"My Stuart Honey Tank... as I remember it 65 years later"

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by Ron Goldstein, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    I was intrigued and, I confess, a tad touched to get a PM from Andy AKA Slaphead regarding a piece I had written about my life in the 4th QOH and in particular about my Honey tank.

    Purely because I just hate carrying on lengthy conversations via the PM circuit. I persuaded him to let me start a new thread and carry on the conversation here.

    This was Andy's letter, which he has permitted to quote from:

    Ever since you wrote your "there were some wonderful times" thread and talked about your Honey tank I have been inspired by the picture you created of all the vehicles in open order racing across the plane and I wanted to do something about that image.

    At first I thought about trying to do a painting but I dont know what the area was like and I dont know if I could do it justice. Then you mentioned about you and a friend building a kit of your tank but you were having trouble with the pram hood contraption so that got me to thinking about creating a _simple_ downloadable paper model kit that any of the forum members could make. Bodson and VonPoop have helped by sending me plans of the M3a3 and M5 Stuarts and Smudger Jnr has sent me some great links to plastic modelling sites.

    Well, that was some time ago and it has been a lot harder than I thought but I am getting there! I have made a model on a computer package but it needs a little finishing off before I can give it the correct colouring such as the second machine gun and the pram lid!. Please see the work so far on the link here (I hope you like it)
    http://i982.photobucket.com/albums/ae302/AndyTheSlaphead/Artwork/HoneyModelB.jpg

    I originally made more accurate wheels but when doing a test build I had real trouble making them so I have gone for simple shapes and hope the textures I put on the shapes will make it look better!

    So, could I beg your indulgence and ask a few questions?

    Can you remember if the turret ring surround was circular like the image above, or hexagonal like the image below?
    Mission Models :: 1/35 Armor Detailing Accessories :: Accurate Armour :: Accurate Armour A077 - 1/35 M3A3 Recce Interior

    Secondly, would this vehicle have the number 41 and your 78th Infantry emblem or the Black Cat emblem and were they on the mud guards or the body. I have searched the forum but there seems to be a lot of confusion on the issue of general placement so I thought I would ask you directly as it was your tank! :)

    Best wishes

    Andy



    To start with a few answers:

    The turret ring was most certainly circular and according to my memory once the turret had been removed the body of the tank had been adapted to achieve the maximum interior space so that we had plenty of room in the interior for the tank commander (Busty Thomas) and myself.

    The 19 set was fixed to the rear of the tank just below the .50 Browning and the .30 Browning was permanently on it's swivel on the front of the turret ring. A 2" mortar was fixed permanently on the right hand side of the turret ring looking foreward.

    The pic below, as I've said before, is the dead ringer of what my memory tells me was "my" Honey.

    The Tac signs were pretty definitely painted on the mudguards.

    At the time when we did our "Cavalry Charge" http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/veteran-accounts/23593-there-were-some-amazing-times.html I'm also pretty certain that we were part of 1st Armoured Brigade but I will have to check up on the 4th QOH Regtimental Diaries. War Diary of the 4th Hussars in 1945

    That's enough for starters, dont hesitate to ask further questions but please remember that we are talking about events of 65 years ago :rolleyes:

    Best regards

    Ron

     
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Ron, interesting thread but I can't open the links, they appear to be 'broken'.

    Mike
     
  3. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

  4. slaphead

    slaphead very occasional visitor

    Ron, interesting thread but I can't open the links, they appear to be 'broken'.

    Mike

    If you mean the links in my quoted p.m. then yes, the angle brackets fore and aft seem to break it, so here are the links again

    my simple computer model
    http://i982.photobucket.com/albums/ae302/AndyTheSlaphead/Artwork/HoneyModelB.jpg

    a detail kit for a 1/35 model that shows a different turret ring surround
    Mission Models :: 1/35 Armor Detailing Accessories :: Accurate Armour :: Accurate Armour A077 - 1/35 M3A3 Recce Interior

    I hope that helps :)
     
  5. slaphead

    slaphead very occasional visitor

    I am sorry Ron, I am being a bit thick here.
    I have looked at
    British Divisions WW2
    and couldnt find a 4th QOH (Queens own Huzzars?) or First Armoured Brigade so I still have not figured out which.... Oh wait a minute... I have just seem in your sig line it says "(56 Div)" so using
    British Formation Signs
    its the Black Cat... Aha. Suddenly it all falls in to place!

    And was it the green and blue square with a "41" in it as the "divisional recce regiment"?

    And were there any other numbers on the back or any stars or markings on the side?

    Thanks again,

    Andy
     
  6. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Andy

    Couldn't find the 4th Queen's Own Hussars in Italy ?

    That Sir, calls for duelling pistols at dawn !

    Perhaps I dreamt it all ?

    Relief at last..... the penny has dropped and I see that you have worked it out. :)

    The first thing you need to know is that the 4th QOH, like a lot of other armoured units, was loaned to one Div after another in quick succession.

    At the time of the Argenta Gap episode we were part of 78 Div (The Battleaxe mob) and this plus the 41 Recce Rgt sign would have been displayed, green & blue as you surmised.

    No stars on our vehicles that I can remember.

    It was in post war Trieste that we became part of 56 Div (The Black Cat)
    Do have a look at the 4th QOH Diaries here: War Diary of the 4th Hussars in 1945
    and remember I didn't join them until March '45 but stayed with them until Dec '46

    Regards

    Ron
     
  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    At the time of the Argenta Gap episode we were part of 78 Div (The Battleaxe mob) and this plus the 41 Recce Rgt sign would have been displayed, green & blue as you surmised.


    Hold on chaps, that can't be right.
    56 Recce were the recce unit in 78 Div.
    They would have had the 41 .

    Ron, weren't your lot just attched to them not part of them?

    4 QOH replaced Wilts Yeomanry in 9th Armd Bde in Oct 44.
    Orders of Battle - 9 Armoured Brigade [British Commonwealth] Armoured Brigade
     
  8. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Can I be forgiven for butting in here as wires are being crossed - fact is when 1st Armoured DIVISION came into Italy for the Gothic line to-do - the 4th Hussars were the reconnaisance regiment for the 2nd Armoured bde consisting of the Queens Bays - 9th Lancers and 10th Hussars - this 1st AD were broken up for spares - and 4th Hussars were conformed into a Kangaroo Infantry carrying outfit - in time for the Argenta gap and final battles in the campaign - and thus 4th Hussars carried elements of 78th Div into those last battles......later when 6th Armoured Div landed in Austria - the Lothian and Border Horse were disbanded being a territorial outfit and the 4th Hussars were invited to fill the gap in 26th Armoured bde - then they in turn were replaced by the Gloucester Hussars from UK and the 4th Hussars moved back down to Trieste with the 56th Div - with whom they lived happily for ever !
    Cheers
     
  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    so what tac sign did 4 QOH have then Tom?
    certainly wasn't 41 as suggested above.

    RWY used to have white 86 on red square when in 9 armd bde so would 4 QOH have used that after RWY left?

    9 armd bde are mentioned in war diaries that Ron linked to

    edit: see post #41.
     
  10. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    PS - the whole thing became confusing as by the end of October '44 there were no reinforecements coming from the Uk as they were all going into NWE - so many units in AA - Navy - RAF- Recce etc were broken up for infantry - along with the 21st and 25th Tank bdes where we lost the Territorial units of 142nd and 145th Tank regiments - the NIH replaced the 145th in 21st TB - 142 disappeared which left 51st RTR - also a Territorial unit but was conformed into an Engineer/Armoured battalion with funnies etc - by the time I was discharged from hospital my regiment was long gone and I then joined 16/5th Lancers in 6th AD..
    Cheers
     
  11. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Owen -
    no idea as I couldn't see any signs from my hospital bed - a long way off in Catania - except some smoke signals from Etna - shouldn't imagine it would be 41 though -
    Cheers
     
  12. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Owen

    You say:
    Ron, weren't your lot just attched to them not part of them?

    4 QOH replaced Wilts Yeomanry in 9th Armd Bde in Oct 44.
    Orders of Battle - 9 Armoured Brigade [British Commonwealth] Armoured Brigade


    Don't want to get into a discussion on semantics but when I say "part of 78 div" I actually meant to imply it was ..............well...... "part of", although I'm sure you would prefer the factually correct "attached to". :)

    Having said that I am indebted to you for the 9th Armoured Brigade order of battle and it would be mealy mouthed of me not to thank Tom Canning for his efforts to clarify the situation.

    What does come across however, is the way the Regiment was shunted around the battlefields of Italy, moving from one Brigade/Division/Corps to another, the only criteria being where it could be used to the best advantage.

    By the time the wheels had all stopped rolling and the war had ended, we were living in the comparitive peace of the Trieste area and if you look again at the photo of me and my Bren Gun Carrier we were certainly, no doubt at all, sporting the 41 tac sign and the 56 Div Black Cat.

    Finally, I did entitle this thread "My Stuart Tank, as I remember it 65 years later" and the operative words are "65 years later"................... :(

    Ron
     

    Attached Files:

  13. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    By the time the wheels had all stopped rolling and the war had ended, we were living in the comparitive peace of the Trieste area and if you look again at the photo of me and my Bren Gun Carrier we were certainly, no doubt at all, sporting the 41 tac sign and the 56 Div Black Cat.

    Yup cos after the war the Recce Regt was disbanded & div recce was done by cavalry units but 'during the war'* it would n't have had that 41.
    44 Recce had been the Recce Regt in 56 Div up to then.

    * as Uncle Albert in only Fools & Horses used to say
    :)
     
  14. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Owen

    During the war I discovered that whatever unit I was in we always had at least one bloke who we used to refer to as "clever clogs".

    I vaguely remember that we usually managed to push them off a cliff somewhere ?

    :) :) :)
     
  15. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    "clever clogs".

    yup s'me.
    :D
     
  16. slaphead

    slaphead very occasional visitor

    :D
    From worrying about a number on a square, and me being completely confused by what bit of which regiment went where and when, this thread has had me lauging out loud at work! Thank you all! :)

    Ron. Its your tank. What do you want on it?! ;)

    And Tom, you had better start a thread called "My Churchill - 65 years on" because when Rons Honey is finished, you might be next!
     
  17. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Slaphead

    It's your model mate !...... you do whatever you want want with it, but, perhaps just to annoy Owen, what about putting the 41 tac sign & the 78 Div Flash ?

    Please do me one final favour.

    If you can possibly paint a name on the side, please call it "Semper in Excretum".

    For the benefit of those who's dog Latin is not up to scratch that translates as "Always in the shit" and I've always considered this aptly summed up my Army career :)

    Best regards

    Ron
     
  18. slaphead

    slaphead very occasional visitor

    Please do me one final favour.
    If you can possibly paint a name on the side, please call it "Semper in Excretum".
    For the benefit of those who's dog Latin is not up to scratch that translates as "Always in the shit" and I've always considered this aptly summed up my Army career :)
    Best regards
    Ron

    :D :D :D
    For you, sir. Anything :)
    And just to anoy Owen even further, I found this thread by Smudger Jnr
    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/recce/20921-reconnaissance-regiment-unit-insignia.html and his first link shows the insignias as a 41 with the 78th :D
     
  19. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Slaphead

    Just in case you were wondering about the name "Semper in Excretum" I need to tell you a little story.

    During my time with the 4th QOH I actually saw at least one tank bearing this name and when, in later years, I wrote a novella about life in an armoured unit (based on my own experiences) I gave the story the title of "Semper's Revenge".

    This little excerpt comes from my story:


    He looked first to Semper's turret and to the Jerry ammo box strapped to its rear.

    "Still there" he thought and wondered, not for the first time, to what degree his present problems could be put down to Semper's full name and origins.

    'God!', he thought, 'what a stupid bloody name to give a tank'.

    Officially the War Office frowned on the custom of painting nicknames on the sides of Army Vehicles, but sharing the war zone with American troops had given a lot of tank commanders bad ideas.

    A previous commander, long since dead, had caused 'Semper in Excretum' to be painted on the side of the hull and now it was impossible to think of the tank in any other way than 'Semper' and her crew were condemned to be thought of as 'Semper's mob'.

    Bob's knowledge of Latin, due entirely, he thought to his parent's Italian origins, was probably infinitely better than most of his contemporaries, but he knew that even the most uneducated of them had worked out that 'Semper in Excretum' was dog Latin for 'Always in the Shit'.

    If any tank deserved its given name, he reflected, then Sherman Tank A4 T5934 had surely fulfilled its late owner's expectations to the full.
     
  20. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Slaphead-
    Your suggestion that I might start a thread entitled "My Churchill 65 years on" would be similar to the famous inside left of Sunderland and England - Len Shackleton when he somehow wrote a book and his chapter nine which was dedicated to the "average knowledge of football Directors" - the page was blank !

    Only ever had two MkIV's - one was lost in the middle of a battle when we pulled back to refuel- reload and maintain etc - somehow the bleeder tube on the main brakes was dislodged and we watched the Tank at ever increasing speed hurtle down the side of a a mountain to end up in a big ditch and flattening a jeep on it's way - the jeep driver asking us for a green envelope with which to send his now flat jeep home to his "Mum".....

    The replacement was then lost in battle and had carried all my photographs etc along with my fountain pen which I had won for coming 4th in a 440 yard race at the Dundee Police Sports in 1938 - that was a sad loss - the pen I mean !

    My next vehicle was a Sherman followed by a Greyhound Armoured Car- eventually a Morris 10 !

    Cheers
     

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