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British use of the LVT (aka "Buffalo")

August 31 2011 at 8:00 PM
Michael Grieve  (Login mikegrieve)
Missing-Lynx members
from IP address 165.12.252.211

Hi there all

In excited anticipation* of the availability of the new AFV Club LVT-4, I've been doing a little research into the use of the LVT/Buffalo by British forces. I thought I'd post here what I think I've found, in the hope that any of you out there might be able to correct any errors or add further information.

It would appear that, at the time of the Walcheren landings, the 79th Armd Div had two units operating Buffaloes - the 5th Armoured Regiment, Royal Engineers (5 ARRE) and the 11th Royal Tank Regiment (11 RTR, which had transferred from the 1st Tank Brigade in October 1944). The Arm-of-Service (AoS) sign for 5 ARRE was "1233" on a cobalt blue square, and the AoS for 11 RTR was "67" on a red square. I don't know about 5 ARRE, but the squadron markings for 11 RTR appear to have been painted in red, and 11 RTR vehicle names began with "S".

When the 33rd Armd Bde was incorporated into the 79th Armd Div in January 1945, 11 RTR was transferred to that Brigade which then specialised in the operation of LVTs. The 33rd Armd Bde composition for the Rhine crossing was:

1st Northants Yeomanry - AoS "51" on red square. Sqn markings may be in red
East Riding Yeomanry - AoS "52" on red square. Sqn markings may be in yellow
4 RTR - AoS "53" on red square. Sqn markings may be in blue
11 RTR - AoS "54" on red square. Sqn markings appear to be in white

I'm not sure, but 5 ARRE may have been back in AVREs by the time of the Rhine crossing.

I've been looking at as many photos of British-operated LVTs as I can find, and have listed below the details I've managed to collate. Disappointingly, I've not found many identifiable LVT-2s, tho there are a few pics of these vehicles out there. One intriguing point regarding the AFV Club kit is that the driver's cab roof has the offset hatches (the co-driver's hatch being positioned back by a few inches), whereas for most of the observed British-operated vehicles the hatches were positioned level with each other. Perhaps this represents an earlier configuration of cab roof.

LVT-2
Stallion A Sqn 11 RTR (AoS "54") 5822198 (BP 1994.06, 1173.06)

"2D" 5822041 Polsten (has large windows) (BP 1173.06)

5822034 (has large windows) (GI 3275909, 50625360)

LVT-4
Skunk "1" A Sqn "18" 11 RTR Polsten (BBWO2 74889)

Sh1te Hawk 4Tp A Sqn "4F" (AoS "67") 11RTR (BBZ 66476-7, 66480, 107585-6) **Replace the "1" in the name with "i"! Naughty! happy.gif**

Sable 1Tp A Sqn "1C" 11RTR (BBZ 66456-60, 66469, 66482)

Sevenoaks 3 Tp C Sqn "22" (AoS "67") 11 RTR 5877340 Polsten (BP 2115.01; left-hand side p.15 Concord "British Tanks in WW2" Vol.2; right-hand side p.38 Battleground Europe: Walcheren)

Southwark 1 Tp C Sqn "1B" (AoS "54") 11 RTR P346438 (Hodges)

Southport 1 Tp C Sqn "1C" 11 RTR (Hodges)

Sphinx "4E" ambulance 11 RTR (BBZ 4236)

Sandpiper 11 RTR (BP 1145.04,05)

Salisbury 4 Tp C Sqn "21" 11 RTR (BP 1368.05)

Sandfly 4Tp A Sqn "4A" 11 RTR Polsten (BP 1969.09)

Skylark 11 RTR (BP 1368.05)

Shrewsbury 5 Tp C Sqn "27" (AoS "67") 11 RTR (BP 1368.05)

Swallow 4Tp A Sqn "4B" 11 RTR Polsten (BP 1368.05; p.191 IWM Victory in Europe)

Selby 3Tp C Sqn "3B" (AoS "54") 11 RTR (BP 2115.01)

Steendorp 3 Tp C Sqn "3" 11 RTR (BP 2115.01)

Stockbridge 3 Tp C Sqn "3E" 11 RTR 5822*** Polsten (BP 2115.01)

Slough 5Tp C Sqn "29" (AoS "67") 11 RTR (BBZ 66906)

Scipio 5Tp A Sqn "5A" (AoS "67") 11 RTR ("Scipio Africanus" on rear ramp) (BBZ 66584, 66588)

Spider 3Tp A Sqn "3D" 11 RTR (BBZ 66484)

Socrates A Sqn "F" (looks like "5F") 11 RTR 5877209 Polsten (AoS square but no number) (BBZ 66479, 66483, 66909)

Stallion A Sqn 11 RTR (AoS "67") (BBZ 66473)

Scarborough 3Tp C Sqn "14" 11 RTR

Skylark "B" 11 RTR (BP 1368.19)

Skegness 4Tp C Sqn (AoS "54") 11 RTR (GI 73748395)

Scylla 5Tp A Sqn "B5" (might have AoS "54") 11 RTR Polsten (BP 1976.02)

Stafford C Sqn 11RTR (Hodges)

Swashbuckler 11 RTR (BP 2048.09)

Swansea C Sqn "2E" 11 RTR

Stoat A Sqn 11 RTR

Swift

Buron P-5822109

Beauville

Cutter C Sqn "3F" (Pub Rec CA 136754, 136823)

Carack (Pub Rec CA 137233)

Bedouin (5 ARRE) (BP 1368.19)

P5822*15 "2D" (AoS "1233") 5 ARRE (BP 1368.19)

P5822254 (GI 73748405)

P345209 X Sqn, Italy (Concord US Amphibians)

P346311 X Sqn, Italy (Concord US Amphibians)

P346230 carpet layer 79th Armd Div (Concord US Amphibians)

P5877*** 11 RTR (BP 2048.09)

P342570 has hull MG and extra viewports (BBWO2 72326)


LVT type unknown

Swan "1C" 11 RTR (British Tank Markings & Names)

Salamander "3B" 11 RTR (British Tank Markings & Names)

Squirrel "4A" 11 RTR (British Tank Markings & Names)

Stork "4C" 11 RTR (British Tank Markings & Names)

Sheldrake "4E" 11 RTR (British Tank Markings & Names)


Image source code
BP = British Pathe
BBZ = Beeldbank Zeeuwsebibliotheek
BBWO2 = Beeldbank WO2
Pub Rec CA = Public Records of Canada
GI = Getty Images

* actually, mine arrived in the post yesterday morning. Spectacular kit!

Best regards

Mike
(Canberra, Australia)

 
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AuthorReply
kylie newton
(Login newtonk)
Missing-Lynx members
203.173.247.116

Great stuff, thank you for taking the time.

September 1 2011, 2:52 AM 

far more extensive use by the Brits that I realised!


Kylie
go the ABs

 
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ossie Orsbourn
(Login ossie)
Missing-Lynx members
82.20.63.151

buffalo

September 1 2011, 4:28 AM 

hi Mike

just a little bit more information for you .

77 Assault Squadron converted to buffalo just after the break out after the battle of Caen they were the first squadron and were in that role at the end of the war.

other Assault Squadrons like 82 , 81 79 assault squadron converted for the advance on shedlt and then converted back for the rhine crossing.

example
My farther was in 82 assault Squadron . converted to buffalos and Terrapins . was on walchern island and syoas platt. and was driving AVRE on the Rhine crossing with a fascine on it.
he told me and it is common still that the commander, W/o and driver stayed together as a crew so in that case they normally took there vehicle names ie my dads callsign was 2/f and life guard.

my dad use to talk about the Canadians in the back of his buffalo and that on return trips back to the lvt was full of POWs and always had the smallest Canadian guarding them it did make him laugh.


last buffalo in service i believe was late 60s at a trials establishment.




hope it helps
Ossie





 
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Michael Grieve
(Login mikegrieve)
Missing-Lynx members
203.217.52.10

Thanks, Ossie!

September 1 2011, 10:35 AM 

Thanks kindly for sharing the extra information, Ossie. I hadn't been able to get a good handle on the Assault Squadrons and their use of the Buffalo, so you've given me a great start on further avenues for digging. Very interesting, and much appreciated!

Best regards

Mike

 
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Alan McNeilly
(Login 11a)
Missing-Lynx members
82.29.158.148

Re: British use of the LVT (aka "Buffalo")

September 1 2011, 4:42 AM 

Hi Mike,

Check you email I forward on some more data.

Have fun.

Al

 
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mp robinson
(Login m1e2r3l4i5n6)
Missing-Lynx members
67.71.120.42

RMASG postwar

September 1 2011, 5:10 AM 

The Royal Marine Armoured Support Group used the LVT4 postwar alongside LVTAs, disbanding in 1947 or 1948 I seem to recall. Some of these poswar LVTs had rockets and flamethrowers fitted. I imagine it was the remaining vehicles from this unit used at Suez in 1956?
Does anyone know what the markings for the RMASG would have been?

merlin

 
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Johan Lexell
(Login bisondecals)
Missing-Lynx members
83.183.7.128

RMASG in 1947 - Flame throwing Buffalo

September 2 2011, 6:43 AM 

Hi. I found this little movie on Pathe, from 1947.
They seems to have the same flash as their Centaurs had in Normandie.
http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=13781

Johan Lexell


    
This message has been edited by bisondecals from IP address 83.183.7.128 on Sep 2, 2011 6:48 AM


 
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Michael Grieve
(Login mikegrieve)
Missing-Lynx members
203.217.52.10

Thanks, Alan!

September 1 2011, 10:24 AM 

Hi there Al!

Thanks kindly for sharing the extra data! I've had a quick look at the files, and they seem to contain lots of juicy detail - I'll look forward to having a thorough look through it in the coming days

Thanks and best regards

Mike

 
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Chris Meddings
(Login ChrisDM)
Missing-Lynx members
62.30.225.82

This is so timely you can't imagine

September 1 2011, 5:13 AM 

Thanks sooo much Mike, this is very very timely for me. In fact I looged on here this morning to ask this very thing!

Most of the way through correcting and upgunning the Italeri kit (based on Bruce's MM article) and was just starting to think about markingshttp://www.militarymodelling.com/forums/postings.asp?th=54362&p=1

Many thanks indeed happy.gif

Chris

 
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Alan McNeilly
(Login 11a)
Missing-Lynx members
82.29.158.148

Re: This is so timely you can't imagine

September 1 2011, 5:21 AM 

Ditto on the email Chris.

Al

 
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Ken Holland
(Login DutchyHolland)
Missing-Lynx members
82.2.2.65

Great stuff

September 1 2011, 6:07 AM 

Many thanks Mike - I've now bookmarked this thread for when I start on an 11 RTR LVT4. happy.gif

So I take it that Armoured Acorn's 79 Armd Div AOS allocation is wrong then?
http://www.armouredacorn.com/Reference/BAM/79th%20Armd%20Div%20-%20complete.pdf

 
 Respond to this message   
Michael Grieve
(Login mikegrieve)
Missing-Lynx members
203.217.52.10

Re: Great stuff

September 1 2011, 10:31 AM 

Hi there Ken!

In all honesty, I couldn't claim that Armoured Acorn's 79 Armd Div AOS allocation is wrong - it is very possible I misunderstood what I was seeing/reading.

I didn't find that AoS allocation list when I was doing my initial searching, however, so I'm grateful you shared the link! Not only is it a fascinating document in itself, but it's given me good impetus for further digging. Thanks kindly!

Best regards

Mike

 
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Ken Holland
(Login DutchyHolland)
Missing-Lynx members
82.2.2.65

No problem

September 1 2011, 11:22 AM 

I'm glad the link was useful for you. happy.gif

I expect 4RTR would have actually carried the AOS 55 - for two reasons: They were only recently formed from 144 RAC (so would have probably been percieved as the most junior of all) and 53 was already allocated to the flail regt, Westminster Dragoons, Jan - May '45.

 
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Michael Grieve
(Login mikegrieve)
Missing-Lynx members
165.12.252.211

4RTR

September 1 2011, 8:23 PM 

That's an interesting suggestion re 4RTR, Ken. My understanding was that 144RAC had been renamed 4RTR, but still would have been entitled to seniority over 11RTR. I'll dig further on that one

Best regards

Mike

 
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John Harris
(Login jch_in_uk)
Missing-Lynx members
82.12.78.248

Sh1te Hawk

September 1 2011, 8:39 AM 

"Sh1te Hawk" (with the i) seems to be a slang term for sea gull, though according to Dad (in the Middle East post war) it was a general term for any large scavenging bird, especially those picking over rubbish tips.

My point is that it's not really as naughty as you might suppose.

jh

 
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Michael Grieve
(Login mikegrieve)
Missing-Lynx members
203.217.52.10

Thanks, John,...

September 1 2011, 10:40 AM 

... for confirming the meaning of the name! It was my impression, as an outsider, that in UK use the term "Sh1te" isn't necessarily considered that offensive - it interested/amused me it was actually used for a vehicle name

Best regards

Mike

 
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John Harris
(Login jch_in_uk)
Missing-Lynx members
82.12.78.248

Thanks for not saying I was talking 'Sh1te' ;-) n/t

September 1 2011, 11:46 AM 

Apologies for any offence

jh

 
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Dave Block
(Login Dave_Block)
Missing-Lynx members
208.72.122.178

Wait 'til you find out what 'fanny' means

September 1 2011, 1:19 PM 

over 'ome, LOL. Great thread btw, one of my favourite vehicles. The recently released 'Canadian Army Newsreel' series has some nice LVT video in the 'Battle of the Scheldt' reports. No affiliation, just an admirer.
Cheers, Dave

 
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Michael Grieve
(Login mikegrieve)
Missing-Lynx members
165.12.252.211

It means...

September 1 2011, 8:26 PM 

I do enjoy some of the big differences in meanings between US and UK/Aussie English for the same words. Your example is a very good case in point!

Thanks for the tip re the "Canadian Army Newsreel" series, I'll look into obtaining them

Best regards

Mike

 
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Robert E. Potter, Jr.
(Login RobertPotter)
Missing-Lynx members
70.89.29.61

Prodigious work -- thanks for sharing

September 1 2011, 10:26 AM 

I (think I) know that LVT's were used in the Po River crossings in Italy. I wonder if a comparable source of information exists for that campaign. I have the series of MilMod articles on Buffalo conversions and adaptations. There was also an excellent series in Steel Masters for you Francophones.

Bob POtter

 
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