British Auxiliary Units

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Chats1, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Perforce, therefore - ANY resistance that's likely to happen won't be CAN'T be - no arms! :D

    And given the probable environment of forced labour transfers - it's very likely that the form BRITISH "resistance" would take would be something along the lines of the Dutch "onderduikers"...the tens of thousands of men who were ordered to report for labour transfer to Germany, but who instead, with their families, went into hiding, hidden ALL over the country, with the asistance of as many "regular" Dutch citizens and thousands of civil servants in the civil government who obtained forged papers for them, forged ration books, passed on warnings of security sweeps etc., all that sort of thing.

    Resistance HAS to be against the nearest biggest threat ;) and after a sucessful invasion THAT would be the labour transfers. Therefore any resistance would manifest against THOSE rather than against the Occupation in general.

    Strangely enough - this happened a LOT closer to home for the Germans than Great Britain historically! BERLIN was the heart of the german munitions industry....and the skilled workforce in the munitions factories included thousands of the city's Jewish population! And as late as early 1943, the German industrialists churning out the bullets, shells and bombs for Hitler's war effort were periodically helping their Jewish employees, THOUSANDS of them, to go into hiding temporarily, with their families, to avoid various arrest sweeps through the German capital aimed at rounding up the Jewish population for transfer to the East! Goebbels was in titular charge of the project, and IIRC until his death Heydrich was his liaison with the SS, with them and the Army providing manpower and transport for the sweeps. on at least THREE occasions, thousands of Jews were hidden from the effort that is MORE remarkable when you remember that the Gestapo had the ability to eavesdrop on the telephone network! EVERYTHING must have been arranged by word of mouth....! :mellow:
  2. Capt Bill

    Capt Bill wanderin off at a tangent

  3. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Phylo R, well done for your very interesting posts, much along my own lines of thinking. As you say a lot of the 'later' resistance may well have been along communist/trade union lines and resistance to forced labour deportations, as happened in France, Holland, Belgium, Greece, the Balkans etc but (slightly off thread perhaps) IF Sealion had succeeded, against the might of the RN and the supreme efforts of the RAF, could mass deportations have taken place across the Channel with (presumably) remaining RN units doing their damndest to isolate the invaders prevent reinforcements etc which would surely have been the priority for German High Command? Once again that little 21 mile strip of water would have been our saviour.
    As for any efforts of an evacuated British Government in exile, I suspect the great distances involved would have been an impossible barrier to rearmament of resistance units and a continued fight. In addition without the material support of the US ANY effective support would be minimal in real terms.
    US efforts (other than possible vocal support) I suspect would not be forthcoming in the event of Britain being invaded. Without a European 'forward base' he States would have concentrated all efforts on the Pacific War as many in the US argued for from the start of the European conflict. (OK I know the States didn't enter the war per se until Pearl Harbour but you get the gist I hope!).
    Pretty much along the Lines of the background to Len Deighton's SSGB.

    Mike L
  4. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    IF Sealion had succeeded, against the might of the RN and the supreme efforts of the RAF, could mass deportations have taken place across the Channel with (presumably) remaining RN units doing their damndest to isolate the invaders prevent reinforcements etc which would surely have been the priority for German High Command? Once again that little 21 mile strip of water would have been our saviour.

    I wouldn't assume the deportations would start UNTIL the Germans had fully occupied the country, and evaluated what industry COULD be of use to them, which could be easily transferred (after the war, NORWAY got two complete blast furnaces from the Ruhr as war reparations!!! :mellow:) and thus what workers MIGHT be more useful kept in Britain....thus possibly anything up to 18 months after an armistice before they would begin.

    Question is - what state would the RN BE in after THAT??? With the LW based in Britain and flying maritime patrols over "our" Western and Northern Approaches - surface ships would be pretty popintless! :huh:Did RN submarines of 1940 have the range to operate from Canada on combat patrols??? I certainly doubt we'd have been able to retain Gibraltar as a forward operating base...

    Second question....WOULD the RN sink ships carrying BRITISH transportees???

    Next - what happens to Northern Ireland/Ireland??? There do seem to have been plans to move a certain degree of British strength to Northern Ireland in the event of Sealion - the building of a Fighter Command HQ and bunker with the size and capacity of The Hole beside the "sector" one at Kircubbin...and never used...argues that the RAF at least planned to manage the defence of Northern Ireland against attacks from the mainland, for instance.

    For certainly, if left unoccupied SOUTHERN Ireland would have become as much of a hotbed of espionage and intrigue as Lisbon/Portugal was during the war!!! For BOTH sides...

    And one thing the British would THEN be desperate for would be information on the transport schedules to the continent...

    Regarding the "sea bridge" to the UK at the time of Sealion, however - IIRC Peter Fleming...funny how he always turns up in the strangest of places!!! his legendary and seminal Operation Sealion - well, who ELSE was going to write the first big BRITISH history of the proposed invasion and countermeasures!!! :) ...has quite a lot of content on the necessary transport capacity across the Channel for the Germans to mount a breakout from the bridgehead; if nothing else, something like 9000 tons of HORSE FODDER a week for three weeks minimum!

    If you've never read it, Fleming's book is worth reading. If nothing else he's a very entertaining and readable writer!
  5. Auxiliary-Units

    Auxiliary-Units Researching Aux Units

  6. oldgit

    oldgit Junior Member

  7. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

  8. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

  9. Chats1

    Chats1 Junior Member

    Thanks CL1. We're always on the look out for anyone with more information, suspicions that one of their family members were involved or other evidence helping to increase our knowledge of the Auxiliary Units and Special Duties.

    We're also passionate that they need some form of formal recognition for the role they played, and the sacrifice they were willing to make. We managed a couple of years ago to secure their inclusion in the Remembrance Sunday Cenotaph march past, but we're still waiting for the Government recognition, and want it before there are no more veterans left.

    It's amazing that we're still finding out such a huge amount of information and new operational bases and sites even after all this time!

    Find out more here
    CL1 likes this.
  10. Knouterer

    Knouterer Member

    Little technical question: it is often stated that the Aux units were among the first to receive Thompson SMGs in 1940, but is there actually any truth in that? The most authoritative authors on the subject (Warwicker, Atkin) seem to agree that initially patrols were issued with one BAR and two M1917 rifles each (plus various handguns), and that they received their first Thompsons at about the same time as the rest of the Home Guard, April 1941. Of course it's possible that they obtained a few outside official channels; IIRC Gubbins related after the war that at some unspecified date he had received a box from a well-wisher in the US containing two Thompsons and an assortment of pistols, plus ammunition.
  11. jeffbubble

    jeffbubble Senior Member

    Auxiliary Units Badge

    Attached Files:

  12. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Quite a high proportion of SAS recruits before D-Day came from the Auxiliary Units which were winding down by 1944, several SAS Officers had also served with the AUs and SOE
  13. jeffbubble

    jeffbubble Senior Member

    In some documents I read the only one who knew where the 'Setts' were was the Chief Constable - Then he was expendable after invasion.
  14. AlanDavid

    AlanDavid Junior Member

    Aux Units did not receive TSMG's before the regular Home Guard only at the same time.


    Alan David
  15. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    There are many threads on this theme, so I have added this update here as it has the most posts.

    Taken from the mainly academic community e-newsletter a short article referring to a paper in a journal in the Journal of Conflict Archaeology (behind a £ wall) and the Abstract says:
    Link to journal article:

    Link to e-newsletter article: Uncovered: the WW2 'Scallywag Bunkers' that were Britain's last-ditch line of defence
  16. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    A new academic article 'Video: unique footage of secret WW2 ‘Scallywag Bunkers’ that were Britain’s lethal last line of defence', which has a nine minute video within and this remark on the Auxilaries:

    There is a curious comment added:

    Link: Video: unique footage of secret WW2 'Scallywag Bunkers' that were Britain's lethal last line of defence

    ARPCDHG Member

    Good video but a few of the throwaway lines were a tad sexed-up: the Auxiliary Units and the publicly-available research about them are not as obscure as has been made out: in the last 15+ years there have been several county studies published in book form, TV documentaries, plus an Auxunits Museum at Parham, Suffolk plus a dedicated research website that lists all the patrols and their locations at:
    davidbfpo likes this.
  18. Paul Bradford

    Paul Bradford Active Member

    I thought about the BAU's today for the first time in very many years, following an article in The Scotsman. I hadn't realised there were so many threads about them here.

    I recall I believe, a BBC program. If I were in my early teens, we are talking about 1970-1. One of the Auxiliaries showed a camera crew around their 'Hide', which had remained hidden and stocked to that day. They didn't disclose to the camera crew the location. As I recall there was an emergency exit should they be discovered and a means of flooding the site. among the supplies there were weapons and explosives and booby traps, one of which that was shown was a single shot device (a .303 bullet as I recall) that was pushed into the ground, or partially buried. When stepped upon, it fired, injuring at the very least the victim. The idea being to sow fear into the invaders.

    A leap forward into the future, the 1980's and I joined the Home Service Force. E Company, 6th Battalion Royal Anglians. We were told that our role, should we be invaded by the Russians, would be similar to that of the British Auxiliary Units. We treated our training pretty seriously at the time, but upon reflection, I'm not certain that we would have survived for too long!
  19. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    On 3/1/2021 The Daily Telegraph ran a story (behind a paywall) under the headline:
    The point of contact is: Andy Chatterton from the British Resistance Archive on and the website is (I've not checked if here already) is:

    Just checked Michael Foot is not listed, perhaps research another time?

    ARPCDHG Member

    Although they didn't like it, the HSF I have spoken to said they were more compared to the Home Guard. The HSF did not have underground bases or a guerilla sabotage role like the Auxunits but were to guard vulnerable points such as a radio masts etc against Soviet saboteurs.

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