Home Forums WWII Tank commanders & closed hatches Reply To: Tank commanders & closed hatches

John D Salt

On April 13th every year, the successors of B Squadron 3rd Carabiniers (B Sqn SCOTS DG) commemorate the action at Nunshigum, part of the battle of Kohima. Nunshigum lies at the edge of the Naga hills, dominating the main airstrip for 4th Corps in Kohima on the plain below. B squadron’s M3 Lees were deployed to support 1/17th Dogras in an attack up the steep hill, which the Japanese believed impassable to tanks and had studded with bunkers. It was not, but, having to remain exposed to guide their vehicles in the restricted terrain, tank commanders fighting from their open hatches rapidly became casualties. All were replaced by other crew members, and, when all the officers of B squadron and the two lead companies of the Dogras had become casualties, the attack was continued under the command of Squadron Sergeant-Major Cradock and Subadar Ranbir Singh, who successfully coordinated their actions despite lacking a common language. Finally the Japanese broke and ran, leaving 250 casualties on the field.

SSM Cradock was awarded the DCM for this action, and every year on Nunshigum Day B Squadron parades without officers under the SSM.

Tank commanders do not button up just because they are being shot at, and tank commanders who become casualties can be replaced.

All the best,