Cromwells circa 1943-44 in the UK

Discussion in 'RAC' started by 02FD11, Mar 3, 2013.

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  1. Good Afternoon

    After a bit of Wikipedia research I am still somewhat stumped as to the identity/type/mark of the RH Cromwell in the pictures below - it might even be a Centaur for all I know. I am trying to find out the history for a neighbour - his dad appears in the tank which has the number T335522.

    Unfortunately his dad passed away in the early eighties and his service history is sketchy - it is thought he was badged RTR and spent a lot of time as an instructor at Bovington in the run up to the Normandy landings. Any information as to the exact variant of of tank he is in would be most welcome - I am guessing if has the 75mm gun which replaced the 6 pounder and if pushed further might also suggest the photo of both Cromwells was taken at Lulworth (it might be Arishmell Gap in the background.

    Cheers 02
     
  2. ALl I know about 'em is 22nd Dragoons were testing some with different engines at Stowe in the Wold during the summer of 1943.
     
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  3. One of them Cromwell's is a Comet.... Bigger gun 77mm (Down scaled 17 pounder), Return rollers and different turret . T335522 is the Comet... Dates might be a tad off as well unless its a Early trail model delivery into service did not kick in until Sept 1944

    Comet tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
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  4. It's a Comet tank and for some reason I cannot put my finger on would say it's post WW2.
     
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  5. Nope...They saw service in Europe...late on

    From Wiki

    Second World war
    The 11th Armoured Division was the first formation to receive the new tanks - deliveries commenced in December 1944 - and the only division to be completely refitted by the end of the war. Because of its late arrival, the Comet did not participate in any major battles, though it did see combat against the Germans. The Comet was involved in the crossing of the Rhine and the later Berlin Victory Parade in July 1945. The Comet's maximum speed of 32 miles per hour (51 km/h) was greatly exploited on the German Autobahns.
     
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  6. Comets were being issued to 29 Armoured Brigade of 11th Armoured Division when the Krauts rolled through the 'impassible' Ardennes for the third time in thirty years. The brigade was re-issued with Shermans and didn't finally convert until March 1945. There is a good book (Warriors For The Working Day) by one of their RTR men.

    The Cromwell is a Mk7 or Mk7w and the Comet a Mk2 by the crap on the turret roof and lack of visible gun-crutch. Together with Mk8 or Mk8w Cromwells they equipped equipped some UK armoured regiments until about 1956 (I think Hong Kong had the last). The Comets filled the tank troops, the Mk8 Cromwells were at RHQ and SHQ and the Mk7s in the Recce Troop.
     
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  7. Gluteus, author of that book is Peter Elstob-a cracking read!
     
  8. 76mill, many thanks. I had a copy once, God knows where it's gone. It does for the Tankies what 'From the City, From the Plough' did for the Infantry.
     
  9. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    My bold. May be a little optimistic. According to the official history of 15/19H 1935-45 (PDF download from the Light Dragoons Association website), B squadron didn't get Comets with the rest of the regiment cos there were not enough to go round:

    With only some six weeks of war left, I don't believe B Sqn 15/19H converted to Comet in the middle of the rush to the Baltic.
     
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  10. Don't forget the Armd Regts (23rd Hussars, 15/19th & 3RTR) from 29 Armd Bde were in the middle of their conversion to the Comet when the Bosche decided to have one last hurrah and kick off what was to be known as 'The Battle of the Bulge'! So they stopped what they were in the middle of (Intro to 17 Pdr), went to Antwerp and collected the Shermans they'd handed in a few weeks previous and moved south east to take part in the battle! But you'll know all that anyway 'Boggles'.
     
  11. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    Absolutely. Dragged from 17pdr firing camp * at Antwerp to head off the Bosch. I have heard it said though that the Sherman proved better to handle in the marshes on the banks of the Rhine during that winter than Comet would have. I suspect it was The Black Bull: From Normandy to the Baltic with the 11th Armoured Division: Amazon.co.uk: Patrick Delaforce: Books

    Since Delaforce was an 11 Armd Div FOO, I'll take his word for it.
    _____

    * The official history suggests that 15/19H became well known for setting up a firing camp whenever they had any spare time.