ARMOUR This page covers all armoured vehicles from scout cars and carriers to tanks and self propelled guns known to have been used in 21 Army Group. Where the vehicles are fully described elsewhere on the site a reference is given, otherwise they are described here. Click for Armour Drawings Click for Carriers Daimler Scout Car Humber Scout Car Humber Light Reconnaissance Car Morris Light Reconnaissance Car Humber Armoured Car MkIV Humber Rear Link Daimler Armoured Car Staghound Armoured Car Staghound AA Staghound Command Staghound Wireless AEC Armoured Car MKIII AEC 4 X 4 Armoured Ammunition Carrier. AEC 4 X 4 Armoured Command Vehicle, Low Power (LP) 19HP/19 AEC 4 X 4 Armoured Command Vehicle, Low Power 19HP/19) Maximum Staff AEC 4 X 4 Armoured Command Vehicle, High Power RCA/19 AEC 6 X 6 Armoured Command Vehicle, Low Power 19HP/19 AEC 6 X 6 Armoured Command Vehicle, High Power, 53/19 Carrier Universal MkII. Carrier Universal MkIII. Carrier 3” Mortar MkII. Carrier Medium Machine Gun MkI Carrier Medium Machine Gun MkII Carrier AOP MkIII Carrier Wasp MkII Carrier Wasp MkIIC Carrier Windsor MkI Carrier Universal T16 MkI Carrier Tracked Towing MkII. (Loyd) Carrier Starting and Charging. (Loyd) Carrier Cable Laying. (Loyd) Stuart V (M3A3) Stuart VI (M5) Stuart Recce Chafee (M24) Locust OP Electo OP Sherman I (M4) Sherman I Hybrid (M4) Sherman II (M4A1) Sherman III (M4A2) Sherman V (M4A4) Sherman IC Firefly Sherman IC Hybrid Firefly Sherman V Firefly Sherman dozer Sherman with 3” rockets Sherman Control Sherman Rear Link Sherman Contact Sherman II DD Sherman III DD Sherman V DD Sherman Crab Flail Sherman ARV I Sherman ARV II Ram OP Ram Wallaby Ram Kangaroo Sexton Mk I SP 25pdr Sexton Mk II SP 25 pdr Sexton GPO Priest SP 105mm M10 SP 3” Achilles SP 17pdr Grant CDL Cromwell Mk IV Cromwell Mk IVw Cromwell Mk Vw Cromwell Mk VII Cromwell Mk VIII Cromwell Command Cromwell Control Cromwell Contact Cromwell ARV I Cromwell OP Centaur OP Centaur ARV I Centaur AA MkI Centaur Dozer Centaur CS Challenger Comet Crusader AA MkIII 20mm Crusader AA 40mm Crusader 17pdr Tractor Crusader OP Valentine OP Valentine Bridgelayer Archer SP 17pdr Churchill Mk III Churchill Mk IV Churchill Mk V Churchill Mk VI Churchill Mk VII Churchill Mk VIII Churchill IX Churchill X Churchill XI Churchill Mk VIII Crocodile Churchill Control Churchill ARV I Churchill ARV II Churchill AVRE Mk III Churchill AVRE Mk IV Churchill ARK Churchill Great Eastern Buffalo LVT II Buffalo LVT IV SCOUT CARS Daimler Scout Car. See also Arms/Armour. The Daimler Scout Car was a firm favourite throughout the war. The body was of welded armour. The Daimler’s low silhouette, good speed and ability to reverse out of trouble made it the preferred vehicle for reconnaissance. Armament was limited to a Bren gun fired through the passenger’s front flap. Crew was two. The Humber Scout Car. See also Arms/Armour. The Humber Scout Car was developed to supplement the Daimler and became a popular battlefield run about. An armoured body was fitted to the chassis of the Humber FWD with the engine moved to the rear. Normal crew was two but it could accommodate a third person and a wireless set. This made it useful as a liaison vehicle or wireless rover. LIGHT RECONNAISSANCE CARS The Humber Light Reconnaissance Car. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. This was essentially a Humber Snipe chassis with light armour. The MkIII did however have four wheel drive. The roof was lightly armoured and there was a small turret mounting a Bren gun. It had a fixed forward facing 4” smoke discharger. The crew was three men. Morris Light Reconnaissance Car A rarity in 21 Army group but some were used. ARMOURED CARS The Humber Armoured Car MkIV. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. The Humber Armoured car was actually built by Karrier. The MkIV was the last of the variants and was armed with a US 37mm Anti Tank gun. It was a conventional design with a rear engined chassis fitted with a lightly armoured body. It had a three man crew and was a mainstay of the reconnaissance regiment. Daimler Armoured Car. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. The Daimler armoured car was very well liked. It was all that a reconnaissance armoured car should be. It was small, low, fast, manoeuvrable and well protected. It had an armoured hull, four wheel drive and independent suspension which allowed high speeds to be maintained on poor surfaces. Crew was three and the main armament was a 2pdr gun. Staghound. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. The Staghound armoured car was built to British specifications by Chevrolet in the USA. At the time it was ordered there was a need for a heavy, well armoured, powerful armoured car for use in the deserts of N Africa. In effect it was to be a wheeled tank. Powered by two truck engines it had four wheel drive, automatic transmission and large section tyres. The basic vehicle had a turret mounting a 37mm gun and a co axial .3 inch machine gun. There was a second machine gun in the hull front. 3,800 were delivered so there were plenty available for special roles. The Staghound was issued to Armoured Car Regiments as headquarters cars. Staghound AA. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. The Staghound AA was issued to armoured car regiments for use in the AA troop. These cars had a Frazer Nash designed turret mounting two .5inch machine guns. These cars had the bow machine gun and co drivers seat removed. The traverse and elevation was by electrically operated hydraulic control. Staghound Command. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. Conversions to command version took several forms. Some standard cars had armament removed and extra wireless sets installed. Some standard cars and AA cars had the turrets removed and canvas covers fitted, and then had extra wireless sets installed. Staghound Wireless. See also Services/Signals. These conversions were much as for command versions but with more space for Royal Signals personnel and wireless sets. AEC Armoured Car MkIII. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. The AEC Armoured Car was an armoured body mounted on an AEC 4 X 4 Matador chassis. The AEC 6 cylinder diesel engine was mounted at the rear. The MkIII was fitted with a 75mm gun. Issued to Armoured Car Regiments as support and protection for forward squadrons. AEC 4 X 4 Armoured Ammunition Carrier. See also Arms/Artillery/Field Artillery. Some of these were used in Sexton units in Normandy. They started life as Deacon self propelled 6pdr guns. Those converted had not been issued for service. The gun and its mounting were removed, the armoured sides extended upwards and the armoured cab retained. Armoured Command Vehicles AEC 4 X 4 Armoured Command Vehicle, Low Power (LP) 19HP/19. See also Services/Signals. Some older vehicles remained in service and these had a single compartment which was shared by signals and staff. The signals were still located at the rear but there was no partition and the staff had less space. Some vehicles had originally been built as armoured engineer vehicles and later converted to ACV roles. AEC 4 X 4 Armoured Command Vehicle, Low Power 19HP/19 Maximum Staff. See also Services/Signals. The most common variant in 21 Army Group was the later Maximum Staff version. This was a redesigned body which put the staff and signals personnel into separate compartments and gave more space to the staff. The signals compartment was at the rear and contained a No 19 set and a No19 High Power set. The staff had a large front compartment. This contained a large L shaped table for three officers plus a folding map table for a further officer. AEC 4 X 4 Armoured Command Vehicle, High Power RCA/19. See also Services/Signals. The High Power version had a different interior arrangement. There was a large staff table at the front of the body. This had a hinged centre section to allow access to the rear of the body. Three staff officers sat at the table, two facing to the rear and one on the offside facing to the front. The offside of the table normally carried a cipher machine. The operators section was fairly large and accommodated the large RCA set. AEC 6 X 6 Armoured Command Vehicle, Low Power 19HP/19. See also Services/Signals. In 1944 a new version of the Armoured Command Vehicle was introduced on a 6 X 6 AEC chassis. The new body was longer and lower, and the longer wheel arches took much of the floor space. The staff compartment was at the front and benefited from having a flat floor which allowed a full width staff table for two officers, a side table for a further officer and a folding map table for a fourth officer. The operators compartment had a narrower floor space so that equipment was placed over the wheel arches and operators sat in the centre facing outwards. AEC 6 X 6 Armoured Command Vehicle, High Power, 53/19. See also Services/Signals. The High Power version was generally similar to the Low Power version but the operator’s compartment was even more cramped, having to accommodate the large 53 set. The staff compartment was identical except for the fitting of a cipher machine on the offside end of the staff table. CARRIERS. The small tracked Universal and Loyd Carriers and their derivatives were a distinct British type of vehicle. Other countries had no real equivalent, using either wheeled vehicles in the 15cwt class or larger halftracks for the roles carried out by the Carrier. They were much criticised and probably obsolete but they were built and used in tens of thousands. Carrier Universal. See also Arms/Infantry. There were several versions which varied mainly in the engine that was fitted. In 21 Army Group there were still some earlier versions in service but they had been brought as near possible to MkII standard Carrier Universal MkII was the major type and was welded to give a waterproof hull. . Carrier Universal No1 MkII. Ford V8 engine giving 65bhp Carrier Universal No2 MkII. US Ford V8 GAE engine giving 85bhp Carrier Universal No2A MkII. US Ford V8 GAEA engine giving 85bhp Carrier Universal No3 MkII*. Canadian built. 90bhp engine A later version, MkIII, had a modified air inlet and engine cover. It came in the same versions as the MkII. Carrier 3” Mortar. See also Arms/Infantry. MkII carriers were converted to other roles. In the infantry battalion these were limited to 3” mortar carriers Carrier 3” Mortar No1 MkII. Ford V8 engine giving 65bhp Carrier 3” Mortar No2 MkII. US Ford V8 GAE engine giving 85bhp Carrier 3” Mortar No2A MkII. US Ford V8 GAEA engine giving 85bhp Carrier 3” Mortar No3 MkII*. Canadian built. 90bhp engine Scout Carrier. See also Arms/Infantry. This was the Universal carrier MkII with minor modifications for the scout role. There was a fitting for a 4” smoke discharger in the front compartment. A 2” mortar could be fitted on this mounting as an alternative. There were mountings and aerials for a wireless set No19 and Chore horse charging set in the front offside and rear nearside corners of the rear compartment. Not all vehicles carried a wireless set, normally only the section leader, but the sets were readily movable and could be rapidly installed in either position in any vehicle. Carrier Medium machine Gun. See also Arms/Infantry. The Carrier Medium machine Gun was a Carrier Universal with a strengthened engine cover and a pintle mount for the gun. There was a bracket attached to the mounting to hold an ammunition box. Models used included Carrier Medium Machine Gun No1 Mk1 Ford V8 65bhp engine Carrier Medium Machine Gun No2 Mk1 US Ford V8 85 bhp GAE engine Carrier Medium Machine Gun No2A Mk1 US Ford V8 85bhp GAEA engine Carrier Medium Machine Gun No3 Mk1* Canadian built Carrier Medium Machine Gun No1 Mk1I As No1 Mk1 but welded Carrier Medium Machine Gun No2 Mk1I As No2 Mk1 but welded Carrier Medium Machine Gun No2A MkI1* As No2A Mk1 but welded Carrier Medium Machine Gun No3 Mk1I As No3 Mk1 but welded Wasp MkII Flame Thrower. See also Arms/Infantry. The Wasp MkII had a flame projector in the front compartment. All the other equipment was stowed in the rear compartment. This included two fuel tanks, 40 gallons and 60 gallons, pressure bottles and piping. Thus the Wasp had all of its equipment protected by the Carriers armour and the vehicle looked like an ordinary carrier. Range was 80 to 100 yards. These Carriers were available from late July 1944. Wasp MkII Flame Thrower. See also Arms/Infantry. The Canadian Army developed a very similar vehicle, the Wasp MkIIC. This was available from August 1944 and differed in having one 75 gallon fuel container carried at the rear, outside the armoured body. This left most of the Carriers space available for other things, including a Bren gun and gunner for self defence. When production of the Wasp MkII was complete the British began producing the Canadian version as well and this became the standard type by early 1945. Some earlier MkII were rebuilt to MkIIC standard by using the 60 gallon fuel tank. Plastic armour was added to the carrier front. Carrier Armoured Observation Post. See also Arms/Artillery/Field Artillery. This was a Universal Carrier modified for use as an observation post. In NW Europe the various MkIII versions were used. These carried a crew of four, driver, observer, observation post assistant and signaller. The front housing, which was normally used for a Bren gun, was plated over and fitted with an observation shutter. There were several variants in service in NW Europe - No1 MkIIIw. This was based on Universal carrier Mo1 MkIII. The w indicated a welded hull. Engine was British built Ford V8 of 65bhp. - No2 MkIII. This was based on Universal carrier No2 MkIII. Engine was the more powerful US built GAEA V8 of 85bhp. - No3 MkIII*. This was based on Universal carrier No3 which was Canadian built. The AOP Carrier was intended to carry the observation party to its observation post rather than to be used as an observation post itself. Universal Carrier T16. See also Arms/Infantry. The Carrier T16 was built in the USA by Ford more or less to British Universal Carrier specifications. It differed in being longer and had an extra wheel each side. The T16 was also welded and had a larger engine, a Mercury GAU V8 engine delivering 100hp. Very few saw service and all seem to have been used as 6 pdr tractors replacing Loyd and Universal Carriers. Carrier, Windsor. See also Arms/Infantry. Ford Canada built a large number of Universal Carriers and in 1943 began producing the improved Windsor version. Like the T16 it was longer than the Universal and had an extra wheel each side. Engine was a Ford V8 95hp. Because of mechanical problems few were in service by the end of the war, all as 6pdr tractors in infantry units. Loyd Carrier. The Loyd was intended as a cheap cross country carrier for personnel and loads. In fact it was not very good at either. There was insufficient space for much cargo and it was rather exposed for personnel carrying. However it was used in a variety of roles and the Carrier, Tracked, Towing was used for anti tank guns and the 4.2” mortar. Some 15,000 were built. Carrier Tracked Towing, 4.2” Mortar and 6pdr AT. See also Arms/Infantry. The Loyd was capable of towing the 6pdr but lacked space for crew and ammunition. This was overcome by providing two Loyds per gun. In the 4 .2” mortar role the mortar was carried in a 10cwt trailer with fittings for the various components. The carrier carried a crew of five plus twelve mortar bombs. Twelve more bombs were carried in the trailer. When the extended base plate was introduced this was carried on the front plate of the carrier. Carrier Tracked Towing No1 MkII. Ford V8 engine giving 65bhp Carrier Tracked Towing No2 MkII. US Ford V8 EGAE engine giving 90bhp Carrier Tracked Towing No2A MkII. US Ford V8 EGAEA engine giving 90bhp Carrier Tracked Towing No3 MkII*. Canadian built. 90bhp engine Carrier Starting and Charging. Over 2000 Loyd carriers were built as Starting and Charging and issued to armoured units. The carrier was equipped with a power take off which drove two dynamos. A 30 volt dynamo was used in conjunction with jump leads to start tanks with flat batteries. A 12 volt dynamo was used to recharge batteries. Spare batteries were stowed on each side and on the offside floor. Carrier Cable Laying. 200 Loyds were built as mechanical cable layers. A mechanical cable layer was mounted in the centre of the vehicle and a variety of cables, poles, ladders etc was stowed on the front and sides. This role was taken over by Universal Carriers. LIGHT TANKS. Light Tank M3A3, Stuart V. See also Arms/Armour. The major type of light tank was the US built M3A3, known to the British as Stuart V. These were developed from the earlier M3 series and were all welded and had longer side sponsons which gave more internal stowage. The main armament was a 37mm gun. In British service Wireless set No19 was fitted. 174 rounds of 37mm ammunition could be carried. Light Tank M5 and M5A1, Stuart VI. See also Arms/Armour. Some Stuart VI, US M5 and M5A1, were used by the British but these were comparatively rare. This light tank used twin Cadillac engines with an automatic transmission. The hull was higher at the rear but was otherwise similar to the M3A3. Stuart Recce. See also Arms/Armour. This was a conversion of a Stuart V which consisted of removing the turret and adding pintle mounted machine guns. The Stuart Recce was much easier to mount and dismount when near the enemy or under fire. They had a lower silhouette and the lower weight gave an even better performance. Light Tank M24, Chaffee. See also Arms/Armour. Late in the campaign small umbers of M24 Light Tank, British Chaffee, were supplied. This tank used the twin Cadillac engines of the M5 but had a completely new hull, suspension and turret. In particular it had a new gun, a light 75mm developed for aircraft use. Locust OP. See also Arms/Artillery/AT Artillery. There is evidence that 75th Anti tank regiment in 11 Armoured Division had a Locust Light Tank as an Armoured Observation Post for the Rhine Crossing in 1945. This was a US built light tank intended for airborne use. Electo OP. See also Arms/Artillery/AT Artillery. The Electo OP was based on the Electo self propelled 95mm howitzer, which itself was based on the Tetrarch light tank. It was intended for anti tank units but the war ended before it could be used. CRUISER TANKS The Sherman Tank. See also Arms/Armour/Armoured Regiment. For the campaign in NW Europe Britain had considerable numbers of Sherman tanks. The Sherman was not an ideal design but it was reliable. It was also versatile, roomy and available in quantity. All Sherman had a crew of five and stowage for 98 rounds of ammunition. Sherman M4, Sherman I. See also Arms/Armour/Armoured Regiment. This was the first type and used a Continental radial engine. Armament was the US 75mm gun plus a co axial Browning machine gun and a hull mounted machine gun manned by the co driver. Sherman M4, Sherman I Hybrid. See also Arms/Armour/Armoured Regiment. This was a later version of the Sherman and had a cast hull front with the rest being a normal welded hull. Sherman M4A1, Sherman II. See also Arms/Armour/Armoured Regiment. This was similar to Sherman I but had a cast hull. They were rare in 21 Army Group, most being DD tanks reworked to original specification. Sherman M4A2, Sherman III. See also Arms/Armour/Armoured Regiment. Sherman III was diesel engined and were again rare in 21 Army Group, with many being DD tanks reworked to original specification. Sherman M4A4, Sherman V. See also Arms/Armour/Armoured Regiment. The most numerous version in British service was the M4A4 which the British called Sherman V. Almost all of the 7,500 produced went to Britain. The Sherman V was fitted with a Chrysler A57 Multibank engine which was five Chrysler 6 cylinder car engines connected to a common drive shaft. Most Sherman V were given additional armour protection but this was limited to extra plates over the ammunition stowage and small plates welded over the front of the drivers and co drivers positions. Sherman Firefly. See also Arms/Armour/Armoured Regiment. The Firefly was a Sherman modified to carry a 17pdr gun, which gave it an impressive anti tank performance. They were available in limited numbers by D Day and became available more widely during the campaign. To convert a Sherman to a Firefly the major modifications included fitting a 17pdr gun, providing a turret hatch for the loader, repositioning the wireless set and reorganising ammunition stowage. Initially all Firefly were Sherman V but later some Sherman I Hybrid were also converted. Fireflies had a crew of four and ammunition stowage was reduced to 78 rounds. Sherman ARV1. See also Arms/Armour/Armoured Regiment. Sherman Armoured Recovery Vehicles MkI were issued to squadrons and were manned by squadron personnel. Most were based on Sherman V but some were Sherman III. All ARVI were built to the same specification and were similarly equipped. The turret was removed, the turret ring plated over and a wide variety of recovery equipment fitted. No winch was fitted. Sherman with dozer attachment. See also Arms/Armour/Armoured Regiment. By April 1945 all armoured regiment had tanks equipped with dozer blades. These were mainly to clear away rubble and road blocks which would otherwise hold up an advancing armoured column. One dozer equipped tank was issued to each squadron headquarters. The US was hydraulically operated and all working parts were armour protected. The British ‘improved’ the design by making it possible to raise the dozer blade and arms vertically above the tank for transport. Sherman with 3” rockets. See also Arms/Armour/Armoured Regiment. C Squadron of 1st battalion Coldstream Guards fitted 3” rocket launching rails to some of their Sherman tanks in time for the Rhine Crossing in April 1945. The 3” rocket was normally fired from Typhoon fighter bombers and the 60 pound warhead was very effective against road blocks. Sherman Control Tank. See also Arms/Armour/Armoured Regiment. The control tank was a normal gun tank but fitted with two Wireless set No19 instead of the usual one. Regimental Headquarters used them and although their fighting ability was impaired it could still use all of its armament. Sherman OP Tank. See also Arms/Armour/Armoured Regiment. The OP tank retained its main armament but had reduced ammunition stowage to make space for two Wireless sets No19 and two demountable Wireless sets No38 plus artillery observation staff and equipment. These were issued to artillery regiments from a pool held at Armoured Brigade Headquarters. Sherman Contact Tank. See also Arms/Armour/Armoured Regiment. This was a field conversion of a Sherman used by Air Support Signals Units to control tactical aircraft. It had the main armament and ammunition stowage removed and replaced by two Wireless set No19 and one TR 1143 VHF set plus their operators. They were fitted with telescopic aerial masts for the VHF set. Sherman Rear Link. See also Arms/Armour/Armoured Regiment. Sherman Rear Link tanks were normal gun tanks, retaining armament and ammunition, but fitted with a Wireless set No 19 High Powered. These were used as relay stations when the armoured regiment was too far from brigade headquarters for the regimental headquarters sets to be effective. Sherman Crab Flail Tank. See also Arms/Armour/Special Armour. Sherman Crab Flail Tanks were modified Sherman V. The flail was driven from the tanks own engine and that the tanks main armament was retained. A chain and sprocket power take off from the transmission passed through the right hand side of the hull and then a shaft ran along the boom to the flail rotor. In action the flail drum rotated and the flail chains hit the ground with sufficient force to detonate any mines. Sherman II DD Tank. See also Arms/Armour/Sherman DD Regiment. DD tanks were amphibious adaptations of 75mm armed Sherman tanks. DD tanks were fitted with a watertight canvas covered frame which allowed it to swim and made it look like a small landing craft. Propulsion was by propellers and steering by was by a rudder. The frame and curtain could be lowered rapidly using small explosive charges. No Firefly were made into DD tanks. Sherman III DD Tank. See also Arms/Armour/Sherman DD Regiment. This was the DD conversion of the diesel engined Sherman III. Sherman V DD Tank. See also Arms/Armour/Sherman DD Regiment. This was the DD conversion of the Sherman V. This was the most numerous type. Grant CDL Tank. See also Arms/Armour/Special Armour. The Grant CDL carried a Thoren light, a particularly bright yet compact searchlight, in a special turret. The hull mounted 75mm gun was retained. The light shone through a two inch wide aperture and an armoured shutter could be opened and closed by power to produce a flicker which it was hoped would be dazzling. The Ram Tank. Early in WWII the Canadians began to develop a tank based on the design and mechanical parts of the US M3 Medium, General Lee. This vehicle became the Ram tank and was further modified to give the Sexton self propelled gun. No Rams were used as gun tanks in 21 Army Group, but they found pother roles. Sexton MkI. See also Arms/Artillery/Field Artillery . 124 Sexton MkI were built from early 1943. The mechanical layout, lower hull and hull front were as for the Ram tank. The fighting compartment was an open topped box with armour plate. The 25pdr field gun was mounted in a modified field carriage and protected by a curved armoured shield. The mounting allowed a traverse of 25 degrees left and 15 degrees right. Maximum elevation was 40 degrees. Ammunition stowage was 112 rounds, including 18 armoured piercing, carried in racks in the fighting compartment. Sexton MkII. See also Arms/Artillery/Field Artillery. This was essentially the same as the MkI but had a number of detail changes, the most obvious being a one pice nose instead of the three part nose of the MkI. 2,026 were ordered. Sexton MkI were brought up to MkII standard and continued in use up to the end of the campaign. Sexton GPO. See also Arms/Artillery/Field Artillery.This was a Sexton modified for the Gun Position Officers role. They were built from late 1943 and were identical to the Sexton MkII except that there was no gun or gun mount and the aperture in the hull front was plated over. Internally there were map tables, plotting tables, seats for the Gun Position Officer and his staff plus an extra radio. Ram Observation Post. See also Arms/Artillery/Field Artillery. When production of Ram II finished in 1943 a batch of 84 Command/Observation Post tanks was produced. Externally the Observation Post was identical to the final production model Ram. The gun and turret basket were deleted and a dummy mantlet and gun fitted. The turret could traverse 45 degrees either side so that the observer could use the observation port located under the dummy barrel. Internally the space was used to accommodate six crew plus wireless sets and map boards. Later Rams of all types were converted to the OP role by removing the guns, turret basket and ammunition stowage and fitting observation ports, extra wireless and internal fittings as on the purpose built versions. Ram Observation Post tanks were also used as Command Posts. Ram Wallaby ammunition carrier. See also Arms/Artillery/Field Artillery. Fairly late in the campaign some of the ammunition halftracks were replaced by Ram Wallabies. These were redundant Ram tanks with the turret removed and the opening plated over. A hatch was fitted in the plate to provide access. Racks for 25pdr ammunition were fitted in the side sponsons. Ram Kangaroo APC. See also Arms/Armour/Special Armour. The Ram Kangaroo was a simple conversion of the Ram tank which involved removing the turret and ammunition stowage, boxing in the transmission shaft and installing a wireless carrier frame in the front near side. Infantry could then be carried in the hull. The crew was normally two and an infantry section could be carried. Priest Self Propelled 105mm gun. See also Arms/Artillery/Field Artillery. The field regiments of the D Day assault divisions, had their towed guns replaced, or partly replaced, by Priest 105mm self propelled guns. The Priests stayed in action until a lull in the fighting allowed them to be withdrawn and replaced. In British service the communications equipment, small arms etc were much as for the Sexton. The M10 3” Self Propelled Anti Tank gun. See also Arms/Artillery/AT Artillery. The US built M10 3” self propelled gun was based on the lower hull, running gear and mechanicals of the Sherman M4A2 tank. This was diesel engined. Some Sherman M4A3 petrol engined chassis were also produced as the M10A1. Both of these were supplied to Britain under Lend Lease. It had sloped hull armour and a sloped turret. The 3” anti tank gun was a development of the 3” anti aircraft gun. M10 and Achilles OP. See also Arms/Artillery/AT Artillery. The ideal OP tank for M10 and Achilles units would have been a diesel engined Sherman but these were not available. Some diesel engined M10 and Achilles were used but never replaced the Crusader. The Cromwell. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. Cromwell was long delayed but when it entered service it was fast and reliable. Engine was the Rolls Royce Meteor. The maximum armour thickness was originally 76mm but most tanks in service were reworked to bring the thickness up to 101mm. All the Cromwells in 21 Army group had the 75mm gun. Cromwell IV. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. This was a 75mm armed Centaur III re engined with the Meteor. These were built with the Liberty engine but were designed to take the Meteor when it became available. Not many were in fact re engined and even fewer served in NW Europe in the Mark IV form. Cromwell IVw. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. This was as for the Cromwell IV but was built with the Meteor engine. It also had a hull with all the major riveted joints reinforced by welding. An appliqué 8mm plate was welded over the 6mm floor armour. Cromwell Vw. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. This was the definitive Cromwell and was entirely of welded construction. The floor was strengthened to resist mines and the Type D hull was used. Cromwell VII. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. This was a Cromwell IV reworked. Cromwell VIII. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. This was a Cromwell Vw reworked. Cromwell Command Tank. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. Cromwell tanks were used as command tanks by armoured division and armoured brigade headquarters because of their speed and availability. The main armament and ammunition stowage was removed to give more space for operators and staff. They were fitted with a Wireless set No19 and a Wireless set No19 HP. Cromwell Control Tank. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. The control tank was a normal gun tank but fitted with two Wireless set No19 instead of the usual one. Regimental Headquarters used them and although their fighting ability was impaired it could still use all of its armament. Cromwell Rear Link. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. Rear Link tanks were normal gun tanks, retaining armament and ammunition, but fitted with a Wireless set No 19 High Powered. These were used as relay stations in Armoured Reconnaissance Regiments when the unit was too far from brigade headquarters for the regimental headquarters sets to be effective. Cromwell OP Tank. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. The OP tank retained its main armament but had reduced ammunition stowage to make space for two Wireless sets No19 and two demountable Wireless sets No38 plus artillery observation staff and equipment. These were issued to artillery regiments from a pool held at Armoured Brigade Headquarters. Cromwell Contact Tank. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. This was a field conversion of a Cromwell used by Air Support Signals Units to control tactical aircraft. It had the main armament and ammunition stowage removed and replaced by two Wireless set No19 and one TR 1143 VHF set plus their operators. It seems that they were fitted with telescopic aerial masts for the VHF set. These were fitted through a hole in the turret roof and it is suggested that the masts were captured German items. Cromwell ARV I. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. The Cromwell ARV was a normal gun tank with the turret removed, the turret ring plated over and basic recovery gear fitted. Normally ARV I carried drawbars to fit the type of tank with which it operated, wooden blocks and planks, earth anchors and blocks. It did not have a winch. 58 were converted by the end of 1944 and most were MkIV with Type C hulls. Centaur 95mm Howitzer. This was a close support version of the Centaur and was used by the Armoured Support Regiment of the Royal Marines. Centaur ARV I. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. Visually identical to the Cromwell ARV, and carrying the same equipment. It had a different engine however. Centaur AA MkI. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. The Centaur AA MkI used a Centaur tank with the turret and 6pdr ammunition stowage removed and a new AA turret, with 20mm Polsten cannon, was fitted. Few, if any, saw action. The Centaur Dozer. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. It seems that the Centaur AA tanks that were cancelled were in fact completed as dozers. Only 50 were available by the time of the Rhine Crossing and they were operated by an Assault Squadron RE. There are reports that the Cromwell equipped armoured regiments were issued with one dozer per squadron in 1945. It is probable that these were the RE vehicles operating with the armoured formations. Challenger. See also Arms/Armour/Reconnaissance. Challenger was a Cromwell modified to carry the 17pdr anti tank gun. Only 200 Challengers were produced and they were only issued to armoured reconnaissance regiments. In order to carry the extra weight, and provide a larger turret ring, the Cromwell hull was lengthened and an extra road wheel added on each side. The hull machine gun was removed to make extra ammunition stowage space but Challenger could still only carry 42 rounds of 17pdr ammunition. The Comet. See also Arms/Armour/Armoured Regiment. The Comet was an improved version of the Cromwell family of tanks. It was sufficiently different to have the type number A34. The main differences were a newly designed turret which carried anew gun, the 77mm, and return rollers were fitted. Like the Cromwell the Comet was powered by a Rolls Royce Meteor petrol engine. Crusader AA MkIII. The Crusader AA MkIII was armed with twin 20mm Oerlikon cannon. It was issued to armoured regiments but the lack of enemy air activity meant that AA troops were disbanded. The turret and ammunition stowage were removed from a Crusader and a new turret AA was fitted instead. Crusader AA as OP tank. See also Arms/Artillery/AT Artillery. Some redundant Crusader AA tanks were employed as Observation Post tanks with anti tank units. At first they were issued to commanders of self propelled anti tank batteries, but were later issued to troop commanders as well. First issues were as early as July 1944. Crusader Gun Tractor MkI. See also Arms/Artillery/AT Artillery. The Crusader Gun Tractor MkI was built to give the 17pdr greater mobility. The Crusader was drastically modified by having everything forward of the engine compartment removed to provide a large open space, which accommodated a crew of eight plus 30 rounds of ammunition. Crusader was used by Corps anti tank regiments. The Crusader tractor was also popular as a battery commander’s reconnaissance and command vehicle INFANTRY TANKS. The Churchill. See also Arms/Armour/Tank Battalion. A number of Mks of Sherman were used in 21 Army Group. Most were in service with tank brigades but many were used by Royal Engineers. Churchill MkIII. See also Arms/Armour/Tank Battalion. These were designed to carry the 6pdr anti tank gun as a main armament with a co axial machine gun and a hull machine gun. They also introduced the full length track covers which were absent on earlier marks. Churchill MkIV. See also Arms/Armour/Tank Battalion. MkIV was similar to MkIII but had a cast turret. The MkIV offered slightly more protection. Churchill MkV. See also Arms/Armour/Tank Battalion. Churchill MkV was the close support version of the MkIII and carried a 95mm howitzer. Churchill MkVI. See also ArmsArmour/Tank Battalion. Churchill MkVI was the MkIV fitted with a 75mm gun. Some of the older MkIV were modified to MkVI standard. Churchill MkVII. See also Arms/Armour/Tank Battalion. Churchill MkVII was redesigned in almost every respect. The hull was redesigned so that it was made of single layer armour with a maximum thickness of 152mm. The old square escape doors of the earlier marks were replaced by circular ones which eliminated a weak point in the hull. The new tank had a new turret of composite construction and a new low cupola was also fitted. Churchill MkVIII. See also Arms/Armour/Tank Battalion. Churchill MkVIII was the close support version of the MkVII and carried the 95mm howitzer. This Mark was produced in only small numbers and there would be few, if any, in NW Europe. The 75mm gun could fire high explosive so, much as in Sherman units, the CS version was redundant. Churchill MkIX. See also Arms/Armour/Tank Battalion. Most Churchill tanks going into NW Europe had been reworked to some extent and those with major re working were given new Mark numbers. MkIX was a MkIII or MkIV tank fitted with appliqué armour plating to approximately MkVII standard. Churchill MkX. See also Arms/Armour/Tank Battalion. Some MkVI were similarly up armoured and fitted with the turret designed for the MkVII thus becoming MkX. Churchill MkIX. See also Arms/Armour/Tank Battalion. MkV tanks which were uparmoured and fitted with the new turret became MkXI. Churchill Crocodile. See also Arms/Armour/Tank Battalion. The Churchill Crocodile was a standard Churchill MkVII tank fitted with flame throwing equipment. In theory any MkVII could be adapted in the field by fitting a standard kit. Many MkVII tanks were fitted with the necessary attachment points during manufacture. Modifications included fitting a flame projector nozzle in place of the hull machine gun, fitting fuel pipes under the hull of the tank, fitting the rear towing gear for an armoured fuel trailer. Churchill ARVI. See also Arms/Armour/Tank Battalion. Churchill ARV were based on the very early MkI and MkII hulls. As with other ARVI types the turret was removed and a variety of recovery equipment stowed. Churchill Bridgelayer. See also Arms/Armour/Armoured Regiment. The Churchill Bridgelayer carried a tank assault bridge which was laid and recovered hydraulically. The bridge was 30 foot long and could support 60 tons. This was issued to Tank Brigades and used by tank regiments. Churchill Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers (AVRE). See also Arms/Engineers/Assault Engineer Brigade. The specification for an Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers called for an armoured vehicle from which sappers could demolish obstacles using a Petard spigot mortar mounted in the turret and provide armoured transport for sappers and their demolition equipment. In addition they could carry a wide range of specialist obstacle crossing equipment. All were conversions of Churchill MkIII or MkIV. Churchill ARK. See Also Arms/Engineers/Assault Engineer Brigade. Ark was a turretless Churchill with trackways over the hull and folding ramps at each end. The Ark could drive into a ditch so that other vehicles could drive over it. Churchill Great Eastern Ramp. See also Arms/Engineers/Assault Engineer Brigade. The Great eastern Ramp was developed as a means of erecting a ramp over a high wall or anti tank ditch. There was a fixed, sloping trackway built over the Churchill hull and a pair of rear ramps could be lowered to give access. The upper trackway was pivoted to the lower at the front end and rockets were attached to the rear end. When fired the rockets lifted the rear end of the upper trackway which pivoted on the front end and came down on the far side of the obstacle thus forming a ramp. Valentine OP Tank. See also Arms/Artillery/AT Artillery. Late marks of Valentine were used as OP tanks with self propelled anti tank units. They were issued to units operating the Valentine based Archer SP 17pdr. Some were also issued to Corps or GHQ anti tank units operating M10 Achilles. Valentine Bridge Layer.See also Arms/Armour/Armoured Regiment. Valentine tanks with the turret removed were used to carry tank bridges in armoured brigades. The bridge was laid, and recovered, hydraulically. The Archer Self Propelled 17pdr. See also Arms/Artillery/AT Artillery. This was based on the hull and running gear of the Valentine tank. It was reliable and well armoured since it had originally been designed as an infantry tank. It had a relatively low speed which made it unsuitable for operations with fast moving armoured units, and it lacked a rotating turret. The gun faced to the rear and had a traverse of 11 degrees either side. There was a crew of four. 39 rounds were carried on the vehicle. 665 vehicles were built by the end of the war and issues began in October 1944 LVT 2, Buffalo. See also Arms/Armour/Special Armour. The Buffalo was developed for amphibious operations. It had specially designed tracks which propelled it in the water, as well as on land. Within limits it could be used on water, sand, swamp and on dry land. 100 LVT 2 were received. These had an engine at the rear and a crew compartment at the front. This left a well in the centre for personnel or cargo. LVT 4 Buffalo. See also Arms/Armour/Special Armour. The LVT 4 was much more numerous and had the engine immediately behind the driving compartment which allowed a hinged ramp to be fitted at the rear. This greatly assisted loading and unloading and allowed small vehicles and guns to be carried. Earlier model were un armoured and later ones had light armour.