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British armoured regiments in the Korea War


Kenneth P. Katz

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Simon Dunstan's Osprey-Vanguard #27 Armour of the Korean War has some useful info, and Macksey's third volume RTR history The Tanks has some details. The tank squadron was three troops plus a recce troop and the RA also had the Cromwell VII OP vehicle. The first tank unit 8thKRIH [Nov50-Dec51) also had a troop of Crocodiles manned by C Sqdrn 7RTR. Macksey quips that the Croc outperformed the Cent in hill and paddy terrain. There was no armor sent with the 27th Bde from HK because they were deemed essential for HK security and besides had only Comets (3RTR) and the govt wished to send Centurians for prestige. This then backfired as the govt feared the capture of a single Centurian would jeopardize the vehicle's security, and they were withdrawn to the south and later Japan, such that in the New Year's Eve battle vs the Chinese, 29th Bde had only Cooperforce of the 8th Hussars (12 Cromwells) of the recce troop and 45th RA, plus the Croc Sqdn. When the C/7RTR embarked for home Oct51, it had not once used its flamethrowers in anger, usually keeping only one troops ready for the same. This was not repeated for subsequent deployments of the standard tank sqdn to Korea.

 

The C Sqrd Canadian Lord Strathcona's Horse (May51-June51) came with M-10 Achilles IICs, received US Army M4A3E8s. No indication if this happened with B and A sqdrns later.

 

Not always noted was the service of 5th RTR in Korea after the action was finished, an unwelcome tour after 8 1/2 years in the BAOR.; was relegated much of the time (CW Div is a brigade group end/Sept54) to labor duties until departing 28Dec54.

 

HTH

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The C Sqrd Canadian Lord Strathcona's Horse (May51-June51) came with M-10 Achilles IICs, received US Army M4A3E8s. No indication if this happened with B and A sqdrns later.

What's your source that they had the 17 pounder M10? I've been wondering about that for some time!

 

As for the Shermans, they kept them for the entire time Canada was in Korea. New units rotating in didn't bring new tanks with them.

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Oh yes, they definately WERE there when first deployed, because the first tank kill a Centurion had was killing a hapless Cromwell the Chinese (or was it the NKs? Damned If I can remember) had captured. But I recall seeing references to them being withdrawn by 1952 (presumably to provide hulls for Charioteer and presumably because they were long in the tooth) and I cant recall seeing a reference to Comet being provided in Korea to replace them. I gather Comet was used in the Recce role in Germany, but I dont know for how long.

By the time 3RTR deployed Im sure they must have been gone. It would have been fairly static by then anyway.

 

Here's a look at the captured Cromwell as well as two of the deployed Churchills...

 

By null at 2010-08-22

 

By null at 2010-08-22

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What's your source that they had the 17 pounder M10? I've been wondering about that for some time!

 

As for the Shermans, they kept them for the entire time Canada was in Korea. New units rotating in didn't bring new tanks with them.

That's in Dunstan's book.

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Thanks!

 

From what I've read the M10s were never used in action, they were deemed unsuitable for supporting infantry in Korea and were replaced by Shermans drawn from US stocks before the brigade went into the line. Presumably they were sent back to Canada- or disposed of in the Far East.

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Nice find, thanks for that.

 

 

Yes ive heard elsewhere that for some reason (That defies all explanation according to David Fletcher on one programme) the Churchill was superb at climbing hills. So was the Centurion, the only thing that let that down was the inability of their tracks to bite into icy terrain apparently. Perhaps it was lower ground pressure.

 

I notice we have gone off track from Kenneths original remit, I think I have a book somewhere with the exact orbat in, Ill see if I can find it.

 

I would think the British official history has it, if I go to the War Museum library here later this week I will look it up, they have a copy of the book.

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From what I've read the M10s were never used in action, they were deemed unsuitable for supporting infantry in Korea and were replaced by Shermans drawn from US stocks before the brigade went into the line. Presumably they were sent back to Canada- or disposed of in the Far East.

 

I don't have direct access to the war diaries of the Strathconas so can't comment directly, but I also don't believe the Achilles' were ever used in action, and I don't know what happened to them (transferred to the ROKs perhaps?). The M4A3E8 Shermans were drawn from new USMC stocks, repainted as necessary (or desirable) and given 25 Brigade and Strathcona markings. In some cases the US census numbers were painted out, in others they were left on. At the conclusion of the war the tanks were given back to the US, presumably for disposal (again, perhaps to the ROKs?).

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