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