WE of 55 Anti-Tank Regiment for D-Day?

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by Chris C, Aug 31, 2019.

  1. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    Does anyone know if the equipment of 55 (Suffolk Yeomanry) Anti-Tank Regiment was unusual in the period from D-Day until November 1944?

    My understanding is that the standard WE of an infantry divisional A/T Regt consisted of two troops of 6-pounders and one of 17-pounders per battery. The WE of a regiment when they received Archers gave them one troop of 6-pounders, one of 17-pounders, and one of Archers, so typically (so far as I can tell) one troop of 6-pounders would turn in their guns and get Archers instead.

    However, when 55 A/T Reg't received their first Archers in November, and were told that spares might be short, 12 17 pounders and their quads were kept at 1 Corps Vehicle Park in case the SPs turned out to be unserviceable due to a lack of parts. I can't understand how they could have turned in 17-pounders unless they had two troops of 17s per battery.

    edited P.S. going over the war diary and the little history of the regiment for the period up until November, this is how I think the batteries were structured:

    217: A, B, C
    218: D, E, F(17)
    219: G(6), H(17), I
    220: K, L, M(17)

    F troop: reference to losing 17-pounder in WD for Oct 7-8
    G troop: reference to 6-pounders in history at Westwezel
    H troop: reference to 17-pounders in history near Breda and in WD for 30 June
    M troop: reference to 17-pounder in WD for 17 June when the troop was tragically overrun

    Did 'C' troop have 6-pounders or 17-pounders at Rauray? Has anyone read the book about that battle?

    Then in November... troops A, D, I, and K received Archers, according to the history, but I really can't square that with the war diary, which says that on 6 Nov "12 17-prs and 12 quads withdrawn from btys. 17-pdr tps est Oelegham for trg" ... given that the troops with 17-pounders seem to have been C (?), F, H, and M.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
  2. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    It's actually the other way round as you've indicated, two Tps 17-pr towed and one Tp 6-pr towed.

    II/186A/3 authorised a Bty to have two Tps of 6-pr and one Tp 17-pr, and was issued in Jan44. That was a continuation of what had been in use in the preceding year or so. 21AG however switched the ratio of 6-pr to 17-pr prior to Normandy, which resulted in WE II/186C/1 of Jan/Feb 1944. This converted the second 6-pr Tp into a new (second) 17-pr Tp.

    In late 1944 the number of 17-pr guns per Bty in 21AG was trimmed back; I don't have the specific order or document for it I'm afraid but it gets a mention in Canadian sources I recall. The 17-pr Tp in Inf Div Atk Regts was reduced to three guns from four, while the 6-pr Troop remained as four guns. Your reference to 12 guns and their accompanying Quads being withdrawn probably refers to the displacement of one towed 17-pr Tp in each of the four Btys, which were then equipped with three SP 17-prs, as per the 21AG WE XIV/470/1 of Oct44.

  3. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    Ahh, ok, so my basic understanding was incorrect! Thank you, Gary :)

    What about the assault divisions? I'll have to check my notes...
  4. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    They used a Bty which had two Tps 6-pr and one Tp SP M10 (issued under WE II/190/2 Jan/Feb44 and modified slightly under Special WE VIII/772/1 in May44).

    Chris C likes this.
  5. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    I think that's what confused me. They changed two batteries and not just one when they changed to the WE with Archers and towed 17 pounders. Thank you Gary, that really helps!

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