I'm currently building the new DML Sherman III as a Scots Greys tank during the Salerno-Reggio-Tarente campaign. Unfortunately, I only found the same five or six pictures such as the famous "Sheik" one in different books (essentially in the BT white "bible", the old profile devoted to Brit markings, the Tanks Illustrated booklet devoted to allied tanks in Italy and the two French Militaria specials about the South Italy landings). As the rare known pics do not show the front area, I looked for other ones on Pathe, IWM and other online sources. I looked for pictures here and there and finally found a dozen of proven or suspected pictures of RSG tanks in Calabria. Note that the original "Sheik" picture shows a spoked idler wheel whereas published pictures are generally cropped and do not show clearly this feature.
One thing that finally puzzled me is a semi-circular part on the only known front pic showing the unit "thistle marking" (IWM NA 006725).
If you look at the driver hatch armor, you will see that it is very probably one side of the two-parts hatch covering the commander turret cupola. This is fixed where applique armour was welded later. This did not strike me immediately but when I found another picture (NA 006833), I realized that this semi-circular hatch cover was also there! After analysis, this is probably a picture of the same tank. Does anybody know anything regarding this oddity?
Another picture of the same landing sequence (NA 006646) is also interesting for two reasons: the tank seeminly had a .50 on the turret and the censor had removed the insignia on the front mudguard. What is also puzzling is the fact that this tank seeminly had another marking than the thistle or besides the thistle one?!? Am I misinterpretating the picture?
To depict correctly a RSG tank, I believe that the exhaust deflector should be added as it is present on RSG tanks carrying Queens soldiers in Torre Annunciata (NA 007347; note that PATHE 1091-17-130 & 230 possibly show pics of the same vehicles).
I also made some funny observations: I did not found one pic of RSG tanks with the rear sandshield section BUT no RSG tank used such section on the rear deck as most other units did during this campaign...! I guess that the missing sections were not lost for everybody
When I looked at Mike Starmer booklet about camo of the Italian campaign, I immediately noticed that such Sherman tanks (as depicted by the scheme on Mike Canaday's page) did not comply with the regulations. I've yet to check if the scheme complies with the prior desert one as the Sherman tanks in South Italy were far from being "standard" regarding colors and camos...).
Last but not least, the only source I found giving RSG tank names is BT white book. I identified Sheik & Renown but not the others. However, there are at least two pics of other named tanks but I've not yet been able to identify the names.
The first is one of a tank crossing a river on the 29 of September (NA 008276).
I've still not found an online picture of the other one (on Mike's page: the one with the tank behind a US soldier and his Browning MG). This one is well printed on one of the abovementioned Militaria book and the name may be something like "Loch Enoch"?. AFAIK there is no other lake in Scotland with a similar name. Any insights?
I'm now scratching my head to find the easiest way to depict the infantry soldiers as most figures are devoted to NA or NWE campaigns. I think that I'll have to sacrify some Cromwell, Ultracast & Resicast figures and a lot of spare parts from the "Frankenstein box" to obtain four of five correct figures...
NOTE: all pictures are copyrighted by the IWM and Pathe and only used for discussion purposes.