Coldstream Guards troop numbers on tanks; help needed

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by Bor65, May 12, 2021.

  1. Bor65

    Bor65 New Member

    Since I am from Enschede, The Netherlands, I grew up with the story of the Coldstream Guards and the attack on the Lonneker Bridge on April 1st 1945 in which a number of brave men lost their lives, were wounded and, as most of you know, Robert Boscawen was badly injured.

    I’ve seen a lot of wartime pictures of British Shermans in Enschede in 1945 and especially the Sherman Tulips have my interest since I have plans to build scale models of two of these tanks (one of them is the MkV with the number “4b” on the turret and a square on the side (tank B of no. 4 troop, no2 squadron). I've added a picture of this tank made on the first of April 1945 on the location that is now known as "Stationsplein" in Enschede. The "4B", reg. number and next to that the square can be seen.

    During my research some questions came up and I cannot find the answers. Hopefully you can give some more information.
    I would like to know more about the hand-painted numbers on the stowage bins as , in this case, used by the Coldstream Guards.

    Before I get to my questions, this is what I know:
    The Coldstream Guards had, in addition to a regimental HQ “squadron”, 3 squadrons:
    - 1st (A), marked with a yellow triangle,
    - 2nd (B) marked with a yellow square
    - 3rd (C) marked with a yellow circle

    Each squadron consisted of troops; the numbers of the groups were painted on the back of the tower. For example: Robert Boscawen was troop leader of 2nd troop, no 2 squadron. For what I know all tanks from his troop had a "2" on the back of the turret, namely "2" for the tank of Boscawen and “2A”, “2B”, and “2C” for the other 3 tanks. Their Squadron sign was (or should be) for all I know and the illustration attached to this thread, that of no2 squadron, a yellow square.

    Yet in various publications (and decal sheets for modellers) I see the an illustration in of the Firefly IC with a "2C" on the turret, but a circle as a squadron sign. And yet it is attributed to no2 squadron, no2 Troop. Shouldn't this have been a square for no2 squadron? What am I missing here? I've attached the illustration and a picture with the original captions as found online.

    Another question that arose when I saw this illustration: did all squadrons have the same troop numbers? I mean, did 1st squadron have a no1, no2 and no3 troop, as did 2nd Squadron (since Boscawen was leader of no2 troop in no2 (B) squadron)?

    The reason I’m asking this; please see the remaining photos, all taken in Enschede on the first of April 1945 on the same moment the photo of tank “4b” was taken. Apparently there was also a no9 troop with Tulip tanks, presumably 3 MkV’s and one Firefly. Which squadron would this have belonged to if all squadrons had the same troop numbers?

    For my last question please see the picture I took from a book, also made in Enschede in the vicinity of my grandparents house. The picture has a poor quality but if you look closely a triangle can be seen to the right of the lady with the dark coat. My conclusion is that this tank therefore belonged to A (no1) Squadron. Unfortunately there are no pictures of the back of this Firefly IC Tulip. I want to make this tank in 1a /35 scale; is there a way to find out the troop and tank number?

    Many thanks in advance and I know I’m asking a lot but your help is greatly appreciated! MKV 4b.png MKV 2 Boscowan.png MKV 4b.png MKV 2 Boscowan.png MKV 4b.png MKV 2 Boscowan.png MKV 2A .png Firefly 2C Squadron?.png Firefly 2C & MK5 2B .png MKV 9B.png MKV .png Schermafbeelding 2021-05-12 om 01.00.57.png
     
  2. Bor65

    Bor65 New Member

    Sorry, forgot to upload the photo of the mystery Firefly I mentioned at the end of my post above. Here it is: Firefly book C squadron.jpg
     
  3. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    Regarding the numbering of Troops, from an old note of mine on the subject I think that both systems could be used. So one Regiment may number its Troops consecutively throughout the Regiment, while another unit could just number through the Squadrons, so there would be repetition of Troop numbers. I think it was down to the unit to decide which approach to take. There are several resources on the site here regarding the 1st Coldstreams in their armoured role, including a copy of a book published in 1946, though seemingly incomplete.

    1st Amoured Battalion Coldstream Guards

    There's also a thread below, which includes a brief account by No.2 Squadron, in which they list their Troops as 1 to 4.

    War Diary: 1st (Armoured) Battalion COLDSTREAM GUARDS, 1944

    I can't offer a thought on why there's a 9B marking on a Sherman. Re the illustrations showing a circle, given that it is an drawing and not a photograph, it would seem to be an error to attribute it to No.2 Squadron (or indeed the more traditional B Squadron) as the markings following the system as you've outlined it above.

    Gary
     
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  4. Bor65

    Bor65 New Member

    Thank you for your clear reply and the links, Gary! I will surely look into the 1946 publication and ask around overhere. Maybe I'll be able to find -private- period photographs made by citizens of Enschede. And for the models I've planned to build, I'll use the square for the "4B" and the triangle for the "mystery" Firefly, without a number on the back, unless I find a picture where the number is visible or a source that can convincingly explain what the number should be.
    Greetings from Holland, Eric
     

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