Number of Kangaroos by type?

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Chris C, May 7, 2019.

  1. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Are there any figures for the number of Kangaroos created by converting for instance Priests vs Rams?
  2. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Well-Known Member

    I extracted this data from a series of Canadian articles about the Kangaroos published in 2014. Unfortunately I forgot to make a note of which site I found this on.

    Priest Kangaroo or "Unfrocked" Priest
    Between 2 and 5 August 1944 Advanced Workshop Detachment "Kangaroo" (from where the name originated) converted 72 M7 Priest GMC from 12,13 & 14 Field Regts Royal Canadian Field Artillery to Kangaroos. A further 4 vehicles were converted the next day and held in reserve by II Canadian Corps. 36 went to each of 3 Cdn & 51st Highand Divs for Operation Totalise which started on 7 August.

    1st Cdn APC Sqn was formed at the end of August and was authorised to hold to have 100. Only 55 were available however, and only 50 were allocated to it. These were in service in diminishing numbers until 30 September 1944 when they were withdrawn in exchange for Ram Kangaroos.

    A similar program was run in Italy where 102 "Unfrocked Priests" were produced from Oct 1944 with 56 delived to 4th Hussars and 40 to the 14/20th Hussara in 9th Armoured Brigade by April 1945 (info from New Vanguard 201)

    Ram Kangaroo
    The Ram Kangaroo conversion program was authorised on 9 August 1944 with an initial 100 conversions planned for the Canadian Army by Canadian engineers of No 1 Canadian Base Workshop based at Borden Camp in Hampshire. This was completed by 22 August 1944 and the first arrived in France on 18 Sept. A further two batches of 25 were ordered by 16 September 1944. So Canadian orders seem to have totalled 150 with 101 reported to have been completed by 26 Sept. This doesn't seem to make sense given that the first 100 were supposed to have been completed a month earlier.

    64 were issued to 1st Cdn APC Sqn on 1 October.

    After that the numbers get confusing. On 9 Oct 1944 a meeting of interested parties in 21st Army Group finalised plans for 2 APC Regts each with a Regt HQ & 2 Sqns requiring a total 106 plus 12 reserves per Regt, suggesting a total requirement of 236. These became 1st Cdn APC Regt (created on 24th Oct and incorporating 1st Cdn APC Sqn as A Sqn of the new unit) and 49th APC Regt (converted from 49th RTR with an HQ, A & C sqns). There was a plan to increase each Regt to 4 sqn which suggests another 236 would be required, but this was dropped in Dec 1944, although 49th APC Regt formed a third Sqn in March 1945.

    On 14 October 1944 1st Cdn Army noted the requirement for its Regt would be 162 vehicles not 118 i.e. 106 for the 2 sqns plus 50 reserves plus an additional 6 vehicles with extra radios for Regt & Sqn HQs. The latter were to be conversions of Ram armoured ammunition carriers. Canadian holdings ranged from 59 at the end of Oct 1944 to 85 on 5th Nov, to 105 in May 1945 and 160 plus 20 converted from Ram armoured gun towers by July 1945.

    At the same time an agreement was reached that the Canadians would transfer 330 Ram tanks to Britain for conversion since all Canadian needs for APC, Armoured Gun Towers and Armoured Ammunition Carriers were being met. This was not finally agreed by the Canadian Govt until Dec. Canadian losses were however to be made good from this 330. Note this is in addition to the 400+ Ram tanks transferred to Britain in exchange for Shermans in 1943/44.

    49th APC Regt started to receive Ram Kangaroos at the beginning of Nov 1944. These came from the 330 agreed to be transferred by the Canadians. So conversion of these 330 vehicles must have started before final authoristion had come through from the Canadian Govt. An additional F Sqn was formed in March 1945. If it was fully equipped this Regt would have had the agreed 118 APC rising to 177 in March 1945.

    So how many were finally converted? No complete records seem to be available. There is further confusion over numbers since some armoured gun towers and armoured ammunition carriers were then converted to APCs for the Canadians. Taking account of the above, assuming full unit strengths and ignoring losses there could have been 180+ for the Canadians and 177+ for the British i.e. 357 as a bare minimum perhaps rising to 500+ depending on the number of vehicles converted out of the 330 allocated to Britain.
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  3. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Well-Known Member

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  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  5. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    That's brilliant! Thank you Ewen and VP!
  6. KevinT

    KevinT Senior Member

    Hi Ewen,

    Here are 40 M7 Priests that were converted to Kangaroos for 14/20 Hussars.

    S169299, S169322, S169330, S169332, S169338, S169357, S169384, S169388, S214461 ( Ex 4/22 Field, 6 South African AD ), S214466 ( Ex 4/22 Field, 6 South African AD ), S215672, S215692, S215917, S215934, S215937, S230472, S230485, S230488, S230500, S230524, S230531, S230535, S230545, S230546, S230623, S230625, S230626, S230628, S230629, S230631, S230632, S230633, S230634, S230635, S230636, S230637, S230640, S230641, S230642, S230649

    52 1 CACR M7 Priest conversions.

    S214461, S214527, S214533, S214589, S214590, S214593, S214615, S215745, S215753, S215756, S215760, S215761, S215764, S215765, S215766, S215769, S215773, S215775, S215781, S215782, S215826, S215828, S215830, S215832, S215834, S215836, S230636, S215839, S215842, S215845 ( Ex 14th Field ), S215848, S215869, S230649, S215874, S215878, S215880, S215881, S215883, S215891, S215905, S230527, S230560, S230570, S230574, S230580, S230582, S230589, S230592, S230595, S230597, S230604, S230605


    Last edited: May 7, 2019
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  7. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I'm not sure my question is directly relevant to this discussion, but does anyone know how approximately how many Kangaroos of either type it took to lift a complete infantry battalion?
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  8. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    It's still an interesting question :)
  9. canuck

    canuck Closed Account


    The 1st Canadian Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment, Canadian Armoured Corps, was equipped with 106 ‘Ram’ Kangaroo Armoured Personnel Carriers. The basis for that establishment being the capacity to transport an entire infantry battalion.
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  10. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

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  11. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    My guess: Each Kangaroo could lift a section of 11 infantrymen … four were (more than) sufficient for a platoon (44 men) … 12 Kangaroos could lift a Company (three infantry platoons or a total of 132 men) … 48 could carry the four infantry Coys of a battalion (528 men - excl. Heavy weapons/Support Coy, which had its own transport) … and 144 Kangaroos were required to carry the infantry components of a Brigade (three infantry Bns or 1584 infantry men).

    In the cases I encountered, of infantry battalions operating with Kangaroos, only half of the units (2 Coys) were lifted into battle by Kangaroos, while the other Coys moved in behind on foot mopping up enemy resistance that had been by-passed.

    BTW ( … I couldn't resist :rolleyes:) pictures of a real, life RAM Kangaroo which can be found at Mill/Holland:

    Kangaroo 2.jpg


    Kangaroo 2.jpg

    See also: VERITABLE 1945: the Canadian finale (Moyland Wood & Goch-Calcar road)
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
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  12. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Well-Known Member

    Part 2 of the above linked article gives the planned troop lift for a section, troop and squadron of Ram Kangaroos. This is broadly in line with stolpi’s comments above up to batt level.

    AIUI usually infantry tactics at Brigade level involved an assault with 2 batts and one in reserve. So if only 2 companies in each assaulting batt required lifted by Kangaroos, then a single Kangaroo squadron of 53 vehicles was sufficient to support a brigade I.e. 2 companies in each of 2 batts. A kangaroo Regt with 2 squadrons would therefore be sufficient to support a divisional assault on a 2 brigade front with the third brigade in reserve, which I believe was the norm.

    The Kangaroos after Oct 1944 were part of 79 Armd Div and only attached to infantry divisions for specific operations.
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  13. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Well on that note:

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  14. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    Much of the RAM part of the story is contained in this file. CMHQ called for the first 100 vehicles to be urgently converted from RAM IIs, 10 August 1944, to be delivered within a fortnight. An additional 25 vehicles were added a few days later for reserve purposes - hundreds were ultimately converted.

    There is an interesting postscript: when 21AG advised that Centaurs would shortly be issued in lieu of RAMs in late April 1945, the Canadians expressed a clear preference to receive only RAMs. I wonder whether this reflected concerns over the Centaur or was this simply a matter of logistics.

    CMHQ 141 provides further background. Confusingly it states that “In this new role the Priests came to be known as Kangaroos and continued to be used for several months” but also that “The guns were later replaced and the equipment turned over to the Americans”, though no date is given for their return.
    We touched on this in another thread where SHAEF became involved in returning M7s to U.S. Forces from late July 1944 and the prospects of returning the defrocked Priests was raised – the evidence was incomplete and inconclusive. Do you have any dates to go with this data please Kevin, and what were your sources?

    Finally, I read in official papers that the tactical requirement was that each vehicle would carry an infantry section – this in turn would have dictated Unit Entitlements in any formation.
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
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  15. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    This is the sketch of the tactical deployment of the 4th Cdn Inf Bde's attack on the Goch-Calcar Road (19 Feb 45):
    Tact depl Kangaroos.jpg

    Please note, that the tactical deployment varied: e.g. 6th Cdn Inf Bde on the opening day op Blockbuster (26 Feb 45). It seems that two complete battalions (South Saskatchewans and the Queen's Own Camerons of Canada) were lifted into battle in Kangaroos, while the Fusilier Mont Royal moved forward on tanks. In that case a number of approximately 2 * 48 = 96 Kangaroos (about two Squadrons) were required to move a Brigade.

    6th Bde Blockbuster Phase 1.jpg
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
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  16. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Well-Known Member

    Fascinating stuff Richelieu!
    Having read it I make the Canadian total 367 by Dec 1944 made up as follows:-
    Ram APC 182 (including 106 + 76 reserves)
    Ram Ammo Carriers 90
    Ram Wasp 36 (24 + 12 reserves)
    Ram gun towers 59

    However this is where I get confused. Britain had already been supplied with RAM APCs by that time, possibly as many as 182 to give their regt the same eqpt as the Canadians. The 330 only seems to get released in Dec. So in the final accounting did the 182 come from the 330 or were they supplied as extras? Certainly with some of the gun towers being surplus to requirements seem to have gone back into the pot to supply other needs.

    The requirements and available vehicles seems to be one thing but how that matches the actual conversions and their allocation to units is what is now puzzling me.
  17. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    stolpi, what is the origin of that diagram for the Goch-Calcar road? :)
  18. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    On the carriage capacity, the British and Canadian WEs (both issued Oct44) give the same outline;

    1 Section (three APCS) - Inf Pl HQ and three Secs
    1 Troop (four Secs) - Inf Coy HQ and three Pls
    1 Sqn (four Tps + SHQ with five APCs) - Inf Bn HQ and four Coys
    1 APC Regt (RHQ and two Sqns) - two Inf Bns

    21 Army Group Infantry Notes No.11, dated March 1945, gives a tiny bit more detail;

    1 Sec (three APCs) - Inf Pl HQ and three Secs
    1 Tp (four Secs) - 2 APCs for Coy HQ, 1 reserve, 9 for the three Pls
    1 Sqn (four Tps + SHQ) - 3 APCs for Bn HQ, 2 reserve, 48 for the four Rifle Coys

    These two WEs remained in use through to the end of the war. 49th APC Regt was authorised a third Sqn around March1945, though 1st Cdn Armd Carr Regt did not follow likewise. I have some overall figures for APC holdings circa 1945, but I'm sure they only include the RAM, I'll have a look if I get chance.

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  19. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    I took it from the regimental history of the Fort Garry Horse. The other diagram is from the War Diary of the 6th Cdn Inf Bde.
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  20. KevinT

    KevinT Senior Member

    Numbers came from several sources, WD's, Roddy de Normann, Bill Miller Jr ( son of Bill Miller snr one the originals from 1CACR, to name but a few.

    Have a look at
    This was run by Bill Miller Jnr and although it looks like it has not been updated for some time there is some really useful information on the site.

    The attached might be of interest too.



    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 8, 2019
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