Monday, 20 April 2015

The ongoing AoS* conundrums...

*AoS means Arm of Service, which was the small coloured or multi coloured box containing a  number found on British and Commonwealth military vehicles during WW2 - they denoted, in combination with the Divisional badge, the unit the vehicle belonged to.  

I've been away from home this weekend, as A's uncle died last week and the funeral was today. Just a small family event (slightly marred by the person doing the ceremony getting the time wrong and being an hour late... Oops).

Anyway, time away means time spent researching (without being mean, there's not a great deal else to do). With various models being prepped for construction, I thought I should try to research what decals I might need.

Firstly, I was trying to work out what (if any) unit with M10C 'Achilles'  supported the Highland Division during Totalise. I suspect that the answer will be in one of my books back home - but I had hoped Google might provide an answer. It has not. At the moment it looks like I may be painting them up as 5th Canadian Anti Tank Regiment vehicles. Which I think (???) may have a red and blue square with a white 2 on it and a white bar along the top - to represent Corps level troops.

The second unit I've been lightly researching was the AGRA supporting the attack - as the eventual plan is to get some 5.5" guns. Again, I'm not sure of the exact unit and I'm sure the answer will be in 'No Holding Back'.

Also on the research list has been S&S models, who are producing conversion kits for Plastic Soldier Company. This includes ARV kits to make Sherman ARV mk1's (I've done my own) and the German ARV's. But also AVsRE, including Churchill SBG bridge layers and Churchill Fascine layers.

While trying to find what markings to use, I came across this:

It appears to be a period document showing the full components of the 51st Highland Division with their associated AoS markings. A great find with one small mistake. The Arm of Service markings for 154 Brigade are a little mixed up. Every other source I can find confirms my Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders were number 69 on a brown background, not 68 as indicated above.

Another thing I need to check is at what point 61st Regiment Anti Tank (the HD's integral AT regiment) got their SP guns and whether they used Achilles or went straight to Archers. I found some great articles on the use of Anti Tank weapons in the Commonwealth forces and the change in policy and growth in preference for SP guns instead of towed 17-pdrs throughout the NWE campaign. The Nachtjager book indicates that the 17-pdr units were disbanded, when actually they were converted to SP units.

So lots of googling, lots of annoyance at websites that have the same generic text, and more idea as to the lack of certain info online. I'll be sure to post my findings here - in case anyone else can point out a mistake or find the info useful.

Now to look into home made decals, because sure as dammit no one will make what I want in 15mm!!!

Edit - Update

In a prime example of why books are better for research...

In the 144RAC/7th Argyll and Sutherland Highlander's column, there were no M10C's. The HD took their own Battalion Anti-Tank platoon with it's 6-pdrs with them.  The nearest M10C's would therefore be from 56 Anti Tank Battery of the 6th Canadian Anti Tank regiment - part of II Canadian Corps allocation of troops (Corps level support). Oddly, the British columns took no towed or SP 17-pdrs with them while the Canadians did.

The Highland Division had, during the initial bombardment, support from 144 25-pdr's (it's own and 4th Canadian Armoured Divisions) as well as 48 Medium guns from 9 AGRA and 36 from 4 AGRA. And the artillery from the flanking divisions... 


  1. Just to add, I found this:

    Which is a .pdf copy of 'British Armour in the Normandy Campaign'. A book that sells for £30 on Amazon.

  2. was invaluable for me when I was researching Canadian markings for my minis. Shame there isn't an equivalent out there for your Highland boys. Good luck with your research though.

    That book is a great find mate! Thanks for the link!


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