Central India Horse

Discussion in 'British Indian Army' started by DavidW, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. DavidW

    DavidW Well-Known Member

    Does anyone know when in August of 1940 the C.I.H arrived in North Africa, and at which port?

    Thanks, David.
  2. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    I don't have the port of arrival, but here are some other details:

    On July 18th, 1940, it left Bombay for Egypt. Its Sikh squadron refused to embark at Bombay and was disbanded. The Dogra Squadron of the 11th PAVO Cavalry, which was later sent to Egypt before the regiment went into action, replaced it.

    HQ British Troops in Egypt – 6 August 1940 to 24 August 1940
    It arrived in Egypt with only two squadrons and moved to Mena on August 6th, 1940.

    4th Indian Infantry Division – 24 August 1940 to 5 February 1941
    It moved to the desert at Naghaimish on August 24th, 1940 and joined 4th Indian Division in order to provide protection while the division prepared defensive positions. The regiment served under 7th Support Group on the desert front from September 7th to the 24th. The division was withdrawn to Baggush on September 14th, but the regiment remained at Naghaimish. The division returned there on October 10th and the regiment rejoined it. It trained with the division until the end of the month. The regiment came under command of 7th Armoured Division on November 9th and joined the 7th Support Group at the front on November 10th. It harassed the Italian forces until the 3rd Coldstream Guards relieved the regiment on December 7th. The regiment was then involved in the battle of Sidi Barrani, protecting the north flank of the 4th Indian Division. The action was over for the regiment and division by December 11th and it was withdrawn to Mena Camp by the end of December. It left Egypt in mid-January and concentrated south of Kassala in the Sudan by January 24th, 1941 under the division.
    The regiment arrived after the advance had already begun. Its carriers were formed into a composite squadron and this formation advanced to Agordat on February 1st, but found it already captured.

    Gazelle Force – 5 February 1941 to 14 February 1941
    It arrived at Keren on February 5th and joined Gazelle Force. It then reconnoitred routes southeast of Keren starting on February 7th but did not have success. It relieved a force at Acqua Gap on February 9th/10th and defended the area until February 13th/14th. Gazelle Force was then disbanded and the regiment returned to the 4th Indian Division.

    4th Indian Infantry Division – 14 February 1941 to 25 March 1941
    It then attempted to find another route to Asmara and ‘A’ Squadron protected the flank until February 23rd. The regiment remained deployed on the eastern flank of Keren. At the end of February, one squadron relieved some infantry at Point 1572 and, on March 8th, another squadron took over Point 1710. The carrier squadron came under the command of Fletcher Force on March 22nd and obtained control over Dongolaas Gorge.

    5th Indian Infantry Division – 25 March 1941 to 13 April 1941
    The regiment was relieved of flank protection on March 25th and followed up Fletcher Force to Asmara. The regiment (less ‘A’ Squadron) formed part of a mobile force under 5th Indian Division in the advance to Asmara. ‘A’ Squadron, meanwhile, exploited along the railway line with the Sudan Defence Force. ‘B’ Squadron did flank protection. Asmara was captured on April 1st. A column under the regiment then moved to sieze Massawa. Central India Horse (less ‘B’ Squadron) was on the road to Amba Alagi, while ‘B’ Squadron advanced along the road Asmara-Adowa-Adigit. The 1st Horse relieved the regiment of duties on April 7th, 1941. It moved to Kassala and embarked on April 13th.

    4th Indian Infantry Division – 7 May 1941 to March 1942
    It arrived at Port Said, Suez and then moved to a camp outside of Cairo by April 27th. The regiment rejoined the 4th Indian Division at Baggush Box on May 7th. It protected landing grounds in the area until the end of the month. On June 6th, it came under command of the 22nd Guards Brigade at Buq Buq and assumed the responsiblity for the coast up to Halfway House. One squadron of the 11th Cavalry was attached to the regiment. It served in the June ‘Battle-axe’ offensive as part of ‘Coast Force’ with the 11th Indian Brigade from June 15th-18th. The 4th Indian Division then withdrew to Baggush and the regiment remained on outpost duty in the coastal sector from June 20th to August 2nd, 1941 with its 15-CWT trucks and carriers. It moved to Baggush on August 2nd and then sent ‘A’ Squadron for garrison duty at Giarbub Oasis, 240 km south of Sollum. One month later ‘B’ Squadron relieved ‘A’ Squadron for a further spell of six months of garrison duty. In mid-August 1941, the regiment moved to a better camp on a promontory. It returned back to front on September 24th on the escarpment in a reconnaissance role from October 25th to November 8th. It then did outpost duty until November 18th, 1941.
    It served in the ‘Crusader’ battles under the division from November 18th to December 9th, 1941. On December 9th, it led the advance to Acroma through El Adem. It continued in the advance to Bengasi with ‘A’ and ‘C’ Squadrons under the 5th and the 7th Indian Brigades. ‘C’ Squadron reached Derna by December 18th and the regiment reached Bengasi by December 24th and secured the area to the south. Rommel attacked on January 21st and the regiment fought a withdrawal from Bengasi. ‘A’ Squadron formed part of ‘Goldforce, ‘C’ Squadron part of ‘Silverforce’, while the rest of the regiment was under the HQ Group. It retreated behind the Gazala line by February 4th and reassembled at El Adem by February 5th. It remained there until returning to the Delta on March 16th, 1942.

    10th Indian Motor Brigade – March 1942 to end January 1943
    The regiment then joined the 10th Indian Motor Brigade at Khataba Camp in March. It moved to Deha in the Delta in May with the brigade. In June 1942, the brigade fought at Mersa Matruh, returning to the rear at Mareopolis on June 23rd. It was dispatched to Persia via Baghdad from the Delta on September 14th, 1942. It arrived at Malayar on the road to Hamadan on September 28th and was sent three weeks later to Andimishk via Kurramabad. It arrived at Andimishk at the end of October 1942 and trained there for the next three months. The regiment was reorganised with anti-tank guns in one squadron and two squadrons with Bren Carriers and wheeled carriers. The regiment left the brigade at the end of January 1943.
  3. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Does anyone know if the WD for 1942 is extant?

    All the best

  4. DavidW

    DavidW Well-Known Member

    Thank you David.
  5. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I'd be most grateful if you (Dryan67) or anybody else could post their movements for 1944 with 4th Indian Division.
  6. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Andreas likes this.
  7. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    There are a number of War diaries listed for CIH on the National Archives search engine. Just type in Central India Horse. Good luck going forward.

    Discovery | The National Archives
    Andreas likes this.
  8. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here are the rest of the Central India Horse moves not listed above:

    30th Indian Infantry Brigade (ex-Baghdad Sub Area) – End January 1943 to February 1943

    The regiment served in the Baghdad area.

    12th Indian Infantry Division – February 1943 to May 1943

    It then transferred to the Persia Area (12th Indian Division) and moved to defend the oilfields at Ram Hormaz. One squadron was at Dizful and another at Behbehan. In April 1943, the CIH was sent on an anti-locust campaign into southern Iran. In April 1943, it returned to the oil installations with RHQ at Haft Khel and detachments at Rud-i-Zared and Masjid Sulaiman.

    10th Indian Motor Brigade – May 1943 to June 1943

    The regiment returned to the command of the 10th Indian Motor Brigade in May 1943.

    60th Indian Infantry Brigade – June 1943 to August 1943

    The 10th Motor Brigade was renamed the 60th Indian Infantry Brigade in June. The Central India Horse was to be converted to an armoured car regiment but still had wheeled vehicles.

    39th Indian Infantry Brigade (ex-Ahwaz Sub Area) – August 1943 to December 1943

    It left the 60th Brigade in August 1943 and served under the 39th Indian Infantry Brigade from August to December 1943. By November 1943, it was relieved by the 1st Horse and moved to Ahwaz, then Andimishk before leaving for Egypt.

    4th Indian Infantry Division – December 1943 to 31 August 1945

    On arrival in Mena Camp in December, it reequipped and rejoined the 4th Indian Division. It left Egypt and arrived at Taranto, Italy on February 8th, 1944. On arrival the regiment was organized with each squadron having an armoured car troop with Humber IVs, two carrier troops, one Jeep troop, and one rifle troop in armoured wheeled trucks. HQ Squadron had a heavy support troop with eight AEC Matadors. The regiment moved to the Sangro River on arrival as the V Corps reconnaissance regiment and came under the command of ‘D’ Force with the 11th King’s Royal Rifle Corps from March 9th-23rd. The Household Cavalry relieved it on May 12th and, after ten days rest, it returned to the line dismounted. It moved to the central sector on June 8th and relieved the King’s Dragoon Guards. It was in turn relieved by the 12th Polish Lancers on June 17th and moved to the rear for one month. It rejoined the division on July 11th and moved to the Tiber River valley on July 13th. It advanced with the division to the Gothic Line and then fought in the Gothic Line battle with the division from August 24th to October 23rd, 1944. After the battle, the regiment moved to a rest area behind the front.

    It sailed for Salonika, Greece with the division at the end of November and arrived there on December 1st. It was deployed in Macedonia with ‘A’ Squadron at Volves under the 5th Indian Brigade, ‘B’ Squadron at Hozani under the 7th Indian Brigade and ‘C’ Squadron at Poligios. It remained in Greece until it sailed for India in February 1946.
  9. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    As an aside a CIH Squadron, possibly with Sherman tanks, were detached in mid-1946 to join 'Force 401', an Indian brigade-sized formation, which was sent to Basra, Iraq in response to concerns over the situation in Iran, principally the south-west oilfields and the refinery @ Abadan. Discovered when listening to IWM Oral History interviews of an Indian Army Captain Benjamin Gingell:
    Gingell, Benjamin Broughton (Oral history)

    Having read through this thread it is clear the CIH had spent quite a long time in south-west Persia, protecting the oilfields, before going onto the Italian campaign. Somehow I don't think they reached India before going to Iraq!
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
  10. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Just to add some meat to this bone:

    Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 22.12.02.png

    The Army in British India

    More detail:

    Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 22.15.18.png
    The Indian Army and the End of the Raj
    dryan67 likes this.
  11. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I can't seem to make this work. I, like you, have Central Indian Horse rejoining 4th Indian Division in July 1944, but then I've read this:

    Screen Shot 2019-03-01 at 23.04.31.png

    Monte Cassino

    The bibliography cites:
    Screen Shot 2019-03-01 at 23.10.02.png

    So, simple question, was this unit at Cassino or not?
  12. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    According to Military Command Athens (MCA) AFV Status Reports, CIH had 13 x Mk 4 (37mm) Armd Car (Otter) in January 1945 and on 16 January acquired 9 Staghounds.

    Besides the stuff available on CWGC, I am looking for any useful info on the deaths of the following CIH personnel:

    19307 Sowar BHULA RAM - 19/12/44
    A/11146 Sowar SULAIMAN - 27/03/45
    5278 Defadar JAGE - 24/05/45

  13. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I'd say the last date isn't very useful. ;)
  14. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Good spot Charley but I have corrected it already. :)

  15. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I'm just watching this discussion of the three Indian Army Recce regiments in Italy: 6th Lancers, Central Indian Horse, Skinner's Horse.


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