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Tanks in Sicily (Op. Husky)

Discussion in 'Tank Warfare of World War 2' started by maxs75, Oct 24, 2006.

  1. maxs75

    maxs75 recruit

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    Hi all,
    is it possible to know how many tanks were landed by US 7th and UK 8th Armies for operation Husky? Did the commonwealth land more tanks than americans?

    Thanks
    Max
     
  2. canambridge

    canambridge Member

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    Based on the order of battle it would look like the US actually landed more tanks than the British.
    While there were 66,000 US troops involved in Husky, they included three GHQ independant tank battalions (70th; 753rd; and 756th) and one heavy armored division (2nd). If all formations were at full strength then each GHQ battalion would have had 70 tanks (53 medium M4 and 17 light M5). The division would have had 232 mediums and 158 light tanks. So US totals would be 391 mediums and 209 light tanks, total 600.
    The British and Canadians had 115,000 troops including three armoured brigades (1st Canadian, 4th, and 23rd) with what looks like the equivalent of seven armored "regiments" (11/12/14 Canadian; 3CLY; 44th RTR; A Squadron of 1st Royal Dragoons; 46th RTR(-) and 50th RTR). Each Brigade HQ was supposed to have 10 cruisers and each regiment 55 cruisers and 11 light tanks. For three brigades and seven regiments, this would mean 415 cruisers and 77 light tanks, total 492.
     
  3. maxs75

    maxs75 recruit

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    Full strength?

    Thanks for the answer.
    So the question is: were the formations at full strength?
    And additionally I was told that the 2nd US AD wasn't landed at full strength, but only part of it.

    Max
     
  4. canambridge

    canambridge Member

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    I think that as of July 1943 all Allied formations would almost certainly have been at full strength.
    The US 2nd Armored Division was initally split, the two medium tank battalions of the 67th Armored Regiment being attached to the 1st Infantry Division, while CCA (including the 66th Armored Regiment, minus the 3rd (light tanks) Battalion formed the floating reserve for Joss Force (essentially the reinforced US 3rd Infantry Division) and the rest of the division served as the US 7th Army floating reserve.
    The division was landed in the days following the invasion and was later part of the Provisional Corps.
    The information I have isn't totally clear, but it appears that the full division was present during the Sicilian Campaign although it is possible that the light tanks didn't actually make the trip.
     
  5. maxs75

    maxs75 recruit

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    US army tank units

    I think you are right while saying that the formations were at full strength.
    After some web surfing, I found that the 70th and 756th TB were light tank battalions, so they should have M5A1 light tanks. And the 756th seems that didnt' partecipate to the campaign. See http://www.756tank.com/index.html (Maybe it was designed as reserve?)
    This leaves only 753d TB with Shermans.

    Is it correct that the canadian brigade was 1st Canadian Tank Brigade?
    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_Canadian_Tank_Brigade "The brigade campaigned in Sicily and was in reserve and preparing for the crossing to Italy when it was redesignated 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade in August of 1943."
    AFAIK the Tank brigades were supposed to have Churchills or Valentines, not Cruiser tanks.

    Thanks
    Max
     
  6. canambridge

    canambridge Member

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    Upon further review, you're right about the US 70th and 756th Tank Battalions being light battalions during Huskey, but it does seem that 756th Tank Bn was also there. Maybe it was a reserve, I haven't found any references to it being in combat on Sicily.
    (see: http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/ww ... armor.aspx)

    The Canadian brigade was still known as the 1st Canadian Tank Brigade, although I'm not sure of the composition at the time. I decided to list them as cruisers based on Lt-Col G. Forty's description of the unit TO&E in the "British Army Handbook 1939 - 1945".

    Good digging!
     
  7. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WWII Veteran

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    Re: US army tank units

    Hi Max,

    Shortly before the invasion of Sicily (substantially under pressure from Mongomery) the Brigade switched from Churchill Mark IVs to Shermans at which time its title should have been redesignated. The reason for the delay for so doing is unknown to me.

    Cheers,

    Gerry
     
  8. shermanologist on watch

    shermanologist on watch New Member

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    The Canadian Brigade used Sherman Vs in Sicily (M4A4s).
    HTH
     
  9. maxs75

    maxs75 recruit

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    Thanks for the clarification.
    Can You confirm also the equipment of the other tank units?

    Thanks

    Max
     
  10. shermanologist on watch

    shermanologist on watch New Member

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    Sherman IIIs (M4A2) for the British units AFAIK.
     

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