RA and RCA equipement replacement and effective strength reports

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Arthur001, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. Arthur001

    Arthur001 Member


    Re: Guns in a RA and RCA field, A/T batteries.

    In a topic related to my previous post, but aimed at RA and RCA experts, how were shortages in RA and RCA units rectified?

    For example, if an anti-tank regiment had 3 guns destroyed, and another 3 damaged, how would they report their status to Divisional HQ if they were a Divisional level unit? Was there a daily report?

    And, say they had the 3 destoryed guns replaced, how did it occur, and what organization dropped them off at the battery level?

    This is a topic on which I know very litte,

    Thanks for any help or insight,

    Arthur Gullachsen

    London, ON
  2. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    This sounds like the kind of question set in promotion examinations. ;)

    I don't have the staff college bible for 1939-45, but I think it goes like this.

    Batteries will report losses or men and equipment via RHQ, These are in turn reported in a daily status report to HQRA. Personnel was reported separately from equipment. Someone at Div HQ would authotise the issue of replacement equipment and manpower. (Probably the staff captain A)

    Replacements are called from the Reinforcement Groups. Soldiers with the right ranks and technical skills were dispatched forwards to the appropriate unit.

    Replacement Artillery equipment was held by Ordnance Field Parks. I suspect that the responsibility for collecting equipment would lie with the Unit which would send a party to collect replacement equipment.

    B Vehicles were dispatched unaccompanied to Europe, so replacement Field Artillery Tractors could be picked up by unit drivers from the Ordnance Park or the bulk vehicle depot at the beach head. Incidentally, the policy of shipping unaccompanied vehicles to bulk vehicle deports on the beach head provided opportunities for greedy units and black marketeers to help themselves to extra vehicles :)

    A different process applied to AFVs (A Vehicles) which were dispatched by the Armoured Delivery Squadrons. This should in theory apply to Crusader gun tractors and M10 Wolverine, Achillies and Archer SP Anti tank guns which should arrive with a driver. The Universal carrier 6 pdr gun tractors and M14 17 Pdr gun tractors were also A Vehicles, but I am not sure iof the armoured delivery squadrons were involved.

    This is gleaned from the administrative history of 21 Army group and may not represent exactly how it was done.
    I think the reporting
    stolpi likes this.
  3. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron


    You should get hold of a trilogy written by George Blackburn MC.
    While his memoir contained in the three books may not answer your question directly, it will give you a real sense of what it was like to be a FOO in the RCA.
  4. Arthur001

    Arthur001 Member

    Hello Sheldrake and 17thDYRCH,

    Thank you for your responses. Sheldrake amazing information. I do have the "Guns of Normandy" but read it several years ago. I suspected the A/T regiment SP tank destroyers were handled by the tank delivery squadrons.

    This gives me a direction when approaching the Ottawa archives. From what I read above, this information would be recorded in the RHQ war diary (You would think...haha) but we shall see. Online there are some RCA war diaries and that is the next step to see if there is info there. Time at the archives and the trip down there has to be carefully prepared, and you can't waste time or chase your tail when expenses are involved.


  5. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Through forum member Klambie, I can give you the contact information for a very good Ottawa based researcher.
    Let me know via PM.

  6. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    The CAB report 247(?) on XXX Corps on D Day listed the vehicle holdings of 254 XXX Corps Armoured Delivery Squadron as including 16 Sp equipments and 4 crusader gun towers and 12 Op tanks. No mention of Universal carriers, White scout cars or M3 half tracks. Although these were armoured and tracked, seem to have been treated by the system as B Vehicles. So a replacement universal carrier must have been picked up from an Ordnance park.

    The armoured Division Armoured Delivery Squadrons did not have any RA vehicles on their holdings, so I suspect requests to release replacement AFVs for Anti tank units might have to go to Arty at Corps HQ rather than HQRA at Div.

    I also suspect that the decision to release replacements of key equipment such as an Achilles 17 Pdr SP Anti tank might be an operational "G" rather than logistic "Q" decision. These were the only SP anti tank guns capable of knocking out any German tank. If two anti tank regiments needed replacement 17 Pdr SP guns then a decision would need to be made about which unit had priority - a decision that would be made by the G branch.
  7. KevinT

    KevinT Senior Member

    Does it list the census numbers?
  8. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    No the Cabinet Papers series of reports are historical summaries of war diaries, they don't contain extraneous detail that might be of interest to future generations of hobbyists. ;) .

    The administrative history of 21 Army Group does contain pictures of the inside of the mobile Hollerith punched card machines that enabled them to undertake a vehicle census. These were not in place until Nov 1944ish and the census was not completed until the end of the war. Your holy grail might be a shed of punched cards - though as the the chappie from Gooogle pointed out the obsolescence of the hardware to read them might be a problem, unless there is also somewhere a hollertish machine in a semi trailer used by Q(AE) Stats Branch of of HQ 21 AG.
  9. Arthur001

    Arthur001 Member

    Hello-excellent information from all responders.

    For AFVs, we have "A" and "B" vehicles, but what was a 17 pounder anti-tank gun or 25 pounder artillery piece? This were significant assets you would think.

    I have been busy with other things lately and have yet to read some George Blackburn or RCA unit histories or war diaries, which would have some info I am sure. There may be entries that record: "11.07.44 - 4 new 17 Pounder A/T guns taken on strength today". For tracking new equipment deliveries and losses, the war diary may be the best record. However--It is all dependent on who was writing it, how tired they were, and what detail they decided to include.

    London, ON.
  10. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    A 17 pdr atk gun or 25 pdr gun/howitzer is a piece of artillery equipment. It is neither an A or B vehicle. If mounted on a self propelled carriage as an M10 Achillies or Sexton the equip[ment is part of an A Vehicle.

    A gun is an ordnance stores item, like a hand spike or a dial sight. I am not sure how diligent the war diaries are in reporting equipment states.

Share This Page