• ARRSE have partnered with Armadillo Merino to bring you an ARRSE exclusive, generous discount offer on their full price range.
    To keep you warm with the best of Merino gear, visit www.armadillomerino.co.uk and use the code: NEWARRSE40 at the checkout to get 40% off!
    This superb deal has been generously offered to us by Armadillo Merino and is valid until midnight on the the 28th of February.

What Were WWII Tank Crews Armed With?

#1
As above, which personal weapons would WWII tank crews in the British Army have been armed with? I suppose the Enfield, and perhaps the Webley revolvers are pretty obvious, but what about rifles and/or SMGs?

For example were US lend/lease tanks equipped for/with Thompsons?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Regards
T_T
 
#2
I suspect it matters on their course of action if they have to abandon their chariot.

If they were just expected to retreat and collect another tank, then you'd expect them to be lightly armed. Maybe just Webley and SMG and next to know other equipment (brew kit mandatory).

If they were expected to advance in support of surviving armour then something akin to what the infanteer was carrying.

How well trained were WWII tankies in aspects other than armour/armoured warfare.

It's certainly one of the better questions posted on ARRSE of late.
 
#3
Old bloke I know was a Sherman gunner, he said he had a revolver as did the rest of his crew.
Don't know if it was a rule or just preference.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
My cousin in the desert armed himself with a liberated German rifle but all he shot with it was a gazelle and a leopard. The MO told his crew not to cook and eat the gazelle, and confiscated it, so my cousin was not too pleased to find it roasting over the MO's camp fire later on. The leopard he intended to flay and to take the skin home to sell it, but come evening after he had been driving around with it strapped to his vehicle he discovered that the arrse had been over the exhaust and the skin was ruined with big burnt hole in it.
 
#8
I suspect it matters on their course of action if they have to abandon their chariot.

If they were just expected to retreat and collect another tank, then you'd expect them to be lightly armed. Maybe just Webley and SMG and next to know other equipment (brew kit mandatory).

If they were expected to advance in support of surviving armour then something akin to what the infanteer was carrying.

How well trained were WWII tankies in aspects other than armour/armoured warfare.

It's certainly one of the better questions posted on ARRSE of late.
The unsourced establishments in one of the Heimdal books shows an infantry division of three brigades 18,300 holding 1,011 pistols for a while an armoured division opf 14,960 has 2300. The difference is likely to be a pistol for most of the C 1800 AFV crewmen. Tanks had one or two sten guns because oneof the accunts (4/7th ?? ) descibes rounding up prisoners covered by the loader from the hatch with a sten gun.


Give me any examples of when dismounted tank crews advanced with tanks or infantry? If the Ww2 tank cewman dismounted in battle its likely to have been as a result of their tank being KO. At that point they would most likely have been thinking more about casualty evacuation rather than biffing the hun. Given that crews thought they had five seconds to gert out of a churchill and three from a sherman, taking a persaonal weapon was less important than all gettign out before it brewed.

Some tank crews might have up armed themselves with Tpompson sub marchine guns. One memoir writer, (I canlt rememebr if is Ian Hammeton or Kenb Tout) writes about the crew of their LCT giving them a TSG in place of the puny sten. I read that the attitudes changed with crews which had been in action for a log time as their tank was merely a rentded mobile home apt to leave its crew homeless and posessionless at any point.

Some armour were well trained as infantrymen. E.g. several whole RAC units were formed from infantry battalions early in the war.
 

Bouillabaisse

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
I've just phoned my grandad to ask him what he carried. He tells me that a Luger was the favorite.


He was really gutted when they issued him with a P38 instead.
 
#10
Remember having a conversation years ago with father (North Irish Horse) and he mentioned Thompson as their personal weapon,
Will check some photos over next couple of days,
 
#11
As above, which personal weapons would WWII tank crews in the British Army have been armed with? I suppose the Enfield, and perhaps the Webley revolvers are pretty obvious, but what about rifles and/or SMGs?

For example were US lend/lease tanks equipped for/with Thompsons?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Regards
T_T

I know that usually the Lend Lease tanks supplied by the USA to Russia came complete with full crew kits including padded helmets, MGs and TSMG's.

The Enfield No.2 Revolver was supplied to British Crews along with tripods/ground mounts for all their vehicle MG's.

Knowing the usual supply issues, no doubt Webleys of both .455 and .38 would also have been around. See no reason why S & W revolvers of various calibres wouldn't have been also issued.

Stens, Brens and TSMGs were also supplied.

Any quantity of captured weapons, either pistols, the short Italian carbine, Berreta SMG's or anything in between would have been handed out as a 'better than nothing' measure.

,
enfield n02 - Google Search
 
#12
Old bloke I know was a Sherman gunner, he said he had a revolver as did the rest of his crew.
Don't know if it was a rule or just preference.
I was told on a visit to Bovvington that it was as much for themselves as the Hun.

Did the Germans not call the Shermans "Tommy Cookers" whle the crews called them "Ronsons" because they lit first time, every time?

Donald Sutherland carried a Luger
 
#13
I know that usually the Lend Lease tanks supplied by the USA to Russia came complete with full crew kits including padded helmets, MGs and TSMG's.
I read somewhere that the TSMGs came with Shermans, but the Russians dumped the Thompsons because .45 ammo was unobtainable in front areas. No idea where I read it though, I think it was a Russian's memoir on-line somewhere. The leather seats would also be nicked by the Russian infantry to make boots if the Sherman was left unguarded for more than a few seconds.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
Shermans for us, landed in Glasgow, were stripped by thieves and had to be refitted before they could be sent out to units. Thanks, Glasgow.
 
#16
I know that usually the Lend Lease tanks supplied by the USA to Russia came complete with full crew kits including padded helmets, MGs and TSMG's.

The Enfield No.2 Revolver was supplied to British Crews along with tripods/ground mounts for all their vehicle MG's.

Knowing the usual supply issues, no doubt Webleys of both .455 and .38 would also have been around. See no reason why S & W revolvers of various calibres wouldn't have been also issued.

Stens, Brens and TSMGs were also supplied.

Any quantity of captured weapons, either pistols, the short Italian carbine, Berreta SMG's or anything in between would have been handed out as a 'better than nothing' measure.

,
enfield n02 - Google Search
....and your sourcefor this information is?

So there are tripod mpounts for the co-ax and hull besa? What does the tripod for a BESA look like?
Where is it stored on the tank? (and why bother? ) I could understand dismoutning the hand held lewis and hotchklss from WW1 tanks, but WW2 tanks break down a lot less. If you remove the coax from the tank doesn't that destroy the zeroing? I could understand dismounting a cupola mounted MG, but few british tanks seem to have bothered.

There might be the space to store an armoury ina Churchill, but not in valentine, Sherman or cromwell? Every additional bit of crap that is loaded into the turret and hull taks up sleeping space and could hamper a swift exit! A TSG might make sense over a sten. British practice was to leager at night rather thasn occupy a defensve position, so when would anyone set up a BESA ona tripod? If you approach a tank leager the main MGs have perfectly good mounts under armour - on ther tank.
 
#17
I read somewhere that the TSMGs came with Shermans, but the Russians dumped the Thompsons because .45 ammo was unobtainable in front areas. No idea where I read it though, I think it was a Russian's memoir on-line somewhere. The leather seats would also be nicked by the Russian infantry to make boots if the Sherman was left unguarded for more than a few seconds.
All US built tanks came with fittings for the Thompson. Early Stuarts and Lees had Drum Mag bins and the Gun itself was stored sans Buttstock (in another bin) and Shermans had a rack for 20 rd mags above the radio in the turret bustle.On the M10 Tank Destroyer the mags and gun were stored above the 3" ready rounds at the overhang on the turret. Fittings would take either the M1928A1 or M1/M1A1 series. The Late 76mm shermans and the Pershing had fittings for the M3 greasegun.
 
#18
....and your sourcefor this information is?

So there are tripod mpounts for the co-ax and hull besa? What does the tripod for a BESA look like?
Where is it stored on the tank? (and why bother? ) I could understand dismoutning the hand held lewis and hotchklss from WW1 tanks, but WW2 tanks break down a lot less. If you remove the coax from the tank doesn't that destroy the zeroing? I could understand dismounting a cupola mounted MG, but few british tanks seem to have bothered.

There might be the space to store an armoury ina Churchill, but not in valentine, Sherman or cromwell? Every additional bit of crap that is loaded into the turret and hull taks up sleeping space and could hamper a swift exit! A TSG might make sense over a sten. British practice was to leager at night rather thasn occupy a defensve position, so when would anyone set up a BESA ona tripod? If you approach a tank leager the main MGs have perfectly good mounts under armour - on ther tank.
US Sherman, Lee, Stuarts would have a M3 tripod for the .50 Browning aboard and a M2 tripod for either the Co-Ax or Hull gun as std. OVM.
 
#20
US Sherman, Lee, Stuarts would have a M3 tripod for the .50 Browning aboard and a M2 tripod for either the Co-Ax or Hull gun as std. OVM.
But this is for ther cupola mounted weapon of tanks designed for use by US forces.

I do know that some British tanks had some wepaons which could be remounted easily. Wally Harris MM of the REME removed one from a knocked out tank on Gold beach and fitted it to his jeep. However, the photos fromNormandy donlt show cupola fittings or RAC crews with dismounted machineguns.

M10s were served by the RA, which tend to take a more seriosu interest in dismounted operations than the RAC.
 

Latest Threads