3rd Airlanding Anti-Tank Battery R.A.
On 9th May 1943, 3rd Airlanding Anti-Tank Battery R.A. was formed at Marlborough Barracks, Bulford, Wiltshire under the command of Major N. Cranmer.
This battery was one of two anti-tank batterys whose primary role was to provide anti-tank defence to the two parachute brigades of 6th Airborne Division.
The war establishment of the Battery under I/162/3 was 3 officers and 150 other ranks. It was equipped with 16 x 6 pounder anti-tank guns initally and split into four troops. In 1944 one of the troops was converted to 4 x 17 pounder anti-tank guns.
The Battery completed mobilization for service overseas on the 1st February 1944. It then went into a continuous training phase with its anti-tank guns and exercises with the 3rd Parachute Brigade.
On the 8th March 1944 the Battery formed up as part of the 3rd Parachute brigade group on Bulford field and was inspected by General Montgomery.
On the 19th March gliders were loaded up at Brize Norton and Harwell in preparation for flying. The next day, the exercise BIZZ I commenced and the Battery became airborne from both Brize Norton and Harwell. The exercise was then, however, postponed. The exercise began again 24 hours later and the Battery was in support of the 5th Parachute brigade in the Faringdon area.
The exercise concluded on 23rd March and the Battery returned to the barracks. On the 25th the Battery participated in exercise BIZZ II. Their tasks (in the area of Faringdon) were to support the Airlanding Battalions. A troop was to support Ox’s and Bucks Light Infantry; C troop was to support 12 Devons; B and D troops were to support 1st RUR.
On the 19th May the Battery was inspected by H.M the King as part of the 6th Airborne Divisional parade. The following day the Battery received its new APDS Sabot ammunition and proceeded to move to the marshalling area. A troop remained at Bulford with 4 x 17 pounders and a parachute party of four.
On D-Day, 6th June 1944, the Battery provided an anti-tank screen to the division including the 3rd and 5th Parachute Brigades and the 1st Special Service Brigade. The Battery remained in support of 6th Airborne Division throughout the Normandy Campaign and returned to the UK on 2nd September 1944.
On 20th December the Battery was mobilized and ordered to Belgium after the german armies had broken through in the ardennes. Two days later it departed Bulford for Belgium. The Battery was to assist in allied offensive operations after the german advance had been halted. The Battery remained on operations till the late part of february when it was withdrawn back to england.
On 22nd February 1945 2nd Airlanding Anti-Tank Regiment R.A. was formed at Bulford. 3rd Airlanding Anti-Tank Battery joined this regiment as one of its three battery’s.
Between 16th and 20th March 1945 the battery prepared for Operation Varsity -a joint allied airborne operation. On 24th March the Battery emplaned and took off in gliders for landing zones in Germany to participate in Operation Varsity. The Battery provided anti-tank support to the 3rd and 5th parachute brigades.
The Battery remained in the field until the cessation of hostilities and returned home to the UK at the end of May 1945.
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