Monday, February 21, 2005
The 4th Battalion of the RTR in France in 1939 and 1940
The 4/RTR was an independent Army tank battalion. The original intent was that the 4/RTR would be a component unit of the 1st Army Tank Brigade, but the 7/RTR and 8/RTR didn't go to France until it was too late (1st week of May 1940). The 4/RTR had 50 Inf. Mk.I Matilda's in three companies. Each company had five sections. Each section had 3 tanks. The company headquarters had one Inf. Mk.I and one light tank. The battalion headquarters had two Inf. Mk.I and two light tanks (possibly Lt.Mk.VIA or B). The sister unit, the 7/RTR, when it arrived in France in May 1940 had 27 Inf. Mk.I's and 23 Inf. Mk.II's (a much more potent weapon). Together, they shook the Germans at Arras, and allowed the BEF to escape to Dunkirk.