Not CRUSADER: Artillery Units and Gun Numbers in UK 1 Armoured Division, 8 April 1942

Background

Not directly relevant to CRUSADER, but I pulled the 1 Armoured Division Royal Artillery branch war diary (WO169/4056) at Kew, and found it only starts from April 1942. So this info is more for the folks who are interested in the Gazala position during the static period of 6 February to 26 May 1942.

What is interesting is that at this point 1 Support Group was not with its division, infantry and artillery provided rather by 200 Guards Bde and the Free French contingent.

Rhino

The symbol of the most heavily ‘armoured’ wild animal was obvious for an armoured formation. This particular badge accompanied by a sticky label with the number CB.5872 and ‘Badges Formation 1st Brit. Armd. Div.’ Origin of this label is not known. There were at least three versions of this badge. The earliest seems to be a simple standing rhino. A later version has a more aggressive appearance with the rhino charging, often with the addition of a curly tail. The story is that this version was adopted at Khataba in 1942 when the Division was refitting prior to Alamein. A Sapper in 3 Troop of the Cheshire Field Squadron RE painted a charging rhino for the signboard outside Div. HQ. The staff preferred this version and it was universally adopted. There is third version where the charging rhino has a segmented hide.(IWM)

Unit/Type of Gun 25-pdr 2-pdr Bofors (40mm AA) Miscellaneous
200 Gds. Bde.        
2 R.H.A. 16      
144 Fd Rgt  16 12 (1)    
76 A/Tk Rgt (237 Bty)   12    
274 Lt.A/A Bty.     10  
Post. Guns       6 (47mm) (2)
         
2 Armd. Bde.        
11 R.H.A. 24      
76 A/Tk Rgt. (239 Bty)   12    
76 A/Tk (1 Tp “C” Bty)   4    
82 Lt. A/A Bty     6  
         
Royals (3)        
76 A/Tk (1 Tp “C” Bty)   4    
         
Adv. Div.        
82 Lt. A/A/ Bty     3  
76 A/Tk (1 Tp “C” Bty)   4    
         
Rear Div.        
82 Lt. A/A Bty     3  
         
Free French Gp.        
197 Lt. A/A Bty     3  
         
Total 56 48 34 6 (47mm) (2)
 

Free French Force

1st Regiment 24 75mm (4)
Post. Guns 7 50mm (5)
  6 47mm (2)

Notes

(1) 102 A/Tk Rgt’s 288 Bty is struck through in the table, with its 12 2-pdr guns, and it appears these have been added to 144 Fd Rgt.

(2) Captured Italian guns

(3) Armoured Car Regiment

(4) Schneider Mle.1897 field guns

(5) Could be captured German Pak 38 – there is evidence these were re-conditioned and re-issued in this movie (unfortunately not online).

Abbreviations

A/A – anti-air

A/Tk – anti-tank

Bde – Brigade

Bty – Battery

Fd. Rgt. – Field Regiment

Lt. – Light

Post. – Positional (?) i.e. dug in or installed in fortifications

R.H.A. – Royal Horse Artillery

2 thoughts on “Not CRUSADER: Artillery Units and Gun Numbers in UK 1 Armoured Division, 8 April 1942

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