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Air landing and parachute battalions


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#1 Trux

Trux

    21 AG

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 08:34 PM

AIR LANDING AND PARACHUTE BATTALIONS

These units provided the infantry component of the Airborne Division. Air Landing troops
were landed by glider and could carry more and heavier weapons and equipment. Parachute
troops dropped by parachute and were necessarily lightly armed and equipped.

This page also includes Air Landing and Parachute Brigade Headquarters, plus the
Pathfinder Company and Glider Pilot units.


AIR LANDING BRIGADE

Airlanding Brigade Headquarters. War Establishment 1/111/2. March 1943


AIR LANDING BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS
War Establishment 1/111/2 with an effective date of March 1943

Brigadier - officer commanding
Colonel – deputy commander

Staff.
1 X Brigade Major
1 X General Staff Officer, 3rd Grade (GSO3) - Captain
2 X Liaison Officer

4 X clerk RASC including
1 X Warrant Officer Class I (WO1)
1 X serjeant
2 X private
1 X draughtsman, topographical RE

Adjutant-General and Quarter Master General.
1 X Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Quarter Master General (DAA&QMG) - Captain
1 X Staff Captain
3 X clerk RASC including
1 X staff serjeant
1 X corporal
1 X private

Services
RASC
1 X Captain
1 X corporal clerk
1 X driver IC
1 X motorcyclist
1 X batman

RAOC
3 X clerk RAOC including
1 X Warrant Officer ClassI
1 X serjeant
1 X private
1 X storeman

REME
1 X Electrical and Mechanical Engineer 3rd class - Captain
2 X armourer (including one serjeant)
1 X fitter
1 X motor mechanic

Miscellaneous
1 X Captain, Intelligence and Gas Duties.
1 X intelligence serjeant
1 X intelligence corporal
1 X intelligence private

1 X Captain, Transport Officer
1 X transport serjeant
1 X clerk (transport and petrol

1 X company quartermaster serjeant
1 X storeman

12 X drivers IC (including one corporal)
15 X batman
8 X orderly
1 X water dutyman (trained as driver IC)
1 X sanitary dutyman
1 X cook Army Catering Corp for officers mess
2 X cook Army Catering Corp for other ranks
1 X instructor Army Physical Training Corp

Attached
3 X Chaplain.

Total personnel
15 officers
68 other ranks
Total – 83

Notes:
One clerk was a shorthand writer.



Vehicles
These are divided into two types –
Base transport, which is not taken into action. This may join the division by land at some point.
Airborne transport, which may be taken into action.

Base transport
2 X car 4 seater
1 for Officer Commanding
1 for Staff
2 X car, 2 seater
1 for general staff
1 for Adjutant General and Quarter master general branch
4 X truck 15 cwt GS
1 for RAOC
1 for general duties
1 X water trailer
1 X lorry 3ton 4 X 2

Airborne transport
20 X bicycle
5 X folding bicycle
20 X motorcycle (including 12 X solo and 8 X lightweight)
2 for the General Staff
3 for Chaplains
1 for RAOC
1 for REME
2 for the Adjutant General and Quarter Master General branch
2 for liaison officers
3 for RASC
1 for intelligence officer
2 for intelligence section
1 for transport officer
1 for transport serjeant
1 for APTC instructor

6 X Cars 5cwt 4 X 4 (jeep)
1 for Officer Commanding
1 for intelligence section
1 for office
1 for officers mess and rations
1 for cooks and rations
1 for fitter
4 X special airborne trailers
2 for office
1 for cooks and rations
1 for officers mess and rations.


Weapons included
13 X pistol .38”. This gave one per officer and warrant officer.
46 X rifle .303”.
21 X machine carbine.

Chaplains were not armed.

AIR LANDING BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS DEFENCE PLATOON
War Establishment I/113/2 with an effective date of March 1943. War Establishment I/113/3 with an effective date of February 1945 had the following amendments
Five PIAT were added.
First reinforcements were reduced by one corporal, one lance corporal and one private

Subaltern (acts as camp commandant for Headquarters Air Landing Brigade)
Company Serjeant Major (responsible for discipline at Headquarters Air Landing Brigade)
serjeant
lance serjeant (responsible for organising alarm posts)
4 X corporal
5 X lance corporal
24 X private
2 X cook ACC

Trades etc included
batman
3 X driver IC
driver mechanic
12 X AA numbers
17 X lmg and rifleman

Transport
20 X folding bicycle
3 X lightweight bicycle
1 X 15cwt GS (base use only)
4 X lightweight trailer

Organisation
Headquarters
Folding bicycle 1
batman
Folding bicycle 2
lance serjeant
Folding bicycle 3
cook ACC
Folding bicycle 4
cook ACC

Lightweight Motorcycle 1
Subaltern
Lightweight Motorcycle 2
serjeant
Lightweight Motorcycle 3
Company Serjeant Major

Section
Folding bicycle 1
lance corporal
Folding bicycle 2
lmg number
Carries a Bren lmg
Folding bicycle 3
private
Folding bicycle 3
private

5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep)
corporal, driver mechanic, 2 AA gun numbers
Tows a trailers
Carries ammunition and stores
Tows a 20mm Hispano

Section
Folding bicycle 1
lance corporal
Folding bicycle 2
lmg number
Carries a Bren lmg
Folding bicycle 3
private
Folding bicycle 3
private

5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep)
corporal, driver IC, 2 AA gun numbers
Tows a trailers
Carries ammunition and stores
Tows a 20mm Hispano
Section
Folding bicycle 1
lance corporal
Folding bicycle 2
lmg number
Carries a Bren lmg
Folding bicycle 3
private
Folding bicycle 3
private

5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep)
corporal, driver IC, 2 AA gun numbers
Tows a trailers
Carries ammunition and stores
Tows a 20mm Hispano
Section
Folding bicycle 1
lance corporal
Folding bicycle 2
lmg number
Carries a Bren lmg
Folding bicycle 3
private
Folding bicycle 3
private

5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep)
corporal, driver IC, 2 AA gun numbers
Tows a trailers
Carries ammunition and stores
Tows a 20mm Hispano

First Reinforcements
Corporal
2 X lance corporal
8 X private
7 X folding bicycle
1 X car 5cwt 4 X 4
1 X lightweight trailer



AIRLANDING BATTALION

Airlanding Battalion. War Establishment 1/239/2. March 1943.
Airlanding Battalion. War Establishment 1/239/3. March 1945.


War Establishment 1/239/2 with an effective date of March 1943. War Establishment I/239/3 with an effective date of March 1945 contained only seven amendments and these seem to concern the issuing of PIATs instead of he anti tank rifles. The snipers rifles were also withdrawn. Unusually the motorcycle combinations remained.

There were however unofficial changes in organisation which are mentioned in the text.

Battalion Headquarters
Lieutenant Colonel – Officer commanding
Major – second in command
Captain – adjutant
Lieutenant – Intelligence Officer
Lieutenant – Loading Officer

Regimental Serjeant Major
intelligence serjeant
serjeant orderly room clerk
provost serjeant

Medical Officer
medical serjeant
medical orderly

5 X batman driver
2 X clerk
2 X driver mechanic
6 X intelligence personnel
3 X rifleman
3 X regimental police
APTC instructor

Headquarters shared the following transport
12 X bicycle
18 X folding bicycle
3 X motorcycle
6 X lightweight motor cycle
3 X jeep

Weapons included
10 X .45” automatic pistol
16 X rifle
9 X Sten sub machine gun
3 X Bren light machine gun
1 X Anti tank rifle (changed to a PIAT)
1 X 2” mortar.

Note that airborne troops usually carried the .45” automatic pistol rather than the revolver. The Sten gun was of a different Mark to that used by the rest of the army.


Organisation

Folding bicycle 1
intelligence private
Folding bicycle 2
intelligence private
Folding bicycle 3
intelligence private
Folding bicycle 4
intelligence private
Folding bicycle 5
intelligence private
Folding bicycle 6
intelligence private

Folding bicycle 7
provost serjeant
Folding bicycle 8
regimental policeman
Folding bicycle 9
regimental policeman
Folding bicycle 10
regimental policeman

Folding bicycle 11
Lmg number
Folding bicycle 12
Lmg number
Folding bicycle 13
Lmg number

Folding bicycle 14
clerk
Folding bicycle 15
clerk
Folding bicycle 16
adjutants batman
Folding bicycle 17
instructor APTC

Motorcycle combination
Major second in command, driver mechanic, signalman
Carries a Wireless set No18
Carries a 2” mortar

Motorcycle 1
intelligence officers batman
Motorcycle 2
serjeant RAMC
Motorcycle 3
loading officers batman

Lightweight Motorcycle 1
Loading Officer
Lightweight Motorcycle 2
Commanding officers batman
Lightweight Motorcycle 3
serjeant orderly room clerk
Lightweight Motorcycle 4
Regimental Serjeant Major
Lightweight Motorcycle 5
second in commands batman
Lightweight Motorcycle 6
intelligence serjeant


5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 1
Lieutenant Colonel Commanding Officer, Adjutant, driver mechanic, signaller
Carries a Wireless set No18
Carries an anti tank rifle (later a PIAT)
Tows a trailer
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 2
Medical Officer, Intelligence Officer, nursing orderly, batman driver
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep)
Attached from Signals Platoon


SUPPORT COMPANY
Headquarters
Major
Company Serjeant Major
company quartermaster serjeant
clerk
batman
storeman

2 X folding bicycle
2 X motor cycle
2 X lightweight motorcycle

1 X .45” automatic pistol
3 X rifle
2 X sten gun

Organisation
Folding bicycle 1
company quartermaster serjeant
Folding bicycle 2
serjeant storeman
Motorcycle 1
batman
Motorcycle 2
clerk

Lightweight Motorcycle 1
Major
Lightweight Motorcycle 2
company serjeant major


Signal Platoon
Lieutenant
serjeant
6 X driver operator
batman
2 X orderly
26 X signaller.

8 X folding bicycle
4 X motorcycle
1 X lightweight motorcycle
3 X jeep

1 X .45” automatic pistol
36 X sten gun

Organisation
Folding bicycle 1
signaller for duty at battalion headquarters
Folding bicycle 2
signaller for duty at battalion headquarters
Folding bicycle 3
signaller for duty at battalion headquarters
Folding bicycle 4
signaller for duty at battalion headquarters
Folding bicycle 5
signaller for duty at battalion headquarters
Folding bicycle 6
signaller for duty at battalion headquarters
Folding bicycle 7
signaller for duty at battalion headquarters
Folding bicycle 8
signaller for duty at battalion headquarters

Motorcycle 1
signal serjeant
Motorcycle 2
batman
Motorcycle 3
orderly
Motorcycle 4
orderly

Lightweight Motorcycle
Signal Officer

5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 1
driver operator, signaller
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 2
driver operator, signaller
Tows two trailers
Carries 2 X Wireless set No22
Carries Battalion Headquarters stores
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 3
driver operator, signaller
Carries a Wireless set No22
Carries reconnaissance platoon stores
Tows two trailers

Marching personnel
12 X signaller
4 X Wireless set No 18
These for rifle companies

2 X signallers
Carried in battalion headquarters transport

corporal signaller
3 X driver operator
Carried in reconnaissance platoon transport


Mortar platoon
Lieutenant
serjeant
batman
4 X driver IC
17 X mortarman
1 X orderly

9 X motorcycle
4 X jeep

5 X 4.5” automatic pistol
18 X rifle
2 X sten gun
4 X Bren lmg
1 X PIAT
4 X 3” mortar

headquarters
Lightweight Motorcycle 1
Subaltern
Lightweight Motorcycle 2
serjeant
Lightweight Motorcycle 3
orderly
Lightweight Motorcycle 4
Mortar number
Lightweight Motorcycle 5
batman
An anti tank rifle is carried on one motorcycle

detachment
Lightweight Motorcycle 6
corporal
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 1
3 X mortar number
Carries a 3” mortar
Carries a Bren lmg
Tows two trailers
detachment
Lightweight Motorcycle 7
corporal
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 2
3 X mortar number
Carries a 3” mortar
Carries a Bren lmg
Tows two trailers
detachment
Lightweight Motorcycle 8
corporal
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 3
3 X mortar number
Carries a 3” mortar
Carries a Bren lmg
Tows two trailers
detachment
Lightweight Motorcycle 9
corporal
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 4
3 X mortar number
Carries a 3” mortar
Carries a Bren lmg
Tows two trailers



Reconnaissance Platoon
5 X Lieutenant
serjeant
nursing orderly
5 X batman
16 X orderlies

4 X jeep
9 X lightweight motorcycle
21 folding bicycle

6 X 4.5” automatic pistol
19 X rifle
11 X sten gun
6 X Bren lmg
1 X 2” mortar

Motorcycle combination
Carries signal personnel
Carries Wireless set No 18

Lightweight Motorcycle 1
batman
Lightweight Motorcycle 2
serjeant
Lightweight Motorcycle 3
orderly
Lightweight Motorcycle 4
orderly
Lightweight Motorcycle 5
orderly
Lightweight Motorcycle 6
Nursing orderly

5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep)
Captain, Subaltern, batman, 2 X driver operator, signaller
Carries Wireless et no22 and No 18 (spare)
Carries 3X Bren lmg and a 2” mortar
Tows two trailers

Section 1
Folding bicycle 1
lance serjeant orderly
Folding bicycle 2
orderly
Folding bicycle 3
orderly
Folding bicycle 4
orderly
Folding bicycle 5
orderly
Folding bicycle 6
orderly
Folding bicycle 7
orderly

Lightweight Motorcycle
batman

Motorcycle combination
Subaltern, driver operator
Carries Wireless set No18
Carries a Bren lmg

Section 2
Folding bicycle 1
lance serjeant orderly
Folding bicycle 2
orderly
Folding bicycle 3
orderly
Folding bicycle 4
orderly
Folding bicycle 5
orderly
Folding bicycle 6
orderly
Folding bicycle 7
orderly

Lightweight Motorcycle
batman

Motorcycle combination
Subaltern, driver operator
Carries Wireless set No18
Carries a Bren lmg
Section 3
Folding bicycle 1
lance serjeant orderly
Folding bicycle 2
orderly
Folding bicycle 3
orderly
Folding bicycle 4
orderly
Folding bicycle 5
orderly
Folding bicycle 6
orderly
Folding bicycle 7
orderly

Lightweight Motorcycle
batman

Motorcycle combination
Subaltern, driver operator
Carries Wireless set No18
Carries a Bren lmg

Pioneer Platoon
Lieutenant
pioneer serjeant
bricklayer
6 X carpenter
1 X mason
1 X driver mechanic
1 X batman driver
3 X pioneer

12 X folding bicycle
1 X lightweight motorcycle
2 X jeep.

1 X 4.5” automatic pistol
12 X rifle
2 X sten gun

Folding bicycle 1
Pioneer serjeant
Folding bicycle 2
bricklayer
Folding bicycle 3
carpenter
Folding bicycle 4
carpenter
Folding bicycle 5
carpenter
Folding bicycle 6
carpenter
Folding bicycle 7
carpenter
Folding bicycle 8
carpenter
Folding bicycle 9
mason
Folding bicycle 6
pioneer
Folding bicycle 7
pioneer
Folding bicycle 8
pioneer

Lightweight Motorcycle
Subaltern

5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 1
driver mechanic
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 2
batman driver
Tows a trailer

Transport platoon
Captain
transport serjeant
3 X fitter
2 X driver mechanic
2 X motor mechanic
3 X technical storeman
batman
10 X driver IC
serjeant technical storeman
serjeant fitter
corporal technical storeman.

3 X motorcycle
3 X lightweight motorcycle
20 X jeep

1 X 4.5” automatic pistol
2 X Sten gun
23 X rifle
4 X Bren lmg
2 X PIAT

Motorcycle 1
fitter MV REME
Motorcycle 2
fitter MV REME
Motorcycle 3
fitter MV REME

Lightweight Motorcycle 1
Captain Transport Officer
Lightweight Motorcycle 2
batman
Lightweight Motorcycle 3
Transport serjeant

5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 1
motor mechanic
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 2
motor mechanic
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 3
technical storeman
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 4
technical storeman
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 5
technical storeman
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 6
technical storeman
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 7
technical storeman
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 8
driver IC
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 9
driver IC
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 10
driver IC
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 11
driver IC
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 12
driver IC
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 13
driver IC
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 14
driver IC
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 15
driver IC
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 16
driver IC
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 17
driver IC
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 18
fitter MV REME
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 19
driver mechanic
Tows two trailers
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 20
driver mechanic
Tows two trailers

Plus one ambulance trailer
Plus 33 men of the administrative platoon


Administrative platoon
Quartermaster
Regimental Quartermaster Serjeant
serjeant armourer
armourer
shoemaker
2 X fitter
serjeant cook
2 X corporal cook
13 X cook
2 X clerk
equipment repairer
batman
butcher
storeman
4 X sanitary dutyman
postman
water dutyman
20 X stretcher bearer.

4 X folding bicycle

2 X .45” automatic pistol
51 X rifle

Folding bicycle 1
stretcher bearer
Folding bicycle 2
stretcher bearer
Folding bicycle 3
stretcher bearer
Folding bicycle 4
stretcher bearer

All other personnel carried in the Transport Platoon



RIFLE COMPANY
There were 4 X rifle companies which were identically organised
Company Headquarters
Major
Captain
Company Serjeant Major
company quartermaster serjeant
serjeant
nursing orderly
clerk
driver mechanic
2 X batman
2 X driver IC
12 X mortarman
1 X storeman
5 X rifleman

4 X folding bicycle
3 X motorcycle
2 X jeep

Note:
122 bicycles per company were available if required

12 X .45” automatic pistol
15 X rifle
4 X sten gun
2 X Bren lmg
1 X PIAT
2 X 3” mortar.

Headquarters
Folding bicycle 1
storeman
Folding bicycle 2
Company Serjeant Major
Folding bicycle 3
Company Quartermaster Serjeant

Motorcycle
Major
Motorcycle
Captain
Motorcycle
batman
Motorcycle
batman

5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 1
2 X driver IC
Tows two trailers
Carries an anti tank rifle and signal pistol
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 2
2 X driver IC
Tows two trailers
Carries an anti tank rifle and signal pistol
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 3
driver mechanic
Tows two trailers


Support section
Folding bicycle 4
serjeant

Marching personnel
nursing orderly RAMC

Mortar detachment 1
corporal
5 X mortarman
3” mortar
Mortar detachment 2
corporal
5 X mortarman
3” mortar
Bren detachment
corporal
5 X lmg numbers
2 X Bren lmg with tripods

3 X signallers
Wireless set No18
From signal platoon


The War Establishment tables show 2 X 3” mortar and 12 X mortarmen per company. In practice these were removed from the companies in 1944. The four mortars from the mortar platoon and the two mortars from each company were formed into a Mortar Group of two platoons with six mortars each. The Mortar Group was then used as a reserve for the battalion. In practice there was probably little difference since the weapons were split up amongst the rifle companies and platoons to avoid loosing the entire sub unit in the case of mishap.


Platoon 1
Subaltern
serjeant
batman

3 X corporal
21 X rifleman

4 X .45” automatic pistol
13 X rifle
2 X sniper rifle
5 X sten gun
3 X Bren lmg
1 X PIAT
1 X 2” mortar.

Platoon 2
Subaltern
serjeant
batman

3 X corporal
21 X rifleman

4 X .45” automatic pistol
13 X rifle
2 X sniper rifle
5 X sten gun
3 X Bren lmg
1 X PIAT
1 X 2” mortar.

Platoon 3
Subaltern
serjeant
batman

3 X corporal
21 X rifleman

4 X .45” automatic pistol
13 X rifle
2 X sniper rifle
5 X sten gun
3 X Bren lmg
1 X PIAT
1 X 2” mortar.

Platoon 4
Subaltern
serjeant
batman

3 X corporal
21 X rifleman

4 X .45” automatic pistol
13 X rifle
2 X sniper rifle
5 X sten gun
3 X Bren lmg
1 X PIAT
1 X 2” mortar.


There were three sections each of which had a corporal and six privates.
Corporal with Sten gun
Bren No 1 with Bren gun and .45” automatic pistol.
Bren No 2 with rifle
4 X Private with rifle.

As was often the case in airborne units the number of weapons does not equal the number of men. It is assumed that there was a choice of weapons for specific operation.

It is known that in action battalions added men to platoons by taking them from the first reserve. These reserves were intended to ensure that the unit would be up to strength on going into action and keeping it up to strength in action. In fact there was little opportunity to reinforce units once they were landed so the extra men were used from the out set. Of course units often went into action without their full complement because of the need to make full use of the available space and weight capacity of gliders. More equipment or specialists meant fewer platoon personnel.



ANTI AIRCRAFT/ANTI TANK COMPANY
Company headquarters
Major
Captain
Company Serjeant Major
company quartermaster serjeant
transport serjeant
armourer
fitter
clerk
2 X batman
driver IC
orderly
storeman

2 X folding bicycle
2 X motorcycle
7 X lightweight motorcycle
1 X jeep

3 X .45” automatic pistol
4 X rifle
6 X sten gun
2 X Bren lmg

Folding bicycle 1
company quartermaster serjeant
Folding bicycle 2
Clerk

Motorcycle 1
Major
Motorcycle 2
transport serjeant


Lightweight Motorcycle 1
Captain
Lightweight Motorcycle 2
batman
Lightweight Motorcycle 3
batman
Lightweight Motorcycle 4
Company Serjeant Major
Lightweight Motorcycle 5
orderly
Lightweight Motorcycle 6
armourer REME
Lightweight Motorcycle 7
fitter REME

5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 1
storeman, driver IC
Tows two trailers


2 X Anti Aircraft Platoon
Subaltern
serjeant
18 X gun number
batman
6 X driver IC

9 X lightweight motorcycle
6 X jeep

1 X .45” automatic pistol
12 X rifle
14 X sten gun
6 X 20mm cannon

Platoon 1
Lightweight Motorcycle 1
Subaltern
Lightweight Motorcycle 2
serjeant
Lightweight Motorcycle 3
batman

section
Lightweight Motorcycle
corporal
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 1
2 X gun numbers, driver IC
Tows a trailer 20mm Hispano gun
Carries ammunition and stores
section
Lightweight Motorcycle
corporal
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 1
2 X gun numbers, driver IC
Tows a trailer 20mm Hispano gun
Carries ammunition and stores
section
Lightweight Motorcycle
corporal
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 1
2 X gun numbers, driver IC
Tows a trailer 20mm Hispano gun
Carries ammunition and stores
section
Lightweight Motorcycle
corporal
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 1
2 X gun numbers, driver IC
Tows a trailer 20mm Hispano gun
Carries ammunition and stores
section
Lightweight Motorcycle
corporal
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 1
2 X gun numbers, driver IC
Tows a trailer 20mm Hispano gun
Carries ammunition and stores


Platoon 2
Lightweight Motorcycle 1
Subaltern
Lightweight Motorcycle 2
serjeant
Lightweight Motorcycle 3
batman

section
Lightweight Motorcycle
corporal
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 1
2 X gun numbers, driver IC
Tows a trailer 20mm Hispano gun
Carries ammunition and stores
section
Lightweight Motorcycle
corporal
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 1
2 X gun numbers, driver IC
Tows a trailer 20mm Hispano gun
Carries ammunition and stores
section
Lightweight Motorcycle
corporal
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 1
2 X gun numbers, driver IC
Tows a trailer 20mm Hispano gun
Carries ammunition and stores
section
Lightweight Motorcycle
corporal
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 1
2 X gun numbers, driver IC
Tows a trailer 20mm Hispano gun
Carries ammunition and stores
section
Lightweight Motorcycle
corporal
5cwt car 4 X 4 (jeep) 1
2 X gun numbers, driver IC
Tows a trailer 20mm Hispano gun
Carries ammunition and stores


When the War Establishment for the Air Landing Battalion was issued it was thought that 20mm would give an explosive round and an armour piercing round which would give infantry units both an anti aircraft and an anti tank capability. In fact the 20mm was very little used and was never taken into action by the Air Landing Battalion. It was far too small for use as an anti tank weapon and there was little demand for a unit anti aircraft weapon.

The anti aircraft platoons were re organised to employ .303” Vickers Medium Machine Guns. Eight of these were used. At first they were organised as a single platoon of eight guns but later they were re organised as a Group with two platoons of four guns each. This is not reflected in the War Establishments.


2 X Anti Tank Platoon
Lieutenant
serjeant
5 X driver mechanic
20 X gun number
batman

8 X folding bicycle
2 X lightweight motorcycle
5 X jeep

5 X .45” automatic pistol
14 X rifle
9 X sten gun
4 X Bren lmg
4 X 6pdr AT

Platoon
Lightweight Motorcycle
Subaltern
Lightweight Motorcycle
corporal
Car 5cwt 4 X 4 (jeep)
serjeant, driver mechanic
Carries ammunition
Tows two trailers
detachment
Folding bicycle
gun number 4
Folding bicycle
gun number 5
Car 5cwt 4 X 4 (jeep)
3 X gun numbers, driver mechanic
Carries a Bren lmg
Tows a 6dr anti tank gun
detachment
Folding bicycle
gun number 4
Folding bicycle
gun number 5
Car 5cwt 4 X 4 (jeep)
3 X gun numbers, driver mechanic
Carries a Bren lmg
Tows a 6dr anti tank gun
detachment
Folding bicycle
Gun number 4
Folding bicycle
Gun number 5
Car 5cwt 4 X 4 (jeep)
3 X gun numbers, driver mechanic
Carries a Bren lmg
Tows a 6dr anti tank gun
detachment
Folding bicycle
gun number 4
Folding bicycle
gun number 5
Car 5cwt 4 X 4 (jeep)
3 X gun numbers, driver mechanic
Carries a Bren lmg
Tows a 6dr anti tank gun

Platoon

Lightweight Motorcycle
Subaltern
Lightweight Motorcycle
corporal
Car 5cwt 4 X 4 (jeep)
serjeant, driver mechanic
Carries ammunition
Tows two trailers
detachment
Folding bicycle
gun number 4
Folding bicycle
gun number 5
Car 5cwt 4 X 4 (jeep)
3 X gun numbers, driver mechanic
Carries a Bren lmg
Tows a 6dr anti tank gun
detachment
Folding bicycle
gun number 4
Folding bicycle
gun number 5
Car 5cwt 4 X 4 (jeep)
3 X gun numbers, driver mechanic
Carries a Bren lmg
Tows a 6dr anti tank gun
detachment
Folding bicycle
gun number 4
Folding bicycle
gun number 5
Car 5cwt 4 X 4 (jeep)
3 X gun numbers, driver mechanic
Carries a Bren lmg
Tows a 6dr anti tank gun
detachment
Folding bicycle
gun number 4
Folding bicycle
gun number 5
Car 5cwt 4 X 4 (jeep)
3 X gun numbers, driver mechanic
Carries a Bren lmg
Tows a 6dr anti tank gun

The anti tank platoons were reorganised in 1944 to form an Anti Tank Group of two platoons although this does not appear in the War Establishment.


Base Transport
Almost all the personnel of an airlanding battalion were operational, only an orderly room serjeant remaining at base.

The following transport was issued for use at base only
1 X Car 2 seater 4 X 2 (transport platoon)
1 X Car 4 seater 4 X 2 (headquarters)
1 X 15cwt GS (headquarters)
3 X 15cwt GS (transport platoon)
3 X 3ton 4 X 2 GS (transport platoon)
1 X water trailer (transport platoon)


First Reinforcements
First reinforcements were a part of the battalion and trained with it. In the Airlanding Battalion the first reinforcements were organised as sub units
3 X rifle platoon (including one equipped with bicycles)
3 X AA detachments
2 X AT detachments
2 X 3” mortar detachments
1 X reconnaissance section
1 X signals detachment
plus a general reserve

Major
Captain
4 X subaltern
Company Serjeant Major
company quartermaster serjeant
3 X serjeant
3 x lance serjeant
14 X corporal
12 X lance corporal
95 X private
3 X nursing orderly

75 X bicycle
10 X folding bicycle
11 X lightweight motorcycle
4 X motorcycles
7 X car 5cwt 4 X 4
14 X trailer
9 X handcart



PARACHUTE BRIGADE

Parachute Brigade Headquarters. War Establishment I/112/2. March 1943.
Parachute Brigade Headquarters. War Establishment I/112/3. March 1945.
Parachute Brigade Headquarters Defence Platoon. War Establishment 1/117/2. March 1943.
Parachute Brigade Headquarters Defence Platoon. War Establishment 1/117/3. February 1945.
Parachute Battalion. War Establishment 1/241/I. February 1944.
Parachute Battalion. War Establishment 1/241/2. March 1945.
Independent Parachute Company (Pathfinders). War Establishment 1/240/2. November 1943


PARACHUTE BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS
The War establishment table used is WE I/112/2 with an effective date of March 1943. War Establishment I/112/3 with an effective date of March 1945 contained 8 amendments
1 X Captain REME was added
1 X Education Officer was added
3 X batman (for Chaplains) were deleted
3 X motorcycle (for Chaplains) were deleted
5 X batman driver were added (for Chaplains, Medical Officer and Education Officer)
3 X light utility were added (for chaplains)

Brigadier - officer commanding

Staff.
Brigade Major
Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General
Staff Captain

2 X serjeant clerk RASC
corporal clerk RASC
4 X clerk RASC

Note: one serjeant clerk, the corporal clerk and one clerk are non jumpers and may be medical category A5


Services
RASC
Captain
corporal clerk (non jumper and may be medical category A5)
batman/driver
motorcyclist


Miscellaneous
Captain, Parachute Duties.
Captain, Intelligence and Gas Duties
intelligence serjeant
intelligence corporal
3 X intelligence private (including one trained as a draughtsman and one non jumper who may be medical category A5)

company quartermaster serjeant
storeman (non jumper and may be medical category A5)
5 X drivers IC (including two non jumpers who may be medical category A5)
6 X batman
3 X batman for chaplains
1 X batman driver for Medical Officer
3 X orderly (including two non jumpers who may be medical category A5)
1 X medical officers orderly (non jumper who may be medical category A5)
water dutyman
sanitary dutyman (non jumper and may be medical category A5)
driver mechanic (non jumper who may be medical category A5)


Attached
3 X Chaplain.
Medical officer
Warrant Officer class 1, clerk RAOC (non jumper who may be medical category A5)
cook Army Catering Corp for officers mess (non jumper who may be medical category A5)
2 X cook Army Catering Corp for other ranks (non jumpers who may be medical category A5)
instructor Army Physical Training Corp


Total personnel
11 officers
44 other ranks
Total – 55

Note: Although some personnel are non jumpers all personnel may be trained and qualified parachutists (and thus qualify for parachute pay).


Vehicles
The War establishment table does not indicate which vehicles are for base use and which may be taken into action. However it is clear that only folding bicycles and folding motorcycles can be parachuted. Other vehicles may be landed by glider.

8 X motorcycle
2 X car 4 seater
2 X car, 2 seater
2 X truck 15 cwt GS
1 X lorry 3ton 4 X 2

4 X folding bicycle
12 X folding motorcycle

Weapons included
11 X .45” automatic pistol.
27 X rifle .303”.
16 X machine carbine.

Chaplains were not armed.


PARACHUTE BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS DEFENCE PLATOON.
War Establishment 1/117/2 with an effective date of March 1943. War Establishment I/117/3 with an effective date of February 1945 contained the following amendment
PIAT replaces anti tank rifle

Subaltern (also acts as camp commandant for brigade headquarters)
Company Serjeant Major (also responsible for disciplinary duties within brigade headquarters)
serjeant
2 X corporal
3 X At numbers
21 X lmg numbers and rifleman
batman
orderly
driver IC (may be a non jumper and be medical category A5)
storeman (may be a non jumper and be medical category A5)
clerk (may be a non jumper and be medical category A5)
2 X cook ACC (non jumper)

Total
1 officer
39 other ranks.

Transport
2 X folding bicycle
5 X folding motorcycle

3 X motorcycle
1 X 15cwt truck GS

Weapons
14 X .45”automatic pistol
24 X .303” rifle
22 X Sten sub machine gun
6 X Bren lmg
3 X AT rifle (replaced by PIAT)
3 X 2” mortar, modified

In action the five non jumpers remain at base together with the 15cwt and 3 X motorcycle.

The airborne portion forms a headquarters and three sections as follows.

Headquarters
Subaltern
Company Serjeant Major
batman
2 X orderly

Section 1
serjeant
2 X Bren number
2 X AT numbers
5 X rifleman

Section 2
corporal
2 X Bren number
2 X AT numbers
5 X rifleman

Section 3
corporal
2 X Bren number
2 X AT numbers
5 X rifleman

Note that each section has considerable firepower having
2 X Bren lmg
1 X AT rifle (replaced by PIAT
1 X 2” mortar
4 X 4.5” automatic pistol
6 X .303” rifle
6 X Sten smg

In addition each man in Brigade Headquarters carries Bren magazines for the ground defence platoon.

If necessary the subaltern also organises the personnel of brigade headquarters for defence.



PARACHUTE BATTALION
War Establishment 1/241/I with an effective date of February 1944. War Establishment I/241/2 with an effective date of March 1945 contains only four amendments
- 6 X 10cwt trailer are added to the administrative platoon
- 300 X sten gun are provided as a pool
- 17 X batmen are trained as drivers IC
- 16 bicycles are noted as being for training only to preserve the folding bicycles


Battalion Headquarters
Lieutenant Colonel – Officer commanding
Major – second in command
Captain – adjutant
Lieutenant

Regimental Serjeant Major
serjeant orderly room clerk (non jumper
provost serjeant

Medical Officer
medical serjeant
medical orderly

3 X clerk
6 X batman (including two trained as driver)
6 X regimental police
2 X motorcyclist

Headquarters shared the following transport
1 X folding bicycle
2 X motorcycle
4 X lightweight motor cycle
1 X jeep

1 X car 2 seater (base only)
1 X car 4 seater (base only)

Note that the two motorcycles and one jeep could not be parachuted at this time but they could be landed by glider and join the battalion later if required. It was also possible to deliver one Universal Carrier per battalion by glider if required. This was used for distributing ammunition and for collecting supply containers.

When the division was engaged on an operation it was usual for the base parties to travel as a brigade or divisional group to a point close to the intended landing. They would then be available to join the unit when contact was made.

Headquarters Company

Headquarters
Major
Company Serjeant Major
company quartermaster serjeant
2 X clerk
batman
storeman (non jumper)

medical corporal
medical orderly

1 X 15cwt truck GS (base only)

Intelligence section
Lieutenant – intelligence officer
intelligence serjeant
7 X privates, intelligence trained

The intelligence section was peculiar to the parachute battalion. Its personnel included the Intelligence Officer who was a part of the command group in action. The intelligence serjeant was responsible for the deployment of the intelligence section and for maintaining the situation map. However the intelligence personnel seem also to have been trained as snipers and there were eight snipers rifles available for their use in addition to their personnel weapons. In standard infantry battalions the sniper was always trained in intelligence gathering but was not intelligence trained, a subtle distinction.

Signal Platoon
Lieutenant
2 X serjeant
batman
corporal signaller
24 X signaller.

10 X folding bicycle

Mortar platoon 1
Lieutenant
3 X serjeant
batman
6 X corporal mortarman
34 X mortarman
orderly
rangetaker

1 X folding bicycle
2 X lightweight motorcycle
4 X 3” mortar

Mortar platoon 2
Lieutenant
3 X serjeant
batman
6 X corporal mortarman
34 X mortarman
orderly
rangetaker

1 X folding bicycle
2 X lightweight motorcycle

4 X 3” mortar

To give flexibility the battalion held 4 X .303” MMG for issue to one mortar platoon as an alternative to 3” mortars if required. This suggests that the personnel of at least one mortar platoon were trained in the use of the MMG.


Anti Tank and Anti Aircraft platoon.

Headquarters
Lieutenant
serjeant
batman

Section 1
corporal
9 X private
3 X PIAT

Section 2
corporal
9 X private
3 X PIAT

Section 3
corporal
9 X private
3 X PIAT

Section 4
corporal
6 X private
2 X Bren gun

4 X lightweight motorcycle
10 X PIAT
2 X Bren

The anti tank platoon used the PIAT anti tank weapon. This was not very effective against armour except at very short range but was the heaviest anti tank weapon that could be parachute dropped. The anti tank platoon also contained the remnants of a previous protection platoon with Bren anti aircraft guns. There was one extra PIAT. This was common in airborne units. The extra weapon could be used by the Bren section or as a reserve. Items were often lost during drops and losses could not be readily replaced on the ground.

Administrative platoon
Captain
Lieutenant (non jumper)
Quartermaster (non jumper)
Regimental Quartermaster Serjeant
serjeant parachute packer
serjeant technical storeman (non jumper)
transport serjeant

4 X clerk (includes three non jumpers)
blacksmith (non jumper)
2 X carpenter and joiner (non jumpers)
2 X driver mechanic (non jumpers)
equipment repairer (non jumpers)
technical storeman (non jumpers)
2 X batman
batman (non jumper)
butcher (non jumper)
3 X sanitary dutyman (non jumper)
postman (non jumper)
water dutyman (non jumper)
11 X driver IC
4 X parachute packer
3 X shoemaker RAOC (non jumpers)
armourer serjeant REME
2 X vehicle mechanic REME (non jumpers)
2 X officers mess cooks ACC
11 X cooks ACC
3 X PE instructor APTC

16 X folding bicycle
3 X lightweight motorcycle

1 X 15cwt truck water (base only)
8 X lorry 3ton 4 X 2 GS (base only)

This large platoon contained many personnel who remained at base. The Captain plus a small number of key personnel parachuted with the battalion. The Lieutenant remained at base to organise re supply or the joining of base personnel by sea or road. The fact that the transport serjeant and drivers IC parachuted might suggest that they expected transport to be supplied somehow. A small number of jeeps and carriers were landed by glider but probably they expected to be supplied with transport locally when relieved, or even make use of captured transport.

Note that the drivers for the headquarters jeep and cars are included in the administrative platoon.


Rifle Company
There were 3 X rifle companies which were identically organised

Company Headquarters
Major
Captain
Company Serjeant major
company quartermaster serjeant

clerk
2 X batman
3 X orderly
storeman (non jumper)

medical corporal
2 X medical orderly

1 X folding bicycle
1 X lightweight motorcycle
1 X 15cwt GS (base only)

Platoon 1
Lieutenant
serjeant
batman
orderly

section 1
serjeant
corporal
8 X men

sniper rifle
Bren

section 2
serjeant
corporal
8 X men

sniper rifle
Bren

section 3
serjeant
corporal
8 X men

sniper rifle
Bren

Platoon 2
Lieutenant
serjeant
batman
orderly

section 1
serjeant
corporal
8 X men

sniper rifle
Bren

section 2
serjeant
corporal
8 X men

sniper rifle
Bren

section 3
serjeant
corporal
8 X men

sniper rifle
Bren

Platoon 3
Lieutenant
serjeant
batman
orderly

section 1
serjeant
corporal
8 X men

sniper rifle
Bren

section 2
serjeant
corporal
8 X men

sniper rifle
Bren

section 3
serjeant
corporal
8 X men

sniper rifle
Bren

The section of a parachute battalion differed from the normal infantry section in that it was designed for more independent action. To this end it was commanded by a serjeant with a corporal as second in command. There were ten men altogether and as in an infantry section they were divided into a Bren gun group and a rifle group. The Bren gun group also carried a 2” mortar. This was a much lighter weapon than the normal version, having no base plate. It was difficult to fire accurately and seems to have been used for firing smoke rounds, six being carried. The rifle group included one sniper rifle. The parachute battalion carried a large number of sten guns on its establishment in addition to the rifles issued to each man. They were first made available when the main task of the parachute units was raiding and sabotage. By 1944 there were still 300 Sten guns available as a battalion reserve and these could be issued in lieu of rifles.

The serjeant carried a sten gun
The bren No1 and the 2” mortar man carried .45” automatic pistols but the mortar man could also carry a sten gun
Each of the remaining men was issued with a rifle although one of them could carry a sniper rifle and any of them could carry a sten gun.

The platoon headquarters was small having only the lieutenant, serjeant, batman and runner. The batman would also carry the platoon wireless set. The platoon headquarters had a reserve of one Bren gun and one PIAT.

The lieutenant carried a .45” automatic pistol and could carry a sten gun.
The serjeant carried a sten gun.
The batman and orderly were issued with rifles but could carry a sten gun.



INDEPENDENT PARACHUTE COMPANY (PATHFINDERS)
War Establishment 1/240/2 with an effective date of November 1943

Headquarters

Major
Captain

Company Sejeant Major
company quartermaster serjeant
serjeant parachute packer
corporal
29 X private.


Attached
medical serjeant RAMC
4 X nursing orderly RAMC
armourer REME
vehicle mechanic REME
cook for officers mess ACC
4 X cook ACC
instructor APTC


Mortar Detachment 1
serjeant
corporal
6 X men

1 X 3” mortar
1 X 2” mortar

Mortar Detachment 2
serjeant
corporal
6 X men

1 X 3” mortar
1 X 2” mortar

Anti Tank Section.
corporal
6 X private
No 68 AT grenades
2” mortar


Transport
22 X folding bicycle
4 X folding motorcycle

4 X bicycle
2 X motorcycle
1 X car 2 seater
1 X 15cwt GS
1 X 15cwt water
1 X 3ton 4 X 2



Platoon.
There were three identical platoons

Headquarters
Subaltern
serjeant
2 X private

1 X folding bicycle

1 X PIAT
1 X Bren gun
1 X 2” mortar

section 1
serjeant
corporal
8 X men

1 X bren gun
1 X 2” mortar
1 X grenade discharger cup.

section 2
serjeant
corporal
8 X men

1 X bren gun
1 X 2” mortar
1 X grenade discharger cup.

section 3
serjeant
corporal
8 X men

1 X bren gun
1 X 2” mortar
1 X grenade discharger cup.




GLIDER PILOT WING

Headquarters Glider Pilot Wing. War Establishment 1/120/1. December 1943
Headquarters Glider Pilot Squadron. War Establishment 1/121/1. December 1943
A Glider Pilot Flight. War Establishment 1/222/1. December 1943


HEADQUARTERS, A GLIDER PILOT WING
War Establishment 1/120/1 with an effective date of December 1943
The Headquarters was designed to command from two to six glider pilot squadrons.

Headquarters Section
Lieutenant Colonel, wing commander, (Pilot)
Major, second in command (Pilot)
Captain, adjutant (Pilot)
Subaltern, administrative officer

Regimental Serjeant Major (Pilot)
serjeant clerk
corporal clerk
clerk
batman
batman driver

1 X motorcycle
1 X car 4 seater 4 X 2
1 X car 2 seater 4 X 2 for chaplain

Operations and Intelligence Section
Captain, operations (Pilot)
Subaltern, intelligence officer (Pilot)

intelligence serjeant
lance corporal clerk
clerk
batman driver

2 X motorcycle
1 X car 2seater 4 X 2


Administrative Section
Quartermaster

Regimental Quartermaster Serjeant
batman
batman driver
clerk
driver mechanic
3 X driver IC
equipment repairer
3 X motorcycle orderly
2 X orderly
lance corporal postman
sanitary dutyman
storeman
water dutyman, trained as driver IC

2 X bicycle
4 X motorcycle
2 X 15cwt GS
1 X 15cwt water
1 X 3ton 4 X 2 GS

Attached
Chaplain
corporal nursing orderly, RAMC
corporal shoemaker, RAOC
serjeant armourer REME
corporal vehicle mechanic REME
officers mess cook ACC
2 X cook ACC
instructor APTC



HEADQUARTERS, A GLIDER PILOT SQUADRON
War Establishment 1/121/1 with an effective date of December 1943
This headquarters is designed to command from two to six glider pilot flights.

Major, squadron commander (Pilot)
Captain, second in command (Pilot)
Subaltern, for intelligence duties (Pilot)
Subaltern, Adjutant

Squadron Serjeant Major (Pilot)
squadron quartermaster serjeant
duty serjeant
batman
batman driver
lance corporal clerk
clerk
2 X driver IC
orderly
sanitary dutyman
storeman
vehicle mechanic
water dutyman, trained as driver IC

Attached
nursing orderly RAMC
2 X cook ACC

2 X bicycle
3 X motorcycle
1 X car 2 seater 4 x 2
1 X 15cwt GS
1 X 15cwt water
1 X 3ton 4 X 2 GS


A Glider Pilot Flight
War Establishment 1/222/1 with an effective date of December 1943

Headquarters
Captain, flight commander
staff serjeant (Pilot)
serjeant towmaster
lance corporal clerk
2 X batman
driver IC
2 X cook ACC

1 X motorcycle
1 X 15 cwt GS

section
Subaltern (Pilot)
13 X staff serjeant and serjeant (Pilot)
Up to 50% of pilots may be staff serjeants
1 X motorcycle

section
Subaltern (Pilot)
13 X staff serjeant and serjeant (Pilot)
Up to 50% of pilots may be staff serjeants
1 X motorcycle

section
Subaltern (Pilot)
13 X staff serjeant and serjeant (Pilot)
Up to 50% of pilots may be staff serjeants
1 X motorcycle
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