Army, Division, Regiment - How does it go?

Discussion in 'Higher Formations' started by DaveWalters, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. DaveWalters

    DaveWalters Junior Member

    Hi, my first question so please be kind. :) Am i right in thinking that during World War Two a soldier was placed primarily under a Army/Corps, then under a Division, then under a Regiment and finally under a Batallion?
    For example if a soldier (my Grandad in particular) was fighting in North Africa in August 1942 as part of the Cheshire Regiment 2nd Batallion, he would have been under control of the 8th Army as part of the 50th Infantry Division. God I'm confusing myself now!!!
    If I'm right in this case what insignia should have been worn, was it a patch for 8th Army on one arm and a patch for 50th Infantry on the other?? I'm pretty sure that patches weren't changed very often or perhaps ever for soldiers in the field but theoretically?
    Thanks in advance.
  2. jacobtowne

    jacobtowne Senior Member

    If the British Army was anything like the American, your chain of command sounds right - army, corps, division, (sometimes brigade), regiment, battalion, company, platoon.

    IIRC, American troops in Europe wore division patches.

  3. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    It went like this..Section, platoon, company, brigade or battalion, division. corps, army, Or did do when I was around
  4. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive


    I'm not 100% certain of practice in the desert but generally Army and Corps Insignia were worn by troops allocated at that level. Infantry Battalions within a Division wore Divisional Insignia with Brigade seniority indicated by stripes.

    However, 2nd Cheshire were Divisional Troops so would have worn the "TT" (Tyne - Tees) of 50th Division.

    A Battalion moved to another Division would have re-badged but 2nd Cheshires stayed with 50 Div from 2/41 to 6/45.

    The Regiment did not feature in this chain of command but would have been shown on the shoulder title.
  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    A soldier in the Infantry joins a Battalion of his Regiment.
    That is his home.
    Three Battalions were put a Brigade.
    Three Brigades to a Division.

    That was fixed.(Your Dad's lot was the MG Battalion, they come under Div HQ)

    Then you'd have two or more Divisons in a Corps. That would vary.

    Then two or more Corps in an Army. That would vary too.

    Any clearer?
  6. DaveWalters

    DaveWalters Junior Member

    Excellent info and hugely appreciated - thanks. I'm trying to piece together a colection of Grandads insignia. Starting with the lowest this should be;
    Cheshire regiment cap badge, collar badges (are these acorn and oak leaf similar to WW1 badge or did they change when the cap badge did), shoulder titles.
    Nothing to indicate Battallion?
    50th infantry patch (would these have been worn on both arms?)
    Then I've got a list of 5 corps, 3 armies and 5 GHQ's (he left the 50th around operation Market Garden)which would have encompassed the division during the time Grandad was fighting. Am I correct in thinking that although patches were issued for most of these armies and corps they wouldn't have been issued to my grandad?

    It's clearing up nicely. It's taken me months to get as far as I have and so far tonight you lot have helped me hugely. Thanks again.
  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    This subject could keep us up all night.
    Whilst with 50th Div, he'd have the TT badge, as already mentioned.
    What happened to 2 Cheshires when 50th Div disbanded?
    OK answered by own question.
    It was withdrawn to England at the end of 1944 for training for the invasion of Japan
    but, after the Japanese surrender, the battalion was sent
    instead to Palestine

    The Times (London)
  8. DaveWalters

    DaveWalters Junior Member

    Not sure about the disbanding but I'm pretty sure that the 2nd Cheshire were shipped back to Folkestone on December 12th 1944 then coming under War Office Control. They'd previously recovered at Zebrugge for 12 days after a hold up at Isigum. Now I'm not entirely sure if this was the entire 2nd Battalion or just part but I am fairly sure this was what happened to Gramps. Remember I'm a novice so don't shout if I norzed it up :)
  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    50th Div was worn out after a long war so the newer reinforcements were transfered around to other units and a cadre returned to the UK as a training Division.
    Have you seen Patrick Delaforce's book, Monty's Northern Legions?
  10. CTNana

    CTNana Member Patron

    I don't want to sneak into Dave's questions but could you just explain how that would work for REME?
  11. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    CTNana, REME ....................................haven't a clue, :)
    I might have something in a book upstairs, I'll get back to you.
  12. CTNana

    CTNana Member Patron

    I don't want to sneak into Dave's questions but could you just explain how that would work for REME?

    Sorry that was with reference to the Battalions making up the Division - I'll get the hang of this soon honest!
  13. DaveWalters

    DaveWalters Junior Member

    Haven't seen Delaforce's book at all but will certainly look out for it. Re the transfer I remember Grandad saying that as he served through so much they gave him a choice of regiments/Jobs. He chose the South Lancs because he thought they were based at Warrington about ten miles from where he lived. He was wrong they were based in Cartmel, Cumbria which was about 100 miles away!!!
  14. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    According to Malcolm Bellis's "Divisions of the British Army 1939 - 1945", 2 Cheshire formed the MG Battalion for 61st Infantry Division (Red Diamond on blue) from July to August 1945.


    ps - Just seen the later posts. Dave, the holdup would have been at Izegem (near Kortrijk) - Don't blame your Grandfather's pronounciation, the locals would have said "Isahem" - West Flanders gets subtitles on the TV here !

  15. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Awwww, Rich, not another book I've gotta buy.:)
  16. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Awwww, Rich, not another book I've gotta buy.:)

    I don't know if it's the best or how complete it is but it is a handy little inexpensive booklet for checking where Battalions etc. served. The disadvantage is that there is no clue regarding periods when they were not attached to Divisions.

    I believe most of the gen. comes from Joslen's OB book which is quite expensive.

    My copy came from Naval & Military Press.


  17. Kitty

    Kitty Very Senior Member

    Dave, have you wandered along to the Cheshire Regiment museum in Chester Castle? Very knowledgable people there. They may be able to help you trace more of your grandfather's route. If they can't (or more accurately won't) help then get back to me and I'll get you the name of an elderley retired officer who does a lot for them and knows the regiments history back to front.
    If needs be just drop me an email.
  18. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I believe most of the gen. comes from Joslen's OB book.
    Has anyone used this book Rich refers to?

    Orders of Battle United Kingdon and Colonial Formations and Units in the Second World War 1939-1945
    Joslen H. F. ( Lieut-Colonel )

    Sounds like exactly what I've been looking for as Army organisation/who/what/when/where makes my head spin, looks like it's in 2 volumes? Both ww2?

    Wouldn't mind similar reference for the German Army too as trying to work out 'who's what' while reading about Falaise at the moment is rather hard.

  19. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Adam, It looks as if Naval & Military's reprint includes both of the original 1960 volumes under one title. Stone & Stone: Book Details

    I hadn't realised that there was a softback edition at £48 which sounds a bit more affordable. Probably more detail than I need though but someone on this forum should have one.

    What a shame that Owen didn't really win the lottery because I would be compiling a book list for him :) !

  20. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Nice one Rich! I'd only registered original editions on abebooks, hadn't spotted that at all. If there's a modern 1 volume one I can make an effort to find that at the best price.

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