Looking for info on a knocked out Crusader - T16570

Discussion in 'Vehicle Names and Census Numbers' started by Hoody321, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. Hoody321

    Hoody321 Active Member

    Hi guys, I recently purchased a photo and hope someone here can help me find out some information about it!
    It’s a German photo showing a knocked out Crusader with the number T16570 visible. I’ve tried looking at a few Vehicle Census’s however have had no joy. I can’t seem to find any info on what the markings are on the tank either so would appreciate someone shedding some light!
    Thanks,
    Hoody
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Well, the white-red-white stripes identify the photo as from during Operation Crusader.
     
  3. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Markings appear to be the standard and white recognition markings used before the Allied white star was adopted.
     
  4. Hoody321

    Hoody321 Active Member

    Thanks for the replies guys, I’m trying to learn more about vehicles and their markings so really appreciate any help at all. I’ll take a look at examples of both your suggestions and see what I can find!
     
  5. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Our 'suggestions' are essentially the same. Red and white markings were adopted for British tanks in 1918 and were still in use in the W Desert during Crusader
     
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  6. Hoody321

    Hoody321 Active Member

    Ah my bad for misunderstanding! When the star was brought in, would they still have had individual markings for different operations?
     
  7. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    I'm not sure that they ever had different markings for different operations
     
  8. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Sorry, let me provide more information.

    Robert is right that in general, markings with red and white were used for a long time. See this photo of Churchill tanks in Italy which shows a recognition sign with stripes of red/white/red: CHURCHILL TANKS IN ITALY, JULY 1944

    However, uniquely (within the time frame of WW2) in Operation Crusader stripes of white/red/white were used. The following is from Mike Starmer's short book on the Caunter scheme:

    "The familiar white, red, white identification flashes on AFVs that are generally associated with early desert operations were not applied until 5th November 1941 specifically for 'Operation Crusader' to relieve Tobruk and were discontinued shortly after the end of the operation."

    So what I am saying is that this is a special case that you can date your photograph to within the time frame of that one operation. I am not aware of any other operations where markings unique to the operation were used.

    The star was brought in to avoid friendly fire and bombings between Commonwealth and American forces. So it was used throughout the fighting in France and Germany, but I am more unclear on its use in Sicily and Italy. I think that the RAF roundel was painted on the topics of vehicles in those locations but if there was a mixture (what did American tanks have?) or if I am just wrong, sorry :) You can see from the Churchill photo that the star was not being used there, in Italy.
     
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  9. Hoody321

    Hoody321 Active Member

    Great photo, they’re impressive tanks and it’s especially good to see them in colour. Thanks for the explanation, glad I can at least narrow it down to within a year or two!
    Hoody
     
  10. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    It's better than that, you're looking at November-December 1941. :) Unfortunately I can't tell anything else... it seems like there might be a marking on the upper hull, front centre (the somewhat wavy white line) but it doesn't look like anything I recognize.
     
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  11. Hoody321

    Hoody321 Active Member

    Cracking, I’ll have a read up on the operation now that I know this is dated from then. I’ll try get a better scan once I’ve received it, might show a bit clearer. Any idea if there’s significance with the flag? I’ve seen a few pictures with and without it so was wondering if it could be a command vehicle or something.
     
  12. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    I think it is a recognition pennant and would have been flown (worn/displayed?) at different heights on different days in accordance with a pre-arranged sequence.

    regards

    tom
     
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  13. PeterTanker

    PeterTanker Member

    upload_2020-4-8_5-23-50.png upload_2020-4-8_5-23-50.png Mk II 2008-06-17-060.jpg
     
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  14. Hoody321

    Hoody321 Active Member

    Thanks Tom!
     
  15. Hoody321

    Hoody321 Active Member

    Great info Peter, I’ll have a look at their diaries and see if there’s anything that pops up in regards to this tank.
    Your scan looks in better nick than the photo I’ve bought, mine has Russian print on the back and the seller was in the Czech Republic so I’m not too sure what the story is! At £5 I‘m not too fussed though, thought it would be a great research project!
    Hoody
     
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  16. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    According to George Forty, Companion to the British Army 1939-45,The reversed version of the red and white patch was not used exclusively for Crusader as some tanks had it in Tunisia in 1943 and some in Italy as late as 1944. Officially all Allied tanks in all theatres should have had the five pointed white star by 1943 and official instructions were issued to this effect however the rules were not always followed very rigorously in some theatres. There are photos showing Shermans arriving on the beaches in Sicily with the star however there was a tendency for the plain star being mistaken for the German cross at a distance to the extent that the USAAF in Italy were sometimes referred to as "the American Luftwaffe" and crews of all nationalities began painting out their factory applied stars.
     
  17. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Hmm, that's interesting. I'm not entirely convinced, because Forty was writing a big overview, but I'm convinced that I should try to get more information...
     
  18. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    But he was also the curator of the Tank Museum

    Also puzzled as to why they would need a special ID for Operation Crusader as opposed to a simple national identifier. Were MPs wandering around saying things like 'hey you're in the wrong operation'?
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
  19. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Why not an identifier - same concept as the Operation Overlord stripes on aircraft. Just a thought.
     
  20. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Which is why I am convinced that I should try to get more information. I will admit, I am a bit biased; I have tried to help Mike (Starmer) to match some paint colour chips in the Canadian archives and have corresponded with him by email. But I would characterize him as a stickler for detail and being correct, and he has been looking into paint and markings for decades. So when he wrote that they took the symbols off again, and I hadn't seen that statement of Forty's, I trusted Starmer's research. I mean, he also writes about 8th Army orders gave the instruction to paint the marking on[1], and if that came from IWM files that isn't necessarily something that Forty had access to. But on the other hand, if Forty had seen photographs of tanks in Tunisia with the marking on, it would be really good to find those.

    [1] quoting some more just to indicate that Starmer tries to be thorough: "At this time the greater majority of the tanks and armoured cars still carried 'Caunter' scheme paintwork although there are photographs of plain single coloured tanks carrying the [white/red/white] marking, presumably late reinforcements issued after the GHQ GSD4/105 letter of October. Details of the size and locations of the flash were promulgated in 8th Army orders to all units via Operational Orders 12 and 13 of November 9th and 12th together with a crude drawing of a tank... The flash was only specified for tanks, no other vehicle types were to use it. It has been noted that a few armoured cars and carriers did carry this flash although strictly speaking they should not have done so."
     

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