A series of photos showing Churchill Tanks of 33rd Army Tank Brigade manoeuvring en masse near Brockenhurst in the New Forest, 13 August 1942.
The photos show Churchill Mk I Tanks with hull-mounted 3-inch guns. The units involved were 43 RTR, 144 RAC & 148 RAC all part of the 33rd Army Tank Brigade attached to the 3rd Infantry Division. It was noted that even though they were very heavy they could move at speed across any terrain including any New Forest obstacles.
We now know more information about this event following research in the War Diaries held in the National Archives; mentions of the days parading can be found in 3 different diary entries with differing levels of information.
War Diary Entry for the 43rd Battalion Royal Tank Regiment
13th August 1942 – 33 Tank Brigade paraded at full strength in battalion ‘Laegers’ for the benefit of 9th Infantry Brigade
War Diary Entry for the HQ 33rd Army Tank Brigade
13th August 1942 – Brigade parades at Long Slade Bottom in triangular Laeger formations – very effective indeed and excellent demonstration is reviewed by divisional spectators. The XX(word unreadable – see photo) is very well to rough heathland. Brigadier addresses spectators on loud speaker equipment.
War Diary Entry for the HQ 9th Infantry Brigade
13th August 1942 – Parade of tanks by 33rd Army Tank Brigade held at Long Slade Barrow 11:30hrs
All Photos are credit: Imperial War Museum for Non-Commercial Use (Licence)
This was obviously an important event as there is an additional set of colour photos: Colour Photos of the 43rd Battalion, Royal Tank Regiment, 33rd Brigade on exercise in the New Forest.
Along with a film piece available through British Pathe
Churchills Unlimited 1942
There also a series of photographs showing a standard day of operations for the 33rd Army Tank Brigade carrying out ordnance, tank recovery and repair operations at Burley: Tank recovery and repair operations by 33rd Army Tank Brigade at Burley.