3 Regt RHA 1944 Vehicle numbers

Discussion in 'Vehicle Names and Census Numbers' started by Tom OBrien, Oct 3, 2014.

  1. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    I found the following census numbers in the loading tables for 3 RHA in WO171/1009. Strangely they were in the Nov 44 section! I'll see if there were similar lists for the other batteries and RHQ.

    WO171/1009 – 3rd Royal Horse Artillery

    List of Vehicles Travelling on M.T.30. “J” Battery R.H.A.

    Tactical No. W.D. No. Make Type

    R.C.2 M 5475139 Ford. 5cwt. 4 x 4 (Jeep)
    R.D.2. M 5572149 Ford. 5cwt. 4 x 4 (Jeep)
    X.2. M 5474533 Ford. 5cwt. 4 x 4 (Jeep)
    K.2. M 5474517 Ford. 5cwt. 4 x 4 (Jeep)

    T.L.D. 4229079 Chev. 8cwt. 4 x 4 W/T.
    Y. 4254216 Chev. 8cwt. 4 x 4 W/T.
    G.D. 4254221 Chev. 8cwt. 4 x 4 W/T.

    S. 5328055 Chev. 3ton. 4 x 4 GS.
    R. 5328061 Chev. 3ton. 4 x 4 GS.
    A.3. 5519124 Chev. 3ton. 4 x 4 GS.
    FIT. 5519135 Chev. 3ton. 4 x 4 GS.
    A.1. 5519258 Chev. 3ton. 4 x 4 GS.
    P. 5519249 Chev. 3ton. 4 x 4 GS.
    O.2. 215688 Bedford. 3ton. 4 x 2 GS.

    E. H 4899640 Morris. G.T. 4 x 4 (F.A.)
    F. H 4899650 Morris. G.T. 4 x 4 (F.A.)
    G. H 4899653 Morris. G.T. 4 x 4 (F.A.)
    H. H 4899651 Morris. G.T. 4 x 4 (F.A.)
    E.F. H 4902259 Morris. G.T. 4 x 4 (F.A.)

    R.D. T. 150572 Sherman. Tank A.O.P. Mk. V.
    X. T. 150351 Sherman. Tank A.O.P. Mk. V.

    Subject:- Vehicles Left in Residue.

    To:- The Adjutant,
    3rd Regt. R.H.A.

    Herewith list of Vehicles and Trailers left in the Residue Party.

    MAKE. TYPE. Reg. No.

    Chev. 3 ton 4 x 4 5328056
    Fordson. 15 cwt. G.S. 4 x 2 5342940
    Ford. 15 cwt. G.S. 4 x 2 5345527
    Ford. 5 cwt. 4 x 4 M5474518
    Chev. 8 cwt. H.V. W/T. 4254219
    Morris. 4 x 4 F.A. Tractor 4108302
    Morris. Trailers Arty. 19812
    Morris. Trailers Arty. 13352
    Morris. Trailers Arty. 12709
    Morris. Trailers Arty. 2803
    Morris. Trailer 20 cwt. X4686238

    [Sgd: P. Hilton]
    Major R.H.A.
    Commanding “J” Battery R.H.A.



    Owen likes this.
  2. KevinT

    KevinT Senior Member

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for the list. Most timely as I am working on a model of a 25 pdr and the Morris Quad numbers and TAC signs will come in very useful, when someone releases a model of one that is.

    The whole list has been added to the database, I had the Sherman AOP T150351 in my list but was unsure of who she belonged to. The TAC signs are a great addition, I am assuming that A1 and A3 relate to ammunition carrying vehicles and that FIT refers to a fitters truck but I was unsure of O2, P, R and S.
    Any thoughts?


  3. fairlie63

    fairlie63 16FdBty

    Hello Kevin,

    P is almost certainly Petrol Oil and Lubricants (POL) from the battery echelon
    O.2 might actually be Q.2, also part of the battery echelon, O was a post-war tactical marking for Observation Parties of LAA and LAA/SL Regts RA and I don't think it was ever in use in fd regts.
    S is normally indicative of the regimental signal section, RC Sigs, although these vehicles were numbered S.1 upwards

    I can't explain R which is part of a Troop Commander's tac marking (followed by the troop letter, i.e. RC, etc). He definitely wouldn't be in a 3-ton truck. Possibly this is H, the Bty CP vehicle.

    A1 and A3 would definitely be battery ammunition vehicles being 3-ton trucks.

    FIT may well be the Fitter, normally they appear on motorcycles.

    Somewhere on one of these threads is a list of vehicles and allotted personnel for G Bty of 5RHA about May 1944, this being the SP fd regt of 7 Armd Div in NW Europe, while 3RHA appears to have been the towed fd regt.

    Cheers, Keith
  4. KevinT

    KevinT Senior Member

    Hello Keith,

    Thanks for the reply.

    I had checked the TAC signs in Hodges / Taylor’s British Military Markings and did wonder whether the O2 was actually Q2 which is Stores and Cooks.
    Petrol, Oil and Lubricants wasn’t mentioned so could O2 also possibly be Oil and S be Stores.
    Hodges / Taylor state that Signals used Austin 8 and Bedford 15cwt trucks but I suppose during wartime whatever was allocated was used and there were no real hard and fast rules.
    The only real mystery is R, it can’t be a Troop Commanders vehicle as these are already mentioned as the Sherman AOP’s.
    A shame my late father is no longer still around, he was a Gunner for almost 30 years and served with 5RHA for a while, he would have known.
    Thanks again for posting.



  5. fairlie63

    fairlie63 16FdBty

    Hi Kevin,

    Arty Training Vol 1, Pam No. 2B, 1941 shows S.6 (signal office) and S.7 (spare office stores, etc) as 3-ton trucks, part of the RC Sigs section at regimental level.

    Q.2 at this time, at battery level, was MT stores, motor mech, equipment repairer, etc. It may well be that establishment changes between 1941 and 1944 had changed some vehicle roles. Q.2 at regimental level was a 15-cwt for the duty NCO, AALMG detachment, and officers mess cook.

    I don't think O was Oil, all the POL vehicles allotted to fd regts were numbered P1, P2, etc, regardless of exact load content. I don't know when P was first used, not in 1941 when the POL vehicle was 3-ton truck No. 4 of the ammunition group. By 1944 however the P was well established in fd regts RHA/RA. We still use it in RAA (at least until 2012, not certain what has happened since the reorganization of the gun regts).

    I don't have any Organization for Manoeuvre for field regiments after 1941 until 1948 so would be happy for any guidance in regard to tactical markings myself.

    Cheers, Keith
  6. fairlie63

    fairlie63 16FdBty

    PS, if you go to Nigel Evans RA site he has the Org for Manoeuvre for a field regt RHA/RA in 1944 - doesn't mention P at all, nor does it occur in the SP fd regt section he has. At battery level he has Q3 carting POL.

    However G Bty RHA had P1, P2 and P3, all Chev or Ford 3-tonners in May 1944.

  7. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member


    I went back to the original photo and it is definitely O.2 but, apologies, it wasn't a Chev. 4x4 but a Bedford 4 x 2 (I've amended the list above to reflect that). As for the O.2? Could it be an office vehicle from RHQ? There are further loading lists that don't include the vehicle census number but that do include some of the tactical markings. When I get my files sorted out I'll either transcribe and put up here.


  8. fairlie63

    fairlie63 16FdBty

    Thanks Tom, that would be worthwhile to see. It is definitely a grey area.
    Regards, Keith
  9. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place.... Patron

    There is another possibility. O2 might be "Officers Mess truck No 2 " and P some other non established vehicle liberated somewhere along the way.

    Post war many cavalry regiments maintained a vehicle with the call sign "Zero Hotel" This was a 4 ton truck with a huge lean-to awning under which might be found a dining table and the regimental silver with drinks served by the mess staff.

    3RHA had certain standards to maintain and an indifference to conformity to minor rules such as dress regulations, which may have extended to tac markings.and establishment tables. Their Regular QM staff will have been aware of the value of surplus or "Buckshee" equipment. Their service in North Africa out of sight of petty bureaucrats may have encouraged a lax latitude towards government property ownership.. There is documentary evidence for a certain amount of sleight of hand within the QMs departments of RHA units in 7 Armd Div. The was more kit may have been written off on the 5 RHA Q Truck lost at Villers Bocage than on the Atlantic Conveyor in 1982. :D Army Training Memoranda include exhortations not to collect surplus buckshee kit and makes a painful pleas for the shipping space taken up by shipping the buckshees. written by some mover with no sense of humour.

    There is a established "movements game" played in the armed forces. The unit tries to force the movers to take their non established items while the movers resist. This game was even played on D Day as the 2IC of 33 Fd Regt persuaded the Movers on the LCT to take a non established M29 Weasel for their Regimental recce parties. One point to the unit - but this vehicle was hit as it left the LCT - which made its a score draw..

    For more about the rules of the Movements game see here. http://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/The_movements_game The same rules applied for sea moves, but these are much rarer than in WW2 ;)
  10. KevinT

    KevinT Senior Member

    Nice post. :lol:

    By the way would "Zero Hotel" be next to the "Gin Palace"?


  11. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place.... Patron

    My dear boy, while the Officers may drink gin; "Gin Palace" is a better description of the Sergeants mess.... Maybe that is what "P" might be.

    Of Course if the QM 3 RHA or the BQMS of the battery has been collecting "buckshees".at some point he will need extra vehicles to carry them all.. A vehicle without a tac sign might attract attention from a sharp eyed Movement control MP, and Q3 & 4 might be a little obvious to someone with an establishment table saying Q1 &2.. Unused letters passed off as a battery custom looks like the kind of bull to baffle brains ;)
  12. CommanderChuff

    CommanderChuff Senior Member

    In the Voices of Dunkirk by Josh Levine there is a record of Captain Stephen Hollway. He said that at the village of Renaix he saw two RHA troops gallop up to his position (with horses) with 25 pdrs, unlimber the guns, withdraw the horses, open fire on the advancing German armour, and then limber up again and gallop away.

    So from this account:
    1. there was a troop of RHA which was equipped with horses?
    2. can horses pull 25 pounders or were the guns likely to be 18 pdrs?
  13. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    Interesting thread, don't know why I missed it before.
    I notice the fact that the table includes 3 8cwt W/T vehicles (plus one in the residue). I would have expected that, by 1944, these would have been 15cwt trucks.
    Any comments?
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I have all the 1940 RHA Regiment and Battery war diaries covering the France and Flanders campaign and I've never seen a mention of horses in any of them.
  15. CommanderChuff

    CommanderChuff Senior Member


    Another reference to horse drawn arty can be found in Return via Dunkirk by GunBuster on page 179. The troop had stopped at Oostuleteren when a French horse artillery regiment appeared. A shell exploding nearby to them sets the horses off at a gallop towards the battery positions only to veer away at the last moment.

  16. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    Plenty of horsedrawn artillery in the French Army in 1940; also in the Wehrmacht Heer, but very doubtful if we took any to France. As far as I am aware, there was no provision for the 25 pounder to be horsedrawn (other than the Australian pack version), so if there were any British horsedrawn guns, they must have been 18 pounders (or possibly 18/25 pounders but I don't think the necessary 25 pounder limber could be horsedrawn).

  17. CommanderChuff

    CommanderChuff Senior Member


    Thank you for the feedback, and confirming what we thought we knew. The memories of Captain Hollway were clearly clouded.

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