|The 1st NZ Army Tank Brigade was formed in October 1941 at
Waiouru with the eventual intention of deployment in the Middle East after a period of six
months training in New Zealand to provide armoured support for the 2nd NZ Division.
Unfortunately the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and their subsequent southward movement
through South East Asia led to this being postponed indefinitely as the Brigade was
required for New Zealand's immediate defence needs. Eventually, under pressure from
Freyberg, it was broken up and the individual battalions used to reinforce 4th NZ Armoured
Brigade after its formation in late 1942, starting with 3 Tanks (3rd Army Tank Battalion)
in December that year, followed by 1 Tanks and then the bulk of 2 Tanks in 1943. The
remainder of 2 Tanks was used to form a composite squadron and despatched to the Pacific
in September 1943 to provide armoured support for 3rd NZ Division. They fought only
one action on Nissan Island in the Solomon Islands group in February 1944 before being
returned home and disbanded.
||A Valentine V (NZ13902) of
3rd Armoured Regiment at Balmoral Camp in the mid 1950s. The tank would
be completed in overall bronze green and the unit serial 64 was in a
horizontally divided red over yellow square. This particular tank is
from the 2nd troop of B Squadron.
A Valentine at Waiouru completed in the
marking scheme used by the RF component of the RNZAC during 'Exercise
Tally Ho' in 1949. The triangle is believed to be in the
RNZAC colours red and yellow, while the unit serial patch consisted of
the number '12' in a light coloured square (possibly grey).
A Valentine Mk V (NZ20767) of Waikato
Armoured Regiment at Waiouru in the late 1950s. The unit
serial patch consisted of a diagonally divided square red over yellow
with the serial number 59. This vehicle eventually ended up
in a children's playground in Ohakune.
||A Valentine II of 3 Tanks during manoeuvres
between the 6th and 7th of May 1942 at Waiouru. The tank is completed in the
standard Brigade scheme of a base coat of dark green over which is painted dark earth
stripes running diagonally across the vehicle from the front right and back towards the
rear. At this stage only crude Tac signs have been painted directly onto the
camouflage on the glacis plate, without the usual coloured patcre are exceptions). With 5 troops of 3 tanks in each squadron,
Troops 1-5 were in A Squadron, 6-10 in B Squadron and 11-15 in C Squadron.
||A Valentine Mk V of 1 Tanks
on a beach, location unknown, but believed to be somewhere near their camp at Helvetia,
sometime after their relocation to Auckland in 1943. The unit now carries the Tank
Brigade insignia of a rampant dragon on a black square.
||A Valentine Mk V (NZ13905) of the Brigade HQ Squadron, now
an independent Squadron, in Cumberland Street Dunedin during a parade in 1943. After
the breakup of the Tank Brigade this unit, known as the Army Tank Squadron Group, was sent
to Southern Military District where it was based at Harewood Airport near
Christchurch. The unit serial insignia was 20 in a brown square and the unit also
used a style of markings on the turret involving the use of pennants, this tank carries
the number 4 in a simple triangular pennant. The tank name is "Sidi
||A Valentine Mk V of 13 Troop, C Squadron, 1 Tanks at
Waiouru in 1942. 1 Tanks was one of the few New Zealand armoured units that used a
systematic naming system for its vehicles employing Maori names beginning with K for A
Squadron, Ng for B Squadron and T for C Squadron; in this case "Taharoa".
The use of white troop numbers (and not the unit serial patch colour) in this vehicle and
other Valentine Vs in 1 Tanks, coupled with the fact that the 3-man turreted tanks were
favoured for troop leaders suggests that the white number was used to distinguish troop
leaders in this unit.
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March 12, 2008