We’ve said before that creating these books would be impossible without the assistance of experts in their field. Sometimes even experts get caught in the Panzerwrecks spam filter, not to be found until the book has been published. A case in point is an email from Jonathan Holt at the Tank Museum Archive who responded to a request for assistance with the Stug ARV &Cromwell photo on page 70 of Panzerwrecks 21. Please accept my apologies for not including this information in the book; it only came to light today! Over to you Jonathan:
I believe the Cromwell is actually a one of two Centaur I Pilot Model Tanks built by Leyland in 1942. Its T number matches the contract card for those vehicles. As it’s only a mild steel pilot model I suspect the final details of the turret were probably still being worked on or they were trying a different configuration that was rejected. This might also explain why the vehicle doesn’t have any unit markings visible.
If the 87 on the front of the Stug is an Arm of Service Number belonging to the unit that pressed it into service, then 87 would belong to the HQ of the second Infantry Brigade in a British Infantry Division. That would have been painted on a green square background, so it might not be very easy to tell if that is the case. 87 was also used by Royal Artillery units in Armoured Divisions in Italy in 1943, with the markings being painted on a Red over Blue square.
Note to self: check the spam filter more often.