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D-Day Regiments
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Sixth Airborne Reconnaissance RegimentSixth Airborne Reconnaissance Regiment

In 1942 C Special Service Squadron of the Royal Armoured Corps, formed partly from men of the 10th Hussars, was attached to 1st Airborne Division, complete with its Tetrarch light tanks. Later it became known as 6th Airborne Reconnaissance Regiment in 6th Airborne Division and was based at Larkhill, on Salisbury Plain.




Tank Museum photo No. 4775/F/6Tank Museum photo No. 4775/F/6

The expansion of airborne forces in Britain was due, to a great extent, to the success of German paratroops during the invasion of Crete but, following the Allied landings in Sicily, in 1943 it was clear that troops would need immediate fire support when they landed, and it was believed that light tanks were the answer. The airborne division included paratroops and infantry carried in gliders and it was by glider that the tanks would go to France.




Tank Museum photo No. 0032/G/3

On D-Day the plan was to drop airborne troops on both flanks with the British on the extreme left, east of the Orne river. Once the troops were landed, and the area relatively secure the big gliders, carrying the Light Tanks and Universal Carriers, crossed the Channel. In practice the tanks were not very successful. Many got themselves tangled up in discarded parachute lines when they left their gliders and those that did go into action were no match for powerful German anti-tank guns.



Tank Museum photo No. 3019/C/6

The regiment fought in Cromwell tanks for the rest of the war, except for the period of the Rhine Crossing in March 1945 when it was equipped with American Locust light tanks, once again in the airborne role. Its last operational posting was to Palestine before amalgamation with 3rd Queen's Own Hussars.

Three museums cater for these airborne units:-

The Tank Museum, Bovington.
Museum of Army Flying, Middle Wallop.
Airborne Forces Museum, Aldershot

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