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le wombat agile

The North Irish Horse ride from Argenta Gap to the Po river

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During my research about the Commonwealth troops that freed Ferrara after the Argenta Gap battle I found the North Irish Horse equipped with several versions of Churchill tanks.

For this Regiment there are two precious sites the North Irish Horse Stead and Steel and the THe North irish Horse.
They were part of the 25th Tank Brigade and supported the 8th Indian Infantry Division in the advance towards Ferrara and the Po river. The city was cleared on the 23rd April, the St. George's Day that is the patron saint of Ferrara and of course of England. On 24th they finally arrived at the Po banks.

Now, while I'm trying to summon the courage to face a Vulcan Vickers Mk. VI in 1/35, I make a little diversion with a NIH Churchill at Ferrara on Spring 1945.
The kit I've ordered and I'm waiting is the Dragon Mk IV so now I have to identify one tank that reasonably could have been there. The A, B, C squadrons fought the Germans in the ouskirts and in the industrial area so the first difficult task is to identify a possible MK IV that seems not too much used on 1945 ..... maybe I chose the wrong kit!!!!

Here are two useful links for the insignia and for the different versions and names.

The best thing could be finding a picture but date I found nothing.

Searching the huge IWM site I found the Churchill in Italy photos nos. all part of the NA series: 24306 19757 14981 24288 23276 24460 23920 23788 24738 23277 18151 17144 14974 24305-36 23556 23274 22499 23041 22739

Someone has something?

All the best

Ezio

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Not my area of study, but the Churchill IV was the most numerous produced, so that is in your favour. The model you have on order would fall in the category of the 6pdr. So in one of the links you provided, three of this type could be found in the first troop of each squadron, plus another three in the third troop of B Squadron.

regards,

Jack

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Thank you Jack, yesterday I forgot to add another interesting link, The Armour in Focus one.

Here about the mk IV there is the sentence (...) The MkIV turret itself is entirely cast and as a consequence is of a rounded appearance.(...) an then the different possibilities for the armament: 6 Pdr (57 mm), 75 mm and Spigot Mortar.

The problem is that also the Mk III has the 6 Pdr but in a welded turret and the NIH site speaks about e.g. 1st troop of A and C Squadrons of "6pdr Marks".

I think I have still much to investigate .....

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Churchill IV when upgraded was given a different mark number:

Churchill IV - 6pdr (cast turret)

Churchill V - 95mm mortar

Churchill VI - British 75mm gun (prominent muzzle brake)

Churchill NA75 - US Sherman 75mm gun

Churchill VII - 75mm gun and increased armour

Churchill VIII - 95mm mortar version of the Mk. VII

Although a gaming site, it's a good primer for the various types:

http://www.flamesofwar.com/Default.aspx?tabid=112&art_id=395

------------------------------------------------

Good luck in your search, as I don't know if there is more out there than what has been already provided by those links you have posted. The inventory chart for North Irish Horse looks very complete, and although the 6 pdr gun tank could be further sub-divided into the Mks III and IV, there is good reason why it isn't. They both served the same purpose, and are virtually identical aside from how the turret was manufactured.

regards,

Jack

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That's true, the web sites linked are full of details but unfortunately it's not so easy to link serial no.-squadron no.-tank name. Only a picture would be useful. I'm searching in the IWM collection dedicated to the Vritish Army in Italy but it's ...... HUGE there are quite 4000 pages. Among all the pages I found some pictures but none of them calrifies my doubts about the markings.

Yesterday I got the parcel with the kit ..... and also a brand new Airfix Defianta.... and the proposed version is for the NIH in Italy. A Mk. IV named Castle Robin IV. All is well that ends well. If I find nothing more I'll do this kit out of the box hoping that Castle Robin was at Ferrara in those days

Have a nice day (or afternoon maybe...) Jack

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.... I forgot to mention that I tried to contact by mail Mr. Arthur Gerald (Gerry) Chester, the NIH web manager who attends also at the restoration projects about the Churchill but my tentative was unsuccesful.

Someone knows him?

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CastleRobin IV looks to have been a Churchill IV upgraded to NA75 in 1944.

Can be found in this huge pdf file:

http://mmpbooks.biz/mmp/tables/Vehicle_Names_V3.pdf

... and there is an older entry on another forum by Mr. Arthur Gerald (Gerry) Chester:

http://www.network54.com/Forum/47208/thread/1248083344

Couple years ago same conclusion here at Britmodeller:

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234912649-dragon-172-churchill-iv-castlerobin/

regards,

Jack

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Thank you very much Jack, you came again in my help.

1 - The databese is very precious because I suppose it's the one referred by Mr. Chester in the NIH site. there is a link but never updated so I got no access. I'll search the name of the other tanks of the NIH.

2 - so if I understand well there is a mistake in Dragon kit's Castle Robin. Mr. Chester has remarked in the site even if in the osprey titles.

3 - I didn't find the article in the forum, I'll have a look.

Once again the search goes on. i'd like to avoid changing the turret to convert into a NA 75.

In the meanwhile I tokk a date with the Historical Museum of Ferrara and they promised me to show the picthures they have of the Commonwealth troops. It's very difficult I can find Churchill pictures however also other unknown pictures would be appreciated.

To the next updating

Ezio

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Yes, the huge pdf file is a work in progress, being updated as new information comes to light. I would be surprised if you found something new to add that isn't already listed, but you never know.

regards,

Jack

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To add to JackG's 2nd post -

As the Churchill mkIII's welded turret was fragile, many were converted into the Italian pattern ARK, which was used to provide a roadway over ditches and rivers. This was not the same as the 2 marks used by the 79th Armoured Division in Northern Europe.

The Churchill mkV was a fire support version of the mkIV, made at the same time and not an upgrade, also It had a 95mm howitzer not a mortar. There was a section of 2 in each squadron.

There was also a Churchill mkIXLT, which was a mkVI with extra armour, I'm not sure if these were used in Italy.

Over 300 Churchill mkIV's were converted into the NA version.

The Churchill VII was a totally new vehicle, with a slightly wider hull, a different driver's front hatch and round not square doors on the hull sides and a new cast turret. The mkVIII was the fire support version of the mkVII.

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Thank you Niall for the details! Great mistake the mortar ..... maybe e copy and paste in a hurry. Anyway the difficult phase now is to trace a Churchill Mk IV that was at Ferrara in Italy in the rush from the Argenta Gap to the Po river.

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in the web I found a profile of Castle Robin IV with the proper NA 75 turret according the various remarks in the links posted by Jack. Another tank respecto to the Dragon kit proposed as Castle Robin

Churchill%20Mk.IV.png

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Today 70 years ago the North Irish Horsemen gave again the freedom to Ferrara with all the brave men of the 8th Indian Infantry Division that entered the town in the day of the Saint Patron and from South that is passing by the ancient Saint George's Church.

Thanks again to all those men who fought far from their countries.

Ezio, a grateful Italian modeller

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