British Vehicle Markings - a rough guide

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by SquireBev, May 30, 2020.

  1. Serial 78 for the LAA Regt in Chart 1 for Gds Armd Div is evidently a typo for 73. Other discrepancies between the two charts are also problematic.
    The Counter Mortar Battery (Serial 78) in the OOB of Armd Divs comes from Hodges & Taylor. I have no idea when or even whether this was actually implemented. It is probable that it did not exist for the whole of the NWE campaign.
  2. SquireBev

    SquireBev Well-Known Member

    And with that, it's gone.
    I've also removed the RE HQ from the armoured division and the RAOC HQ from both, based on Gary Kennedy's information in post #48.

    UK - LW - NW Europe - Armoured Division Organisation-01.png UK - LW - NW Europe - Infantry Division Organisation-01.png
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  3. SquireBev

    SquireBev Well-Known Member

    Based on tables in Wise and in Taylor, Armoured Divisions in Europe 1941-2:

    UK - MW - NW Europe - Armoured Division Organisation-01.png

    There should also be a Troop Carrying Company RASC, but I'm not sure whether it fits in the structure - whether it's under the RASC HQ or the Support Group HQ. Can anyone shed any light?
  4. SquireBev

    SquireBev Well-Known Member

    Again based on Taylor, Infantry Division, Middle East, Early 1941:

    UK - EW - Middle East - Infantry Division Organisation-01.png

    There's no mention of RASC, RAMC or RAOC in the source table, but I assume the structure was largely the same as the divisions stationed at home or sent to France in 1940, minus the anti-tank company in each infantry brigade.

    Once again, if anyone can help fill in the gaps that'd be great.
  5. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    My interest is in establishing the structure of of the various types of British Army Divisions and the situation does get very fuzzy in the 1941-43 period. The line up of service units (RASC and RAOC in paticular) underwent numerous revisions, and there were differences between Divs in Home Forces and in the ME.

    Probably the first time I saw a cohesive description was in the Canadian reports series produced after the war. The Canadian Army followed British Divs in terms of structure very closely, but not without variation, and they did not have to try and keep pace with the multiple changes seen in North Africa. Their report AHQ057 provies snapshots of British Divs at various points in the war;

    Pg2 (PDF pg4); Cdn Inf Div early 1940
    Pg4 (PDF pg6); Cdn Inf Div late 1940
    Pg6 (PDF pg8); Cdn Inf Div start 1942
    pg8 (PDF pg10) Cdn Inf Div start 1943
    Appendix A (PDF pg29); Br Inf Div Sep39
    Appendix B (PDF pg30); Br Divs (Armd, 'Mixed' and Inf) Oct42
    Appendix C (PDF pg 32); Cdn Inf Div May45

    Pg12 (PDF pg14); Cdn Armd Div mid-1941
    Pg14 (PDF pg16); Cdn Armd Div start 1943
    Appendix D (PDF pg 34); Cdn Armd Div May45

    The above descriptions are very good and largely follow the evolution in British formations, but still leave some gaps. They still remain the most useful 'clickable' source not derived from wargaming related research that I've seen to date.

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  6. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    Troop Carrying Companies were normally a Corps asset and could lift an entire Inf Bde. As the only unit that needed extra vehicles to lift all its personnel was the Inf Bn in Support Group only a Platoon on TCVs was needed.

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  7. SquireBev

    SquireBev Well-Known Member

    Thanks again Gary - I'll see what I can put together from the info in that pdf. Even without the AoS numbers I should still be able to show the divisional structure.
  8. SquireBev

    SquireBev Well-Known Member

    Apologies - it turns out this particular book isn't the one. The Bellis I've received today only covers British divisions - mo mention of Commonwealth or Empire forces.
  9. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    Malcolm Bellis has (among others) another booklet entitled 'Commonwealth Divisions 1939-1945'. It covers African, South African, Australian, Canadian, Indian, New Zealand Divisions as well as several Overseas Garrisons, and, into the bargain, covers Belgian, Dutch, Free French, Polish and Italian (on our side) formations.

    One problem I find is that many orders of battle only bother to cover Teeth Arms ( Armour, Infantry, Artillery, Recce and Engineers) and totally ignore the supporting arms.

  10. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles


    Appreciate your looking nonetheless.
  11. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    I do have a (somewhat worn) copy of "Commonwealth Divisions 1939-45" by Malcolm A Bellis. It only has a few pages of AoS info, mostly for the Australian and New Zealand Divs up to 1942, with an entry each for Free French (1943) and Polish (1944/45) Divs. It does have orbats for the Divs of various of nations, but as mentioned no info on anything on the services side.

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  12. A couple more snippets:

    The Provost Company was part of the Corps of Military Police (CMP), which became Royal only post-WW2. So it should be CMP instead of RMP.

    Divisional Signals was part of the Royal Corps of Signals (RCS).
  13. SquireBev

    SquireBev Well-Known Member

    Thanks again. I'll update accordingly.
  14. SquireBev

    SquireBev Well-Known Member

    I think I'm nearly there, for Europe at least. Divisions in the Middle East are going to take a bit longer to sort out.

    Armoured Divisions - Early, Mid, and Late War
    UK - Europe - Armoured Division - 1940-01.png UK - Europe - Armoured Division - 1941-2-01.png UK - Europe - Armoured Division - 1944-01.png

    Infantry Divisions - Early, Mid, and Late War
    UK - Europe - Infantry Division - 1940-01.png UK - Europe - Infantry Division - 1941-2-01.png UK - Europe - Infantry Division - 1944-01.png

    Still a few gaps with the service units unfortunately, but the fighting units are more or less complete.
  15. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    The backing colour for the junior infantry brigade was brown? I did not know that.

    These are really good charts!
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
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  16. SquireBev

    SquireBev Well-Known Member

    I didn't believe it at first either - doesn't seem like it'd stand out very well.

    And thanks, glad you like them!
  17. SquireBev

    SquireBev Well-Known Member

    Just want to make sure I've got this right before delving into the AoS numbers for higher-level units:

    Corps troops - White bar above the number
    Army troops - White bar below the number
    Army group troops - Diagonal white bar bottom-left to top-right
    GHQ troops - Diagonal white bar top-left to bottom-right
  18. Christian Fletcher

    Christian Fletcher Well-Known Member

    Bar coding is correct!

    FYI. I have just done a spreadsheet with I Canadian Army troops as well as 1 & 2 Canadian Corps troops from a report dated 10/6/44, stating that it is correct for 6/6/44. Is this any good to you? As a matter of interest, can I upload an Excel file? Or do I have to .pdf it? Cheers
  19. SquireBev

    SquireBev Well-Known Member

    That would be brilliant, thank you. An Excel file is fine.
  20. Christian Fletcher

    Christian Fletcher Well-Known Member

    Here you are. If you a=have any trouble with my short-hand, please ask!

    Attached Files:

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