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1960's Combined Arms Tactics


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#21 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 1147 AM

Having looked into this a bit more, I have remembered reading that 7th Armoured Division and 11th Armoured Division both paired armoured regiments and infantry battalions in the Second World War. This appears to have been a divisional decision rather than doctrine. By the time of the Normandy landings, each armoured brigade within an armoured division contained a motorized infantry battalion mounted in half-tracks. The doctrine called for one company to be attached to each armoured regiment.
Given this, and what we've discussed about the 70s onwards, I think it is reasonable to assume there was formal all-arms task organisation in the 50s and 60s.
Best,
Greg.

Thinking on, there was a lorry mounted brigade in the division, and I think there was a backtrack mounted battalion in the tank brigade. Which would explain their presence at Villers Bocage.

I must hit the books, it's been too long since I refreshed my memory.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 24 August 2019 - 1147 AM.

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#22 WRW

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 1404 PM

British Armoured Bde late 44 and 45 usually had 3 Armoured Rgt  &  1 Motor btn (IIRC) - may have ToE somewhere

 

also Lorried Infantry Bde - 3 more or less normal btn 

 

then there was 79 Dvn supported infantry units that had kangaroos attached as needed

 

the Guards Armoured (and maybe 11 Armoured) that theoretically had Armoured Bde and Lorried Bde but ended up with 4 Armoured/Infantry groupings - both battalions in this case as the Guards are a tad eccentric


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#23 FLOZi

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 1745 PM

How would the tanks and troops typically be deployed within those brigades though?


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#24 GJK

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 1223 PM

How would the tanks and troops typically be deployed within those brigades though?

The motor battalions were mounted in half tracks, with one company attached to each armoured regiment. The lorry-mounted infantry battalions from the armoured division's infantry brigade typically travelled on the decks of the tanks until the start line before dismounting to carry out their tasks.

When Kangaroo APCs began to be used, they appear to have been used on an ad hoc basis. For example, during Op TOTALIZE in Normandy the Canadians (who followed British doctrine and were part of 2nd British Army) mounted the normally lorried infantry in Kangaroos which followed the tanks. The official history is worth a read (https://www.ibiblio..../Victory-9.html). The difference between the Second World War and the early Cold War is that the APCs did not belong to the infantry battalions, they were attached on orders of higher headquarters.

Hope this helps.

Greg.

Edited by GJK, 26 August 2019 - 1225 PM.

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#25 FLOZi

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 1617 PM

 

How would the tanks and troops typically be deployed within those brigades though?

The motor battalions were mounted in half tracks, with one company attached to each armoured regiment. The lorry-mounted infantry battalions from the armoured division's infantry brigade typically travelled on the decks of the tanks until the start line before dismounting to carry out their tasks.

When Kangaroo APCs began to be used, they appear to have been used on an ad hoc basis. For example, during Op TOTALIZE in Normandy the Canadians (who followed British doctrine and were part of 2nd British Army) mounted the normally lorried infantry in Kangaroos which followed the tanks. The official history is worth a read (https://www.ibiblio..../Victory-9.html). The difference between the Second World War and the early Cold War is that the APCs did not belong to the infantry battalions, they were attached on orders of higher headquarters.

Hope this helps.

Greg.

 

Exactly the sort of details was hoping for, thanks, and a great read. If possible I'd like to know more about how sub unit attachments worked and if it operated in a similar way in other nation's forces?


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#26 GJK

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 0112 AM

For how a British late WW2 armoured division operated, these videos of Operation GOODWOOD are useful:

https://youtu.be/JMoTtDxTal8
https://youtu.be/0Ehkp3hBoQM
https://youtu.be/EUUHahXghI0
https://youtu.be/0_XxVUmKwAw

Note that this was 11th Armoured Division's second ever operation, so infantry-armour cooperation was still in its infancy. The 7th Armoured Division, having fought in North Africa and Italy, was considerably more advanced at this time in terms of all-arms operations, as can be seen from this website:

http://www.desertrat...m#Villersbocage

In terms of other nations, Canada and Poland followed British doctrine. I don't know much about the Americans, and the videos above should give some idea of the Germans.

Best,

Greg.
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#27 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 0218 AM

This is all really interesting stuff, thank you fellas.


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#28 WRW

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 0523 AM

in late 44 Guards Armoured morphed into  more or less tribal groups - Grenadier _ tank & infantry, likewise Coldstream and Irish Guards

 

there was also a group with Welsh Guards Armored - not 100% if infantry was also Welsh

 

Not sure how tribes were organised - I think btn groups of 3+1 - Tank and Infantry & Infantry & Tank


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#29 FLOZi

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 1403 PM

US training film circa 1947 about Tank Batallions reinforced with infantry & artillery companies 

 

 

 

From this and Goodwood videos (and the Totalize history) it seems attachments were typically company size.


Edited by FLOZi, 27 August 2019 - 1619 PM.

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#30 GJK

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 1421 PM

in late 44 Guards Armoured morphed into  more or less tribal groups - Grenadier _ tank & infantry, likewise Coldstream and Irish Guards
 
there was also a group with Welsh Guards Armored - not 100% if infantry was also Welsh
 
Not sure how tribes were organised - I think btn groups of 3+1 - Tank and Infantry & Infantry & Tank


Absolutely, my apologies for not including the Guards Armoured Division in my original responses. Guards Armoured were also unused until Normandy, like 11th Armoured Division, so developed their combined arms tactics at the same time.

Out of interest, you may have noted that the infantry brigade in a British late-WW2 armoured division had three infantry battalions, with a fourth (the motor battalion) in the armoured brigade, but the armoured brigade contained three armoured regiments. But as WRW says, four infantry-tank groups were formed. The fourth tank regiment was one of the armoured reconnaissance regiments which was mounted on Cromwell tanks. The other armoured reconnaissance regiment in the division was equipped with armoured cars, much like today.

Best,

Greg.
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#31 GJK

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 1424 PM

But I guess now they just cross attack companies/squadrons, rather than form company teams?


Sorry Stuart, missed this first time around.

Up to when I left in 2014 yes, but this was the same as the late 80s onwards. With the reorganization under A2020 I think it is probably different these days.

Best,

Greg.
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#32 R011

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 2158 PM

in late 44 Guards Armoured morphed into  more or less tribal groups - Grenadier _ tank & infantry, likewise Coldstream and Irish Guards
 
there was also a group with Welsh Guards Armored - not 100% if infantry was also Welsh
 
Not sure how tribes were organised - I think btn groups of 3+1 - Tank and Infantry & Infantry & Tank

Absolutely, my apologies for not including the Guards Armoured Division in my original responses. Guards Armoured were also unused until Normandy, like 11th Armoured Division, so developed their combined arms tactics at the same time.

Out of interest, you may have noted that the infantry brigade in a British late-WW2 armoured division had three infantry battalions, with a fourth (the motor battalion) in the armoured brigade, but the armoured brigade contained three armoured regiments. But as WRW says, four infantry-tank groups were formed. The fourth tank regiment was one of the armoured reconnaissance regiments which was mounted on Cromwell tanks. The other armoured reconnaissance regiment in the division was equipped with armoured cars, much like today.

Best,

Greg.

As far as I know, there was only one recce regiment in an armoured division in 1944/45. In Italy, it had a mix of Stuarts and cruisers (Shermans in 5 Canadian Armoured, probably the same in UK armoured divs). Div recce regts in infantry divisions had a mix of armoured cars, scout cars, and carriers.

For a time in the winter of 44/45 the div recce of both 1 Canadian Infantry Division and 5 CAD were dismounted and used as infantry as were some LAA regts.

In France, the armoured div recce regt was equipped and organized like the other armoured regiments in the div, except that UK divs had Cromwells in lieu of 75 mm armed Shermans.
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#33 GJK

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 0122 AM

in late 44 Guards Armoured morphed into  more or less tribal groups - Grenadier _ tank & infantry, likewise Coldstream and Irish Guards
 
there was also a group with Welsh Guards Armored - not 100% if infantry was also Welsh
 
Not sure how tribes were organised - I think btn groups of 3+1 - Tank and Infantry & Infantry & Tank

Absolutely, my apologies for not including the Guards Armoured Division in my original responses. Guards Armoured were also unused until Normandy, like 11th Armoured Division, so developed their combined arms tactics at the same time.

Out of interest, you may have noted that the infantry brigade in a British late-WW2 armoured division had three infantry battalions, with a fourth (the motor battalion) in the armoured brigade, but the armoured brigade contained three armoured regiments. But as WRW says, four infantry-tank groups were formed. The fourth tank regiment was one of the armoured reconnaissance regiments which was mounted on Cromwell tanks. The other armoured reconnaissance regiment in the division was equipped with armoured cars, much like today.

Best,

Greg.
As far as I know, there was only one recce regiment in an armoured division in 1944/45. In Italy, it had a mix of Stuarts and cruisers (Shermans in 5 Canadian Armoured, probably the same in UK armoured divs). Div recce regts in infantry divisions had a mix of armoured cars, scout cars, and carriers.

For a time in the winter of 44/45 the div recce of both 1 Canadian Infantry Division and 5 CAD were dismounted and used as infantry as were some LAA regts.

In France, the armoured div recce regt was equipped and organized like the other armoured regiments in the div, except that UK divs had Cromwells in lieu of 75 mm armed Shermans.
Having checked, you're right technically, as the armoured car regiments belonged to corps, but in the latter stages of Normandy and through to the end of the war there appears to have been informal ownership by the armoured divisions. 7th Armoured had 11th Hussars, 11th Armoured had the Inns of Court and Guards Armoured had 2nd Household Cavalry. Main source is the book 'British Tanks in Normandy' but the subject is touched on in other books and online articles.

The official divisional reconnaissance regiments were mounted on Cromwell as you say. 8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars in 7th Armoured, 2nd Northamptonshire Yeomanry followed by 15th/19th Kings Royal Hussars in 11th Armoured and 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards in Guards Armoured.

Best,

Greg.

Edited by GJK, 28 August 2019 - 0128 AM.

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#34 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 0130 AM

 

But I guess now they just cross attack companies/squadrons, rather than form company teams?


Sorry Stuart, missed this first time around.

Up to when I left in 2014 yes, but this was the same as the late 80s onwards. With the reorganization under A2020 I think it is probably different these days.

Best,

Greg.

 

Thank you, again thats very interesting.


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#35 R011

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 0134 AM

Thank you Greg. I was rather wondering who did div recce when the nominal recce regt was just another tank unit.
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#36 Chris Werb

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 1915 PM

I know the UK retained Kangaroos into the 1950s as I've seen them used in films of demonstrations on Salisbury Plain. I doubt they were ever actually on the establishment of a British infantry battalion though, which begs the question, to whom did they belong?


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#37 R011

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 2026 PM

During the war to 1st Armoured Carrier Regiment, formed mostly from pers from the 25th Canadian Armoured Delivery Regiment, and 49th Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment.formerly 49 RTR. Both units were part of 79 Armoured Division.

After the war I understand the British units were RASC?

Some Canadian M4A2E8 were converted to APCs in the fifties and seem to have belonged to the RCAC School at Meaford Ontario.

Edited by R011, 28 August 2019 - 2030 PM.

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#38 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 29 August 2019 - 0152 AM

Going back to postwar for a moment, I remember reading that when we first bought FV432, they actually rerolled a tank regiment as drivers of them for the first infantry regiments. Which kind of illustrates how technically unaware many of the first mechanised infantry regiments were.


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#39 FLOZi

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Posted 29 August 2019 - 1357 PM

"Those battalions in half tracks gradually replaced them with four-wheel drive vehicles and the Humber FV1600 series. (These were APCs built on a one-ton truck chassis and could carry 6-8 men) Normal infantry battalions could be carried by an RASC platoon of 30 three-ton trucks, but there were not enough of these to have a platoon for each infantry battalion. (The lorried brigades should have sufficient RASC transport to carry everyone). There were also two RASC units with de-turreted tanks and old M3 halftracks, allotted to each of the two infantry divisions in 1956 (These were disbanded in 1957). As late as 1956 only two infantry battalions in BAOR (those in 7th and 20th Armoured Brigades) had some APCs (the Humbers). These were replaced 1957 by the Saracen 6-wheeled APC. The RAC took over this role with 14th/20th King's Hussars using two squadrons to man APCs and its third in tanks to replace the disbanded independent squadron in Berlin. 4th RTR then took over this role from Nov 1960 to Apr 1963. The infantry (1st Bn Royal Northumberland Fusiliers and 1st Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers at the time) finally took over responsibility for these vehicles and their drivers in 1963. It was only after this that APCs (the new FV432 tracked series) gradually became introduced to the remaining infantry in BAOR. This might have taken until very late in the 1960s" - Watson & Rinaldi, again


Edited by FLOZi, 29 August 2019 - 1358 PM.

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#40 GJK

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 0241 AM

Thanks, very interesting.
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