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clive_t

Help needed: Arm of service markings, tac-signs etc for 3RTR at the Battle of Alam Halfa, 31st Aug - 7th Sep 1942

8 posts in this topic

Hi all, I've tried searching this forum, and the internet generally for this info - with not a great deal of success, it must be said.

 

For a bit of background, I am in the process of building a diorama for a 3RTR Grant tank at rest during the Battle of Alam Halfa, 1942.

 

The tank is the Academy 'El Alemein' kit, however the supplied decals are not what I want for my purposes. The problem I have is, what Arm of Service markings etc would I need to identify it as a 3RTR unit at this time?

 

I have established that from the 8th Armoured Brigade order of battle, the force comprised:

 

3 Royal Tank Regiment

Nottinghamshire Yeomanry

The Staffordshire Yeomanry

1 The Buffs

 

Any experts out there who can shed some light on this please?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 

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The standard Arm Of Service markings for armoured divisions in N Africa were white numbers 40, 86 and 67 on a red square.  Which of these applied to each of the regiments listed I do not know.  I believe that a company of 1 Buffs was allocated to each of the 3 armoured regiments in the Brigade as close infantry support: they did not have tanks of their own.  Notts had A Coy, 3RTR B and Staffs C.

 

One could assume that the numbers might have been allocated in ascending order according to regimental seniority: such things mattered greatly in those days.  Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry were senior to the Staffordshire Yeomanry, and 3 RTR was junior to both.  So 3 RTR could have used 67: could.  I'm sure someone out there will have a more definitive answer.

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I would not know either, but a pair of decal sets do have 40 for the AoS of 3rd RTR, thus being the senior regiment during that time.

 

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35086prev01.gif

 

regards,

Jack

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Thanks for the responses, much appreciated :yes:

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Noting that the 2 Star sets show the Staffs using 67 and 3 RTR using 40 when temporarily assigned to 7th Armd Div, it cannot be automatically assumed that this would also have applied to their time in 8th Armd Bde.  At Alam Halfa, the Staffs and 3 RTR were in 8 Armd Bde as part of 10 Armd Div under XIII Corps, as originally noted.

 

At Alam Halfa, 10 Armd Div actually had 3 Armd Bdes 8, 22 and 23 - which doesn't fit with the AOS colour scheme in use at the time.  But 23 Armd Bde was assigned to 10 Div late, having been XXX Corps reserve Armd Bde.  It would therefore have been "most junior" in the divisional order of battle but probably still carried it's XXX Corps markings anyway as it was an expedient "field" transfer to counter Rommel's movements.  That still leaves open the question of which of 8 and 22 Armd Bdes used "senior" red AOS and which used "junior" black.  In seniority terms of time of unit formation, 22nd was senior to 8th (1939 vs 1941), but 22nd contained 3 Yeomanry regiments all individually junior to the 2 Yeomanry regiments in 8th - not forgetting that regimental snobbery as well as regular vs reserve snobbery were very much alive and well at the time.

 

So from this I think it's a fair bet - although perhaps no more than 50:50 - that at Alam Halfa 8th Armd Bde might have used black AOS squares.  But this doesn't get us any closer to identifying which number 3RTR wore at the time.  You could make the reasonable assumption that the Star decal set shows 3 RTR still wearing their 8th Armd Div markings during their temporary 7th Armd Div assignment. Repainting markings would have been a relatively low priority as units were shuffled about to meet the evolving tactical situation. Star admit on their instruction sheet that they don't know whether the AOS should be red or black.  If 3RTR did indeed use 40, then that indicates that they had "senior regiment" status in the brigade, presumably therefore as a regular regiment compared to 2 Yeomanry regiments.  I suppose that's as good a rationale as any.

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Thanks very much for that - obviously nothing is certain, and as you say with a rapidly evolving situation the painting of 'correct' markings was probably fairly low on the to-do list, given that there were more pressing matters about to unfold!

 

In truth, this whole project of mine is a whole collection of '50:50' things - I know my late father was in 3RTR at Alam Halfa, and I know - according to his service record - he was wounded in action on 1st September 1942. Beyond that, however, details are hard to come by. According to 3RTR regimental diary for that day, they suffered casualties (one officer, 5 other ranks), as well as 'collateral damage' - 1 Grant tank and 1 Crusader destroyed, 3 Grants and 3 Crusaders suffered damage. I have found nothing to indicate for certain which of these he would have been driving when he was wounded - assuming he was even in a tank when it happened. Family 'legend' (according to my elder brother anyway) has it that he suffered a bayonet wound - something I am struggling to reconcile with my notion that this was a predominantly defensive 'tank-v-tank' action. Simple fact is, I will never know for sure.

 

Sadly the man himself is not around to talk to about this - not that I imagine he would have wanted to anyway - so in many ways my project is not so much a 'What If', as an 'I Wonder If'.

 

Really appreciate your input though, thanks again :)

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I was just thinking of the composition of the squadrons as there were Crusaders too, as mentioned.  Apparently these were allocated to ‘C’ Squadron of each regiment.

http://www.ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/staffordshire-yeomanry.38847/#post-471583

 

 

You might want to post over at the ww2talk forums, someone there might even know were to contact info about your father's service record.

 

regards,

Jack

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 21/04/2017 at 6:01 PM, JackG said:

You might want to post over at the ww2talk forums, someone there might even know were to contact info about your father's service record.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers Jack, in fact I have already found them to be most helpful in the past. I had believed I already received the sum total of my father's service record from the Historical Disclosures Unit in Glasgow, however someone on there pointed out that I was missing his B-103. I reapplied for that and got it. I also found out through another forum member that his journey from Greenock to Egypt must have been on board no less a vessel than the Queen Mary, which sailed via the southern tip of Africa, without any escort. I might chance my arm and see if anyone on there can shed any light on my current query. Thanks.

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