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Airborne Armour: Tetrarch, Locust, Hamilcar and the 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment 1938-50

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Airborne Armour: Tetrarch, Locust, Hamilcar and the 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment 1938-50.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Keith Flint(Author)

    Book details


Despite all the works on airborne forces published since 1945, the full story of Britain's 'airborne armour' has remained untold until now. The story is in two parts - the project to fly tanks onto the battlefield to support airborne forces, and the history of the unit that operated those tanks - the 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment.

The book is the result of considerable original research and contact with surviving members of 6th AARR. It contains the full development background of airborne tanks, the British Tetrarch and American Locust, and also that of the Hamilcar glider. It examines rival or complimentary projects, and analyses the extent to which the British airborne armour project was a success.

The history of 6th AARR is traced back to the Special Service Squadrons of the RAC which pioneered armoured amphibious assault and saw action in 1942's invasion of Madagascar. One of these became the Airborne Light Tank Squadron, which grew into the Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment. This unit flew 20 Tetrarch tanks into battle on the evening of D-Day in the first ever assault landing of tanks from the air, and did the same 10 months later when 8 Locust tanks were landed as part of the Rhine crossing operation.

6th AARR also had a proud history in ground combat in Normandy, the Ardennes, and Germany, often forming the spearhead for the advance of 6th Airborne Division. The unit has a fair claim to be the 'forgotten regiment' of British airborne forces, a fate that this book aims to put right.

About the Author

Born in 1957, Keith Flint is a self-professed military history enthusiast and wargamer. He works as an air traffic controller and is married with three children.

I started research on this book after finding some eyewitness accounts of the glider landings on D-Day, which were held at the Tank Museum. They were from tank crews who had flown over in Hamilcar gliders to support 6th Airborne Division. This sparked an interest which sustained me over four years of part time research, and which finally resulted in 'Airborne Armour'. The book should be of interest to anyone curious about airborne forces in World War 2. The story is a unique one, and I think it fills a significant gap in the history of British airborne forces. It provides a full development history of the Tetrarch and Locust tanks, and probably the fullest background to the development of the Hamilcar glider ever published. The text goes on to cover the operational use of the tanks and gliders in detail, from the Tetrarch's service in Madagascar, through D-Day and the Rhine Crossing to the end of the war. The book also provides the only accurate and full history of the 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment, which operated the tanks and was the reconnaissance regiment for 6th Airborne Division.Readers will find the operational account supported by clear maps, and there are a number of new photos and illustrations which should be of interest to all airborne buffs. For example, there are rare stills of Locust tanks in action during the Rhine crossing, and drawings of an early Hamilcar concept. I have tried to provide all the background the reader might need to put Britain's 'flying tanks' in perspective, such as brief descriptions of the development of the Glider Pilot Regiment and the glider tugs themselves. I include a chapter on developments in this field in other countries such as Germany, the USA and Russia. In particular, the German Me321 Gigant glider is described and compared to the Hamilcar. I have tried throughout to make the book readable and accessible, whilst at the same time being thorough and accurate. For those (like me) who consider such things important, all sources are fully referenced throughout, and there is a full bibliography. If you decide to buy the book, I wish you happy reading! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Book details

  • PDF | 224 pages
  • Keith Flint(Author)
  • Helion and Company; Reprint edition (15 Aug. 2010)
  • English
  • 8
  • History

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Review Text

  • By Tankbuffred on 11 April 2014

    I found this a well researched book written on an area of Airborne Operations rarely covered in any detail. In fact the only references I had previously found were that the 6th Airborne had used air landed tanks during the Normandy & Rhine crossings...and that was just about it!The initial chapters of the book is dedicated to the development of the various vehicles (Tetrarch, Locust & Hamilcar) and how they were melded into a air delivered weapons system within the 6th Airborne Division's structure. The later chapters cover the deployment of the 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment's (6AARR) in World War 2 and post war operations.The content is a bit heavy on the development side, which is not unexpected due to the limited use of armour in the airborne roll, but can make the reading of them a little 'dry'.The book contains details of the composition of 6AARR from inception through the various operations to its final disbandment after the war. This information is a goldmine for wargamers like myself, and was one of the main reasons I purchased it.Overall a solidly written book, with plenty of illustrations and pictures, covering a previously poorly covered area.

  • By Matthew Lownds on 22 October 2009

    I had a very personal reason for putting this book on my Amazon Wish List - my late Father served in the 6th AARR from the winter of 1944/5 to its amalgamation into the 3rd Hussars in Palestine in 1946. Despite this, I believe it is likely to be of interest to a wider readership, offering a depth of analysis and operational detail on British airborne forces' use of air-deployable armoured fighting vehicles unavailable from any other source. And it provides a lasting record of the exploits of the men who manned these vehicles, for which I am most grateful to Keith Flint.

  • By Margery Benn on 2 March 2015

    My husband's father was a tank driver/fitter in the 6th Airborne and only briefly spoke of his experience on D.Day. The gift proved very popular and filled in many gaps and my husband has been moved to write to the author to congratulate Keith Flint on the publication.

  • By Fréd04 on 13 January 2012

    The author has selected a narrow subject "the use of armour in airborne forces in WW2", and he covers 100% of his topic without moving off target. He's based his research on WW2 archive documents/witness accounts first and uses secondary sources only to fill the gaps. The writing style is excellent and the book has good maps and pictures (not many but good, relevant ones).I'd like to see more books for which the authors have spent as much time looking at all the available archived WW2 documents. Great work, a must have for all readers interested in DDay, Arnhem, Varsity operations! Thanks Mr Flint.


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