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.
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.
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
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
Three museums cater for these airborne units:-
Tank Museum, Bovington.
of Army Flying, Middle Wallop.
Airborne Forces Museum, Aldershot