8 RTR historical details

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by phylo_roadking, Apr 7, 2010.

  1. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Empire Song went down with 50 Matilda II (I do not know which versions thereof) and 7 x Light Tank VIc.

    All 57 were planned for 8RTR establishment on arrival. This equates with the ToE applicable at the time (scheme I of Oct39).

    Whether they were the same vehicles as previously used by 8RTR in the UK (see post above), or a specially prepared batch for overseas shipment, I cannot say as I have no information on individual vehicle serial numbers.
     
  2. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Mark and Nuno - thanks for the above regarding the seven MkVICs. At the time of originally posting this thread, I was interested in tracking down what happened to the relatively few VICs produced. Now I can account for the "whereabouts" of another seven :)
     
  3. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Did you ever come to a conclusion as to the precise number of Mk.VIc in existance (ie off the production line in completed form) in the first place?
     
  4. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Mark - yes, a choice between one of two alternatives IIRC. There's a detailed thread somewhere on here about it all!
     
  5. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    I know the one you mean, and I came away after reading it not really sure on the conclusion. :(


    From my notes, this may or may not help.

    It would appear 1 Armd Div took to France, and lost, 62 Mk.VIc during mid-May to June 1940. This may, or may not represent the full production quota up to the end of April 1940.

    From 1 May, the subsequent production totalled 64 (extrapolated from documents found in CAB 106/287).

    In April 2RGH/22Bde received 2, and a further 2 in May. All 4 passed to 4CLY in June where the VIc was being 'concentrated'. (3CLY was being built around VIb and 2RGH VIb and 'Dutch' IIIb). By the end of June, 4CLY had 37 on strength and 47 by the end of July. Note that production in May and June totalled 44. Thus, it seems reasonable to assume all VIc were being grouped there. During July, another 12 rolled off the production line and at the end of July, 4CLY had 47 on strength. Give or take a couple, production and holdings tally.

    Only a further 8 were subsequently produced after July. LondonNik above has 7 with 8RTR Aug and Sept. Coincidence?

    Then 4CLY show 46 for Aug, Sept and Oct, then 38 for Nov and Dec as some Cruiser IVs were taken on. However, 1 Armd Div show a total of 57 VIc on strength on 31 December (including the 38 at 4CLY).

    Do we assume that the 7 with 8RTR in Aug/Sept now appear in the 1st Div holdings or not? I suspect not, but I can't say for sure. If not, and they are in addition to that 57, we have a total of 64 accounted for. This corresponds rather conveniently with the final 64 produced May - August.

    However, it must be remembered that the 64 on strength included at least 2, perhaps 4 (the date of arrival is not present nor the source), produced prior to 1 May (see 2RGH above). Thus, we're looking at at least 66, maybe 68, surviving post BEF.

    That 66/68, combined with the supposed 62 lost in France gives us 128/130. Which I assume is one of your 2 options.

    Sorted? Maybe, maybe not. If correct, apart from those 2/4 mentioned above, there is no allowance for any vehicles in other units, depot or workshops not accounted within 1 Armd Div and 8RTR records.

    It also contradicts the Jane's figure of 167 produced - which I assume is your 2nd possibility.

    Helpful?
     
  6. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Mark - at the point any work was last done on it, there wasn't a conclusion, don't worry! It was still a work in progress.

    I can't remember if it was on here or on AHF that the Janes figure was "discounted" - as it probably included the AA versions.

    I think....if I can remember my train of thought from then....that numbers in depots or workshops weren't an issue as they'd be accounted for at ONE end of the process or the other - either in the total(s) built or those delivered to units at SOME point or another....or lost. In workshops at one point in the VIC story doesn't mean that they weren't counted on one of the unit strengths we know later....if you see what I mean?
     
  7. DavidW

    DavidW Well-Known Member

    Any idea how many went to North Africa?
     
  8. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Does it?

    Be careful!

    I've just read through the AHF thread again. The only indication that any AA versions were ever new build of any version - is based upon the T-serial numbers that you posted. Every other indication, in that thread and elsewhere, is that they were post-manufacture conversions after BEF experience. Moreover, that they were conversions of a and b variants, not c.

    A brief recap...

    Janes offers us 3 pieces of information.
    1) From a chronological table, the total VIc production is indicated as 167.
    2) From a manufacturer table, the total VIc production is indicated as 166.
    3) From the text, it states AA Mk.1 were converted VIa variants and AA Mk.2 were converted VIb.

    I do not have Jentz, but "Tom from Cornwall"'s post on AHF states a figure of 168 - which tallies with the sum of the T-serials you posted.

    Whether the 'true' number built is 166, 167 or 168 is neither here nor there to me personally, although I appreciate it may make a big difference to others. What, perhaps, does matter is whether it was that number or as low as 130.

    Moving on...

    From the same AHF thread, "Daniel Kane" posts the unit holdings of VIc as of 31 Dec 1940.
    This number, 96, when added to the 62 lost in France equates to a total of 158. Suggesting up to 8-10 (ie total produced 166-168) are being held in depots or workshops hors unit returns. Not unreasonable at all.

    Extrapolating from the above, according to extant establishment tables and know unit returns...
    A) Ref 1 Armd Div (57): 4CLY had 38, 2RGH had 1. According to an AFV directive, the 3 formation HQs should have had 17 which leaves just 1 unaccounted. Nevertheless, thru Jan-Mar, 10H transfered 7 to 3CLY and 9L transfered 3. Whether these 2 units had them on charge at 31 Dec, or whether they were elsewhere in the division and doing a merry-go-round, is unknown to me.
    B) Ref 1 Army Tk Bde (16): 8RTR and 44RTR would have 7 VIc each leaving the probability of 2 VIc in HQ 1 Army Tk Bde.
    C) Ref 21 Army Tk Bde (15):42RTR and 48RTR would have 7 VIc each leaving the probability of 1 VIc in HQ 21 Army Tk Bde. (Note: in January 1941, 42RTR sent 7 VIc to 2RGH!)
    D) 7RTR was in Egypt fighting (Op Compass) with no apparent VIc on hand,
    E) 4RTR was enroute to the ME: 1 VIc already in theatre with B/4RTR Eritrea and the remaining 6 about to arrive Egypt for Op Battleaxe). (This is a minor difference to the 8 claimed on the list of returns)

    The following (edited) is also offered by "Daniel Kane".
    When 1 Army Tank Brigade (with 8RTR/42RTR/44RTR) shipped out in April, we can be certain that 7 (those allocated to 8RTR) were VIc. The other 21? It seems reasonable to consider they were VIc too.


    To conclude, the total production run of VIc does seem to be in the region of 166-168. Whether any were subsequently converted to AA in either the UK or the ME is disputable.

    As to where the final destination was for each individual vehicle, well ... that's another matter altogether! A large chunk of them would simply have just faded away over time as obsolete/scrap in various training establishments, workshops and depots.
     
  9. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Mark, that does pretty much out everything in one place...something I hadn't done previously.

    The whole idea of the thread was the same as the "Turkish spitfires" one - to see just how far could be got via the Internet. I didn't want anyone heading off to Kew, or to Bovington to check contract cards...I wanted to see - given what I knew was bound to be a relatively small " sample" number - how far we could trace what happened to them via the Internet and what people chose to put up on the internet; from the POV of using the net to rationalise tertiary historical accounts too.

    I.E. could the Internet be used as a REAL research tool? The obvious answer is yes...but too obvious, as we all know horror stories of the limited research, selective editing, withholding facts in arguments etc. that can go on in forums. The VICs gave me a amount where we could come as close to the full story individual tank by individual tank if necessary.

    And you can see how close to completing the story we've all come. Padding out the story with what the legal trade would call "circumstantial evidence". Which is - 70 years later and about a particular topic that probably didn't interest ANYBODY during WWII after the last one ground to a stop as a weary, sand-filled hulk - as remarked during the thread, good going.
     
  10. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    I would suggest, academically the answer is a definite NO!

    For the amateur pursuing such as a hobby, the internet is an amazingly convenient and cheap source of information. So why not use it to enlarge ones knowledge. But, but, but....

    The reason I am here now, typing this message, is because - for reasons I shalln't bore you with - I found myself being sucked into the 'how many tanks went to France, returned and were produced' conundrum during the festive period. [More on this will become available when I am ready to divulge.]

    I'm looking at it from the amateur perspective who has got bitten by a topic that I just can't put it down. But, I'm not that bitten to spend money engaging others to venture to Kew and copy material. Nevertheless, despite my amateurish hobbyist approach, I'm applying sound academic scrutiny of what I find. I have both an professional academic and military background. For example, and ignoring the vaste swathes of internet dross, I've come across some official documentation in a file copied from Kew. In that file, one set of figures contradicts significantly another set of figures. One set is grossly wrong. This is not just blatantly obvious to my eye, but a pretty simple explanation stands out. Worryingly, it happens to be the set of figures which has been repeated over and over again by credible and uncredible authors.

    And, to mention briefly the significance of this, it refers to the numbers of cruiser tanks shipped to France and the numbers shipped back. In effect, I believe the data in these 'source' records, documents that so many authors have used for the past 40 years is wrong and thus hundreds of books are inaccurate - despite them being based upon official records. I think I now understand why, 75 years later, these basic numbers have not been nailed down by a succession of accomplished authors and so much contradiction still exists.

    Sadly, I do not have the series of articles on the early cruiser tanks written recently by Peter Brown and published in Military Modelling. I have, however, seen excerpts and clearly he has made tremendous effort to iron out the problems and ensure all his ducks are in a row. It's the best body of work on the subject that I've come across. By far. And I've not even beeb able to read it! Sadly, there still remain many contradictions within his own work - even in the excerpts I've seen - let alone comparing it to others' work.
     
  11. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    LOL that's exactly why I said the "obvious" answer is yes....then qualified it immediately! ;) And the project was to identify the numbers and fates of surviving VICs on an individual basis instead of going by what various tertiary histories on tanks had said...as I wasn't happy with what those said.

    In other words - I was aware in advance there were irreconcile-abilities unless we all sat down and traced them on a "snapshot" basis....by seeing where they appeared in the historical record at various times and locations after May1940.

    I've recently come across a similar example - the surviving Mk1 Matildas after Dunkirk. Which virtually ALL tertiary histories, even the most expert, say were relegated to "training duties" in the UK in the summer of 1940...if they bother mentioning the poor wee buggers again at all.

    But it appears they were, in fact, allocated to our old friends in this thread, 8RTR! And equipped at least one squadron until September/October 1940...with a strong possibility of at least small numbers of that number allocated to the other two. Now...these literally were only used for training, yes....but only because Sealion never happened. Avoiding the issue of What-ifs as much as possible....if there HAD been an invasion they'd have gone into combat, they were actually in front line service with 8RTR over the summer of 1940.

    That "front line" was just....never tested.

    Mark, I'm aware of that set of articles by Peter Brown....just like you have never had the chance to read it. I'm a big fan of his work, and have been grateful before now to the detailed work in his Covenanter article.

    But what I've ALSO found out about the Internet is...despite the length of time it has been around now in useable form...that it IS still very restricted in many ways - and it does perpetuate commonly-held myths and inaccuracies. In fact - as you've probably discovered from your Cruisers issue, it helps reinforce those incorrect facts until they have the weight of "truth" no matter how wrong. It's the idea of "the big lie" - if a thing is said loud enough and often enough....it becomes the truth because SO many people hear it and hold to it.

    But sometime you DO indeed find out new directions to go from the roadblocks you run into, and the strident opposition you come up against in trying to knock down those sacred cows in the middle of road junctions :) Which is what sent me off looking for the Mk1 Matilda information.

    In other words - the Internet ALSO has got better at showing users the limits of knowledge. Sometimes seeing the outside of a problem helps define what should be on the "inside" - a bit like those 19th century maps of Darkest Africa that defined the unexplored parts by being ringed with territories and colonies that were "known" LOL
     
  12. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    The internet is a wonderful invention. The problem is not with the internet, but the users. It's not the internet that creates falsehoods and perpetuates inaccurate information. It's the users. As I mentionned in my previous post, the same applies with books. The internet just provides more amateurs more opportunities to make and disseminate amaturish errors in understanding.

    Let me give you another example of how a falsehood was created, manifested itself for several decades by word of mouth and books and then exploded through the internet. Until the truth was outed just a few years ago.

    We all know of the Holocaust. We all know of the suffering inflicted upon the millions. We all know of the camps and gas chambers and on and on.

    Nevertheless, at some point in time, somebody decided the numbers had to be calculated, analysed and presented in order to 'prove' the level of suffering. And they came up with approx 6 million killed in extermination camps. 6 million is the number most quoted and most oft repeated. However, included in that 6 million calculation was allegedly about 600,000 killed at Jasenovac in Croatia. For 60 years, Jasenovac was third in the list of (most deadly) death camps after Auschwitz and Treblinka. Problem was, it was over 500,000 in error. How?

    Simple. Immediatly post war, Tito submitted a return of casualties inflicted by the axis powers as part of the reparations process. The numbers were deliberately inflated in order to extract a large sum of money. The numbers did not define the race or the religion of the victims.

    Then, the grossly inflated number of deaths at Jasenovac was taken by somebody, perhaps from a jewish background, and assumed that all victims were jewish. To cut a long story short, the total number of victims at Jasenovac was less than 100,000 and the majority were serbian orthodox. At most, and I don't mean to demean the suffering, 20,000 were jewish. In effect, the death toll of jews had been inflated in this calculation by almost 580,000. That's no mean figure.

    One person wanted to leverage cash out of others' suffering. Another wanted a quick and easy way to 'prove' the scale of jewish suffering. A lie was created, exploited and perpetuated.

    Of course, that's not to say that the total number of jews murdered has reduced. Not at all. The number dead has not changed. All that's changed is that the simplistic calculation created in the late '40s has had to be revised. The butcher's bill has not decreased, the location of his acts has been re-adjusted.

    Using the internet wayback machine, you can see how page after page went through a revision process as this historical reality filtered down.

    As I wrote above, nothing has changed, the internet just provides more amateurs more opportunities to make and disseminate ever more amaturish errors in understanding, comprehension and knowledge.

    What does make a real difference, is the huge effort of individuals to put in the time and effort at Kew - and other similar establishments around the world - to make the source documents more openly accessible.
     
  13. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Second instalment.

    The key to this 'revelation' is not the internet per se but the commonsense appreciation that, immediately post-Dunkirk, everything was commandeered for service. Remember, even the utterly obsolete Medium tanks were still there on unit records alongside numerous home conversions of family cars impressed.

    Of course IT I were in front line units. Comparatively speaking, they were still the most modern and capable on offer. The internet may well be the medium through which you were able to place a few of them. But, since records were made public 50 years ago, the information has been available to those willing to take themselves to Kew.

    Simply knowing that they were in use is just common sense.
    Knowning where they were in use has been available to all for 50 years.
    Whether you personally have access is determined by your ability to research yourself the records at Kew etc or the goodwill of others to publish it. And that could be in traditional book or magazine form or via the internet.

    I'll repeat, what makes the real difference, is the huge effort and willingness of individuals to put in the time and effort at Kew - and other similar establishments around the world - to make the source documents more openly accessible. And from that, I'd argue that the digital camera is the key not the internet. People can photograph a 1,000 pages in a visit. In bygone days, a historian might manage to make decent pencil and paper notes on 30 pages or so a day!!!!! :)
     
  14. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    The problem however is that Kew isn't necessarily available to all of us...there's an inconvenient stretch of sea between there and here! Which means either a ferry journey and a 450 mile train and taxi ride...return - or a similarly inconvenient air journey and taxi journey...return.

    As for the willingness of others to publish....like the VIC survivors of the Spring and Summer of 1940 - people have to be bothered doing so. And no one has in the case of the poor Matilda! Everything published, in print or online, about the Matilda or from the Matilda POV...holds to the "training use only" line....which is why I've come at it from the 8RTR direction ;)

    As for commonsense and the use of MkIs on active service - you'd be suprised how many people, and who, insisted on holding fast to their lack of commonsense on the issue!

    (At the minute I've accounted for all the last batch of MkIs, but not the possible 14 left from the original two production batches. There's a distinct possibility that 8RTR was using at least some if not all of these "in training" before they were put on a war footing at the start of the last week in June 1940...and the "new" MkIs they were allocated then from the last production batch were in addition to these. But their war diary seems to run from that activation date, and so there's no confirming record of what 8RTR were training on before that :( ....yet! Looks like once again I'll have to approach the issue from the other direction - exactly who...and where, in the case of training establishments...received MkIs initially, and where any MkIs were as of the end of June date that weren't taken to France.)
     
  15. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    I'm further from Kew than you and have never been there. But, when necessary, I have access to all the files simply by sending an email to one of the many willing 'photographers'. Some of whom are on this website. In a few days, I get back a link from which to download all the digital images. Or they can be sent downloaded onto a CD/DVD. It costs money, but its a lot less than the airfare, hotel and taxi costs to do it myself. :) It's well worth the money if you are seriously researching a subject as I regularly have to do. It's a costly hit and miss experience if you're just following up information as a hobby. You can spend £100 for the copying of a file with a title that begs to be read, and find it has a 1,000 pages of rubbish.

    In my opinion, the key is the digital camera, not the internet. Where I live, I have been granted special access to historical military archives that are only available to a select few. But, like everybody else, I'm only allowed pen and paper. No digital equipment at all. Not even a cameraless phone. It's free, I can visually scan many, many files and documents to find the interesting stuff. But when you get to the important stuff, its a laborious process to copy into your notebook. And you always have to go back later to copy the stuff you originally deprioritised.... :( Digital images on your own HD can be viewed as often as you like.

    A lack of commonsense, and a determination not to see the wood for sake of a solitary tree, is so widespread that it's embarrassing. However, one's research is one's project. The stupidity of others is irrelevant. As long as one keeps one's own mind open and inquisative, the rest of the world doesn't matter.

    Regarding the IT Mk.1s. My commonsense tells me 5 things instantly.
    1) First port of call for looking is the 4 territorial Army Tank brigades with their 12 battalions. Prioritise 21st (42/44/48RTR).
    2) Always assume a handful will be 'missing' due to being in facilities (civilian depots/workshops) where records are scant or non-existant.
    3) Always assume that vehicles becoming obsolete 'disappear' from strength without ever being recorded as 'disappearing'. They slip into obscurity and oblivion without even a mention as wfu or w/o.
    4) Records are compiled by humans who are prone to error.
    5) Those human compiling the records were not methodical Germans and never imagined their work would be chased by the likes of us 75 years later.

    I'm probably trying to teach grandma to suck eggs, but the number of people who know - but ignore - 2-5 is incredible and will never rest until they get 100%. Or, worse still, choose to massage the figures to make it right.

    So, the only real piece of advice I can offer is to suggest you contact one of 'photographers' and employ them to copy the WDs of 21st Bde, 42/44/48RTR for May to December 1940. Shouldn't be that expensive. In fact, Many of them will have already got them and will be able to offer them at a discounted rate instantly - or be kind enough to post up the relevant information gratis.

    I will put money down that just those 4 diaries will probably produce all but a handful of the post-BEF IT Is in existance. For individual vehicle histories, its a call to RAC museum - with your credit card number handy. :)))

    Edited to add.
    I also bet those 4 diaries throw up almost all the Light Tank VIc too. :) Your first point of contact should be "Daniel Kane". He seems to have already trodden the very same path you wish to go down. :)
     
  16. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    LOL I've run into those people who ignore 2-5 before! That's where so many of those stonewallers seem to come from, after all! And yes the "masseurs" are a complete bollix...

    ...and there's the ones who massage the figures THEN stonewall on them LOL


    My problem is that as a "hobbyist" I can't afford fishing expeditions. Courtesy of the good offices of a couple of people on here I've been able to score a couple of pages from files IF I can be that specific....such as a date-to-date in a war diary or RAF ORB...but it's really rare that I can be so specific.

    For example - I've a list of eight very large files I'd like to see in their entirety at some point on a number of other topics....but from each of those I only need a couple of very specific things. Unfortunately - I only have the file numbers courtesy of various authors who have kindly footnoted them...but getting photos of the specific correspondence or diary entries etc. would mean a prolonged look-up. And getting lookups done at Kew by someone is as expensive as a fishing expedition. And unfortunately as this is only an interest for me...albeit a major one...there will always be other calls on the finances.






    (As for Bovvie, what's the point of putting contact email addresses on your website if you never answer them, guys???)
     
  17. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Oh! No, the Matilda issue I'm trying to track down is different from the VICs ;) I'm not trying to account for them all in the same way as the VICs...for the rest of their career after Dunkirk...

    I'm trying to find out if 8RTR had any/inherited any from their training establishment at the point of activation I.E. what had they been training on in the months before they were put on a war footing in the last week of June...and did any of those tanks come over into active service with them? In other words - was 8RTR given their new MkIs in June...because they already had a few and were (to an extent) trained on them? There's an apparent gap of fourteen or so between the numbers built in the first two batches...and the numbers lost in France...so were these very few MkIs kept in the UK for training in 1939-40...and if so, where and who?

    ....which would give me final figures for what in total 8RTR had at the beginning of the summer; I have their vehicle returns for August and September for each squadron - when the process of changing to MkIIs had begun...but the details per squadron are at variance with other pretty reliable facts.
     
  18. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    From a broad perspective (ie I don't have the unit WD to extract the minutae from), the evidence would suggest that 8RTR was equipped with both IT Mk.I and Mk.II prior to May 1940.

    At that point it became the only regular army tank battalion remaining in the UK and would naturally be the first point of call for any Mk.I (at least 8) or II subsequently produced . However, come the return of 4 and 7RTR empty handed in mid-June, there would have been a major divvying up of available vehicles. In effect, it is likely that what 8RTR held on 1 May, would be significantly different to 1 June and even more different on 1 July.

    Consider this.
    As of 30 April 1940 (immediatly prior to 1ATk Bde HQ/7RTR's planned and organised movement to France), a total of +/-195 infantry tanks existed (slight variations in records and sources). By my calculation, that can be represented by 131 x Mk.I and 64 x Mk.II (give or take). Of that total, 50 x Mk.I were with 4RTR in France and up to another 20 x Mk.I also in reserve in France. Thus, remaining in Blighty, a likely total of 61 x Mk.I and 64 x Mk.II.

    You will note that 64 Mk.II is more than sufficient for a battalion and spares. The establishment was 50. In effect, why didn't 7RTR deploy to France equipped soley with Mk.II? There are several possibilities, but the keenest one for me is that during the first half of 1940, 7RTR and 8RTR were being treated equally and built equally with both Mk.I and IIs. So, when 1ATk Bde HQ/7RTR departed, it went with about half the available Mk.IIs (23 with 7RTR + 6 with Bde HQ or as reserves) and half the available Mk.Is (27 with 7RTR). Left in the UK was a similar, but slightly higher, number of each: 34 x Mk.I and 35 x Mk.II. Presumably, the majority of this were held by 8RTR in similar numbers to which 7RTR left the country (ie. 27 & 23 respectively). This leaves a residual amount (7 & 12) which can easily be accounted for as examples straight off the production line and still being finished in depots, those in workshops and the odd one or two dotted around the territorial units. For example, 48RTR were issued with a single Mk.I that they were not allowed to touch but to marvel at in the absence of any other armour!!!!

    At this point, I would kindly ask a grown-up with access to the WD of 1ATk Bde HQ, 7RTR and 8RTR (Jan-Jul 1940) to mark my work. Do I get a gold star or an F?

    During May, 3 more Mk.Is came out the factory, and a further 41 Mk.IIs. Thus we're looking at a grand total in the UK of 37 x Mk.I and 76 x Mk.II. On paper, this would allow for 8RTR to be fully converted to Mk.II. However, I doubt this occured. And even if true, it was all to change when the empty-handed 4RTR and 7RTR returned from France. Only access to WD of 8RTR and other similar units (42, 44 and 48RTR) for May and June - as well as dept returns or similar with give a more accurate picture of precise numbers and distribution of the existing tanks. One document I have shows 72 infantry tanks in units at 30 May, 13 in depots and an unspecified number in training and/or experimental use. Not much help!

    At the end of June, total production less BEF losses gives a grand total of 171 infantry tanks: 41 x Mk.I, 122 x Mk.II and 8 x Mk.III (Valentine). Combined, the total of I and II is sufficient to fully equip 1ATk Bde and its 3 regiments. But there are not enough Mk.IIs for all 3.

    This doesn't answer your problem, but I hope it helps.
     
  19. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Mark....I wish I could cut&paste in answering the above...but for some reason since going to Windows 8.1 I can't on this forum or WW2f :(

    Here's the first oddity..."thus we're looking at a grand total in the UK of 37 x Mk.I..." - no, because 8RTR seems to have ended up with 50 (or 51) by the middle of the summer and the beginning of its reequipping with MkIIs.

    That's the other thing...apart from the various "thin" tertiary histories which mention that the reequipping only began in other late August or September...we have one decent memoir to set against it, which would confirm that B Sqn was only transitioning to MkIIs in mid-September....but the 8RTR war diary says that by the end of August B squadron was equipped fully with MkIIs. So either the war diary is returning an overly-rosy view of the battalion's lot...or the memoir is wrong. And it is actually remarkably definite on this point!

    One possibility is the battalion was still running mixed squadrons despite what the war diary says...which might have been correct in numbers, just not the squadron allocations.

    You see where the problem rests as a result of not knowing exactly what 8RTR had on the books when it was put on a war footing? I don't have the "starting point" in the puzzle, except the late June allocation of MkIs.

    The final part of the problem is the fact that 8RTR needed such a large allocation of MkIs at the end of June would argue that while it was still in training before that, it was well short of establishment numbers ;)
     
  20. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    So I guess I don't get a gold star.... :(

    (.a.) Not physically possible! General consensus of opinion is that 139 or a 140 Mk.I were produced. Ever. If we accept the loss of 97 in France, that means the maximum possibly in existence in the UK was 43. How could 8RTR have 50 post Dunkirk?

    (.b.) If the WD are not to be considered accurate, then there is no way of knowing.

    (.c.) That's easy to explain. When did 4RTR and 7RTR return from France empty-handed and need equipment? Where did that equipment come from? By the end of June, there wasn't enough Mk.IIs in existence to fill 3 needy battalions.
     

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