Joslen lists the following Regiments as attached to 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division:
    1 Mountain Regiment 06.07.1942 - 21.03.1945
    3 Mountain Regiment 01.12.1942 - 22.10.1947

    The Division was trained in mountain warfare from May 1942 to June 1944 and in airlanding operations from August to September 1944, but never employed in these roles.

    21 Army Group, Operational Order of Battle - 15.05.1945 (TNA WO 33-2240) lists only 1 Regiment as belonging to 8 Corps, no trace of 3 Regiment.

    Corps troops are stored in War Establishments, Volume III, and there was a war establishment for "A Mountain Artillery Regiment, R.A." (III/12 L/1 and III/12 L/2). By 1942, this latter was superseded by
    III/234/1 - Headquarters, Mountain Regiment, R.A,, and Regimental Ammunition Column (A.C.I. 19.05.1943, effective 30.04.1943 - 01.06.1950)
    and
    III/235/1 - A Mountain Battery, R.A. (A.C.I. 19.05.1943, effective 30.04.1943 - 12.05.1946)

    III/234/1 - Headquarters, Mountain Regiment, R.A,, and Regimental Ammunition Column
    - Regimental headquarters (24 all ranks including attached)
    - Regimental ammunition column for two (94 all ranks including attached; 3 L.M.Gs., .303-inch)
    or three batteries. (131 all ranks including attached; 4 L.M.Gs., .303-inch).

    III/235/1 - A Mountain Battery, R.A. (Consisting of battery headquarters and 2 troops)
    - Battery headquarters (41 all ranks including attached)
    - Troop (103 all ranks including attached)
    - Battery (247 all ranks including attached)
    - 4 3.7-inch Howitzers
    - 4 L.M.Gs., .303-inch
    - 8 horses
    - 110 mules

    Mechanical transport is centralized in the regimental headquarters, also for the batteries (and presented a bit laboriously):
    - Motor-cycles, solo: RHQ: 1; RAmmoC (2 bties): 2; RAmmoC (3 bties): 2; each battery: 0
    - Cars, 4-seater, 4x4: RHQ: 1; RAmmoC (2 bties): 0; RAmmoC (3 bties): 0; each battery: 0
    - Cars, 5-cwt., 4x4: RHQ: 1; RAmmoC (2 bties): 0; RAmmoC (3 bties): 0; each battery: 1
    - Trucks, 15-cwt., 4x2 personnel: RHQ: 1; RAmmoC (2 bties): 0; RAmmoC 3 bties): 0; each battery: 0
    - Lorries, 3-ton, 4x4, G.S.: RHQ: 0; RAmmoC (2 bties): 1; RAmmoC 3 bties): 2; each battery: 3.

    Regards
    Aixman

    Edit: typo
     
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  3. Historic Steve

    Historic Steve Researching 21 Army Group/BAOR post VE day

    Not correct the regiment was attached to 1st Commando Brigade Royal Marines on VE Day

    1st Mountain Regiment Royal Artillery of Headquarters Royal Artillery 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division
    Commanding Officer: Lieutenant Colonel Jack RC Christopher DSO
    Regimental Headquarters: Marine Kaserne Neustadt in Holstein south of Oldenburg, Landkreis Oldenburg in Holstein with all batteries
    19 May 45 – United Kingdom relieved by 3rd (Army) Commando Regiment

    451 Mountain Battery: Major Ted Ruston
    452 Mountain Battery: Major John Fairclough
    474 Mountain Battery: Major Roddie Keelen

    21st Army Group later British Army of the Rhine (under construction)
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2022
    Aixman likes this.
  4. Aixman

    Aixman War Establishment addict Patron

    Thank you Steve,

    for the detailed information. Was aware that Joslen has some flaws, and in this case, the sources gave different results anyway.
     
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  5. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    Yes, sadly whatever changes were made to turn the regiment into a motorised unit appear to be lost. There was a post-war WE drafted for a Light Regiment, RA, NWE, dated Sep 1945 but this is not in the WO24 files. From memory the change in transportation is often disposed of as saying 'the regiment swapped its animals for jeeps' but I'm reasonably sure there was a bit more to it than that. Possibly whoever was filling in the War Diary at the time made more detailed notes.

    Gary
     
  6. Aixman

    Aixman War Establishment addict Patron

    Gary,

    are you talking about III/10 B/1, A.C.I. 05.09.1945?

    Not in WO 24 and sadly no further mention in A.C.Is. after approving, at least to 1950.

    Aixman
     
  7. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

  8. Aixman

    Aixman War Establishment addict Patron

    Maybe of general interest re. Mountain Regiments, R.A.:

    Just doing Field Force Indexes
    - WO 33-1903 - Index to Field Force Units, A.5833. February 1942 (with many amendments not yet dealt with)
    - WO 33-2226 - Index to Field Force Units, Part II - Index by Arms etc. - A.7214-2, May 1944; supersedes A.5833.

    The former lists 3 Mountain Regiments: 1, 3, X;
    the latter 4: 1, 3, 7, 85.
    As X and 7 have the same unit digit (19546), there were only 4 Mountain Regiments in the Field Force during mid-war.

    A rare bird.
     
  9. 312

    312 Member

    Many thanks for your replies gents and as I'm digging for the war establishment of the 52nd Lowland Division in its airportable role, do you have any infos about the Field Regiments during this period ?
     
  10. Aixman

    Aixman War Establishment addict Patron

    For this period, Joslen lists as organic artillery:
    79 Field Regiment
    80 Field Regiment
    186 Field Regiment
    54 Anti-Tank Regiment
    108 Light Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment.

    Details re. war establishments may be found in the Trux Section.
     
  11. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    I found a note recently in FFC37 (British Troops in 21 Army Group) that shows the strength of 1 Mountain Regiment as 29 officers and 400 other ranks. That struck me as remarkably low, given the WE strengths for the Regiment as of April 1943;

    RHQ and Ammunition Column - 8 officers and 147 ORs
    Each Bty (three Btys) - 7 officers and 240 ORs
    Total, Regt (three Btys) - 29 officers and 867 ORs (including attached).

    RHQ and the Amn Column included 75 ORs acting as drivers, farriers, saddlers and grooms for mules, and each Bty 125 ORs in these same roles. There was also 1 officer and 5 ORs attached from the RAVC. If you subtract all the ORs acting as grooms, farriers, saddle makers and mule drivers, and the RAVC ORs, that makes 412 ORs remaining. If the strength of the Regiment was effectively halved the number of cooks (27 ORs) could easily be reduced by 12. The niggle though is the officers should be 28 if the RAVC officers was likewise deleted.

    Admittedly this is pure guesswork. From my understanding though, the Regiment was mobilised for the Continent quite quickly. It would be fairly easy to strip out all the personnel whose job related to the horses and mules that the unit was not taking. It tells us nothing about motor transport of course, which would have had to be increased accordingly. Surely the War Diary would mention the arrival and allocation of a sizeable number of Jeeps?

    Gary
     
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  12. Aixman

    Aixman War Establishment addict Patron

    Gary,

    very detailed analysis. Do you have a date for that note?

    Aixman
     
  13. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    It's in Amendment No.1 to Edition No.2 of FFC37 (Part 3, Sec 1), which just rolls off the tongue!

    The revised summary page is just dated Jan 45.

    Gary
     
  14. Aixman

    Aixman War Establishment addict Patron

    This fits after the mountain role had been abandoned in favour of the airborne role in June 1944. So jeeps would be the probable solution.
    III/234/1 was effective until 01.06.1950. There were two amendments until 31.12.1945, which are not preserved in TNA's WO 24 series: A.C.Is. 12.04.1944 and 18.10.1944.
    Comparing with developments of other war establishments:
    XII/137/2 - Mountain Regiment, R.A., North Africa/Central Mediterranean, the mixed British and Italian variant (A.C.I. 10.05.1944, effective until 20.09.1945, unfortunately has not been preserved in WO 24. There were 3 amendments: A.C.Is. 12.07.1944, 30.08.1944 and 07.02.1945 (not preserved).
    And the "Light" version earmarked for Far East:
    XV/291/1 - Mountain Regiment, R.A. (Light),
    effective 29.08.1944 - 22.04.1945, no amendments, and
    XV/291/2 - A Mountain Regiment, R.A. (Light),
    effective 23.04.1945 - 01.12.1948, 2 amendments: A.C.Is. 04.07.1945 and 26.09.1945 (not preserved). Both versions depend on mules, 610 and 386, and have only a few jeeps, 12 and 19.

    Aixman
     

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