Organisation of Airborne Division Composite Companies

Discussion in 'Trux Discussion Area' started by Tom OBrien, May 13, 2013.

  1. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    In my increasingly desperate search for users of the notorious (and elusive!) Austin K5, I have been looking at the war diary of 398 Airborne Division Composite Company (6th Airborne Division) from March 1944 onwards, but I am struggling to resolve the recorded issues of Austin 3-ton 4x4 lorries with the establishment as recorded in the TRUX Airborne RASC section.

    For example, on each of 11, 13, 14, 15 and 18 March 1944, the Company received 16 3-ton 4x4 Austin vehicles for a total of 80. However, on 20 May 44 the War Diary records that 95 x 3 ton vehs have been distributed amongst units of the division and then on 6 June 44 it records that 14 x 3 ton vehs of the Company "rear party" leave for Tilbury.

    Interesting to note also that on 28 July 1944 the residue of 398 Company in the UK drew an additional "105 x 3-ton Austin 4 x 4 from 72 V.R.D."

    I am very confused :(

    Can anyone advise about the vehicles of 93 (Airborne) Composite Company (1st Airborne Division)? In the September 1944 war diary on Pegasus Archive it mentions an Austin 3-ton, but gives no numbers.

    All help gratefully received,

  2. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member


    In the August '44 War Diary (They were Seaborne Tail) they show 71 4 Tonners with 93 Coy, 14 with 250 Coy and 1 with HQ Coy making a total of 86 being sent.


    Attached Files:

  3. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member


    That's great thanks. I'll have a look at the CRASC war diary for 6th Airborne Division for May 44 as that might provide similar details.


  4. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    I've been looking a bit more deeply into the War Diary for 398 Coy RASC and gradually have become increasingly confused. This seems to be happening ever more frequently at the moment :biggrin:

    I've come to the conclusion that 398 Company was equipped with a Coy HQ, 3 Tpt Plns (equipped with Austin 4x4 3-ton K5 lorries), a workshops platoon and a composite platoon. So far so good.

    However, for D-day the vehicles were then parcelled out in small numbers to many of the units of 6th Airborne Division and the war diary for June 44 records these vehicles being returned to the company in dribs and drabs whilst in the Orne Bridgehead.

    Additionally, I have found that the RASC Company attached to 27 Armd bde had one platoon detached to carry supplies to the DMA of 6th Airborne Division. This leads to my questions/assumptions that I would welcome comment on.

    1. Units of 6th Airborne Division issued with water-proofed transport from 398 Coy whilst waiting for their 2nd Echelon tpt?
    2. Units only took jeeps in the initial assualt force, with "Base Tpt" to follow as 2nd Echelon?
    3. 6th Airborne transport landed on Juno Beach and made it's way across to Orne Bridgehead and on arrival the 398 Coy tpt was returned?

    Does this sound right? Has anyone seen post-action reports for 6th Airborne RASC? Does anyone have an opinion on why the unit tpt of 6th Airborne units was not issued with water-proofed 3-ton 4x4 lorries themselves, thus avoiding the use of 27th Armd Bde tpt at all?


  5. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Right at the end of the 1944 war diary in an Op Order for Exercise "Apples" to be held on 15 Dec 44 comes the following information:

    Order of march.
    “B” Pl. Advance guard with 34 x 3 Tonners.
    “C” Pl. Main body with 34 x 3 Tonners.
    HQ Pl. Main body with 2 x 3 Tonners.
    Comp Pl. Main body with 2 x 3 Tonners.
    “A” Pl. Rear Guard with 34 x 3 Tonners.

    Which gives a total of 106 3 Tonners, which is close enough to the number of vehicles drawn on July 44 as reported as "Completion of collection of 105 x 3 ton Austin 4 x 4 from 72 V.R.D." to make me happy... :D

    Not that anyone else seems to care about my sanity,



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