Staffordshire Yeomanry DD strength in Plunder landings?

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Chris C, Jun 12, 2022.

  1. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    Hi all,

    I am looking at the mention of initial losses / damage of DD tanks in The Story of 79th Armoured Division. Unfortunately it only lists the problems. I am wondering what the total strength of the regiment was in DDs and how many actually landed on the morning of the 24th of March.

    Several tanks damaged by mortaring and shelling
    First squadron (C?): six stuck in mud, three sunk by gunfire, eight landed by 05:15 (but what was a squadron's total strength?)
    A: landed short two tanks left behind due to damage, 5:45ish
    B: 06:30 B squadron, then RHQ

    edit: I see from Stolpi's thread that 44 landed?
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2022
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  2. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

  3. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    So actually the "First squadron" (to cross) seems like it may have been A.

    2 tanks left behind
    6 stuck in mud
    3 sunk
    8 landed
    = 19, the full strength of a squadron
  4. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    Hi Chris,

    I have a few figures on the subject.

    First off, there are a couple of 'wire diagrams' showing the outline organisation of 79th Armoured Division in 1945 (from WO171/4297). These show Staff Yeo with three Sqns, each with a HQ of four DD tanks, and five Tps, each of three DD tanks. "79th Armd Div Final Report" only offers a few lines on the organisation of a DD equipped Armd Regt, with nothing on the numbers of tanks; it does mention that 18 3-toners were substituted by an equal number of DUKWs, with 11 Weasels also added (no indication of where any of these went within the Regt).

    21 AG AFV returns for 1945 shows Total Unit Entitlements as just 61 Sherman V DD tanks (all 75-mm gun armed) in January 1945. The UE increases to an odd 140 DD tanks on the 24th March 1945 return, now with a few IIIs as well as the Vs. The UE dropped back to 79 by 21st April and was 61 again by 28th April.

    There's no indication the Staffs Yeo had Stuart light tanks when they were part of 79th Armd Div Tps, and when they moved to 33rd Armd Bde there's no way to tell as the returns just give a total for a Brigade or Division.

    It would be fairly easy for the Sqns to reorganise as four Tps, each of four tanks, plus three at Sqn HQ, as in your above reply. A four tank Tp is something I usually associate with being a 'workaround' to integrate 17-pdr tanks into units, which was not an issue for the Staffs Yeo.

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  5. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    Interesting and slightly complicated. Those are figures for the whole division, are they not? So I would guess that the total of 140 in March would reflect the need to deploy two regiments of DD tanks in Plunder as a whole.
  6. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    Yes, the initial UE of 61 relates just to the Staffs Yeo, and at the time of the January 1945 figures they were part of 79th Armd Div but not with a Brigade. The increase of the UE to 140 is largely due to 44 RTR being temporarily equipped with DD tanks as well, but still leaves a balance of 18 DD tanks somewhere. The drop down to 79 would equate with 44 RTR going back to their usual equipment.

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  7. Staffsyeoman

    Staffsyeoman Member

    According to Kemp's regimental history (p.153) ".... just before midnight the reconnaissance party, under Lieutenants Kennedy and Pead, followed in Buffaloes to prepare the exits on the east bank...Pead was wounded but... Kennedy was able to complete the task and signal the landing tanks to their landing point. C Squadron, under Major PB Griffin MC led the assault..."
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