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British 6th Airborne Division

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British 6th Airborne Division

Postby Thomhasj on 20 Oct 2002 20:00

Who can give me a detailed order of battle of the British 6th Airborne Divion on June 6, 1944? :roll: :aliengray
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Postby Andy H on 16 Apr 2005 19:38

3rd Parachute Brigade
8th (Midland Counties) Parachute Btn
9th (Home Counties) Parachute Btn
1st Canadian Parachute Btn

5th Parachute Brigade
12th & 13th Parachute Btn's
7th (Light Infantry) Parachute Btn

6th AirLanding Brigade
2nd Ox & Bucks Infantry
1st Royal Ulster Rifles
12th Devonshire Regiment

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Postby gjkennedy on 17 Apr 2005 16:31

As per Andy's reply, along with these Divisional troops -

HQ 6 Abn Div
6 Abn Armd Recce Regt
22 Indep Para Coy
6 Abn Div Sigs

53 Airldg Lt Regt, RA
3 Airldg Atk Bty, RA
4 Airldg Atk Bty, RA

3 Para Sqn, RE
591 Para Sqn, RE
249 Fd Coy, RE
286 Fd Pk Coy, RE

1 Wing, Glider Pilot Regt
2 Wing, Glider Pilot Regt

716 Lt Comp Coy, RASC
398 Comp Coy, RASC

224 Para Fd Amb, RAMC
225 Para Fd Amb, RAMC
195 Airldg Fd Amb, RAMC

6 Abn Div Wksp, REME

Joslen's OOB indicates that only A Coy, 12 Devon, was airlanded on D-Day, the remainder of the Bn following by sea on D+1, as did 398 Coy RASC, which was a conventional transport unit, not airborne. Also coming by sea it seems were 249 Fd Coy, RE and 4 Airldg Atk Bty, RA, presumably on D-Day itself?

He doesn't list the Fd Pk Coy on D-Day, nor the Provost Coy. Also each Bde and Div HQ would have had defence platoons, plus the Field Security Section at Div HQ. There were also HQs for both the RA and RE troops, as well as a RA Forward Observation Unit. I would have thought they'd all go in with the main body, but you can never tell, space was always at a premium for the airborne lads.
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Postby Keltixx on 18 Apr 2005 17:12

Thomhasj, this may be more than you want, I know it is more than you asked for. However, I had open a work I am writing on airborne units and decided to copy out my brief notes on the 6th. Hope it is useful, ignore if not.
Ciao - Jeffrey

6th Airborne Division

3rd Parachute Brigade: Formed 7 November 1942. Commanders: A.B.G. Stainer, G.W. Lathbury, E.W.C. Flavell, James Hill.

8th (Midland) Parachute Battalion - formed from 13th Battalion the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in November 1942.

9th (eastern and Home Counties) Parachute Battalion - formed from 10th Battalion the Essex Regiment in December 1942.

1st Canadian Parachute Battalion .


5th Parachute Brigade: Formed 1 June 1943. Commanders: E.W.C. Flavell, J.H.N. Poett.

7th (Light infantry) Parachute Battalion - formed from 10th Battalion the Somerset Light Infantry in November 1942.

12th (Yorkshire) Parachute Battalion - formed from 10th (East Riding Yeomanry) Battalion the Green Howards in May 1943.

13th (Lancashire) Parachute Battalion - formed from 2nd/4th Battalion the South Lancashire Regiment in May 1943.


6th Airlanding Brigade: All glider battalions. Formed 6 May 1943. Commanders: the Honourable HUGH K.M. Kindersley, E.W.C. FLAVELL, R. H. Bellamy.

2nd Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light infantry (Ox and Bucks)

12th Devonshire Regiment

1st Royal Ulster Rifles

Artillery: 53rd Airlanding light artillery Regiment (210th, 211th and 212th Airlanding Light Batteries - 75MM howitzers), 2nd Airlanding anti-tank Regiment (3rd, 4th and later the 6th Airlanding anti-tank Batteries), and 2nd Airlanding light anti-aircraft battery (converted to 6th anti-tank battery in January 1945.


22nd Independent Parachute Company (pathfinders): over half of the 22nd were German Jews who had fled the Nazis. They served in the British Army under assumed names.

6th Airborne Armored Reconnaissance Regiment: Regimental Headquarters, a light tank Squadron, reconnaissance Squadron, support Squadron and engineer, signal and medical detachments. The tank Squadron had a Headquarters troop and five tank troops. The reconnaissance Squadron had a Headquarters and four Scout troops. The support Squadron had a 4.2 inch mortar troop and two Vickers machine-gun troops. A section of one officer and 15 men, the harbour party, were trained to parachute in ahead of the reconnaissance Regiment and secure the landing area.

Engineer: 249th Airborne Field Company - attached to 6th Airlanding Brigade; 3rd parachute Squadron - attached to 3rd Parachute Brigade; 591st parachute Squadron - attached to 5th Parachute Brigade; 286th Airborne Field Park Company.

Medical: 224th and 225th parachute field ambulance and 195th Airlanding field ambulance (glider).

6th Division signals, RAOC, REME, RASC, MP and intelligence units.

Formed 3 May 1943. The division made the Normandy and Varsity (cross-Rhine) jumps. They fought as ground infantry long after the D-day jump, suffering appalling casualties before they were withdrawn to England. During the battle of the Bulge, the Division was rushed to Belgium to help stop the German attack. As the only fully active British Airborne Division, the 6th was picked for the Rhine jump, operation Varsity. After the Rhine jump, they again fought as ground troops from the Rhine to the Baltic. The 5th Parachute Brigade group (see below) was sent to the Pacific after V.E. Day but Japan surrendered before they saw action. The first post-war assignment for the rest of the Division was in Palestine. The division closed into its new assignment area during September - November 1945. The 2nd Parachute Brigade replaced the absent 5th Parachute Brigade in the Division.

Commanders: Gale, Eric Bols.
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Postby Andy H on 18 Apr 2005 17:40

The 591st Parachute Sqn RE, had the title 'Antrim' to signify there Irish roots and the fact that the Sqn was originally known as the Antrim Fortress Company RE

Sqn was commanded by Major P A Wood

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Postby Keltixx on 18 Apr 2005 18:35

Andy - thank you very much. I will put this in my notes.

Ciao - Jeffrey
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591st (Antrim) Para Sqn.

Postby crusader2 on 23 Nov 2005 01:33

Just for further info
Maj. Andy Wood was captured on landing 6/6/44.

The 2i/c Capt. Gordon Findlay Davidson 166499 was promoted on 7th June 1944 to Acting Major of 591st, and remained in command throughout the Normandy exploits of the Squadron until they returned to the UK.
He relinquished command in Nov 44. His 2i/c was Capt Fergy Semple MC.
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