Organisation of Independent Armd Bde Coys RASC

Discussion in 'Trux Discussion Area' started by Tom OBrien, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member


    As for 310 Coy RASC (Armd Bde), the numbers from the Coy's Op Instruction No 1 dated 15 May 44 are as follows:

    146 3-ton G.S. split as follows:
    Coy H.Q.: 4
    Comp Pl: 2
    W/S Pl: 3
    "A" Pl: 34
    "B" Pl: 34
    "C" Pl: 34
    "D" Pl: 34
    "E" Pl: 1


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  2. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member


    Well I think I can make sense of those figures for 310 Coy thanks to the summary. The subunit throwing me is the Wksp Pl, which had nine 3-tonners of all types overall, but only three GS versions. The other six were made up of two 4x2 breakdown or 6x4 tractor, and two Wksp and two Stores, again 4x2 or 6x4 and vehicles. Perhaps they are listed as 6x4 types in the WDs?

    So 34 Tk Bde had a Pl of 6-tonners prior to June 1944? That's definitely different to the Apr 1945 WE, which shows a Tk Bde with four 3-ton Pls and an Indep/non-Div Armd Bde with three 3-ton Pls and one 6-ton Pl. Possibly the writers hadn't caught up to the fact that Tk Bdes were now being treated as Armd Bdes.

    Interesting comment that the Coy was 'reduced'; when part of the Mixed Divs the Tk Bde Coy had five Tpt Pls and three RDIs, so they lost one of each on the new organisation.

    Thanks for delving, even though it is disappointing to know I got the structure wrong for certain units at least.

  3. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member


    I wouldn't worry about getting some of these details wrong - this is seems to be a complete minefield especially as the amount of detail in each war diary is also completely random.

    One further detail from the 552 Coy war diary that stunned me was the entry for 5 May 1944 which stated that:

    "Vehicles drawn found to be 3 tonners halted by Brigade to Corps refers"

    Well that is what it seems to say, which suggests that 511 Coy RASC handed over the wrong type of vehicle although you would have thought someone might have noticed that before they got back to 552 Coy. I can only imagine the discussion between the Coy OC and the Pln Commander!:D

    Obviously this means that I will have to look in the 511 Coy WD to see what they have to say for themselves.


  4. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member


    Vehicle details for the W/S Pln of 310 Coy RASC (Armd Bde) are recorded as:

    3 x 3-ton G.S.
    2 x 3-ton T. Stores [Transport?]
    1 x 3-ton S. Bty [Starting Battery?]
    2 x 3-ton W/S
    1 x Lorry 3 T. B/D
    1 x Tractor B/D

    This was for 15 May 1944. As I go through the war diary I will see if they mention any more details re types of breakdown.

    This also seems to resolve the 112 Ford 4 x 4's issued to 5 Coy RASC as per post no. 1:

    i.e 3 x 34 in 3 3-ton Tpt Plns, 4 in Coy HQ, 2 in Comp Pl, 3 in W/S Pl and 1 domestic vehicle in the 6-ton Pln.

    Anyway of t'other Armoured Brigades so far I've covered:

    5 Coy - 4 Armd Bde
    90 Coy - 27 Armd Bde
    552 Coy - 8 Armd Bde

    Do you happen to know which Company was attached to 33 Armd Bde? Another one to add to my list to look at!:D


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  5. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    Surprisingly I might have the RASC details for 31st Tank and 33rd Armd Bdes, from some info on 79th Armd Div I was gifted years back.

    31st Tk Bde had 16 Coy, RASC while 33 Armd Bde had 380 Coy, RASC, both as of Jan 1945. Assuming these were the same Coys as in June 1944, hopefully that will let you know where to look.

    Re the abbreviations above, I'd hazard that T Stores is Technical Stores, W/S is Workshop, B/D is Breakdown, leaving S.Bty as a bit of a puzzle. That actually makes ten 3-tonners, so one above allotment, possibly Spare Batteries?

  6. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Cheers Gary,

    I'll hopefully take a peek at them in the New Year.

    BTW I don't remember saying but before re-equipping with Ford 4x4s 310 Coy were equipped with Bedfords (4 x 2 IIRC).


  7. Maxine Smith

    Maxine Smith Member

    I have just inherited my grandfathers Service Record and Soldiers Release Book. He was with 552 Coy RASC in the Middle East. I also have his old battered `Map used across France , Belguim, Netherlands, and into Germany. On the Map it says it was the Progress Route for 170th Coy RASC. JUNE 27/44 TO 1/1945. Across the top of the map it say 170 Coy RASC Coloured Brigade Itinerary.I have not been able to find out much about the 170 coy so I put it in the search engine and came across Toms mention. I am afraid I find it all so confusing and being new to this I am trying to figure out all the different companies and just wanted to thank you for the posts. Maxine
  8. Historic Steve

    Historic Steve Researching 21 Army Group/BAOR post VE day

  9. Maxine Smith

    Maxine Smith Member

    Thank you so much I really grateful for the information. Maxine
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  10. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member


    I've got some of the war diary of 170 Coy RASC (Tank Bde) for 1944. Is there anything in particular you would like to see? The reference at Kew (The National Archives) is WO171/2400:

    27 June 1944
    Coy disembarked on Gold Beach near LE HAMEL. Some vehicles waded and others landed dry-shod. Coy assembled at Transit area near BUHOT.


    25 December 1944
    Weather fine and frosty.
    Platoon parties and Xmas dinners, all excellent. O.C. visited all platoons and detachments.

    The Company had about a dozen officers and nearly 450 men, and provided 2nd line transport for the 34th Tank Brigade.

    Please ask if you would like to see more, I'd happily share what I have. And try to explain some of the stranger army terminology where I can.


  11. Maxine Smith

    Maxine Smith Member

    Oh Tom this is wonderful. Thank you so much. I was kind of just trying to follow his journey through Europe using his 170 coy RASC map. Somewhere on his journey he was given/found a clay tile depicting the face of Jesus Christ. There is a Dutch name and address on the back and it is dated 1944. I was going to try and find out where about this was . The name and address on the back is quite hard to decipher. I was trying to put something together for my mother to read about his time in the military both in the Middle East and Europe. She was 3 when he went and about 8 when he came come. Francis never spoke much about it to my grandmother and mum but quite recently really my mothers cousin had been told by her mother and father that my grandfather had been in Belsen but i did read somewhere that there were a lot of RASC that went there to acknowledge the atrocities that had happened. I am also really interested in it all. The reference you have given me at Kew is that the war diary and is it easy for me to apply for it. Thank you so much I am so grateful sorry if I have gone on a bit. Maxine
  12. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Hi Maxine,

    No problem, I'm very happy to help.

    As for documents from Kew. There are a couple of fine gentlemen on this site who would copy the war diary for you for a much more reasonable rate than the National Archives charge.

    Best bet is to look here:

    Copying TNA Files

    It looks like the Brigade moved into Holland in early October and took part in operations that liberated much of the southern half of the country:

    6 October 1944
    Weather fine.
    0630 Coy. moved to HERENTHALS J.9792. Men in billets.

    7 October 1944
    Brigade now under command 51 (H) Div. for ops in area TURNHOUT.
    Coy. engaged in adjusting loads to conform with Coy. load table.
    1600 Remainder of Bde. Gp. arrived in general area GHEEL I.0888 – EINDHOVEN E.4317.

    8 October 1944
    Population friendly and cooperative.
    0700 P.P. opens GHEEL I.0888.
    1000 A.P. and P.P. opens VELDHOVEN E.3615.
    Locations of Adm. Area units now:-
    23 (Br) L.F.A. LARUM K.0588
    170 Coy. R.A.S.C. (Tank Bde) HERENTHALS J.9792.
    34 Tank Bde. O.F.P. BOERKEL K.0288
    34 Tank Bde. Wksps. R.E.M.E. THELEN K.0297

    9 October 1944
    Weather dull.
    A.P. and P.P. remains open.
    1900 Warning Order and O.Gp. for Adm. Area move to area EINDHOVEN E.4317.

    10 October 1944
    Adm. Area moved to new area. Unit locations now as under:-
    23 (Br) L.F.A. KNEGSEL E.3313
    170 Coy. R.A.S.C. (Tank Bde) OERLE E.3516
    34 Tank Bde. O.F.P. ZANDOERLE E.3415
    34 Tank Bde. Wksps. R.E.M.E. VELDHOVEN E.3614
    Considerable confusion as to areas as between selves, R.A.F. and 154 Inf Bde.

    11 October 1944
    Coy H.Q. moved to VELDHOVEN E. 370138 due to being in 154 Inf. Bde. area.
    Visit of C.I.M.T. attached 1 Corps.

    12 October 1944
    Normal routine. A.P. and P.P. remain open.

    13 October 1944
    Normal routine. A.P. and P.P. remain open.

    14 October 1944
    1330 )
    1630 )
    1930 )
    Cinema show for Bde. Gp. in EERSEL.

    15 October 1944
    Weather wet and windy.
    All Coy. denims exchanged by 1 Corps M.L. & B.U.
    Coy. Rest Centre opened in ANTWERP.

    16 October 1944
    O.C. to 1 Corps and recce of proposed new area south of TURNHOUT.
    1200 Warning move order for 18th.

    17 October 1944
    Normal routine.
    1830 O.Gp. for move to new area.

    18 October 1944
    Adm. Area moved to new area. Unit locations as under:-
    267 Fwd. Del. Sqn ROYEN E. 0203
    23 (Br) L.F.A. LILLE J. 9697
    170 Coy. R.A.S.C. (Tank Bde) POEDERLE J. 9796
    34 Tank Bde. O.F.P. LILLE J. 9797
    34 Tank Bde. Wksps. R.E.M.E. ZOERSEL D. 8802
    C.I.M.T. inspection commenced.

    19 October 1944
    Weather wet and windy.
    0500 “Clarkeforce” action commenced.
    1400 A.P. and P.P. opens J. 910056.

    20 October 1944
    Normal routine.
    Baths for unit at TURNHOUT.

    21 October 1944
    Normal routine.
    Baths and cinema for unit at TURNHOUT.
    1900 Coy. Dance in HERENTHALS – great success.

    22 October 1944
    Weather good.
    Normal routine. A.P. and P.P. drawings light. Difficulty in replenishment of 95 m/m smoke.

    23 October 1944
    A.P. and P.P. moved to BRECHT D. 843103.

    24 October 1944
    Warning move order for 26th.
    1900 Coy. concert for Adm. Area HERENTHALS – great success.

    25 October 1944
    O.C. and 2 i/c recce new Adm. Area CALMPTHOUT D. 7414 – LOCHTENBERG D. 7905.
    2000 O. Gp. for move.

    26 October 1944
    Move of Adm. Area. Unit locations now as under:-
    Bde H.Q. Rear. D. 754159
    B. Ech. 9 R.T.R. D. 746131
    B. Ech. 107 R.A.C. D. 748165
    267 Fwd. Del. Sqn D. 747175
    23 (Br) L.F.A. D. 9710
    170 Coy. R.A.S.C. (Tank Bde) D. 790053
    34 Tank Bde. O.F.P. D. 748168
    34 Tank Bde. Wksps. R.E.M.E. D. 780045
    1000 A.P. and P.P. opened rd. junc. D. 749158.
    A.P. and P.P. 1 remains BRECHT D. 843103 to serve 147 R.A.C.

    27 – 29 October 1944
    Normal routine. A.Ps and P.Ps remain open.

    30 October 1944
    A.P. and P.P.1 moved to D. 836188.
    A.P. and P.P.2 moved to D. 682260.
    1400 Cinema section for Coy. and Bde. Wksps.
    1430 )
    1800 )
    Stars in Battledress show for Adm. Area – fair.

    31 October 1944
    Recce of new Adm. Area by Capt. West, area WOUW D. 6730.
    1245 O. Gp. for Coy. move.
    1300 Coy. move cancelled due to lack of room.
    1400 Adm. Area. Less this Coy. moved to new area.

    If you can get hold of a book called Tank Tracks by Peter Beale it would show you what type of operation the brigade was engaged in at this time and a general overview of the operations that 170 Coy RASC were supporting.


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  13. Maxine Smith

    Maxine Smith Member

    Thank you Tom for all the information. I have managed to get a 2nd hand copy of the Tank Tracks. and I will definitely take up your offer of the 'Fine Gentlemen' for the copies. We have a small Inn in Aberdeenshire so we are holed up here for a little while yet I expect. It does have its advantages in as much as I am in my element with having the time to continue with this research. Thank you and Happy Easter you and everyone. Take care. Maxine
  14. Maxine Smith

    Maxine Smith Member

    I am not sure if this will be relevant to any of your research. Here is a photo F W Jones 170 progress route map. There is no mention in his Service Book about 170 coy only 552 coy . I hope its of interest. I have tried to see if a full map exits as you will see part of it is missing it is well used. I think the missing bit gives the amount of miles /references between certain towns/areas they are going to. I wondered if anyone knows what the figures are on each area ie. 1/23 , 11/30 etc. I am also not sure where I should be putting this let me know if I should be posting it elsewhere. Also it will be a miracle if the map attaches okay we will see :) . Maxine

    Attached Files:

  15. Maxine Smith

    Maxine Smith Member

    Having another try.

    Attached Files:

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  16. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member


    I think they are just dates - 9/25 = 25th September for example. It is strange that they are in the US format though.

    Thanks for posting this up - I wonder if all the members of the company got one?


  17. Maxine Smith

    Maxine Smith Member

    Here are two vehicles with my grandfather. Would you be able to tell me what they are. If I am on the wrong thread please do tell me and I will delete for you. Thank you. Maxine

    Attached Files:

  18. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member


    Great photos - thanks for sharing.

    I'm definitely NOT an expert on British WW2 vehicles, but I would suggest that:

    1. Very difficult - but I suspect might be a Bedford OYD 3-ton truck. Very dodgy identification though.

    Bedford OY - Wikipedia

    2. I think this one is a Morris Commercial C8 15 cwt truck

    The CS8 - Morris Commercial Club

    Hopefully one of the real experts might be along and spot this. The census number beginning with Z does mean light truck so that would tie up with number 2 quite nicely.

    Hope that helps or at least gives you some clues for further "googling". :D


  19. Maxine Smith

    Maxine Smith Member

    Thank you Tom :)

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