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"Vehicle Cencus in Germany 1945"

by Peter Brown - Wimborne, Dorset, England

 

In file WO.171/4320 War Diary of Main HQ 22nd Armoured Brigade at the National Archives in Kew is an order dated 18 July 1945. With the abbreviations expanded, it states -

1, In order to make necessary plans to maintain in the theatre at all times a sufficient proportion of operationally fit AFVs it has become necessary to call for an AFV Mileage Return,

2. You are therefore requested to render a return in accordance with the instructions outlined below:-

(a) The return will be rendered in the form of an Appendix "A" (see copy attached) in TRIPLICATE.

(b) The return is to show the numbers as at 1800 hours on 21 July 1945 of tanks by types and marks which have completed mileages as shown in Appendix "A" since new, or since last major overhaul if applicable.

(c) A lost of AFVs by the types and marks required in the Return is attached hereto as Appendix "C". Vehicles will be listed in the order given and the serial numbers will be strictly adhered to. No return is required of vehicles not mentioned in this Appendix.

(d) The return will be rendered separately from the weekly AFV State as at 21 July.

3. It is requested that this return is despatched by you so as to be received by this HQ not later than 28 July 1945.

Appendix "C" - List of AFVs by Types and Marks to be covered by AFV Mileage Return as at 21 July 1945 has 48 types of tracked vehicle including Churchills, Shermans, Comets, M10 17pdr and Ram 25pdr and also several wheeled types. These are -

Staghound I 37mm

Staghound II 3in Howitzer

Staghound III 75mm

Staghound AA

Humber IV

Daimler

AEC III

M3 Half-track

Sadly the results with vehicle serial numbers, mileages and the total numbers are not in the file, though they may still exist somewhere if someone wants to seek it out. The main value of the order is that it shows what armoured cars were in use in Germany at the time.

Some would have been more common than others, of the Staghound I far more 37mm than II with 3" Howitzer - these being only the small number brought by Canadians from Italy - though the III with 75mm should be more numerous while Staghound AA had generally gone out of use back in 1944 when the need for antiaircraft vehicles was not great as the Allies had air superiority.

There were a handful of Greyhounds in NW Europe but these were not to be recorded.

No Mark for the Daimler is listed, certainly Mk I would have been around with Mk II coming into use as photos show them at various parades later in the year.

The AEC III and M3 Half-track would, like the Staghound II and III, would have been used to support the 2pdr and 37mm equipped cars. There would have been few M3 Half-Tracks with 75mm around by this dates, various reports stated that the few around were worn out.

Strangely, only Armoured Cars are included and not Scout Cars, while Light Reconnaissance Cars were B Vehicles anyway.

 

Peter Brown 9 July 2005