WE question about mobile carrier section and vehicles of its details/detachment

Discussion in 'Trux Discussion Area' started by pamak, Feb 26, 2023.

  1. pamak

    pamak Junior Member

    Hello everybody,

    I got a document about British Army level signals in the field. This was part of a lecture that was delivered in August 1945 (see first attached image). On a certain page (attached as second image) the author talks about line equipment and says the following (see highlighted part).

    To cater for these.[circuits] a det [presumably detail or detachment] of the mob carrier sec is normally emp [emplaced or employed] at main and rear HQ. Each det veh contains-

    App CT 1+4
    [Carrier Telephone]......................................................................... .1
    App VF Tg 3 Ch Dx Gp 1 [ meaning Telegraph, 3 Channel Duplex, Group 1].... 1
    App VF Tg 3 Ch Dx Gp 2.....................................................................................1
    App VF Tg S+Dx [Speech + Duplex]..................................................................1
    App CT 1+1 Active................................................................................................1

    I am trying to clarify the composition of this mobile carrier section and its details. I tried to locate in the WE list of signal sections but could not get a clear answer. The WE for signals has a TERMINAL EQUIPMENT SECTION
    (War Establishment III/30C/4. February 1945). However, it shows that its vehicles include only
    3 X cars 5cwt 4 X 4
    2 X 3ton 4 X 4 GS

    Assuming that the lecture (which was delivered in August 1945) reflected the late war and WE situation, does it mean that this section did not have a TEV to carry its carrier equipment? Does the aove WE imply that the terminal equipment section had two details with each one using a 3ton 4x4 GS truck to move the carrier equipment mentioned in the report?

    By the way, notice that the WE for the Signal Park has a note saying
    War Establishment III/338/1 with an effective date of February 1945 showed the following additions
    1 X 3 ton 4 X 4mobile terminal carrier (unfitted)

    This is the only case in the WE list where one can see the term "mobile terminal carrier" assigned to a specific truck which seems to be relevant to the term "mob carrier section" used in the report. So, perhaps this 3 ton 4x4 "mobile terminal carrier" was to replenish the loss of a 3 ton 4 X 4 GS in the Terminal Equipment Section?

    I would appreciate any thoughts you may want to share

    IMG_0903 (1).JPG IMG_0907 (1).JPG
  2. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    It isn't a WE I've seen or have but I suspect the one you're after is for a Mobile Carrier Section, ref IV/159/1, seemingly of an officer and 10 ORs. Transport was apparently the 3-ton Mobile Carrier Terminal, which is pictured here -

    Bedford - QL (4x4) - GPO Utility - 1943

  3. pamak

    pamak Junior Member

    Does your source show that there were at least two of these vehicles in this mobile carrier section? Notice that the page I attached mentions the presence of at least two dets from this mob carrier section (one at the main and one at the rear hq) and each det has one vehicle with the carrier equipment.

    There is also a new question now. Why is not this WE (or its vehicle(s)) present in Trux's 1944 WE list? Based on the 1945 lecture I posted," the Army's TEVs "provide enough eqpt to cate for line eqpts in mob role except for circuits back to army gp HQ" (see attached page). Therefore this mob carrier sec should be available either at the army or at the army group level to provide the necessary equipment for the communication links between the Army and Army Group Hqs.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2023
  4. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    I'll send you the piece I've seen on the transport, which details four 3-tonners plus a car and a motorcycle. The WE that I think applies is from Volume IV, which covered Line of Communications units, which don't normally seem to have formed a part of Army and higher signals. I have the post-war book on signal communications, which includes some outlines of signal unit structures and having a quick look through I couldn't see the Mobile Carrier Section as an obvious part of any of these. I tried to find when VI/159/1 was issued but I haven't got those index pages scanned - given the number I suspect it would have been around 1942, and if so would be quite a ways back from the other WEs relevant to 21 Army Group.

  5. Aixman

    Aixman War Establishment addict Patron

    Supporting and detailing Gary's posts.

    WE IV/159/1 - Mobile Carrier Section, R. Signals
    A.C.I.: 30.06.1943
    effective: 11.06.1943 - 13.08.1946
    No (formal) successor or predecessor.
    No special WEs (of priority) in other volumes (e.g.: XIV).

    Personnel: 1 officer, 10 other ranks.
    1 Motor-cycle, solo
    1 Car, 2-seater, 4 x 2
    4 Lorries, 3-ton, 4 x 4 (mobile carrier terminal), fitted with one 4 channel carrier terminal and two 3 channel V.F. telegraph terminals.

    Hope that helps.

  6. Aixman

    Aixman War Establishment addict Patron

    WE III/30 C/4 - Terminal Equipment Section, R. Signals
    A.C.I.: 28.02.1945
    effective: 16.02.1945 - 09.07.1948
    (Formal) predecessor: III/30 C/3 - Line Maintenance Section, R. Signals; issues 1 and 2 are pre-war.
    No (formal) successor.
    No special WEs (of priority) in other volumes (e.g.: XIV).

    No other WEs under that name at all.

  7. pamak

    pamak Junior Member

    Thank you Aixman and Gary! I really appreciate the time you spent to locate the info.
  8. pamak

    pamak Junior Member

    Thank you again Gary for your help. Some comments based on your post (specifically the bold parts):

    I guess, I was initially expecting that since the 1945 lecture mentioned that the communication link between an Army Group HQ and and Army HQ required two detachments from the mobile section, such section would have been part of the WE at either the AG or Army level. On the other hand, I do understand that things were never so simple in real life. I did notice that you think that the mobile carrier section could have been part of the Line of Communication units as early as in 1942.

    it makes sense to see a natural development of communication traffic and by 1945 to have a recognized need in the field of Army and Army Group formations of communication equipment which was reserved in the past for heavier administrative traffic in the rear areas of Line of Communications formations. .Often such recognition in the field did not reach the official publications (including WEs) until much later. In the meantime, army formations had to apply impromptu solutions which were not found in official publications. At least, that was often the case with the US Army.

    So, a recognized need around 1945 to deal with increased communication traffic between Army Group and Army hqs and an increase of signal equipment production could have led to a habitual decision by very senior commanders to attach signal units at Army and Army Group level from the rear, Line of Communications Area. Perhaps, if the war had continued longer we would have seen the WE changes that reflected such need but after the end of the war and the army demobilization, it was time to rethink the whole scheme of communication needs for the post war army.

    Anyway, the above is just pure speculation. My point is that reality was often messier than what the official records (including WEs) reveal. And I guess, this is part of why some people like us find military research so interesting.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2023
  9. Aixman

    Aixman War Establishment addict Patron

    Some more facts. There seems to be less than a handful of Mobile Carrier Sections.

    The Index to Field Force Units from February 1942 to May 1944 (WO 33/1903) lists Nos. 1, 3 and 4; all of them added by amendments, that is glued as snippets onto the basic page. Besides their quoting only the units' index numbers are listed as additional information (37816, 38231, 38232).

    The 21 Army Group Operational Order of Battle, 15.05.1945 (WO 33/2240) lists Nos. 1, 2 and 3.
    Additional information:
    No. 1 in column g (Army or Higher Formation): G.H.Q.
    No. 2 in column c (Parent Unit): 11 L. of C. Area
    No. 3 in column g (Army or Higher Formation): Second Army
    There is a column h (Stats) with an L for each of them. Can't find an explanation neither for this column nor for the abbreviations used.
  10. pamak

    pamak Junior Member

    So you did find a period during which a mobile carrier section is part of an Army or Army Group HQ. The lecture took place in August 1945, so after the date of WO 33/2240.

    Very nice!
  11. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    There were three Mobile Carrier Sections allowed for in the 21 Army Group order of battle as of February 1944, so they were a pre-operations component. It looks as though they were initially allocated one to Second Army and two to GHQ, with the Army one moving to 11 LoC Area around July 1944, then one of the GHQ ones moving to Second Army circa February 1945. The OOB doesn't give any more detail than that on who they were attached to.

  12. pamak

    pamak Junior Member

    Thank you Gary,

    We do know that the section had 4 lorries with the mobile carrier terminal. Do you know how many detachments were included in this mobile carrier section? Were there 4 (one truck each) or 2 detachments (two trucks each)?
  13. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    I don't know is the short answer - my instinct would be for the lorries to be paired but they aren't a piece of equipment I can pretend to be familiar with. I can just about hold my own with unit and Divisional level signals, Army HQs and higher are well beyond my comfort zone!

  14. pamak

    pamak Junior Member

    Thanks for the answer,

    The document and the circuit diagram I provided show that one lorry is enough for the necessary equipment used to link the Army Main or Rear Hq to the equivalent one at the Army Group level. But it is still possible to have 2 lorries in each Army HQ with the second one be in reserve for "step-up" when the Army HQ is moving.
  15. pamak

    pamak Junior Member

    As I was browsing my files, I accidentally found more details about the mobile carrier section's composition as it was used together with the 8th Army in October 1942

    The section arrived (at the 9th army) from 3 GHQ Signals

    It consisted of

    2 X 3ton LCVs each with 1+4 and 1+1 carriers
    1 X 3ton with 1+1 terminal
    1 X 15cwt with 1+1 terminal

    See attached photo IMG_4348.JPG
    So, apparently, even during the late 1942 a British army could get a mobile carrier section from higher hqs. It seems that at that time the section was smaller with less carrier equipment
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2023

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