RASC troop carrying in 1944 Armd Divs

Discussion in 'RASC' started by Gary Kennedy, Aug 14, 2015.

  1. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    The 1944 British (and Canadian) Armd Divs included a Motor Battalion and three Infantry Battalions. The Motor Bn had enough vehicles to lift all of its personnel in one go, but the Infantry Bns did not. There were somewhere in the region of 490 marching personnel for each Inf Bn.

    An Armd Div included an Armd Div Troops Company, RASC, which in turn included two Platoons equipped with 30 Troop Carrying Vehicles (TCV) apiece. The War Establishment for an RASC Transport Pl states that it could lift either 90-tons of stores or the marching personnel of one Inf Bn. That would allow two Inf Bns to be lifted at one time, but not the third. While the Inf Bde was operating with two Bns up, that wouldn't necessarily be an issue, but by the latter part of 1944 both 11th and Gds Armd Divs had moved to the Group system of pairing an Inf Bn with an Armd Regt, with four Groups created. If there were only two RASC Pls with TCVs, but three Inf Bns to lift, how did they adapt to the Group system?

    Has anyone seen anything in War Diaries that indicates the RASC altered the way it organised its TCVs so that they could serve all three Inf Bns at once, or that they used normal 3-tonners to make up the lift capacity, or anything else?


  2. Trux

    Trux 21 AG


    I think that the Guards at least were more flexible than you suggest. They seem to have had three TCV detachments, one per battalion. Presumably three sections, 18 vehicles, were sufficient for a battalion. The Guards TCVs had unit signs which had both the battalion code and the RASC code. I will see if I can find these.

    I spoke at length with a Guards infantry subaltern who had been with the division in 1944/45 and he was sure that his platoon had their own TCV. It could be taken for other purposes when not needed by the platoon.

    More later unless others have a definitive answer.

  3. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    It's just the bums on seats that confuses me.

    1940 Motor Div, one Troop Carrying Coy per Inf Bde, Coy splits into three Sections, each of five Sub-sections, each of five 3-tonners. One Section allotted per Inf Bn, with one Sub-sec to carry each Rifle Coy and one for Bn HQ & HQ Coy.

    1942 Lorried Inf Bn, ME, six RASC 3-tonners to carry each Rifle Coy and four for Bn HQ and HQ Coy.

    The 1944 era Rifle Coy was somewhat bigger than the 1940 and 1942 examples above, but if it took six 3-tonners to carry a Rifle Coy in 1940 I can't see it being less in 1944. A total of 60 TCVS (less relief vehicles) could only carry 10 Rifle Coys on that basis, and that ignores Bn HQs and the Sigs Pls.

    I found a picture of a re-enactor's 3-ton TCV on a modelling site, which I can't seem to insert in the post. It has a nice shot of the TCV from the rear, and shows eight internal seats with two benches, which I make 24 seats. However there's a warning not to load over the very end of the vehicle, which might reduce the load to 18-20 men. Unless I'm missing something very obvious I can't see how you could shoehorn a full Rifle Pl in there for extended periods, half of one Pl looks more realistic, and would take six TCVs per Rifle Coy.

  4. Trux

    Trux 21 AG


    The TCV has bench seats down the sides. There is also an odd arrangement down the centre. A removable arrangement of seats facing alternately right and left provide more seats. A lorry was reckoned to carry a full platoon plus a bicycle on the rear door. The officer rode in the cab. TCVs were built on a lengthened QL chassis and had a longer body than the GS. The notice was standard for TCVs and referred to overloading when it was used as a GS or load carrier. In this case the centre seats were removed and the side benches folded up.

    I would have to find my references for the exact number of seats down the sides and down the centre.

  5. idler

    idler GeneralList

    The design capacity of the QLT was 30 troops plus the driver, 29 in the back and 1 up front with the driver. I've probably got the same photo here, there are 8 centre seats facing alternately L and R. This leaves 21 to be accommodated down both sides. The contrast on the photo might just allow for 9 seats down the middle plus 10 each side which makes more sense mathematically.

    Of course, some of the platoon would be carried on the platoon truck.
  6. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    OK. Thanks folks, I'm probably just over thinking it.

  7. idler

    idler GeneralList

    A statement from the RASC Journal usefully contradicts the above. It says that the QLT was designed for 30 men 'including the driver'. With 2 up front, the rear seats would hold 10-8-10, one seat on each side being the folding seat on the forward doors.

    The war diary for 7 Armd Div's 507 Lorried Infantry Brigade Company RASC refers to three troop carrying platoons - A, B and D - not two. From 12 June, A, B and D pls were permanently assigned to troop carrying as the Advanced Coy. Rear Coy comprised C Pl handling replenishment, with the Composite Pl and workshops.
  8. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    Data Book of Wheeled Vehicles.

    Drawing shows ten seats down each side and nine down the centre.

    'Accommodation for driver, thirty troops and all their kit. 29 seats in body, 30th sits by the driver. AA hatch forward end of the body with machine gun mounting.'

    The forward centre seat has no backrest and the AA observer/gunner can stand on it.

    John Sandars gives three troop carrying detachments, one attached to each infantry battalion. Two detachments are from 535 Division Troops Company and one detachment from 224 Infantry Brigade Company.

  9. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    This is the picture I was working from

    Attached Files:

  10. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    Thanks both for the replies and taking the time to dig out the info.

    So 7th Armd Div did have one Tpt Pl per Inf Bn. The Armd Div Tps Coy did have four Pls, two of TCVs and two of standard 3-tonners, in which case it would seem that one Inf Bn was carried in ordinary lorries. Interesting that Guards Armd Div took a Pl from the Inf Bde Coy to lorry one Inf Bn.


  11. idler

    idler GeneralList

    The more I look at the 7 Armd Div diaries that I've got, the more I wonder if they were doing something odd...

    In June 1944, their infantry brigade was being carried by three platoons from 507 Lorried Infantry Brigade Company, not 58 Armoured Divisional Troops Company. The battalions refer to TCVs but that doesn't prove that they were in QLTs. In fact, a veteran's sketch in Delaforce's Marching to the Sound of Gunfire shows troops (1/7 Queens) debussing from a lorry with a tailboard, not doors. To add further confusion, there are some IWM papers that refer to 507 as a TCV Company, though this hasn't come from the citation. I'm afraid I've only got 507 Coy's June 44 diary, so there may be more to the story in other diaries. It's possible that the Div's QLTs may have been swapped between 58 and 507 Coys (which was the point of the RASC's standardised transport platoon establishment).

    Getting back to the numbers, I have found some hard data in a set of orders that refer to two Queens battalions releasing 20 TCVs each back to 507 Coy on arrival at an assembly area. If 20 QLs can lift a battalion, 18 QLTs should be able to, so the two TCV platoons (60 vehicles) in the Armd Div Tps Coy were intended to lift the brigade.
  12. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    Thanks very much for that, it really is very helpful. So it does sound more like the 60 TCVs were to carry all the three Inf Bns, but not necessarily as one 30 vehicle Tpt Pl per Inf Bn. 18-20 TCVs at 30 men each would easily carry the marching personnel of one Bn, though not at one full Rifle Pl per TCV.

    I'd agree that the TCVs may have sometimes been under the Inf Bde Coy and sometimes under the Armd Div Tps Coy to add a tinge of confusion.


  13. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Not sure if we will ever get to the bottom of this one as I had a quick look on Discovery the other night and the 7 Armd Div CRASC diaries are missing for a couple of months around June. I will add it to the list of things to check if I ever do get back to Kew...

    On the orbat side of things, I can't help thinking that the true TCVs were put with the Armd Div Tps Coy (rather than the Inf Bde Coy, where logic would put them) simply to even out the size of the three tpt coys.
  14. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Hi, I found a bit more information in the 507 Coy WD (WO171/2475):

    12 March 1944 EAST DEREHAM, NORFOLK
    O.C. informed verbally that Coy would have one Platoon attached from 67 Armd Bde Coy, and this Coy’s operational role would be 2 of own Pls and 1 attached Pln troop-carrying, with the remaining own platoon to maintain 131 Bde. Decided to base future training and organisation of Coy. on this basis.

    28 March 1944 EAST DEREHAM, NORFOLK
    38 of Company’s 3 Ton Load Carriers exchanged for equal number of Bedford Troop Carriers of 58 Div. Tps. Coy RASC.

    1 April 1944 Exercise “Shudder”
    0800 Lt. Brooks and 28 x 3 ton vehicles attached from 67 Coy RASC (Armd Bde).
    0830 “A” and “B” Platoons and Platoon from 67 Coy. leave to embus 1/5 and 1/7 Queens at Hunstanton, and 1/6 Queens at Kings Lynn.

    12 June 1944
    A, B and D plns permanently allocated for Troop Carrying and placed under direct command Adv, Coy HQ. “C” Pln becomes ‘replenishment’ pln and with Composite Pln and Workshops is under command Rear Coy HQ (Capt. J. Scott (Coy 2IC in charge).

    I've only looked on as far as October, but this still seems to be the way the Coy was organised. With one "TCV" pln allocated to each Queens bn.


  15. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    And from the WD of 1/5 Queens (WO171/1366:

    27 Mar 44.
    1. 1/5 Queen’s (under Command Major Burton) will take part in Exercise “SHIVER” on 30 – 31 Mar 44. Copies of the General Instructions & General Idea have been issued to all concerned.
    The Bn. will parade as strong as possible with only those exceptions approved at the C.O’s conference.
    2. TCVs.
    26 Vehicles of 507 Coy. RASC. are reporting at 1000 hrs. 30 Mar. to lift the Bn. to the Concentration Area. Vehs are allotted as under:-
    Each Rifle Coy – 5 vehs.
    Bn. HQ. & HQ Coy – 6 vehs.
  16. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Thanks for looking that up, Tom. I wonder if there were other unrecorded transfers of QLTs between the coys to even out the numbers? I know 7 Armd were being re-equipped from scratch so it's possible that the 38 QLTs transferred were all they had on strength at the time, later issues may have gone directly to 507 Coy.
  17. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    After a lot of trawling recently through the Canadian records available online, I found a few references to one of my old queries on the provision of transport to carry the Infantry Battalions of an Armoured Division (in the later model that included one Armoured Brigade and one Infantry Brigade).

    Department of National Defence : subject files,... - Image 1 - Héritage (canadiana.ca)

    Notes on RASC reorganisation (appendix dated 01 Feb 44)

    "It is considered that the present organisation of troop carrying transport is wasteful in transport and personnel, as when the units are not employed on troop carrying, the units can only carry some 120 tons of stores.

    Units will be reorganised on a 3 platoon (of 3-ton vehicles) basis, with folding seats. This will provide a useful lift of 270 tons when the unit is not employed in troop carrying.

    This adjustment will provide a simpler organisation for troop carrying as one platoon can be allotted to a battalion instead of 2/3 of a platoon under the present organisation and it also generally simplifies provision and administration by doing away with a special type of vehicle. A saving of manpower is also gained.

    The present Troop Carrying Vehicles will be retained in an armoured division as it is essential to carry the infantry as comfortably as possible so that they can go into battle fresh, apart from the tactical advantage of rapid embussing and debussing."

    The late 1942 organisation for an Armoured Division included an Armoured Divisional Troops Company, which had two 3-ton and two TCV equipped Platoons, with the standard 30 task vehicles in each Platoon. If a Battalion could be lifted by the '2/3' of a Platoon noted in the above, then those two Platoons could lift the marching personnel of three Infantry Battalions in one flight. The separate Troop Carrying Company had only two Platoons of TCVs, and on the late 1942 WE was listed as carrying the marching personnel of one Infantry Brigade, or 'cased or baled stores'. With 60 task vehicles over two Platoon presumably each lorry could only carry 2-tons rather than the standard 3-tons? The updated 1945 WEs list the General Transport Company rather the previous Troop Carrying Company, this with three Platoons, and able to carry one Infantry Brigade (marching personnel only, plus bicycles) or 270 tons of stores (so the normal 3-ton load per task vehicle). Each 3-ton fitted with folding seats, so was not a full fledged TCV, and carries 20 personnel. The 30 lorries of one Platoon could then lift approximately 600 men, which is slightly more than the marching personnel of a single Battalion, which allows for bicycles and a few other bits and bobs no doubt.


    Attached Files:

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