Need help with AOS identification.

Discussion in 'Vehicle Names and Census Numbers' started by CmdNomad, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. CmdNomad

    CmdNomad Member

    im at my witts end and really need your help.
    I've looked into all the books i currently have about the british units of 1940+ and couldn't find anything.

    Im trying to find the Unit to which this Vickers Mk.VI AA belonged.
    Especially the arm of service on the left (171) and the div. sign (two triangles point towards each other) + the colors of both decals.

    If anyone could help me or point me into the right direction i would be really happy.
    Best Regards,
  2. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    Any chance it's not actually British, and perhaps belonged to say one of the Polish Armoured Brigades or something similiar?
  3. idler

    idler GeneralList

    The diabolos (the 'bow ties') were formation flashes used by the Tank Brigades, and everything depended on the colours of the two triangles.
    The snag is that the divided AoS suggests RA, but I don't think Tk Bdes had their own gunners. I need to pull a book...
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    The white line under the 171 indicate this is an ARMY unit , if white line was above the 171 it would be a CORPS unit as opposed to being in a Division.
  5. CmdNomad

    CmdNomad Member

    So it could one of these:

    But which one? ^^
    If only we could find out the colors, the AOS or an inventory list with the reg. number.
  6. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Is it RA because it is an Ack-Ack platform ? They're certainly not BEF-era markings as evidenced by the red / white / red identification marking and in 1940, AA regiments used a blue / red vertical background but this soon seems to have been dropped. '171' doesn't fit in with the 1941 Home Forces markings lists - RA started at '200' and this also applies to the 1st Army GHQ lists...Middle East were confusing but Far East is almost undocumented. Did any of these go to Singapore or Hong Kong for AA defence ?
  7. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Was 1 Army Tk Bde reformed after Dunkirk?

    Assuming the diabolo is a single colour, it's not 24 Tk Bde as it's a blue-sensitive film. 1, 23 or 31Tk Bdes are possibles. 1 Tk Bde seems likely - if they were still around - as the red matches the lower half of the RA(?) flash and the ID flash.
    CmdNomad and PsyWar.Org like this.
  8. From Hodges & Taylor p99:

    On 19 June 1942 a GHQ MEF letter (in the usual CRME/27954 series) notified all under command of the latest War Office standard colours and serials to be carried by Army Tank Brigades. This is stated as cancelling a MEF order on the same subject of only a month before, 12 May, but this had so far not been found.

    HQ Tank Brigade. ................................. 171 ........... Red
    Army Tank Brigade Signals. ....... 171 (Red).......... . Blue/White, horizontal
    Three Army Tank Battalions. ......... 173-175 ........... Blue/Brown, horizontal
    Army Tank Brigade RASC Coy. ............ 176 ........... Red/Green, diagonal
    Light Field Ambulance. ......................... 177 ........... Black
    Army Tk. Bde. Ordnance Coy. .............. 178 ........... Black

    There is no indication of whether the White bar was worn, and if so, in which position. Theoretically the lower position would be expected.

    The top colour of the AOS sign is not White. It is also not Red as it should if it was an RA unit. It is probably Green over Blue, which would mean Recce Corps, although these colours areknown to have exceptionally been used by some RA units as well (102 A/Tk Regt for example).

    This vehicle is therefore probably part of the Reconnaissance unit, directly under command of the Brigade HQ, of an independent Army Tank Brigade in the Middle East Forces after 19 June 1942, thus 1 Army Tank Brigade.

    CmdNomad and Chris C like this.
  9. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    I wish I could offer something positive but I'm afraid I just have questions.

    I would be interested to know whether that particular photo can be definitely attributed to the Middle East theatre? I can see the banner, but the setting itself does not give any obvious indication.

    I know War Establishments don't answer every query, but I can offer these observations from the ones I've seen. The only AA tanks shown in them are for HQ Armd Divs, HQ Armd or Tk Bdes and Armd Regts or Tk Bns. None of the WEs produced for armoured units or HQs in the Middle East show AA tanks. The first time they appear on WEs that I can see is August 1942 for HQ Armd Div and Armd Regts/Tk Bns; Armd/Tk Bde HQs show AA armoured cars until 1943. All I've seen to date identifies these as cruiser tank conversions with twin 20-mm guns.

    "British and American tanks of WW2" by Chamberlain and Ellis shows the same pic under the Light Tank MkVi entry. The text says around 50 light tanks were converted in total, with varying types of armament. Somewhat unhelpfully it says that "a troop of four AA tanks were attached to each regimental HQ squadron". I'm reasonably sure the Army mustered more than 12 Armd Regts even in the darkest periods of 1940.

    Totally unsupported suggestion, but is it possible this was simply an identification/information photo, this is what they'll look like when you get yours, type of thing? I just find it strange there's no reference to them if they did see overseas service, surely they must get a mention in a war diary just for being delivered?

  10. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    I am far from my books and no expert but for a vehicle in the ME the base paint colour is darker than one would expect, and it appears to be parked on wet asphalt with puddles.
  11. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Good point about red over blue for RA, one day I will get that the right way up.

    Could the flash be yellow over red - the RAC colours?

    Still need to pull a book...
  12. CmdNomad

    CmdNomad Member

    Found another picture of the tank, this time with its name visible
    Chris C likes this.
  13. CmdNomad

    CmdNomad Member

    I just went on the page (via Wayback Machine) the page itself died between 2012 and 2013.
    Unfortunatly the Pictures were gone but the text remained.
    I will post it here with a [Picture] were the Picture is missing.

    Lt MkVI AA
    Description: British Development of an AA Light Tank



    This light British Anti-Aircraft tracked vehicle was originally concept planned via various adaptations on the Lt Tank MkV chassis... there are photos with Boulton Paul Defiant weapons / turret system and drop down sides included... for a really strange looking 'creature'.

    Two limited production and experimental Lt Tank MkV chassis were used for prototyping with test fitting different AA weapons mounting systems starting in the fall of 1940. One had the power operated Boulton & Paul Quadruple Browning aircraft turret fitted... initially with the Perspex canopy and all! Then later folding armor flaps were fitted to the rear superstructure.

    Two of the Tank, Light (MkVI) AA Mark I's are shown to left and the Tank, Light (MkVI) AA Mark II type below.


    Lt MkV Experimental chassis with Boulton Paul Defiant Quad Browning Aircraft Turret and this photograph shows the drop sided version after the removal of the Perspex turret glazing.

    The other or second MkV chassis acquired for development had a twin 15mm Besa machine gun mount that was mounted to replace the turret. Twin Besa 15mm variant on Experimental Lt MkV chassis

    Two different versions of the production versions of the Lt Tank Mk VI AA's basic planform...

    Tank, Light (MkVI) AA Mark I

    Power operated turret mounting four 7.92mm Besa MG's installed on a modified superstructure (the initial prototype was built on a Lt MkVIA) from the Lt MkVIB. Additionally the Car, Armoured, AA, Humber Mk I appears to have used a similar turret to the evolution in development of the Tank, Light (MkVI) AA MkII. This free-traverse turret was designed by Stothert & Pitt Ltd and is nearly identical... and may have been a production expedient measure and one of the reasons for the change in design into the Tank, Light (MkVI) AA MkII version.

    Early turret variant without armor 'splash' shields

    Turret variant with armor 'splash' shields

    Left armor 'splash and Besas are removed as well as ammo boxes to show the square frame holding devices and the mounting and elevation fixation bar and optical gunsight for the weapons system.

    Tank, Light (MkVI) AA Mark II

    Similar to the Mark I but had improvements in the optical sights and a bit roomier and egressable turret. An external ammunition bin was also mounted on the hull rear.

    Censor has played with this and the "HURRICANE" photos

    Turret with rear hull adaptation features...
    Turret details below...

    Operational Use

    The specific structure of use was that four of these Lt Tank MkVI AA were to be attached to each Regimental HQ Squadron.

    Confusion arises as to the refitting/rebuilding of older chassis of these obsolete vehicles and producing an AA from the left over chassis... T1742 is remarked or named and becomes "Hurricane"... Tank, Light (MkVI) AA Mark I

    AANA Founding Seven Researcher, "DavidW", queried about the 'Diablo' marking on the Lt Tank MkVI AA photos... "Is the Diablo an old marking from when the chassis mounted a normal turret, and the vehicle was in Tobruk? I can't think why else a vehicle from late 1942 would be so marked."

    It does not appear that many more than 30-40 of this type I & II variants were ever produced or retrofitted from the production figure reports.

    Everything the British Army had in inventory that could be sent by ship to Montgomery appears to have been mustered for the Summer to Fall of 1942 campaigning... it seems that 12-15 AA's were on hand and this might well be where the IWM photo arises... the NZ's having a quartet of these might also be possible as an attachment in the NZ's HQ 'Protective Force'... another thought is that the IWM photo might be in the Egyptian Training Grounds later in the war and after the end of the campaign.

    I must leave this expertise to those like yourself to clear the haze of historical ambiguity! "NACHT"
  14. idler,

    I think you are right: the top colour looks very much like Yellow, rather than Green. Yellow over Red might very well have been what the (as yet unfound) MEF order of 12 May 42 specified, only to be changed to Red by the 19 June letter.

    Moreover, these colours have indeed been used by 21 Tk Bde in Italy, although much later. Note also the similar range of AoS numbers:
    21 Tk Bde - Brit-Italy-markings-04.jpg

    I believe the source for the various images in this thread is resicast, who in turn got them from

    I think this thread should also be started on the Missing-Lynx Allied WWII AFV Discussion Group, where this type of questions usually gets anwered by experts in AFV markings.

    In the meantime, I would go for an AA tank probably of (or destined to) HQ 1 Army Tank Brigade, possibly between 12 May and 19 June 1942.

    SDP and CmdNomad like this.
  15. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Photo from the IWM.

    Is the number “29643” the Field Force Index Number ?




    E 16827.jpg E 16827  number.jpg
    Vickers Light Tank AA Mk 1, a stop-gap anti-aircraft tank armed with four 7.92mm Besa machine guns, 15 September 1942.
  16. CmdNomad

    CmdNomad Member

    Michel Sabarly as you told me i created an account and created a new thread on missing-lynx here
  17. DavidW

    DavidW Well-Known Member

    Hi CmdNomad.

    Please could you share how you were able to access via this "Wayback Machine " thingumyjig!?
  18. CmdNomad

    CmdNomad Member

    Go to Wayback Machine then type in the url you want to check.
    in my case
    You will get something like this:
    In the Timeline you can see mirrors of the page which were saved by the WaybackMachine.
    So i checked each beginning of a year and noticed that the page was closed between 2012 and 2013.
    So if you hit 2012 and then choose one of the dates you get a nice mirror of the page back then.

    Sometimes you get the images which were linked on the page aswell.
    In case of you only get a few.

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