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The role of lorried Infantry in the 7th Armoured Division

 

The incorporation of a Lorried Infantry Brigade into an armoured division came when the 8th Army was re-organised in preparation for El Alamein. The role of the old Support Group ceased and it either began a Motor Brigade or was replaced by a Lorried Infantry Brigade to support the armour in greater strength. The role of a lorried infantry brigade was to follow behind the armoured brigade and provide greater infantry support as needed and then to help hold any new ground until normal infantry could replace them. If a village or town was to be assaulted it would be the lorried infantry that would lead the way, if infantry from a normal infantry division were not available supported then by the tanks. A lorried infantry brigade was not used in the same way as a normal infantry brigade and were taken out of the line if the armoured brigade were in access elsewhere as they were not considered strong enough to hold anything.

Initially they travelled in normal lorries but latter in the war they used more specialised Troop Carrying Vehicles (TCV). Two RASC drivers took it in turns to drive each massive TCV. They were top heavy and yawed frighteningly at speed, particularly when cornering. Usually they were cold and draughty, but when the canvas screens were folded they were warm and cosy. Here the infantry could doze, play cards, eat their 'compo' rations en route to the next engagement. As the moved an 'air sentry' sat on the roof, within the circular lid for the A/A Bren gun for defense against air attack. Inside there were two rows of tip-up seats facing inwards and a central row facing out in alternate directions. The TCV was high-sided, and the sides were un-armoured, which made it highly vulnerable to any enemy activity. The two doors at the back opened outwards with a mounting step on left and right, to allow quick disembarkation and loading.

The Queens Brigade travelled hundreds of miles in what they called their mobile 'homes'. It was better than marching!

 

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Bedford QLT (TCV)

Information courtesy of Ian Paterson - History of the British 7th armoured div

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