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"2nd "Light" Brigade, 1st Armoured Division, France 1940" Topic

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2,959 hits since 15 Jan 2011
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Flight Sergeant Reggie Inactive Member15 Jan 2011 10:10 p.m. PST

Does anyone know of any new books or publications on this ill-fated but brave unit?

I'm looking for OB's, vehicle markings, serial numbers and tank pennants for the 3 armoured regiments.

It seems easier to reconstruct dinosaur bones and early Hittite costume fabrics than dig up some basics on this important element of the British Armed Forces.

They may have lost their vehicles in France. I don't understand why there is not more available by way of Regimental archival material, War Diaries, etc. I have seen a few shreds of evidence, but we are talking about three very famous cavalry regiments with amazing unit histories. QB's, 10H's and 9L's.

Is there a secret stash of great data I'm just not aware of?

Fall Rot Inactive Member16 Jan 2011 12:56 a.m. PST

The Zaloga book ("Blitzkrieg") has the tactical insignia if you haven't got that already:

Unit codes:

2nd Brigade HQ = Red 2
Queens' Bays = Red 3
9thLancers = Red 4
10th Hussars = Red 5

And he also indicates all 1st AD Armour carried the white bison insignia inside a white oval

Ellis' book on France/Flanders has a breif account of their activities at Abbeville here:



Fall Rot Inactive Member16 Jan 2011 2:37 a.m. PST

Some more stuff I found after a cursory google search:

Wikipedia page on 2nd Armoured Brigade:

Bayonet Strength Page with basic oob for British Armoured Division 1939-1940

Includes interesting comment: In April 1940 a major reorganisation of the Armoured Division was begun. The intention was to eliminate light tanks from the formation, and equip all six Armoured Regiments with cruisers. However, this project coincided with the German offensive in the West in May 1940, and 1st Armoured Division was rushed across the Channel to help stem the advance. Once there, it found itself operating without either of its Motor Battalions, its Field Regiment and one of its Armoured Regiments.

Queens Bays Regimental History (1939-40 section-- nice account!):

The following book may be useful:
Bright, Joan, ed (1951). The Ninth Queen's Royal Lancers 19361945. Aldershot: Gale & Polden.

INteresting page on 9th lancers WWII memorials w. breif epitaphs on 3 officers killed in France May 1940:

*Unfortunately, the footnotes from the Ellis book I cited in the previous post were not made accessible by the editor. Those may have helped…

Black Bull16 Jan 2011 3:32 a.m. PST

Bison ???? eye test time its a rhino

Fall Rot Inactive Member16 Jan 2011 3:44 a.m. PST

Ha! I just noticed that, but Zaloga does indeed say "Bison" in the book…

Troop of Shewe Fezian16 Jan 2011 4:15 a.m. PST

Armoured acorn has a white on red 6 for 10th Hussars.

tuscaloosa Inactive Member16 Jan 2011 4:31 a.m. PST

The Command Decision book "Blitzkrieg Legions – Fall of the West" gives OB as each Mech Cav Reg't having a cruiser squadron with command A9/A10 and A13's, and two light squadrons with Mark VI's. This is at the CD platoon level though, so it doesn't get much more specific.

Black Bull16 Jan 2011 4:39 a.m. PST

2 AB were 3-6 red

Gary Kennedy Inactive Member16 Jan 2011 6:42 a.m. PST

It does seem to be a forlorn hope trying to find info on certain aspects of 1st Armd Div in 1940. They were always due to go to France, but the speed of the German advance in May 1940 seemed to have hastened their departure and they never had to chance to operate as a formation when they arrived. There were several versions of tank in service with Regts, and before the off there was some swapping around between units to try and achieve a mix of lights and cruisers.

Certainly the book keeping appears to have suffered, and as the BEF found itself rolling back to whence they came the niceities of AFV returns and daily reports seem to have fallen literally by the wayside. It sums up quite a few aspects of the campaign for me, confusion, overwhelmed by the rapid nature of events, and finally shock as units recovered back home.

That doesn't really answer any of your questions I know. the WW2talk forum has a dedicated 1940 section, with a number of knowledgeable and motivated contributors, so might be worth asking over there. I thought that Leo Niehorster's 'orders of battle' site had a summary of tanks operated by the Div, but can't find it now. I suspect it was based on the info mentioned above from S Zaloga's work, though it didn't give detail down to Regt level in all cases.


Flight Sergeant Reggie Inactive Member16 Jan 2011 9:48 a.m. PST

Thanks all for contributing. I know that it was all confusion and chaos in May 1940. However the idea of the RSM allowing some tanker-clerk to throw the Regiment's books and records into a ditch just doesn't feel right. Was there a cover-up when the lads got back to Blighty? More likely a rigorous analysis of what happened and what went wrong. No doubt Top Secret under the Official Secrets Act, but not now. So where are the records? And more importantly, aren't there military historians looking at these things? With so many great books coming out from numerous publishers on some very obscure matters, why not this subject? I'd pay good money for a decent book on the "First Battle of Abbeville"!

Fall Rot Inactive Member16 Jan 2011 10:41 a.m. PST

Same could be said for the Battle of Arras too.


Flight Sergeant Reggie Inactive Member17 Jan 2011 6:49 a.m. PST

I have had a go at piecing together whatever I have been able to find regarding organisation, equipment, markings and flags for the Queen's Bays in 1940. I have posted this is the form of a chart on my website at:


Fall Rot Inactive Member17 Jan 2011 8:55 a.m. PST

Thats a nice graphic!

I'm inclined to think that it was mostly A9s, filled out with fewer A10s & 13s, and not so many Vickers.

"The first A.9 cruiser tanks arrived in April, armed with a 2-pounder gun and a .303 co-axially mounted Vickers machine gun… On 3 May 1940 The Queen's Bays received orders to proceed overseas. Two different types of cruiser tank started to arrive, the A.10 and the A.13, but neither in sufficient numbers to make up the regiment's strength, and they came without any tools or spare parts. Nine Mark VICs still had to be taken…"

and would the brigade not also have some Dingo's amongst their vehicles as well? Zaloga counts 30 Daimler dingos in the 1st AD, and theres this account from May 22nd:

"Captain Keyworth, who had become separated from the regiment in the dark, joined a small group of scout cars from brigade and ran into a German road block by the Somme"

Gary Kennedy Inactive Member17 Jan 2011 12:07 p.m. PST

Knew Leo Niehorster's site had something


Looks like you're in luck for the Bays, Sarge, there's actually a complete line of info for them…and no one else!

21 Vickers MkIC, 4 A9, 3 A10 and 22 A13 cruisers, for a total of 50 tanks (or two under WE of 52). HQ Sqn would, as mentioned, have scout cars, with 10 authorised for the Intercommunication Tp.

edit – Sorry, just realsied that's the same totals you've already got, which as I thought as in Zaloga's book.


Flight Sergeant Reggie Inactive Member17 Jan 2011 8:51 p.m. PST

Were the Queen's Bays A13's all A13 MKII CRUISER MK IV,or A13 CRUISER MK III's or a mix. If so, how mixed?

Horrocks Inactive Member18 Jan 2011 12:49 a.m. PST

I'll also add my thanks as I have been building this unit albiet slowly

Kiwi Red One Inactive Member23 Jan 2011 8:48 p.m. PST

I can add a couple of sources about the Bays that may be of some assistance to you F/Sgt Reggie.

According to a two part Article in Military Modelling by Peter Brown back in 2007 (Vol 37 Nos 3 and 4) the Bays were organised on their arrival in Cherbourg on 21 May 1940 as follows:

RHQ – 3 x A10CS
A Sqn – SHQ of 2 x A9CS and 2 x A13, 2 x A13 Troops and 2 x MkVIc Light Troops
B Sqn – same as A Sqn
C Sqn – SHQ of 3 x A13, 1 x A13 Troop and 2 x MkVIc Light Troops.

All Troops were of 3 tanks. Don't know what variants the A13's were sorry.

Brown's article covers mainly the development history of A10's and combat use in both France and North Africa. He has used a lot of original sources (Regt War Diaries etc) so I would hazard to say that the above would be a fairly accurate snapshot of the Bays in May 1940.

He does not give any specific organisations for 9th Lancers or 10th Hussars.

Gary Kennedy mentioned WW2talk forum – their 1940 section has a lot of copies of various units war dairies, including 10th Hussars attack round Huppy on the 27th May 1940: link

This gives 10H:
RHQ – 1 cruiser and 1 light tank
A Sqn – 6 cruisers and 4 lights
B Sqn – 3 cruisers and 6 lights
C Sqn – 2 cruisers and 7 lights

On May 28th only 5 cruisers and 5 lights remained operational!

Another source on 1 Armoured Division's attack on May 27 1940 that I have appears in the French publication Tank Zone No 11 (june 2010) which is put out by Historie and Collections. This is in French but has many colour side profiles of both 2 and 3 AB's and is up to H&C's usual high standards. You can purchase the mag as a PDF here:

F/Sgt Reggie – I hope that is of some use. If you want more info on any of the sources please contact me by PM.


Flight Sergeant Reggie Inactive Member25 Jan 2011 5:37 a.m. PST

KRO, many thanks, that is very helpful. The Tank Zone article is a treasure trove!

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