C Squadron, 3rd Carabiniers,

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by familyresearch, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. I'm looking for any information on C Squadron. They served in Burma and India I think. They were part of the RAC. I'm looking into my great grandfather Rober Melville's time in service and would love any help anyone could give me about this squadron. Thank you.
  2. idler

    idler GeneralList

    They get a mention in this thread. It's good you know the squadron as I believe the armoured regiments were usually split up and spread around in that part of the world.

    For example, B Sqn at Nunshigim.
  3. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    In this link there is mention of C sqn 3rd Carabiniers might be an idea to send an Email, search page 22
  4. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum. Here you have a short version of 3rd Carabiniers history during ww2.
  5. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is a summary of the war service of the 3rd Carabiniers:

    3rd Carabiniers (Prince of Wales’s Dragoon Guards)
    Khanspur Hill, India
    Royal Armoured Corps
    4 April 1939
    Battle Honours
    Imphal, Tamu Road, Nunshigum, Bishenpur, Kanglatongbi, Kennedy Peak, Shwebo, Sagaing, Mandalay, Ava, Irrawaddy, Yenangyaung 1945, Burma 1944-45
    The Royal Natal Carabineers
    1st Battalion: Pietermaritzburg, Natal
    2nd Battalion: Ladysmith, Natal
    The Essex Regiment (Tank): Windsor, Ontario

    Sialkot Brigade Area – 3 September 1939 to 1 July 1940
    In December 1937 it was decided to mechanise the 3rd Carabineers and this was accomplished by January 1st, 1938 in India. At the outbreak of war the regiment was at Khanspur Hill station near Muree and it moved at once back to Sialkot. It was equipped with Indian Pattern MkVIB Light Tanks and organised as a Light Tank Regiment.

    2nd Indian Armoured Brigade – 1 July 1940 to July 1941
    The brigade was formed from the headquarters of the 3rd (Merrut) Cavalry Brigade on July 1st, 1940 although the regiment remained in Sialkot. The regiment was now designated as a Light Armoured Regiment. On February 1st, 1941 it sent a draft of 12 officers and 102 other ranks to help form the newly raised 25th Dragoons.

    1st Indian Armoured Brigade – July 1941 to 31 December 1941
    The regiment left the 2nd Armoured Brigade in July 1941 when the brigade was sent to Iraq. It mobilised on October 1st, 1941 and left Sialkot on November 3rd, 1941 for Malir, near Karachi. The light tanks were left at Sialkot and the Carbabiniers were reequipped with Ford 15-CWT trucks on arrival at Karachi. During November, three M-3 Stuart Light Tanks arrived.

    251st Indian Armoured Brigade – 1 January 1942 to September 1943
    On paper the regiment was now organised with two medium tank and one light tank squadrons. Soon this was changed to three medium squadrons, which made the Stuart Light tanks unneeded. During the first half of 1942 it did exercises with only token vehicles in place of tanks. Carriers were issued during February and March 1942 to bring the HQ Squadron up to its full establishment. Starting in May 1942, Grant and Lee medium tanks began to arrive, so that by the end of the month the regiment had three Grants, seven Lees and three Stuarts. After June 1942 the Scout Troop and two sections of mortars were to be used in the Upper Sind against the Hurs, but they returned almost as soon as they were called out so that armoured cars could replace the carriers. The armoured cars, though, did not arrive and in July 1942 the regiment gave up its Grants, Lees and Stuarts to reinforce the Middle East. The regiment was now left with only a few carriers.
    On August 31st, 1942 the regiment moved to Bolarum in the Deccan but took over two months to complete the move due to flooding around the Indus River. The regiment was now to organise with two cruisers and one medium squadron and some tanks began to arrive. The new arrivals were only about 75% fit although they were adequate for training. Soon the regiment was up to establishment, but in February 1943 Stuarts replaced the Grants and Lees of one squadron. The regiment moved again to Tiruvallum near Madras on March 23rd, 1943 with the brigade. The organisation was again changed and by July 1943 the regiment was completely equipped with Stuarts including 42 Stuart Is and 10 Stuart IIIs. No sooner was this establishment completed when the Stuarts were withdrawn and replaced by Lee Medium Tanks. The Reconnaissance Troop was then divided into a Scout Troop and an Intercommunications Troop. The brigade was then disbanded in September 1943.

    105th Line of Communications Area – October 1943 to 11 December 1943
    In October 1943 the regiment formed the 3rd Dragoon Guards Group, which included an infantry company, a workshop section, a tank recovery section, a field park, and a light aid detachment. Two months later the infantry company and the field park section were withdrawn.

    254th Indian Tank Brigade – 11 December 1943 to 31 August 1945
    The regiment joined the brigade on December 11th, 1943 on moving to Yairipuk in the Imphal area. When it became evident that the Japanese were on the move, ‘A’ Squadron was sent to the 20th Indian Division in the Kabaw Valley on February 27th, 1944 and arrived there on March 1st. It went into action on March 2nd throwing back the enemy Type 95 tanks in an ambush set up by the Japanese. At a loss of one Lee, the squadron destroyed six enemy tanks in the last equal tank-to-tank encounter in Burma. The regiment, less ‘A’ Squadron, moved into ‘Oyster’ Box at Imphal near Dimapur airfield. After arriving, ‘B’ Squadron moved to Wangjing and ‘C’ Squadron to support the 5th Indian Division. The 20th Indian Division then withdrew to Shenam Saddle along with ‘A’ Squadron. On April 10th, one-half of ‘B’ Squadron supported an attack by the 3/9th Jats of the 5th Division at Nunshigum Ridge. All of ‘B’ Squadron then supported an attack on Red Hill by the 1st/3rd Gurkhas on April 11th that was followed by another attack with all of ‘B’ Squadron and the 1/17th Dogras on April 13th at Nunshigum. During the attack most of the tank commanders and their replacements were killed and the attack was being lead by the Squadron Sergeant-Major. The regiment eventually took the feature. Support continued for the 1st/3rd, 1st/4th and 1st/10th Gurkhas to throw the enemy off strong hill positions northeast of Sengmai.
    On April 17th, half of ‘A’ Squadron supported the 3rd/5th Royal Gurkha Rifles in operations against the Litan Saddle followed by the entire squadron continuing in operations to support the 20th Indian Division’s consolidation of the Shenam Saddle. Between the 25th and 30th of April, the squadron supported the attack and capture of Nignthoukong by the 1st/4th Gurkha Rifles. Two troops of ‘A’ Squadron then attacked Putsangbum on May 8th.
    Throughout May, the regiment was in active daily contact in the Bishenpur sector. Generally between May and July 1944, the regiment was split with one-half of ‘A’ Squadron with 23rd Indian Infantry Division, the other one-half under 100th Indian Infantry Brigade, ‘B’ Squadron under 48th Indian Infantry Brigade, and ‘C’ Squadron under 5th Indian Infantry Division. On June 22nd, ‘C’ Squadron with the 5th Division led the IV Corps’ linkup to the XXXIII Corps, marking the end of the Japanese advance. The division along with half of ‘C’ Squadron then harried Japanese troops in its advance down the Tiddim Road. During this period, one of ‘C’ Squadron’s Lees set an armoured altitude record when it scaled the 12,000-foot Kennedy Peak. At the end of this operation, ‘C’ Squadron was down to only a few tanks.
    By this time the regiment was at Imphal and was joined by ‘C’ Squadron. The capture of Ukhrul on July 8th signalled the start of monsoon operations. One troop of the regiment was placed under the command of the 23rd Division for the destruction of Yamamoto Force and ‘C’ Squadron under the 17th Division advanced south from Bishenpur to an area near MS 25 by July 18th. Only half of the squadron managed to cross the Manipur River with the 5th Division when it took over from the 17th Division on August 5th. The other half of ‘C’ Squadron moved back to Imphal as the 5th Division advanced on Tiddim, which was taken on October 16th. The division along with the 11th East African Division then reached Kalewa on the west bank of the Chindwin, placing the XXXIII in a position to drive to the Irrawaddy and into Central Burma.
    The body of the regiment then left Imphal on November 11th, 1944 and reached Yazagyo on the 20th as part of the forward concentration of the 254th Indian Tank Brigade. The regiment then came under the command of the 2nd British Infantry Division on January 28th, 1945 for the drive on Shwebo. By the 31st it was located in the Shegyin area of Burma. ‘C’ Squadron was detached to the 2nd Reconnaissance Regiment on February 8th and half of ‘C’ Squadron rejoined the regiment on February 12th. ‘A’ Squadron was with 5th Infantry Brigade on February 24th, ‘B’ Squadron with 268th Indian Infantry Brigade, and ‘C’ Squadron with 4th Infantry Brigade on February 28th. By the end of the month the 3rd Carabineers had crossed the Irrawaddy River.
    ‘A’ Squadron began to clear the Zolokmu-Lewinglon-Myintha area and the 2nd Division began to break out of the Irrawaddy bridgehead on March 11th. ‘A’ Squadron supported the 6th Infantry Brigade beginning on March 8th in cutting the Kyarktalon-Myotha Road while ‘C; Squadron supported the 5th Brigade. On March 14th, ‘B’ Squadron became the IV Corps Reserve while ‘A’ Squadron operated with the 4th Brigade on the 19th. On March 20th, both ‘A’ and ‘C’ Squadrons were ferried across the Mytinge River and contact was made with the 19th Indian Division. ‘B’ Squadron supported the 268th Indian Brigade on the opposite bank. ‘C’ Squadron was under the 5th Infantry Brigade on March 29th. By March 31st, the 3rd Carabineers were located in the Myotha area.
    At the start of April, the 14th Army prepared for the advance on Rangoon and the 254th Tank Brigade along with the regiment was to support the XXXIII Corps that consisted of the 7th and 20th Indian Divisions and the 268th Indian Brigade. The regiment joined the 7th Indian Division on April 7th. ‘C’ Squadron supported a divisional attack on Mount Popa on April 20th followed by ‘B’ Squadron’s support of the 33rd Brigade’s capture of Kyaukpadaung on the 22nd. On that day ‘A’ Squadron came under the command of the 20th Division at Magwe. On the 24th, the rest of the regiment joined the 20th Division and Magwe was taken on April 28th. The regiment then supported the 100th Brigade’s advance beyond Satthawa. At about this time one Churchill tank arrived for regimental trials. Meanwhile, ‘A’ Squadron continued to advance south with the 100th Brigade after the capture of Allanmyo on the 28th and fought an action at Byetgyi Chaung and Palo. ‘B’ Squadron then advanced south toward Prome and reachen Inmu on May 4th after passing through Prome the day before. ‘C’ Squadron, after being relieved at Mount Popa, was ferried across the Irrawaddy north of Yenaungyang during the last days of April then advanced south and took Singaung on April 28th with the 89th Brigade. The last action for ‘C’ Squadron took place on May 5th and it was then relieved. It moved to Singu, crossed the river at Magwe and moved to Prome. The advance continued on May 15th and ‘B’ Squadron was held up for a while at Minhala Chaung until the Japanese abandoned this position on May 12. When XXXIII Corps and IV Corps met, ‘A’ Squadron supported a troop of the 19th Lancers in an attack on a village near MS 60.
    On May 20th, 1945 the regiment was relieved of all operational equipment and moved to Rangoon on May 28th. It left Rangoon on June 18th and moved to train at a camp at Madras. It then moved to Ahmednagar with the brigade on July 8th and remained there for the rest of the war.
    Brigade. It remained there until the end of the war and returned to the United Kingdom in 1946.
  6. Thank you all for the information and links you've posted, I'm just going to go and look at them properly. I'll get back to you if I have any questions.

    Thank you again!
  7. Thanks wtid45, I have sent her an email, hopefully it is still the right address.
  8. Sol,

    Thanks for the link, I've read the article through and printed it off. It's a good overview for me to work with. Thanks.
  9. Thanks idler, I'd read that link, I might see if I can contact some of the people there to see if they know more. Thanks again.
  10. Dryan67,

    Thanks for all that information, I'm just printing it off. I'm going to see what I can find out about the 5th brigade as they seem to be working with C squadron. Thank you.
  11. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    From Dryan67's post you also can see that C Squadron supported 5th Indian Division during battle for Imphal. Some info about that you can find here (see chapters 24-26). During that time Major Dimsdale was CO of C Squadron.

    On June 22nd, ‘C’ Squadron with the 5th Division led the IV Corps’ linkup to the XXXIII Corps, marking the end of the Japanese advance. The division along with half of ‘C’ Squadron then harried Japanese troops in its advance down the Tiddim Road. During this period, one of ‘C’ Squadron’s Lees set an armoured altitude record when it scaled the 12,000-foot Kennedy Peak. At the end of this operation, ‘C’ Squadron was down to only a few tanks.

    The 3rd Carabiniers on the Kennedy Peak
    (on the picture is crew of Lee tank No. 25711)


    Under constant pressure the Japanese evacuated Tiddim on the night of 6 October, allowing the capture of Fort White and Kennedy Peak, where the Lee tank No. 25711 of 4 Troop, C Squadron, 3rd Carabiniers, commanded by Lieutenant C. W. Bell and driven by Trooper M. L. Connolly, created a tank altitude record by reaching the top.
  12. sol

    sol Very Senior Member


    Tanks of 'C' Squadron, 3rd Carabiniers just visible on the summit of the 9,000ft Kennedy Peak.

    Little better picture you have here
  13. Bodston

    Bodston Little Willy

    Another shot of the 3rd Carabiniers in Burma. This is 'A' Squadron judging by the name Angel on the side of this M3 Grant.

  14. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

  15. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Recollections by John Carver, former member of 3rd Carabiniers in Burma.
  16. Thank you Sol!

    I've posted a message at the forum so will see what anyone can get back to me with. Thanks also for the link to recollections and 5th Indian Division, it's helping me get a proper undersanding of where they went.

    Oh and I found some more information - I think he was in 2 Troop, or 2nd Troop. I presume this is just how the squadron was split up? Anyone know how big the squadrons/troops were?
  17. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Oh and I found some more information - I think he was in 2 Troop, or 2nd Troop. I presume this is just how the squadron was split up? Anyone know how big the squadrons/troops were?

    Armoured squadron, during 1944, usually had squadron HQ troop and 4 tank troops each with 4 tanks.
  18. Armoured squadron, during 1944, usually had squadron HQ troop and 4 tank troops each with 4 tanks.

    What was a HQ Troop? On his letters he has written ' C Squadron H.Q. 2 Troop'
  19. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    What was a HQ Troop? On his letters he has written ' C Squadron H.Q. 2 Troop'

    HQ troop is Headquarters troop, compose of squadron CO and his second in command personal tanks and squadron administrative or support units.

    "C Squadron H.Q. 2 Troop" probably mean that he was crew member of command tank of 2 Troop (well I'm not 100% sure, maybe sombody else will be able to give you answer).
  20. Ok so you think it means he was in the crew of a command tank, which was one of four tanks within 2 Troop. 2 Troop was in itself one of 5 Troops (HQ and 1-4) within C Squadron. I understand.

    Thank you!

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