British Order of Battle

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Richard Anderson
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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by Richard Anderson » 17 Feb 2022 21:48

daveshoup2MD wrote:
17 Feb 2022 20:43
Think the issue would be if the "mixed" organization, by removing one of these seven division's three infantry brigades (from their 1941-42 organizations, prior to the "mixed" organization) had any impact (positive or negative) in terms of their performance when they went into action in 1943-44. One potential positive: did they do better, worse, or about the same in terms of combined arms than the "standard" divisions, because of the experience with the armor cross-attachment? A potential negative: did the churn overall, and the need to create and then attach a third divisional infantry brigade in 1943 make a difference in their performance compared to the divisions that did not have to deal with that? Or delay their deployment on active service?
Agreed, but it still may not be relevant in this case?

For example, the 1st Division "lost" 1 Infantry (Guards) Brigade on 1 June 1941. It "gained" 34 Army Tank Brigade 8 June 1942. In between, it also "gained" 210 Infantry Brigade 25 November 1941-12 January 1942 and 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade 13 January-7 June 1942. Afterwards it also had a succession of ins and outs of third infantry brigades, 24 Infantry (Guards) Brigade 6 December 1942-17 May 1943, 128 Infantry Brigade 9-15 May 1943, 1 Infantry (Guards) Brigade 17 May-29 June 1943, 24 Infantry (Guards) Brigade 30 June 1943-7 March 1944, 18 Infantry Brigade 8 March-16 August 1944, and 66 Infantry Brigade 19 August 1944-31 August 1945.

The problem was not a "churn" caused by withdrawing an infantry brigade, substituting an armoured/tank brigade, and then returning an infantry brigade. British divisions of all types tended to churn because of a lack of infantry forces in the British Army, complicated by the British Regimental System. Most of these infantry brigades were not created in 1943 to replace the tanks in the mixed division, most already existed, but had been shuffled off to other divisions, task forces, garrisons, and so on until hoovered up again as the British tried to make up infantry losses in units in combat. It is also the reason for the Lower Establishment divisions; they were stripped of personnel as replacement drafts and then acted as draft finding and training units.
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Carl Schwamberger
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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 17 Feb 2022 22:45

My view here is drawn entirely from my personal observations in service. In 20 years I went through more reorgnizations than I could accurately count. Some of my peers dealt with these well, others did not & got themselves wrapped around the axle over details others hardly noticed. Some had a meltdown over the most surprising details. I suspect the Brits were not different & problems from changes depended on a few key commanders & staff officers grasping the event correctly. The propensity to overthink and make tasks harder than they need to be seems endemic in 10% of the population, which can waste too many hours of the rest of us.

& I'll forgo the anecdote about a certain LtCol in the interest of getting back on topic.

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 17 Feb 2022 23:06

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
17 Feb 2022 21:20
My remarks were aimed at understanding or estimating the combat power added to the corps or army of the smaller independent formations. Variable sized divisions connects to that, But both questions are periphrial to my primary inquiry.
Ok.

Before you was write
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
17 Feb 2022 15:23
Accounting for all these separate & independent units in the British and US OB is tricky. The Germans and Italians had no common equivalent. Independent brigade or US regiment sized maneuver groups in the German army were rarer and more accidental in their existence. Most of the independent formations that size in the German OB were specialized assault/artillery formations. ie: Made up of armored assault guns, AT weapons, or other artillery & sometimes infantry/engineer assault groups those were supporting formations & not maneuver units.
Example. British army tank brigade was be specialized tank formation just like was have assault/artillery formation. They was support formation not maneuver formation .

When you can for to understand German support formation you can for to can to understand British support formation . Not so tricky .

I not understand what means variable sized divisions . Perhaps you can for to give example and i can to explain .

What is primary enquiry ?
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
17 Feb 2022 21:20
Discussions between myself and other military officers I was serving with. There were two discussion topics. One was on the merits of the US Army and Marine tactical organizations in that era. The other topic was the merits and defects of the British tactical organizations 1942-45. By 'tactical' I mean we were directing our thoughts at the corps as much as the division, or brigade.

Hope that clarifies my remarks
Yes. Thanks you .

Britain army was make many changes on structures and organizations on formations and units because they was try again and again for to find solution to failures on battlefield . They was believe solution was be on structures and organizations . Perhaps they was look on wrong place and was make big confusions for self .

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 17 Feb 2022 23:11

daveshoup2MD wrote:
17 Feb 2022 00:10
56th (to MENA/Iraq, 1942),
Richard Anderson wrote:
17 Feb 2022 18:15
, the 56th (London) Division was from 8 to 18 May 1943,
???

:confused:

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 17 Feb 2022 23:15

daveshoup2MD wrote:
17 Feb 2022 20:43
The point being, churn is rarely a positive for any organization.
I not understand .

When something not work it must to be good idea for to make change .

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by Richard Anderson » 18 Feb 2022 00:27

Ружичасти Слон wrote:
17 Feb 2022 23:11
daveshoup2MD wrote:
17 Feb 2022 00:10
56th (to MENA/Iraq, 1942),
Richard Anderson wrote:
17 Feb 2022 18:15
, the 56th (London) Division was from 8 to 18 May 1943,
???

:confused:
Sorry. 56th London Division did not actually come under the Mixed Division organization. It consisted of three brigades and an armoured brigade for 10 days in May 1943, while it was in the Middle East (from 4 November 1942).
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Tom from Cornwall
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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 18 Feb 2022 01:03

56th Division also lost 168th Brigade to Op HUSKY preps before it first saw action in Tunisia in April/May 1943.

Regards

Tom

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Feb 2022 01:47

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
17 Feb 2022 21:34
daveshoup2MD wrote:
17 Feb 2022 00:10
So here's a look at the British/Imperial/etc. "army" in 1942

So, in terms of "deployable" divisions that were raised in 1941 or earlier, in 1942, it looks like 22-23 British (four armoured, 16-17 infantry, including the 78th, 1 airborne, and 1 RM (LE), of which one armoured and six infantry went east in 1942, dropping the British total to three armoured and 11 infantry at home) and 1 Canadian armoured and three Canadian infantry in the UK; ...
A increase over 1941, but not a very large one, and thus not a large combat ready force remaining in the UK. In operational terms a robust army size force, but not any more than that. The unready formations in theory represent a fair size pool of combat loss replacements.
Yes, and the trends toward the Med and SEAC are pretty marked; the numbers still in the UK are interesting, however, as compared to what the British/CW/Allied (meaning non-US and French) elements of 21st AG amounted to in 1944-45... losing four "mobile" divisions in Malaya, and a fifth in the 1942-43 Arakan campaign, plus the losses in MENA in 1942 (two armoured divsions and and two infantry division), were pretty significant blows, though, and the British had already (essentially) lost a first line division and two LE divisions in France in 1940, and the 2nd Armored in NA in 1941. Including the 1st Burma Division in 1942,that's a grand total of 14 divisions removed from the Imperial order of battle in the course of two years.

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Feb 2022 02:00

Richard Anderson wrote:
17 Feb 2022 21:48
daveshoup2MD wrote:
17 Feb 2022 20:43
Think the issue would be if the "mixed" organization, by removing one of these seven division's three infantry brigades (from their 1941-42 organizations, prior to the "mixed" organization) had any impact (positive or negative) in terms of their performance when they went into action in 1943-44. One potential positive: did they do better, worse, or about the same in terms of combined arms than the "standard" divisions, because of the experience with the armor cross-attachment? A potential negative: did the churn overall, and the need to create and then attach a third divisional infantry brigade in 1943 make a difference in their performance compared to the divisions that did not have to deal with that? Or delay their deployment on active service?
Agreed, but it still may not be relevant in this case?

For example, the 1st Division "lost" 1 Infantry (Guards) Brigade on 1 June 1941. It "gained" 34 Army Tank Brigade 8 June 1942. In between, it also "gained" 210 Infantry Brigade 25 November 1941-12 January 1942 and 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade 13 January-7 June 1942. Afterwards it also had a succession of ins and outs of third infantry brigades, 24 Infantry (Guards) Brigade 6 December 1942-17 May 1943, 128 Infantry Brigade 9-15 May 1943, 1 Infantry (Guards) Brigade 17 May-29 June 1943, 24 Infantry (Guards) Brigade 30 June 1943-7 March 1944, 18 Infantry Brigade 8 March-16 August 1944, and 66 Infantry Brigade 19 August 1944-31 August 1945.

The problem was not a "churn" caused by withdrawing an infantry brigade, substituting an armoured/tank brigade, and then returning an infantry brigade. British divisions of all types tended to churn because of a lack of infantry forces in the British Army, complicated by the British Regimental System. Most of these infantry brigades were not created in 1943 to replace the tanks in the mixed division, most already existed, but had been shuffled off to other divisions, task forces, garrisons, and so on until hoovered up again as the British tried to make up infantry losses in units in combat. It is also the reason for the Lower Establishment divisions; they were stripped of personnel as replacement drafts and then acted as draft finding and training units.
Well, yes, the British tendency to fight by brigades and even battalions when (presumably) fighting by divisions would be the goal (otherwise, why form divisions in the first place?) was a built-in reality of the British way of war, isn't it? In terms of 1st Infantry Division, the division had five CGs in the same period, including WRC Penny in three separate (by time) assignments. Swapping in/out battalions and even brigades, and the DCs, on a regular and frequent basis certainly would not a force multiplier, in any organization.

Every time new commanders and new organizations are swapped around, and wholesale, is time lost while new and old personnel have to get to know each other, pick up shared knowledge, share institutional knowledge, build trust, learn to recognize faces and names, etc.; these are all among the "all thing are simple but the simple things are hard" concept .... as has been stated.;)

There's a pretty good comparison of a military formation to a sports team - some players change from season to season, but there's generally enough continuity to keep shared knowledge and traditions in place and "alive" for lack of a better term; if a third of the team gets transferred out or cut and replaced every season, and the coaches and managers are revolving doors, getting unit cohesion up and maintaining esprit de corps makes performance on the field that much more challenging.
Last edited by daveshoup2MD on 18 Feb 2022 02:05, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Feb 2022 02:03

Ружичасти Слон wrote:
17 Feb 2022 23:15
daveshoup2MD wrote:
17 Feb 2022 20:43
The point being, churn is rarely a positive for any organization.
I not understand .

When something not work it must to be good idea for to make change .
True, but making unnecessary changes in the first place is a bad idea. Unit cohesion, esprit de corps, trust up and down the chain of command, and institutional knowledge are all significant elements of operational readiness; as has been said, a mob is not an army, any more than pile of bricks and lumber is not a house.
Last edited by daveshoup2MD on 18 Feb 2022 02:24, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by Richard Anderson » 18 Feb 2022 02:07

daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Feb 2022 02:00
Well, yes, the British tendency to fight by brigades and even battalions when (presumably) fighting by divisions would be the goal was a built-in reality of the British way of war, isn't it? In terms of 1st Infantry Division, the division had five CGs in the same period, including WRC Penny in three separate assignments. Swapping in battalions and even brigades, and the DCs, on a regular and frequent basis certainly would not a force multiplier, in any organization.

Every time new commanders and new organizations are swapped around, and wholesale, is time lost while new and old personnel have to get to know each other, pick up shared knowledge, share institutional knowledge, build trust, learn to recognize faces and names, etc.; these are all among the "all thing are simple but the simple things are hard" concept .... as has been stated.;)

There's a pretty good comparison of a military formation to a sports team - some players change from season to season, but there's generally enough continuity to keep shared knowledge and traditions in place and "alive" for lack of a better term; if a third of the team gets transferred out or cut and replaced every season, and the coaches and managers are revolving doors, getting unit cohesion up and maintaining esprit de corps makes performance on the field that much more challenging.
Oh, I agree, I was just pointing out that in the grand scheme of things organizing mixed divisions was not high on the list of problematic activities.

BTW, the US Army had much the same problems, albeit not exacerbated by the British Regimental System. In the American case it was the lack of planning, preparation, and experience in mobilization planning.
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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 18 Feb 2022 02:20

daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Feb 2022 01:47
Yes, and the trends toward the Med and SEAC are pretty marked; the numbers still in the UK are interesting, however, as compared to what the British/CW/Allied (meaning non-US and French) elements of 21st AG amounted to in 1944-45... losing four "mobile" divisions in Malaya, and a fifth in the 1942-43 Arakan campaign, plus the losses in MENA in 1942 (two armoured divsions and and two infantry division), were pretty significant blows, though, and the British had already (essentially) lost a first line division and two LE divisions in France in 1940, and the 2nd Armored in NA in 1941. Including the 1st Burma Division in 1942,that's a grand total of 14 divisions removed from the Imperial order of battle in the course of two years.
I not understand what was be your point .

Carl Schwamberger was write
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
05 Feb 2022 17:28
Ya, on paper the Brits had a lot of 'divisions' in the UK. Combat capable is another matter.
It seems to me he was be interest on combat capable and was not be interest on names on and off paper . What you was write was only be on topic names on and off paper and was make no sense on topic combat capable .

Example. You was write : the British had already (essentially) lost a first line division and two LE divisions in France in 1940,

On France Britain was send 11 divisions what was complete combat capable and what was lose everything . Britain was also send 3 divisions what was have mostest low combat capable on labour dutys and they was lose everything . But you was write only about 3 divisions .

Britain army on may 1939.year on France was mostest small because they was not have equipment . Britain was have mostest division on Britain but was not have equipment. Then everything they was take on France was lost . On middle june 1940.year Britain was have about 30 divisions on Britain but only 2 or 3 was complete combat capable .

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Feb 2022 02:24

Richard Anderson wrote:
18 Feb 2022 02:07
daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Feb 2022 02:00
Well, yes, the British tendency to fight by brigades and even battalions when (presumably) fighting by divisions would be the goal was a built-in reality of the British way of war, isn't it? In terms of 1st Infantry Division, the division had five CGs in the same period, including WRC Penny in three separate assignments. Swapping in battalions and even brigades, and the DCs, on a regular and frequent basis certainly would not a force multiplier, in any organization.

Every time new commanders and new organizations are swapped around, and wholesale, is time lost while new and old personnel have to get to know each other, pick up shared knowledge, share institutional knowledge, build trust, learn to recognize faces and names, etc.; these are all among the "all thing are simple but the simple things are hard" concept .... as has been stated.;)

There's a pretty good comparison of a military formation to a sports team - some players change from season to season, but there's generally enough continuity to keep shared knowledge and traditions in place and "alive" for lack of a better term; if a third of the team gets transferred out or cut and replaced every season, and the coaches and managers are revolving doors, getting unit cohesion up and maintaining esprit de corps makes performance on the field that much more challenging.
Oh, I agree, I was just pointing out that in the grand scheme of things organizing mixed divisions was not high on the list of problematic activities.

BTW, the US Army had much the same problems, albeit not exacerbated by the British Regimental System. In the American case it was the lack of planning, preparation, and experience in mobilization planning.
Think the argument regarding the US is a little different; but be that as it may, the end result was the US raised 96 combat divisions and managed to keep ~96 division/equivalents (including the 2nd CD/1st ABNTF/MTF as an IDE in 1943-45) in action throughout the conflict; the British were breaking up combat divisions for replacements instead, (arguably) as early as the 8th and 10th armoured and 44th Infantry divisions in MENA in 1942-43, with 1st Armoured and 50th, and 59th infantry divisions in 1944. Coupled with - frankly - non-standard reorgs like the 78th Division in 1942, the 70th Division to the Chindits in 1943 (and then elements back to infantry as the 36th in 1944-45, raising the 6th Airborne in 1943, and some other "interesting" uses of manpower, and of the two countries' manpower policies, safe bet the US did better.

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Feb 2022 02:30

Ружичасти Слон wrote:
18 Feb 2022 02:20
daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Feb 2022 01:47
Yes, and the trends toward the Med and SEAC are pretty marked; the numbers still in the UK are interesting, however, as compared to what the British/CW/Allied (meaning non-US and French) elements of 21st AG amounted to in 1944-45... losing four "mobile" divisions in Malaya, and a fifth in the 1942-43 Arakan campaign, plus the losses in MENA in 1942 (two armoured divsions and and two infantry division), were pretty significant blows, though, and the British had already (essentially) lost a first line division and two LE divisions in France in 1940, and the 2nd Armored in NA in 1941. Including the 1st Burma Division in 1942,that's a grand total of 14 divisions removed from the Imperial order of battle in the course of two years.
I not understand what was be your point .

Carl Schwamberger was write
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
05 Feb 2022 17:28
Ya, on paper the Brits had a lot of 'divisions' in the UK. Combat capable is another matter.
It seems to me he was be interest on combat capable and was not be interest on names on and off paper . What you was write was only be on topic names on and off paper and was make no sense on topic combat capable .

Example. You was write : the British had already (essentially) lost a first line division and two LE divisions in France in 1940,

On France Britain was send 11 divisions what was complete combat capable and what was lose everything . Britain was also send 3 divisions what was have mostest low combat capable on labour dutys and they was lose everything . But you was write only about 3 divisions .

Britain army on may 1939.year on France was mostest small because they was not have equipment . Britain was have mostest division on Britain but was not have equipment. Then everything they was take on France was lost . On middle june 1940.year Britain was have about 30 divisions on Britain but only 2 or 3 was complete combat capable .
The British lost a lot of equipment in France in 1940, but in terms of organized manpower, only the 51st Division was forced to surrender.

However, once the divisions that were evacuated from France in 1940 made it back to the UK and got sorted out, reorganized, re-quipped, etc., the 12th and 23rd (both LE) were both disbanded, while the existing 9th Infantry Division in the UK was redesignated as the 51st, hence the point about one frontline division and two LE divisions being removed from the Imperial order of battle as a result of the 1940 campaign in France.

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Re: British Order of Battle

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 18 Feb 2022 02:35

daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Feb 2022 02:03
True, but making unnecessary changes in the first place is a bad idea.
Unnecessary is opinion on 80 years hindsight .
daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Feb 2022 02:03
Unit cohesion,
Where was be break on unit cohesion ? Everything you was write was on topic divisions . On Britain army everything on cohesion was be on level battalion on fighting and regiment on ceremonys . Britain mentality was not be same as Amerikan mentality . Organization changes on division structure not big problem on cohesion .
daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Feb 2022 02:03
esprit de corps, trust up and down the chain of command, and institutional knowledge are all significant elements of operational readiness; as has been said, a mob is not an army, any more than pile of bricks and lumber is not a house.
You write like you are salesperson what have no idea on what you sell but have many words for to confuse customer .

Have you some historical evidence on topic esprit de corps, trust up and down the chain of command, and institutional knowledge on Britain army and what was be changes and what was be historical differences on operational readiness or was you just write many words to confuse ?

Have you some historical evidence on topic Britain army was become a mob is not an army because they was make churn ?

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