Portees in Italy?

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by Chris C, Jul 31, 2018.

  1. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Hi all,

    Conventional wisdom is that after the North African campaign, anti-tank portees were no longer used - only SPs and towed guns.

    However, as I've been looking through anti-tank regiment war diaries for units in Italy, I have come across a few references to portees. For instance, although not much mentioned, the war diary for the 60th AT Regiment (5th Royal Welch Fusiliers) mentions portees in a set of movement orders from September 1944. (And, as if just to inspire a flight of fancy, that unit included ZZ Battery, which had been one equipped with Deacons in North Africa.)

    Or could units simply have been referring to towing vehicles as portees? In the January 1945 war diary for 105th AT Regiment, the strength of the unit in terms of equipment is listed as:

    4 - 6 pdr
    8 - 17 pdr
    18 - 3" M.10s
    12 - Valentine 17 pdr
    9 - Stuarts
    1 - ?.O.P
    8 - 1/2 track scout cars arm'd
    3 - 15 cwt 4x4 armd white
    7 - carriers tracked universal
    3 - carriers starting & charging
    6 - portees

  2. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    A passing thought, but were Septic 57/75/105 GMCs in service with any British mobs at the time?

    Maybe C9 Bofors?

    Merely a thought, likely nonsense. Drinking while flicking through long-neglected tank books.
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Just noticed that date.
    The Italians were quite keen on portee-ing stuff.
    A year in - captured gear?

    Dave55 likes this.
  4. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Those who frequent the Austin Lorry thread will have come across some mention before....Operation Market Garden (The lorry thread)

    The Austin K5, Bedford QL and CMP 3-ton Portees were designated as such and included ammunition lockers etc. They were also intended to be able to tow the guns. The page that I posted from 2nd Northampton's history pretty much makes it clear that they were cumbersome in placing the guns so they don't seem to have been in the 'portee' rôle...but they were on the establishment as portees, even if they were not being used as such...They didn't suddenly become gun tractors, simply because they no longer operated with the gun on the bed. The serial numbers had 'L' prefixes and that is what they remained.
    Tom OBrien likes this.
  5. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    Until your post I thought that the 105mm version never got past the prototype stage.

    I like this part:

    "Demountable headlights were recommended because of the muzzle blast, although they were not available for early production models."

    T19 Howitzer Motor Carriage - Wikipedia
  6. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Aha! Thank you Rich, that's probably it. I hadn't thought about specially designated storage and so on that were provided with those vehicles.
  7. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    I'm transcribing the war diary of 8 RF prior to Salerno and it looks like they landed with Portees in the Assault Scale of tpt.

    Lessons from Sicily and Salerno maybe taken forward to Normandy as carrier towed A/Tk guns?


  8. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    I know for a fact that American Halftracks with old 75mm cannons were used by my late Fathers 4th Reconnaissance Regt. My father said that four had the Musketeers names painted on them.
    There is a photo in the OSPREY Publication of the Reconnaissance Corps.
    von Poop and Dave55 like this.
  9. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Yes, I think those are.... I don't know about well attested, but I knew about those. I think they were M3 Gun Motor Carriages?

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