Other Equipment Used By The 7th Armoured Division


As well as the Armour, Artillery and Infantry the Division also contained a number of smaller units and via this page I wish to show what equipment they may have used. I have tried to include as many as possible with as much information as possible, but I apologise is I have omitted any.

This will include the Royal Engineer Squadrons, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Royal Corp of Signals (including Infantry, Artillery and Armoured unit Operators), Royal Army Medical Corps and Independent Machine Gun Company. Also on this page is information on the Armoured Command Vehicles used by the Armoured Brigades of the Division and the Divisional HQ itself, plus various Transport Vehicles used throughout the Division. The final item is the humble Kitbag, which every serviceman would carry the kit and other possessions in.


Royal Engineers

The role of the Engineer is a many any varied one, which can range from building to destroying bridges, clearing minefield and general entrenchment work. Engineers were also trained to fight as infantry so that they could defend themselves if necessary.

In the construction/repair of bridges many materials would have been used including wood, right up to the Bailey Bridge and for the destruction of anything the use of TNT, Dynamite or even Plastic Explosive would have been used.

To clear a minefield the Engineer originally had nothing more than the tip of bayonet to feel for mines with, but during the war in the Western Desert a "Mine Detector" became available. This used a sensor, which detected the variations in the earth's magnetic field caused by the metal in the mine. This did not always work, which meant the bayonet had to be used again, but as the war progressed they became more reliable. The advent of the flail tank also eased the burden of clearance from the engineers.

To clear barbed wire, Bangalore Torpedo's, Satchel Charges, or even wire cutters were used. The former was a series of 38mm tubes, approximately 1.8 metres long, each containing and explosive charge, which were joined together and pushed under the wire. When enough sections were in place the entire "torpedo" was detonated, blowing a gap through the entanglement. All this had to be done under the risk of enemy fire!

The Bangalore torpedo was created by a British officer who served in the British Colonial Army in India. The name 'Bangalore' comes from area Bangalore in India. This device was specially designed to clear away barbed wire. The 'Torpedo 'could be connected to another section by a connecting sleeve. A special nose sleeve was placed over the top of the first section. This allowed the 'Torpedo' to move more easily when pushed forward. A Bangalore Torpedo could be detonated by a standard blasting cap that was placed in a detonating cap well at the end of each section. When the 'Torpedo' was detonated the scrapple cleared a path of almost 3 meters. The Bangalore Torpedo was used by almost all the Special Forces in Normandy. There is evidence that the Americans created a Bangalore Torpedo of their own, which was based on the original British design.

One of the other roles of the engineers was to construct Bailey Bridge over rivers, to enable the advance to continue, after the enemy had blow all the normal bridges. The Bailey Bridge was certainly one of the major inventions of the War and one that has been even more successful in peacetime. It was a sectionalised construction, which was 'pinned' together and floated out over the river on a series of pontoons. Sir Donald Bailey designed the Bailey bridge in 1940, specifically to meet a requirement for a 40-ton capacity bridge. In July 1941 production of the Bailey bridge begun, by December 1941 the Bailey Bridge was with the troops. The production figures are staggering, a total of over 490,000 tons of Bailey Bridge was manufactured, representing 200 miles (320 Km) of fixed bridges and 40 miles (64 Km) of floating bridges. Without doubt the bridge did much to shorten the course of the War, a view expressed by Montgomery who wrote in 1947: ‘Bailey Bridging made an immense contribution towards ending World War II. As far as my own operations were concerned, with the Eighth Army in Italy and with the 21 Army Group in North West Europe, I could never have maintained the speed and tempo of forward movement without large supplies of Bailey Bridging’

The Engineers also had another tool by which a bridge could be quickly provided, in the form of Bridge laying tanks. Several variants were deployed, but the development of a 30ft, 30-ton folding ("scissor") bridge began in 1936 for mounting on a tank. Initially due to the power and availability of the Covenanter, a number of MK I and MK II's were fitted with the production type scissor bridge, which was laid by hydraulic ram and arm installed in the fighting compartment and the power taken from the engine fan drive. A typical example is should to the right.


To help clear blocked roads and rubble, plus fill in ditches, Armoured Bulldozers were also use by the Royal Engineers, which gave them some protection from enemy fire. These were effectively normal bulldozers converted by the addition of armour plate for military use. Some Sherman tanks were also fitted with bulldozer blades to enable the Armoured Regiments to deal with some obstacles without the need for the Royal Engineers

Bailey Bridge Bangalore Torpedo

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Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME)

The principle role of the REME was the maintenance of vehicles and weapons for the division. Any major faults on a vehicle would be dealt with by the REME. It was also their responsibility to ensure that all major weapons were still in a fit state to fire. They also carried out the recovery of knocked out tanks from the battlefield and to do this they eventually were equipped with Armoured Recovery Vehicles (ARV) which were versions of the basic tank, with no main armament, a dummy turret and with a crane and winch attached. The picture to the right shows a Churchill ARV, which did remain in service until the 1960's.

Other recovery vehicles included winch equipped lorries for lighter duties such as the Morris CDSW 6 x 4 breakdown truck seen here. This was a development of the CDSW gun tractor, with a 4 ton power winch being fitted. Other types of recovery vehicles were also used and the picture below shows two Ward La France heavy 6x6 wreckers with Gar Wood jibs, in use by the British during a recovery operation in North Africa, with a Scammell Pioneer in the background.



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Royal Corps of Signals

Throughout the war communication played a key role in any battle and the radio technology used developed greatly during the Second World War. The following are a list of the main Wireless and Receiver Sets that were probably used by the Division, at some time. Some sets were Transceivers (having both a Transmitter & Receiver together) while others were purely Transmitters, using separate Receivers.

The role of the Royal Corps of Signals would have provided the signals troops as Brigade & Divisional level, plus any specialised requirements. At battalion & regiment level the primary radio usage was carried out by normal soldiers trained to operate radio in CW (Morse Code) & voice, as well as their normal duties. Each Infantry or Engineer Platoon, Company or Battalion would have had its own Radio Operators, as would the Artillery Regiments, who also provided F.O.O (Forward Observation Officers), with accompanying Radio Operators. In the Armoured units one of each crew would have been the Radio Operator as well as being a Loader or Machine Gunner.


Wireless Set Number 8:

This was a man pack transmitter/receiver developed in 1940, used for short-range communication in Company and Battalion HQ. Frequency range 6-9MHz. MO control. RF output 0.25W. R/T only. Range up to 5 miles. Limited production only. It was later replaced by No. 18 Set.

Wireless Set Number 9:

This was a mobile transmitter/receiver developed in 1939. It as intended for use for medium range communication for armoured vehicles and Divisional Signals. It could be operated from a station in truck and/or a ground station and was really the successful tank set. Frequency range 1.875-5MHz. MO/crystal control. RF output 5W/10W. R/T, MCW, CW. Range up to 35 miles.

Wireless Set Number 10:

The was a primarily a mobile radio relay system developed in about 1944 and was used as a Line of Communications radio relay providing 8 duplex telephone channels, between the forward area and HQ/support units well behind the front line. The frequency band was 4.4/4.8 GHz. Range 50 miles (optical). Pulse width modulation.

Wireless Set Number 11:

This set replaced the awkward and slow-produced No 1 Set in the run-up to the Second World War. First ordered in 1935, it went into production in 1938 and built by EK Cole and other UK radio companies until 1942. Approx. 18,000 of the UK sets were built. The No 11 Set and No 9 Set, intended for tanks but used on the ground, were the main communications of the British Army for the early part of WWII. It was also used by the Germans, who captured several sets it France with them even printing their own version of the manual.

The No. 11 set was fitted in the PU 8cwt body and was eventually used in tanks but was replaced in this role by the upgraded No 9 Set, the No 19 Set, in 1942. The No 11 Set introduced the combination of Transmitter and Receiver circuits into a single unit with a single tuning control to simplify netting. It also had the capacity for remote control from up to 400m and a remote aerial at up to 10m, making it a harder target and more convenient to use. Power from batteries or low- or high- power (6V or 12V) supply units gave outputs of 0.6W to 4.5W and ranges between 3 and 20 miles with the use of 6ft or 9ft aerials.

The set itself was 8.5 x 19.5 x 12 inches, weighed 43 lb., while the complete Low and High Power stations weigh 180 and 216 lb. respectively. Frequency range 4.2-7.5MHz. MO control. RF output 0.6-4.5W. R/T and CW. Range up to 20 miles. Very successful design superseded by No. 19 and 22.

Wireless Set Number 12:

This was a ground station/vehicle station transmitter developed in 1941. It was used as a general-purpose transmitter for Line of Communication, between the forward area and HQ/support units well behind the front line. Frequency range 1.2-17.5MHz. MO or crystal control. RF output 7/25W. R/T, MCW and CW. Range up to 60 miles. Normally associated with Reception Set R107. The High Power version had a separate RF power amplifier.


Wireless Set Number 14:

This was a mobile transmitter/receiver developed in 1940 for use on Short-range R/T communication between a group of HQ tanks or other armoured vehicles. Frequency range 290-410kHz. MO control. RF output 5W. R/T only. Range up to 1 mile.

Wireless Set Number 18:

This was a man pack transmitter/receiver developed in 1940, principally used as the standard world war two portable man pack for short-range communication in forward areas between Battalion HQ and Company HQ. Frequency range 6-9MHz. MO control. RF output 0.25W. R/T, CW. Range up to 10 miles. No. 68 Set is similar but with different frequency range


Wireless Set Number 19:

The No 19 Set was designed to give armoured troops complete, speedy and reliable communications. It was developed at low priority up to 1940 by the Signals Experimental Establishment and by PYE Radio. The cheap PYE model was adopted then very quickly replaced with a MK II to bring it up to required specifications in 1941 and then by the more efficient MK III in 1942. These improved sets were particularly significant in the fast-moving armoured fighting in the Western Desert.

The set provides HF inter-tank and tank-to-HQ R/T, CW and MCW communications, VHF inter-tank communications and an intercom facility for a tank’s crew. The HF part, the ‘A’ set, is tuned to receive and transmit with a single dial and has a ‘flick’ switch for rapidly changing between two frequencies, a device still used in aircraft today.

The VHF part, the ‘B’ set, was used for short range 'battlefield communication'. The Royal Armoured Corps replaced their No 19 Sets with the very similar C12 in the mid-50's. The set had a HF range of 10 miles R/T or 15 miles CW and a VHF range of 1000 yards. 17.5" x 8.5" x 2.5" and it weighed 40 lb.


Wireless Set Number 21:

This was a portable transmitter/receiver developed in 1940. It was mainly used as Infantry Brigade and RA Regiment communication but later also employed as general purpose ground and vehicle station. Frequency range 4.2-7.5MHz and 19-31MHz. MO control. RF output 0.8-1.5W. R/T, MCW, CW. Range up to 5 miles. Replacing No. 11 Set LP. High band (19-31MHz) hardly used in practice.

Wireless Set Number 22:

This was a portable transceiver developed in 1942. It was used as a general purpose low power vehicle and ground station with facilities for man pack. Frequency range 2-8MHz. MO control. RF output 1.5W. R/T, CW. Range up to 20 miles. Its general appearance resembled No. 19 Set. Standard WW2 set



Wireless Set Number 33:

This was a mobile transmitter developed in 1941. It was used as a Line of Communication and general purpose medium-power transmitter, used in a mobile station or ground station. Frequency range 1.2-17.5MHz. MO control. RF output 250W. R/T, MCW and CW. Range up to 80 miles. Set is principally a No. 12 Set with RF power amplifier added. Receiver normally associated is Reception Set R107.

Wireless Set Number 38:

The No 38 set was one of the most widely used in the British Army for many different uses and became the Standard WW2 set. These are;

No 38 Set MKII - A man pack transceiver developed in 1942, being used for short range Infantry communication. Frequency range 7.4-9.2MHz. MO control. RF output 0.2W. R/T only. Range: up to 1 mile using long 12ft rod. This set has unique design features using only 5 valves.



No 38 Set AFV - An armoured vehicle transceiver developed in 1944, for use in short range communication to Infantry equipped with Wireless Sets No. 38. Frequency range 7.4-9.2MHz. MO control. RF output 0.2W. R/T only. Range: up to 1 mile using long 12ft rod. Principally a MK II version with a 12V DC supply unit and facilities for control by tank crew.



No 38 Set MKIII - A development of the MKII as a man pack transceiver n 1944/5. It was again used for short range Infantry communication. Frequency range 7.4-9.2MHz. MO control. RF output 0.2W. R/T only. Range: up to 1 mile using long 12ft rod. Basically a tropicalised hermetically sealed version of the MKII model.


Wireless Set Number 48:

This was a man pack transmitter receiver developed in about 1942, by the US as an alternative to No. 18 Set. It was mainly used for short-range communication in forward areas within Infantry battalions and Artillery regiments. Frequency Range 6-9MHz. RF output 0.25W. R/T and CW. MO control. Range up to 10 miles.


Wireless Set Number 52:

Developed from the No 9 and No 9 MK I sets and originally designated No 9 MK II, the No 52 Set was developed for Brigade/Division communications and principally used for Division rear-link communications. As with the No 9 Sets, it could be a ground station or vehicle-mounted. The principal improvements were in frequency range and RF output, making this unit far more successful than the No 9 Set it replaced. It was used from 1944 until its replacement in the 1950s.

The improved frequency coverage was achieved by the use of three bands. The original No 9 Set had a single band from 1.875 to 5 MHz. The No 52 Set has bands from 1.75 to 4, from 3.5 to 8 and from 7 to 16 MHz. As with the No 19 Set, ‘flick’ frequency selection is available on transmitter and receiver. The No 9 Set output was 5W R/T or 10W CW, while the No 52 Set having three modes, low, medium and high, giving 2-4 and 2, 15-20 and 18-30 and 45-75 and 75-100 Watts respectively, making it up to 10 times more powerful.


Wireless Set Number 58:

This was a man pack transceiver developed in 1943 and was a Canadian design to replace the No. 18 Set. It was used primarily for short-range communication in Infantry Battalion. Frequency range 6-9MHz. RF output 0.3W. MO control. R/T only. Range up to 5 miles.


Wireless Set Number 62:

This successor to the No 22 Set, originally designated No 22 MK II, was developed before the No 42 Set, intended to replace the No 22, was produced. It is tropicalised and can float itself for five minutes without suffering water damage. After its use by an airborne division in the last stages of WWII, modifications were made to allow its dropping by parachute and use on the move. This upgraded MK II version was marketed for civilian use in the 1950s.

The No 62 Set has better reception performance than the No 22 Set and, due to aluminium construction, weighs just over half as much: 30lb compared to 56lb. It was intended as a vehicle station but used as a mobile one, carried by two animals or three men taking set accumulator and 60W pedal generator for recharging batteries.

The 12V accumulator drove an HT generator, producing 340V HT within the set. This gave a power output of 0.5 to 1.1 W and a range of 15 miles R/T or 25 miles CW.


Wireless Set Number 68:

This was a man pack transmitter/receiver developed in 1943, for use in short range communication in forward areas between Battalion HQ and Company HQ. Frequency range 1.75-2.9MHz (WS 68P); 3-5.2MHz (WS 68R and T). MO and crystal control. RF output 0.25W. R/T, CW. Range up to 10 miles. Set is similar to No. 18 Set but with different frequency range.

Wireless Set Number 79:

This was a portable transmitter developed in 1943. It was mainly used as a light-weight self contained transmitter for rear link communication. Frequency range 2-12MHz. RF output 9W. Crystal control. CW only. Range over 300 miles. Normally used with Reception Set R109


Reception Set R107:

This was a general purpose HF receiver. Frequency coverage: 1.2-17.5 MHz. AM R/T and CW. Powered from AC mains or 12V DC.

Reception Set R109:

This was a general purpose portable HF receiver. Frequency coverage: 1.8-8.5 MHz. AM R/T and CW. Powered from 6V DC.

R107 Set

R109 Set


Note: R/T = Radio Telegraphy or Voice; CW = Continuous Wave or Morse, MO = Mechanical Oscillator, XO = Crystal Oscillator

Although the Short Wave equipment (upto 30 MHz) had a range of only a few tens of miles, under certain atmospheric conditions, this was greatly increased. One report states that the conversations (if they could be called that!) between the British tank crews were heard in South America doing the Battle of El Alamein!

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Royal Army Medical Corps

During the Second World War, as in wars both previous and since, the RAMC and its equivalents have strived to lessen and ease the suffering of those wounded in battle. Along with the normal medical and surgical equipment that a Doctor would normal use, special tented camps were set up just behind the front lines to deal with the most badly wounded before passing them 'down the line' for further treatment. In the front line itself Doctors and medical orderlies served alongside the fighting troops and their aim was to recover the wounded and dying as quickly as possible, in association with any unit stretcher-bearers. (NB. Traditionally, the latter are draw from regiment bands). In order to transport the wounded back to safety many different vehicles were used, including Jeeps with special mounts for the stretchers, but throughout the war the Austin K2 Ambulance was the mainstay of this work. An example of which is shown below and can also be seen in the film "Ice Cold In Alex".

Front view

Rear view


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Independent Machine Gun Company

 This unit was basically a support company equipment with the Vickers Medium Machine Gun, details of which can be found in the infantry equipment Page. From about mid-1943 Independent Machine Gun Companies (one per Armoured Division) were converted to include one Mortar Platoon operating 4.2-in mortars (details of which can be found in the infantry equipment page). For an armoured division's Independent MG Company an extra platoon was added with 4 mortars. Normally, a parent Battalion of this type would have its various Companies serving in many different formations. Sometimes the Machine Guns were mounted on Bren Gun carriers as shown here.

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Armoured Command Vehicles

Armoured command vehicles (ACV) were developed specifically for armoured formations and their commanders and staff, as it soon became obvious that commanding armoured formations from the confined spaces of the standard armoured cars was impossible, while lorries offered room but not the protection of an armoured office body.

The vehicles were equipped with extra radios, map boards, files and coding equipment, giving the commander protection and more comfort at the same time. As the Germans lacked any such vehicles, these Mammuts (Mammoths), as they called them, were highly valued spoils of war during the campaign in North Africa. Two of the 4 x 4 cars even became command vehicles of the dreaded Afrika Korps under Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.

4 x 4 AEC Matador ACV

The 4 x 4 design (pictured right), the "Armoured Command Vehicle, A.E.C.", 4 x 4, was indeed true to the nickname given to it by the Germans - it was huge. Built on the very good A.E.C. Matador (model no. 0853) chassis, the armoured body could seat four officers and two radio operators. Due to its unearthly appearance and relative comfortable rear body, the vehicle was nicknamed 'Dorchester' after a famous London hotel. 416 of them were built for the British Army and the Commonwealth forces, with seven of them seeing service with the 1st Australian Armoured Division.

6 x 6 AEC ACV

Two vehicles of this category of large, armoured mobile offices, an "Armoured Command Vehicle, A.E.C.", 6 x 6 (Pictured left). These were heavy lorries with a roomy armoured compartment, equipped with radio sets, typewriters and map tables. Based on the standard A.E.C. truck chassis (model no. 0857), this particular type was powered by a 6 cylinder 150 HP diesel engine, with a different layout of the body compared to the previous 4 x 4 design. The silhouette was now longer and lower, helping the vehicle to gain a more lorry-like appearance and some additional room inside. Over 150 of these vehicles were built between 1944 and 1945.

By El Alamein within an Armoured Division the control of an armoured division at this time was provided by a group of six ACVs. ACV1 was described as 'G' - controlling the hour by hour direction of battle tactics. ACV2, Intelligence, listened in to German and Italian wireless traffic and interrogated prisoners. ACV3 was Artillery, -4 Engineers, -5 REME and -6 was Q.

The Division Commander may well 'swan around' in his Command Tank or Scout Carr or rode with the men in ACV1. The permanent staff comprised the G1, a colonel, the G2, a brigadier, who liaised with the parent Corps and with the flanking divisions, and the G3, a captain, who handled all the admin' and recorded all events for the divisional war diary. These staff officers - and those in the other ACVs - had all been trained in the control of their specialised aspects of the functioning of a Division.

To provide the communications in each ACV were four operators - two corporals and two signalmen.


Weight Engine Transmission Crew Armament Armour  Speed
AEC, Matador 20,500 lbs. gross 95 bhp, 6 cyl. Diesel 4F1RX2, 4x4 - None fitted 12mm 35 mph
HP and LP, AEC 36,000 lbs. gross 150 bhp, 6 cyl. Diesel 4F1Rx2, 6x6 - None fitted - -

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Transport Lorries

Throughout the war the British Army relied upon lorries and trucks of all shapes and size to move its men and guns about the battle field and also to keep them supplied with food, water and ammunition. In this section there is a brief description of some of the more numerous types used.

Bedford MW Series:

This was produced by the Vauxhall Motor company, with 66,000 of all variants being made between 1939 and 1945. The MW indicates it as a 15-cwt truck chassis which my the addition of the third letter denoted its role. MWG was used as a gun carriage for light guns; MWV had a closed superstructure; MWT was used as a tractor vehicle for heavy guns; MWR was a radio truck; MWC a water truck; MWK Light for the transport of electrical welding equipment and MWD with a universal plank tray. The earlier versions had an open driving cab with a canvas roof for bad weather.

Bedford OY Series:

This was the most numerous British Army vehicle for most of the war with 72,385 being being built between 1939 and 1945. It was a 3 ton lorry which could be used in a number of roles. The OYD GS had a plank tray with a canvas roof, while the OYC was a water carrier with a capacity of of 2,275 litres or 3,640 litres in later versions. Early versions of the OY used double tyres on the rear axle, but this was later changed to single one, but its most innovative feature was the use was hydraulic brakes aided by a servo-vacuum system. 

Ford WOT Series:

There were several versions and development of Ford Trucks used by the British Army during the war. The first, the WOT2 was the most common type with a production run of about 60,000. It had an unladen weight of 15-cwt and the earlier version had a removable windscreen and open drivers cab. The WOT3 was a bigger version of the WOT2 and 18,000 were built between 1939 and 1944 and came it two different tonnages (1 ore 2). The final Ford was the WOT1 which had three axles and the 120 issued to the British Army served mainly as Tank Trucks or for carrying mobile searchlights. The vast majority of the 9,154 made served with the RAF in a variety of roles.


Name Bedford MW 4x2 Bedford OY 4x2 Ford WOT1 6x4 Ford WOT2 4x2 Ford WOT3 4x2



2.09 Ton/2.13 Tonnes

2.63 Ton/2.67 Tonnes

3.27 Ton/3.33 Tonnes

2.0 Ton/2.03 Tonnes

2.90 Ton/2.94 Tonnes


Bedford, 6 cyl

Bedford, 6 cyl

Ford, 8 cyl

Ford, 8 cyl

Ford, 8 cyl

Max Power

72 Hp @ 3,000 rpm

72 Hp @ 3,000 rpm

85 Hp @ 3,800 rpm

60 Hp @ 3,800 rpm

85 Hp @ 3,800 rpm


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The Kitbag

To complete story this is a typical kitbag as issued to every serviceman. In it would have been all their spare uniforms, etc, plus personal belongings. Each was normally marked with the mans service number, name and rank, plus occasionally their unit. Many made it home for continued service in civilian life and are still in use today.

Picture courtesy of Allan Wade of a kitbag belonging to Alexander Laing Porteous, who served with the Essex Regiment and King's Own Royal Rifles in N. Africa, Sicily and Italy.

Picture courtesy of Allan Wade of a kitbag belonging to Alexander Laing Porteous, who served with the Essex Regiment and King's Own Royal Rifles in N. Africa, Sicily and Italy


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