Valentine MkXI

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by Smudge, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. Smudge

    Smudge Member

    Hi guys

    I'm researching the Valentine MkXI which was I believe an RA OP tank at the end of the war. I have been told it was issued to RA unit's that had the Archer, can someone pls confirm this?

    If correct can anybody ID the regiments that used the MkXI for me, and point me towards unit markings etc. I struggle getting my head around RA tactical signs.


  2. Derek Barton

    Derek Barton Senior Member

    I believe the MKIX was also used. I have one regiment positively identified as having Valentine OP's but I don't know which mark. That is 20 A/Tk in 3 Div with AoS 46. The Tac sign would have been RA for A Troop and RB for B Troop. The Bty was shown by the position of the red corner, top right for the senior bty and moving clockwise for the others. For a description of the system see here
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  4. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Just a side point of clarification, something I confirmed recently, 'Archer' is a postwar name for the 'Valentine, Carrier 17 Pr' or in some records SP 17 Valentune

    Still very interested in this, as definitive information on their issue and use is still (even with the link) hard to find. I am under the impression that one Valentine was allocated per Troop of 4 SP 17 Valentines as a command vehicle.
  5. mapshooter

    mapshooter Senior Member

    That sounds more likely. It also invites the question as to why would an ATk troop comd needed an OP tank and why wouldn't the normal C&C variant do? I'm assuming the issue was probably extra radios although I can't see why the normal 19 set A & B wasn't enough.

    Also invites the question as to what happened in M10 and Archilles upgrade equipped troops.
  6. Trux

    Trux 21 AG


    A simple question without a simple answer. The organisation and equipment of anti tank units was constantly changing.

    Looking only at the 17pdr SP troop the War Establishments all list three Archer 17pdr SP guns plus an OP. At first the OP was a Carrier but by 1945 Valentine MkIX or XI were issued. These were used in the same way as the Carrier but had the advantage of better armour, overhead protection and the same mechanicals and cross country performance as the Archer. There was actually less space in the Valentine. As well as wireless it had cable reels so that the troop commander could observe or liaise away from the vehicle.

    Valentine IX and XI were identical apart from the gun and even that looks the same in photos.

    There are establishments for an organisation with a battery with one troop of Archer, with two troops of Archer and with three troops of Archer so that troop markings are difficult. When a battery had three troops of Archer the battery commander had a Valentine as well, in this case called Battery Charger (nothing to do with charging batteries).

    I will see if I can find a photo of a Valentine with full markings.

  7. Smudge

    Smudge Member

    Cheers Mike

    So within a troop there'd be three Archers and a Valentine

    Within a battery the same plus an extra Valentine

    So up to four Valentines? or am I being dumb LOL :)

  8. Trux

    Trux 21 AG


    Yes pretty well.

    55 Anti Tank Regiment of 49 Division was a typical unit of this type. It landed in France with each battery having two towed 17pdr troops and one 6pdr troop.
    - In January 1945 it received Archer SP 17pdrs and was then organised with each battery having one troop of Archer SP, one troop of towed 17pdr and one troop of 6pdr.
    - For the Rhine Crossing it had received more Archer SP and was now organised with two complete batteries of Archer SP and two complete batteries with towed 17pdr. No 6pdr remained.

  9. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    Best I can find.

    A Valentine OP with a troop of Achilles SP 17pdr from XXX Corps AT Regiment. 1945.

    valentine op.jpg


    R= Troop Commander.
    H= H troop.
  10. Smudge

    Smudge Member

    Cheers Mike

    That is a Valentine Mk.XI

    Nice one. By XXX you mean 30 Corps? what was the AT regiment do you know?

  11. Smudge

    Smudge Member

    Hi Derek

    You got a pic I might be able to ID the Mk for you?

    So the batteries would have RA-RF on the tac sign depending on the troop? were thsee located centrally on the sign or in specific points? What about troop and battery cmdr markings?

    Cheers, great help mate

  12. Smudge

    Smudge Member

    Hi all

    A mate sent me this…

    "To the best of my knowledge, Valentine OP tanks were fully armed.

    The purpose of most OP tanks was to house and protect the AOP officer, the Artillery Observation Post bloke. He would go to where he could see the fall of shot and radio in range and direction corrections to guns firing indirectly, in other words from behind hills etc where they could not see fall of their own shells. As such, there was a lot of need for large scale maps, geared not electronic calculators, map tables and multiple radios. All this meant that commonly the main gun was a dummy or if not then very very few rounds would be carried, just enough for immediate self defence.

    Valentine OP were attached to Archer batteries, the 17pdr of course almost always firing direct line of sight, hence there was no need to radio in corrections for aim, the gunner just spotted fall of shot for himself. The purpose of the Valentine was to give all round defence and act as the Commanding officers transport while using the same chassis, spares fuel etc as the Archers. As such they were fully armed. In war diaries they were commonly called "Officers Chargers" as if they were some thoroughbred horse!

    One odd thing is that although a lot of XI's were available, some IX's were also listed as being used."

    Re the Archer. During WW2 its official name was S.P. 17 P-r, Valentine according to the Chilwell Catalogue #75/6 Workshop Manual. This was when it was used by the RA. Postwar they were transferred to the RAC…guess they thought ‘Archer’ was sexier LOL

  13. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Excellent stuff chaps,

    From my notes from Bovvy (went through their material on Valentine SPs).

    "Warime records call it S.P. 17 Pdr ‘on Army Mechanical Transport School Questionnaire
    Valentine, Carrier, 17 Pr I on schematics
    1952 pamphlets SP 17 Valentine used on RAC Training documents in wartime well into postwar period"

    Very happily corrected on the make up on Troops and Batteries of this nature. Annoyingly didn't look at the solely Valentine material as it didn't frankly didn't dawn on me to do so.
  14. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    73 AT Regiment was XXX (30) Corps AT unit.


    PS. Some preferred the 6pdr gun to the 75mm. When used with APDS ammunition it was the more effective AT gun. It could not fire smoke or HE though.
  15. mapshooter

    mapshooter Senior Member

    Actually the really odd thing is the three gun troop. This makes absolutely no sense, all previoiuous anti-tank troops, 2-pr, 6-pr, 17-pr and M10 had been 4 gun troops, for both divisional and corps anti-tank regts. These were always divided into two sections, each two guns. In towed units in a section one sub was commanded by a bdr the other by a sjt who was the sect comd, but in SP units both subs were commanded by sjts. There were also sect level assets notably the 2-inch mortar with smoke and illum.

    Suddenly adopting a 3 gun troop made no tactical sense and flew in the face of the experience acquired in the previous 5 years.

    You can find an outline and considerable detail of anti-tk orgs at
  16. Trux

    Trux 21 AG


    I have thought about this but not found any hard evidence that this was the official thinking.

    What you say about a three gun troop is true in general but it does make good tactical sense in this case. Anti tank guns in infantry divisions were essentially defensive and were used in conjunction with infantry AT weapons and mines to provide a defence in depth. The ideal use of Archer SP guns would be to find the correct location on a route likely to be taken by the enemy armour, limit the options by use of mines and then place one gun on each flank and one in the path of the attack. Anti tank guns worked best when used against a tank's sides or rear. Thus three guns would be ideal.

    Light AA guns were also deployed in three gun sub units.

  17. mapshooter

    mapshooter Senior Member

    M10 were in 4 gun troops.

    The key role of SP ATk guns was to get quickly onto or around newly captured positions to provide immediate defence against C-attk. Armed divisions had one armd bde and one inf bde. The inf role was to secure the ground.
  18. Smudge

    Smudge Member

    Just looking at the old RA 1939-45 site and it only as the letters up to the 3rd battery (I.E. RA-RF) I take it then that M10 Regt's had four batteries hence RG-RH, or RH in the case of Mike's Valentine above? If it's the fourth battery the tac sign will be blue with a red quadrant in the top left. The number 2 is on a red over blue AoS sign?

    Any idea what the 30/58 chalked on the front means or what the text above the drivers vision slit is?

    Am I right so far chaps?


  19. mapshooter

    mapshooter Senior Member

  20. Smudge

    Smudge Member

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