Terrapin

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Don Juan, Mar 11, 2021.

  1. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    I had always thought that the Terrapin was only ever used in the Scheldt estuary operations, but I found a source that quoth thusly:
    This obviously isn't the greatest source in the world, and I am very sceptical indeed that Terrapins were used during D-Day, although Operation Plunder sounds a bit more plausible. Does anybody have any information that might corroborate either of these two deployments?

    I have to say that I have found absolutely nothing in any archives about this particular vehicle, which seems to be extermely poorly documented.
     
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  2. smdarby

    smdarby Patron Patron

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  3. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    Very interesting! It sounds like Terrapins were held in a pool somewhere, and allocated as and when required. Maybe DUKW's were too. It will be interesting to find out how this was all organised.
     
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  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Was surprised only yesterday to note it got a listing in the Wheeled Vehicle Databook. Must be one of the least available machines in there.

    Got sod all decent reference, though have a feeling there was a really good article 'somewhere' recently. Thought maybe in W&T, but it only crops up once in the index re. Mr W's survivor.
    IMG_20210311_121153619~2.jpg
     
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  5. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  6. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

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  7. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

  8. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Aaaaaah, a reason (yes, reason, not excuse!) to pull some books from the shelves.

    Lugged this lump out, indexes checked, two "hits".

    On close inspection exactly the same content in both books! Those clever folks at Profile Publications had used the same text from the '71 book (AFVs of The World Volume 3) in their '73 publication (79th Armoured Division Hobo's Funnies) Curses! Yet another example of Jim "sucker' Herriot's book buying prowess (or lack of).

    Here are the photos/scans (apologies for any skew-wiffery and poor reproduction) And yes, that's all I've come up with up to now folks.

    Kind regards, always,

    Jim.

    Terrapin where art though 1.jpg

    Terrapin where art though 2.jpg

    TERRAPIN page 160.jpg

    TERRAPIN page 162.jpg

    TERRAPIN page 168.jpg
     
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  9. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

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  10. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    From my old notes on 79th Armd Div vehicles, with the sources probably courtesy of Mike Taylor;

    The final important amphibian in 79th Armoured Division was the Terrapin. The Terrapin was a British attempt to emulate the success of the DUKW, but fell somewhat short of its goal. The Terrapin used an eight-wheel layout, and was driven in water by twin propellers. The driver was positioned centrally, which cut the cargo hold into two halves, limiting the types of loads, which could be carried. Forty Terrapins were issued to 5th Assault Regiment, reinforced by 82nd Squadron, for amphibious operations in the Scheldt Estuary in late 1944. Originally split eight per Squadron in a separate fourth Troop, they were concentrated in 82nd Squadron for Operation Switchback.

    The Terrapin doesn't show up in the index of the "79th Armoured Division: Final Report 1945" oddly enough.

    Gary
     
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  11. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Maybe the text from "AFVs of the World Volume 3" (blue box-outs in my post above) holds part of the reason they were (presumably?) dropped;

    "the Terrapin was better on hard going but found difficulty in getting out of soft mud on the water's edge".

    That sort of performance and banks of The Scheldt do not a match made in heaven make.

    I wonder if that quote originally comes from a 5th ARRE report?

    Kind regards, always,

    Jim.
     
  12. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    Drat, I was going to post about 82 Squadron and Gary beat me to it by 10 minutes!
     
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  13. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Chris, that still makes you at least ten times quicker than my first effort above!

    Kind regards, always,

    Jim.
     
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  14. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    From the 1st Assault Brigade's own published history, they state that for Operation Switchback on the night of 8th/9th October, 82 Assault Squadron was detached from 6 Assault Regiment and provided with 40 Terrapins to accompany the 97 Buffalos of the other assaulting squadrons (26, 77, 79 and 80) along the River Scheldt to cross the Savojaards Plaat channel. They were used again for the later stages of Operation Vitality, which commenced on 26th October when 5 Assault Regiment crossed the Scheldt to the island of South Beveland. In this instance 27 Terrapins were employed, I would guess mainly in a second line or support capacity.

    Although the Brigade lavishes praise on the Buffalo, it does not make any postiive or negative comments on the Terrapin. I have seen photos of Terrapins in the Netherlands which are dated as being in 1946, which suggests that a lot of Terrapins were left in situ to help the locals move around in the flood waters.
     
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  15. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything


    Had a quick Dutch google (steady The Buffs!)

    amfibievoertuigen; vooraan Terrapin (Brits ontwerp)

    Kind regards, always,

    Jim.
     
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  16. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    'Should' still open for those that (sensibly) don't have an FB acct.
    Starts with a blueprint of a II, which I suppose might have some reference points, some comments on surviving bits and a chap writing the tanksenc article.

    Still got a feeling there was something more substantial in W&T, as has another chap on the FB link.
    Will have a shufti under 'amphibians', but it's a biggish index entry.
     
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  17. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Courtesy of Photo Library and Archives of Canada, captioned "Terrapin and Buffalo amphibious vehicles at Terneuzen, October 1944"

    Kind regards, always,

    Jim.

    Terrapin 1944.jpg
     
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  18. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Same old sketchy stuff on Terrapin in here, but imagine there might be a file reference or two of use. Mentions the Neptune LVT, so quite possibly digging about in the same British amphibious region:
    (Opens to pdf)
    Landing Craft Mechanised - Kings

    Screenshot_20210311-135920.png
     
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  19. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    Last edited: Mar 11, 2021
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  20. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Bugger.
    Series of solid Fletcher articles in W&T on Argosy, Neptune, Hexonaut & NACT X. Terrapin missing really makes me wonder about what's left archivally because none of those are exactly well-known, probably even less so than Terrapin.
    (Happy to scan & send if you've not got 'em & are more generally investigating amphibians.)

    Oh dear, briefly distracted by A7V & Uberlandwagen articles. Errm.
    Ooh, look, Straussler & DD work.

    Err.

    Bit more on Mann Amphibians, Amphitruck, Unicar etc. etc., but that's yer lot.
    (Well, as far as the Index implies. There was definitely one or two more Terrapin wreck entries in the 'spotted' section, but the Index is a sketchy thing.)
    Realised I'm overdue a complete W&T scan. Still stuff in there I've never seen properly covered elsewhere.

    Wonder where Thornycroft's archives are now.
     
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