Dan Taylor Modelworks


Churchill units

NWE 1944

Set #: 76009 Review Carli Danilo 172normandyafv(at)gmail(dot)com
Edited by Marc Mercier

The 1/72 Churchill kits nowadays are lacking a satisfying correct assortment of decals for the Normandy campaign, only Italeri gives us a 31st Armoured Brigade (AB) tank, but the set is incomplete. To get the markings for my Normandy Churchill troops, I had to look for other sources and I found them in this set.

The set is generic for the three Armoured Brigades using the Churchill tank and deployed in the NWE: 6th, 31st and 34th. The 79th Armoured Division (AB) Churchill Arms of Service (AoS) numbers and divisional badge can be found in the 8th AB and Gold Beach set (see OTW review here). The markings are also useful for their Recce troops Stuarts Mk III, Humber SC and other liaison or utility vehicle. The AoS are for two Brigade HQ vehicles and three vehicles for each battalion: enough for 33 vehicles in total. Additionally, some bridge class badges (for the Churchill tanks) are provided.

To make two specific tanks, two WD numbers are supplied:

a Stuart Mk III (M3A1), 7th Royal Tank Regiment (RTR) Recce troop. I didn’t find the corresponding photo, but it looks correct to me (T156718, T156753, T156821, T156857, T156915 are other examples of Stuart Mk III WD numbers from other Churchill Recce troops).

a 7th RTR Churchill Mk III 75mm with appliqué armour and heavy tracks. The MAFVA Churchill tanks list reports it as 31st Brigade 141st Royal Armoured Corps (RAC) Regiment.
Sadly in the photo I’ve seen, the last digit of the AoS (99_) is not readable. Mr. Peter Brown 21st Army list gives no Mk III for the 141st RAC in June 1944, while there were a good number in the 7th RTR and in the 9th RTR. The turret front plate shows a black filled B Sqn square, partially hidden by a dark stripe wrapped around the turret which wasn’t part of a camo scheme, but the remaining of the sealing product of the wading system. The square edge wasn’t light, so for sure it wasn’t yellow. If the darker colour means red, the 7th RTR would be correct according to the set instructions.

There is also the number 1873/ (I think part of a LCT/LST numbering system) which was painted on the right forward fender of a Mk IV 75mm/Mk VI (it is hard to say without the WD number or the rear plate sight, but I bet for a Mk IV) of a well known photo [IWM B5993]. The comment says the date is June 26th 1944, during Epsom. The AoS doesn’t leave room for misunderstanding: 31st Brigade 7th RTR. This tank had the heavy tracks too.
No tactical markings or troop numbers are visible.

The other four suggested tanks are quite generic examples missing any tactical markings, troop numbers or WD numbers.
A note explains why : British tanks often show a widespread use of camouflage netting, with or without the hessian tapes. If this wasn’t enough, early in the campaign, Churchill tanks often were up armoured with track lengths (taken also from other tank types, mostly Shermans) fixed or welded to the turret and on the hull, hiding most of the markings. The dust and the mud (sometimes smeared to hide the bright colours of the badge) completed the job which is why it is often difficult to identify a tank (if not impossible).



Anyway, as far as I’ve seen about the 31st AB and the 34th AB tactical markings, they usually carried them on the turret sides, on the rear bin and on the port side of the turret front, filled in black.

Within the Guards 6th Brigade, the turret sides tactical marking were replaced by smaller tactical signs on the hull sides, up till now I still have to see a Guards tank in Normandy with the turret front marking. Sometimes the former larger turret markings were crudely overpainted like on 4th Grenadier Guards A Sqn FULHAM [IWM B8567].
About the markings, each tank had a name and each unit had its specific rules for that. See here for some of them: http://www.mafva.net/resources.htm.
Here the 6th Brigade names look well documented. Less well known are the 34th Brigade ones (mostly within the 107th RAC) where 153rd RAC was replaced at the end of August 1944 by the 9th RTR. Even more worse is knowledge of the 31st Brigade names, while the 7th RTR names look almost unknown.

About the suggested brigade badge positions, they look correct to me when comparing them with the photos I’ve seen.
Within the 6th AB the Brigade badge was also painted between the driver vision and the BESA. At least on one 3rd Scots Greys Mk IV T172970B, just under it there was also the AoS (in smaller dimensions).

About the 34th AB, the instructions warn the modeller: the "mailed fist" badge apparently is not visible on the known photos and its use can’t be confirmed. Effectively in my (few) Normandy photos I didn’t saw it. Instead there is the 2nd Army badge in the brigade badge position. An alternative position for the 2nd Army badge could be on the port side of the turret front, as shown here: http://www.militarymodelling.com/forums/postings.asp?th=56212&p=4 .
In the original photos of a couple of 107th RAC tanks I’ve seen, there was indeed a square light (white?) spot there, dirtied with something, which could be the badge, but I’m not able to tell what it really was.

The 141st RAC markings are unknown to me. The (very few) photos I’ve seen, didn’t show clear markings, hidden by the usual baggage already mentioned above. As long as the unit was part of the 31st AB, I guess their tanks could have followed the Brigade rules. In September 1944 it passed on to the 79th AD, later joined by the 7th RTR and the 1st Fife and Forfar Yeomanry who took the place of the 9th RTR. At this point some posts on a couple of forum states that the divisional badge was added next to the brigade one, so the tanks sported both. However, since my focus is the Normandy campaign, I have no photos to confirm this practice.

The set is made for 1/76 scale, anyway the difference to the 1/72 is so little (about the 5%) that they are perfectly suitable for our scale.


Well, despite the absence of other markings, the set is very useful and I like it. On the other hand I like the Churchill tank, but I don’t believe I will make 33 of them. Perhaps a bit of space could have been used for some other tactical markings, WD numbers and names, renouncing to some Brigade badges and AoS. Anyway as already told, the original photos mostly show us the tank made "anonymous" by dust, dirt and other items.

Highly recommended.

Preview sample purchased by the author.

This model can be purchased from Tracks & Troops

Back to Dan Taylor Kit List

Back to Home Page

Article Last Updated: 09 August 2015