World War 2
Colonial America
US Army History and Traditions

What was a British division made up of?

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September 13, 2011 3:17PM

The British Infantry Division of World War 2 was very similar to the American division in size and support units but it was structured a little different.

A typical American infantry division would be made up of 3 infantry regiments, 3 field artillery battalions(1 more was added later) and support units. The infantry regiments were sub-divided into 3 battalions---thus the name "Triangle division".

The British infantry division was made up of Brigades, which consisted of battalions. The British divided their Regiments up into battalions and distributed each battalion(maybe 3 or as many as 10) to various other divisions and theaters. The reason for this is that regiments were formed from one geographical area and they learned during World War 1 that if a regiment was decimated, then those back at home would suffer tremendously.

For example:

6 Grenadier Guards stands for the 6th Battalion of the Grenadier Guards.

1/6 West Surrey is the 1st Battalion of the territorial West Surrey Regiment. The second battalion of the Territorial Army was designated as 2/6th West Surrey.

The following is an organizational table for one infantry division within the British 10th Corps at Salerno in September 1943. At the time, this corps was assigned to the US 5th Army. Each unit lised under the Brigade is an infantry battalion.

56th London Division - Gen. G. W. R. Templer

201st Guards Motor Brigade

3 Coldstream Guards

6 Grenadier Guards

2 Scots Guards

167th Infantry Brigade

8 Royal Fusiliers

9 Royal Fusiliers

7 Oxforshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry

169th Infantry Brigade

2/5 West Surrey

2/6 West Surrey

2/7 West Surrey

DIVISIONAL Troops (support)

Royal Artillery

64, 65, & 113 Field Regiments

67 Anti-tank Regiment

100 Light Anti-tank Regiment

Royal Engineers

42, 220, 221, & 501 Companies

563 Field Pack Company

56 Royal Signals

44 Reconnaissance Regiment

4 Machine-gun Company of 6 The Cheshire Regiment

This was a typical infantry division. The Armoured Division and Parachute Division were different.