Cromwells circa 1943-44 in the UK

#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
 
S

swampmonster

Guest
#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.
 
#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.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
#9
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.
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:

12-27 Mar 45 Here we spent a pleasant and comfortable fortnight, though there was plenty to keep us busy. We were anxiously awaiting the arrival of our new Comets. We were all eager to get them and to be sure to have them in good fettle before the next battle east of the Rhine.

We had not long to wait, the first Comets arriving on 13 March. Then they were delivered at intervals until, by the time we left Belgium, we had thirty-five of them. C Squadron was fully equipped first and then A Squadron. Each Squadron's establishment was now seventeen Comets and two Cromwell CS tanks with 95-mm howitzers. We had only enough Comets therefore for these two Squadrons for the fighting over the Rhine. This was a disappointment for B Squadron and RHQ, but there were no more Comets available in the country.

The last thirteen of the Comets only arrived on 24 March and it was a terrific rush to get them ready for battle in three days.
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.
 
#10
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.
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'.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
#11
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.
 

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