Had the Field Sqns armoured personnel carriers in ETO in 1944-45 and if they had which ones?

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by Juha, Oct 27, 2019.

  1. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    From Major-General R. P. Pakenham-Walsh's History Of The Corps Of Royal Engineers Volume VIII 1938-1948 "By October, 1942, an armoured personnel carrier had been adopted to carry seven men, and these, as they came into use, were issued at the rate of two per section [from 1943/44 onwards called platoons to avoid confusion] (or troop) to field companies and squadrons."
    White Scout Car came first to my mind as the most probable candinate as it was also known as Truck, 15cwt, 4x4, Armoured Personnel by British and Fletcher in his The Universal Tank mentions that it was used, amongst many others, by Field squadrons of the RE. On the other hand according to Handbook on the British Army 1943 ed. by Ellis & Chamberlain based on a book published by US Army early in 1943, armoured vehicles with a Field Sqn were 8 Scout Cars (probably meaning Dingos), 6 Armoured demolition vehicles (only vehicle coming into my mind is A.E.C. ADV, were they ever used by sappers or were they converted to ACVs, Data Book fo Wheeled Vehicles Army Transport 1939-1945 mentions them but it also mentions A.E.C. APCV, of which only a few were made and probably very soon converted to ACVs ) and 6 armoured personnel vehicles. Trux gives 2 light recce cars 7 15cvt personnel 4x4, the latter might be armoured or not.

    So had the Field sqns in ETO 1944-45 armoured personal carriers and if they had, were these White Scout Cars or something more cross-country capable?

  2. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

    You do see a lot of WSC's in RE usage during the NWE campaign and Morris LRC's in use as runarounds and recce vehicles.

    EDIT: Somewhere I have a diary entry from an 11th AD RE officer who used two White Scout Cars to recce the Bridge at Putange in 1944. He approached the town and left one WSC outside on a hill, as a rear radio link, and then drove into the town in his own WSC to get a Sit Rep on the bridge for HQ.
    Juha likes this.
  3. idler

    idler GeneralList

    7 Armd Div's Fd Sqns had some degunned M14s but I don't know if that covered all of them.
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  4. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    Hello OG and idler
    Thanks a lot!

  5. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    I'm going to risk going a bit from memory in part. The Chambers & Ellis book is derived from the US Army Technical Manual TM 30-410. That was issued in September 1942 and should cover the WEs in use by British units at the time. For some reason, the Armd Div Engrs information is based on the WEs of February 1940, which for the Fd Sqn shows 8 scout cars, 6 armoured demolition vehicles and 6 armoured personnel carriers. Sqn HQ was authorised 2 scout cars, as was each of the three Tp HQs. Each Tp then had four Secs, two each consisting of an ADV (with 6 men) and an APC (with 9 men), and two Secs each with a pair of 15-cwt trucks (carrying 8 and 7 men respectively).

    That WE was superseded in June 1941 by a new Fd Sqn org that retained 8 scout cars (as above) and deleted all references to ADV and APCs, with transport (excepting the scout cars) being the usual mix of cars, trucks and lorries. To the best of my knowledge the armoured RE vehicles outlined in February 1940 never made it into unit use, and so may have gone down the reallocation route mentioned by Juha above.

    In October 1942 the unified Field Company/Field Squadron WE was issued, which covered the unit to be used in Inf, Mixed and Armd Divs, as well as Corps and Army troops. Scout cars were reduced to 3 (all in unit HQ), excepting when the unit was in an Armd Div, which allowed for a Scout Car to be added per Tp HQ. Each Tp also includes 2 'trucks, 15-cwt, 4x4, personnel)' with a note that one such in each Sec or Tp was to carry a wireless. The November 1943 WE builds on this by adding a seventh such vehicle to Tp or Pl HQ, likewise fitted for wireless under unit arrangements. That would fit in with OG's description.

    The 1944 Candian WE for a Fd Sqn/Coy is very closely based on the British version. Instead of seven 15-cwt trucks personnel they list seven 15-cwt trucks armoured, with the same note re wireless (four of the seven under unit arrangements). Those would then fall for possible replacement by Whites, or maybe halftracks, in the absence of the expected vehicles.

    Photographic or WD evidence of halftracks in RE usage would not surprise, especially in Armd Divs. I don't think RE followed US and German developments of putting a Platoon within a Company or a full Company into halftracks when operating within an Armd Div.

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  6. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    Hello Gary
    Thanks a lot for the very thorough answer!


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