The Post-War Mechanisation of the Territorial Army

Discussion in 'Prewar' started by Swiper, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    In my research I discovered that 53rd Divisional Arty was motorised with Fordson tractors in 1920, and in 1921 recieved six wheeled transport trucks.

    I wondered how fast and whether there were any fully motorised TA Divisions/units in the 1930s and where and when kit issues of vehicles began becomingmore commonplace as a whole.
  2. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    I read a book called "moving the guns" it showed different vehicle formats
    between the wars and if you view pictures and read the archives you will find a lot of the guns where of WW1 vintage and had axle changes to normal tyres.
    The TA would have been at the end of the queue to be issued with new kit.

  3. idler

    idler GeneralList

    The TA would have been at the end of the queue to be issued with new kit.

    But the RA was ahead of the game which might explain why RA TA units were mechanised at such an early date.

    In fact (having just checked) Moving the Guns has a whole chapter on the TA and makes the point that it was mechanised long before the bulk of the Regular Army. It well worth hunting down a copy - some of the Fletcher/Tak Museum/HMSO books command silly prices now, but MTG is perhaps less fashionable than most.
  4. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Thanks for your input and correcting my post

  5. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Cheers. But I sound a bit snippy on re-reading it - it wasn't meant to come across as a 'correction'; sorry :blush:
  6. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    and makes the point that it was mechanised long before the bulk of the Regular Army.

    "Mechanised" yes....but motorised? ;)

    And...this might have referred to the Terries' getting organic transport - whereas the regular Army had the RASC....
  7. Pete Keane

    Pete Keane Senior Member

    Slightly (!) off topic I realsie, but i've been looking at several TA Battalions which became RA units in the late 30's - the Leeds Rifles had one TA unit converted to HAA, for instance.

    The same also seems to have happened with home duty battalions of the regular army - the 5th Bn S.lancs becoming a searchlight regiment, and so on for pretty much most Regiments.

    I guess that whereas the TF infantry could train with broom handles (the war diary for the 2/4 Bn S.Lancs in 1941 comments on the good news that the officers now have a pistol each, and each company has a tommy gun !), the RA TF pretty much had to have the equipment in order to train.

    (The 2/4 Bn diary also mentions that the troops have been issued '37 pattern webbing to replace the '08 pattern they had been using - much to the joy of the LDV (home guard), who were given the discarded '08 pattern equipment. If the Germans had invaded Suffolk in 1941 they could have been forgiven for thinking they had gone back in time...)

    I was surprised to see how many TF RA units there were.


  8. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Not sure how you're interpreting the difference between mechanised and motorised? Off the top of my head, motor and motorised were more of a functional distinction of a unit's or formation's role (e.g. motor battalion, motorised division). Taking the motor battalion as an example, they may have had more and different vehicles to an ordinary battalion, but that ordinary battalion could still have been mechanised (or mechanicalised as I have seen somewhere). It's analagous to horse-drawn artillery: 'normal' and horse artillery both used horses to draw the guns. The difference was the mode of transport for the gunners: the former marched, the latter rode.

    The gunners - TA or Regular - were only interested in organic transport. They recognised that one big advantage of specialised gun tractors was that nobody would 'borrow' them, and as for having to indent for them from the RASC...

    There was, of course, a bit of a gap between aspiration and implementation, but the RA seem to have been keen to harness the power of the internal combustion engine as quickly as the Treasury would allow. MTG also states that one of the reasons the TA artillery was mechanised sooner rather than later (and we're more into the 1930s here) was the increasing difficulty of hiring enough horses for TA annual camps - remember many Yeomanry regiments had been re-roled as Signals or Artillery.
  9. Groundhugger

    Groundhugger Senior Member

    slightly off topic ..I remember in the late sixties one old pre-war TA soldier telling me On their Annual camp how they would round up the horses from the local Dairies to pull the 18 pdrs , as the annual camp usually coincided with the Towns Wakes holidays and the demand for milk deliveries were low , he said the horses really enjoyed it too!

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