Information

Air Gunner on Horse, North Africa 1943


Air Gunner on Horse, North Africa 1943

Picture from the collection of Dennis Burt

Original Caption: 1943 - This is Paddy on horse Sgt Air Gunner

Copyright Gary Burt 2013

Many thanks to Gary for providing us with these photos from his father's collection.


Photos

We are pleased to share a selection of photographs from the Australian War Memorial collection. Below you will discover a small sample of the thousands of military images available on the Australian War Memorial website. You can view the full collection on the Australian War Memorial website.

Search these captivating images from various wars and conflicts around the world. View images of soldiers in action and witness the camaraderie that occurred between them. Through the weight of their responsibilities and burden of their load they still managed to smile. Despite their often bleak circumstances many of the photos show their young smiling faces full of hope.

Portrait of 1144 Private L.J. Langdon, 11th Battalion, killed in action 26-04-1915. Studio portrait of 926 Private John Buchanan Young, 34th Battalion of Weston, NSW. Prior to enlistment, Pte Young served for one and a half years in the 14th Battalion, Citizens Military Forces (CMF) before enlisting on 22 January 1916, aged 19 years. He embarked from Sydney with the 34th Battalion on HMAT Hororata (A20) on 2 May 1916, and whilst in England, was promoted to Lance Corporal (L Cpl) on 21 August 1916. He proceeded to France on 21 November of the same year. L Cpl Young was reported missing in action on 7 June 1917 near Ploegsteert Wood. Three unidentified soldiers at their sniping position. A rifle is leaning against the trench wall next to the soldier at right who appears to be spotting for man aiming his rifle over the parapet. Photo of Clifford Bottomley, 2nd AIF. 25-06-1940. "Rats of Tobruk", NX36694 Corporal Alexander Robert McHutchison of Northcote, VIC (left) and NX35323 Private Patrick Joseph McKenna of Griffith, NSW, both of the 2/13 Battalion. When Private (Pte) Joe Horton of Townsville, QLD gets stuck in the mud during landing practice, Pte Kelly Otto of Tara, QLD gives him a helping hand. Dutch New Guinea, 12 April 1944. Portrait of 2717 Private H.J.M. Manson, 60th Battalion, killed in action 27-04-1918. Left to right: VX26801 Corporal W. G. Scott VX42505 Private A. Whyte VX138135 Corporal A. Kealy VX56408 Private C. Gill and VX28606 Private H. Proctor. All of the 2/24th Battalion, returned home on the transport vessell Duntroon. No. 1 wharf, Circular Quay, Sydney NSW 07-11-1945. SX31156 Private L. A. Waller, 2/27th Battalion smiles as he waits his turn to embark on USS Winchester Victory for the voyage home to Australia from Macassar, Celebes 03-02-1946. Portrait of 1234 Private Frank King, 23rd Battalion, died of wounds 15-10-1915. Although covered with the mud of battle-practice, these two Aussie boys can still afford to smile about it and consider it all in a day's work. They are Private (Pte) Joe Horton of Townsville, Qld, and Pte Kelly Otto of Tara, Qld. Dutch New Guinea. 12 April 1944. These Australian men smiling and displaying the Australian flag they are so proud of were amongst 231 prisoners of war (POWs) released and brought into Yokohama in the middle of the night. The lateness of the hour did not stop them from demonstrating their joy at release. The flag was made and sown by hand from pieces of coloured parachutes used to drop supplies to them while still in camp. All these men were members of 8th Division. They were captured in Singapore and Malaya three and a half years earlier. They had been in Naoetsu prison camp ever since. Yokohama, Japan. September 1945. Trooper F A Dellar, on his mount, a typical New Zealand Trooper with the New Zealand Light Horse. February 1919. 25-Pounder guns of B Troop, 14th Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery being pulled through dense jungle in the vicinity of Uberi on the Kokoda Trail, Papua New Guinea. Members of the regiment are being assisted by 2/1 Australian Pioneer Battalion. Identified are second from right, WX12285 Private George Samuel Gillett 2/1 Pioneer Battalion, (bare chested, looking at camera) fifth from right, N58727 Staff Sergeant James Edward (Jim) Nugent, (first fully visible face on right side of rope wearing hat and smiling) second on the left of the rope, NX141419 Corporal Douglas Alfred Wray, (fully body visible wearing shorts, hat and belt) fourth on the left wearing a hat, shorts and belt NX20046 Sapper Ernie Chester Walker. Portrait of 101, Private E. Gentle, 25th Battalion who died of wounds on 04-08-1916. Studio portrait of left to right: 2042 Private Archibald Cyril Barker, 35th Battalion Private Thomas Barker and probably 4983 Private Willam Barker, 1st Battalion. Two of the men are brothers while the other man is their cousin. Australia c. 1916. The unidentified crew of a Royal Marine Artillery 15 inch howitzer, supporting the Australians. Note the writing on the shell 'RMA Peace Germies'. Western Front (Belgium), Ypres Area, October 1917. An unidentified soldier carrying on his back a wounded member of the Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC) through a trench during the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917. The injured member of the AAMC has a bandaged right foot. Portrait of three smiling lads await the hour to go into the battle zone to lay signal wires so that the infantry of 29th/46th Battalion may maintain contact with the command posts. Left to right: Corporal E. Negro of Richmond, Vic Signalman S. Eastwood of Collingwood, Vic Sergeant W. Young of North Melbourne, Vic. Papua New Guinea, November 1943. Unidentified gunners of the Australian Heavy Artillery loading an 8in Howitzer gun. Lieutenant Walter Edward Back, 4th Battalion, 1st AIF. Studio portrait of Major General J. W. Parnell, Commandant, Royal Military College, Duntroon from 1914-1920. An Australian Battery in the Uria Valley covers the Japanese road to Madang. Lance Bombardier J. Kenny of Essendon, Vic, and Sergeant F. McLaughlan of St Kilda, Vic, are cooking on an improvised stove made from shell case boxes and tins during the Upper Ramu Valley advance. Papua New Guinea, 1 November 1943 Portrait of Lieutenant Colonel Arnold Brown DSO OBE MC (twice MID), President of the War Crimes Tribunal. His military record includes service service at Gallipoli and in France during WW1 and the Middle East and the islands during WW2. He was responsible for the administration of the famous "Bulldog Road" in New Guinea. Darwin, NT. 28-02-1946. Captain O'Sullivan's 'Corner', in the officer's quarters of the 5th Battalion, showing his bed in the corner, a shelf above with two hats and possibly a belt, two pair of boots on the floor at left, clothes at right hanging on the wall, a table with photographs and personal belongings at right and his travelling trunk on the floor. Australian Victoria Cross winners from World War 1 invited by the Prime Minister of Australia, The Honourable W. M. Hughes, to return home to assist in a recruiting campaign. The photograph was taken as the ship HMAT Medic was berthing. The identified men are, from the left front row, 506 Sergeant R. R. Inwood, 10th Infantry Battalion 4061 Sergeant S. R. McDougall, 48th Infantry Battalion second row not identified third row, 2060 Lieutenant J. J. Dwyer, 4th Machine Gun Company 958 Lieutenant L. Keysor, 42nd Infantry Battalion 1946 Lieutenant W. Ruthven, 22nd Infantry Battalion back row, 114 Sergeant W. Peeler, 3rd Pioneer Battalion 4195 Corporal T. J. B. Kenny, 2nd Infantry Battalion 2902 Sergeant J. W. Whittle, 12th Infantry Battalion 2389 Corporal J. C. Jensen, 50th Infantry Battalion 1804 Private J. Carroll, 33rd Infantry Battalion. Port Melbourne, Vic. 1918. Original Herald caption: "Sergeant R A "Pop" Howes MM (aged 58), 7th Australian Division, in full dress uniform." Sgt. Howes enlisted in the AIF in 1916, serving with the 54th Battalion. He enlisted in the 2nd AIF in May 1940 understating his age by sixteen years. In 1941 he was awarded the Military Medal (MM) for "outstanding gallantry" at Adlum in Syria while serving with the 2/7th Battalion. Discharged in 1942 he enlisted again in 1944, this time understating his age by only fourteen years, and was finally discharged from the Army as a 62 year old corporal posted to the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) at Eta Jima in Japan. Watsonia, Vic. 18-04-1944. Turkish and German officers captured during the operations at Magdhaba. North Africa: Egypt, Frontier, Magdhaba. c 1916. Personnel on the deck of battlecruiser HMAS Australia (I) engaged in the operation of coaling ship. Note the port 12 inch gun turrett on the right. In the top left a superstructure position for a secondary armament 4 inch gun is closed off by shutters, the muzzle of the weapon protruding aft. Another 4 inch mounting can be seen further forward between the derrick arms of the collier. Recruits from the boys' training ship HMAS Tingira (ex Sobraon) practising rifle drill during field training. They are armed with Lee Enfield .303 rifles with hooked quiilian bayonets. They are wearing 1901 pattern belts with ammunition pouches mark I. Sydney NSW c.1912. The ship's company attending morning prayers on board the boys' training ship HMAS Tingira (ex Sobraon), Sydney NSW c.1912. The cruiser HMAS Adelaide (I) launched by Lady Munro Ferguson, Cockatoo Island dockyard, Sydney NSW 27-07-1918 Rear Admiral Patey presenting a commemorative medal to Sub Lieutenant Turner who instructed the winners of the challenge shield, Largs Drill Hall, Sydney NSW 21-02-1914 The 28cm German railway gun, known as the Amiens gun, on the day of its capture by AIF troops. The words 'captured' and partly obscured 'Australia' has been painted on the mounting. The camouflaged barrel is displayed at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra ACT. A fatigue party of three unidentified soldiers carrying duckboards along a duckboard pathway. c 1918. Lieutenant General (Lt Gen) Sir Philip Chetwode General Officer Commanding (GOC) XX (twenty) Corps (foreground), Lt Gen HG Chauvel, (GOC) Desert Mounted Corps and Brigadier General JR Royston, Commanding Officer, (CO) 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade, conversing. North Africa: Egypt, Frontier, El Arish. January 1917 Barbed wire entanglement in front of the 50th Battalion trenches. A Light Horse patrol found its way there every morning at 3AM. March 1916. Soldiers, probably 5th Battalion men, sitting on the sand during a foot inspection. Greece: Aegean Islands, Lemnos. 1915. Australian Light Horsemen, possibly 4th Brigade Headquarters, watching the first stages of the Battle of Rafa. Note the red cross arm bands worn by the two medics and the emu feathers attached to the felt hats of the men in the background. Tripod mounted telescopes can also be seen. North Africa: Egypt, Frontier, Rafa. January 1917. 5th Battalion men constructing trenches with the use of sandbags at 'Thirsty Gully' near Heliopolis. An officer is sitting on sandbags. c 1916 5th Battalion AIF men at a unit outpost in the defensive trenchlines. The soldier is using a tripod mounted telescope, others are lying down and resting (rear). Their rifles are resting on the parapet and pointing towards the enemy lines at right. North Africa: Egypt. c 1916. Men being dunked into a canvas water tank at a crossing the line ceremony on an unidentified troop transport. c 1916 Three unidentified members of the 9th Australian Light Horse, the soldier on the left is having his hair cut with horse clippers which are being run by a manual air compressor of which the handle is being rapidly turned by the soldier on the right. The latter has the reins of the horse behind him and an unseen one to the right wrapped around his left wrist. Ottoman Empire: Shellal. 17 August 1917. Major Victor Francis Back, 53rd Battalion, 1ST AIF. A soldier standing outside 'Factory Corner ', a shelter made from sand bags and other materials. Duck boards are in the foreground as the mud was appalling. It was here the 22nd Battalion had their Headquarters during the operations at Flers. France: Picardie, Somme. 1917. The 3rd Light Horse Brigade preparing and awaiting orders for the advance on Magdhaba. North Africa: Egypt, Frontier, Magdhaba. c 1916. A group of unidentified Australian Lighthorsemen digging trenches on the banks of the Wady Ghuzze. Note the emu feather attached to the felt hat of the man in the foreground. Ottoman Empire: Wady Ghuzze. 1916. No 7 Outpost showing dug outs in the sand, which were constructed by members of 9th Australian Light Horse. North Africa: Egypt, Suez Canal, Serapeum. April 1916. Following the evacuation from Gallipoli each AIF Battalion was split in two. One half retained the original designation and was reinforced to full strength. The other half became the core of a new battalion. Here the men who remained with the 5th Battalion are cheering and waving their hats as half of the unit march off to become the core of the new 57th Battalion. North Africa: Egypt, Heliopolis. c 1916. A gun, probably a 9.2 in/31.5 caliber BL Mark III, for use against submarines on the ship 'Briton' bound for France.

Wayne's Journal

From Glory for Me by MacKinlay Kantor:

When you come out of war to quiet streets
You lug your War along with you.
You walk a snail-path. On your back you carry it-
A scaly load that makes your shoulders raw
And not a hand can ever lift the shell
That cuts your hide. You only wear it yourself–
Look up one day, and vaguely see it gone.
And one day it is gone if you are wise.

As quoted by John R. Bruning in The Patriot Journalist (http://theamericanwarrior.com/2015/04/27/the-patriot-journalist/ : accessed 26 April 2015).

Notes & Commentary

And now that Wayne’s Journal is finished, I would like to recognize those who over the years shared their stories with me . . . .

Bob, an infantry officer, who was in constant action with the 80th Infantry Division of Patton’s Third Army from August 1944 until the end of the war. He later became a history professor.

Howard, an Army officer, who oversaw the transshipment of Lend Lease materials at Basra, Iraq. These supplies, trucks, tanks, etc., were bound by rail for Russian forces fighting on the Eastern Front. Later, he led truck convoys traversing the desert between Basra and Haifa, Palestine. The convoys were carrying troops on R&R. His tentmate and commander committed suicide during one trip. He shot himself one night while Howard was asleep.

Bert who served as a member of a Navy CB unit in the Solomon Islands, New Guinea and the Philippines. His legs were troubled with jungle rot throughout his life. His favorite statement? If you think this is bad, you should have been in New Guinea in ’43. For him, that seemed to cover every adversity.

Jim, a Navy Corpsman with a Marine unit, bound for Okinawa. He came down with pneumonia and was in the hospital when his unit shipped out. He didn’t make to Okinawa. All the corpsmen in the unit were either killed or wounded there. His brother, Jay, was a gunner/radioman (RM3) attached to Bombing Squadron Six (VB-6) aboard USS Enterprise (CV-6). Neither he nor his pilot survived the dive bomber attacks on the Japanese aircraft carriers at Midway.

Fred, an enlisted man in the Air Force, helped establish radio beacon sites in the North African desert. These sites helped guide bombers home across the Mediterranean from Ploesti and other targets in Europe.

Art enlisted in the Marines from a Pennsylvania coal mining town in 1940. Most of the Marines in his regiment were killed in island invasions. At war’s end, he found himself guarding a bridge in Northern China. His orders were to not allow any Communists to cross the bridge.

Jess, a glider pilot, survived the airborne operations of D-Day and Market Garden. He talked of being strafed by Me-262s.

Freddie, a black WAC, whose duty it was to guard Italian prisoners of war working in the cotton fields of South Carolina. She picked up the Italian POWs in the morning and drove them out to the cotton fields. She kept an eye on them during the day and drove them back to the camp at day’s end. Easy duty, she claimed, none of them wanted to go back to the war.

Crystal whose husband, a Navy officer, was killed at Pearl Harbor. She was there during the attack.

Dick, a cryptographer who was assigned at war’s end to a Graves Registration unit charged with recovering bodies in Burma. He had homemade tattoos of skulls and bones on his arms. The tattoos were done by fountain pen in drunken jungle camps after digging up bodies during the day.

Harry who was a young lieutenant stationed at the Presidio near San Francisco when the war began. He talked of the hysteria that ensued, including a horse-mounted cavalry expedition into Marin County in search of invading Japanese troops. They came upon them in the night and while shrouded in fog slaughtered the lot of them. In the morning, the invading Japanese troops turned out to be a herd of sheep. The owner was well paid to keep his mouth shut.

Cecil was an enlisted man in the Philippines. Captured by the Japanese, he suffered through the Bataan Death March and years of captivity in Japan where he was forced to work as a coal miner. To the day he died, he despised all things Japanese.

Lyle, a B-24 pilot with the 8th Air Force, 446th Bombardment Group, 705th Bombardment Squadron. Once he returned home, he refused to ever fly again.

Ken, a B-17 pilot who completed 50 missions with the with the 12th Air Force, 301st Bombardment Group 419th Bombardment Squadron. He later flew in the Berlin Airlift and crashed in Soviet-controlled Germany.

Bayard, a Signal Corps officer, who spent three years at a radio intercept site a top a hill in Ethiopia.

Lawrence who helped to install radar warning devices on the bombers of the 8th Air Force.

Jack who was at a training base in Mississippi when the second Atomic Bomb was dropped. He said everyone went absolutely wild. When asked, Why? He replied, We realized we weren’t going to have to die.

Stephen, Navy Ensign, who made an urgent trip ashore on an invasion beach with an encrypted message only to find it was a routine message regarding a food shipment.

Bill, an Army doctor at Anzio.

Mike, who lost a friend at Tarawa.

Jay, an enlisted man, who helped filter penicillin from urine at an Army hospital in Scotland.

Lyle, a member of a Navy Armed Guard unit on a cargo ship off Okinawa. He was wounded during a Kamikaze attack.

Chubby who bragged about combat service, but who was in an Army basic training camp in Colorado when the war ended.

Little Billy, a B-17 ball turret gunner with the 8th Air Force. He enlisted the day he graduated from high school. He stayed in the Air Force after the war and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. Always a colorful character, he liked to note that he was born in Oklahoma but conceived under some trees along a river in Texas. He served in the Air Force for over 30 years.

Burt, a plumber, who showed up one day with photographs of him serving in the infantry during the Battle of the Bulge. In one of the photographs, he was sitting on two frozen bodies while eating his lunch. After the war, he was famous for his pet monkey which he took everywhere.

Bergie, a Marine radio operator, who served in the Pacific.

Albert, a mechanical engineer, who was an officer in Wehrmacht. He served on the Eastern Front.

Norman, an Army dental technician whose unit was one of the first into the concentration camp at Ebensee in Austria. Even in his 90s, he could still smell the camp and the dead and dying.

Waldo whose only son died on an unknown beach in the Pacific.

Peter who with his mother survived the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands. Their family and relatives were exterminated in concentration camps while they hid with whomever would shelter them.

An infantry officer whose name I have long since forgotten. He survived the Normandy beaches only to have his jeep was blown up by a land mine the week after D-Day.

John who spent the War between Cairo and Istanbul with the OSS. He later became an art history professor and wrote books on Islamic art.

Hazel, Viola and the other women who served as codebreakers in the U.S. during World War II. They have never received the recognition accorded their counterparts at Bletchley Park.

Jane who was a Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP). She once told me she had a pilot’s license before she had a driver’s license. She always brought her “short snorter” when she came by to talk.

Walt who served in the infantry during the invasion of North Africa.

Dick, an 8th Air Force POW, who was liberated by the Russians. He travelled across Russia in the back of a truck on the way to repatriation at a Crimean port.

Lucinda and David whose fathers served in World War II only to be called back for Korea.


Photos

We are pleased to share a selection of photographs from the Australian War Memorial collection. Below you will discover a small sample of the thousands of military images available on the Australian War Memorial website. You can view the full collection on the Australian War Memorial website.

Search these captivating images from various wars and conflicts around the world. View images of soldiers in action and witness the camaraderie that occurred between them. Through the weight of their responsibilities and burden of their load they still managed to smile. Despite their often bleak circumstances many of the photos show their young smiling faces full of hope.

Portrait of 1144 Private L.J. Langdon, 11th Battalion, killed in action 26-04-1915. Studio portrait of 926 Private John Buchanan Young, 34th Battalion of Weston, NSW. Prior to enlistment, Pte Young served for one and a half years in the 14th Battalion, Citizens Military Forces (CMF) before enlisting on 22 January 1916, aged 19 years. He embarked from Sydney with the 34th Battalion on HMAT Hororata (A20) on 2 May 1916, and whilst in England, was promoted to Lance Corporal (L Cpl) on 21 August 1916. He proceeded to France on 21 November of the same year. L Cpl Young was reported missing in action on 7 June 1917 near Ploegsteert Wood. Three unidentified soldiers at their sniping position. A rifle is leaning against the trench wall next to the soldier at right who appears to be spotting for man aiming his rifle over the parapet. Photo of Clifford Bottomley, 2nd AIF. 25-06-1940. "Rats of Tobruk", NX36694 Corporal Alexander Robert McHutchison of Northcote, VIC (left) and NX35323 Private Patrick Joseph McKenna of Griffith, NSW, both of the 2/13 Battalion. When Private (Pte) Joe Horton of Townsville, QLD gets stuck in the mud during landing practice, Pte Kelly Otto of Tara, QLD gives him a helping hand. Dutch New Guinea, 12 April 1944. Portrait of 2717 Private H.J.M. Manson, 60th Battalion, killed in action 27-04-1918. Left to right: VX26801 Corporal W. G. Scott VX42505 Private A. Whyte VX138135 Corporal A. Kealy VX56408 Private C. Gill and VX28606 Private H. Proctor. All of the 2/24th Battalion, returned home on the transport vessell Duntroon. No. 1 wharf, Circular Quay, Sydney NSW 07-11-1945. SX31156 Private L. A. Waller, 2/27th Battalion smiles as he waits his turn to embark on USS Winchester Victory for the voyage home to Australia from Macassar, Celebes 03-02-1946. Portrait of 1234 Private Frank King, 23rd Battalion, died of wounds 15-10-1915. Although covered with the mud of battle-practice, these two Aussie boys can still afford to smile about it and consider it all in a day's work. They are Private (Pte) Joe Horton of Townsville, Qld, and Pte Kelly Otto of Tara, Qld. Dutch New Guinea. 12 April 1944. These Australian men smiling and displaying the Australian flag they are so proud of were amongst 231 prisoners of war (POWs) released and brought into Yokohama in the middle of the night. The lateness of the hour did not stop them from demonstrating their joy at release. The flag was made and sown by hand from pieces of coloured parachutes used to drop supplies to them while still in camp. All these men were members of 8th Division. They were captured in Singapore and Malaya three and a half years earlier. They had been in Naoetsu prison camp ever since. Yokohama, Japan. September 1945. Trooper F A Dellar, on his mount, a typical New Zealand Trooper with the New Zealand Light Horse. February 1919. 25-Pounder guns of B Troop, 14th Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery being pulled through dense jungle in the vicinity of Uberi on the Kokoda Trail, Papua New Guinea. Members of the regiment are being assisted by 2/1 Australian Pioneer Battalion. Identified are second from right, WX12285 Private George Samuel Gillett 2/1 Pioneer Battalion, (bare chested, looking at camera) fifth from right, N58727 Staff Sergeant James Edward (Jim) Nugent, (first fully visible face on right side of rope wearing hat and smiling) second on the left of the rope, NX141419 Corporal Douglas Alfred Wray, (fully body visible wearing shorts, hat and belt) fourth on the left wearing a hat, shorts and belt NX20046 Sapper Ernie Chester Walker. Portrait of 101, Private E. Gentle, 25th Battalion who died of wounds on 04-08-1916. Studio portrait of left to right: 2042 Private Archibald Cyril Barker, 35th Battalion Private Thomas Barker and probably 4983 Private Willam Barker, 1st Battalion. Two of the men are brothers while the other man is their cousin. Australia c. 1916. The unidentified crew of a Royal Marine Artillery 15 inch howitzer, supporting the Australians. Note the writing on the shell 'RMA Peace Germies'. Western Front (Belgium), Ypres Area, October 1917. An unidentified soldier carrying on his back a wounded member of the Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC) through a trench during the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917. The injured member of the AAMC has a bandaged right foot. Portrait of three smiling lads await the hour to go into the battle zone to lay signal wires so that the infantry of 29th/46th Battalion may maintain contact with the command posts. Left to right: Corporal E. Negro of Richmond, Vic Signalman S. Eastwood of Collingwood, Vic Sergeant W. Young of North Melbourne, Vic. Papua New Guinea, November 1943. Unidentified gunners of the Australian Heavy Artillery loading an 8in Howitzer gun. Lieutenant Walter Edward Back, 4th Battalion, 1st AIF. Studio portrait of Major General J. W. Parnell, Commandant, Royal Military College, Duntroon from 1914-1920. An Australian Battery in the Uria Valley covers the Japanese road to Madang. Lance Bombardier J. Kenny of Essendon, Vic, and Sergeant F. McLaughlan of St Kilda, Vic, are cooking on an improvised stove made from shell case boxes and tins during the Upper Ramu Valley advance. Papua New Guinea, 1 November 1943 Portrait of Lieutenant Colonel Arnold Brown DSO OBE MC (twice MID), President of the War Crimes Tribunal. His military record includes service service at Gallipoli and in France during WW1 and the Middle East and the islands during WW2. He was responsible for the administration of the famous "Bulldog Road" in New Guinea. Darwin, NT. 28-02-1946. Captain O'Sullivan's 'Corner', in the officer's quarters of the 5th Battalion, showing his bed in the corner, a shelf above with two hats and possibly a belt, two pair of boots on the floor at left, clothes at right hanging on the wall, a table with photographs and personal belongings at right and his travelling trunk on the floor. Australian Victoria Cross winners from World War 1 invited by the Prime Minister of Australia, The Honourable W. M. Hughes, to return home to assist in a recruiting campaign. The photograph was taken as the ship HMAT Medic was berthing. The identified men are, from the left front row, 506 Sergeant R. R. Inwood, 10th Infantry Battalion 4061 Sergeant S. R. McDougall, 48th Infantry Battalion second row not identified third row, 2060 Lieutenant J. J. Dwyer, 4th Machine Gun Company 958 Lieutenant L. Keysor, 42nd Infantry Battalion 1946 Lieutenant W. Ruthven, 22nd Infantry Battalion back row, 114 Sergeant W. Peeler, 3rd Pioneer Battalion 4195 Corporal T. J. B. Kenny, 2nd Infantry Battalion 2902 Sergeant J. W. Whittle, 12th Infantry Battalion 2389 Corporal J. C. Jensen, 50th Infantry Battalion 1804 Private J. Carroll, 33rd Infantry Battalion. Port Melbourne, Vic. 1918. Original Herald caption: "Sergeant R A "Pop" Howes MM (aged 58), 7th Australian Division, in full dress uniform." Sgt. Howes enlisted in the AIF in 1916, serving with the 54th Battalion. He enlisted in the 2nd AIF in May 1940 understating his age by sixteen years. In 1941 he was awarded the Military Medal (MM) for "outstanding gallantry" at Adlum in Syria while serving with the 2/7th Battalion. Discharged in 1942 he enlisted again in 1944, this time understating his age by only fourteen years, and was finally discharged from the Army as a 62 year old corporal posted to the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) at Eta Jima in Japan. Watsonia, Vic. 18-04-1944. Turkish and German officers captured during the operations at Magdhaba. North Africa: Egypt, Frontier, Magdhaba. c 1916. Personnel on the deck of battlecruiser HMAS Australia (I) engaged in the operation of coaling ship. Note the port 12 inch gun turrett on the right. In the top left a superstructure position for a secondary armament 4 inch gun is closed off by shutters, the muzzle of the weapon protruding aft. Another 4 inch mounting can be seen further forward between the derrick arms of the collier. Recruits from the boys' training ship HMAS Tingira (ex Sobraon) practising rifle drill during field training. They are armed with Lee Enfield .303 rifles with hooked quiilian bayonets. They are wearing 1901 pattern belts with ammunition pouches mark I. Sydney NSW c.1912. The ship's company attending morning prayers on board the boys' training ship HMAS Tingira (ex Sobraon), Sydney NSW c.1912. The cruiser HMAS Adelaide (I) launched by Lady Munro Ferguson, Cockatoo Island dockyard, Sydney NSW 27-07-1918 Rear Admiral Patey presenting a commemorative medal to Sub Lieutenant Turner who instructed the winners of the challenge shield, Largs Drill Hall, Sydney NSW 21-02-1914 The 28cm German railway gun, known as the Amiens gun, on the day of its capture by AIF troops. The words 'captured' and partly obscured 'Australia' has been painted on the mounting. The camouflaged barrel is displayed at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra ACT. A fatigue party of three unidentified soldiers carrying duckboards along a duckboard pathway. c 1918. Lieutenant General (Lt Gen) Sir Philip Chetwode General Officer Commanding (GOC) XX (twenty) Corps (foreground), Lt Gen HG Chauvel, (GOC) Desert Mounted Corps and Brigadier General JR Royston, Commanding Officer, (CO) 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade, conversing. North Africa: Egypt, Frontier, El Arish. January 1917 Barbed wire entanglement in front of the 50th Battalion trenches. A Light Horse patrol found its way there every morning at 3AM. March 1916. Soldiers, probably 5th Battalion men, sitting on the sand during a foot inspection. Greece: Aegean Islands, Lemnos. 1915. Australian Light Horsemen, possibly 4th Brigade Headquarters, watching the first stages of the Battle of Rafa. Note the red cross arm bands worn by the two medics and the emu feathers attached to the felt hats of the men in the background. Tripod mounted telescopes can also be seen. North Africa: Egypt, Frontier, Rafa. January 1917. 5th Battalion men constructing trenches with the use of sandbags at 'Thirsty Gully' near Heliopolis. An officer is sitting on sandbags. c 1916 5th Battalion AIF men at a unit outpost in the defensive trenchlines. The soldier is using a tripod mounted telescope, others are lying down and resting (rear). Their rifles are resting on the parapet and pointing towards the enemy lines at right. North Africa: Egypt. c 1916. Men being dunked into a canvas water tank at a crossing the line ceremony on an unidentified troop transport. c 1916 Three unidentified members of the 9th Australian Light Horse, the soldier on the left is having his hair cut with horse clippers which are being run by a manual air compressor of which the handle is being rapidly turned by the soldier on the right. The latter has the reins of the horse behind him and an unseen one to the right wrapped around his left wrist. Ottoman Empire: Shellal. 17 August 1917. Major Victor Francis Back, 53rd Battalion, 1ST AIF. A soldier standing outside 'Factory Corner ', a shelter made from sand bags and other materials. Duck boards are in the foreground as the mud was appalling. It was here the 22nd Battalion had their Headquarters during the operations at Flers. France: Picardie, Somme. 1917. The 3rd Light Horse Brigade preparing and awaiting orders for the advance on Magdhaba. North Africa: Egypt, Frontier, Magdhaba. c 1916. A group of unidentified Australian Lighthorsemen digging trenches on the banks of the Wady Ghuzze. Note the emu feather attached to the felt hat of the man in the foreground. Ottoman Empire: Wady Ghuzze. 1916. No 7 Outpost showing dug outs in the sand, which were constructed by members of 9th Australian Light Horse. North Africa: Egypt, Suez Canal, Serapeum. April 1916. Following the evacuation from Gallipoli each AIF Battalion was split in two. One half retained the original designation and was reinforced to full strength. The other half became the core of a new battalion. Here the men who remained with the 5th Battalion are cheering and waving their hats as half of the unit march off to become the core of the new 57th Battalion. North Africa: Egypt, Heliopolis. c 1916. A gun, probably a 9.2 in/31.5 caliber BL Mark III, for use against submarines on the ship 'Briton' bound for France.

U.S. and German Field Artillery in World War II: A Comparison

At the beginning of World War II, the U.S. Army’s primary field artillery pieces were the French-designed M1897 75mm gun and M1918 155mm howitzer (above). By the time U.S. ground forces entered combat in 1942, both of these pieces were being replaced by modern and much more effective guns. (National Archives)

At first glance, there seems to be little difference between the artillery branches of the U.S. Army and German Wehrmacht in World War II. The American guns were a bit heavier than their German counterparts and generally had a longer range. The German 105mm was sufficiently similar to the American 105mm howitzer, and there were enough similarities overall between each army’s guns to allow the U.S. Army to equip two of its field artillery battalions with captured German pieces to take advantage of the enemy ammunition stocks captured in France.

Nevertheless, evaluating an army’s artillery requires a good deal more than looking at the standard guns that it deploys. To be fully effective, an artillery arm must be well supplied with suitable ammunition. There must be a sufficient supply of standard guns so that the units being supported can know what fires they can expect. It must have a good means of identifying and accurately locating a target and needs well-schooled forward observers who are in close contact not only with the batteries, but with the troops they are working with. Effective artillery requires fire direction centers that can accurately place fires and rapidly shift them from one target to another. Those fire direction centers must be able to co-ordinate with other artillery units to mass fires as needed. The guns must have effective prime movers or be mounted on tracked vehicles. There must be a sufficient supply of all of the above to meet the needs of the maneuver units or other forces the batteries are supporting. Finally, the guns must be protected from counter-battery fire or other interdiction.

In other words, artillery is a system with a number of interacting components. The gun is the most visible part, but the whole system must work well to make the gun effective. Any analysis that does not examine all components of the system, and acknowledge that interference with any part of it can sharply reduce its effectiveness, is incomplete.

A component by component examination of American and German artillery shows that almost from the beginning of America’s participation in the conflict the U.S. Army had the superior system. American artillerymen did not try to combat the enemy’s artillery by building bigger guns. The approach from the beginning was to build a better system and it worked. That was clear to thoughtful observers at the time. Viewing the Italian campaign, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel commented, “The enemy’s tremendous superiority in artillery, and even more in the air, has broken the front open.” During the Normandy campaign, Rommel added, “Also in evidence is their great superiority in artillery and outstandingly large supply of ammunition.” By any reasonable standard, especially during the latter part of World War II, the American artillery arm was very clearly superior to that of the Germans.

This fact may be startling since at the beginning of World War II, American artillery was armed with obsolete French guns that were transported via horses and unreliable trucks. In the next two years, however, the U.S. Army corrected twenty years of neglect by civilian authorities. The rest of this article examines the several components of the American and German artillery systems with an eye to showing how this transformation took place and describing its impact.

The most commonly used field artillery piece used by the U.S. Army in World War II was the M2A1 105mm howitzer. In this 25 March 1945 photograph, gunners from Battery C, 337th Field Artillery Battalion, prepare to fire the battery’s 300,000th round since entering combat in June 1944. (National Archives)

The potential for rapid improvement and transformation of the Army’s artillery was developed in the interwar years largely at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, the home of the U.S Army Field Artillery School. Fort Sill was also where then-Lieutenant Colonel Lesley J. McNair introduced modern instruction methods which greatly facilitated the Army’s ability to rapidly expand the Field Artillery branch.

When war broke out in Europe in September 1939, the Army’ artillery units were still equipped with the venerable 75mm and 155mm French guns purchased during World War I. The French 75 or, more properly the Matériel de 75mm Mle 1897, is considered the first of the modern artillery pieces and was capable of a high rate of fire out to 8,000 meters (approximately five miles). It was designed to counter the mass infantry attacks that were typical of the tactics of the late nineteenth century by placing large numbers of time-fused shells over bodies of enemy troops.

The Field Artillery branch had developed clear ideas of what guns were needed for the mobile war it saw coming. Their designs were well thought out and served America well and, in some cases, are still serving America’s allies. When the money was finally allocated, the Army could spend it effectively (after a bit of congressional prodding) to get the guns it wanted built in a minimum of time thanks to the Army’s Industrial Mobilization plan. The United States was the only country with such a plan. The first version was largely put together by a bright young major named Dwight D. Eisenhower. As a result, good quality field guns were available when the army landed in North Africa in November 1942. While the Army fought in North Africa with modern artillery pieces, the French 75mm gun still had a limited role at that stage of the war. One of the first German Mk. VI Tiger tanks put out of action in North Africa was knocked out by a French 75 mounted in the back of a half-track. Until the M10 tank destroyer became available, the Army used this expedient to provide units with a mobile antitank gun.

The effectiveness of American artillery, even at this early stage of American involvement, impressed Rommel. In an 18 February 1943 letter to his wife, he described the fighting in and around what American historians have called the Battle of Kasserine Pass. In part he commented “an observation plane directed the fire of numerous batteries on all worthwhile targets throughout the zone.”

Gunners with a cannon company in the 90th Infantry Division fire an M3 105mm howitzer during fighting near Carentan, France, 11 June 1944. M3s equipped cannon companies assigned to infantry regiments and airborne field artillery battalions during the war. (National Archives)

By the time of Operation TORCH in November 1942, the Army had deployed an entire family of new guns. The M1 75mm pack howitzer, with a range of 8,880 meters (5.5 miles) for mountain, airborne, and jungle use, was put into service, and anything larger than a bicycle could move it. Two types of 105mm howitzers were assigned to infantry divisions. Each infantry regiment had a cannon company of short barreled M3 105mm howitzers that fired a reduced power round out to 7,600 meters (4.7 miles) for direct support. British historian Max Hastings has written that the Army withdrew the M3 from all but the airborne infantry late in the war, but that is inconsistent with the evidence available to the author. Each infantry division had three battalions of twelve M2 105mm howitzers, one battalion for each of the division’s three infantry regiments. The M2 105mm howitzer had a range about 12,000 meters (7.5 miles). The primary role of these guns was support of a designated infantry regiment, but they could also fire in support of other units. The aim of this practice was to enhance the effectiveness of the artillery/infantry team by having the same units habitually fight together, and it was largely successful. There was a smoothness to that cooperation that was rarely achieved with attached battalions of tanks and tank destroyers.

These new guns, especially the M2/M2A1 105mm howitzers, were superior to the French 75mm guns they replaced in part because of their longer range, but also because the larger caliber allowed a significantly larger bursting charge. They were also capable of plunging fire, which allowed the guns to engage targets in defilade, unlike the flatter trajectory of the French 75. In the infantry division their prime mover was usually a 2 ½-ton truck or an M5 high speed tractor. Each infantry division had another artillery battalion equipped with the tractor-drawn M1 155mm howitzer with a range almost 14,600 meters (nine miles). These guns provided general support of the division.

Gunners from the 244th Field Artillery Battalion prepare to fire their M1A1 155mm gun in support of the 26th Infantry Division, 30 March 1945. Nicknamed the “Long Tom,” this gun fired a 127-pound shell to a range of 22,000 meters (13.2 miles). (National Archives)

Heavier guns in separate battalions were attached to divisions, corps, or armies as needed. The M1 4.5-inch gun, range 19,300 meters (twelve miles), was used mainly for counter-battery fire. However, by the end of World War II, this gun was withdrawn from service despite its exceptional range. The bursting charge of its round lacked power and others guns were more accurate. The M1 8-inch howitzer had a range of almost 18,000 meters (eleven miles) and fired a 200-pound shell with great accuracy. The M1A1 155mm “Long Tom” could hurl a 127-pound projectile to a range of 22,000 meters (13.7 miles), while the M1 8-inch gun fired a 240-pound shell up to 32,500 meters (20.2 miles). The largest artillery pieces employed by the Army against Axis forces was the M1 240mm howitzer, which could fire 360-pound shell out to a range of 23,000 meters (14.3 miles).

If necessary, these heavier guns could be moved by truck, but they were usually pulled by the M4 high-speed tractor. In addition, there was a self-propelled version of the Long Tom. Under favorable conditions, an American heavy artillery battalion could road march up to 160 miles per day. These vehicles made American artillery far more mobile than German guns, which still relied heavily on horses for movement. German Field Marshal Erich von Manstein commented on the effectiveness of American trucks, even in the mud of the Russian front, where they sharply increased the mobility of Russian artillery units.

An M1 8-inch howitzer from Battery A, 194th Field Artillery Battalion, lights up the night sky during the fighting around Mount Camino, Italy, 3 December 1943. (National Archives)

Another weapon that supplied supporting fires, although it was neither a cannon or assigned to the artillery, was the M1 4.2-inch chemical mortar. Its high explosive round had the same impact as the 105mm shell, and it was often used to supplement other supporting weapons.

Another category of guns that often supported the infantry with direct fire and indirect fire were those mounted on tank destroyers. Confusingly, that term was used to describe both towed antitank guns and those mounted on tracked vehicles. America built several such tank destroyers on a tracked chassis with a lightly armored, open topped turret. When the Army decided to build such vehicles, the Wehrmacht was making successful attacks with massed tanks. These highly mobile tank destroyers were intended to rush to the scene of such an attack and seal off the penetration. By the time tank destroyers were ready for employment, the days of Blitzkrieg were over but they remained successful in engaging German armor. They were also very useful as infantry support weapons. Their highly accurate, high-velocity guns were excellent for engaging fortifications and in an indirect fire role.

As mentioned earlier, the first mobile tank destroyers consisted of 75mm guns mounted on half-tracks. A better system was needed quickly, so Ordnance officials decided to use available guns and chassis. The M10, the first purpose-built tank destroyer, mounted a 3-inch naval gun (which was available because the Navy had phased it out) on a Sherman chassis. While it was a fairly good weapon, the vehicle was unnecessarily large and slow. The M10’s gun also lacked the desired punch. The M10 was eventually phased out in favor of the M18 (nicknamed the “Hellcat”), a smaller, faster vehicle that mounted a high-velocity 76mm gun. Germany continued to improve its tanks, so the Army developed the M36, which carried a 90mm antiaircraft gun. The Army issued the M36 to tank destroyer battalions in Europe in the latter part of the war.

Most American armored divisions deployed three battalions of standard 105mm howitzers mounted, in the open, on the chassis of an M3 Lee or, more frequently, an M4 Sherman tank. These were designated the M7 and nicknamed the “Priest” for their pulpit-like machine-gun ring. While the Sherman was overmatched by German tanks in terms of main guns and armor, it was far more mechanically reliable than comparable German vehicles, and since the unarmored version that carried the artillery piece was substantially lighter than the Sherman, it seemed to handle mud quite well when compared to the standard Sherman tank. Belton Cooper, a veteran of the 3d Armored Division and author of Deathtraps: The Survival of an American Armored Division on World War II, considered them one of the Army’s best pieces of equipment.

The largest field artillery piece employed by the U.S. Army in World War II was the M1 240mm howitzer, such as this one of Battery B, 697th Field Artillery Battalion, shown here during the Italian campaign, 30 January 1944. (National Archives)

It has only taken a few paragraphs to describe America’s artillery and prime movers because America was able to adequately supply all of its forces with these few types of standard guns and vehicles. This was not the case with German artillery. Germany’s shortages were so severe that Germany seemed to employ nearly every gun that came into its possession. In The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944, Rick Atkinson wrote that half of the Wehrmacht’s artillery pieces on the Eastern Front were French guns. General Hans Eberbach, while commanding Fifth Panzer Army against the British in Normandy, wrote that his artillery included guns from every major power in Europe. It would be hard to overstate the logistical problems this caused. Acquiring the proper ammunition, let alone the firing tables and other equipment needed to keep the guns operational, must have been a nightmare. To add to his problems, the British alone had six times as many guns as he could deploy.

The mobility of American artillery was a sharp contrast to Germany’s situation. R. L. Dinardo’s excellent book, Mechanized Juggernaut or Military Anachronism? Horses in the German Army of World War II, covers the topic quite well. The relative lack of mobility of Germany’s artillery was caused by the limitations of the German economy, desultory planning, and the initiation of hostilities long before the planned expansion of the Wehrmacht was complete. The reliance on horses caused substantial problems in terms of speed of movement, low cargo capacity, short radius of action, and the disproportionate number of men needed to care for the animals. German horse-drawn artillery could only move at a rate of perhaps twenty-five miles a day for several days before the horses needed to rest. These problems were only partly mitigated by using the German rail system. Intense Allied bombing of German railways slowed the movement of troops, equipment, and supplies. The raids also caused heavy losses in men and materiel.

One way to appreciate the magnitude of the problems caused by horse-drawn artillery is to note that one of the reasons the German Sixth Army did not try to break out of its encirclement at Stalingrad was because most of its horses were in rehabilitation camps to the west and were outside of that encirclement. As a result, Sixth Army would not have been able to move its heavy weapons or ammunition during a breakout attempt.

The Trüppenführung, the basic statement of Germany’s war fighting doctrine, stated that the “Artillery must be used with great mobility to achieve its full effect.” The U.S. Army’s artillery achieved that goal far better than the Wehrmacht or any other army during World War II.

Part of the reason American artillery was so effective was good forward observation. During World War I, fire was adjusted by individual batteries. Battery commanders spotted the fall of their rounds, usually from a crude tower near the guns. In World War II, both German and American artillery fire direction was normally done at the battalion level. A fire direction center typically controlled at least a dozen guns, so better target acquisition and observation of the fall of the rounds than the Word War I practice was needed. In the fast-paced fighting of World War II, observers needed to be somewhere near or with the troops being supported, and they needed to have rapid communication with the fire direction center. When the troops were moving, landline telephones were useless. Even in static situations, the telephones, with their vulnerable lines, had serious limitations near the front lines. Radio was a possible solution, but early AM radios were fickle and often unreliable. Major, later General, Anthony C. McAuliffe studied the FM radios that the Connecticut State Police had began using and convinced the Army to develop FM vehicle radios. These provided a strong clear signal for about forty miles. Germany developed a family of high frequency vehicle radios for military use, but their radios were not nearly as effective as the American versions. By the last year of the war in Europe, Germany was deploying its own family of FM radios.

America added another element to forward observation: the light airplanes previously referred to by Rommel. Initially the Army Air Corps refused to listen to the to the light plane manufacturers’ pleas to be included in the war effort, so the manufacturers made planes available for free to generals conducting maneuvers. The benefits were so clear that, almost instantly, an irresistible clamor for their purchase arose.

The plane most used by U.S. forces was a slightly militarized Piper Cub designated the L-4. The aircraft was painted olive drab, equipped with a radio, and modified with the addition of a window was placed in the top of the fuselage behind the wing. Two planes were issued to each artillery battalion.

A gun crew from the 575th Field Artillery Battalion loads their M1 8-inch gun near Berstheim, France, in late 1944. The 8-inch gun had the longest range of any American field artillery piece of the war—32,000 meters (twenty miles). (National Archives)

Replying in kind to American deployment of airborne artillery spotters was not an option for Axis forces. Germany had an airplane that would have served admirably, the Fiesler Fi 156 Storch (Stork), which was designed with artillery spotting in mind. Nevertheless, like so much German equipment, it was overdesigned and therefore too expensive for Germany to use it as widely as it would have needed to be used to make a difference in German capabilities. In addition, Allied air supremacy would have rapidly driven them from the sky.

The use of aerial spotters solved the problem of a shortage of spotters on the ground. The troops frequently operated in separate small units, too many to have a spotter with each one. The spotter on the ground could only see nearby targets, leaving some units unable to call for fire. The airborne spotters were so effective that, in some cases, the pilot/observer directed up to ninety-five percent of the artillery fire delivered. Not only could targets be far more clearly observed from the air, but targets further behind the front lines could also be engaged.

The mere presence of the observation planes in the air over the front lines had the effect of severely suppressing enemy fire. That impact was observed in both the European and Pacific Theaters. When the spotters were in the air, enemy batteries generally remained silent or limited their fire to a few rounds at dawn and dusk. So even after the plodding German batteries arrived at the front, they were often silent.

When they were forced to fire anyway, the counter-battery fire had a catastrophic impact on them. For example in the winter of 1944-45, Germany attempted to hold the Allies well west of the Rhine River. When that defense collapsed Germany took heavy losses as the troops attempted to flee across the few bridges available. German artillery attempted to slow the advancing Americans and the “air observation posts had several field days firing on the artillery batteries that were trying to protect the crossing of the Germans to the East bank of the Rhine River. These batteries were destroyed or silenced.”

Allied troops on the ground in all theaters were extremely grateful. The most dramatic proof is that in 1978, a former World War II observation pilot received a letter from a former infantryman. He had been under Japanese artillery fire on the island of Luzon when a spotter airplane came on the scene and silenced the Japanese battery by its mere presence. He was sure that the spotter had saved his life. Years later he succeeded in tracing down the pilot to personally express his gratitude.

The Field Artillery School at Fort Sill also developed the fire direction center for U.S. artillery battalions and brigades into a place where fires could be rapidly allocated and shifted as needed. It was common practice to combine fires of the artillery of two or more adjacent divisions in support of an attack of one of those divisions, and then shift all the fires to successive attacks by the other divisions. The four divisions fighting on the northern shoulder of the Battle of the Bulge went even further. They were supported by the fire of 348 guns and a battalion of 4.2-inch mortars. All of these guns were placed under the direction of the assistant division commander of the 1st Infantry Division and all their fire was coordinated through his headquarters.

Gunners of the 244th Field Artillery Battalion fire a captured 88mm gun, 26 December 1944. American forces captured dozens of German artillery pieces, including dozens of the versatile 88s, along with tons of ammunition in the summer of 1944 and later used some of the captured ordnance against the Germans. (National Archives)

The sophistication of American fire direction developed at Fort Sill included the uniquely American ability, at that time: to have several batteries fire “Time on Target” (TOT) shoots. The fire direction center directing the TOT broadcast a countdown to all of the batteries participating in the shoot. Each battery calculated the time of flight from their guns to the target. Each fired during the countdown at a time that caused the initial rounds from all of the guns to impact the target simultaneously. Its effect was shattering.

The sophistication of American fire direction is illustrated in an anecdote in My War, a memoir by Dr. Don Fusler, a soldier who served on a 57mm antitank gun crew. His unit had occupied a large farm in western Germany. On three occasions German artillery fire came in on them with suspicious accuracy, twice hitting tank destroyers and once the unit mess. A Russian slave laborer told them that when they had occupied the farm a German captain had been on leave there and had stayed behind with a radio when the rest of the defenders pulled out. He was captured and in his possession was a map showing all of the German artillery positions in the area. It was turned over to the division artillery which conducted a simultaneous TOT shoot on all of the German positions. No other artillery in the world could have done that at that time.

The ability to coordinate fire planning and execution with the troops being supported, to readily observe the impact of artillery fire, and to efficiently shift that fire as needed was extremely important. Prewar studies had made it clear that a synergistic effect occurred when infantry, artillery and armor fought as a closely coordinated whole. That was repeatedly confirmed during the war.

In Eisenhower’s Lieutenants: The Campaign for France and Germany, 1944-1945, American military historian Russell Weigley makes much of ammunition shortages, arising largely out of the difficulties in getting ammunition from Normandy to the fighting fronts. According to Weigley, this limited the effectiveness of U.S. artillery. This seems overblown. He is correct that the American forces did not always have as much ammunition as it might wish because they preferred to use their guns to pound German positions. In the fighting for Hill 192 outside of St. Lô, the 2d Infantry alone fired up to twenty TOTs a night to keep the defenders off balance. During interrogations, German prisoners of war (POWs) in France frequently remarked on the heavy volume of American fire they had experienced.

Three gunners from Battery C, 28th Field Artillery Battalion, 8th Infantry Division, prepare to fire a 155mm shell inscribed with the greeting, “For Adolph, Unhappy New Year,” 31 December 1944. (National Archives)

The effectiveness of German artillery was limited by ammunition shortages that dwarfed those of the Allies. Even in Russia in 1941, ammunition shortages were felt by late that year heavy artillery units typically had about fifty rounds per gun on hand. Primarily because of supply problems, the German artillery supporting Fifth Panzer Army in Normandy could only fire about ten percent of what the British fired. Production problems, massive bombing raids on German manufacturing centers, and air interdiction of lines of communication all combined to seriously impede Germany’s ability to move ammunition and other supplies to its forces in Africa, Italy and the European campaign.

American artillery enjoyed another advantage that is hard to quantify: superior quality of the ammunition it fired. By 1942, Germany was drafting workers of military age out of factories and munitions plants and replacing them with POWs and slave laborers. They were not enthusiastic replacements, especially since they were usually working under harsh conditions. There are numerous anecdotes about sabotage that caused shells to fail to explode at crucial times. One of the best documented examples is described by Geoffrey Perret in There’s a War to be Won: The United States Army in World War II. Germany deployed batteries of long-range 170mm guns against the Anzio beachhead that could shoot from beyond the range of Allied counter-battery fire. However, they failed to do significant damage because seventy percent of the shells were duds.

The American artillery’s effectiveness got another boost in the winter of 1944-45. Against troops in the open, or without overhead cover, shells that burst just before they impact are much more effective than those that hit the ground before exploding. Normally, this is accomplished with a time fuze set to detonate the round a fraction of a second before it impacts. Getting the timing right can be tricky and slow the rate of firing. The proximity, or variable time (VT), fuze automatically exploded the shell above the ground, simplifying the gunners’ job. It was available earlier in the war, but fear that Germany would capture examples and reverse engineer the fuze for use against the fleets of bombers devastating the country kept the Allies from using it against targets forward of the front line. The Allies planned to begin using it against ground targets with the beginning of the New Year, but the German surprise offensive in the Ardennes, later known as the Battle of the Bulge, hastened its introduction by a few days.

The Allied artillery had a number of different types of impacts on the Normandy campaign and taken together their effect was huge. The fact that TOTs could drop without warning at any time meant that there was steady attrition in the front lines. The German front was always close to breaking so units were deployed at that front as soon as they arrived. The first to arrive tended to be well equipped elite units and they were quickly ground down. For example, the well trained 3d Parachute Division arrived from its training area in Brittany a few days after the invasion. It was deployed against the left flank of the American sector. Even when the front was relatively quiet, the Fallschirmjäger lost approximately 100 killed and several hundred wounded each day. As a result, an elite German division was seriously depleted before it was attacked by the 2d and 29th Infantry Divisions near St Lô. Panzer divisions that the Germans were also forced to commit to a defensive role had similar experiences. As a result, German opportunities to assemble a multi division force of near full strength units for the massive counterattack they needed to make to regain the initiative were severely limited.

What forces they could muster for counterattacks were virtually defeated before the attacks began. The most dramatic example took place in the British sector. Three full strength Panzer divisions arrived from Belgium and Poland and assembled near Caen. They were tasked with cutting the Caen-Bayeux road. Their assembly areas were so raked over by American and British artillery that the attack got off to a late shaky start and was called off less than twenty-four hours later. During American artillery attacks, U.S. guns neutralized crew-served weapons, destroyed defensive works, and kept the enemy infantry from manning its defenses until the fires were lifted.

In other cases, what should have been German successes were foiled by the tenacity of the men on the ground, backed by very substantial artillery support. For example, after the capture of Avranches and the breakout from the Normandy beachhead, the Germans launched Operation Lüttich, a foolhardy attempt to cut off American spearheads now penetrating deep into France. The plan was to drive from the vicinity of Falaise to the coast of the Gulf of St. Malo. The Germans made some initial progress until it reached the town of Mortain, where a battalion of the 30th Infantry Division occupied Hill 317. For three days, the Germans attempted to capture the hill, but the battalion, aided by curtains of artillery fire, held them off. It was an example of the artillery “putting solid walls of hot steel in front of American defensive positions” while calling in concentrations on German troops for miles around.

Later in the Battle of the Bulge, artillery provided the same protection. In addition, it hampered German attacks by separating infantry from its accompanying armor. Tanks unsupported by infantry were regularly taken out by American antitank guns and bazookas.

The advantages the armies of the western Allies had over the German were not limited to the excellence of their artillery. Some of these advantages are well understood and some less so. For example, there is not a lot in the histories of World War II about the fact that the Germans never developed the cavalry groups that gave the Allies an excellent reconnaissance capability. During the fighting at Mortain, there was a serious gap in the American lines. The Germans could have side slipped the axis of their advance into that gap but they never discovered it. The advantages of air superiority during the European campaigns were crucial and that topic is well developed elsewhere.


P-47 Thunderbolt: The Plane That Won World War II and Crushed Hitler

Although the P-47 was a force to be reckoned with in the air, it was sluggish in a climb and difficult to handle in takeoffs and landings. Lieutenant Harold Rosser, who flew the plane in the China-Burma-India Theater before his unit received twin-boom Lockheed P-38 Lightnings, reported, “The P-47 had no nose wheel, and instead of leaning forward to take off, it held back, leaning on its tail wheel, its tilted-up nose obstructing our forward view until it gained speed. Not until it reached a speed of 60 miles an hour did the tail come up, and until it did, we could not see the runway in front of us. The opposite was true when landing. To compensate for the blind spot, we ‘essed’ when we taxied, turning from side to side, looking to the front between turns.”

Limited pilot vision was a drawback in the early Thunderbolt variants, but this was improved when a clear-view teardrop cockpit was introduced with the P-47D model. This gave the pilot all-around visibility.

While its pilots loved and trusted the Thunderbolt, some USAAF officers in Europe thought that it used up too much runway to take off, was difficult to pull out of a dive, and that its landing gear was weak. In the Pacific Theater, however, few doubts were voiced. General George C. Kenney, the able, Canadian-born commander of the Fifth Air Force, was impressed by the performance of the plane and requested that more of his fighter groups be equipped with it.

The Thunderbolt made a significant contribution to the downfall of the Luftwaffe, the destruction of the Third Reich’s transportation system, and the eventual defeat of the German and Japanese Armies. A total of 15,579 P-47s were built, more than any other USAAF fighter, and they equipped 40 percent of overseas fighter groups in 1944 and 1945. The only American fighter that surpassed the Thunderbolt in all-around performance was the lighter P-51 Mustang, generally regarded as the best single-seat, piston-engine fighter of the war. As Colonel Gabreski observed, however, the P-51 fell short of the Thunderbolt in dive bombing and could not withstand the kind of punishment it absorbed routinely.

With double the range of the P-47s, Mustangs eventually took over escort duties for the Eighth Air Force bomber streams. The Thunderbolt pilots had acquitted themselves heroically, but even when fitted with disposable fuel tanks the planes lacked the necessary range. The final push for P-51s was accelerated by a disastrous B-17 mission on October 14, 1943. On that “Black Thursday,” 291 unescorted B-17s attacked the ball-bearing plant at Schweinfurt for the second time. They inflicted considerable damage, but 60 Fortresses were destroyed and 140 damaged. A further 88 Eighth Air Force planes had gone down in the previous week, and the losses were intolerable.

The first mission escorted by Mustangs was mounted on December 5, 1943, and they then routinely accompanied B-17s and Liberators to Berlin and back. By the end of the European war, all but one of the Eighth Air Force fighter groups were equipped with Mustangs.

The arrival of the P-51s changed the tide of the air war in Europe, but the P-47 pilots remained fiercely loyal to their corpulent Jugs and insisted that they were superior. Improved Thunderbolt variants continued to render gallant service on all fronts, from northwestern Europe to North Africa and from Italy to the Pacific. They were based in Australia from late 1943, and P-47Ns escorted Boeing B-29 Superfortress heavy bombers of the Twentieth Air Force on long over-water missions.

The last of a dozen variants of the famous Thunderbolt, the P-47N was built solely for deployment in the Pacific Theater. A total of 1,816 were deployed. The P-47Ns specialized in bombing and strafing Japanese shipping, rail lines, and airfields.

During the big Marine-Army invasion of Saipan in mid-June 1944, Thunderbolts of the Seventh Air Force’s 19th and 73rd Fighter Squadrons supported Navy planes in blasting Japanese caves and other strongpoints with napalm. They also flew in support of U.S. and Allied troops in many other Pacific actions, including the reconquest of New Guinea, the Philippines campaign, and the invasions of Guam, Tinian, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.

The RAF used Thunderbolts for training in England and Egypt, and they were widely deployed for strafing, reconnaissance, and “rhubarb” sorties in the Far East. While several squadrons in India and Burma converted from Hawker Hurricanes, RAF P-47s armed with 500-pound bombs, rockets, and napalm specialized in low-level assaults on Japanese troop concentrations and their long supply lines. They covered British-Australian landings in Burma and continued to harass the retreating enemy during the last year of the war. A total of 830 Thunderbolts were used exclusively against the Japanese during the bitter Burma campaign.

RAF Thunderbolts in the Far East bore white recognition bands to prevent confusion with Japanese Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate fighters, which closely resembled them. USAAF Thunderbolts, meanwhile, escorted Allied C-46, C-47, and C-54 transport planes flying over the Himalayan “Hump” from India to China.

It was in the European Theater, before, during, and after the momentous invasion of Normandy by the British, American, and Canadian Armies on Tuesday, June 6, 1944, that P-47s found a new role and came into their own with a vengeance. Along with 10 Eighth Air Force fighter groups and the RAF’s deadly Hawker Typhoons and Tempests, Thunderbolts took off daily from English airfields to sweep across the English Channel and pound German tanks, convoys, airfields, supply dumps, trains, and communication lines with bombs, rockets, and machine-gun fire. After the Allied troops broke out from their beachheads, the planes operated from hastily laid airstrips in France.

As long as weather conditions permitted, the Thunderbolts, Typhoons, and Tempests kept up the pressure as the Allied armies pushed across France, Belgium, Holland, and into Germany. They cheered the embattled riflemen in the foxholes and terrified their opponents. Over the front lines of northwestern Europe in 1944-1945, the P-47 proved itself a fearsome weapon. The effect of it firing eight .5-inch Colt-Browning machine guns in its wings was described by one observer as being like “driving a five-ton truck straight at a wall at 60 miles an hour.”

Thunderbolts were the frontline workhorses of General Hoyt S. Vandenburg’s Ninth Air Force, history’s largest tactical air command, which had been reformed in the fall of 1943 after operations in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy, to support ground units in Normandy. It boasted 3,500 aircraft.

By May 1944, 13 of the Ninth Air Force’s fighter groups had been equipped with P-47Ds, tailored for their critical role as low-level strafers and bombers. They had upgraded engines and propellers, and racks were fitted beneath their wings to carry 500-pound bombs and, later, rocket projectiles. After the Normandy landings, the Ninth Air Force followed the example of the RAF’s “cab rank” tactics with Typhoons. U.S. Army tank crews with VHF radio sets were able to summon bomb-carrying Thunderbolts to attack specific targets.

With an overall loss rate of only 0.7 percent, the P-47s destroyed or damaged 6,000 enemy tanks and armored cars, 68,000 trucks, 9,000 locomotives, 86,000 pieces of rolling stock, and 60,000 horse-drawn vehicles. Flying 545,575 sorties and logging an estimated 1.35 million combat hours, they shot down 3,752 enemy planes with the loss of 824 in aerial battles. By August 1945, Thunderbolts had flown on every front and destroyed more than 7,000 German and Japanese aircraft in the air and on the ground.

The most aerial victories in the European Theater were scored by Colonel Hubert A. “Hub” Zemke’s 56th “Wolfpack” Fighter Group. His P-47s racked up 665.5 kills, and he himself was credited with 17.75 enemy planes destroyed in the air and 8.5 on the ground. The conservative, gentlemanly Zemke was described as the “fightingest” fighter commander in Europe because he regularly led his pilots into action. He also was an innovative tactician. Both he and the gallant Colonel Gabreski, the third-ranking American air ace of all time, ended the war in German prison camps.

The production of Thunderbolts ended in November 1945. P-47Ds and P-47Ns remained in service with the USAAF and when it became the U.S. Air Force in September 1947, and a few flew with Air National Guard squadrons before being phased out in 1955. P-47s also operated with the air forces of Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Dominica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Iran, Italy, Mexico, Nationalist China, Peru, Turkey, and Yugoslavia.

When the Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950, Defense Department planners decided that piston-engine fighters were sorely needed for ground support. They tried to find enough P-47s for the task, but the planes, which had perfected such tactics in World War II, were almost out of inventory. A few Thunderbolts saw action in Korea, but the Air Force had no choice but to rely mainly on P-51s and the new breed of jet fighters.


Protection and Survivability

The original design specifications of the Sherman called for the armour to be able to withstand hits from 37-mm guns. At the time the Sherman designs were drafted, 50mm guns were the largest in use on medium tanks. While the armour on the Sherman was comparable to other medium tanks in Britain, Russia or Germany in 1942, advances in German gun technology rendered the armour vulnerable to the later high velocity 50mm, 75mm, and ultra-high velocity 75mm and 88mm weapons that German tanks began mounting in 1943.

Early Sherman models were also prone to burning when hit by enemy fire (called 'brewing up'). Unprotected ammunition stowage also provided a danger to Sherman crews. A common myth perpetuated in postwar histories that the use of a gasoline (petrol) engine contributed to this tendency and that German tanks used diesel less likely to burn is unsupported by fact most Second World War tanks, including German models, used gasoline engines and petrol was unlikely to ignite when hit with Armour Piercing shells.

In fact, battlefield experience and (US Army) Ordnance tests established that the main cause of Sherman fires was ignition of the ammunition propellant. A lesser culprit was the occasional ignition of turret hydraulic oil, personal stowage or sometimes fuel. It was estimated that 60-80 per cent of Shermans penetrated by (Armour Piercing) rounds or Panzerfausts burned. This is easy to believe in view of the fact that a penetration from nearly anywhere in the frontal arc would bring a projectile in contact with ammunition, and once the casing ruptured, the (High Explosive) filler used in many German AP rounds would ignite it. Once a propellant fire broke out the crew had little choice but to abandon the vehicle as quickly as possible. 16

Later Sherman models decreased the dangers of ammunition stowage by welding one-inch thick applique armour plates to the hull outside the stowage racks, and later moving ammunition to the hull floor and utilizing "wet stowage" where ammunition was kept in liquid filled jackets.

However, as tank crews became familiar with enemy gun performance, additional armour solutions were created in the field, including the use of logs, sandbags, and especially common in Canadian units was the use of spare track welded to the hull and turret - including tracks from tanks other than Shermans, including captured German track. The use of field-applied armour was controversial some technicians felt it increased the vulnerability to HEAT weapons, others pointed to the strain on drive trains caused by the additional weight. The crews' response was that there was no point preserving the drive train for an additional 500 miles of life if the tank did not survive to the next bend in the road.

By the end of June 1944, armoured crews of the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade began to make changes:

The members of the (6th Canadian Armoured Regiment (1st Hussars)) took the opportunity to start making unauthorized modifications to their Shermans. They attached lengths of track from derelicts to the glacis plates (front of the tank) and the sides of the hull. The theory was that the additional armour would either deflect or slow down a round striking the tank. The crews were only too aware of the Shermans shortcomings and felt that they needed every additional advantage they could think of. The RCEME officers who saw these goings on were not impressed. The extra weight would drive up fuel consumption and cause premature track and engine wear, they said. They also stated that the extra padding was illusory, that it would do nothing in the way of adding protection. The crewmen remained singularly unimpressed with these arguments. They didn't care a hoot about fuel, track or engine wear they cared about getting across the next one hundred yards of ground and living to tell the story. If the extra armour was not real protection, that didn't matter either, they liked it and if it helped their morale and gave them more confidence in their vehicles then it was worth the expense. 17

The 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division apparently did not wait long after arriving on the Continent to similarly modify their tanks:

On 3 August (Major) Dave Currie's "C" Squadron (of the South Alberta Regiment) moved up to replace (Major) Lavoie's "A" Squadron, which was withdrawn to have German tank tracks welded to the turrets and hulls of their Shermans for additional armour protection. Apparently, as the War Diarist noted, the Regiment was the first armoured unit in 4th Division "to attempt such a modification and those who have had experience with it can vouch for its usefulness." 18

The Sherman acquired the nickname "Ronson" after the popular brand of cigarette lighter (whose slogan was "Lights up the first time, every time!"). German troops sometimes referred to them as "Tommycookers".

Survivability for the turret crew was hampered by the fact that Canadian Shermans in the Second World War (with the exception of the Firefly) had only one hatch in the turret. The loader was obliged to "crawl under the gun to exit through the main "commander's" turret hatch", after the commander and gunner had exited. 19 Hull crew were similarly at a disadvantage if their overhead hatch was obstructed by the main gun of the turret.

The Sherman also had an emergency hatch in the belly of the tank.

The Sherman V used a Chrysler multi-bank engine.

Our first real tank was the 30 ton Ram. Anyone caught smoking within 50 feet of it was put on charge (during training). I often smiled a year or so later in Italy, seeing someone gassing up a (Sherman) with a cigarette dangling from his lips sheer stupidity, of course damn poor discipline, too. But then, in Italy we heated our water for tea with a combustion heater sitting on the tank's floor between the co-driver's feet. 21

The Sherman ran on a 24-volt DC electrical system, with a power take-off from the main engine driving a 24 V, 50 amp main generator. An auxiliary generator unit - a 30 V, 1,500 Watt generator driven by a one-cylinder, two-stroke, air-cooled fuel fired engine - was located inside the tank. Known as "Little Joe" to US tankers, Canadians referred to it as a Homelite. It was used to charge the Sherman's batteries (two 12-volt batteries, wired in series) when the main engine could not be run, or when the main generator's output had to be supplemented, such as when the radio or power turret traverse placed a heavy load on the batteries. 22

While the earliest models of Sherman tank (as well as Canadian variants such as the Ram) had Vertical Volute Spring Suspension (VVSS) bogie trucks with return rollers mounted centrally, the later models used in combat by Canadians had offset return rollers. The postwar Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension (HVSS) bogie trucks were less maintenance-intensive as they did not have to be disassembled in order to change the wheels. HVSS also gave more wheel travel, providing a smoother ride.

A variety of track types were utilized on Canadian Shermans including plain rubber blocks, rubber-chevron tracks and metal chevron tracks. The postwar HVSS suspension tracks were different yet again.

Canadian Dry Pin track, very similar in appearance to track used on German medium tanks, was used on the Sexton II self-propelled gun and the Canadian Grizzly tank. Vehicles using this track used a special 17-toothed sprocket.

The track length of the Sherman V was longer owing to the extended hull, on which the bogie trucks were placed farther apart. The track width of the postwar HVSS tanks served to decrease the vehicle's ground pressure. Standard track plate width was 16.5 inches (which could be extended through the use of end connectors, as described below), and track plate width increased to 23 inches on HVSS Shermans.

The largest disadvantage in performance the Sherman had in comparison with its enemy counterparts was its steering, and subsequent turn radius, which was larger than the PzKpfw IV. A US Army Ordnance report lists 31 feet (9.5m) for the turning circle of a Sherman. Panzerkampfwagen by Ellis & Doyle (Argus 1976) list minimum turning circles as:

  • PzKpfw I ausf A&B: 2.1m
  • PzKpfw II ausf F : 4.8m
  • PzKpfw III ausf M : 5.85m
  • PzKpfw IV ausf D&G: 5.92m
  • PzKpfw 38t: 4.54m
  • PzKpfw 35t: 4.88m
  • PzKpfw V (Panther) ausf G : 10.0m
  • PzKpfw VI (King Tiger) ausf B : 4.8m

The standard end connectors of the tracks can be seen above left. Below left are two types of "extended end connector." Drawings based on those found in Sherman in Action.

It was just as well perhaps that the (South Alberta) Regiment received a shipment of track extenders, gadgets which widened the area of the tank tracks giving them better grip in muddy conditions. These were difficult items to fit and the work kept the crews out of mischief for a few days. 23


Contents

Background [ edit | edit source ]

The raising of Militia units in Ireland commenced with the "Militia Act 1793", which in Ireland was used in conjunction with the compulsory disbandment of Lord Charlemont's Irish Volunteers, who had become a political entity and "out of the scope of official influence". Ώ] The scope of the Militia was broadened by an act of the Dublin Parliament in 1796, which led to the raising of 49 troops of cavalry, later renamed yeomanry. A troop normally consisted of a captain, two lieutenants (commissioned by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland) and forty men, along with a permanent sergeant and trumpeter. Troops were grouped together under the command of a regular army Brigade Major. The force was known collectively as the "Irish Yeomanry". Each man provided his own horse. ΐ] The falling need for this force eventually led to its disbandment in 1834. Α]

With the advent of the Boer War, a parliamentary decision was taken to raise squadrons of Yeomanry Cavalry under the "Militia and Yeomanry Act 1901" for service in South Africa. Because of the pressing need to raise this force quickly, normal cavalry training with swords or lances (known as the arme blanche) was dispensed with and the new yeomanry was issued only with rifles in a break with cavalry tradition. This new force was called the "Imperial Yeomanry". Six squadrons were quickly raised in Ireland, including the 46th (1st Belfast), 54th (2nd Belfast), the 60th (North Irish), and 45th (Dublin) (known as the Dublin Hunt Squadron) commanded by the Captain, the Earl of Longford. The 45th, 46th, 47th and 54th formed the 13th (Irish) Battalion Imperial Yeomanry. The 47th (Duke of Cambridge's Own) was raised from rich "men-about-town" in London by the Earl of Donoughmore and paid £130 each for their horses and equipment. The officers of the battalion included: the Earl of Leitrim, Sir John Power (of the Powers whiskey family), James Craig (later Lord Craigavon) and was known as the "Millionaires Own". Β]

Formation [ edit | edit source ]

Following the South African war, sixteen new yeomanry regiments were formed, two of these in Ireland. King Edward VII approved the formation of the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry and the South of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry in 1901. Their formation was sanctioned and gazetted on 7 January 1902. Γ] Recruiting for the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry did not begin until 1903, with four squadrons being raised: Δ]

  • RHQ and A Squadron at Skegoneill Avenue in Belfast, Ε]
  • B Squadron in Derry/Ballymena, Ζ]
  • C Squadron in Enniskillen
  • D Squadron in Dundalk.

The first training camp was held at Blackrock Camp, Dundalk in 1903 thereafter, camps were held every third year at the Curragh and other years at Ballykinlar, Dundrum, Magilligan and Bundoran. Δ]

The regiment became part of the special reserve in 1908 and its name was changed to the North Irish Horse as part of the Haldane Reforms, the formation of the Territorial Force, which created the Special Reserve of Militia and Yeomanry regiments in Ireland. The North Irish Horse, along with the other Militia battalions, remained on the Special Reserve list until 1953. This arrangement gave the Irish units precedence in the line over the Territorial Army regiments just after the Cavalry of the Line, but also guaranteed the use of the Militia and Yeomanry in overseas conflicts. Η]

The first commander was the Earl of Shaftesbury, whose adjutant was Captain RGO Bramston-Newman, 7th (Princess Royal's) Dragoon Guards, from Cork. Senior NCOs from regular Cavalry of the Line units became the permanent staff instructors (PSIs). On 7 December 1913, the Duke of Abercorn was appointed as the regiment's first honorary colonel. ⎖]

The First World War [ edit | edit source ]

The declaration of war against Germany in August 1914 found the North Irish Horse at summer camp, as was its sister regiment, the South Irish Horse. The Expeditionary Force squadron (designated A Squadron) under the command of Major Lord Cole, consisting of 6 officers and 154 other ranks, along with its counterpart in the South Irish Horse (designated B Squadron) was assigned to the British Expeditionary Force. Both squadrons sailed from Dublin on the SS Architect on 17 August 1914. ⎗] They were the first non-regular troops to land in France and be in action in the First World War. They were joined shortly afterwards by C Squadron of the North Irish Horse under the command of Major Lord Massereene and Ferrard DSO. Three more squadrons of the 'Horse' were to join the regiment in France landing on 2 May 1915, 17 November 1915 and 11 January 1916. A total of 70 officers and 1,931 men of the regiment went to war between 1914 and 1916. ⎘]

The North Irish Horse did not stay together as a unit, but squadrons were attached to different formations in the BEF as and when required:

  • A Squadron – attached to GHQ until 4 January 1916, transferred to 55th (West Lancashire) Division. On 10 May 1916, it was attached to VII Corps, forming the 1st North Irish Horse along with D and E Squadrons. 1 NIH was transferred to XIX Corps in July 1917, and then to V Corps, September 1917. In March 1918, it was reroled as the 5th (North Irish Horse) Cyclist Battalion until the end of the war. ⎙]
  • B Squadron – was attached to the 59th (2nd North Midland) Division, August 1915. In June 1916, it formed, along with C Squadron and the Service Squadron of the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons, the 2nd North Irish Horse. This battalion was attached to X Corps until August 1917, then disbanded. The men were sent to be trained as infantry and more than 300 of them joined the 9th (Service) (North Irish Horse) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. ⎙]
  • C Squadron – moved to France on 22 August 1914 and was attached to GHQ before being detached to 5th Division as the divisional cavalry squadron to replace A Sqn of the 19th Hussars. On 14 April 1915, it was transferred to the 3rd Division, and in June 1916 was sent to join B Sqn in the 2nd North Irish Horse which was later disbanded. ⎙]
  • D Squadron – was attached to the 51st (Highland) Division in early 1915, but in June 1916 joined A Sqn in the 1st North Irish Horse. ⎙]
  • E Squadron – was attached to 34th Division as part of the divisional mounted contingent from early 1915, and in June 1916 joined A Sqn in the 1st North Irish Horse. ⎙]
  • F Squadron – was attached to the 33rd Division from early 1915 until April 1916, before being briefly attached to 1st Cavalry Division, 49th (West Riding) Division, and 32nd Division, before joining X Corps in June 1916. It was redesignated B Squadron 1 North Irish Horse in May 1916. ⎙]

On 25 May 1916, 2nd North Irish Horse was formed. This regiment included, as A Sqn, the Service Squadron of the 6th Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, which had been formed on 2 October 1914 from volunteers of the Inniskilling Horse of the Ulster Volunteer Force. ⎚] This squadron did not welcome the change and maintained its Inniskilling identity being allowed to keep its precedence in the line coming just after the Dragoons until 1919. ⎛]

Records indicate that a third regiment was being formed at the depot in Antrim and it has been speculated that this had unofficially adopted the title "3rd North Irish Horse" but no official records exist to support this. ⎜]

Cyclist Corps [ edit | edit source ]

As the war in France and the Low Countries stagnated into trench warfare, the mobility of cavalry and other mounted troops was restricted leading to many cavalry regiments being dismounted and deployed on a range of tasks from that of infantry to menial tasks, including burying the dead. The loss of some of the squadrons' war diaries for the early part of the war means that much information is no longer available, but enough remains to know that some men were deployed on fatigues, enough to render the squadrons non-existent from a "military or fighting point". ⎝] The historian of the British Cavalry, the Earl of Anglesey, noted that "the cavalry were being used for every odd job where there was no-one else to carry it out". ⎝] This led to many officers and men transferring to other arms because they felt they were not taking an active part in the war. The vast majority of "Horse" casualties in the Great War were when serving with other units during this period. ⎞]

After conversion to a cyclist battalion, the regiment became part of the "Great Retreat of 1918" during the Operation Michael phase of the German Kaiserschlacht (or Spring Offensive). ⎟] Following the Armistice, on 13 November a supply of boot blackening and button polish was made available in the Other Ranks canteen and the regiment began handing in stores in preparation for moving back to Ireland. The regiment's location was close to le Cateau, not far from where it had started the war. ⎠] During the Great War, the "Horse" won 18 battle honours, and lost 27 officers and 123 men. One officer, Captain Richard West, was awarded the Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Order and Bar, and Military Cross. ⎡]

The Inter-war years [ edit | edit source ]

By 31 January 1919, the regiment was preparing to reduce to a cadre of three officers, five senior ranks and twenty-seven other ranks who would oversee the rundown of the regiment and its departure from France. On 13 May 1919, the rear party left Vignacourt en route for Pembroke Dock in Antrim, the regimental depot was closed and the remaining men there were transferred to the Curragh Camp prior to being demobbed. ⎢] The regiment's horses were transferred to the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars and the regiment was classed as "disembodied", which in British Army parlance meant that it no longer existed except as a name on the Army List with a complement (in this case) of an Honorary Colonel, Honorary Chaplain, a Brevet Colonel (EA Maude), six majors, six subalterns and the quartermaster although these officers had no peacetime training commitments. ⎢]

The naming conventions changed as the commitment of the Territorial Force in Great Britain was rewarded by its renaming as the Territorial Army. The Special Reserve in Ireland was renamed "the Militia" on 1 October 1921. The Army List contained a section headed, "Cavalry Special Reserve – Irish Horse, North Irish, South Irish". In 1922, this changed to "Cavalry Militia" with precedence following the 17th/21st Lancers. By this time, however, the South Irish Horse had been disbanded on 31 July 1922, as a result of the partition of Ireland. Following the disbandment of King Edward's Horse in 1924, the North Irish Horse became the sole cavalry militia regiment on the army list and also the only militia regiment that had not been placed in suspended animation. ⎣]

On 28 February 1924, the regiment held its first reunion in Thompson's Restaurant in Belfast, where it was agreed that a memorial to the dead of the Great War should be commissioned. The sum of £500 was allocated and a memorial window was unveiled by the Earl of Shaftesbury and dedicated by the Right Reverend RW Hamilton MA, the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church on 25 April 1925 on the occasion of the 2nd Regimental Reunion. ⎤]

The "One Man Regiment" [ edit | edit source ]

Retirement and death eventually reduced the regimental strength in 1934 to just one combatant officer, Major Sir Ronald D Ross Bt, MC. This became a source of amusement in society and the North Irish Horse was given the sobriquet of the "One Man Regiment". This state of affairs continued until 1938, when the British Government decided to increase the number of available regiments to meet the possible threat of war from the emergent Nazi regime in Germany. ⎥]

The Second World War [ edit | edit source ]

Prelude to war [ edit | edit source ]

On 31 August 1939, the War Office ordered the reconstitution of the regiment as a wheeled armoured car unit under the command of Sir Basil Brooke (formerly 10th Hussars) with Lord Erne as his second in command, although Brooke was shortly to leave the position as his political commitments took precedence. Ultimately to be replaced, after several temporary officers, by Lt Col David Dawnay, grandson of the 8th Viscount Downe. Recruiting commenced and instructors were brought in from other RAC and Yeomanry units to raise the Horse from its "One Man Regiment" status from scratch. On 11 September, a Special Army Order transferred the regiment from the Cavalry of the Line to the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC). By November, 50 recruits had been trained and a further 30–40 were due to start training immediately. In the same month, the regiment also moved its base to Enniskillen Castle. ⎦] By January 1940, the regiment had received its vintage Rolls-Royce armoured cars fitted with Vickers machine guns and No 11 radio sets ⎧] and was able to form three sabre squadrons plus HQ Sqn. The officer cadre was again heavily filled by members of the nobility with the squadrons being commanded by: ⎨]

  • HQ Squadron – Captain Newton commanding with the Marquess of Ely as second in command, based at Castle Barracks
  • A Squadron – CaptainLord O'Neill, based at County Hall
  • B Squadron – Captain Booth, based at the McArthur Hall
  • C Squadron – Captain Sir Norman Stronge Bt, based at the Orange Hall

Training was interrupted on 24 May 1940 when an Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb exploded close to the officers' mess, which was in the Main Street in Enniskillen, but before any further incidents occurred the regiment was moved to Portrush. ⎩]

Training exercises continued along the north coast, which caused a certain amount of boredom amongst the officers and men who by now had expected to be fighting. On 19 April 1941, the regiment moved to Abercorn Barracks at Ballykinlar and re-equipped as an armoured regiment with Mk I Valentine tanks. ⎪]

On 18 October 1941, the Horse left Northern Ireland and took up new accommodation at Westbury, Wiltshire with the squadrons billeted in the surrounding villages. ⎫] The role was changed again at this point and the regiment handed in its Valentines to receive Churchill I – Mk IV's it was assigned to the 34th Army Tank Brigade under the command of JN Tetley, son of the English brewing magnate. ⎬]

Tank names [ edit | edit source ]

At this point, the tanks were given markings that corresponded to the formation, regiment and squadrons to which they belonged and, in a practice that was to become customary with all Irish units of the RAC, each tank was named after an Irish town or place beginning with the letter of the squadron designation: ⎭]

Donegal, Downpatrick, Dromore, Drogheda, Dundalk, Dungannon

The regiment continued to be moved around the Home Counties and also spent time in Wales, exercising and becoming familiar with its Churchill tanks. On 6 September 1942, it was transferred from the 34th Tank Brigade to the 25th Army Tank Brigade, which was attached to the 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division, joining the 51st (Leeds Rifles) Royal Tank Regiment (formerly the 7th (Leeds Rifles) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment) ⎮] and the 142nd Regiment RAC (formerly the 7th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment). ⎯]

As Christmas leave was drawing to a close, those still away from the unit were recalled by telegram and ordered to get ready to deploy for overseas service, although oddly, they were then given six days "embarkation leave" (with an extra day to allow the Irishmen to travel home). ⎰] On their return, the regiment's tanks were sheeted down so that all markings were hidden and all ranks had to divest themselves of identifying badges to prevent knowledge of their deployment becoming known. All were then entrained for Liverpool, where they embarked on the troopship Duchess of York. ⎱]

Tunisia [ edit | edit source ]

On 2 February 1943, the North Irish Horse landed in Algiers and marched 17 miles on foot to their new camp. ⎲]

Its first job was to create a defensive force around Le Kef. The regiment was not up to strength at this time as many of its tanks and much of its equipment had been delayed by logistical difficulties. The regiment was ordered to leave Le Kef at speed to counter the Axis Offensive – Operation Ochsenkopf in late February 1943. It made best speed with all 27 available tanks towards Béja, some 90 miles away – one of the longest "on track" journeys ever made by Churchill tanks. In the ensuing 60-hour action, mostly against elements of the German 10th Panzer Division, the Horse took its first casualties of the war and lost a number of tanks to enemy artillery and direct tank-on-tank actions. It also received its first decoration, with Captain Griffith being awarded the Military Cross. ⎳]

The regiment continued to support other elements of the invasion force in troop or squadron formations, taking heavy casualties and losing tanks but continuing to press forward all the time until, in early April moving to Oued Zarga where the entire regiment came together for the first time since landing at Algiers. ⎴] In the further advance north while attached to the 38th (Irish) Brigade, which was under the command of Brigadier Nelson Russell, the Horse showed the agility of the often underestimated Churchills by climbing heights regarded as safe from tanks and surprising the Germans occupying them, a fact noted by Spike Milligan in his account of the Tunisian Campaign in his book "Rommel?" "Gunner Who?" ⎵] The most notable of these feats of tank hill climbing was the attack on Djebel Rhar (also known as Longstop Hill) in support of the 5th Buffs. The German infantry did not expect tanks to be able to make the crest of the Djebel and as a result were thrown into panic when the Churchills of B Sqn appeared in their midst. On 16 June, the Belfast Telegraph carried a report of the action:

It was very slow and therefore a most impressive assault with steel. At times the tanks almost 'stood on their heads', twisting to avoid mounds of rock and to get at right angles to the huge cracks and shell holes, but always getting nearer and nearer. Like beetles trying to climb an inverted ice-cream cone, they slipped a little, hung suspended and then went onwards towards the top. The behaviour of these tanks upset the Germans. Such tactics were untanklike, and no answer was contained in their military textbooks. Too late now to shift the anti-tank guns from their positions, too late to make alternative arrangements to deal with the new menace. There was only one answer – retreat, and that's what the Germans did – leaving the British tanks and infantry in possession of the first slope up the heights of Longstop. So ended 23 April. ⎶]

One German prisoner was heard to remark that the tanks were "Iron Mules". ⎷]

On 6 May, the final attack was launched against Tunis and, after severe street fighting and the capture of six 88 mm guns by C Sqn (in support of the Indian Brigade), the town was finally occupied. This effectively ended the campaign in Tunisia. ⎸]

The Italian Campaign [ edit | edit source ]

Mount Vesuvius erupting in 1944

The Horse were allowed to rest and receive replacement vehicles and men for several months after the Tunisian actions. It has been surmised that this is because General Montgomery did not believe the Churchill tank to be a practical vehicle for the Italian campaign. ⎹] Nevertheless, the regiment embarked on 16 April for Naples, coming under air attack as it entered the harbour two days later. Vesuvius could be seen just a few miles away with fire and smoke pouring from its brim, having erupted just several weeks earlier on 19 March. ⎺]

The Hitler Line [ edit | edit source ]

At Afragola ⎻] the regiment received 18 Sherman tanks and then loaded all tanks onto trains to be taken across country to Foggia and from there moved into a brigade harbour area near the village of Lucera. By now, Lord O'Neill had been given command of the regiment, with Colonel Dawnay moving on to brigade staff. After a week in harbour, the regiment was sent on tank transporters to Mignano near Monte Cassino, which had fallen some days earlier along with the rest of the Gustav Line. The fighting was not over, however, as the Adolf Hitler Line, now renamed the Senger Line, lay just six miles north, and it would be the next objective. ⎼] The Horse was briefed for Operation Chesterfield, which was an assault by the 1st Canadian Division supported by tanks of the North Irish Horse and the 51st Royal Tanks. H Hour was to be at 6 am on 23 May. The plan required the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigades, supported by the two tank regiments, to break through the Hitler Line on a 3,000-yard front. The assaulting troops came under a withering hail of fire on the well-prepared killing grounds of the heavily defended German positions. The Horse took heavy casualties and had to regroup by merging depleted squadrons together. One tank slipped off a track and fell 50 feet into a ravine, rolling over on its turret and then back onto its tracks. The crew were shaken but unhurt, and the incident gave them another chance to display the marvellous climbing skills of the Churchill as they crawled slowly up the almost sheer walls of the ravine to re-enter the battle. During this battle, Major Griffiths again displayed great heroism and was later awarded the only bar to the MC that an officer of the regiment received. The total cost to the Horse in the engagement was 36 men killed in action and 32 tanks lost. This represented 60% of the regimental strength. ⎽] The date of 23 May was later chosen as a "Regimental Day" to commemorate the bloodiest day in the history of the North Irish Horse, which lost more men than on any other day in two world wars. The breakthrough happened, however, and the German defenders began evacuating the position on the night of 23 May. Meanwhile, the allied advance continued. ⎾]

As a result of the breaking of the Hitler Line and in "appreciation of the support they received" the regiment was asked by the Canadians to wear the Maple Leaf insignia of the Canadian Military. In the battles of the Hitler Line was a Donegal born Lieutenant Pat Reid MC, who in later life would emigrate to Canada and would chair the committee selected by the Canadian Prime Minister that would choose the Maple Leaf design for the new national Flag of Canada. ⎿]

On 4 May, the regiment, along with the rest of the 25th Tank Brigade, was transferred to the 4th Division in support of the 28th Brigade, but remained in reserve. After news of the D Day Landings was heard, the regiment was again transferred and came under command of the 17th Indian Infantry Brigade. This brief period of respite allowed a number of the men to visit Rome. Many visited the Basilica San Pietro and marvelled at the undamaged splendour of such an edifice. ⏀]

Camouflaged Churchill tanks of the North Irish Horse in Italy, 19 July 1944

The regiment was then tasked to put together a composite unit of Shermans to relieve the 142nd RAC Regt's composite group with the 8th Indian Infantry Division, and the advance began westwards to Perugia, which fell on 20 June. On 16 June, the Horse again relieved the 142nd, this time at Bastia Umbra. ⏁] ⏂] In the days and actions that followed, new upgunned Churchill tanks arrived, with their Besa machine guns. ⏃]

The Gothic Line [ edit | edit source ]

The death of Lord O'Neill reported in the War Diary

Advancing again though mountainous countryside, another tank slid off the track and rolled six times down a 200-foot slope. The crew were not so lucky this time, as one was killed and the rest injured. The tank was a write-off. ⏄] The race was on, however, to drive the Germans back, and the North Irish Horse was rushed in again to relieve the hard-pressed 142nd RAC Regt at Maria del Monte. On 3 September, it crossed the Conca river, ⏂] followed by an attack on Coriana to secure the bridges crossing the Marano river. On 8 September, the regiment was withdrawn to a safer area in the knowledge that the Gothic Line had been broken. ⏂]

On 29 November, the regiment was advancing north to Monte Cavallo supporting the Mahratta infantry. Lt Col Lord O'Neill arrived and took up a position of observation at a small stone barn. A heavy shell impacted nearby and he was killed. ⏅]

By this time, the autumn rains had arrived, which slowed the Allied advance but did not stop it. On 2 October, the regiment was ordered to move to Poggio Berni to relieve the 6th Royal Tank Regiment. Action continued until 3 November, when the Horse were pulled out of the line and local leave granted after a memorial service for those killed in action. ⏆]

The end of the Italian Campaign [ edit | edit source ]

A Churchill tank of the North Irish Horse crossing the River Senio in Italy over two Churchill Ark bridging tanks, 10 April 1945

On 7 November, Lt Col Llewellen-Parker took command, and the advance northwards quickly continued. The Churchills once again proved their worth in their ability to cross natural obstacles such as rivers, mountains and the thick glutinous mud, which formed on the arable farmland during the rains and after it had been churned up by thousands of men and machines. Eventually, the regiment was granted an extended period of maintenance and rest at Riccione. On 4 December, it was again transferred, this time to the 21st Tank Brigade under the command of Brigadier David Dawnay, the former regimental commander. On 12 January, it moved into Ravenna in support of the Italian Gruppo Cremona, ⏇] which was now fighting on the side of the allies. ⏈]

In late March, the regiment was involved in the action south of the Senio river and by 2 April was facing the enemy's defences along the flood-banks and engaging them at close range. The last of the German resistance crumbled as more tanks made it into position to engage them, and they surrendered, with the Horse taking 40 prisoners. ⏉]

Following Operation Buckland ⏊] and the crossing of the River Po, the regiment was ordered to stand down on 30 April 1945 for the last time in the Second World War. Two days later, all German forces in Italy surrendered. ⏋]

The North Irish Horse lost 73 men killed in action during the Second World War, including a commanding officer, two squadron leaders and several troop leaders. ⏌]

Post war [ edit | edit source ]

In the immediate aftermath of the German surrender, the regiment fell into a routine of guard duties and time off. Eventually, most of the tanks were handed in except for three per squadron, and a move was made into Austria, where the Horse took on the role of armoured reconnaissance regiment for the 78th Division. In January 1946, another move was effected into Germany, where the Horsemen carried out internal security duties in the Wuppertal area until 7 June, when these duties were handed over to the 14th/20th Hussars and the North Irish Horse was disbanded. ⏍]

In 1947, however, it was reformed as part of the extension of the Territorial Army Yeomanry into Northern Ireland. In 1956, the TA lost its tanks, and the Horse became an armoured reconnaissance regiment, again in armoured cars. It avoided disbandment at this point and did so again in 1961. Δ]

Further cuts to the TA in 1967 saw the Horse disbanded and re-established as D (North Irish Horse) Squadron in the Royal Yeomanry. In 1969, 'B' Squadron in Derry was re-badged as 69 (North Irish Horse) Signal Squadron and became part of 32nd (Scottish) Signal Regiment. ⏎]

During Options for Change in 1992, the Horse was re-established as an independent Reconnaissance Squadron, equipped with Land Rovers and placed under the command of the Royal Irish Rangers. The signal squadron survived and became part of 40th (Ulster) Signal Regiment. In 1999, the no-longer independent North Irish Horse joined an expanded Queen's Own Yeomanry as B (North Irish Horse) Squadron. ⏎] The Land Rovers were replaced by Spartan armoured personnel carriers as B Sqn took on the role of providing support troopers. During the post-1956 period, the regiment was equipped with a variety of armoured vehicles such as Spartan APCs. Δ]

Until 2010, the unit's remained as B (North Irish Horse) Squadron, Queen's Own Yeomanry – a Squadron equipped with CVR(T) Scimitar and Spartan based at Dunmore Park Camp, Antrim Road, Belfast, with RHQ in Newcastle upon Tyne. ⏏] Personnel have been deployed to Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. ⏏]

On 22 October 2009, in the early morning, a device was thrown over the front gate of Dunmore Park Camp in Ashfield Crescent. It was suspected that dissident republicans carried out the attack. ⏐]

Under the Army 2020 re-organisation B (North Irish Horse) Squadron came under command of the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry, while 69 (North Irish Horse) Signal Squadron became 40 (North Irish Horse) Signal Squadron, part of 32 Signal Regiment. ⏑]


The Empire to Commonwealth Project

The site of Uniforms of the World shows some unique pictures:

 

Australia 1

Australian Cadets

 

 

British West Indies

 

 

Ceremonial '50s

  • Trooper, Life Guards
  • Private, Royal Scots
  • Sergeant, 6th Gurkha Rifles
  • Trooper, 11th Hussars
  • Corporal, Royal Ulster Rifles
  • Sergeant, Irish Guards 

Cerememonial '60s

  • Piper, Royal Scots Fusiliers, 1956
  • Piper, 6th Queen Elizabeth's Own Gurkha Rifles, 1961
  • Colonel, 1962
  • Staff Sergeant, Women's Royal Army Corps, Singapore, 1964
  • Piper, Queen's ( Belfast) University Contingent O.T.C., Belfast, 1964
  • Corporal, 23rd Special Air Service Regiment (T.A.), 1965 

 

 

  • Corporal , Sirmoor Regiment, 1856
  • Sepoy, 2nd (The Prince of Wales’ Own) Gurkha (Rifles) Regiment (The Sirmoor Rifles), 1897
  • Sepoy & Head Constable, Frontier Police, 1912
  • British Officer, 2nd King Edward’s Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles), 1913
  • Sepoy, 3rd Battalion, 10th Gurkha Rifles, 1944
  • Piper, 10th Princess Mary’s Own Gurkha Rifles, 1953 

 

 

  • 11th ( Prince Albert’s Own) Hussars
  • Princess Louise's (Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders)
  • The Royal Irish Rifles
  • 9th (Queen’s Royal) Lancers
  • 4th County of London Imperial Yeomanry (King’s Colonials)
  • The Prince of Wales’s Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment) 
  • Sergeant, Blues & Royals
  • Sergeant, Intelligence Corps
  • Sergeant, the Brigade of Guards
  • Sergeant, Royal Tank Regiment
  • Sergeant, the Royal Scots (the Royal Regiment)
  • Sergeant, Royal Army Veterinary Corps 

 

 

  • Corporal, Locally Employed Personnel, Royal Pioneer Corps, 1955
  • Piper, 4th Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers, 1958
  • Piper, Junior Leaders Regiment, Royal Corps of Signals, 1961
  • Bandsman, Queen's Dragoon Guards, 1977
  • General Officer, 1970
  • Piper, 152nd Field Ambulance, RCT(V), 1978  

New South Wales

  • Lieutenant, NSW Volunteer Rifle Corps, 1856
  • Bugler, Sydney Volunteer Rifle Corps, 1868
  • Sergeant, 5th (Southern) Regiment of Volunteer Infantry, 1876
  • Seaman, NSW Naval Brigade, 1875
  • Captain, 7th NSW Volunteer Infantry Regiment ( St George’s Rifles), 1897
  • Nurse, Army Nursing Service Reserve, 1902 

 

 

  • Constable, British New Guinea Armed Constabulary, 1893
  • Lance Corporal, New Hebrides Constabulary, 1935
  • Private, Fiji Military Forces, 1937
  • Corporal, South Pacific Scouts, 1943
  • Constable, Tonga Police Force, 1957
  • Constable, Royal Papua & New Guinea Constabulary, 1967 

Constabulary

  • Constable, Bristol City Constabulary, 1840
  • Sergeant, Shropshire Constabulary, 1862
  • Inspector, Essex Constabulary, 1878
  • Bandsman, Manchester City Police Force, 1893
  • Head Constable, Royal Irish Constabulary, 1899
  • Piper, Band of the Edinburgh City Police Force, 1900 

 

 

South Australia

  • Gunner, South Australian Artillery, 1855
  • Musician, No.7 ( Sea Coast) Company, Adelaide Regiment of Volunteer Rifles, 1868
  • Constable, South Australian Police Force, 1882
  • Private, 4th (Northern & North Central) Battalion, Volunteer Infantry, 1890
  • Corporal, Adelaide Lancers, 1894
  • Lieutenant Commander, South Australian Naval Force, 1900  
  • Private, Duke of Edinburgh’s Highland Rifle Corps, 1871
  • Senior Piper, Queensland Scottish Volunteer Corps, 1887
  • Private, 5th ( Union) Regiment (Irish Rifles), 1896
  • Sergeant, 30th Battalion (NSW Scottish), 1936
  • Private, 61st Battalion (Cameron Highlanders of Queensland), 1938
  • Lieutenant, 41st Battalion (Byron Scottish), Royal NSW Regiment, 1961  

 

 

  • Private, Scottish Company, Cape Rifle Corps, 1865
  • Private, Highland Company, Kaffrarrian Rifles, 1906
  • Staff Sergeant, Highland Company, Prince Alfred's Guard, 1906
  • Piper, Pipes & Drums, Transvaal Scottish Volunteers, 1907
  • Piper, Pipes & Drums, South African Irish, 1941
  • Lieutenant, Witwatersrand Rifles, 1957 
  • Private, Canterbury Irish Volunteer Rifle Corps, 1885
  • Cadet, Newfoundland Highlanders, 1913
  • Captain, Calcutta Scottish, Auxiliary Force ( India), 1925
  • Piper, 3rd Battalion, 6th Rajputana Regiment, 1936
  • Private, Scottish Company, Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps, 1939
  • Piper, Royal Hong Kong Police, 1987 

 

 

  • Lieutenant, 79th Shefford Battalion of Infantry (Highlanders), 1883
  • Private, 48th Regiment (Highlanders), 1907
  • Corporal, Irish Regiment of Canada, 1936
  • Private, Highland Light Infantry of Canada, 1951
  • Piper, Pipes & Drums, 400th Squadron, Air Reserve, RCAF, 1968
  • Sergeant, Irish Regiment of Canada, 1963 
  • Officer, Highland Company, Prince of Wales' Rifles of Canada, 1859
  • Corporal, 48th Regiment (Highlanders), 1901
  • Piper, 21st ( Eastern Ontario) Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1915
  • Lieutenant, Cameron Highlanders of Canada, 1933
  • Captain, Irish Regiment of Canada, 1954
  • Piper, Edmonton Transit Pipes & Drums, 2008 

 

 

Tasmania & Western Australia

  • Private, City Guards, 1863
  • Private, Regiment of Tasmanian Infantry, 1902
  • Corporal, Tasmanian Mounted Infantry, 1901
  • Trooper, Pinjarrah Mounted Volunteers, 1864
  • Rating, Fremantle Naval Artillery Volunteers, 1885
  • Trumpeter, Western Australian Artillery, 1901 
  • Private, St Kilda Volunteer Rifle Corps, 1862
  • Rating, Volunteer Naval Reserve, 1863
  • Lieutenant, 1st Ballarat Corps, Victorian Rifles, 1880
  • Lance Corporal, Victorian Cavalry, 1888
  • Corporal, Victorian Mounted Rifles, 1895
  • Drum Major, Band of the Victorian Garrison Artillery, 1898 

 

 

  • Trooper, Lothian & Berwickshire Yeomanry Cavalry, 1896
  • Trooper, Queen’s Own Royal Glasgow Yeomanry, 1895
  • Corporal, 2nd County of London Imperial Yeomanry ( Westminster Dragoons), 1903
  • Trooper, Duke of York’s Own Loyal Suffolk Hussars Imperial Yeomanry, 1904
  • Trooper, Northumberland Hussars Imperial Yeomanry, 1907
  • Sergeant, 23rd Armoured Car Company (Sharpshooters), 1939 

Royal West Africa Frontier Force

 

 

Australia 2

  • Sergeant, Coronation Contingent, 1902
  • Lance Corporal, 1st Australian Light Horse, 1904
  • Officer, Australian Intelligence Corps, 1912
  • Naval Cadet, 1910
  • Lance Corporal, Infantry, 1913
  • Trooper, 9th Light Horse, Palestine, 1916 

 King's African Rifles

 

 

King's African Rifles 2

Indian Army Mess Dress 1913

  • Garrison Staff
  • 72nd Punjabis
  • 123rd Outram's Rifles
  • 6th Gurkha Rifles
  • 1st Duke of York's own Lancers (Skinner's Horse)
  • 12th Pioneers (Kelat i Ghilzai Regiment)

 

 


PICTURES FROM HISTORY: Rare Images Of War, History , WW2, Nazi Germany

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Italian Blackshirts at Makala, Abyssinia, December 11, 1935

German mountain-rangers with Italian soldiers during anti-partisan operation in Yugaslavia

Triumphant Italians pose against a captured British fortification during the campaign in North Africa

An Italian Bersaglieri riding a motorcycle with a Breda 30 machine gun in North Africa

An Italian with a Panzerfaust during the Allied invasion of Italy, 1943-45

An Italian soldier lies dead as British soldiers rush past at a train station in Syracuse during the landings in Sicily, 1943

Italian soldiers walk past a group of Waffen SS soldiers in Greece in 1941


Watch the video: Two Gun Nic (January 2022).