British Tanks and Tank Crews in the Second World War
Latest hand-picked WWII news.
WWII Churchill Mark VII tank to undergo restoration
The Churchill Mark VII tanks, designed and manufactured by Belfast`s Harland and Wolff during the war, were used mainly by the North Irish Horse during the war. The machinery played a crucial role in the Battle for Longstop Hill in Tunisia in 1942. Recently it was revealed at the North Irish Horse base at Dunmore Park Army Reserves Centre, Belfast, that one tank is to be given a new lease of life by a cross-section of the community – from young offenders at Hydebank, to experts from the Railway Preservation Society, Army reservists and enthusiastic amateurs. The project is hoped to be completed within 6-9 months. When the tank is fully restored it will be put on public display at the Marine Gardens in Carrickfergus – a town which became one of the new, safer manufacturing locations during the Blitz when efforts were made to bomb the shipyards.
WWII Churchill Tanks being restored in time for 70th anniversary of D Day
A man with a passion for tanks has written a revealing account of the fighting history of the Churchill tank, as well as the painstaking restoration process involved in bringing them back to life, in a new book. Nigel Montgomery, whose Churchill Tank Project owns three World War II era Churchill tanks, is working with a team to restore them to full running order ahead of next year`s 70th anniversary of D Day. Their work is supported and assisted by the Tank Museum at Bovington. Churchill Tank Manual by Nigel Montgomery is published 15 August 2013.
Video: Rare WWII Valentine tank emerges from mud in Poland
A rare World War II tank has been discovered under mud in the Warta river in eastern Poland. The British-made Valentine is a unique find since there are no other preserved examples anywhere in Europe. The tank which served in the Red Army is thought to have sunk in 1945 while crossing the frozen river.
Polish historians bid to dig up British WWII Valentine Mk X tank from the bottom of a Polish river
Military historians in Poland are struggling to salvage a rare British tank that has lain at the bottom of a Polish river since January 1945. The Valentine Mk X tank is believed to have fallen through ice covering a tributary of the River Warta in Poland as it rolled towards Berlin as part of the Soviet Red Army's massive assault on the Eastern Front. 2,000 Valentines were delivered to the USSR as part of Western military aid to Moscow, of which there was only one survivor until the discovery of the tank in Poland. Reports that the Valentine has survived its watery sojourn with little decay has excited historians.
Hobart's 79th Armoured Division at War: Invention, Innovation and Inspiration by Richard Doherty
For anyone with an interest in British armour of World War II, then the 79th Armoured Division, often just referred to as "The Funnies", will be a well known organisation. By the end of the war, as the book points out, the division fielded over 1400 tracked armoured vehicles, far more that the little over 300 in a standard British Armoured Division at the time. Using lots of personal recollections, the book tells the stories of the involvment of the Funnies in the Normandy landings of 1944, going on to their use in liberating the Channel Parts and the gun positions on the Pas de Calais, then going on to work in Holland and finally Germany and the Rhine Crossing.
Amphibious 1943 Mark 9 DD Valentine tank returns to Burton upon Stather
A secret military vehicle which was based in North Lincolnshire during WWII has returned to its former home. Local historians organised for the amphibious 1943 Valentine tank to return to the village. The small rural village of Burton upon Stather was a base for top secret military planning. The Mark 9 DD Valentine is the last remaining fully operational tank of its kind. It was paraded through the village before making its way to the historic military ramp on the nearby river bank. Because of its terrain, flow and width, the banks of the River Trent were found to be similar enough to that of the Rhine in Germany for testing the tanks.
Sunken WWII tanks at the bottom of the sea near the Isle of Wight studied
Maritime archaeologists have investigated ways for WWII tanks at the bottom of the sea near the Isle of Wight to be protected. The tanks and other equipment were being carried on a landing craft which capsized as it was heading for the D-Day landings in 1944. The Mark V landing craft tank (LCT) 2428 set off for Normandy on 5 June 1944 but developed engine trouble. On its way back to Portsmouth the landing craft capsized and lost its cargo: two Centaur CS IV tanks, two armoured bulldozers, a jeep and other military equipment for the Royal Marines armoured support group.
British WWII Tanks - Inferior or underrated tank designs?
British World War II tank designs continue to be controversial, as this heated but informative thread at the Axis History forum shows.
"British tanks suffer from a bad press as much as anything. The Valentine for instance is very much an unsung hero - the Soviets actually used them for hunting TIGERS on the Eastern front because they were so quiet!"
The Churchill Tank: Part One: The gun tank, Mk I-VIII by David Doyle (Book review)
The Churchill Tank: A Visual History of the British Army's Heavy Infantry Tank 1941-1945 (Part One: The gun tank, Mk I-VIII) contains 150 images in 9 chapters, one for each Churchill tank from Mark I to Mark VIII, and one chapter for Churchill NA75 (Churchill Mark IVs that had their main armament replaced by 75mm guns taken from knocked out Sherman tanks). Each photograph covers one page with brief notes on the tank, exploring any particularly interesting aspects. Within each chapter are some excellent sidebars, most noteworthy of them are the 8 pages about the Dieppe Landings.
Battle of Arras: How two British battalions stopped Rommel's panzers on their way to Dunkirk
Raymond Atkinson fought in a battle which is often ignored because of the event which followed it - Dunkirk. The 4th and 7th battalions of the Royal Tank Regiment fought a David and Goliath battle to stop the German advance to the Channel in May 1940. It was an uneven encounter. Rommel had 218 panzers, while most of the 74 British tanks were slow and poorly armed - lacking air or artillery support. But they still managed to stop Rommel in his tracks - and make German infantry flee. Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt called it "a critical moment". Military Illustrated magazine described it as "Rommel's Bloody Nose".
Colonel Roy Moss commanded a squadron of the Churchill Crocodile flame-thrower tanks
Colonel Roy Moss commanded a squadron of the Churchill Crocodile flame-thrower tanks in World War 2 and won a Military Cross and an American Bronze Star. Moss, commissioned as a captain into 141st Regiment Royal Armoured Corps, was one of the key commanders of the famous "Playboys" squadron, so named after it had 7 days' leave in Antwerp whilst the rest of the regiment was deployed. His squadron was equipped with one of Major-General Sir Percy Hobart's modified tanks. Under Hobart's leadership, these "Funnies" (as the specialized armoured vehicles were called) were built from October 1943 to undertake tasks that were outside the scope of the normal equipment.
D-Day: Ten soldiers lay wounded on the beach. One of our tanks rolled straight over
In the extract from a book (Never Surrender: Lost Voices Of A Generation At War 1939-1945), marking the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of WW2, the 1944 D-Day is remembered. --- Bill Millin, with 45 Commando, saw 10-12 injured British soldiers lay across a road leading from the beach. Then a flail tank come to detonate the mines. "The commander couldn't see them and his tank came straight on and crushed its way up ... over the top of the soldiers." One grim sight was seeing a flame thrower burn out the Germans in pill-boxes. Harry Reid never understood why there were so many wireless operators, until he learned that "they expected 50% casualties on the landing."
Photos of the D-Day (British Centaur CS IV) tanks at the bottom of the English Channel
Scuba divers searching for hidden treasures were dumbfounded after they stumbled across two Second World War tanks at the bottom of the English Channel. But the mystery was figured out after a probe involving over 80 dives and checking details on the sunken vehicles against historical records. They were rare British Centaur CS IV tanks, heading for the D-Day landings. The battle tanks fell overboard when a landing craft overturned on its way to the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944. The vehicles were relatively well preserved with guns still intact.
Battle tanks: Obsolescent or still important - Lessons from World War II
Even after the Nazi blitzkrieg victories, the use of battle tanks was badly understood by the Allied militaries. British generals attempted to use tanks as independent "land cavalry" forces - As a result, tanks fell victim to German 88mm guns. Bernard Montgomery was the first Allied commander to integrate the use of tanks with artillery and infantry, as the German blitzkrieg generals Erich von Manstein and "Hurrying" Heinz Guderian had done. A classic example of the abuse of tanks was Herman Hoth's Fourth Panzer Army at Stalingrad in 1942. Hoth's previously invincible tanks were destroyed by General Vassily Chuikov's 62nd Army in close quarters fighting in the ruins.
Lieutenant-Colonel Eric Gibbon: Leading a tank attack near Tobruk
Lieutenant-Colonel Eric Gibbon was awarded a DSO for leading a tank attack near Tobruk in 1941, and a Bar for escaping from a German PoW train in 1943 and leading a group of officers to safety in Yugoslavia. On Nov 29 1941 Gibbon was commanding "A" Squadron of the 44th Royal Tank Regiment, attached to the New Zealand Division. As part of the first phase of Auchinleck's "Crusader" operation, which lifted the siege of Tobruk, the New Zealanders joined the garrison and were soon deployed on the gravel ridge of Sidi Rezegh; they were attacked from three directions by the 15th and 21st Panzer Divisions and an Italian unit.