Royal Tank Regiment
Royal Tank Regiment (6 RTR) was a regiment of the Royal Tank
Regiment, of the British Army, until 1959. It originally saw action as
Tank Corps in 1917.
1 First World War
2 Inter-war period
3 Second World War
First World War
Whippet Mk A
Whippet Mk A tank A347 "Firefly", of 6th Battalion
currently in the Museum of the Army in Brussels
When tanks were first used in action in 1916, they were operated by
the Heavy Branch of the Machine Gun Corps. This constituted six
companies, A through F. With the rapid growth of the tank forces,
these companies were used as the cadre of new battalions, which were
quickly transferred to the newly formed
Tank Corps, and then changed
from letters to numbers. F Company thus became F Battalion of the
Heavy Branch in November 1916, then F Battalion of the
then redesignated as 6th Battalion of the
Tank Corps in January 1918.
During this time, the unit saw heavy action; it fought at the Battle
of Messines, Passchendaele, Cambrai, Amiens (using
Whippet Mk A
Whippet Mk A light
tanks), Bapaume, 2nd Arras and Cambrai-St Quentin.
During this time, a
Victoria Cross was awarded to Captain Richard
Annesley West of the North Irish Horse, at the time an acting
Lieutenant-Colonel commanding 6th Battalion
Tank Corps. This was one
of only four VCs awarded to the Corps during the Great War.
After the Armistice, the
Tank Corps was severely cut down; from
twenty-six battalions in 1919 to four by the early 1920s. The 6th
Battalion was one of those disbanded, with its remaining personnel
being transferred to the 3rd Battalion in November 1919.
In the 1930s, the decision was taken to expand the Royal
("Royal" had been added to the regimental title in 1923). Two Royal
Tank Corps armoured car companies in Egypt, the 3rd and 5th, were
brought together and reformed as 6th Battalion, Royal
However, this unit was understrength - it only consisted of two
companies - and was not brought up to full strength with a third
company until early 1939, by which time it had been renamed the 6th
Second World War
Two Sherman tanks of 6 RTR in action against German machine-gun
positions on the walls of San Marino, 19 September 1944
When the war broke out in 1939, 6 RTR was based in Egypt with the
Heavy Armoured Brigade (Egypt), part of the Armoured Division (Egypt).
It was equipped with a mixture of Mk VIb light tanks, Mark II medium
tanks, and Mk I Cruiser tanks. It provided a squadron of tanks for
Malta in 1942, which made up an armoured force called Malta Tanks.
6 RTR saw action during the
Suez crisis in 1956, where HQ, B and C
Squadrons were landed to support Operation Musketeer. In 1948, the
Regiment was located at Scofton aerodrome, Notts, training TA's from
45 Leeds Rifles. In 1959 it was amalgamated with 3rd Royal Tank
^ Matthews, Graham. "6 RTC in Egypt, 1933/38". arcaneafvs.com.
Retrieved 9 November 2015.
Groombridge, Stuart (8 January 2000). "Companies and Detachments of
the Heavy Branch,
Machine Gun Corps
Machine Gun Corps (Later The
geocities.com/Pentagon/Base. Archived from the original on 23 October
Tank Regiment". regiments.org. 14 December 2002. Archived
from the original on 17 August 2004.
"War Diaries for the 6th
Royal Tank Regiment
Royal Tank Regiment August 1939 to March
Gill, Brian. "Merseyside RTR". merseysidertr.com. Archived from the
original on 4 August