What Unit Crusader II and Sherman III?

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Hosted by John Prigent and Steve Zaloga, this is a discussion group dedicated to the armoured forces of the many Allied nations of the Second World War.

What Unit Crusader II and Sherman III?

Joined: May 12th, 2007, 3:03 pm

March 23rd, 2012, 3:19 pm #1

This may have been discussed, but are these Crusader and Sherman tanks part of the 4th Armoured Brigade, 2nd New Zealand Division? Military Parade, Cairo, 1943.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/8270787@N0 ... otostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/8270787@N0 ... otostream/

Thank you for any help.

Grant
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Joined: November 18th, 2004, 12:46 am

March 23rd, 2012, 7:31 pm #2

Hi Grant,

The Crusader belongs to the 18th NZ Armd Regt and the Sherman to the 20th Armd Regt. Both were part of the 4th NZ Armd Regt.

cheers
David
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Joined: May 12th, 2007, 3:03 pm

March 23rd, 2012, 9:22 pm #3

Thank you very much, David. Is there an explanation for the use of 52 and 91 on the plates with the fern on the fenders? OPSEC?

Best wishes,
Grant
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Joined: April 24th, 2005, 12:23 am

March 23rd, 2012, 10:05 pm #4

COmbinations of the Aos and Formations were common late in the Desert War and seen on 23 AB tanks and others.
The Aos corresponds to the unit or its position in the formation e.g in an Armd Regt the following numbers were used from 43 onwards in almost all Commonwealth Armoured Formations and they were usually on Red but the HQ frequently on Black
50 HQ Armd Regt
51 Senior Armd regt
52 2nd Senior Armd Regt
53 Junior Armd Regt

I don't have my ref handy for the 91 but i am sure someone will chime in

The Silver Fern on Black was the NZ Div (Formation) insignia and worn on most of their vehicles. Later in Italy you see the Aos seperate from the Formation badge and on opposite sides of the hull which was the text book application. Many units had unique layouts of these and Tactical Markings which makes them easier to identify formations etc.

Cheers
Al
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Joined: May 12th, 2007, 3:03 pm

March 24th, 2012, 2:17 am #5

Thank you Al.
It becomes clear now.

Best wishes,
Grant
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Joined: November 18th, 2004, 12:46 am

March 24th, 2012, 5:42 am #6

Thank you very much, David. Is there an explanation for the use of 52 and 91 on the plates with the fern on the fenders? OPSEC?

Best wishes,
Grant
Firstly the 2nd New Zealand Division was not normal Prior to it's first action in 1940 there had been a desire to have an armoured unit within the NZ Division, but approval from GHQ was not forth coming and they were organized as a standard infantry division. During the defence of Alamein the 4th Infantry Brigade suffered heavy losses, in part due to a lack of armour support. This gave further impetus for NZ General Staff to push for an integral Armoured Unit. In September 1942 GHQ MEF gave it's approval and within a month the 4th NZ Infantry Brigade became the 4th NZ Armoured Brigade and it's three infantry regiments (18,19 & 20) became Armoured Regiments. With this change the 2nd NZ Div went from being a standard infantry division to a composite or mixed division, comprising an Armoured Brigade and two Infantry Brigades along with all the other supporting units.

Since the organisation of the 2nd NZ Div did not fit the standard pattern for AoS numbering, I can only assume that a new series was drawn up for them GHQ MEF. 4th Armd Bde's numbers were as follows:

HQ 4 NZ Armd Bde 65
18th Armd Regt 91
19th Armd Regt 80
20th Armd Regt 52
All numbers were in white on a RED background (that is the official line). As for why they are on black in the Crusader, I would take it that was the only paint available at the time. As for the placement of the formation sign above the AoS number, this seems to have been common practice within the 2nd NZ Div.
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Joined: May 12th, 2007, 3:03 pm

March 24th, 2012, 10:39 am #7

Thank you, David.
The 18th Armd Regt must not have kept the Crusaders for very long.

Best wishes,
Grant
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Joined: November 18th, 2004, 12:46 am

March 24th, 2012, 6:58 pm #8

Hi Grant

The 18th originally got three old Grants and three Crusaders around October 1942 as training vehicles. They eventually had 14 Crusaders, the official history makes no mention of the total number of Grants. They were all replaced by new Sherman tanks by mid 1943, prior to deployment to Italy.
The original plan was for each of the regiments to be equipped with two heavy squadrons of Grants and one light squadron with Crusaders. Just as a point on interest the 19th Armd Regt initially received one Crusader and two Covenanter tanks in November 42.

cheers
David
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