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"British reconnaisance units 44-45" Topic


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798 hits since 16 Oct 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Uncle Goblin17 Oct 2018 2:59 a.m. PST

Hello.

I'm currently have my attention focused on the British Recce units on 1944-45.

Is there anywhere where I could see how they did operate, please?. Books, Internet..?.

Something that I see is these units consists mostly of wheeled vehicles; Jeeps, M8, Daimler, Humbers, AEC… and some M3-M5 Halftracks, so did they manage well across country or in bad terrain?, did they then use more the few Halftracks they had?. Also I don't see Bren Carriers used by the Reconnaisance units.

Thank you!.

Uncle Goblin17 Oct 2018 3:02 a.m. PST

BTW, I'm asking this to complete my 28mm british army. Right now with a lot of Infantry, 16 tanks, 5 carriers, 3 trucks, 2 halftracks… but I'm missing the Recon elements.

Griefbringer17 Oct 2018 3:47 a.m. PST

At that time, each British infantry division had an integral recce regiment. Each regiment had three recce squadrons, plus support weapon assets at the regimental level (eight 6 pdr a tk guns and six 3" mortars).

Recce squadrons consisted of three recce troops (mixture of armoured wheeled vehicles(*) and carriers) and an assault troop (effectively a rifle platoon mounted in half-tracks). I do not have more detailed information at hand.

Notice that the armoured and airborne divisions had rather different recce assets. Furthermore, there were also corps level recce assets for longer range action.


(*) Armoured wheeled vehicles = an unofficial term I use here to refer to armoured cars, light reconnaissance cars and scout cars.

King Monkey17 Oct 2018 4:45 a.m. PST

There's a bit of info here:

link

Paul B17 Oct 2018 4:58 a.m. PST

Each of the three recce troops Griefbringer mentions above had a recce section of 4 armoured cars or light recce vehicles, and two carrier sections, each with 3 carriers.

deephorse17 Oct 2018 5:41 a.m. PST

Is there anywhere where I could see how they did operate, please?. Books,

Take a look at "The British Reconnaissance Corps in WWII" by Richard Doherty. It's an Osprey publication so should be easy to find and not too expensive.

VCarter Supporting Member of TMP17 Oct 2018 6:08 a.m. PST

I second the Osprey book. Really good source from their Elite series. Some good org charts and short combat histories for each unit by theater.

Griefbringer17 Oct 2018 6:10 a.m. PST

Each of the three recce troops Griefbringer mentions above had a recce section of 4 armoured cars or light recce vehicles, and two carrier sections, each with 3 carriers.

Plus a few more vehicles at the troop HQ. The link that King Monkey gave seems very useful, though the way the info is laid out is maybe not the clearest possible. But it has lots of info for three different regimental organisations – though it is missing the one for airborne divisions.

Uncle Goblin, how large recce force are you planning to put together? Considering that you already have a bunch of carriers, it seems that you could get a full recce troop out of them with the addition of a few more carriers and a bunch of armoured cars/LRCs. And by getting a few more halftracks you could do an assault troop (that could also double up as a motor rifle platoon in an armoured division).

Martin Rapier17 Oct 2018 6:44 a.m. PST

Bear in mind that the Recce Regiment was a Divisional (or Corps) asset and a lot of its tasking was distant recce.

Depending what level of game you are interested in, you might better off focussing on lower level recce units e.g. armoured regiments had an integral recce troop, and infantry battalions often used their carrier sections for recce or just did it on foot. Then you have the hilarious case of Cromwell equipped armoured recce regiments having an integral recce troop of Stuarts….

Elements of the divisional recce regiment were sometimes attached to brigade HQs or (very occasionally) battalions for tactical recce purposes e.g. Clarkeforce in Holland, but that was an independant brigade sized combined arms task force.

Uncle Goblin17 Oct 2018 7:03 a.m. PST

Thank you very much to all for your kind help. Very useful info, link and book.

Apart of what I have, I was planning to add about 2 unarmed Humbers, 2 armed Humber MKIV, 1 M8, 1 Unarmored Dingo and 1 or 2 Armored Daimler. And 1 M3 GMC if I find one available at Europe, Die Waffenkammer and Company B have one but the delivery costs are rather expensive.

One question more: Did the british made aggresive recon or did they have orders to retreat when facing some oposition?.

Cornelius Supporting Member of TMP17 Oct 2018 9:05 a.m. PST

King Monkey – very useful link; thanks

mkenny17 Oct 2018 9:48 a.m. PST

Then you have the hilarious case of Cromwell equipped armoured recce regiments having an integral recce troop of Stuarts….

In reality the AD Tank Recce Regiments were used as a 4th Tank Regiment for the Division.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP17 Oct 2018 10:03 a.m. PST

I net a chap who had served in a reconnaissance unit in Normandy when I was a nurse.
He described the way they worked. Armoured cars leading, and when they got hit, the infantry dismounted to clear the way.
He said also their unit went through 3 times their number of personnel over the campaign…

Starfury Rider17 Oct 2018 10:21 a.m. PST

Some comments from a similar post a while ago;

TMP link

M8s in British service I believe were restricted to Italy, never found anything to suggest how they were parcelled out to units or if they were supernumerary to establishments.

Gary

Griefbringer18 Oct 2018 12:33 a.m. PST

Regarding the para divisions, I checked my sources and in the late war the squadrons of the divisional recce regiment apparently had a mixture of light tanks (of the airborne type light enough to land by glider), carriers and jeeps.

Depending what level of game you are interested in, you might better off focussing on lower level recce units e.g. armoured regiments had an integral recce troop, and infantry battalions often used their carrier sections for recce or just did it on foot. Then you have the hilarious case of Cromwell equipped armoured recce regiments having an integral recce troop of Stuarts

Also at the low level, the line companies of a motor battalion had an integral scout platoon that was transported in carriers. The regular platoons of the company travelled in trucks or halftracks.

Did the british made aggresive recon

Suggesting to Brits that they did recon can get them aggressive (or more likely slightly miffled). They did recce instead.

And don't forget the difference between armoured car (used by proper Brits) and armored car (used by some upstart rebel colonial types).

Then there are the subtle differences between armoured car, light reconnaissance car (LRC) and scout car, which may superficially appear similar (having wheels, armour, armament and used in recce formations). It is a very British thing.

Now excuse me, I will need to go and get more tea.

Griefbringer18 Oct 2018 1:02 a.m. PST

Regarding the differences between armoured car, light reconnaissance car (LRC) and scout car, I actually had to start a thread about that a few years back to better understand the topic:

TMP link

Also, if you want to field a scout car or two on the table, you don't need necessarily need a proper recce troop as an excuse, as these could be find in various other formations – though then they might be present more for liaison duties than for scouting.

Another ever important issue when discussing WWII Brits is the colours of berets used by different types of units. In the Reconnaissance Corps (in existence 1941-1943) which manned the divisional recce regiments personnel were authorised to wear khaki coloured berets. When this corps was integrated with the Royal Armoured Corps in 1944, the beret colour changed to black, though in practice the khaki berets could be seen in use long after that.

Uncle Goblin18 Oct 2018 7:48 a.m. PST

Thanks a lot Griefbringer, Starfury, Mkenny and Herkybird.

Griefbringer, I cannot thank you enough, a lot of great info here. And right on time the berets part, just was about to paint the crew of a Humber and doubted whether to paint the beret khaki or black.

Didn't knew the M8 was mostly for Italy, that'll be handy. After reading about that M8 that took out a Kingtiger by itsef and seeing a photo of a section 2nd NZ Recce with some M8s in it I thought I had to have at least one.

Herky, thanks a lot for the info, precissely one of the things I needed. Bet he had a lot of great histories to tell.

Thank you.

Griefbringer19 Oct 2018 3:18 a.m. PST

I was planning to add about 2 unarmed Humbers, 2 armed Humber MKIV, 1 M8, 1 Unarmored Dingo and 1 or 2 Armored Daimler. And 1 M3 GMC if I find one available at Europe

I presume that your vehicle collection is in 1/56 scale? I just noticed in the latest Warlord newsletter that they have released Morris light reconnaissance car, in case you are interested:

link

Slightly bizarre looking vehicle.

I presume that you are familiar with Blitzkrieg miniatures? They also produce some vehicles that could be of interest, such as the Staghound armoured car (including the AA-variant with two .50 cal MGs).

Uncle Goblin24 Oct 2018 6:29 a.m. PST

Thank you very much Griefbringer. Saw them and will be adding at least one Morris. :)

Just bought a Staghound from Rubicon. I've been working recently with Plastic vehicles and though at first I was happier with "heavier" metal or resin ones I'm growing more interested in the plastic ones for the details and specially the good fiiting. Even more after building a resin tank with bent tracks, terrible experience.

Griefbringer24 Oct 2018 6:57 a.m. PST

When it comes to 1/56 scale vehicles, there is not much that could be used for British recce, other than the Universal Carrier and Cromwell from Warlord.

With US-manufactured lend-lease equipment there is a bit more choice. Rubicon manufactures Jeep models with both US and Commonwealth crews, M5 Stuart and M8 Grayhound, while Warlord provides M3 Stuart and another M8 Grayhound.

But for the more peculiar British stuff, like Beaverettes or Humber LRCs, you will need to look for resin – and it may still be difficult to find models.

Eclaireur24 Oct 2018 7:14 a.m. PST

"When it comes to 1/56 scale vehicles, there is not much that could be used for British recce, other than the Universal Carrier and Cromwell from Warlord".

Not sure that's right – if you look at Warlord, Perry and Bitzkreig you'll find Dingo, Daimler, AEC, Humber – large & small , Rolls Royce etc. Plenty of choices for early and late war there.

EC

Uncle Goblin24 Oct 2018 8:00 a.m. PST

I'm sure Griefbringer meant plastics. Which indeed there's not much for British recon on 1/56.

I'll use the resin ones from Warlord for most, not much problem except the ones told with some casts which are annoying.

Eclaireur24 Oct 2018 11:53 a.m. PST

Yes, you're right, fair point,
EC

Lion in the Stars24 Oct 2018 2:32 p.m. PST

I have a set of Universal Carriers I use for my British recce elements. According to the older Flames of War lists, there was a platoon of 9 carriers, but it could be divided down to sets of 3.

Griefbringer24 Oct 2018 10:20 p.m. PST

I'm sure Griefbringer meant plastics.

Ooops, my bad … the first sentence of my last post was indeed supposed to feature the word "plastic" somewhere in the beginning.

Indeed with resin there is a whole lot of models available, including also some of the more obscure vehicles.

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