6pdr anti-tank gun APDS (SV/DS) in Normandy

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Tom R, Apr 14, 2024.

  1. Tom R

    Tom R Member

    I was looking at this IWM image of a 6pdr anti-tank gun crew in Normandy (© IWM (B 5642) THE BRITISH ARMY IN THE NORMANDY CAMPAIGN 1944 - 7th Green Howards near Lingevres 16 June 1944) and I noticed that the second loader (nearest to camera, bottom right) appears to be holding an APDS (SV/DS) round rather than an APCBC. Can anyone confirm (or simply give their opinion) if this is the case. I can see that the two ready rack rounds clipped to the gunshield are clearly APCBC but the round he is holding appears to have the very distinctive black collar of the APDS round (see below for the IWM image of a 6pdr APDS round).

    My second question is whether anyone has any information on the ammunition scales for the 6pdr in Normandy in June and July 1944? Kevin Baverstock's excellent 2002 "Breaking the Panzers: The Bloody Battle for Rauray, 1st July 1944" mentions the use of APDS by 1st Tyneside Scottish and I think I have seen another source suggesting that by July 6pdrs had around 20 rounds of APDS (often referred to as SV/DS) per gun. Any information would be very welcome. Thanks.

    upload_2024-4-14_11-8-34.jpeg upload_2024-4-14_11-14-59.jpeg
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  2. idler

    idler GeneralList

    The ammo box is marked up 6pr ? SV/DS...
    Sorry to be a smartarse!

    My limited understanding is that limited quantities were issued for 'special purposes'. Initial secrecy might have stopped its issue being mentioned in war diaries.
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  3. Tom R

    Tom R Member

    If you can read what’s written on that ammo box in the photo you’ve got better eyes than me!

    I think the issue in war diaries is that the authors rarely referred to that level of detail. Most references are to AP ammo irrespective of the type. I don’t think it was a secrecy directive per se.
  4. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian

    I can make out the DS, so I think idler is right. Funnily enough, I also thought of Baverstock's book while I read your post, Tom!
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  5. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    There were limited amounts of DS ammunition available before DDay. The RA 2nd Army Diary 6 April 1944 noted the following distribution of 6 Pdr sabot

    a. 1 Corps 6000 rds
    b. 6 AB Div 5000 rds
    c. XXX Corps 4000
    d. Res for 1 AB div 4000

    I think the allocation of DS ammunition was an Operational rather than Administrative decision. The Administrative History of 21st Army Group (Nov 1945) does not list either 6-pounder or 17-pounder DS ammunition in its table showing the planned daily ammunition expenditure by ammunition type and nature.
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  6. idler

    idler GeneralList

  7. Tom R

    Tom R Member

    Good spot - I did look but missed that. So it confirms that the loader is holding an APDS (SV/DS) round. The irony is that they might well have missed if they used them rather than the APCBC. The gunsight reticle wasn't marked and very few troops had trained with the new ammunition and did not appreciate just how much less adjustment for elevation and lead the much flatter, high velocity trajectory required. According to Baverstock the default was to use the 'T' nil range setting on the APCBC scale.
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  8. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    Do we know exactly which units received APDS ammunition? We know that the 55th (Suffolk Yeomanry) Anti-tank Regiment, the divisional anti-tank regiment for 49th Division did, because Major Gooch the Regiment's 2IC wrote about DS ammunition in "The Suffolk Yeomanry at War" and mentioned that they fired all of it they had and never saw any more.

    Since the ammunition was distributed down the Gunner chain of command it raises the question of whether the infantry platoons received a share or whether it was solely distributed to the RA divisional anti-tank regiments? 6,000 rounds for 1 Corps and 4,000 rounds for 30 Corps looks like 2,000 per infantry division. The assault divisions anti-tank regiments had eight 6 pounders per battery - total 32 guns, while those of the follow-up divisions had only four - total 16. Each infantry battalion had six 6 pounders, while the recce regiment had four, making 58 per division - while 50 div had an extra brigade, giving 76. Adding these together, and ignoring any 6 pounders in 7 Armoured division, gives 30 corps 134 guns in infantry and recce units and 48 in the anti tank regiments - so its c. 21 rounds per gun if every gun gets some and 90 rpg if its just the divisional anti tank regiments. Anyone know the definitive answer?
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