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7 Anti-tank Regiment

The first instalment of the 7th Anti-Tank enlisted in England since NZ had no anti-tank weapons or gunners at the time. Called the NZ Anti-Tank Battery, later numbered the 34th. Trained at Aldershot. Joined the 4th Field at Maadi Camp 1940.

Artillery of the Second Echelon comprised the 5th Field and 31 Bty and 32 Bty 7 A-Tk. Since 2-pounder anti-tank guns were difficult to come by in England, the anti-tank gunners trained with 18-pounders and French 75-mm left over from World War 1. Held their first anti-tank shoot at Waiouru at end of Feb 1940. Left Wellington 2 May 1940 on the Aquitania with Maj RC Queree temporarily commanding.

After fighting in Greece and Crete, the Regiment returned to Egypt in 1941 for recuperation and re-equipping. Here, LtCol CJS Duff took command of the Artillery Training Regiment and LtCol THE Oakes became the new Commanding Officer.

At this time, the Regiment was equipped with additional guns in the form of 18-prs that had been modified and fitted with telescope and open sights, which could fire HE shell as well as AP shot. These new guns were manned by some of the 152 new gunners from the 6th Reinforcements, and four-troop batteries were then established. Each of 31, 32, 33, and 34 Batteries had three 2-pr troops and one 18-pr troop.

The Regiment was thus equipped for the CRUSADER campaign, essential to which was the relief of Tobruk and control of Belhamed and Sidi Rezegh. At this stage, 7 Anti-Tank had 774 all ranks including H Section Signals and 15 LAD. Since tanks were considered the main obstacle, the anti-tank batteries were dispersed throughout the Division, with some broken up into constituent troops that were also widely dispersed.

Several successful actions took place on the move into Libya and the isolation of Bardia. The route from Bardia to Tobruk produced many confrontations including the Blockhouse, Belhamed and Sidi Rezegh. Heavy casualties were incurred in the successful bid to take Point 175 that has since been described as among the finest anti-tank actions in the war.


  • RHQ    CO: LtCol CJS Duff, RSM: WO1 JG Gilberd
  • 31 Anti-tank Bty    Maj. Blake
  • 32 Anti-tank Bty    Maj. RW Sharp
  • 33 Anti-tank Bty    Maj. RE Sleigh
  • 34 Anti-tank Bty    Maj. JH Hall-Kenney
  • 39 Heavy Mortar Bty
  • 5 Survey Troop
Attached units:
  • H Section, 2 NZ Divisional Signals
  • 15 Light Aid Detachment (1 Officer, 13 ORs)
Click to enlarge
Sergeants' Mess 1941
Click to enlarge

Original strength: Handful of officers and 146 other ranks. At May 1944, strength was 49 Officers and 699 ORs.

Commanding Officers:

LtCol CSJ Duff Oct 1940 - May 1941
LtCol THE OakesMay 1941 - Nov 1941 Killed in action
LtCol JM Mitchell Dec 1941 - Dec 1943
May 1944 - Oct 1944
LtCol SH DaweDec 1943 - Mar 1944
LtCol AE Lambourne    Mar 1944 - May 1944
LtCol JFR SprosenNov 1944 - Dec 1944
LtCol SW NicholsonDec 1944 - Mar 1945
LtCol WC SavageMar 1945 - Aug 1945
LtCol JF SpringSep 1945 - Nov 1945

Main engagements: Greece, Libya, CRUSADER, Syria, Minqar Qaim, Alamein, SUPERCHARGE, Tripoli, Tunisia, Italy. The Regiment took part in every campaign in which 2 NZ Division was involved except Crete - the bulk of the Regiment was evacuated direct from Greece to Egypt. The Regiment was disbanded in Italy on 15 December 1945.

Men of the 7th Anti-tank used:

2-pounder anti-tank guns
6-pounder anti-tank guns
17-pounder anti-tank guns
18-pounder field guns
4.5-inch howitzers
75-mm French field guns
4.2-inch heavy mortars
M10 self-propelled guns
as well as lifted mines, laid smoke canisters, went into action with small arms and maintained a beacon to guide night bombers.

"Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War"
"The Trail of the Black Diamond", by RD Munro