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"Normandy 1944 Canadian Armoured Div equipment" Topic

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robertg Inactive Member15 Apr 2017 7:48 a.m. PST

I am looking for details on the composition of the 4th Armoured Division in August '44

I know the Tank units were all Sherman but what about the AntiTank batteries, M10 or M10 Achillies?

Also were the Argyle Sutherland Highlanders of Canada a Lorried Battalion or Half Track/Carrier equipped during the Falaise battles?

Starfury Rider15 Apr 2017 8:13 a.m. PST

The 4th Cdn Armd was based on the British Armd Div template, and used largely the same equipment.

In June 1944 all the Cdn M10s in the UK were seemingly 3-inch, with two Btys (12 M10s apiece) in both the Armd Div and the Corps Atk Regts, plus 16 in 3rd (Cdn) Div for its assault landing role. From memory the British Armd Div and Corps Atk Regts switched to M10 17-pr during June 1944, but only had 12 apiece, so not enough to convert all 24 SP equipments. I think there were still some M10 3-in knocking about into 1945.

The Lake Superior Regiment was the Motor Bn of the 4th Cdn Armd Div, all the Inf Bns of 10th Cdn Inf Bde were Lorried, that is a normal Inf Bn with some relatively minor tweaks to pers and tpt, and needing RCASC TCVs to make them fully mobile.


Ryan T15 Apr 2017 10:13 a.m. PST

As Gary stated, the 4th CAD followed the British war establishment for the most part.

The following details are from my notes on the Canadian Army in NWE:

Sherman Vc Fireflies were included in each of the armoured battalions' Troops.

The Crusader AA II Troop in each armoured battalion was disbanded in August '44.

The Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (South Alberta Regiment) had no Fireflies until Sept/Oct '44. The regiment also retained their Crusader AA II Troop to the end of the war.

In the 10th CIB the Lincoln and Welland Regiment used a turretless Stuart V as its command vehicle. The other two regiments used a half-track for this purpose.

From late August to mid-Oct '44 the infantry regiments in the 10th CIB were each reduced to three infantry companies due to heavy casualties in Normandy.

The 5th ATR was composed of four batteries. The 3rd and 65th were equipped with 17# ATGs pulled by Crusader towers. The 14th and 96th Batteries used the M10 (17#).

The 15th Field Regiment RCA used towed 25# guns while the 23rd Field Regiment RCA used 25# Sextons.

robertg Inactive Member15 Apr 2017 3:38 p.m. PST

Great information, thanks guys. Interesting about the lack of Fireflies in the SAR.

wrgmr115 Apr 2017 6:55 p.m. PST

This why I love TMP.

christot15 Apr 2017 11:27 p.m. PST

"Great information, thanks guys. Interesting about the lack of Fireflies in the SAR"
Standard organisation. None of the British armoured reconnaissance regiments had fireflys to go with their Cromwells either until after Normandy… some get Challengers rather than fireflys.
(7th armoured div does have fireflys in its Cromwell equipped regts, but not in the armoured reconnaissance regt).

Rod I Robertson Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member16 Apr 2017 12:00 p.m. PST

The SAR received its first Fireflies in very early September 1944. They were grouped into a troop called the Pee-Wee's and fought in battles as of September 11, 1944. This according to Donald Graves excellent book on the SAR. The process of receiving Fireflies for the first time finished in mid October.

For those interested in odd scenarios, some of the SAR Crusader II AA tanks were used to hunt down infiltrating German paratroopers in the hills just east of the Dives River during the fighting around St. Lambert sur Dives. Crusader II AA vehicles and Stuarts were also used to run ammunition and supplies to hedge-hogged infantry from the Argyll and Sutherlands and Lincoln and Wellands northwest, north, east and south of St. Lambert. Much of this took place at night to make these scenarios that much more nerve-wracking.

Cheers and good gaming.
Rod Robertson.

Rod I Robertson Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member16 Apr 2017 3:46 p.m. PST

Correction: the Pee-Wee's were in action on Sept. 10th, 1944 too.

Cheers and good gaming.
Rod Robertson.

Ladauce27 Apr 2017 6:38 a.m. PST

If I'm not mistaking, the Canadians Recon regiments, South Alberta Regiment, was equipped with Sherman V's not Cromwells.

Rod I Robertson Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member27 Apr 2017 10:28 a.m. PST


That is correct. In fact the Canadians used almost no Cromwell tanks in Canadian units. There is some photographic evidence that a few Cromwells were used but the prevailing feeling on this forum is that such photos are the results of errors in attribution of the photographed tanks to Canadian units. The Poles and British units under Canadian First Army command certainly did use Cromwells and there are some rare photos of specialised Cromwell fire support vehicles in Canadian service but these too may be the result of misattributions of photos to Canadian units.

That all said, there is no persuasive evidence that Cromwells were ever used by any Canadian Armoured or Armoured Reconnaissance regiments. I learned this when I posted photos of Cromwells attributed to Canadian units and was set straight by very knowledgable folk here.

Cheers and good gaming.
Rod Robertson.

mkenny27 Apr 2017 11:55 a.m. PST

There were Canadian Centaurs:


The 1st Centaur Battery R.C.A. was formed on 6 Aug, under the command of
Maj. D.M. Coopere, R.C.A. The battery comprised a Headquarters and three
troops, each troop manning one Sherman O.P. tank and four 95 mm. Tank Centaur
tank was heavily armed, mounting a Q.F., 95 mm. Tank Howitzer, Mk. 1, and two
7.92 mm. Besa machine-guns. Twin Vickers G.O. machine-guns gave anti-aircraft
protection, and auxiliary weapons carried included a Thompson and a
Sten machine carbine, a smoke bomb thrower and ear smoke emitters, and an
assortment of grenades of various sizes.

48. R.C.A. personnel to bring 1 Cdn Centaur Bty to strength were posted from
12 C.B.R. Bn, and on 14 Aug the Canadian battery completed taking over from
X Armoured Bty R.A. in the RANVILLE area. A British officer
(Capt. E.J. Leapard, R.A.) who had been with the guns since D-Day, remained on
attachment to the Canadian unit as Battery Captain, together with 15 R.A.
Sigs personnel, and one R.E.M.E. fitter (gun). A few days were spent in
getting the gun crews thoroughly familiar with their new jobs, ready to carry
out the role of 6 Airborne Div Arty, which was:-

(1) Maximum harassing fire on the enemy's administrative machinery.
(2) Vigorous and immediate retaliatory fire.
(W.D., 1 Centaur Bty, R.C.A., 10 Aug 44)

49. On 17 Aug the guns of the battery came into actin near BRÉVILLE, as
Operation "PADDLE" began. For this operation 1 Cdn Centaur Bty, under control
of 53 (W.Y.) Light Regt R.A., was in support of 6 Airlanding Bde. Three days
later the Canadian battery, left on the west side of the DIVES River when the
Airlanding Brigade went forward, came under command of 1 Belgian Bty, and on
21 Aug moved to VARAVILLE in support of Royal Netherlands Bde
(ibid: 20 Aug 44).

50. The River DIVES was crossed on 22 Aug, and that afternoon the Canadian
guns went into action again at a point (441094) south of DEAUVILLE, using an
O.P. established in one of the town's hotels. Steering and brake trouble had
left five Centaurs stranded along the road, and two of the unit's three
Shermans had been put out of action by mines. Next day the battery, leaving
Belgian command, moved to the LA HAIE TONDUE rendezvous (see para. 30) and on
the afternoon of 24 Aug crossed the TOUQUES River in support of an Armoured
Recce Regt (ibid: 24 Aug 44. Designation of unit not given). Further
breakdowns had reduced the battery's total armour strength to one Sherman, two
Centaurs and one Cromwell tank, the last-named borrowed from the Recce Regt.

51. For the assault on BEUZEVILLE on 25 Aug (see para. 35) 1 Cdn Centaur Bty
gave effective support to 3 Para Bde, carrying out a fire plan of 60 rounds
per gun. Then the unit moved forward again (26 Aug) with Dutch infantry
riding on its tanks and vehicles. Outside PONT-AUDEMER (774063) its guns went
into action once more, as targets were engaged for the Armd Recce Regt and for
armoured cars of the Belgian Group. As 49 (W.R.) Div moved in to take over
the area (see para. 36), the battery moved to a new position (718106) to the

52. The short but active life of 1 Centaur Bty R.C.A. was almost over. On
28 Aug the unit was reorganized as a six-gun battery, the six surplus gun
crews being returned to 2 C.B.R.G. But with the removal of 6 Airborne Div
from an operational role, the need for the employment of the S.P. battery
ceased. On 29 Aug orders were received for the disbandment of the unit,
effective 30 Aug (ibid: Appx 2). Tanks were handed over to the British
(259 Delivery Squadron R.A.C.), and the remaining personnel went to 2 C.B.R.G.
By 2 Sep 44, 1 Centaur Bty R.C.A. had ceased to exist. Its obituary notice
may be found in the following War Diary entry:
During its short life B.R.A. states that it performed a
very useful purpose, and although originally immobile it
was able to keep up with the advance of 6 Airborne Div and
give useful fire support.
(W.D., A.Q. Branch, Adm H.Q.,
First Cdn Army, 30 Aug 44.)

53. The foregoing report was begun by Capt. T.M. Hunter and was revised and
completed by Maj. G.W.L. Nicholson. The material contained in it has been
checked by Major W.H. Hemphill, D.A.A. and Q.M.G., Cdn Liaison Sec, H.Q.
6 Airborne Div, and by Major J.A. Clancy, M.C., who was with 1 Cdn Para Bn
through the entire Normandy campaign.
(C.P. Stacy) Colonel,
Historical Officer

mkenny27 Apr 2017 12:02 p.m. PST

"Great information, thanks guys. Interesting about the lack of Fireflies in the SAR"
Standard organisation. None of the British armoured reconnaissance regiments had fireflys to go with their Cromwells either until after Normandy… some get Challengers rather than fireflys.
(7th armoured div does have fireflys in its Cromwell equipped regts, but not in the armoured reconnaissance regt)

5 RTR lost the first Challenger on Aug 3rd 1944. There is a photo of 8th Hussars in 1945 that clearly shows they have both Challengers and Firefly serving together.

Rod I Robertson Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member27 Apr 2017 2:39 p.m. PST


Thank you for the citations. I was aware of the Centaurs but unaware of the lone Cromwell tank in the Centaur Battery. When I saw the citation you provided I went to my copies of the Stacey Official History and Gerald Nicholson's "The Gunners of Canada" to confirm and it all checks out.

Well done, sir and thanks again.
Rod Robertson.

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