BEF Artillery Markings

Discussion in '1940' started by May1940, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    George - if it helps, the 260th bty, 65th Anti-Tank Regiment is known to have been issued with 2 pdrs - I have been trying to find what their towing vehicles were for some time....
    Nick

    Before I look-Have you looked in the diaries?
     
  2. LondonNik

    LondonNik Senior Member

    Deleted
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Drew - I looked a few years ago but was only concentrating on the May diary at the time so, the answer to your question is Not really!
    There is a mention in the very short May diary to a 'tractor' but that is too vague to draw any conclusions whatsoever...

    Best regards, Nick

    Just checked the Regts diary and no real mentions and there's no Battery diaries. The Pre-Deployment WO 166 Diary would probably be your best bet.
     
  4. GeorgeM

    GeorgeM Junior Member

    Tractor would probably refer to the Dragon MkII, it was the most common vehicle for towing the 2pdr at the time, and was in service in other parts of the world as well.
    George.
     
  5. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    Just to clarify; that would be a Light Dragon Mk II. Wouldn't need a Medium Dragon to tow a 2 pounder!

    Chris
     
  6. May1940

    May1940 Senior Member

    George - if it helps, the 260th bty, 65th Anti-Tank Regiment is known to have been issued with 2 pdrs - I have been trying to find what their towing vehicles were for some time....
    Nick

    Nick

    65 A/T Regt had Morris tractors. I can find nothing in the diary (it is amazing how these diarists so often fail to mention the type of vehicles they used) but I have seen a picture.

    Andrew
     
  7. JCB

    JCB Senior Member

    Vehicles !! they don't even mention catastrophic events !
    :) craig
     
  8. GeorgeM

    GeorgeM Junior Member

    Nick

    65 A/T Regt had Morris tractors. I can find nothing in the diary (it is amazing how these diarists so often fail to mention the type of vehicles they used) but I have seen a picture.

    Andrew

    Yes as mentioned earlier, the Light Dragon MkII......Morrises ???
    Apart from the 15cwt and 30 cwt + other transports, there were three types of "tractor" for towing guns.....the FAT, normally for towing the 18pdr and 18/25 pdrs.....The CDSW "toastrack" again (I think) field artillery pieces, then the CDSW Bofors tractor. Can any of this be linked to what was issued to "first line units" and to "TA units", as it seems that TA units MAY have been issued with older equipment. I am not in a position to be an expert on any of this, just going with what photo's there are. In all the confusion, anything was possible....and although the BEF was better equiped with transport, it was still pretty hit and miss who got what.
    So far I have only seen 2pdrs with the Light Dragon MkII, the Dragon MkIII was also use for field guns, there are a few photos of them towing 18/25pdrs.
    Comments about the war diaries being sparce on info.....the photgraphers always seemed to be in the wrong place as well.

    George.
     
  9. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Bastick's The Norfolk Yeomanry in Peace and War says they had 15cwt trucks as gun-towers at the outbreak of war. There is one mention of a gun being towed by a truck during the campaign, but the rest of the time it refers only to gun-towers or vehicles.
     
  10. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

     

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  11. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    Hi everyone

    Once again, a request that is not strictly 1940, but only a couple of years out. Neillie sent me a pic of an AEC R6T gun tractor with a diamond shaped marking. Pic is thought to be from 1938 and in UK. Anyone any ideas about the meaning or, more usefully for Neillie's model, the colour of this marking? It appears to be all one colour.

    Chris

    http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p110/chrismmgrove/R6T-07_zpsfa817ed2.jpg
     
  12. JCB

    JCB Senior Member

    Don't know the answer to that one but heres another Morris 8cwt with door signs , wonder what GE plate means ? and a quad with door signs , Cassel.
     

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  13. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    GE indicates the Gun Position Officer of E Troop of a Field Regiment, according to Hodges and Taylor. Nice pics of a straight 18 pounder with the Martin Parry conversion to pneumatic tyres. I'll leave any comment on the triangular door markings to the real experts!

    Chris
     
  14. JCB

    JCB Senior Member

    Thanks for info , there seems to have been lots of artillery abandoned in and around Cassel.
    Craig
     
  15. op-ack

    op-ack Senior Member

    Not BEF but interesting markings.
     

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    Rob Dickers likes this.
  16. JCB

    JCB Senior Member

    Nice to see colour pics , who are this lot then ?

    Craig
     
  17. Blanket Stacker

    Blanket Stacker Junior Member

    Great pictures, nice variation in camouflage patterns and in bridge class numbers.
     
  18. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    I seem to remember these ones were in Singapore.
    Chris
     
  19. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Gunner Tours

    I am not an expert on door markings, but I do know that the artillery units which lost 18 Pdr guns in the Cassel area were G & K Batteries of 5 RHA. an army artillery unit assigned to III Corps. 24 Fd Regt of 48 Div were in the area, but I think had 18/25 Pdrs.

    The K Battery action at Hondeghem was fought by their F Troop. The guns at Hondeghem were I,J K & L Subs, which implies that they were the junior troop in a 12 gun Battery with gun subs lettered A-L. So A-D formed D Troop and E-H formed E Troop. D &F Troops, the remainder of K Battery were in Cassel from where they supported K Battery.

    The "GE" markings are the first time I have seen a mention of "E Troop" in K Battery at Cassel and Hondeghem. I have seen somewhere that the RHA did not adopt the 12 gun battery and operated two troops of four. The fact that CC Battery formed as the junior battery of 5 RHA in Nov 1940 formed C and H Troops implied that A-B and D -F were already taken, implying five troops in the Regiment prior to the formation of CC Bty. Maybe K Battery might have had a bigger establishment than other RHA Batteries because they were the ceremonial Riding troop at the outbreak of war and could form three troops whereas G Battery did not have the manpower, but had reserved "C Troop" for a time when they could. (There is an anal logic to O&D)

    According to "Years of Defeat" by Farndale, "2Lt Wixley the GPO of G (?) Troop was awarded the MC for his part in the defence of Cassel, He had two guns put out of action by shellfire After two guns were put out of action he , helped to man the remaining guns and personally knocked out German tanks when his troop was down to one gun."

    However, Martin Farndale's account doesn't quite match up. (His authority as master gunner may have hampered the process of correcting factual errors of detail durign the publicxation of his work.) I can't find Wixley in the list of Gunner MCs and the war diary of CC Battery which shows Capt GRA Wixley RHA joining CC Battery on formation from G Battery Nov 1940, and a second mention in 1942, neither listign him as "MC". Wixley is not a common name and it seems unlikely that there were two in the same Regiment. While Wixley was an officer of G Battery (Mercers Troop) RHA it does not rule him out as serving in Cassel with K Battery.

    Regardless of who was awarded what for the action, these do explain the 18 Pdrs in Cassel, which had been served valiantly. The formation badge is probably III Corps Artillery troops. If the vehicle with the GE marking is from Cassel, then this might even be Wixley's vehicle.

    Drew5233 has the WQar Diary for 5 RHA in 1940 and could provide chapter and verse, correcting my leaps of logic. In the mean time I will go back for a nap in the ante room, lulled to sleep by the thumps on the impact area as the range opens. ....
     
  20. May1940

    May1940 Senior Member

    Thanks. There is a lot of information in this post. As you suspect, a look through the war diary will help with a lot of your points. The diary supports your understanding that 5 RHA was organised as a field regiment and not as an RHA regiment so it had two batteries each of three troops each of four guns. (That leaves only 1 and 2 RHA to have adopted the leaner RHA organisation.)

    By the way - if I followed your logic in the lettering of the troops and subs, I think you intended to say E-H formed E Troop. (Why did they use letters for batteries and troops and subs?)

    I can't provide all the details but I see in the diary that 2/Lt GR Wixley 're-joined from 1st Reinforcements' on 2 May and was posted to G Battery. He is recommended for an MC for his actions in Cassel on 27 May and on the main road from Hondschoote to Bergues.

    One last point - 140 Field Regiment were also in Cassel. They also had 18 pounders on the Mk II carriage. In fact it seems they got there first and picked the best gun positions to the annoyance of 5 RHA. By chance the unit sign of both regiments was a white 10 on a red/blue background with a white bar above, as both were Corps troops. So if we can't see the formation sign in a photo we can't be sure which vehicle belongs to which regiment.

    Hope that helps.

    Andrew
     

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