Anti-tank guns?

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by BrianM59, Jun 19, 2015.

  1. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    Trying to find out more about the excellent photo that Rob (ramacal) posted on On the first page of this report for an attack by 1/4 KOYLI, on the town of Rijkevorsel in northern Belgium, late September 1944.
    ( I attach pictures), it mentions two types of anti-tank units, One referred to as a section, 'sec' from A Company and Battalion HQ Company respectively -and then one from,' E Troop, 218 A/Tk Bty R.A.' - which I suspect is part of the unit - 55 A/T Regiment R.A - which the man in the photo belonged to.

    What I suspect, but don't know, is that the 'sections' are 6 pounder guns which were a permanent part of the infantry battalion's armoury. The A/T battery would have comprised 17pdrs either towed or S/P?

    Any enlightenment gratefully received. There was a map as well, so I'll post that when I've organised the files. Apologies for abbreviations - I'm quoting the document as best I can.

    IMG_8046.jpg IMG_8047.jpg IMG_8048.jpg IMG_8050.jpg
  2. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    The Inf Bn would have had its own Atk Pl of six 6-pr guns, each towed by Loyd carriers. They would be from 'S' (Support) Coy, and the order of movement indicates a Section of two guns was attached to A Coy, another Sec of two guns moving with Bn HQ, leaving the third Sec of two guns with S Coy.

    55th Atk Regt was indeed the Div Atk Regt for 49th Div. At this time Inf Div Atk Regts were organised as four Btys, each with two 17-pr and one 6-pr equipped Troops. Each Tp had four guns of the relevant type, and all were towed. SP guns were held by some Inf Divs as a remnant of their D-Day assault landing organisation, and later on in 1944 the 17-pr SP on the Valentine chassis (Archer) began to replace one towed 17-pr Tp per Bty in Inf Div Atk Regts.

    I don't know there's a definitive way of telling what guns E Tp was armed with. I'd probably put my 10 pence on 17-prs, as more 6-prs wouldn't add much to the arsenal of the Bn.

  3. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake The Mayor of London's latest dress code

    The 55 Atk Regimental War Diary has an entry for 26th September that "218 and 220 (Batteries) fired (at) OPs and strong points while E Troop 218 battery supported the infantry with SA (Small arms) fire."

    This sounds more like a 6 Pdr rather than 17 Pdr troop. 55 Atk Regt were equipped with the "Quad" Field Artillery Tractor as gun tractors for their 17 Pdr guns. These un-armoured and highly inflammable vehicles were unsuited for accompanying infantry in a battle area swept by bullets and mortar bomb fragments.

    At the end of July their CO had written a report begging for the replacement of towed 17 Pdrs with SP guns but stating that the 6 pdr towed gun was valued because of its low silhouette and with Sabot ammunition could deal with most enemy AFVs

    If the infantry needed anti tank support in an assault I suspect the 6pdrs would have gone in first.

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