Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Armoured Fighting Vehicles of Canada Preserved Overseas

Canadian Armoured Fighting Vehicles Preserved Overseas

Data current to 5 July 2017.

 (MWAK Photo)

Ram II Cruiser OP/Command Tank, Dutch Cavelerie Museum, Amersfoort, Netherlands.

Ram Kangaroo Armoured Personnel Carrier, Netherlands Army Museum.

 (Simon Q Photos)

Ram II Cruiser Tank, CT-159602, Bovington Tank Museum.

Ram Cruiser Tank

The Ram Cruiser Tank was a tank designed and built by Canada in the Second World War, based on the US M3 Medium tank.  It was used exclusively for training purposes and was never used in combat.  Tank production in the UK at the start of the war was insufficient to supply Canada as well, so it was decided to manufacture locally.  The Montreal Locomotive Works, which was a subsidiary of the American Locomotive Company, was designated the Canadian Tank Arsenal.  Initial production was of Valentine tanks, many of which would be supplied to the USSR.  Although the Valentine used a number of US produced parts, limitations in the availability of armour plate affected Valentine production.  The Canadians were interested in production of the M3 Medium, and the British Tank Mission contributed a tank expert to design a new hull that could take a larger turret while retaining the lower hull of the M3.  The new hull was cast rather than welded or riveted and lower than that of the M3.

Although the ability to mount a large 75-mm gun was suggested, the turret was built to take the QF 6-pounder.  As it was not immediately available, early production (55 tanks) were fitted with the two pounder gun.  A prototype Ram I was completed in June 1941.  General production of the Ram I began in November of the same year.  This was fitted with side doors in the hull and an auxiliary machine gun turret in the front - these features would be discarded in later modifications.  By February 1942, production had switched to the Ram II model with a 6-pounder gun and continued until July 1943, when a decision was made to adopt the Sherman tank for all British and Canadian units.  By that point 1,948 vehicles, including 84 artillery observation post vehicles, had been completed.

As built, the Ram was never used in combat as a tank, but served well for crew training in Great Britain up to mid 1944.  The observation post vehicles and conversions of the Ram did see active service in Europe.  The tanks were rebuilt in army workshops near the front line.   (Wikipedia)

 (Hohum Photo, left, Andrew Skudder Photo, right)

Ram Kangaroo Armoured Personnel Carrier, Bovington Tank Museum, UK.

Ram Kangaroo Armoured Personnel Carrier, UK Range.

Kangaroo APC

The Kangaroo was a Second World War Commonwealth or British Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC, created by the conversion of a tank chassis. Created as an expedient measure by the Canadian Army, Kangaroos were so successful that they were soon being used by British forces.  Their ability to manoeuvre in the field with the tanks was a major advantage over earlier designs, and led to the dedicated APC designs that were introduced by almost all armies immediately after the war.

In July 1944, Lieutenant-General Harry Crerar's First Canadian Army was concerned by manpower shortages and Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds, commander of II Canadian Corps, devised Kangaroos as a way of reducing infantry losses.  The original Kangaroos were converted from 72 M7 Priest self-propelled guns of three field artillery regiments of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division who were involved in the initial assault on 6 June 1944.  (Self propelled artillery were known as 'Priests' in British service, because of the pulpit-like appearance of the artillery-spotter's position. When converted to the carrier role were referred to as "unfrocked" or "defrocked" Priests, but the term 'Kangaroo' was applied to any conversion of any previously gun-armed vehicle to that of a troop or general-purpose carrier.)

When the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division was re-equipped with towed 25-pounder field guns in late July, their tracked vehicles were stripped of their 105-mm guns, the front aperture welded over, then sent into service carrying twelve troops.  First used on 8 August 1944 during Operation Totalize south of Caen to supplement already available half-tracks when re-converted Kangaroos were returned to U.S. custody other vehicles pressed into service, the vast majority (some 500) being Canadian Ram gun tanks which were standing idle after being used as training vehicles when Canadian armoured formations re-equipped with Shermans.

The Ram gun tanks were shipped to France, turrets, ammunition bins and other redundant items were removed at the Canadian base workshop and after two bench seats fitted into the open space formerly occupied by the turret basket, they were deployed piecemeal.  (Ram MkII versions, which were fitted with auxiliary machine-gun turrets, retained these features for self-defence and close support. Later Sherman-based versions also retaining the hull machine gun.)

While 'debussing' - climbing out of the hull and jumping down, potentially under fire - was challenging the obvious difficulty of getting into a vehicle designed to prevent enemy soldiers climbing onto it was quickly appreciated. Accordingly, climbing rungs were quickly added as a field modification that also simplified loading the carrying compartment with ammunition, food and other supplies to troops under fire.  The Ram Kangaroo entered service piecemeal with the Canadians in September 1944 but in December these minor units were combined to form the 1st Armoured Carrier Regiment, joining the British 79th Armoured Division (whose specialized vehicles were called "Hobart's Funnies"")

The first operation for the Ram Kangaroo was the assault on Le Havre, the last the 7th Infantry Division's march into Hamburg on 3 May 1945.  In Italy Sherman III tanks and some Priests were converted for use by the British Eight Army. Removing the turret of the Sherman and out internal fittings gave room to carry up to 10 troops.  From 1943, Stuart tanks (both M3 and M5) had their turrets removed and seating fitted to carry infantry troops attached to British armoured brigades.  (Wikipedia)

 (Gregd1957 Photo, left, Oxyman Photo, right)

M4A3 Sherman Grizzly Cruiser Tank, “Akilla” (Serial No. T146929), Duxford, Imperial War Museum, UK.

 (David Lovell Photo)

M4A1 Sherman Grizzly Cruiser Tank, Portsmouth, UK.

M4A1 Grizzly Cruiser Tank

The Grizzly I was a Canadian built M4A1 Sherman tank with some modifications, it had thicker, more sloping armour, had a longer range, and, most notably was fitted with Canadian Dry Pin (CDP) tracks.  After the fall of France in 1940, it was decided that Canada should manufacture its own tanks, rather than be supplied from the UK or with US-built tanks, for the armoured divisions that were being formed.  For speed of introduction, the native design would be based on the US M3 tank.  The limitations of the M3 design led to extensive reworking of the design to give the Ram Cruiser Tank.  This was produced at the new factory of Montreal Locomotive Works. 

The Ram was suitable for training but the M4 Sherman which quickly followed the M3 design was superior and the Ram production line was switched over to Grizzly production in August 1943.   Production of the Grizzly was halted as US tank production would be sufficient for all the Allies and the production line was switched instead to the Sexton self-propelled gun Mk II.  The Sexton was designed after the US M7 Priest SP Gun which used the M3 and then M4 chassis.  The Sexton Mk II used the Grizzly chassis, the upper hull modified to carry the Commonwealth standard QF 25-pounder gun instead.

The Grizzly differed in the suspension from the M4, having a 13, instead of 17, tooth idler and CDP tracks.  Some were planned for conversion to the Skink anti-aircraft tank with a turret mounting four 20-mm cannon.  Following the war, a number of Grizzly tanks and Sexton self-propelled guns were sold to Portugal as part of the NATO military assistance program where they served until finally being retired in the 1980s.  (Wikipedia)

 (David Holt Photo)

Sexton SP Gun, Royal Artillery Museum, Woolrich, London, UK.

 (Hugh Llewelyn Photo)

Sexton SP Gun, CS233414, The Cobbaton Tank Museum, Cobbaton, Chittlehampton, Umberleigh, UK.

 (David Merrett Photo)

Sexton SP Gun, Serial No. 1775, Imperial War Museum, Duxford, UK.

Sexton SP Gun, Military Museum, Aldershot, UK.

Sexton SP Gun "Beau Brummel", Royal Armouries, Fort Nelson, Portsmouth, UK.

Sexton SP Gun, "Alligator", Muckleburgh Collection, Norfolk, UK.

Sexton SP Gun, "Armourgeddon", Husbands, Bosworth, UK.

Sexton SP Gun, "Growler", Brian Boys Collection, UK.

Sexton GPO (Gun Position Officer), Rex & Rod Cadman Collection, UK.

Sexton SP Gun, Military Museum, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Sexton GPO (Gun Position Officer), Military Museum, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Sexton SP Gun, Heintz Barracks, Bastogne, Belgium.

 (Alf van Beem Photos)

Sexton SP Gun, Musée des Blindés, Saumur Tank Museum, Saumer, France.

 (Supercarwaar Photo)

Sexton SP Gun, Omaha Overlord Museum, Colleville-sur-Mer, France.

Sexton SP Gun, S233676, Ver-sur-Mer, near Gold Beach, Normandy, France.

Sexton SP Gun, "Racawice", S233841, Battle of Normandy Museum, Bayeux Musée-Mémorial de la Bataille de Normandie, France.

Sexton SP Gun, Association de Sauvegarde du Patrimoine Historique et Militaire (ASPHM), La Wantzenau, France.

 (Alf van Beem Photos)

Sexton SP Gun, "Rufus", Alexis Salomé Collection, France.

Sexton SP Gun, Artillery School, Idar Oberstein, Germany.

Sexton SP Gun, (gun missing), Armoured Corps Museum, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India.

Sexton SP Gun, Serial No. 2111, Museo della Motorizzazione Militare della Cecchignola, Rome, Italy.

Sexton SP Gun, Caserma "Babini", Bellinzago Novarese, Italy.

Sexton SP Gun, Caserma "Santa Barbara", Milano, Italy.

Sexton SP Gun, Museo Storico di Voghera, Voghera, Italy.

Sexton SP Gun, Museo della Fanteria di Voghera, Voghera, Italy.

Sexton SP Gun, Tempio della Fraternità, Cella, Italy.

Sexton SP Gun, Caserma "2 Novembre", Vacile, Italy.

Sexton SP Gun, Serial No. 1126, Piana delle Orme Museum, Italy.

Sexton SP Gun, Training area, Caserma "Pisano", Teulada, Cagliari, Italy.

Sexton SP Gun, Caserma "Pisano", Teulada, Italy.

 (Alf van Beem Photos)

Sexton SP Gun, Marshallmuseum, Liberty Park, Oorlogsmuseum Overloon, The Netherlands.  (National War and Resistance Museum).

Sexton SP Gun, Dutch Army Museum, Delft, Netherlands.

Sexton SP Gun,  BAIV trading, Maarheeze, Netherlands.

Sexton SP Gun,  Stichting History Revives, t’Harde, Netherlands.

Sexton SP Gun, Staman Trading, Nijverdal, Netherlands.

 (Alf van Beem Photos)

Sexton SP Gun, S223813, A3, Dutch Cavelerie Museum, Amersfoort, Netherlands.

Sexton SP Gun, Pakistan Army Museum, Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Sexton SP Gun, Ayub National Park, Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Sexton SP Gun, Artillery Museum, Nashik, Pakistan.

Sexton GPO (Gun Position Officer, Ayub National Park, Rawalpindi, Pakistan.  No. 1 of 2.

Sexton GPO (Gun Position Officer, Ayub National Park, Rawalpindi, Pakistan.  No. 2 of 2.

 (Halibutt Photos)

Sexton SP Gun, "Breda", Serial No. 1384, Polish Army Museum, Warsaw, Poland.

Sexton SP Gun, Military Museum, Porto, Portugal.

Sexton SP Gun, Quartel do Artilhara , Campo Militar de Santa Margarida (CMSM) Santa Margarida da Coutada, Portugal.  No. 1 of 3.

Sexton SP Gun, Quartel do Artilhara , Campo Militar de Santa Margarida (CMSM) Santa Margarida da Coutada, Portugal.  No. 2 of 3.

Sexton SP Gun, Quartel do Artilhara , Campo Militar de Santa Margarida (CMSM) Santa Margarida da Coutada, Portugal.  No. 3 of 3.

Sexton SP Gun, Museu Militar, Atalaia, Montijo, Portugal.

Sexton SP Gun, Museo Militar de Elvas, Elvas, Portugal.

Sexton SP Gun, Marián Simeon Collection, Slovakia.

Sexton SP Gun, National Museum of Military History, Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa.

 (Katangais Photo)

Sexton SP Gun, School of Armour Museum, Tempe Bloemfontein, Republic of South Africa.

Sexton SP Gun, Special Service Forces Museum, Tempe Bloemfontein, Republic of South Africa.

Sexton SP Gun, Military History Museum, Queen’s Fort, Bloemfontein, Republic of South Africa.

Sexton SP Gun, Pretoria Regiment Base (on Magasyn Road), Salvokop, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa.

Sexton SP Gun, Museum of military equipment "Battle Glory of the Urals", Verkhnyaya Pyshma, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia.

Sexton SP Gun, American Armoured Foundation, Tank Museum, Danville, Virginia, USA.

 (Amendola90 Photo)

Sexton SP Gun, Russell Military Museum, Russell, Ilinois, USA.

Sexton SP Gun, Indiana Military History Museum, Vincennes, Inidana, USA.

Sexton SP Gun, American Museum of Military Vehicles, Crown Point, Indiana, USA.

Sexton SP Gun, S287183, Jesse Browning Collection, Indiana, USA.

Sexton SP Gun, Battlefield Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Sexton SP 25-pounder self-propelled gun

            The 25-pounder SP, tracked, Sexton was a self-propelled artillery vehicle of Second World War, based on an American tank hull design, built by Canada for the British Army, and associated Commonwealth forces, and some of the other Allies.  It was developed to give the British Army a mobile artillery gun using their Ordnance QF 25-pounder gun-howitzer.  From 1943 it replaced the US built M7 Priest (US 105-mm guns on a M3 Lee tank chassis); these had replaced the British Bishop (25-pounder on a Valentine tank chassis) which had been a temporary solution in 1942.  Wikipedia.

            The British government ordered 300 Sextons in the summer of 1943; however, these Sextons were to be built on Grizzly tank hulls (Canadian-built M4A1 Sherman tanks) instead of Ram tank hulls.  The Ram-based Sexton was designated as the Sexton Mark I and the Grizzly-based Sexton was designated the Sexton Mark II. British orders for the Sexton II eventually totalled 2,026 vehicles.

            Between 1943 and 1945, the Montreal Locomotive Works manufactured a total of 2,150 Sextons for the use of both Canadian and British forces.  The vehicle entered service in September 1943.  The vehicles were first used in combat in Italy by the 8th Army.  Latter Sextons took an active part in the invasion of France and subsequent Battle of Normandy and the campaign in north-western Europe.  During the D-day landings a number of Sextons were ordered to fire from their landing craft as they approached the beaches although the fire did not prove to be very accurate.  In spite of its confused origins, the Sexton was a combination of proven parts and proved to be a successful design and remained in British service until 1956.

            Unlike Germany, which often used its self-propelled guns in a front line direct fire role, Britain and Canada only used the Sexton for indirect supporting fire.  They kept the Sextons well back from the front line and used forward observers to direct overwhelming fire on a target.  Wikipedia.

            A Canadian 24-gun Sexton artillery regiment was commanded by a LCol and organized into three batteries of eight guns.  Each battery was divided into two troops of four guns each, which could be further divided into two 2-gun sections.  Battery commanders were normally mounted in a tank and accompanied the commanders of the armoured regiment they were supporting.  Troop commanders used an OP tank and acted as forward observers.

            The Canadian Army Overseas had three SP field artillery regiments: 8th Field, 19th Field and 23rd Field.  One was assigned to each Canadian armoured division, and the third was part of the Army Group Royal Artillery (AGRA) under command of Corps Headquarters.  Doug Knight, The Sexton SP Gun in Canadian Service, (Ottawa, Service Publications, 2006), p. 17.

 (Astrz Photo, left, Joost J. Bakker Photo, right)

M4A3 Sherman Medium Tank, 51, 30, "Argyle", LdSH (RC), Airborne Museum, Arnhem, Netherlands.

M4A4 Sherman Duplex Drive, 1944.  (IWM Photo MH3660)

M4A4 Sherman Duplex Drive, “Bold/Audacieux” Memorial, Normandy, France.                                                                           

M4A3E8 Sherman Medium Tank, 30, “Athena”, Ortona, Italy.  (Not a Canadian tank)

M113 C & R Lynx, Bovington Tank Museum, UK.