8 RTR historical details

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

  1. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Damn it, just had a post time out on me :(

    Okay, I'll try again....

    In classical reverse order...


    ( c )...except it wasn't 3 needy battalions, 8RTR was given the MkIs!

    ( b ) I've just looked back at the AHF thread oin this, and it turns out I CAN extrapolate what 8RTR had in training - now I've had a while to stand back and look afresh at the problem! A "statement of tank position" annexed to CAB 70/1 states, for mid-June, that after 8RTR received its 27 MkIs....it had 7 lights, 27 MkIs and 23 MkIIs - so the 23 MkIIs must have been what it was doing its training on ;)

    The wrinkle over the war diary entry actually comes under...

    ( a ) Look at the numbers above for June..

    Now - on 19/8 and 24/9, the war diary states that C squadron was fully equipped with MkIIS and A and B squadrons with MkIs.

    This CAN'T be correct - the numbers, even in June, don't allow that particular division. One...or more...of the squadrons must have been "mixed", it's possible that "in the field" they shared MkIs and MkIIs per squadron on a troop basis.

    The other thing is - Stuart Hamilton's account; BETWEEN those two vehicle return dates....B Squadron was busy receiving new MkIIs. So the war diary stating that as on 24/9 B Squadron was wholly equipped with MkIs has to be incorrect from THAT point of view too...or was an administrative convenience; maybe their OC in 1st ATB was a picky bugger! :)



    Above all that - there IS indeed an issue of "general concensus" ....but it's not the one you think, Mark.

    Most online and literary sources actually say that only 127 MkIs were built....as AVIA 46/188 and AVIA 22/456-514 both say only 127 were accepted by the War Office.

    But the Bovington contract cards list 140 T-numbers issued, AND 140 registration numbers allocated...hence the apparent shortfall between the two of 13.....or 14 if you crunch the numbers in Postan, and get 141 :) Probably that's listing the original prototype.


    Now - the first reaction of most people to that is - "Well, 8RTR got the 27 remaining to get from the 127 built..."


    Except the factory was still churning out MkIs to the last contract (there were three in all) until August....so what 8RTR got in June was what there was to get by then....and more must have been built before the end of production in August.

    Now - 97 lost in France.....that's one number we know, copperfastened, and controls our perception of how many were left in the UK..., 27 allocated to 8RTR....and a strange two in the Middle East for "training"! ....equals 126 as of the day that 27 were delivered in June to 8RTR - so BETWEEN then and the end of production in August...I can't see just one MkI being produced!!! :)

    The remaining 13-14 to the total of 140 must have been built in that time gap....or were earlier left in the UK under repair or at training establishments and never went to France....or some combination of the two. There's nothing, anywhere, that says that the 27 MkIs 8RTR received in June were all NEW tanks...!


    (Maybe it's just me....but 126 plus one prototype equals - 127! Which can't be a coincidence. What I think....personal opinion warning....is one of TWO things has happened - a/ somewhere there's a missing AVIA entry or file accounting for the acceptance of the remaining 14...or B/ 14 MkIs allocated directly to training establishments escaped "acceptance"?)
     
  2. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    First off I must confess to two things. I have given myself a small pat on the back - not as good as a gold star - but a faint waft of smugness if certainly oozing infront of the monitor. Why, well your post has just 'confirmed' a large part of my guesswork. Perhaps....

    The second confession is that I am rather confused now as you invite to compare stuff and consider stuff that I have no idea what I should be looking at. :(

    (c.) Really! How would you describe 4RTR and 7RTR with no tanks at all. Flush? :)

    (b.) I have no idea what AHF thread holds the CAB70/1 Annex about which you write. So I can't really comment about the relevance or logic or anything of its contents. However, I would caution your use of 'training'. 8RTR was not a training unit any more than any other operational unit prior to being sent on operations. But here's where my pat on the back comes. I proposed that, by the end of April, 8RTR was configured similarly or identically to that of 7RTR when it departed for France. You have just produced EXACTLY the numbers I suggested: 23 Mk.II and 27 Mk.I. :) I also suggested that it made sense to me that this shape held true throughout May up to and including 4 and 7RTR's return from France despite more Mk.II being available. If I understand your words correctly, you're confirming it went on even longer. Not being able to read this CAB 70/1 Annex brings me up short in understanding whether this helpful or unhelpful to the discussion as I have no way of understanding the context (viz time, war situation etc). You seem to be suggesting that 8RTR gave up its Mk.Is and then got them back again. When do you believe this occured?

    For guidance, which may or not be useful, I understand that the 'interim establishment' used by 7RTR and 8RTR in April/May 1940 was thus:-
    Btn HQ 2 x Mk.II + 4 x LT VIc
    A coy HQ 1 x Mk.II + 1 x LT VIc + 5 tps of 3 tanks. 2 x Mk.II tps (6), 3 tps of Mk.I (9). [Total 7 x Mk.II, 9 x Mk.I and 1 x LT VIc]
    B coy HQ 1 x Mk.II + 1 x LT VIc + 5 tps of 3 tanks. 2 x Mk.II tps (6), 3 tps of Mk.I (9). [Total 7 x Mk.II, 9 x Mk.I and 1 x LT VIc]
    C coy HQ 1 x Mk.II + 1 x LT VIc + 5 tps of 3 tanks. 2 x Mk.II tps (6), 3 tps of Mk.I (9). [Total 7 x Mk.II, 9 x Mk.I and 1 x LT VIc]
    Grand totals for the btn: 23 x Mk.II, 27 x Mk.I and 7 x LT VIc

    (a) Which are the June numbers? Your previous post that 8RTR had 50 or 51 x Mk.I or another? If it's the 23 x Mk.II, 27 x Mk.I and 7 x LT VIc, you make my day and the smugness will ooze for at least another 10 mins!!!

    (d) If only 127 Mk.I were built, it makes our task easier.
    However, question - and I refer you back to points 2-5 in the common sense checkist - is that a number massaged because only that number can be 'found' on WDs or similar? You seem to suggest that there are individual cards 'proving' 139/140 did exist.

    (e) I have a document which indicates that 3 Mk.I were produced in May, 4 in June and 1 in July. I believe this is based on MoS records not WO. Why not another 1 or 2 in August? To me, all this proves is that the manufucture of this tank had been placed on the lowest level of priority and were being kicked out of the factory only if a fitter had a few spare seconds and to make space.

    (f) Did 8RTR receive 27 Mk.Is in June or were 27 on strength? I can't find this elusive CAB 70/1 on AHF to check myself. :(
     
  3. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    I am REALLY missing being able to cut& paste!

    Mark - no, I'm not suggesting they had and gave up their MkIs. What I'm saying is it's now more clear to me that if, around the middle of June, just after they'd been given 27 MkIs, 8RTR had 27 MkIs and 23 MkIIS.....then BEFORE they were given them they must only have had the 23 MkIIs.

    In other words - until the point they were allocated those MkIs...all they had were the 7 Lights and the 23 MkIIs! The reason they wouldn't have been sent to France at that point is, although they'd been up to establishment in personnel for some time....not on equipment they weren't!

    ( b ) Regarding 4 and 7RTR....no, what I meant was - once the 27 MkIs were given to 8RTR they weren't "needy" - they had 50 "I" tanks; they were complete - if marginally so, not allowing for breakdowns etc..

    It was the other two battalions that were needy after 8RTR got its full numbers...and I'm willing to bet that the reason we don't see 8RTR getting ANY MkIIs until very late August/early September is that 4 and 7RTR had first call :)


    Sadly, the only CAB 70/1 annex extract I have is those figures specifically for 8RTR :(


    I really like your "interim establishment" - ALL THREE were mixed squadrons :) - which I haven't seen before. Thanks for that. It certainly helps reconcile the odd numbers AND the various other oddities at the end of the summer. Can I ask where that comes from??? And how long you think it was in place? As late as September would make a LOT of sense...


    ( a ) Yes, the mid-June numbers were 7 x Light, 27 x MkI and 23 x MkII for 8RTR...but only AFTER the June allocation of 27 MkIs.


    ( f ) no, they received 27 in June....to bring them UP to 27 MkI, 23 MkII by mid-June ;) Which means they must have been VERY short of tanks at the start of the month - less than half the strength they had by the end of it, a whopping less than one and a half squadrons!


    ( e ) probably less an issue of spare time available...as using up the last pre-cut and pre-finished and from the MoS point of view pre-supplied and accounted-for components ;) Given that steel stock etc. was under their control by then.

    After that...you'd need to drill down to individual production lines in individual factories in the "Vulcan Group" to see what they did NEXT...and whether there was any hurry through the summer of 1940 to close the MkI production in favour of something else on a given campus.
     
  4. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Where do you get the idea that 27 Mk.Is were issued in mid-June? You repeat this in almost all of the sentences above.

    I see no evidence that 8RTR had "just" received 27 Mk.Is in mid-June. I posit they had had that number since at least mid-April.

    It's logical. It makes sense. And in the absence of contradictory evidence I see no reason to think differently.


    Regarding the internal distribution of individual types. It was my educated guess that this was a formulated distribution not an ad hoc jumble. Now that you confirm it appeared identically in a second btn in a different time frame and context essentially clinches it. If we understand that it is a formulated distribution, then there has to be a recognisable logoc and pattern. And guess what? There is. I'm suprised you have never see it before. :)
     
  5. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Hello hello!!!

    Found this on AHD. Is this the thing you're referring to?
    I shall warn you in advance that I have just adorned myself with my officious grammar Nazi helmet.... :)

    The word "issued" does NOT mean that they were received on that date. It means that they were on strength on that date. They could have been received on any date prior to 11 June 1940.

    This is to be inferred, and explained, in two different and separate ways from the words - which I shall not bore you with unless you are a glutton for grammar comprehension learning.... :) :) :)
     
  6. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    You're either going to love me or hate me, but...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Ooooh! I'm feeling so smug now....

    Thanks to you, I found them. :)
     
  7. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Well, I didn't see it before - because I wasn't looking in the context of what was happening in 7RTR at the same time, prior to France. Just in the highly-restricted context of 8RTR.

    For the basic reason I'm interested, I have not issue at all with whether they were issued with then IN or BEFORE the CAB 70/1 annex. "Before" does make more sense...but then I'd have to wonder why they weren't sent to France ;) if they were in the same shape and interim establishment as 7RTR...which was. I have no problem being proved wrong in this instance and respect, don't worry! If anything - I'm MORE happy now, as it might just mean that 8RTR spent far more time in the shape of its "interim establishment"....! ;)

    There "where " the comment comes from is a number of tertiary sources...which may in turn come from the CAB 70/1 annex comment...as they weren't footnoted.

    Now - the remaining issues I really need to resolve are firstly the one that has appeared tonight - the issue of when the "interim establishment" formally changed. The CL 70/2 entry for October 20th "return of tanks" would certainly show that 8RTR hadn't let go of any of its "June" tanks as of 20th October....yet the other reliable information, Hamilton's account, backs up the various tertiary sources that note (briefly!) that by late August/early September 8RTR was beginning to re-equip with new MkIIs.

    So....were they -

    1/ only replacing like for like, or

    2/ adding the new ones to their OOB as unit spares etc., or

    3/ beefing out MkII troops with an extra tank?

    ...secondly...

    If the CL 70/2 return of tanks records in effect no change in the "interim establishment"...what do the war diary statements about what was in each squadron mean?? And why are they so at odds with both the "interim establishment" AND Hamilton's account?
     
  8. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    LOL I think we posted at the same time!!!

    Ok, that has DEFINITELY cleared something major up for me!

    27 MkI/23 MkII all the way through the summer until the 3rd of September....and Nuno has already confirmed the numbers didn't change as of the 20th (published on the 23rd)

    Now....

    To me that would read as if the "Interim establishment" was still in place to accommodate the 27/23 split....? Would you read the same out of it?

    So why the war diary oddity???
     
  9. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    At a rough guess, I'd say the 7/27/23 'interim establishment' (my terminology so don't requote it as some official nomenclature) came about late March - early April as planning for 7RTR's deployment was in full swing.

    Clearly, a decision was made that the two regiments would be identical in this 'mixed' format rather than send 7RTR to France soley with Mk.II. Why? I can speculate but cannot offer any solid suggestion worth hanging my hat on. I am surprised it was still evident as late as 20 October (I have a reference that far out) when clearly there were more than enough Mk.II - even Mk.III - to reconfigure onto a single type.

    On 4 August 7RTR had 34 Mk.II and 16 Mk.III. But just a few days later it departed for Egypt with 50 Mk.II. I suspect it was 50 Mk.II especially brought together for shipment and the original 34 II / 16 III were divved around to the others. This suggests a significant degree of 'turbulence' about that time.

    I hope I've been a bit of a help to your 'conundrum' along the way.
     
  10. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Checklist 4 and 5...


    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.
     
  11. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Oh I'll have problems elsewhere from the stonewallers on checklist items 4 & 5!


    You have indeed helped me CONSIDERABLY...depending on two more short answers lol


    What is that last reference you have for 20th September that mentions what you call the "interim establishment"?

    And...do you happen to know the first formal, official appearance on record/in print of that shape of establishment, whatever it was called?
     
  12. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

  13. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Ah - so the "27 MkIs" are the ones "still" in 8RTR?
     
  14. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Evidence of first date is the 10 June 1940 data posted above.

    Anything before that was my own analysis which, thanks to you, seems to have been confirmed as spot on. :)

    You will also note that this data also indicates 35 Mk.I in the table and notes a further 3 manufactured during June. I can offer evidence of 1 more produced in July. That gives 39 'confirmed' in the UK post Dunkirk. Seems to shoot the 'only 127' a bit in the foot. We seem to have 136 now nailed down. :)

    Checklist 2-5 does more than enough to explain the 'missing' 3 to take it to 139 methinks. :wink:
     
  15. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Any reason to think they've been swopped with 4RTR or 42RTR for Mk.II - the other 2 battalions in 1 ATk Bde?
     
  16. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    None whatsoever! :)

    Okay....here's the plot :) I've had literally YEARS of argument about this....and thanks to installing Firefox in the last few minutes I can now cut&paste again with impunity!

    For years I've argued the bit out on THIS...."MILFORCE INSTRUCTION No.4" of 22nd September 1940 :)

    Notice the roadspeed? ;)

    Every "thin" teriary source that says anything about C squadron, and the strange war diary entries for August and September, say that C Sqn 8RTR was ONLY equiped with MkII Matildas...


    ..who on S-Day, in the event of invasion by the dastardly Hun, were supposed to barrel down the A20 from their billets at Charing, ahead of the bulk of 2 NZEF coming down from their billets at Maidstone...at roughly HALF the roadspeed of a MkII???

    Or....just by chance....the listed road speed for a....MkI...

    That's what set me searching originally, five years ago now; why on earth would an armoured "advance guard" (under the definitions of the Field Service Regulations...be heading at half speed down to counterattack any paratroop drop? It didn't make sense at all at the time...to anyone else involved in the discussion but me LOL - there HAD to be MkIs in C Squadron as late as 22nd September.

    NOW it does make sense...given that -

    ...MILFORCE's movement ahead of 2NZEF was indeed to be at and governed by the TOP speed of its SLOWEST vehicles...

     
  17. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Well, you've now got black&white evidence that 8RTR had 27 Mk.I as late as 20 October.

    Caveats to be remembered before you reaquire target lock on your other discussion partners.

    1) It is my analysis that produces 3 identical 'mixed' coys. Anybody can choose to disbelieve it if they are so inclined.
    2) The evidence produced actually comes from a late 1980s PhD thesis. However, it is very clearly footnoted as to where the information is drawn. This will not be enough for some.
    3) I actually found this document from reading through your AHF discussion. Surely others will have found and read it too. So why don't they believe it already?

    When it comes to poster RichTO90, he posts very confidently and is convinced he is right and everybody else is wrong - and yet posts a hell of alot of inaccurate data and complete garbage. I doubt you'll ever convince him of anything that he's determined to deny.
     
  18. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Oh I know....I haven't challenged him yet on his excreble list of coastal "Emergency Batteries" that he posted around the internet years ago. It's...."generous"....to the defenders in the Dungeness-Dover area....to the number of about five non-existent batteries! :)

    There's a couple of posters in that ruck who love to reference sources like Newbold...then love to disregard and ridicule the same sources when it suits them, too! LOL As you can see, I take great pleasure in pointing out their double standards....which upsets them even more!


    In the meantime...

    Something else has come to me in the last month regarding this whole theatre of operations, the 2NZEF counterattack, and why the FJ were going to be were they were planning to be at all ;) It changes the whole direction of the debate, actually! And a lot of what has been done over the years about the FJ's role in Sealion.

    And it ALSO has to do with tanks, specifically those of MILFORCE :)...and the fact that they didn't like 1:2 grass hillsides...it'll mean several well-illustrated posts on AHF, I'll post up a link when I get it all done.
     
  19. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    I have joined the fray.

    I wonder if my cat is a bit too much for them pidgeons. :wink:

    Edited to add.
    Shuuurly those phantom 5 batteries on the March were there to protect Dungerness B nuclear power station and were mounted on Green Goddess, Hurricane, Typhoon, Doctor Syn and the Bug!
     
  20. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Ok....I've been in and given you an opening ;) let's see how long before the profanity begins...
     

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