8th Rifle Brigade - from Normandy to the Baltic - June 1944 - May 1945
ORGANISATION AND EQUIPMENT – VEHICLES AND WEAPONS
All photos of vehicles and weapons shown on this page are actual 8th Rifle Brigade examples.
VEHICLE MARKINGS: all vehicles within the battalion (i.e. the 8th Rifle Brigade) usually had three types of marking: the divisional symbol (the black bull), a tactical sign, showing their position as ‘motor battalion’ within the division and within the 29th Armoured Brigade, and a geometrical shape representing the individual company to which the vehicle belonged.
HALF TRACKS: the 8th Rifle Brigade was a ‘Motor Battalion’, which means all its units were transported in armoured vehicles. The protection of these meant the battalion’s infantry could be moved right up to the front, fast, at the moment and place where they were needed. There were three Motor Platoons in each of the three Motor Companies (F, G and H Company). Each section had its own half track. Half tracks (and other types of vehicles) were also used by Battalion HQ. All half tracks used by the battalion (and in fact, it is understood, by the British Army) were produced by International Harvester.
CARRIERS: the battalion used various types of carriers – tracked, fast and lightly armoured vehicles – such as Bren Carriers for scouting, Mortar and Machine gun carriers and Loyd Carriers for towing the support company’s 6 Pounder Anti-Tank guns.
ARMOURED CARS: armoured cars (or scout cars) were probably used by officers such as the Commanding Officer (of the Battalion) and officers in command of companies.
LORRIES AND OTHER SOFT SKIN VEHICLES: apart from armoured vehicles, also jeeps, motorcycles and probably also lorries, for supply, were used by the battalion. More photos of these are wanted!
INFANTRY WEAPONS: infantry platoons in F, G and H Motor Companies used regular infantry weapons: Lee Enfield rifles, Sten guns and Bren guns. Next to these, their half tracks and Bren carriers often had Browning machine guns fitted.
MORTARS: all three Motor Companies (F, G and H) had two 3″ Mortars, transported in Mortar carriers. Next to these the platoons in these companies also had 2″ mortars at their disposal.
MEDIUM MACHINE GUNS: carrier mounted water cooled Vickers MMGs were used by 19, 20 and 21 Platoon, E Company.
ANTI-TANK WEAPONS: next to PIATs (Projector Infantry Anti Tank), used by the Motor Companies, E (support) Company had two dedicated Anti-Tank platoons, 17 and 18 Platoon, which were equipped with 6-Pounder Anti-Tank guns.