Kangaroos

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by spidge, May 27, 2007.

  1. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    An interesting commencement of a new idea and utilisation of tanks put in to storage after the release of the Sherman.

    The Canadian Kangaroos

    ram_01.jpg
     
  2. Bodston

    Bodston Little Willy

    My personal favorite is the Priest Kangaroo also known as the defrocked Priest
     

    Attached Files:

  3. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    UNITS LIFTED BY 1CACR The following units of the 21st Army group were lifted into battle by 1CACR at one time or another.

    Units Lifted by 1CACR
     
  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Churchill kangaroo:
    [​IMG]
    Experimented with postwar but eventually discarded.
     
  5. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Hi
    Forgive my bafflement but the Kangaroos that I first saw, serviced and at times drove were simply M4 Shermans that had their turrets taken off and the sides built up so that they were not unlike glorified Bren Gun carriers.
    My unit (4th QOH) used them to ferry infantry to forward positions and they were very sucessful.

    I've just dug up the following item from the Regimental Diaries that mentions Kangaroos and this is followed by an entry from my own diary

    April 17th - A & B Sqns married up with LIR and 9th Lancers and concentrated in area 331581. Intention, immediately the ARGENTA Gap was broken the Grp would advance North. Waited all day while others battled to break through ARGENTA Gap. C Sqn with same Infantry pushed on to within 1000 yards of T. GAIANA. From there to the bank was a flat bare expanse of ground very suitable for defence against Tanks. Intelligence reported there would be no opposition South of the EDICE. Kangaroos were ordered to speed to the bank by sections, the Infantry to dismount and Kangaroos to withdraw. These orders were carried out, only to find the bank was strongly held by paratroops. STRAWGROUP has one Kangaroo bazookad and one ditched which had to be abandoned under very heavy shellfire. TONIGROUP was more fortunate although they came under intense fire from all kinds of weapons. They suffered no losses. Own casualties 2 ORs killed and 1 wounded
    Wednesday 18th. April 1945
    Stonked near wood for solid hour. Corporal Todd wounded badly in head when airburst caught their Honey. Farmhouses burning, stuck in ditch.

    Ron
     
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  7. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Hi
    Forgive my bafflement but the Kangaroos that I first saw, serviced and at times drove were simply M4 Shermans


    The story of the Kangaroos is of a unit which used what it could, wherever it could be found. The vehicle chosen for their mission was initially the U.S. M7 Priest Self-propelled Gun, which embodied a 105mm howitzer in an open body set on an early Lee/Grant/Sherman chassis. As has been seen, in a momentous effort in the first week in August 1944, 72 of these vehicles were overhauled and modified as personnel carriers; subsequently they went on to prove a concept which remains the cornerstone of infantry operations to this day.
    Once the inherent value of such a unit was realized, and official steps taken to expand it into a full regiment, the Priests, which were by this time some 53 in number through battle damage and general mechanical attrition, were replaced by specially modified Canadian Ram tanks, which were available in quantity in depots in England (having been superceded as battle tanks by the U.S. Sherman, itself having been declared the standard of Commonwealth armoured formations).
    Along with the new Regiment came a significant headquarters infrastructure which also required different vehicles for reconnaissance, logistics and general administrative activities, which further changed the face of the unit as a whole.

    WITH THE viability of the 'Unfrocked' Priests limited by battle attrition and maintenance issues, a suitable supplement had to be found. It was realized that there were in excess of 500 Canadian-manufactured Ram tanks in storage in England; the Ram, being a predecessor to the U.S. Sherman, had been designated obsolete for general armoured corps use, due to design limitations imposed during the manufacturing process.
     
  8. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Hi
    Forgive my bafflement but the Kangaroos that I first saw, serviced and at times drove were simply M4 Shermans


    The story of the Kangaroos is of a unit which used what it could, wherever it could be found. The vehicle chosen for their mission was initially the U.S. M7 Priest Self-propelled Gun, which embodied a 105mm howitzer in an open body set on an early Lee/Grant/Sherman chassis. As has been seen, in a momentous effort in the first week in August 1944, 72 of these vehicles were overhauled and modified as personnel carriers; subsequently they went on to prove a concept which remains the cornerstone of infantry operations to this day.
    Once the inherent value of such a unit was realized, and official steps taken to expand it into a full regiment, the Priests, which were by this time some 53 in number through battle damage and general mechanical attrition, were replaced by specially modified Canadian Ram tanks, which were available in quantity in depots in England (having been superceded as battle tanks by the U.S. Sherman, itself having been declared the standard of Commonwealth armoured formations).
    Along with the new Regiment came a significant headquarters infrastructure which also required different vehicles for reconnaissance, logistics and general administrative activities, which further changed the face of the unit as a whole.

    WITH THE viability of the 'Unfrocked' Priests limited by battle attrition and maintenance issues, a suitable supplement had to be found. It was realized that there were in excess of 500 Canadian-manufactured Ram tanks in storage in England; the Ram, being a predecessor to the U.S. Sherman, had been designated obsolete for general armoured corps use, due to design limitations imposed during the manufacturing process.
     
  9. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Hi Spidge & Owen

    Sorry to be so pedantic regarding "my" Kangaroos but I must get the matter straight in my head before I let it drop.

    The nearest tank I have been able to find to the one I knew is at Wikipedia: Kangaroo (armoured personnel carrier - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
    but even that one is not identical to the ones we used in the 4th QOH.
    (I mentioned one of these in an article I wrote for the BBC WW2 archives at:
    BBC - WW2 People's War - Charlie 4 Is Not Answering My Signals )

    I have re-drawn (as well as my memory will allow) the one shown in Wikipedia so as to convey the extra height involved , this was particularly noticable when one was acting as aircraft spotter and standing in the position I have sketched... you were very high up.

    I wonder if there are any more photos "out there" ?
     

    Attached Files:

  10. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

  11. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Spidge
    Hi Ron,
    Like the ones half way down the page here?
    The Canadian Priest Kangaroo

    By Jove... I think you've got it !!!!
    Thanks
    Ron
     
  12. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  13. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Owen
    Ron, Lots of Italy Kangaroos on here.
    All new to me and most enlightening
    Thanks
    Ron
     
  14. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

  15. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    Just been reading in the war diaries I'm looking at: that the 24th Guards brigade trained for the big assault on the Argenta Gaps in Kangaroos. Whether or not they had them for the assault is unclear, but the exercise didn't go well and a Kangaroo's crew was lost when it hit a large number of Rigel mine.

    Now I'm a bit confused by this: Firstly because I wasn't sure if the Kanageroos were a name of a vehicle or the name of the exercise. But then I find out that a kangeroo is a Canadian carrier vehicle (not australian as I had naturally guessed); the first fully tracked carrier in fact.

    So was it in fact common near the end of the war for british home nation troops to have the kangaroo? And does anyone know anything about them?? The diary never mentions them again after the exercise.
     
  16. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Hi Phaethon
    It's 05:46 here in London and I've just looked in to find that here is someone asking a question that I am 100% qualified to answer :)

    Have a look at these entries in the Regimenta Diary of the 4th QOH:
    Excerpts from Regimental Diaries of the 4<SUP>th Queen’s Own Hussars for the period April 1st until 2nd May 1945.
    Also included excerpts from Ron’s Diaries for the same period.
    April 1 - 4Tp A Sqn carried 43rd RM Commando in Op ROAST and were extremely successful, 43rd Commando being responsible for 420 of the 1000 PoW taken by the Commando Bde. One Kangaroo was hit by 50mm but was recovered. No casualties. B Sqn, HQ and 2Tp in support of 38 Infantry Bde. 105's successfully engaged enemy spandau positions on COTIGNOLA railway embankment.
    April 2 A Sqn carried 2nd LIR on 2nd Armd Bde exercise, Armd protection by Queens Bays. B Sqn 2Tp engaged enemy position and tunnel openings on SENIO bank and CASA MANZON. 3Tp shot up bastion and blow in river bank on 6th RWK front.
    April 3rd - A Sqn carried 5th Buffs on 2nd Armd Bde exercise, Armd protection provided by 9th Lancers. B Sqn 3Tp shot up with considerable success enemy positions opposite 6th RWK.
    April 4th - B Sqn returned under command Regt and moved to Regtl area. Regt, less C Sqn came under command 2nd New Zealand Div.
    April 5th - A & B Sqns moved to GODO area.
    Mar 6th - Preparation for Op BUCKLAND.
    April 7th - Nothing to report.
    Sunday 8th. April 1945
    Colonel gave A & B squadrons griff talk for this 'final' campaign. Packed tank sheet and covered my bed with Honey canopy.
    Mar 8th - Tac and HQ Sqn moved to GODO area.
    Monday 9th April 1945
    Moved to other side of Traversare. Dug in & have bivvie to myself.. D day & H hour have started. One rocket landed fairly near. Leaflets dropped.
    April 9th - A SHQ moved to area 420385. 1Tp and 3Tp to area South of BAGNACAVALLO to operate under command 21st Tank Bde. 2Tp and 4Tp to area North of BAGNACAVALLO to operate under command 19th Infantry Bde. B Sqn moved to concentration area at BAGNACAVALLO. 1300 - C Sqn moved to assembly area to tie up with 27th New Zealand Btn of 9 Bde. 1700 - Tac HQ moved to 414411. 1920 - Op BUCKLAND commenced. 1930 - HQ Tp A Sqn carried the bridges to span the river SENIO. One OR wounded.
    Tuesday 10th. April 1945
    Spent in anticipation of a move. About 5 o’clock the Honey went out with rations for 4th Troop but returned without finding them. Fried chops!.
    April 10th - A & B Sqns crossed the SENIO. C Sqn with 27th New Zealand Btn crossed the SENIO and leaguered NW of COTIGNOLA.
    Wednesday 11th. April 1945
    Woken at 4 am to go into Lugo area with Recce party. Stood at X roads for a couple of hours. Area lousy with mines. Late breakfast when tanks arrived.
    April 11th - 0600 - B Sqn joined North Irish Horse in sweep northwards to area 3345, during which 30 PoW were taken. Own casualties 2 ORs killed and 1 wounded. 1400 - Tac HQ and A Sqn moved to outskirts of LUGO. 1630 - A Sqn 2Tp and 4Tp carried Gurkha Rifles, 1Tp and 3Tp carried RFF Rifles in an advance to the banks of the river SANTERNO. 2Tp and 4Tp went extremely well, unfortunately after 1Tp and 3Tp dropped their Infantry and were turning around they encountered A/Tk mines. Six carriers of 1Tp were damaged and one of 3Tp. No personnel casualties. C Sqn still in reserve.
    Thursday 12th. April 1945
    Bit of stonking last night. Moved into area South side of Santerno river & waited for bridge to be slung across. After supper lined up with 2nd. Armoured Brigade column.
    April 12th - 0800 - Capt AP Ridley-Thompson in command RHQ Tp of 6 Priests reinforced A Sqn. B Sqn joined Regt near LUGO. Regt, less C Sqn came under command 78th Infantry Div. 1500 - A Sqn married up with the LIR whom they are to carry tomorrow in 2nd Armd Bde Grp breakthrough from bridgehead across SANTERNO. B Sqn married up with 9th Lancers Sqn to provide additional Armd protection for Kangaroos. Both Sqns concentrated in area 352400.
    Friday 13th. April 1945
    Moved over Santerno. Some M.G. nuisance & one H.E. about twenty yards away.
    Bags of prisoners, Kiss from signora. "Liberatoris !". Chasing after tedeschis with 30 browning blazing!
    April 13th - A & B Sqns moved off with 2nd Armd Bde and passed through the bridgehead. Advance went very well as far as the canal crossing 315535 where the bridge was blown causing the advance to be held up. Considerable mopping-up was done on the way by the Priest borne Infantry. C Sqn moved North of the SANTERNO to pick up Infantry. 1Tp, 3Tp and half of HQ Tp formed TONIGROUP. 2Tp, 4Tp and the other half of HQ Tp formed STRAWGROUP. 9 Bde advanced parallel to Route 9 in a NW direction beyond MASSA LIMBARDA. The advance was made by Div cavalry on the left carried by STRAWGROUP and the 22nd Btn on the right carried by TONIGROUP. At first the advance was rapid but later Kangaroos met many ditches which slowed them down considerably. A number of PoW were taken. Own casualties one NCO killed and 2 wounded. The Sqn was subjected to very heavy shell and mortar fire during the whole of the day.
    Saturday 14th. April 1945
    Stayed at rear of 2nd.Armd.Bde. column. L.I 's meeting resistance on Reno bridgehead. Pulled into village the village in the evening then out to avoid stonking.
    April 14th - 2nd Armd Bde advance. A Sqn entered LAVEZZOLA to advance North to RENO bridge which on arrival was found to be partially blown. Considerable mopping-up was done by all troops during the day. Strong opposition was encountered from the North bank of the river RENO. B Sqn advanced through CAVAMENTO across Route 16 to river RENO.
    Sunday 15th. April 1945
    Couple of miles back, cleaning guns, airing blankets & tidying up in general. Put the old camp bed up & spent a very good night.
    April 15th - All Sqns spent the day reorganising and doing maintenance.
    Monday 16th. April 1945
    Early morning move. Watched eytie squad burying some tedeschi dead. Found Jerry rifle & ammo in the wood. Cpl. Boreman fixing the charging engine.
    April 16th - 1100 - CSqn moved across the SILLARO. STRAWGROUP picked up 27th Btn, TONIGROUP 22nd Btn. Limited objectives were planned but on arrival it was found that our own Infantry were in possession. Kangaroos took advantage of this and pushed on without difficulty, putting heavy pressure on enemy rearguard. 1200 - A Sqn moved across river RENO to area 331581 and contacted 11th Infantry Bde - awaited instructions. 1900 - B Sqn moved across RENO to area 331581.
    Tuesday 17th. April 1945
    Reveille at 4'ish & then hung around all day doing nothing. Our new Colemans Cooker arrived. S.Ps (self propelled guns) in next field pretty noisy but moved before night.
    April 17th - A & B Sqns married up with LIR and 9th Lancers and concentrated in area 331581. Intention, immediately the ARGENTA Gap was broken the Grp would advance North. Waited all day while others battled to break through ARGENTA Gap. C Sqn with same Infantry pushed on to within 1000 yards of T. GAIANA. From there to the bank was a flat bare expanse of ground very suitable for defence against Tanks. Intelligence reported there would be no opposition South of the EDICE. Kangaroos were ordered to speed to the bank by sections, the Infantry to dismount and Kangaroos to withdraw. These orders were carried out, only to find the bank was strongly held by paratroops. STRAWGROUP has one Kangaroo bazookad and one ditched which had to be abandoned under very heavy shellfire. TONIGROUP was more fortunate although they came under intense fire from all kinds of weapons. They suffered no losses. Own casualties 2 ORs killed and 1 wounded.
    Wednesday 18th. April 1945
    Stonked near wood for solid hour. Corporal Todd wounded badly in head when airburst caught their Honey. Farmhouses burning, stuck in ditch.
    April 18th - A & B Sqns forming part of 2nd Armd Bde Grp advanced to form bridgehead across FOSSA SABBASOLA at 240665. B Sqn in reserve. A Sqn worked hard all day to be rewarded with excellent results. RHQ Tp on the CL did bulk of the work but suffered 2 Kangaroo casualties. Air bursts over the 2i/c's Honey badly wounded 2 of the crew. In general the enemy were taken by surprise. Many SPs and Mark IVs were encountered but in conjunction with excellent fighter-bomber support throughout the day the majority were destroyed. Bag estimated to be 5 SPs, 8 Mark IV and five 88's. towards evening the Grp captured artillery personnel with their 105's intact. Sqn leaguered in area 252668. Major Ogier, OC B Sqn was wounded and evacuated. One OR killed and three wounded. C Sqn Kangaroos were used to ferry supplies to troops on the bank of the GAIANA and to bring back the wounded.
    Thursday 19th. April 1945
    Reveille at 4 am but move was cancelled. Put in some work on auxiliary engine. Swam in the stream at the side of the tank. Wrote letter. Some minor loot off prisoners.
    April 19th - At first light C Sqn picked up same Infantry, crossed the GAIANA and advanced to deposit them on the bank of the OUADERNA at dusk. 9th NZ Bde went into reserve. Kangaroos came back to leaguer in area 1 mile East of MEDICINA. B Sqn relieved by 56th Recce Regt on canal diversiva and returned to leaguer in area 238678. A Sqn less 2Tp resting. 2Tp had exciting day at PORTO MAGGIORE and had a Priest struck which had to be abandoned owing to very heavy shelling. 4Tp heavily shelled in rest area. Tp Ldrs Priest hit and was evacuated. One OR wounded.
    Friday 20th. April 1945
    Moved into next field. Tidied up turret & turned co-drivers seat around. Made flapjacks for dinner. 25 lb smoke shell landed in next field. Lumbered for 2nd. relief guard.
    April 20th - During the night three HQ Tps Kangaroos loaded and conveyed KAPOK bridging. One OR wounded. C Sqn resting. 0900 - BARNEFORCE created consisting of B Sqn 4th Hussars, B Battery RHA, B Sqn 56th Recce Regt and D coy 5th Northants and commanded by Lt Col AM Barne. Intention to pass through PORTO MAGGIORE and create bridgehead around river crossing at 259703 to enable engineers to erect a bridge. B Sqn were to go forward in 3 bounds and as they passed each bound they would call forward Infantry to consolidate. Before B Sqn could reach second bound they were very heavily shelled and were completely pinned down by fire from high velocity guns. The Infantry receiving support from the Tanks were able to consolidate on bound number 2. Any movement of the Tanks brought down very heavy fire. When dusk came there were still some enemy dug-in on the river bank. A very successful day. Total bag of PoW was 176. Casualties: Major Archer was wounded, 1 OR killed and 3 wounded.
    Saturday 21st. April 1945
    In the column again. M.O's Kangaroo operator caught it right next to me. As night came on we were left with no flank troops & didn't feel too hot. In bed by 4 am.
    April 21st - 0300 - On information from 2nd Armd Bde that enemy was pulling out, BARNEFORCE advanced to MOTTA. 1100 - B Sqn returned under command 2nd Armd Bde. 1300 - B Sqn moved to 209733 and advanced North with the Grp as reserve Sqn. 1300 - B Sqn still carrying LIR passed through bridgehead made by the Bays Grp to 190730 and made very rapid advance to 189821. An excellent run, and though the enemy were completely disorganised, there were isolated pockets of resistance. Casualties generally were very light and the run did not end until 0200 hours. Casualties: 1 Officer and 1 OR wounded.
    Sunday 22nd. April 1945
    Woke to find mortar crew right at my head in yard right in front of casa. Rations came up with T.R's kit (?). More prisoners. Slung my 'spare' rifle. Moved into fields.
    April 22nd - 0050 - Echelon, who had been brought well forward to replenish Tanks after this long run leaguered in GUALDO area. Shortly after arrival the area was heavily shelled, which continued for 5 hours. At dawn a civilian reported a German Officer and 2 NCOs had a field telephone 500 yards from leaguer. They were duly collected by the Recce Regt. 0600 - C Sqn carrying 9th New Zealand Bde advanced to VILLA BEATRICE, more than halfway to the RENO. A & B Sqns resting in area CONA.
    Monday 23rd. April 1945
    Late reveille & after usual packing found no move on. Repaired camp bed. Cooking all day. 'Unknown' firing small arms over our heads. Plane down.
    April 23rd - 0600 - C Sqn continued to advance and by 1400 hours had crossed the RENO having met little or no opposition. They leaguered in area NE of CENTO. A & B Sqns resting.
    Tuesday 24th.
    Flap in the night & we moved off at 2 am. Sqdrn Leader was blotto & consequently net was lively. Made sweep of Ferrara suburbs. Busty smashes door in.
    April 24th - 0500 - A & B Sqns moved to concentration area 239868 to tie up with 2nd Armd Bde Group. 1300 - A & B advanced with the Grp, 3 Armd Sqns up. Object to clear all enemy resistance East of a line drawn North to South from river PO to FERRARA. Exciting mop-up, 8 Mark IVs and 2 SPs knocked out and 160 PoW taken. 2300 - B Sqn withdrawn to CROSSARI DOPPIA and standing by to take part in a new plan. A Sqn continued mopping-up. Casualties: 4 ORs wounded.
    Wednesday 25th. April 1945
    Moved off at first light. Stopped at casa where Busty fitted out old people with suit. Pulled into new H.Q. area then out again. Finally stopped at factory.
    April 25th - 0200 - B Sqn moved NE through LA PAVONARA turning right at 174923. Object to reach river PO. Advance with Infantry support went well. 1Tp reached river PO at BORGO at approx 0800 hours. Sqn consolidated and was relieved by C Sqn 9th Lancers at 1300 hours. PoW 20.
    April 26th - All Sqns resting.
    April 27th - A, B & HQ Sqns at 24 hours notice to cross river PO.
    April 28th - Nothing to report.
    Sunday 29th. April 1945 *
    Move off due to ops going so well up North. Musso has been bumped off. Received some mags. Captain Walmsley reckons the Regiment has 'had it'.
    April 29th - C Sqn crossed the PO and Adige.
    Monday 30th. April 1945
    Still in same field. Small parcel arrives from home containing 'Dr.Goldstein's Medicine'. Strawberries & Cream for dinner. Film show in barn was George Raft's "Follow the boy".
    April 30th - C Sqn moved to PADUA.A, B & HQ Sqns still in area 155904 awaiting to cross the river PO.
    May 1945 CO: Lt Col AM Barne
    MAY 1945
    May 1945
    Tuesday 1st. May 1945
    Last day of tank cooking. Played cards in bivvie with Vic & Hewie. Taught them 'Oh Hell'
    May 2nd - C Sqn moving to PADUA.
    Wednesday 2nd. May 1945
    Jerry threw his hand in (in Italy & Austria). Fired all our 2" mortars,
    phosphorous bombs & verey lights & had bonfires all over the shop.
    Cease fire about 11 pm.
    Lots of references to the Kangaroos which were "bastardised" Sherman tanks that we used to ferry troops as near the the enemy as we could get them.

    If you need any more info come back here.

    Regards

    Ron
    </SUP>
     
  17. ozjohn39

    ozjohn39 Senior Member

    Ron,

    Did you ever have to give them a "jump start"?


    John
     
  18. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

  19. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    OZ

    Not that I can remember but they would have suffered exactly the same engine problems as any M4 Sherman tank. Remember, it was only the hull that had been altered, everything else, including the tracks, stayed the same.

    I remember we had discussed the Kangaroo before on this site, go have a look: http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/weapons-technology-equipment/10931-ram-kangaroos-canadian.html

    Ron

    Hi Ron; thanks for that, from what you wrote it looks to me like the Kanagaroos werent issued to the infantry brigades as the Bren Carrier was; but were part of the armoured brigades and loaned across to the infantry as needed. Do you think this would be a fair assesment?

    Also being a Canadian invention; it appears to have been adopted by the (home) British army and introduced in limited squadrons?
     
  20. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Phaeton
    Do you think this would be a fair assesment?



    Guess you are probably right but at best this would be conjecture, we are talking about events of 60 odd years ago :)

    Cheers

    Ron
     

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