British Order of Battle

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 18 Feb 2022 13:54

Richard Anderson wrote:
18 Feb 2022 04:26
daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Feb 2022 03:19
Posted earlier in this thread by Mr. Kennedy, actually:
The War Office announced the intention to abolish the Mixed Division at the beginning of September 1943, on the basis that they were 'unlikely to prove a suitable organisation for operations on the continent of Europe'. It took a while for all the affected Divs to be brought up to the necessary strength.
Yep, but the decision ultimately only affected four divisions: the 4th Division, which reverted to the old organization on 12 December1943, the 15th Division, which reverted on 9 September 1943, the 43d Division, which reverted on 10 December 1943, and the 53d, which reverted on 10 September 1943. So in the great scheme of things, how much did the experiment really matter?
4.division was go on North Afrika on mixed division structure . Then was change . What was be affect and how big was affect on combat capability ?

15.division was change on september 1943.year . What was be affect and how big was affect on combat capability on Normandy on summer 1944.year ?

43.division was change on december 1943.year . What was be affect and how big was affect on combat capability on Normandy on summer 1944.year ?

53.division was change on september 1943.year . What was be affect and how big was affect on combat capability on Normandy on summer 1944.year ?

On total was was be affect on combat capability because was have churn on mixed divisions ? Was it be mostest big big small or nothing ?

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by Richard Anderson » 18 Feb 2022 16:54

Ружичасти Слон wrote:
18 Feb 2022 13:54
On total was was be affect on combat capability because was have churn on mixed divisions ? Was it be mostest big big small or nothing ?
There may have been some with the 4th Division in Tunisia, but I cannot find any evidence for it. For the others, they all had at least six months to train under the new organization before commitment to battle.

One benefit they all received was extensive training with working with armor, something American divisions almost totally lacked. For 15th Infantry Division that meant that after its initial combat experience in Normandy with 31 Army Tank Brigade they worked with 6 Guards Tank Brigade, which they had trained with as a mixed division, although insofar as I can tell the other two did not work regularly with their former tank brigades.

In theory, the brigade was a singular tactical entity, just as the American and German infantry regiment was, and theoretically should have been capable of "plug and play" with different divisions. The British organization was complicated in that to an extent battalions within the brigade could also be plug and play as units, something the Americans did not practice.
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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by Sheldrake » 18 Feb 2022 19:17

Richard Anderson wrote:
18 Feb 2022 04:26
daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Feb 2022 03:19
Posted earlier in this thread by Mr. Kennedy, actually:
The War Office announced the intention to abolish the Mixed Division at the beginning of September 1943, on the basis that they were 'unlikely to prove a suitable organisation for operations on the continent of Europe'. It took a while for all the affected Divs to be brought up to the necessary strength.
Yep, but the decision ultimately only affected four divisions: the 4th Division, which reverted to the old organization on 12 December1943, the 15th Division, which reverted on 9 September 1943, the 43d Division, which reverted on 10 December 1943, and the 53d, which reverted on 10 September 1943. So in the great scheme of things, how much did the experiment really matter?
The experiment of the mixed divisions was the passion of General Bernard Paget the Commander Home Forces 1941-44.

There is something to be said for the argument that the mixed Division represented a better balance. The post war BAOR divisions are closer to this and it is similar to the structure of the German SS Panzer Divisions of WW2, with a similar infantry component to the Panzer Grenadier Divisions. The 2nd New Zealand Division adopted the Mixed Division structure and retained it to the end of the war.

It was also a way to enforce better co-ordination between armour and infantry which had not worked well up to that point in the war. The New Zealanders considered that they had been let down by British armour so often that they would rather retrain their own infantry and thus have their own inn houise.

For a period after Dunkirk in Home Forces - and for a painful period in the Western Desert, the division had been discredited as a fighting formation in favour of brigade groups. A Mixed division at least establishes the GOC as Commander at the divisional level. There is a mismatch in the mobility of the infantry brigades and the armour. There was no establishment for the motor battalion in armoured brigades and the transport was pooled. Infantrymen would march.

3rd British Infantry Division were also restructured as a mixed division, losing the 7th Infantry Brigade in June 1942 in exchange for the 33rd Tank Brigade which was then replaced by the 185th Infantry brigade in March 1943.

There was no doctrine for a mixed division. The pamphlets were "The Infantry Division in ther attack/defence etc. Hamilton's biography of Montgomery includes extracts from Montgomery's address on mixed divisions as part of his Ex Tiger which pitted XII Corps mixed divisions (43,44 and 56) against the Canadian Corps (1, 2 &3 & 2nd Cdn Armd Bde). Montgomery set out how he thought the structure could work best.
" The new model infantry division is a very different instrument to the old type. The addition of an army tank brigade has definitely added hitting power and 'punch' to the division." Lots more in Monty Vol 2 chapter 15 Ex Tiger.

Although the mixed division experiment was abandoned, the concept was not lost. During Op Bluecoat 31July - 7 August 1944 VIII Corps fought in the bocage country NE of Vire. Its two armoured Divisions were reinforced with an infantry brigade, with the 15th Scottish division gaining the 6th Guards armoured Brigade in exchange. This turned two armoured divisions and an infantry divisions into effectively three mixed divisions.

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 18 Feb 2022 19:36

Richard Anderson wrote:
18 Feb 2022 16:54
Ружичасти Слон wrote:
18 Feb 2022 13:54
On total was was be affect on combat capability because was have churn on mixed divisions ? Was it be mostest big big small or nothing ?
There may have been some with the 4th Division in Tunisia, but I cannot find any evidence for it. For the others, they all had at least six months to train under the new organization before commitment to battle.
That is what i was think .

Evidence on problems on combat capabile after change not seem to exist . Not even on 4.division what was make change on middle operation .
Richard Anderson wrote:
18 Feb 2022 16:54
One benefit they all received was extensive training with working with armor, something American divisions almost totally lacked. For 15th Infantry Division that meant that after its initial combat experience in Normandy with 31 Army Tank Brigade they worked with 6 Guards Tank Brigade, which they had trained with as a mixed division, although insofar as I can tell the other two did not work regularly with their former tank brigades.
Also can to remember some armoured divisions on Italy was change on same idea 1+2 brigades . Was be New Zealand division Canada division South Africa division and Britain division .
Richard Anderson wrote:
18 Feb 2022 16:54
In theory, the brigade was a singular tactical entity, just as the American and German infantry regiment was, and theoretically should have been capable of "plug and play" with different divisions. The British organization was complicated in that to an extent battalions within the brigade could also be plug and play as units, something the Americans did not practice.
Churn was be normal on Britain army . On reason Cardwell system some battalion was always go and come on division .

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Feb 2022 19:52

Richard Anderson wrote:
18 Feb 2022 08:14
daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Feb 2022 04:54
The US sent/had all ~96 Army and Marine divisions overseas in 1941-45, and kept them all up to strength for their assigned duties;
That is disingenuous to put it politely.

The Marines did it by committing divisions for a few months and then spending a year or so to put Humpty back together again.

1st MARDIV - 4 months in combat, then 1 year out of combat, then 3 months of combat, then 6 months out of combat, then 1 month in combat, then 5 months out of combat, then 2 months in combat...end of the war. See? Less than a year of combat required two years out of combat for rebuilding.

Just looking at the Army's 67 Infantry division's, one was overseas in December 1941 and was destroyed. Two were in Hawaii in 1941, one was organized overseas and twelve more went overseas in 1942, eleven more followed in 1943, thirty-seven in 1944, and three in 1945. One quarter, twenty-four, went overseas in the last full year of the war. One, the 98th, saw no combat.

Of the last three Infantry Divisions deployed to Europe, the 71st was credited with 49 days in combat and suffered 788 battle casualties, the 86th had 34 combat days and 760 battle casualties, and the 97th had 31 days in combat and 934 battle casualties.
the British broke up three divisions - 1st Armoured, 50th Infantry, and 59th Infantry, all of which were deployed and fighting in Europe - in 1944 to provide replacements for divisions in the 15th and 21st army groups. Although the 1st Airborne Division remained in the order of battle, it did not see action after Arnhem.
Although in a sense the 92d Infantry Division was "broken up", it wasn't for replacements. Instead, divisions were bled white as the replacement situation grew more and more serious, while the 82d and 101st Airborne were kept in action by cannibalizing non-divisional airborne units. It was expected that by 31 December 1944, the ETOUSA would have available 37,937 Riflemen, but would require 68,343. As of 1 December, the ETOUSA was short 28,341 officers and men, of which 21,211 were Infantry. In essence, the better part of two infantry divisions were not present.
Based on the above, the British broke up - at least - eight combat divisions between 1942-44 because of a lack of replacements.
And the American Army kept divisions in the field that were critically short of Riflemen.
The only comparable US case was the 2nd Cavalry Division, except it was broken up in 1944 to provide logistics units, not combat replacements; considering that - at the time - the US was planning on maintaining two US field armies, and sustaining a significant amount of the French 1st Army's logistics needs, in the MTO, the need for more logistics troops is understandable.
That was the 2d 2d Cavalry Division. The 2st 2d Cavalry Division was disbanded and re-rolled as an armored division. There is also the not so minor problem that breaking up the 2d 2d Cavalry Division could not really provide combat replacements, except to Black combat units, which did not need them at the time.
Whether the 2nd Cavalry Division deserved being broken up for it, is a different question. Not to get to deep in the weeds about the integration policies (or lack thereof) of the US military in the 1940s, the 92nd Division was, in fact, reformed in 1944-45 as (essentially) a semi-integrated formation at the unit (RCT) level, and fought as such in 1945. The 93rd Division also deployed overseas and saw action, albeit limited and generally at the RCT level and below, across the SWPA from the Solomons to the Philippines in 1944-45, including recorded KIA, etc.
Yep, the idiotic under-utilization of Black personnel in the US Army in World War II easily matched any idiocy perpetrated by the British.
The "96 division equivalents" point made above is arguable, given the PD saw action in 1941-42, the 2nd CD (both iterations) was in the order of battle and deployed overseas in 1941-44, the 1st ABTF was formed as a division equivalent in 1944, deployed, and saw action as such, and the MTF was formed as a division equivalent in 1944, deployed, and saw action as such, in 1944-45.
Indeed, it is very arguably, which is why I am arguing it. :lol: Anyway, yes, both iterations of the 2d Cavalry existed, but neither were committed to battle, well, the 9th AD was, but not quite the same thing, and anyway, I think you are already counting it? One-third of the 1st ABTF was British and it was not formed as a "division equivalent", but as a provisional airborne task force for a specific mission. What is the "MTF"?
The British rotated divisions out of the line repeatedly in the MTO (56th and 78th divisions, in and out of Italy in 1943-45, 4th, 4th Indian, and 46th divisions from Italy to Greece in 1944, etc.) and in SEAC in 1942-45 (which is far a better comparison to the US in the PTO, given the common enemy and intensity of active operations in these theaters); in the ETO/NW Europe, the British broke up three combat-experienced divisions for replacements; the US did not break up any divisions, veteran or green, for replacements. Thanks for agreeing. ;)

One can argue extenuating circumstances for the British all one wishes, (or, as you do, criticize the US in isolation) but the bottom line is as above.

"MTF" is a reference to the Mars Task Force; with two US combat arms regiments, artillery, armor, and engineers to match, it was easily the equivalent of British light division in the same theater in 1944-45, so if the 36th Division counts as a "British" division, then the MTF counts as an "American" division. The 1st ABTF had six US maneuver battalions, artillery, engineers, etc. and replaced the 2nd Parachute Brigade with the 1st SSF in 1944, but event absent that - the US elements were organized as a division-sized equivalent of a British light division.

FWIW, the point of the thread is what the British (and, by extension, the Imperial/Commonwealth/etc.) were able to deploy in a combat role at home in 1940, and away from "home," year to year from 1941 onwards, using divisions as a convenient shorthand.

As pertinent as criticisms of replacement policies notwithstanding, that's not really what has been posted is about ... but thanks for the details.

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Feb 2022 19:57

Ружичасти Слон wrote:
18 Feb 2022 13:46
Posted earlier in this thread by Mr. Kennedy, actually:
The War Office announced the intention to abolish the Mixed Division at the beginning of September 1943, on the basis that they were 'unlikely to prove a suitable organisation for operations on the continent of Europe'. It took a while for all the affected Divs to be brought up to the necessary strength.
[/quote]

No evidence on unnecessary .


[/quote]

The quote from the British War Office is that the mixed TO&E is "'unlikely to prove a suitable organisation for operations on the continent of Europe" and it was recognized as early as 1943; seems like the "mixed" reorganization was pretty damn "unnecessary" based on context, doesn't it? :roll:

Perhaps there is a language issue.

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Feb 2022 20:24

Sheldrake wrote:
18 Feb 2022 19:17
Richard Anderson wrote:
18 Feb 2022 04:26
daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Feb 2022 03:19
Posted earlier in this thread by Mr. Kennedy, actually:
The War Office announced the intention to abolish the Mixed Division at the beginning of September 1943, on the basis that they were 'unlikely to prove a suitable organisation for operations on the continent of Europe'. It took a while for all the affected Divs to be brought up to the necessary strength.
Yep, but the decision ultimately only affected four divisions: the 4th Division, which reverted to the old organization on 12 December1943, the 15th Division, which reverted on 9 September 1943, the 43d Division, which reverted on 10 December 1943, and the 53d, which reverted on 10 September 1943. So in the great scheme of things, how much did the experiment really matter?
The experiment of the mixed divisions was the passion of General Bernard Paget the Commander Home Forces 1941-44.

There is something to be said for the argument that the mixed Division represented a better balance. The post war BAOR divisions are closer to this and it is similar to the structure of the German SS Panzer Divisions of WW2, with a similar infantry component to the Panzer Grenadier Divisions. The 2nd New Zealand Division adopted the Mixed Division structure and retained it to the end of the war.

It was also a way to enforce better co-ordination between armour and infantry which had not worked well up to that point in the war. The New Zealanders considered that they had been let down by British armour so often that they would rather retrain their own infantry and thus have their own inn houise.

For a period after Dunkirk in Home Forces - and for a painful period in the Western Desert, the division had been discredited as a fighting formation in favour of brigade groups. A Mixed division at least establishes the GOC as Commander at the divisional level. There is a mismatch in the mobility of the infantry brigades and the armour. There was no establishment for the motor battalion in armoured brigades and the transport was pooled. Infantrymen would march.

3rd British Infantry Division were also restructured as a mixed division, losing the 7th Infantry Brigade in June 1942 in exchange for the 33rd Tank Brigade which was then replaced by the 185th Infantry brigade in March 1943.

There was no doctrine for a mixed division. The pamphlets were "The Infantry Division in ther attack/defence etc. Hamilton's biography of Montgomery includes extracts from Montgomery's address on mixed divisions as part of his Ex Tiger which pitted XII Corps mixed divisions (43,44 and 56) against the Canadian Corps (1, 2 &3 & 2nd Cdn Armd Bde). Montgomery set out how he thought the structure could work best.
" The new model infantry division is a very different instrument to the old type. The addition of an army tank brigade has definitely added hitting power and 'punch' to the division." Lots more in Monty Vol 2 chapter 15 Ex Tiger.

Although the mixed division experiment was abandoned, the concept was not lost. During Op Bluecoat 31July - 7 August 1944 VIII Corps fought in the bocage country NE of Vire. Its two armoured Divisions were reinforced with an infantry brigade, with the 15th Scottish division gaining the 6th Guards armoured Brigade in exchange. This turned two armoured divisions and an infantry divisions into effectively three mixed divisions.
Thanks for the detail. The lack of doctrine for a mixed division, along with the churn, seems problematic.

During WW II, the US Army and Marine Corps attached separate tank battalions to the divisions in the ETO and PTO, sometimes for short periods, sometimes for (practically) the duration, based on availability and circumstances. In the ETO, the armored group headquarters were the closest US Army equivalent to the British/Commonwealth separate tank/armoured brigades; these were (sometimes) attached, 1-to-1, to corps headquarters, to provide an administrative armored section for the separate tank battalions operating with a given corps' divisions. In other cases, the US armored group headquarters were used as operational/tactical headquarters with multiple maneuver battalions attached, or were attached to beef up the third combat command headquarters in the US Army's 1943 TO&E armored divisions. The above had both positive and negative effects, as can be expected.

In 1944-45, the French, generally, either attached armored elements detached from their three armored divisions (organized on the US 1943 TO&E) to their infantry divisions, although the French infantry divisions equipped by the US also could draw on light tank battalions that were included in the French divisional TO&Es as an upgrade from the US standard of a mechanized cavalry troop as part of the US infantry division's TO&E. The French also included various provisional armored units where they could, equipped as they could be (US standard, substitute standard, or non-standard). The Brazilians had armored units at home equipped along US lines, but other than the divisional mechanized cavalry troop, it appears they would have called on US assets for armored support, otherwise. Immediately postwar, the Brazilians and French (more or less) followed US (and then NATO) models, but that changed over the course of the Cold War.

In the PTO, the US Army armored group headquarters were used both for administrative support and - at times - as operational/tactical headquarters with multiple maneuver battalions attached. FWIW, the US equipped six tank battalions in the CBI for the Chinese army; these had a mix of US and Chinese officers/NCOs, but most of the enlisted personnel were Chinese. There was also a provisional armored group headquarters, organized along similar lines. Not all of the Chinese-American units saw action in 1944-45, but they existed, and the resources passed (absent the US Army personnel) to the ROC postwar.

The US group system was, by definition, very flexible, which had positives and negatives. The groups were (generally) suppressed after WW II, and the infantry division TO&E included an attached tank battalion and three additional tank companies that were organic to the infantry regiments/RCTs. That was postwar, but before the Pentomic structure, which was course-corrected back to ROAD after that...

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 18 Feb 2022 20:57

daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Feb 2022 19:57
The quote from the British War Office is that the mixed TO&E is "'unlikely to prove a suitable organisation for operations on the continent of Europe" and it was recognized as early as 1943; seems like the "mixed" reorganization was pretty damn "unnecessary" based on context, doesn't it?
No .

"'unlikely to prove a suitable organisation for operations on the continent of Europe"

Question : How was they know it was can not for to be suitable ?
Answer : Because they was try was experiment and was have some evidence .
Conclusion : For to know organization was not suitable it was be necessary for to make changes .
daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Feb 2022 19:57
Perhaps there is a language issue.
Yes it is possible . I can give some advices on teacher if you want some help for to understand unlikely not to be suitable ≠ unnecessary .

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Feb 2022 21:03

Ружичасти Слон wrote:
18 Feb 2022 20:57
daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Feb 2022 19:57
The quote from the British War Office is that the mixed TO&E is "'unlikely to prove a suitable organisation for operations on the continent of Europe" and it was recognized as early as 1943; seems like the "mixed" reorganization was pretty damn "unnecessary" based on context, doesn't it?
No .

"'unlikely to prove a suitable organisation for operations on the continent of Europe"

Question : How was they know it was can not for to be suitable ?
Answer : Because they was try was experiment and was have some evidence .
Conclusion : For to know organization was not suitable it was be necessary for to make changes .
daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Feb 2022 19:57
Perhaps there is a language issue.
Yes it is possible . I can give some advices on teacher if you want some help for to understand unlikely not to be suitable ≠ unnecessary .
Interesting; met many a Slavic speaker of English. None write like the above.

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by Sheldrake » 18 Feb 2022 21:56

Hamilton's extracts are, I dare say, intended to demonstrate a part of Montgomery's intellect and character.

He writes that Montgomery said he disagreed with the changes, which were imposed by GHQ Homes Forces without prior consultation with the army commanders. "We were presented with a copy of the GHQ letter to the War Office. We all accepted it loyally as being the decision of the C-in-C. Personally I never liked it; but I backed it 100% and publicly, in loyalty to my C-in-C."

The exposition of his thinking in the biography is based on the briefing notes from the exercise debrief to two thousand officers from XI(I and the Canadian Corps. There is far too much material to post here, but what it shows Montgomery dissecting the strengths and weaknesses of the Mixed Division in different phases of war and the practical problems that the audience needed to think about. E.g.
- What is the composition of the recce? Is it a weak force based on the divisional recce or strengthened with fighting troops. If so. then who commands a fighting recce, as Montgomery argued that it was unsound to ask the CO of a recce regiment - whose force is normally deployed on a wide front, to command a bunch of other units as well.

- Mixed divisions would defend differently. "Static defence must disappear, The main function of defence will be to counter attack and everything will be designed to this end. The object of the defence will be to destroy the enemy and not merely to stop him. (This is very similar to how the panzertruppen operated. function follows form. - sheldrake observation)

- Great use was made in this exercise (Tiger) of infantry being carried up to battle on tanks. This subject must be studied and practiced: it is very suitable for the early stages of a contact battle and the pursuit.

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 18 Feb 2022 23:11

The Army must have had some system for rating the combat worthiness of a formation. Does Joslen cover that? Or another source I am guessing that at the least there were reports identifying the capability of each division. The opinions of the British Marshals might be pertinent at this point.

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by Richard Anderson » 19 Feb 2022 01:00

daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Feb 2022 19:52
The British rotated divisions out of the line repeatedly in the MTO (56th and 78th divisions, in and out of Italy in 1943-45, 4th, 4th Indian, and 46th divisions from Italy to Greece in 1944, etc.) and in SEAC in 1942-45 (which is far a better comparison to the US in the PTO, given the common enemy and intensity of active operations in these theaters); in the ETO/NW Europe, the British broke up three combat-experienced divisions for replacements; the US did not break up any divisions, veteran or green, for replacements. Thanks for agreeing. ;)
Odd, but did you think I was disagreeing that the British broke up three divisions for replacements?
One can argue extenuating circumstances for the British all one wishes, (or, as you do, criticize the US in isolation) but the bottom line is as above.
Who is arguing "extenuating circumstances"? No, I am not criticizing "the US in isolation.

Carl's question was regarding "combat ready divisions"/"operational readiness"/et cetera. The British were doing just that - maintaining operational readiness by their system - by breaking up divisions in order to maintain the strength of selected divisions. The problem was not divisional assets; there was no lack of field artillery, antitank artillery, engineers, ordnance maintenance, quartermaster, and the like in the British Army. There was a lack of infantry and especially riflemen, complicated by the need as perceived by the British Army for around two centuries to maintain regimental integrity. So they consolidated battalions, shuffled them around brigades, and shifted brigades about, in order to keep up the strength of the infantry in a smaller number of divisions.

It was the British solution to their problem and was their way of doing it. Their solution required reducing the number of divisions. Attempts at solving the problem by forcing manpower from one Regiment into another did not work well every time and worked badly sometimes.

The American solution was the American way of doing it. Feeding individual replacements to divisions. Their solution required sacrificing to a degree the combat readiness and operational capability of divisions as hundreds of usually replacements were churned through formations on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. It also meant that at the pointy end infantry battalions and especially rifle companies were chronically short of manpower, which made it difficult for them to achieve their mission. Rifle companies with half or one-third of their required riflemen on hand to not function as well as full strength ones.

The German solution was slightly different still, but also an answer to the same problem - how do you keep units in combat up to strength and operationally capable?
"MTF" is a reference to the Mars Task Force; with two US combat arms regiments, artillery, armor, and engineers to match, it was easily the equivalent of British light division in the same theater in 1944-45, so if the 36th Division counts as a "British" division, then the MTF counts as an "American" division. The 1st ABTF had six US maneuver battalions, artillery, engineers, etc. and replaced the 2nd Parachute Brigade with the 1st SSF in 1944, but event absent that - the US elements were organized as a division-sized equivalent of a British light division.
Thanks, brainfart, I simply couldn't think last night of what "MTF" you meant. Yes, two regiments, but five battalions, and two FA battalions, so about a half strength "division" and a provisional one at that, especially given they could not use the assets of the 1st Chinese Infantry Regiment and the 1st Provisional Chinese-American Tank Group was a bit of a limited asset too.

Anyway, the 36th (Ulster) Division was "British", even of it started life as part of the British Indian Army. :lol:

BTW, is "British light division" your construct? Since I don't think they had one other than the 61st, unless you are thinking of Light Bob Craufurd? :lol:
FWIW, the point of the thread is what the British (and, by extension, the Imperial/Commonwealth/etc.) were able to deploy in a combat role at home in 1940, and away from "home," year to year from 1941 onwards, using divisions as a convenient shorthand.
Yes, but Carl did clarify that he was looking for operational capability rather than Hitler-like creations of imaginary "divisions" or accounting sleight of hand. Randomly amalgamating non-divisional units together and declaring them "divisions" - like the habit of some of counting every three American "separate" Infantry regiments as a "division" - or declaring provisional task forces "divisions" doesn't do much to clarify the question...it would be about as useful as dividing total personnel by an imaginary "division slice" and declaring that a "division".
As pertinent as criticisms of replacement policies notwithstanding, that's not really what has been posted is about ... but thanks for the details.
Given that my post was not a criticism of replacement policies, but was in partial answer to Carl's questions, you are welcome...
Last edited by Richard Anderson on 19 Feb 2022 02:06, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by Richard Anderson » 19 Feb 2022 01:05

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
18 Feb 2022 23:11
The Army must have had some system for rating the combat worthiness of a formation. Does Joslen cover that? Or another source I am guessing that at the least there were reports identifying the capability of each division. The opinions of the British Marshals might be pertinent at this point.
At the strategic level that was done in 1942-1943 with the differentiation between higher and lower establishment formations and before that by the designation of "Home Service Only", which typically applied to battalions, "County" divisions, and the like.

In terms of tracking division capability in the field, the 21st Army Group (and IIRC 8th Army in Italy, not sure about Burma) did it by tracking "average infantry battalion strength" in a division. It was when it chronically fell below a certain level that considerations of battalion/brigade amalgamations and division dissolution's were taken up.
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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by daveshoup2MD » 19 Feb 2022 01:43

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
18 Feb 2022 23:11
The Army must have had some system for rating the combat worthiness of a formation. Does Joslen cover that? Or another source I am guessing that at the least there were reports identifying the capability of each division. The opinions of the British Marshals might be pertinent at this point.
No, Joslen is pretty much a British version of Stanton, without the narrative ... but, inference based on where a given formation "went" and what it did after leaving home is a pretty good marker. I started doing this because you asked, and don't have a copy of Joslen. If you wish me to continue, please let me know.

If not, I have other things to do for fun. Getting into the weeds on whether the 13th Battalion, King's Own Loyal, Royal, and Frightfully Brave Mounted Fusiliers was at 100% or 50% or -300% strength before being committed to the Ruritanian Campaign with various habitues of the Peanut Gallery ain't it. :D

Richard Anderson
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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by Richard Anderson » 19 Feb 2022 02:05

daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Feb 2022 20:24
During WW II, the US Army and Marine Corps attached separate tank battalions to the divisions in the ETO and PTO, sometimes for short periods, sometimes for (practically) the duration, based on availability and circumstances. In the ETO, the armored group headquarters were the closest US Army equivalent to the British/Commonwealth separate tank/armoured brigades; these were (sometimes) attached, 1-to-1, to corps headquarters, to provide an administrative armored section for the separate tank battalions operating with a given corps' divisions. In other cases, the US armored group headquarters were used as operational/tactical headquarters with multiple maneuver battalions attached, or were attached to beef up the third combat command headquarters in the US Army's 1943 TO&E armored divisions. The above had both positive and negative effects, as can be expected.
Some additional specific details may be of interest, from my manuscript For Purpose of Service Test:

"Ten armored groups were eventually assigned to the ETOUSA, originally intended as one per corps, to function as task forces with separate tank battalions attached as needed. At least theoretically, that meant two or three tank battalions per corps and armored group. However, standard operating practice in the theater quickly became attachment of one separate tank battalion per infantry division, to the limit of availability of the separate tank battalions, regardless of corps organization. Furthermore, the armored groups were not always in the chain of command or administration of the separate tank battalions, so often had no actual authority over them. Thus, the armored groups quickly became organizations without a purpose. Initially, most took on the role of armor section on the corps special staff. Some did occasionally take on task force missions, notably the 3d Armored Group with V Corps attacking the Westwall fortifications 17-30 September 1944. Otherwise, they performed missions as varied as operating Corps Rest Centers, organizing corps rear area defenses, acting as military government, and training or supervising armor special equipment schools, especially flame throwers and mine exploders.

The final decision by the ETOUSA on how to employ the armored groups was made in the fall of 1944. It was decided to continue the attachment of the armored groups to the corps and formalizing the group’s position as the Corps Armored Section. However, some of the group assets were also used to augment the Reserve Command of certain armored divisions, which expressed a requirement for three rather than two tactical commands.

The first so employed was the 3d Armored Group, which split to form the V Corps Armored Section and also augmented CCR, 5th Armored Division on 28 October 1944. The second was the 12th Armored Group, which was attached to the 9th Armored Division on 4 December 1944. Next was the 9th Armored Group, which was relieved of its CDL duties c. 12 November 1944 when it landed in France. It was first attached to the XVIII Corps as the Corps Armored Section from 23 December 1944 to 15 February 1945 and then to III Corps from 19 February 1945. On 10 January 1945, it provided an augmentation of 6 officers, 1 warrant officer, and 61 enlisted men augmenting CCR, 7th Armored Division. The 10th Armored Group was the last used to augment the armored divisions, after it also was relieved of CDL duties c. 29 August 1944. It augmented CCR, 8th Armored Division 10 February 1945. The other armored divisions organized under the September 1943 T/O&E, the 1st, 4th, 6th, 10th-14th, 16th, and 20th all retained the original organization and doctrinal employment of CCR."

More important than the pluses or minuses of the Armored Group system was the US Army's failure to field enough separate tank battalions for the number of infantry divisions raised, which was linked to its failure to develop a doctrine and establishing training for the infantry division with tanks.
In the PTO, the US Army armored group headquarters were used both for administrative support and - at times - as operational/tactical headquarters with multiple maneuver battalions attached. FWIW, the US equipped six tank battalions in the CBI for the Chinese army; these had a mix of US and Chinese officers/NCOs, but most of the enlisted personnel were Chinese. There was also a provisional armored group headquarters, organized along similar lines. Not all of the Chinese-American units saw action in 1944-45, but they existed, and the resources passed (absent the US Army personnel) to the ROC postwar.
Although nominally of six battalions, only the 1st and 2d Battalion of the 1st Provisional Chinese American Tank Group were committed to combat, the 3d-6th only ever had a training function. The 1st and 2d were equipped with M3A3 Light Tanks until 12 Medium Tanks M4A4 arrived on 19 April 1944. It is unclear exactly what the 3d-6th Battalions had, but they appear to have been a mix of Medium Tanks M3 and Light Tanks M3 of various types and in various degrees of operation. At the end of the war they were transferred to KMT control and became the 1st-3d KMT Tank Battalions.
The US group system was, by definition, very flexible, which had positives and negatives. The groups were (generally) suppressed after WW II, and the infantry division TO&E included an attached tank battalion and three additional tank companies that were organic to the infantry regiments/RCTs. That was postwar, but before the Pentomic structure, which was course-corrected back to ROAD after that...
In theory it was very flexible, which indeed had positive and negative results. It tended to work very well for field artillery, combat support, and combat service-support organizations, but not so well for the Infantry and Armor.
Richard C. Anderson Jr.

American Thunder: U.S. Army Tank Design, Development, and Doctrine in World War II
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall
Hitler's Last Gamble
Artillery Hell

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