New Zealand

by Jeff Plowman (Kiwis in Armour)

Initial plans, after the conversion of the 4th NZ Brigade to armour in late 1942, called for it to be issued with one squadron of Crusaders, one of Grants and one of Shermans but this was changed in mid 1943 and it was issued with Sherman tanks only.  The Brigade appears to have been exclusively equipped with the diesel-engined M4A2, that is until the arrival of its first Fireflies in October 1944, when 12 of these were issued.  Initially these were the Sherman IC version and some were used in combat around Faenza in December 1944.  They were eventually replaced by the Sherman VC, the ICs either being handed back or sent to the NZAC Training Depot in Maadi Camp near Cairo, Egypt.  An additional 12 Fireflies were received early in 1945 along with 18 Sherman IBs.  A final delivery of 12 Fireflies were issued on the second or third day of the Senio campaign in April 1945.

In addition to these the 28th Assault Squadron NZE was formed in early 1945 and equipped with a mixture of assault engineer equipment: Sherman Dozers, Fascine carriers, ARKs and Kangaroos.  A number of M10 Tank Destroyers were also used by 7th Anti-Tank Regiment.  Initially 8 were issued to them in June 1944 in time for the Florence Campaign.  They then received a further 4 in late October 1944.  In addition one M10C Achilles was received in January 1945.

Sherman M4A1 Fascine Carrier
Photo: Alexander Turnbull Library, DA9119
Gordon Kaye, one of the 2nd NZ Division's official photographers who took this shot of a modified M4A1 on the 7th of April 1945 during the preparations for the assault on the Senio River. It was suggested it was a rocket firing tank. In fact the this Sherman is a Bolster (Fascine) Carrier. The fascine holder appears to be capable of holding two fascines and was mounted on the turntable of the fighting compartment. This enables it to launch the first fascine then rotating the launcher 180 degrees to launch the other. It is believed to be from the 28th Assault Squadron NZE.


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Page created: 27-10-1999
Last update: 16-01-2000

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