AOS Marking - 7 Armoured Division late 1940 early 1940

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by DaveyJ947, Feb 20, 2021.

  1. DaveyJ947

    DaveyJ947 Member

    Folks I am trying to confirm what markings a tank would carry when it was transferred to another unit.

    One example in 7 Armd Div was when B Sqn 3 Hussars (MarkVI Light Tanks) was transferred to 2 RTR. Now originally 3 Hussars was in 7 Armoured Brigade and 2 RTR was in 4 Armoured Brigade. The AOS for 3 Hussars was a white '26' in a red square but the AOS of 2RTR was a white '29' in a green square. Does anyone know if the AOS would have been changed, or painted over, or left as it was from the original Brigade.

    I can see that from an operational security perspective it would always have been better for it to be re painted to that of the new unit. But this was in a war zone so did it happen?

    Your views, or any evidence you are aware of would be gratefully received.

  2. MarkN

    MarkN Banned

    I know this is something that gets modellers into a right tizzy at times. And for every modeller that claims he has the answer, there's another conviced the answer is something different.

    For example, the modeller and historian Peter Brown has 2RTR in 4 Armd Bde during 1940 with No. 25 on RED while 3 Hussars as No. 28 on GREEN.

    So completely different to you before the squadron swop connundrum.

    In regards to the swop, ask yourself whether the AOS is an 'ownership' marking or a 'tactical' marking. A light tank of B Sqn/3 Hussars was 'owned' by 3 Hussars during Op Compass but operated 'tactically' under command RHQ 2 RTR.

    Then ask yourself an even more interesting question. Have you ever seen (ie photo) any 2 RTR tank in the desert with any AOS marking at all?

    Then you come to the complicated questions....
  3. DaveyJ947

    DaveyJ947 Member


    Thanks for the information. I didn't thought it would be straightforward. Your point about ownership versus tactical is not one I have considered. I don't remember seeing a photo of 2RTR tank with an OAS marking I will check my library.

    Thanks again I appreciate it.
  4. MarkN

    MarkN Banned

    I'm not a modeller and thus have no dog in the fight between whether the answer is X or Y. I have seen several photos of 2RTR tanks in the desert in 1940 and/or early 1941 and l don't recall them having any AOS at all. There are photos, however, of them on arrival in Egypt with AOS No. 61.
  5. Derek Barton

    Derek Barton Senior Member

    A friend of mine, Bernard, was in 3 RTR. When I asked him about markings on his tanks he said the most he ever saw was the Brigade sign. Tanks were being knocked out & replaced so fast they didn't have time to add markings to them. Incidentally, he had 2 Grants shot out from under him, the second one giving him his ticket home.
  6. DaveyJ947

    DaveyJ947 Member


    Thanks for the information. It confirms the information from elsewhere. I enjoy researching what want on at a unit level, the big strategy stuff is interesting but how men worked together, lived and operated that is fascinating.

    Many thanks
  7. MarkN

    MarkN Banned

    What did you find?

    Going back to your original post, it is not clear whether you were asking about the theory of AOS numbering or whether you were after specific information on what a particular sub-unit had painted on their vehicles at a given moment in time.

    If it's the former, then the theory can probably be found somewhere on the internet and certainly in the numerous books and magazines published for the modelling community. But beware, the theory is largely irrelevant when looking at the Middle East during the early war years. It is trying to make the theory fit the irrelevance that has created all the arguments in the modelling community.

    If it's the latter, which particular sub-unit and timeframe are you looking for?
  8. DaveyJ947

    DaveyJ947 Member


    Its really both how the AOS policies were set up and also how it worked in reality. I am interested in the early days of 7 Armoured Division from a research perspective and how they were organised and operated against the Italians at a tactical level. I also do a little bit of modelling as well and like to find out details that make the model more accurate. I try and work from primary sources and photographs. I have often found that books have inaccurate captions. The units I am interested in from an AOS perspective are 4RHA and 2Rifle Brigade. I asked about 2RB a couple of years ago and the general view was that there was no record of an AOS number for them.

    Regards and Thanks

  9. MarkN

    MarkN Banned


    The modelling community has only managed to come up with the AoS for armoured regiments in 7th Armoured Division for the early part of the war. And they can't even reach common agreement on that.

    Photographic evidence suggests that none of the so-called experts are correct.

    It's no surprise that nobody is willing to stick their neck out on anything else.

    In regards to marking policy/theory, l am sure there are plenty of books out there to tell you everything you want to know. And it would be a surprise if you couldn't find it online too.
  10. MarkN

    MarkN Banned

    In respect of this third line of enquiry...

    ...what precisely are you after?
  11. DaveyJ947

    DaveyJ947 Member

    Mark N,

    I am interested in primary sources of the actual employment of Troops and Platoons, what sort of operations they were given, how did they deploy tactically and fight.


  12. MarkN

    MarkN Banned

    Details at that level are rarely found in documents such as war diaries. It is not common for a report by a troop/platoon leader to have survived for us to read now. If they ever existed.

    Some tactical pamphlets and aide memoirs were produced. But they give the doctrinal/theoretical view not the actual employment that you are after.

    Best bet is to track down some books written by, or in honour of, troop/platoon leaders and sergeants. I can't help you with that.
    DaveyJ947 likes this.

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