Crew members in a Sherman OP tank

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by IanTurnbull, Jun 15, 2019.

  1. IanTurnbull

    IanTurnbull Active Member

    Does anybody have any information on the makeup of a crew in a Sherman OP Tank operating in the front-line calling in artillery from their Field Regiment of SP Sextons. I believe the complement of a "normal" Sherman is 5 (Commander, Gunner, Loader, Driver, Co-Driver/Hull Gunner), but an OP tank may well have 2 Signallers, I guess it will probably depend on whether the Main gun is operational? Thank you Ian
     
  2. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    From the War Establishment for a Field Regiment (SP), of May 1944 (which can be seen via the Trux section of the forum);

    RHQ OP;

    seat for the Lieutenant-colonel
    Observation Post Assistant
    Driver-mechanic (AFV)
    Driver, IC
    Tank, OP, with three wireless sets

    Each Troop HQ;

    Captain
    Observation Post Assistant
    Driver-mechanic (AFV)
    Driver, IC
    Tank, OP, with three wireless sets

    Gun Position Officer (GPO)
    GPO's Assistant
    Driver-operator
    Driver-mechanic (AFV)
    Tank, OP, with three wireless sets

    Wireless diagram booklet of July 1945 shows the three wireless sets as two No.19 and one No.18.

    When the OP tank was part of an Armoured or Tank Brigade HQ, it had a skeleton crew of a Sergeant or Corporal (either a gunner-operator or a driver-operator) and a driver-mechanic (AFV). Spare seats were for use by attached RA personnel.

    Gary
     
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  3. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    I guess the wireless sets would be operated by the officer, his assistant, and the driver-operator? That's if they needed to be used simultaneously?
     
  4. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    In the usual Field Regiment, the armoured OP (AOP) was a Universal carrier fitted with both a No.18 set and a No.19 set. "Signal Tactics" 1945 notes that the No.18 set at the RA OP would be tuned to the same frequency as the No.18 set of the Rifle Coy being supported, so requests for arty fires would be broadcast by the Coy on their set and picked up by the OP. The No.19 sets would be on the RA Bty frequency, linking the OP with the Bty HQ. The additional No.19 set in a tank OP was presumably the vehicle's own, and looks to have been available for netting on an Armd Sqn frequency in the same manner the No.18 was for infantry.

    I think so anyway, wireless nets of the day are fascinating and thoroughly confusing to my technically subdued brain!

    Gary
     
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  5. IanTurnbull

    IanTurnbull Active Member

     
  6. IanTurnbull

    IanTurnbull Active Member

    Gary. Many thanks for this which is becoming clearer. I was not familiar with these roles. My Father was a OP Signaller, yet there was another Signaller in his Sherman tank, so I suspect one of them was the OP Assistant. Certainly with 3 wireless sets, 1 tuned to the Regiment HQ, another to the GPO with the Guns and another to the tank Regiment they were supporting, at any one time they might need >1 wireless operator?
    I cant seem to find the thread you are referring to in the Trux section. I suspect I am missing something.Is it possible to link it?
    Thanks again
    Ian
     
  7. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    If you go to the Homepage for Forums and scroll down towards the end you'll see the Trux Discussion area, put together by Mike (who posts here as Trux).

    I was also going to direct you to the pages on Nigel Evans' site devoted to the RA in WW2, but it triggered a pop-up warning on my antivirus so am now a bit wary of putting in the link. It's at www.nigelef.tripod .com if you want to try it. A Safe Search via Norton looks to be in order so it should be OK.

    I had a look at some of the other RA and RCA WEs for SP units, and they all show the same personnel assigned to the OP tanks (the OP asst and GPO asst were both reclassified as Technical Assistants, RA during 1945). RA Regts had their own signallers, it's just a question of whether they could shoehorn an extra body into the tank to operate a radio, and were the various sets were fitted in the tank.

    Gary
     

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