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British Armoured Cars In Europe - 1944-1945

by Peter Brown - Wimborne, Dorset, England

 

(Author's note - this article first appeared in ARMORED CAR Issue 35 of June 1996. Since then, a few things have happened. The Public Record Office now calls itself The National Archives. Its website http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/default.htm includes details of opening times and access to its online catalogue. For access to the Tank Museum archive, see http://www.tankmuseum.co.uk/library.html . Copies of the 'Half Yearly' reports which form the basis of the research for this article are available at both locations)

 

One area which is sometimes not covered in detail is the strength of units in terms of how many vehicles they had, and also of what type. Often references will say if a unit had tanks or armoured cars, and sometimes say what type they had, but more detailed records are often hard to find.  One source which does shed some light on this is the 'Half Yearly Reports on the Progress of the Royal Armoured Corps'. This series of documents, charting events in the RAC which covered all armoured units in the British Army, has a mass of details on organisation, training, vehicle development and related subjects. Early reports were short, but by the war's end a typical report was several inches thick, with extensive appendices covering figures.

These reports were compiled in June and December to cover the previous six months. Those covering the campaign in Europe are thus June and December 1944 and June 1945. They give the situation as it should have been around D Day, during the winter of 1944-45, and after the war's end. Like all sets of figures for a specific date they are best if they are taken often, as much can happen in six months the RAC Reports are a guide but other figures for in-between would also be useful to fill in the gaps.

A visit to the National Archives in Kew, London turned up file WO.205/151 with sets of figures for various AFVs of the 21st Army Group in North West Europe. Taking these two sources together, the following should show something of what British armoured car units had in the way of equipment. Comments have been added where I spotted areas where things are not what they seem. While all sets of figures include Armoured Car Regiments, some figures do not list the Reconnaissance Regiments which served with Infantry Divisions. They do not cover those RAF Regiment Flights which used armoured cars of various types.

I have tried to repeat these figures accurately here. In all cases, the layout of the figures has been made as far as possible similar, so as to enable you to compare like with like. To do this I have altered the order in which both units and vehicle types were recorded. Hopefully I have not added any errors in the process.

There are some problems with using these figures, mostly relating to what constituted an 'Armoured Car' to the British Army of the day. They had three classes of 'armoured cars'. The gun-armed Car, Armoured was in simple terms a fighting car, those used in NW Europe being Daimler, Humber, AEC 'Matador with a bigger gun and used to support the lightly armoured cars', the American T17E1 Staghound and M8 Greyhound and the Canadian Fox. The smaller and lighter Car, Scout was designed for reconnaissance work, and in the form of the open-topped Daimler Dingo or enclosed Humber Scout Car. These usually had a Bren light machine gun, although some crews increased the firepower as they saw fit and opportunity presented itself. Scout Cars were also used by various units, both armoured and non-armoured, as protected liaison vehicles.

The final type was the Car, Light Reconnaissance, with the main types in Europe being the British Humber LRC Mk III series and the GM Canada Lynx. Armament was again a Bren in a small turret, sometimes a .55" antitank rifle was carried but by this date these had largely been taken out of service. Again extra weapons may have been added. There were also numbers of the American M3A1 White Scout Car, often called just Whites, and officially the 'Truck, 15cwt, 4x4, Armoured Personnel'. These were used by various units as ambulances, radio vehicles and troop carriers. These, and the Car Light Reconnaissance, were officially classed as 'B' vehicles, these being usually unarmoured cars (automobiles), jeep and trucks. Armoured vehicles were classed as 'A' vehicles, and the figures I have seen only include these. Unit organisation tables include both A and B vehicles, and I have listed these where relevant.

Who had What?

The June 1944 RAC Report gives a 'Statement of 21 A Gp UE Res Entitlement and Holdings for 30 Jun 1944', or the Unit Entitlement (UE) or as it was often known, War Establishment of W.E., Reserve (Res) Entitlement and what they actually had (holdings). The figures are listed by vehicle type, including tanks and related vehicles, but have been stated here to show what each unit had. As all but a few units are shown at full strength, I would suspect they refer to the situation prior to D Day, or else show that replacement of vehicles in the field was 100% efficient.

Table One shows that armoured car units had a variety of different types of car, with Daimler armoured cars in fighting squadrons and Staghounds in unit headquarters. Support units had either AEC Mk III or M3 Half Tracks with 75mm guns. Anti aircraft cars should have been Staghounds with twin 5" Browning machine guns, a note with the figures states 'Humber held in aid until Staghound T.17.E.2 available'.  This would have been the AA version, converted from old Mk I cars and carrying four 7.92mm BESA machine guns. Both Daimler Dingo and Humber scout cars, Dingo seemed to be been allocated to the fighting squadrons, and Humbers to unit headquarters.

Table 1

21 A.Gp U.E., Res Entitlement and Holdings June 1944 (Extract 1 of 3)

Unit Daimler I 2pdr Staghound 37mm AEC III M3 H/T 75mm Anti Aircraft Daimler Scout Humber Scout
               
War Establishment 45 14 8 8 5 52 13
               
2 Household Cavalry Regt 45 14 8   5 52 13
Inns of Court 45 14 8   5 52 13
Royal Dragoons 45 14   8 5 52 13
11th Hussars 45 14   8 5 52 13
18 Canadian Armoured Car Regiment   67     0    
Belgian Armoured Car Squadron 18       0 12  
Dutch Recce Unit           10  

Note- all units were listed as fully equipped, apart from 18 Canadian AC Regt which was lacking its five AA armoured cars, and the Belgians were short of two AA cars

 

Also listed are 18 Canadian Armoured Car Regiment which was based on Staghounds and not Daimlers, the Belgian Armoured Car Squadron with a smaller unit establishment, and a Dutch Reconnaissance Unit with a few Dingos. Apart from the few AA vehicles all units were up to strength. Accounts of the Belgian Armoured Car Squadron and their own printed history, tell us that the Belgians did get Staghound AA cars just before landing in Europe.

According to "21st Army Group Order of Battle" by Malcolm A Bellis, these armoured car units were Corps troops and did not serve as part of divisions, although they operated with them and later on became part of their establishment. Their initial attachments were -

Other units also used armoured cars and scout cars, these are shown in Table Two. Note that here, some formations are listed individually, while for others just a total is given, and these are listed as 'Five'. AGRAs are Army Groups Royal Artillery, designed to provided extra artillery to lower formations as needed. SS Brigades are Special Service or Commando units.

TABLE 2

21 A.Gp U.E., Res Entitlement and Holdings June 1944 (Extract 2 of 3

Unit Humber IV 37mm Staghound 37mm Humber Scout Daimler Scout
         
21st Army Group Protection Troop   6    
         
2nd British Army HQ   3    
GHQ Liaison Regt     1  
GHQ Car Company RASC   0    
Five British AGRAs 5      
Four British Corps Signals CCRA 2 0    
Four British Corps Car Companies     12  
Four British Corps Protection Troops   12    
Four British Armoured Divisions 3 4 215 18
Three British Tank Brigades     141  
1st Tank Brigade     42  
4th Armoured Brigade     41  
8th Armoured Brigade     41  
27th Armoured Brigade     35  
30th Armoured Brigade     30  
33rd Armoured Brigade     35  
Nine British Infantry Division Signals 6 0    
Eight British Recce Regiments 224      
Two SS Brigade HQ   0    
30 Assault Unit Royal Marines     2  
         
1st Canadian Army HQ 2 1    
Canadian AGRAs   0    
One Canadian Corps Signals   3    
One Canadian Corps Car Companies     3  
One Canadian Corps Protection Troops   3    
4th Canadian Armoured Division   2 74  
2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade     35  
Two Canadian Infantry Division Signals *   0    
Two Canadian Recce Regiments 56      
         
Polish Armoured Division 0 2 68 6
         
Czech Armoured Brigade     26  

* the U.E. for these units stated that each British Corps Signals CCRA and each Armoured Division CRA should have has one Humber IV 37mm. Also, each British Corps Signals unit should have had two Staghound 37mm each, and each British Infantry Division should have had one Humber IV 37mm and two Staghound 37mm in its Signals organisation, while Canadian Infrantry Divisions were due 3 Staghounds. The Canadian AGRA was due one Staghound 37mm. The fact that units did not have all their cars was noted, and the lists states that 'alternative provision to complete made from within 21 A Gp resources'

 

There were also reserves, some with Armoured Replenishments Groups and others available to replace them. With these, the total picture was as in Table Three.

TABLE 3

21 A.Gp U.E., Res Entitlement and Holdings June 1944 (Extract 3 of 3)

  Daimler I  2pdr Humber IV 37mm Staghound  37mm AEC III M3 H/T  75mm Anti Aircraft Daimler Scout Humber Scout
With Units 198 297 159 16 8 20 254 853
Reserves 92 84 128 9 4 9 51 294

 

Of the reserves, 32 Staghounds, 37 Humber Scout Mk I and 80 Humber Scout Mk II were held by the Canadians.  One anomaly, the 2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry were the Recce Regiment of 51st (Highland) Division, but were equipped with Daimler Armoured Cars, not Humbers. They are not listed among the Daimler figures, and nine infantry divisions are listed as having signals cars, but only eight with Recce Regiments listed having Humbers. 3rd, 15th (Scottish), 43rd (Wessex), 49th (West Riding), 50th (Northumbrian), 51st (Highland), 53rd (Welsh) and 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Divisions were in France as of June 1944, with 52nd (Lowland) still in the UK but this still gives nine infantry divisions in all to be counted. I suspect somehow 2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry were missed for administrative reasons, perhaps not included in Daimlers which they had but should not have had, and not in Humbers which they did not have. 3rd Canadian Infantry Division were in France in June while 2nd Canadian Infantry Division arrived in July.

The National Archives figures lists what various units had in service on 21 October 1944. It shows what the units should have had - their W.E. or War Establishment, equivalent to a US unit's TOE - and also what they actually had. This only includes armoured cars, and not scout cars. See Table Four. They should have had eight support cars, and these were still either AEC Matadors or M3 Half-tracks. Note that the old M3 Half-track with 75mm gun were described as being "condemned", that is, unfit for use...

TABLE 4

From PRO File W0205/151

Unit

Daimler Staghound AEC III M3 H/T
War Establishment 45 14 8 8
2 Household Cavalry Regt 41 18 8  
Inns of Court Regiment 43 17 8  
Royal Dragoons 45 15   7
11th Hussars 43 17   8
         
W.E.   68    
18 Canadian Armoured Car Regt   67    

 

Malcolm Bellis also gives detailed breakdowns of what vehicles Armoured Car and Reconnaissance Regiments had. Counting only armoured vehicles, his lists give each Armoured Car regiment as having an HQ with 3 Staghounds and a White Scout Car - used as an ambulance - the AA Troop had 5 Staghound AA, the Intercommunication Troop had 13 scout cars, and each of the 4 Squadrons had a HQ of 4 Staghounds, a scout car and a White, and commanded five Troops each with 2 Daimler Armoured Cars and 2 Scout Cars, a Heavy Troop with 2 "75mm Armd Cars" and a scout car, and a Support Troop with a scout car and three half-tracks - total 19 Staghounds, 5 Staghound AA, 8 Matadors, 5 Whites, 40 armoured cars and 65 scout cars.

Here, the figures suggest more armoured cars were on strength, and Staghounds were either those with 37mm guns or Command/Control versions. Scout car figures tally.  The Reconnaissance Regiment of each Infantry Division had a Scout Car in its HQ. Under this HQ was an HQ Squadron with mortars and anti tank guns towed by trucks or carriers (the small tracked Universal Carrier used at the time) and three Squadrons, each with its own HQ containing one armoured and one light recce car, controlling three Scout Troops with a Recce Section of two armoured and two scout cars. The troop also had two Carrier Sections with three carriers each, while each Squadron also had an assault troop carried in 15cwt (3/4 ton) trucks. Total armoured cars of all types should thus have been 21 armoured cars, 21 Light Recce Cars and a Scout Car.  However, the various figures list 28 armoured cars for each Infantry Division, which would indicate that maybe another Squadron (seven cars) was employed? As the Scout Car strength is not listed, this is not easy to confirm. Mr. Bellis' figures agree with notes in a training pamphlet of March 1944, and more or less agree with the table in Only the Enemy In Front, although there each Troop was said to have had two armoured cars and three recce cars, replacing an earlier system of using four recce cars. The training pamphlet describes a Troop as being split into two patrols, so I would think it would have two cars of each type.

Another possibility is than the 'other' cars were employed by the Division, perhaps as protection for its HQ units. One list of vehicles in service with units (given in Orders of Battle by Lt Col HR Joslen) states that an Infantry Division should have had 31 Armoured and 32 Light Recce cars, enough for the equivalent of another squadron of the Recce Regt or a similar sized unit for HQ protection.

The Inns of Courts regimental history says they had 12 AEC Matadors - 3, not 2, in each Heavy Troop, but otherwise as above, prior to D Day. Photos show vehicles of these types. Other regimental histories do not quote figures, but photos in others confirm that 11th Hussars had Daimler Armoured Cars, often with the Littlejohn attachment fitted and usually with a single Vickers K machine gun on the turret top, Staghounds, both Humber and Daimler Scout Cars, and at times Half-track 75mm guns and AEC Matadors. The Royal Dragoons had Daimler Armoured and Scout Cars, Humber Scout Cars and Staghounds, although I have not seen shots of any Matadors belonging to them. The use of Daimlers by the 2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry is taken from photos in an account of a former member's service and the unit history.  The National Archives file also listed 18 Canadian Armoured Car Regiment (12 Manitoba Dragoons) who had 67 Staghounds of the 68 they should have had. No mention is made of other wheeled armour. They must have used a different W.E., compared to British units who used 72 armoured cars of all types they may not have been too different.

Another set of figures in the same file (see Table Five) lists what vehicles were available in depots to be issued to units on 30th September 1944 with projections of what would be available at the end of following months assuming expected production and shipping plans were met. It could not of course forecast how many vehicles would be issued to replace battle damaged and worn out vehicles, but was intended as a guide as to what replacements should have been on hand.

TABLE 5

Forecast of Estimated Availability of AFVs to 21st Army Group Appendix "A" to WO Letter No RAC2(a)BM/226 dated 25 Oct 44

Type Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar.
Humber Armoured Car 4 11 31 57 57 57 57
Daimler Armoured Car 43 93 133 173 203 233 263
Staghound Armoured Car 0 50 110 170 230 290 350
AEC III Armoured Car 7 27 47 67 87 91 91
Daimler Scout Car 72 160 210 260 310 360 410
Humber Scout Car 217 277 327 327 327 327 327

 

It does seem to show two interesting things however. Although not conclusive proof in itself, where the numbers of vehicles expected to be available continues to increase, as in Daimler and Staghound armoured cars and Daimler (Dingo) scout cars, these vehicles would still have been in production. However, monthly production of the Daimler armoured car was expected to fall from 1944 to 1945, Daimler Scout Car production was steady each month. The Humbers, both armoured cars and scout cars, were expected to be no longer built after the end of 1944, as figures for them do not increase after December 1944, and AEC III production was to end shortly afterwards.

Staghounds seem also to have been still in production, or perhaps large enough stocks were on hand in the US or UK to supply anticipated needs. There were no figures recorded for Staghound Mk III armoured cars - the British conversion mating old Crusader tank Mk III turret refitted with a 75mm gun to the standard car - or for the Anti Aircraft version, although the latter type may well be listed elsewhere among other AA vehicles.

The December 1944 RAC Report has its figures laid out with vehicle type against unit, and is thus easier to follow and copy, my version is Table Six. Note that some organisational changes had taken place. 11th Hussars were now attached to 7th Armoured Division, Inns of Court to 11th Armoured Division, 2nd Household Cavalry Regiment to the Guards Armoured Division, Royal Dragoons to 3rd British Infantry Division, and 1st Corps Troops included 18th Canadian Armoured Car Regiment. I am also pleased to see the lone Staghound of 2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry, taken into use around August 1944, listed. If nothing else it suggests the compiling process was thorough.

TABLE 6

21 Army Group Armoured Vehicle Holdings as at 30th December 1944 (Wheeled Vehicles ONLY)

Unit Daimler 2pdr Humber 37mm Staghound 37mm Staghound Comd/Cont AEC 75mm M3 H/T 75mm Staghound AA Daimler Scout Humber Scout Ford Scout ACV
2 Br Army 3             1 1    
1 Corps     72           6 51  
8 Corps   3             3    
12 Corps 3               7    
30 Corps   1 3           2    
7 AD 45   18 3   8   95 88   17
11 AD 45   18         64 88   19
Guards AD 42 1 19 2 10     55 96   18
79AD       2         35   3
1 Assault B                 57    
8 AB                 42    
6 Gds TB                 60    
29 AB                 40    
30 AB                 30    
31 TB                 37    
33 AB               7 39   2
34 TB                 48   2
3 Inf Div 71 4 15   8     53 13    
15 Inf Div   28   2              
43 Inf Div   28                  
49 Inf Div   28             1    
51 Inf Div 28   1                
52 Inf Div                 37    
53 Inf Div   28                  
1 Cdn Army 3                    
2 Cdn Corps     3                
4 Cdn AD               10 76   19
2 Cdn AB                 37   2
2 Cdn Inf Div 28 11                  
3 Cdn Inf Div 27 7 2                
1 Polish AD       3       4 75   19
Czech AB                 50   4
Belgian Group 16                    
R Neth B               10      
ARG 13 1 12 2 5   9        
Total 324 140 163 14 23 8 9 299 968 51 105

Abbreviations

AD - Armoured Division

AB - Armoured Brigade

Inf Div - Infantry Division

Cdn - Canadian

R Neth Bde - Royal Netherlands Brigade

TB - Tank Brigade (independent brigade equipped with Churchill tanks for infantry support)

1 Assault Brigade (B), later known as 1 Armoured Engineer Brigade, used the Churchill AVRE engineer tank.

79th Armoured Division also had AVREs under its control, as well as specialised Sherman DD amphibious and Crab mine clearing tanks and Ram armoured personnel carriers.

 

Oddly, figures for scout cars in infantry divisions apart from 3rd (British) Infantry Division are still not listed. As such I would also think the totals are lower than what was actually in service. Note that the Ford Lynx is now listed, although only 1 Corps Troops have them.  As to designations, the marks of Daimler and Humber have been dropped. Whether the Daimlers now include Mk I and Mk II is not certain, although as all Humbers are described as having 37mm it is safe to assume they are Mk IV cars. Figures for Staghound include those converted to Command and Control vehicles with extra radios. All AA armoured cars are classified as Staghound, none are in unit service although 9 are available in the Armoured Replenishment Group or ARG.

A few M3 Half-tracks with 75mm were still in use with 11th Hussars. The total figures for these lists 105 with just 8 recorded, where the rest came from is not even hinted at! Note also that some Ford Lynx scout cars are now in use, and the numbers of Armoured Command Vehicles is now listed. As these are wheeled and armoured I have included them here.

With the war over, the June 1945 figures in Table Seven are for those units which were still occupying Germany. Some units have gone, and some new types of car have been taken into service, or at least recorded separately. American M8 Greyhounds have appeared in very small numbers, and GM Canada Fox as well, mostly in Base Depots with only a handful with units. The Fox is listed as "37mm Fox" which may be a typing error, as the Fox carried a .5" Browning as its main weapon, as far as I know no 37mm armed cars were series produced.

TABLE 7

21 Army Group Wheeled Armoured Vehicle Holdings as at 30th June 1945

Unit

Daimler 2pr

Humber 37mm

Staghound 37mm

Staghound 3" How

Staghound 75mm

Greyhound 37mm

AEC 6pr

AEC 75mm

Fox 37mm

Humber AA

Staghound AA

Daimler Scout

Humber Scout

Ford Scout

ACV HP

ACV LP

1 Corps 2 4 60         8     10 80 8      
8 Corps 45 4 15         6 1 2 1 54 21   1 1
30 Corps 42 2 10   7           5 50 12   1  
7 AD 46   6                 94 93   3 12
11 AD 52   18                 74 99   6 12
Guards Div. 41 1 20         8     1 55 146   7 12
79 AD     2               4   11   3  
1 Armd Eng. B                         48      
4 AB                         59   1 2
8  AB                     1   31   2  
30 AB 2                   3 1 41      
31 TB                     2 1 47      
33 TB                       5 28      
34 TB                       1 64     2
3 Inf Div. 28                   1 21 7      
5 Inf Div. 22 4       1           17 5      
15 Inf Div.                       22 21     1
43 Inf Div. 23 6                 1 15 1   1  
49 Inf Div.   28                     4      
51 Inf Div. 26   1                         1
53 Inf Div. 1 28                   18 1     1
1 Cdn Corps.     54 5   1         5 27 1 37    
4 Cdn AD                       2 70   2 10
5 Cdn AD     64   7 2     7     2 76 57 3 13
1 Cdn Inf Div.                       1 2 1    
2 Cdn Inf Div. 26               5     14 6      
3 Cdn Inf Div.                 1     7 3      
I Polish AD     3           5     4 75   6 12
                                 
Total Units 356 77 253 5 14 4   22 19 2 34 565 980 95 36 79
Base Depots 216 173 103 6 61 2 67 60 130 8 280 311 209 156 14 79
Others 77 27 37         10 7 12 34 50 209 36 4 6
Overall Total 649 277 393 11 75 6 67 92 156 22 348 926 1398 287 54 108

Note - 'Others' figures for Daimler Armoured Car included 4 cars listed against 'Training'. As no other vehicles are listed as such I have included them there.

Abbreviations used for tables Six and Seven

AD - Armoured Division

AB - Armoured Brigade

Inf Div - Infantry Division

Cdn - Canadian

R Neth Bde - Royal Netherlands Brigade

TB - Tank Brigade (independent brigade equipped with Churchill tanks for infantry support)

1 Assault Brigade (B), later known as 1 Armoured Engineer Brigade, used the Churchill AVRE engineer tank.

79th Armoured Division also had AVREs under its control, as well as specialised Sherman DD amphibious and Crab mine clearing tanks and Ram armoured personnel carriers.

Post-war, the Guards Armoured Division lost its tracked armour and became knowm as Guards Division

 

Some Close Support Staghounds were then around, a few seem to be those with the 37mm replaced with a 3" Howitzer and others described as 75mm are presumably the Mk III version with the Crusader tank type turret. For some reason, AEC Mk IIs with 6pdr guns were shipped to base depots, although none were in service with units.

Armoured Command Vehicles are now listed under their two types, LP for the Low Power radio fit, and HP for the High Power version.

The Final Reckoning

A set of figures in the June 1945 report lists Total Cumulative Losses to 30th June 1945 of various armoured vehicles in all theatres of war. For 21 Army Group, 645 of all types of armoured car are recorded as lost. (For the record, total losses of 'Current Operational Types' to that date was 1871) This figure will include some lost in road accidents - for comparison, 312 were recorded lost in the UK, which would include losses due to bombing - or even just plain worn out. But the greater part of them will have been damaged and destroyed in action. No figures for crew casualties are listed with them - they may be included elsewhere in the Report - but they will have been high enough. Some would say, too high.

Whether or not, this account and the figures are only part of the story of British Armoured Cars at war in Europe in 1944 and 1945. The main, human story, of those who died in action, and the human cost then and since in wounds both physical and mental, is something we should never forget. It may not be as easy to list in mere numbers, but it is far more important.

Bibliography

'Datafile 8 - 21st Army Group Order of Battle' and 'Datafile 9 - 21st Army Group Organisation and Markings' by Malcolm A Bellis are both privately printed, and are recommended for anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of British units and markings of the period. Contact Malcolm at 10 White Hart Lane, Wistaston, Crewe CW2 8EX, England with IRC or SAE for details of availability.

For other organisational details and markings, see 'British Military Markings 1939-1945' by Peter Hodges and Michael D Taylor. The old edition by Peter Hodges published by Almark in 1971 is long out of print, a new edition expanded by Michael Taylor was produced by Athena Books, 34 Imperial Crescent, Town Moor, Doncaster, DN2 5BU, England as ISBN 1-899695-00-1

Also mentioned was 'Orders of Battle - United Kingdom and Colonial Formations and Units in the Second World War 1939-1945', Prepared for the Historical Section of the Cabinet Office by Lieut-Colonel H F Joslen, Rtd (late DCLI) published by HMSO London in 1960. It was reprinted by a company called the London Stamp Exchange and more recently by the Naval and Military Press www.naval-military-press.com.

Of the Regimental Histories, there are often many of these for each British regiment, some covering a short period such as the Second World War and others the whole history of a unit going back to the 17th Century. Their style, content and usefulness to those interested in AFVs varies, and as they are often printed in fairly limited quantities their availability is often low and price high in due proportion. As the British Army - or more correctly, the British Government - amalgamates and even disbands regiments at regular intervals, just knowing which regimental title a unit had at a particular time, and what it has now, is an art and the subject of many books in itself. For this article I consulted the following, which are out of print unless stated -

'The Eleventh at War' by Brigadier Dudley Clarke CB CBE is the story of XIth Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) through the years 1934-1945. It was published by Michael Joseph in London in 1952.

'The Devil's Own' by Major D M Hatton is the complete history of the Inns of Court Regiment. Published by J A Allen and Co of London in 1992, it should still be available.

'The Royal Dragoons' by R J T Hills, one of the Famous Regiments series published by Leo Cooper Ltd of London in 1972, covers the 1st Dragoons up to its amalgamation to become part of The Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons) in 1969.

'The Second Derbyshire Yeomanry' by Capt A J Jones MBE (White Swan Press, Bristol, 1949) is the basic 'official' history of the unit. Thanks to my local library, I have also read the book, "The Mad Recce" by Frank Knappett (Merlin Books Ltd, Braunton, Devon, 1984) which is the author's experiences serving in them during the war year.

'La Derniere Galop des Hussards' is the Historique du 1st Belgian Armoured Car Regiment, Regiment Blindé 'Cavalerie'. Compiled by a group including former serving soldiers, it was published by editions J Dieu-Brichart in Belgium in 1995. I obtained a copy recently via the Brussels Tank Museum, and when I can I will read it, although as it is in French it will be slow going... Luckily, any Anglophones interested in the unit can read of them in 'The 1st Belgian Armored Car Squadron in World War II' by Raymond Surlemont, Armored Car #16 March 1993 and #17 May 1993

Addendum

Since the original article was produced, an overall history of Canadian units has been published which includes the armoured car and recce units. This is 'The Royal Canadian Armoured Corps - An Illustrated History' by John Marteinson and Michael R McNorgan with Sean Malony. Published by the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps Association in co-operation with the Canadian War Museum. Produced and distributed by Robin Brass Studio, Canada ISBN 1-896941-17-6

 

Peter Brown

April 2005