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British Order of Battle

Discussions on all aspects of the The United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth during the Inter-War era and Second World War.
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British Order of Battle

Postby Larso on 29 Dec 2004 11:26

I'm wondering about the number of British divisions activated for WWII. I'm curious about their type, numbers (ie 3rd Inf, 10th Armd etc), deployments (thearte only) and fates (ie destroyed (eg 18th Inf lost at Singapore) or disbanded).
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Postby Peter H on 29 Dec 2004 12:45

Armoured Divisions
Guards-North West Europe campaign 1944/45
1st-France 1940,Nth Africa,disbanded Italy 1944
2nd-Nth Africa,disbanded 1941
6th-Nth Africa 1942,Italy
7th-Nth Africa,Italy,NW Europe
8th-Nth Africa 1942,disbanded 1943
10th-formed from 1st Cavalry Div,Palestine 1941:Nth Africa 1942,Syria 1943,disbanded 1944
11th-NW Europe 1944/45
42nd-formed in UK Nov 1941,disbanded 1943
79th-NW Europe 1944/45

Cavalry Divisions
1st-formed UK 1939,moved to Palestine Jan 1940,converted to armour Aug 1941
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Postby Peter H on 29 Dec 2004 12:56

Infantry Divisions
1st-France 1939/40:Nth Africa 1943;Italy
2nd-France 1939/40,India April 1942,Burma
3rd-France 1939/40,NW Europe 1944/45
4th-France 1939/40,Nth Africa 1943,Italy 1944,Greece 1944/45
5th-France 1939/40:Madagascar 1942,India 1942,Iraq/Syria 1942,Italy 1943/4,NW Europe
6th-formed Egypt 1940/41,Syria 1941,redesignated 70th Div and sent to Tobruk 1941,India 1942,converted to Chindit Special Force 1943
7th-Palestine 1939:disbanded to form 6th Div in Egypt
8th-Palestine 1939,disbanded 1940


More to come....
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Postby Peter H on 29 Dec 2004 13:08

Infantry Divisions
T denotes Territorial

9th(Highland) T-redesignated 51st Div Aug 1940 after the Highland Div was destroyed in France 1940
12th(Eastern)T-second line labour force BEF France 1940,disbanded July 1940
15th(Scottish)T-NW Europe 1944/45
18th(East Anglian)T-UK,India 1941,Singapore 1942,surrended
23rd(Northumbrian)T-second line labour force BEF France 1940,disbanded June 1940
36th-formed in Burma Sept 1944 from redesignated 36th Indian div:Burma 1944/45
38th(Welsh)T-UK 1939-45
40th-deception unit raised in Sicily 1943:formed from 43rd Bde on internal security duties Sicily,disbanded 1944
42nd(East Lancs)T-France 1940,converted to 42nd Armd Div 1941

More tomorrow...
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Postby Andy H on 29 Dec 2004 13:39

Not wishing to gate crash Peter's posts, Ill just add the following to the information already posted

Armoured Divisions

9th Never left the UK and was disbanded in July'44

Infantry Divisions

7th was formed in Cyprus, as a deception to mislead the enemy as to the actual strength of British forces on Cyprus. By August 23rd the Division (as formed) ceased to exist, though the title was used until June'43 to cover all forces stationed on Cyprus.

8th Division (Syria) This was formed from HQ 5th Cav Bde, and the division consisted of mainly Internal Security, LOC and Admin troops, under 9th Army control. Division disbanded in Syria October 31st 1943

12th Division (SDF) was the deception title given to the 1st Sudan Defence Force Brigade. The Divisional title was dropped in January 1945.

18th, I'm not aware of this having the (East Anglian) attachment officially recognised, though the division was a duplicate of the 54th (East Anglian) Infantry Division.

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Last edited by Andy H on 30 Dec 2004 00:06, edited 1 time in total.
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British OOB

Postby antoniop on 29 Dec 2004 13:43

Have you any information about the so called deception divisions. I think there was a 7th and 8th in syria and cyprus (1942-1943), 12th in Egypt as LOC.

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Postby Andy H on 29 Dec 2004 13:55

Antonio see above regarding the units you requested.

The 12th did see service in Egypt, under 8th Army control. It provided Internal Security and LOC troops from Tobruk to Tripoli, with its HQ in Tripoli. All the units within the Division were Sudanesse.

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Postby Larso on 29 Dec 2004 14:20

Thanks guys this is fantastic. Exactly what I was looking for and I really appreciate it. I look forward to reading the rest when you get a chance to post it.
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Postby Andy H on 30 Dec 2004 00:07

Just a footnote concerning the 9th Armoured Division.

Though actually dibanded in 1944, it still appeared on OoB lists as part of the Allied deception during the DDay landing. The division was listed as belonging to FUSAG (First US Army Group) based in Kent under Patton, as the proposed force for the invasion across the Pas De Calais

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Postby Andy H on 30 Dec 2004 00:32

Armoured Divisons

5th, created as part of the Fortitude South op for the DDay landings. Nominally part of the fictious VII Corp British Fourth Army, also fictious. The unit contained the 37th Armoured Brigade and 43rd Infantry Brigade. Division moved to Yorkshire with VII Corps in November'44, being disbanded in January 1945.

8th, though the orginal division was disbanded, a notional division was re-established in support of the deception plans Waterfall-Dummy tanks around Tobruk, and Boardman & Fairlands (Landing in the Peloponnese) op's in the autumn of 1943. Again the unit was notionally involved in deception plan Zeppelin the landing on Crete in the Spring of 1944, as part of XVI Corp, British 12th Army. Unit simulated by a dummy tank Brigade in Cyrenaica.

15th, composed of the 7th Armd Bde (bogus), the 35th Armd Bde (bogus) and the real 200th Guards Motor Brigade. This division was held in GHQ Reserve in Cairo in the Spring of 1942. The division was converted in November 1943 to the 15th Motorised Division (see further below)

20th was in existence around March 1943 as part of Op Cascade. The division contained 87th Armoured Brigade (Cheshire Yeomanry, 3rd RGH and 4th Northants Yeomanry) and the 88th Motorized Brigade (4th Sikhs, 4th PP Rifles, Alwar and the 88th Mot Bde Transportation Company). This 'Division' supposedly arrived in Palestine from the UK in mid August 1942. The tank role was carried out by the Army Tank School. In May 1944 it was located near the Turkish border at Allepo as part of 9th Army, as part of Plan Turpitude

26th, another division devised for deception purposes.It contained 28th Hussars and 29th Lancers, and was based at Ranchi (India?) in early March 1945.

Motorised Divisions

15th, formed from 15th Armoured Division (see above). Consisted of 33rd and 77th Motorised Brigades. The division was stationed in the eastern Med as part of British 12th Army in May'44. The division moved to SE Asia command, where in early 1945 it underwent jungle training at Belgaum, for op's against Sumatra as part of the notional Indian XX Corps.

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Postby Peter H on 30 Dec 2004 07:40

Andy,
Thanks for the info on the 9th Armoured--I had it written down in my notes but completely skipped it. 8O

Regards,
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Postby Peter H on 30 Dec 2004 07:53

Infantry Divisions
T denotes Territorial

43rd(Wessex) T-UK 1939-44,NWE 1944/45
44th T-France 1940,Nth Africa 1942,disbanded 1943
45th T-UK 1939-45
45th T-France 1940,Tunisia 1943,Italy 1943-44,Greece 1945,Italy 1945
47th(London) T-UK 1939-45
48th(S Midland) T-France 1940,UK 1940-45
49th(West Riding)T-Norway 1940,Iceland 1941-42,NWE 1944-45
50th(Northumbrian)T-France 1940,Iraq/Syria 1941,Nth Africa 1942-3,Sicily 1943,UK 1944,NWE until Dec 1944,UK 1945
51st(Highland) T-France 1940,destroyed at St Valery:reconstituted from 9th Div UK 1940,Nth Africa 1942-3,Italy 1943,UK 1944,NWE 1944-45
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Postby Peter H on 30 Dec 2004 08:07

Infantry Divisions
T denotes Territorial

52nd(Lowland) T-Cherbourg Pensl 1940,UK 1942-44(trained as Mountain Div),UK 1944(trained as AirLanding Div),NWE Oct 1944-45
53rd(Welsh)T-UK 1939-44,NWE 1944-45
54th(East Anglian)T-UK 1939-42,disbanded 1943
55th(West Lancs)T-UK 1939-45
56th(London)T-UK 1939-42,Iraq 1942,Palestine 1942,Tunisia 1943,Italy 1943-45:included the 201st Guards Bde 1943/44
57th-deception unit Nth Africa 1943-44
59th(Staffs)T-UK 1939-44,NWE 1944,disbanded Oct 1944
61st-Div HQ in Norway 1940,UK 1940-45
66th-disbanded 1940
76th-UK 1941-44,disbanded Sept 1944
77th-UK 1941-44,disbanded Sept 1944
78th-formed UK 1942,Tunisia 1943,Italy 1943-45
80th-formed UK 1943,disbanded Sept 1944


Airborne Divisions
1st
6th
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Postby Peter H on 30 Dec 2004 13:04

Anti-Aircraft Divisions

Numbered 1-12 for UK Home defence.

Does anyone have any further details on these units?
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Postby Andy H on 30 Dec 2004 13:14

Again, as before, I'll add the following to Peter's posts

Airborne Divisions

2nd,formed with the 11th & 12th Parachute Brigades and 13th Air-Landing Brigade. Based in Lincolnshire. Used as a deception division leading up to DDay, and then again for the proposed Air-Op around Kiel-Bremen when actually Arnhem was underway. The Division was disbanded in December'44, as its troops provided replacements for the 1st & 6th Airborne Divisions.

3rd, was active in SE Asia, for proposed missions in Burma etc. Elements of 5th Parachute Brigade (6th Airborne) were allocated to the division from March'45 onwards

4th, composed as of April 1943 of the 6th (Gurkha) Parachute Brigade, 1st Special Air Service Brigade and 7th Airborne Brigade (OoB's available if you want). The division arrived in Palestine in early'42 for notional op's against Greece. Then moved to Cyrenaica as part of Twelth Army for nominal op's against Crete.

5th was activated in late 1943 and contained the genuine 2nd Parachute Brigade from 1st Airborne. The division stayed in the western Med till 1944 where it was used in various ploys concerning Allied landings along the Adriatic coast. At a later stage German agents were close to finding that this division was not all it was made out to be. So the division was moved. Its HQ and 9th Brigade were sent to Rome, where the genuine 2nd Parachute Brigade was based, whilst its 8th Brigade was 'sent' to Malta for training and to recieve reinforcements from England.

32nd (Air Transit), formed in late '44, and was doing training with transport aircraft, under Central Command, India in early 1945


More to follow later......

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