Help requested with Sherwood Rangers Sherman census numbers

Discussion in 'Vehicle Names and Census Numbers' started by Northern Warrior, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Hello All,

    I’ve tried everywhere I can think of, without success, to locate the census numbers for the Sherman tanks of 5 Troop, A Squadron, Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry in NW Europe circa June - December 1944. I’m in the process of building a 1:35 model of a SRY Sherman 75mm and ideally, I’d like to model David Render’s tank, but if I’m going to do it I want to do it right, and rather than covering/hiding the census number with a bit of judiciously placed camouflage, I’d much prefer to apply the correct number if it can be found.

    On page 63 of David Render’s book, ‘Tank Action,’ he lists names of the (75mm) Shermans of 5 Troop as, “Aim” (Render’s tank), “Archer,” and “Arrow,” with their attached Sherman Firefly being, “Akilla.” I’ve a decent photo of Akilla that shows the census number, and another photo that shows the census number of one of the SRY HQ Shermans, but apart from those two vehicles I’m struggling, so if some kind soul could point me in the right direction I’d really like to track down the census numbers for Aim, Archer and Arrow.

    In a related question, I have this IWM photo showing SRY Sherman “Aberdeen” landing on Gold beach and so, if I can’t find AIM’s census number, Aberdeen’s would be a useful alternative:


    © IWM (B 5258) - A Sherman tank of 'A' Squadron, Nottinghamshire Yeomanry (Sherwood Rangers), 8th Armoured Brigade, comes ashore from a landing craft on Jig beach, Gold area, 6 June 1944.

    In the same photo there’s what appears to be an M14 half-track preceding Aberdeen down the beach. Thanks to Trux’s marvellous Landing Tables (can’t thank him enough for those!) and the vehicle’s AoS marking, I’d like to think I may have narrowed that vehicle down to the SRY M14 from either LCT IV 2164 or 2166, working on the (probably incorrect) theory that the M14 came either ashore from an LCT out of shot, or was, on the day, actually aboard LCT 2165 with Aberdeen. If there was any way of also tracing the M14’s census number (or any SRY M14’s census number) I’d like to construct a diorama of the SRY 75mm Sherman with the M14.

    I realise I’m probably asking for the Earth, but any assistance with tracking down these census numbers will be most gratefully received.

  2. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    Sorry if this is sort of a "flip" answer, but have you checked the British tank names spreadsheet yet? It's in the Resources section under Military Vehicles as "British Vehicle Names and Census Numbers"
  3. Not a “flip” answer at all. :) Yes, I checked the spreadsheet (v4) but couldn’t find any of the 5 Troop tanks. ‘Aberdeen’ is on there but not its census number.

  4. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    That's really rough. :( Good luck on your quest!
  5. Andy,

    It looks as though your problem regarding the T-number of ABERDEEN might not be a problem at all. If you look at B5258, you'll see that the T-number on the left side of the ABERDEEN has been covered by the appliqué armour (with only the "T" and perhaps part of the hyphen still visible),a current enough occurrence. Although I do not know of any photo showing the right side of ABERDEEN, you might want to use artistic license and assume that the T-number was obscured the same way as on the left side.

    I said "it looks as though", but actually there might indeed be a problem, because when if I look more closely at B5258, I think I can see that the T-number has been applied in large, rough digits over the appliqué armour.

    I am absolutely not certain whether this is a roughly painted number or an artefact from the digitization, but if a number, it does apear to start with "148...". It could be 148479, unlikely because this number is in the range of Sherman V tanks. A more possible number would be 148279 (because 148240 is a Sherman III):

    The only way to be sure would be to purchase a good, large analog print of B5258 and/or B5259 from the IWM (made directly from the negative, not from one of their blurry altough hi-res scans).

    The colour does not seem to be a frank white, so might be the regimental tac colour Blue, hence its low visibility on B&W photos.

  6. The M14 on B5258 could not have come from LTIN 2165, whose actual load on D Day conformed with the landing table (plus it was already there before 2165 had landed), but it could have come from LTIN 2164, which landed earlier at roughly the same location.

    However, although the AoS flash is clearly made of two colours like most 8 Armd Bde units which had the 8 Armd Bde emblem as the top half, it lacks the White Bar below and to me looks more like the regular Signals Flash (White over Blue), or possibly the RA one (Red over Blue).

  7. Michel,

    Thanks so much for all your help. I’d completely missed the info in B5258. I’ll order a photo and have a closer look.

    My apologies, I’m still getting to grips with how to quote on this forum, so I hope the following makes sense.

    I thought I was probably wrong about the M14, but I’d read somewhere (on this forum, I think) that the Landing Tables were on occasion ammended so it’s good to know that I can depend on the veracity of what’s in Trux’s document. With that in mind, and since the M14 has a motorcycle strapped to its rear, I wondered if an alternative might be the M14 from 295 Field Company, RE that landed, carrying a motorcycle from LCT 2160. Could the AoS flash be an RE one?

    I had wondered whether the LCTs in question had landed in line abreast, but it would appear from your reply that they must have landed one after the other at roughly the same location. That was why I’d wondered if the M14 had come from another LCT out of shot to the right and was making its way along the beach as Sberdeen landed. I stand corrected.

    One question, would I be correct in presuming there is no central source for vehicle census numbers, and that the only ways to trace individual vehicles are either from photographs, or from individual units’ war diaries? At least if I’m correct in that assumption I won’t be searching for something that doesn’t exist.

  8. Andy,

    You seem to be doing OK with the quotes. What I usually do when answering multiple questions is "Insert Quotes", then copy-paste the full quote as many times as the number of questions I will (try to) answer), and finally deal with the questions one by one, each time deleting the unrelated parts the copied quote, just like in this present post.

    The Landing Tables were almost always amended until the very last moment, and then some, but not every line of them was. So yes, as a rule, one can assume that the LTs represent the actual loading on D Day, until proven wrong (which seems to happen quite often!).

    It certainly does not look like an RE flash, which was of a single Blue colour.

    Yes, all the craft in the same flight were supposed to land in line abreast, in LTIN order, at the same exact planned time and spaced according to plan. But obviously this seldom happened on the Day. Although some groups of craft did land exactly according to plan, this must be considered the exception rather than the rule.
    Many craft actually beached and unbeached several times at different locations when realising that they could not discharge their loads properly.

    IWM photos B5243 to B5246 show craft of the H+60 and H+90 (2165's) LCT flights discharging their loads at a location only slightly East of that of 2165 as per B5258-9, only a bit earlier, so the M14 might have come from one of those craft (or from another!). From left to right (West to East): LTIN 2137, 2163, 2164, 2138:

    B5243 is not online but can be found in some books or magazines:




    There cannot be a WW2 central source because a vehicle was liable to be transferred from one unit to another at about every level of the delivery or repair chain. Although detailed records, mentioning the Census Numbers, were usually maintained at every unit's level of every vehicle received or disposed of, most of these records did not survive, and as a rule such detailed records were not passed on to higher echelons. Only general statiscal data was, which did not allow full traceability of individual vehicles.

    This is why maniacs like KevinT, Roddy and a few others such as myself are forever trying to feed T-numbers and other data to ever-bigger databases for the enlightenment of future generations.

    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  9. Michel,

    Thank you very much for all the information. It’s really only now that I’m getting to grips with WW2 and D-Day in particular (in the past I’ve concentrated on more recent conflicts) and I’m finding the learning curve a little steep.

    I think I’ve now got the hang of the Gold beach H+90 LCTs thanks to you (and Trux), though I’m thinking of putting the half-track on the back burner for the time being until I can source a 1:35 scale kit that won’t require major surgery to produce a decent British vehicle; I don’t like to make half-decent models.

    Aha! That answers that one. I’d begun to suspect that was the situation, but was ever hopeful I might have been wrong, and that leads me on to another question (sorry!)...

    Also on my ‘to build’ list is a B Echelon (I think that’s the correct term) lorry belonging to either Sherwood Rangers or 73rd Anti-Tank Regiment, RA (TA), all depending on those tricky census numbers again (I have in mind a ‘bombing up’ diorama with either a Sherwood Rangers’ Sherman or 73rd Anti-Tank Achilles). I have the option of a Bedford QLD or a Fordson Model W.O.T. 6 so, if you’ll forgive me for asking, which do you feel would be the most appropriate, and do census numbers still exists for any of the soft skin vehicles of either unit?

    In the hope of being able to put a little back (I’ve been all take, take, take so far), I found this IWM photo that shows several soft skin census numbers. It’s titled “168 Field Ambulance,” but judging by the landing tables, there’s a mix of 168 and 200 Field Ambulance vehicles plus those of other units.



    I am by no means a lorry expert (especially from the tailgate end), but I *think* the lorry to the left of shot is an AEC Matador, but what’s the lorry to the centre of shot, census number L5329069 (I think) and bearing the 8th Armoured Brigade Fox over a 1544 AoS marking. Any help identifying the make/model and/or unit would be much appreciated.

    and a second photo of the lorry in question further down the deck:



    Apologies in advance for yet more questions.

  10. Apologies for the double post. I tried to edit my previous post and ended up posting it again. I’ll get the hang of things eventually.

  11. AoS 1544 White numerals on Black flash, with 8 Armd Bde formation sign above and White bar below, is 168 Lt Fd Amb.

    200 Fd Amb is (with 50 Div formn sign) AoS 77 (Black flash) whose last digit is just visible at the rear of the ambulance on the extreme right of the second photo. Both digits are apparent on the ambulance's right side of the bonnet in the first photo.

    The lorry on the left is an Austin K5 3 ton GS 4x4 of C Coy 2 CHESHIRE (see the AoS 64 with the letter C above, and the TT formation sign of 50 Div, on the second photo) rather than an AEC Matador:
    A23891 - Notes.jpg

    All these match the Landing Table for LTIN 2190 which was LST 25's load on D Day.

    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
  12. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    The vehicles are clearly on the move in the second photo; you can see one vehicle descending the ramp. Reason I say this is that, judging by the coastline visible in the distance and knowing the rough shape of the coast, I'm surprised that they loaded - presumably onto a Rhino Ferry - so far out to sea. Must have been terrifying!
  13. Quite right Steve. The LSTs which had a Rhino Ferry in tow for the passage used it for unloading. A Report for this group of LSTs says:
    "Marrying Rhino ferries required considerable time due to condition of sea. Ships in Jig Area were being shelled from the beach".

    From LST 25's War History:
    "On June 6 - D-day for the Normandy operation - the "25" was off El Hamel [sic]. At "H" hour plus 30 minutes she discharged her load about 1 mile from the beach. This was accomplished by the 21 Dwks [sic] going to the beach under their own power and the remainder of the load being discharged onto the Rhino Ferry she had towed. She was the first LST to be unloaded in the"Gold" area. The next day the "25" was back in Southampton, one of the first vessels to return from the invasion of the continent. Here she disembarked the first casualty to arrive in England from the invasion and then loaded up for another run to Normandy."

    A23896 shows the Rhino Ferry loaded with ambulances sailing away from LST 25, now with an empty main deck:

    The discharge of LST 25's next load (US troops this time) onto Rhino Ferry RHF11 was photographed, also by Lt Russell, on 8-9 June:


    SDP and Tricky Dicky like this.

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