Indian anti-tank reg'ts in Italian Campaign

Discussion in 'British Indian Army' started by Chris C, Sep 1, 2018.

  1. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian

    I was wondering, how well equipped were the anti-tank regiments in the Indian divisions in Italy? Did they get any M10s or Archers? 17 pounders?
  2. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    Ah, Indian Army WEs, the last great, lost treasure...

    Best I can offer is from a summary document, totalling major items of equipment for the Br Inf Div, Armd Div and Abn Div, a Br Light Div and an Indian Div (standard). For the Indian Div the total atk guns is given as 36; the totals given for Divs are all of their atk guns, which (other than Armd) are not broken down by calibre, so this could include 6-pr, 17-pr and M10. Given the general totals for transport and weapons for the Indian Div I'd be surprised if they were anything more than 6-pr guns, but that's supposition. Further suggestion would be I suppose three Btys of 12 guns each?

    The summary document relates to late 1944 into early 1945.

  3. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian

    I suppose that the transport might not have been any different if they had had towed 17-pounders rather than 6. Infantry divisions in NWE, unless they had something better, were using FATs to start out with.

    Don't suppose there is any mention or photos in the Indian divisional histories?
  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  5. idler

    idler GeneralList

    It looks like only 8 Ind Div had an Indian A/Tk Regt. 4 and 10 Ind Divs both had British ones. I think the Italian ones will be far more standard than the Burma ones which incorporated AA and mortars at times.
  6. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian

    Sorry, I meant the AT regiments in the Indian divisions, whether they were British regiments or not.
  7. idler

    idler GeneralList

    I realise that but TD was going after just the Indian ones.

    Now, no promises, but I have got 149 A/Tk Regt's history Shabash (unless I'm misremembering) somewhere so will try to dig it out tomorrow.
  8. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian

    My local reference library has the 4th Infantry Division history so I could get them to dig it out next weekend.
  9. IKE26

    IKE26 Active Member

    I have entries of 1943 war diary of 4 (Mahratta) AT.
    They had 6 pdr and 17 pdr.
  10. IKE26

    IKE26 Active Member

    4th Maharatta A-T Rgt in Italy was divided in HQ, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th Battery and with three troops each, from "A" to L.

    The war diary don''t say the number of the guns. But if 12 each is correct they had 48 guns.
    But how many 6 and 17 pdr?
  11. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    There is a reference in the Indian Official History "The Campaign in Italy, 1943-45" to an action undertaken by the 19th Indian Infantry Brigade to cross the Trigno River in November 1943. The reference lists the supporting arms allocated to the 1/5th Essex as:

    - 'C' Squadron, 6th Lancers,
    - 'B' Squadron, 50th RTR,
    - 15th Atk Bty (less 17-pounder troop) i.e. six 6-pounder guns towed by carriers from 3/8 Punjab
    - 'C' Company (less two platoons) 5th Mahratta Light Infantry (MMG).

    15th Atk Bty was, of course, from the 4th Mahratta Atk Regt. The note above suggests that a three troop atk battery at that time consisted of one troop of 3(?) X 17-pdrs and two troops of 3 X 6-pdrs. Although wasn't there supposed to be 4 X guns in each troop?

    I don't know for sure - does anyone have better data?. As more 17-pdrs became available I think that one of the 6-pdr troops would have been replaced by a 17-pdr troop.

    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
    IKE26 likes this.
  12. IKE26

    IKE26 Active Member

    You are right.
    one troop of 17pdr and two troops of 6pdr.

    This is the lone war diary's page with reference of numbers of 17 pdr (30th November) but I don't understand if 6x17pdr was only 15th Battery or 15th +16th Battery.

    Attached Files:

  13. IKE26

    IKE26 Active Member

    I suppose 6x17 pdr and 6x6 pdr = 12 guns each battery.
  14. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    To add to the discussion, I took a look at Mark Bevis' British and Commonwealth Armies 1944-45, which is a study in actual War Establishments rather than standard WEs. I helped Mark with some material for his books. His entry for British Infantry Divisions for Italy September 1943- May 1944 states that the Anti-Tank Regiment was organized as follows:

    1 Anti-Tank Regiment
    4 Batteries each : Battery HQ (1 rifle sec, 1 truck)
    2 Troops each: 4 x 6pdr A/T guns, 8 x carriers, 2 LMG
    1 Troop: 4 x 17pdr A/T guns, 4 trucks, 2 LMG

    After this, he then provides notes on some of the variations among the divisions in Italy:

    Note 8 - 78th Infantry Division's 64th Anti-Tank Regiment, RA had one Battery equipped with 8 x 17pdrs and 4 x 6pdrs.

    He then has a separate entry for British Infantry Divisions mid-1944 to 1945:

    1 Anti-Tank Regiment
    2 Batteries, each Battery HQ (1 rifle sec, 1 x M3 halftrack)
    1 Troop: 6 x 6pdr A/T guns, 12 x carriers, 3 LMG
    1 Troop: 4 x M10 Wolverines, 1 x carrier OP as Troop HQ
    or (1945+) 4 x Archer, 1 x Valentine I x Troop HQ
    1 Battery: Battery HQ (2 rifle secs, 2 trucks)
    2-4 Troops, each: 4 x 4.2" mortars, 9 x Lloyd carriers

    He also includes variation notes for this period:

    1st British Infantry Division
    The divisional Anti-Tank Regiment had four platoons of 4.2" mortars
    4th British Infantry Division
    The Divisional 14th Anti-Tank Regiment never had 4.2" mortars and was organized initially as:
    4 Batteries each: Battery HQ (1 rifle sec, 1 truck)
    2 Troops each: 4 x 6pdr A/T guns, 8 x carriers, 2 LMGs
    1 Troop: 4 x 17pdr A/T guns, 4 trucks, 2 LMG
    In September 1944, 14th Anti-Tank Regiment was reorganized:
    3 Batteries each: Battery HQ (1 rifle sec, 1 x M3 halftrack)
    1 Troop: 4 x M10 Wolverines, 1 x carrier OP
    1 Troop: 4 x 17pdr A/T guns, 4 trucks, 2 LMG
    2 Troops, each: 4 x 2pdr Little John or 6pdr A/T guns, 8 x carriers, 2 LMG
    78th British Infantry Division
    64th Anti-Tank Regiment reorganized September 1944 as:
    3 Batteries, each: Battery HQ (1 rifle sec, 1 truck)
    1 Troop: 4 x M10 Wolverine or Achilles, 1 x carrier OP
    1 Troop: 4 x 17pdr A/T guns, 4 trucks , 2 LMG
    1 Troop: 4 x 6pdr A/T guns, 8 carriers, 4 LMG

    As can be seen, there was quite a bit of variation in Anti-Tank organization in the Italian theatre, which is no great surprise to most.
    IKE26, Aixman, Tricky Dicky and 3 others like this.

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