Indian Light AA/Anti Tank Regiments

Discussion in 'British Indian Army' started by RobG64, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Does anyone have any information on 10th Indian LAA Regiment. Farndale lists it as having been raised in 1943 and being in Bengal in January 1945....that is all. It does not figure in the index. Goole search throws up nothing.
  2. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Does anyone have any information on 10th Indian LAA Regiment. Farndale lists it as having been raised in 1943 and being in Bengal in January 1945....that is all. It does not figure in the index. Goole search throws up nothing.
  3. RobG64

    RobG64 Well-Known Member

    Hi, the Indian artillery regiments and especially the Heavy and Light AA Regiments are notoriously hard to track down. There is no definitive study. A trip to Kew to read the war diaries would be a must. From this source a colleague recently shared the 1st RM Anti-Aircraft Brigade war diary from when it moved from Ceylon to Bombay, India and there is mention of one of the batteries in it. NB: the average training time for each battery/regiment would be about six months from formation

    10th Indian Light AA Regiment - formed February 1943 with 33rd, 34th & 35th Light AA Batteries IA
    Operational Instruction No.2 1st August 1943 issued by 1st RM AA Brigade:
    24th (Sikh) Light AA Battery IA are to re-join 7th (Sikh) Light AA Regiment IA prior to disbanding
    33rd Light AA Battery IA (10th Indian Light AA Regiment IA) are moving to Bombay to relieve them
    2nd/3rd August 1943 33rd Battery arrives and takes over the guns of the departing battery
    5th August 1943 - 33rd Light AA Battery IA took over the operational commitments of 24th (Sikh) Light AA Battery IA

    That's all I have but other people on the list will probably be able to help you more on this!

  4. RobG64

    RobG64 Well-Known Member

    Hi, just got in from work to check my records and can say the following:

    33rd Light AA Battery IA under command of 1st RM AA Brigade until 16th August 1943 when the brigade was relieved of all air defence commitments. The battery then came under command 3rd Indian AA Brigade from 16th August 1943 to 19th January 1944 when it was joined by the rest of the regiment (I assume H.Q. 34th & 35th Batteries). Regiment only under command of the brigade from 19th January to 26th February 1944. The H.Q. 3rd Indian AA Brigade closed down on 29th March 1944 and re-opened in Assam on 16th April 1944, swapping locations with H.Q. 9th British AA Brigade. I cannot see what happens to 10th Indian Light Regiment IA after the end of February 1944 - perhaps it then goes to Bengal as stated

  5. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    I have 10th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, IA formed on 1 February 1943 and still in existence at the end of the war, though it is not on the list of Regiments of the Indian Artillery on 25 January 1947. It served in Calcutta and Bengal during the war. (Palit - History of the Regiment of Indian Artillery).

    As noted above, (Kempton - A Register of Titles of the Units of the HEIC and Indian Armies 1666-1947) has it from 1943-1946 with 33rd, 34th and 35th Light AA Batteries, IA with the regiment disbanded in 1946. The Batteries were Madrassi.

    As RobG stated, the Indian Artillery 1939-45 is an elusive creature.
  6. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Thanks to all for their you say hard to find out about these units.
  7. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    Thanks to all for the discussion to date.

    As part of research into the Indian AA artillery, I've recently looked into the Indian A.A./Atk regiments. There is only partial coverage in the 1943-1944 war diaries - the period when the combined A.A./Atk establishment was in effect. From this, and using other sources, notably the WO 33 series detailing the India Command Orders of Battle, I now have the following work-in-progress:

    The Indian anti-tank regiments (so far!) known to have converted or partially converted to the A.A./Atk role were:

    1st A.A./Atk Regiment, I.A.: the Regiment was notified on 15th August 1943 that it had been earmarked for conversion. Whilst some preparatory training was undertaken, no guns had been received by December 1943. The Regiment served with the 26th Indian Infantry Division at this time. Converted to become an anti-tank/mortar regiment, probably from August 1944, with the 1st, 2nd and 30th Anti-Tank Batteries,

    2nd A.A./Atk Regiment, I.A.: during July 1943, the Regiment was notified that the 5th and 8th Batteries were to convert to the light anti-aircraft in the near future, equipped first with 40mm Bofors guns and eventually 20mm Hispano guns for both anti-aircraft and ground work. In the event only the 8th Battery was converted in March 1944, receiving twelve Bofors guns. The Regiment was re-titled on 1st April 1944. The Regiment was under the command of the 23rd Indian Infantry Division throughout this period. The 8th Battery was renumbered to be the 208th Battery shortly after conversion. During August 1944, the 208th was disbanded as part of the reorganisation of the Regiment to become an anti-tank/mortar regiment. A further reorganisation occurred in October 1944 when the 29th Battery joined the 5th and 6th Batteries and the 7th Battery was disbanded,

    7th A.A./Atk Regiment, I.A.: the Regiment served with the 25th Indian Infantry Division up until March 1944 went it went to Madras where by 1st April 1944 it was converting to be an A.A./Atk regiment. Probably in August 1944, it was reorganised as an anti-tank/mortar regiment. By the time it left Madras in late 1944 for the Arakan to rejoin the 25th Indian Infantry Division, it was composed of the 9th, 25th and 26th Anti-Tank Batteries, equipped with both 6-pounder anti-tank guns and 3-inch mortars.

    Secondary sources also identify the 5th and 15th Anti-Tank Regiments, I.A. as converting to the A.A./Atk organisation (Sawyer; Hughes et al Vol. 10). The war diary of the 5th Anti-Tank Regiment confirms that the Regiment did not convert. The orders of battle maintained by India Command also show that the 15th Anti-Tank Regiment may not have converted to the A.A./Atk role either (the war diary for the regiment for 1943-1944 covers September 1943 only). This is assumed to be correct for both units were allocated as corps troops, the conversion being applied to divisional units of mixed "Animal and Motor Transport" divisions only.

    For more details please visit my web page "Indian Anti-Aircraft/Anti-Tank Regiments". There are links to individual regimental histories from there.

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  8. RobG64

    RobG64 Well-Known Member

    Hi Steve, great work as always and thank you for checking the war diaries!!

    So, what we have now is the order given in June 1943 that all infantry divisions in India will have a combined Light AA/Anti-Tank Regiment in its organisation. We can now see that eight Royal Artillery regiments were created and three were created from the Indian Artillery. Both 5th and 15th Anti-Tank Regiments IA were CORPS assets and were therefore NOT converted/re-designated. (This means that the secondary sources for 15th Light AA/Anti-Tank Regiment IA are incorrect)

    2nd British Division - 100th LAA/AT Regiment RA
    5th Indian Division - 56th LAA/AT Regiment RA
    7th Indian Division - 24th LAA/AT Regiment RA
    17th Indian Division - 82nd LAA/AT Regiment RA
    19th Indian Division - 33rd LAA/AT Regiment RA
    20th Indian Division - 55th LAA/AT Regiment RA
    23rd Indian Division - 2nd Indian LAA/AT Regiment IA
    25th Indian Division - 7th Indian LAA/AT Regiment IA
    26th Indian Division - 1st Indian LAA/AT Regiment IA
    36th Indian Division - 122nd LAA/AT Regiment RA
    70th British Division - 69th LAA/AT Regiment RA

    I think I have got all the regiments - let me know if I have missed one!

    This also ties in with our other discussions we have had off-line about Indian LAA batteries in these three regiments. For example 4th LAA Battery IA!!

    Excellent work!!
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  9. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    More on Indian anti-tank and A.A./Atk regiments. The following provides confirmation that only three Indian anti-tank regiments were converted to become A.A./Atk regiments: the 1st, 2nd and 7th.

    The data are taken from a TNA file, WO 212/374 which is the “War Office Organisation Table” for India and South East Asia Commands, compiled as at 1st September 1944. The table gives the “British manpower allotment” by unit, essentially the distribution of British officers and men across British and non-British units under the two commands.

    The anti-tank regiments listed are:
    3rd; 5th (Mahratta); 8th (Mahratta); 15th (Punjab).​

    A single reserve anti-tank regiment is listed:
    16th (Punjab).​

    The A.A./Atk regiments listed are:
    1st, 2nd, 7th.​

    The columns are headed: Serial; Unit; War Establishment (Ref No.; [Totals for] British Officers/Men); Remarks.

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  10. RobG64

    RobG64 Well-Known Member

    Fantastic Steve! Thank you for the conformation

  11. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Great work, Steve.
  12. Heathmount

    Heathmount Member

    Hello, would anyone be able to provide information about the 13th Indian LAA Regt. Indian Artillery in which my father served from 07-07-43 until 30-06-44 when he was posted to 43rd Indian LAA Battery IA.

    Many thanks,

    Mike Thompson
  13. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    Hi Mike,

    There is very little information that I have found to date relating to the 13th LAA Regiment, I.A. There is no war diary for the regiment but a war diary was maintained for the 43rd LAA Battery.

    From the information I have found, I have pulled together the following draft history of the units, I hope this is of some help. I would be delighted to know how your father's story, as you know it, may fit with the details below. If you can add to this history from your father's story or records, I would be most grateful.


    13th L.A.A. Regiment and 43rd L.A.A. Battery, I.A.
    The 13th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Indian Artillery was raised on 1st July 1943. The Indian personnel of the unit were Madrassis and would (most probably) have been raised at Mehgaon by No. 3 (Madrassi) A.A.T.C. which was located there for the specific purpose of raising new Indian light anti-aircraft units.

    Only a single battery has been identified to date as being formed and regimented with the 13th L.A.A. Regiment. This was the 43rd L.A.A. Battery, I.A., which also began forming from 1st July 1943. If this is so, then the Regiment would have consisted only of a regimental headquarters and the 43rd Battery. The 43rd L.A.A. Battery was a static unit formed on the 12 gun establishment.

    No war diary appears to have been maintained for the 13th L.A.A. Regiment and it appears to have remained under the control of G.H.Q., India as an un-brigaded unit in the process of training. This fact, together with the absence of a war diary, suggests that the Regiment was never mobilised and may therefore have remained at Mehgaon for its entire existence. In general, it seems that a newly formed Indian anti-aircraft unit, a regiment and battery(ies), underwent between 5-6 months training before being declared ready for operations.

    The 13th Regiment then disappears from the Indian order of battle by 1st March 1944, having been disbanded. However, the 43rd Battery was retained and became an independent battery. It was mobilised for operational service (most probably) in early April 1944 and left Mehgaon for East Bengal. The Battery arrived at Ramu (today in Bangladesh), near Cox's Bazaar, minus baggage, on the afternoon of 20th April 1944. At Ramu, the Battery came under the command of the 13th Anti-Aircraft Brigade. Having relieved the 10th L.A.A. Battery, I.A. and taken over that unit's guns and equipment, the 43rd Battery became operational on 27th April 1944. The Battery moved to Hathazari, just to the north of Chittagong, on 13th May 1944. It was reorganised on to the 18 gun establishment on 1st June 1944.

    When the 15th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, I.A. deployed to the 13th Anti-Aircraft Brigade area, the 43rd Anti-Aircraft Battery, I.A., until then acting as an independent battery, became regimented within the 15th Regiment with effect from 7th November 1944. The 43rd Battery remained at or near Hathazari until April 1945, when all but for 'A' Troop were located at Chittagong. During April 1945, the 15th Regiment was withdrawn from the 13th A.A. Brigade and transferred to the 3rd Indian A.A. Brigade to begin training in the mobile role with a possible future role in projected combined operations in South-East Asia (the need for these operations went away following the Japanese surrender in August 1945).

    The Regiment was also identified as possibly being needed for deployment by sea to Rangoon, however units of the 14th Army arrived first and the 15th Regiment was not called upon. By now non-operational, on 28th June 1945, the 43rd Battery relocated with the 15th Regiment to Feni, where the Regiment came under the command of the 13th A.A. Brigade once again. In November 1945, the 15th Regiment moved to Mahuda where it went into General Reserve and it was subsequently disbanded or placed in suspended animation, disappearing from the order of battle by mid-1946 (tbc).
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  14. RobG64

    RobG64 Well-Known Member

    Excellent research as always Steve! Thank you

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  15. Heathmount

    Heathmount Member

    Hello Steve,

    Very many thanks for your very helpful and most informative reply. It answers many questions for me, and within the next day or two I will post up further details of my father’s WW2 experiences in the Far East with the SEAC.

    Mike T
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  16. Heathmount

    Heathmount Member

    Hello again Steve,

    Here are some details of my father’s WW2 service:


    09-05-39 Attested in Belfast and posted to 9/3 S/L Regt RA.
    20-12-39 Embarked for France with BEF.
    28-05-40 Evacuated from Dunkirk on M/V “Queen of the Channel” (attacked by Stuka and sunk), then rescued by SS ”Dorrien Rose” & conveyed to Dover.
    21-02-41 Posted to 133 OCTU Shrivenham.
    13-06-41 Discharged having been commissioned.
    14-06-41 Posted to 81 S/L Regt 509 S/L Battery.
    15-03-42 Converted to 433 LAA Battery 131 LAA Regt.
    20-01-43 Embarked for Bombay ( ? from the Clyde).
    10-06-43 Disembarked Bombay.
    07-07-43 Posted to 13 Indian LAA Regt IA.
    30-06-44 Posted to 43 Indian LAA Battery IA
    27-09-45 Embarked for UK (? on “RMS Strathnaver”
    15-10-45 Disembarked UK.

    So, the details which you kindly provided fit perfectly with above sequence. Several very pleasant visits to TNA at Kew allowed me to access the War Diaries of all the units to which he was attached, with the exception of the 13th Indian LAA Regt, and there I drew a complete blank, but your explanation that it was un-brigaded, never mobilised, and probably used as a training unit in Mehgoan makes complete sense.

    I will now try and establish the names of the troopships on which he sailed to and from India.

    Many thanks again for all your assistance, and if I can provide any more information for you or anyone else, I would be delighted.

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  17. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member


    Thank you for posting the details of your father’s service, I found them very interesting.

    Given your interest in identifying the troopships upon which your father sailed, I noted with interest that he embarked in the U.K. on 20th January 1943 and did not arrive at Bombay until 10th June 1943 – a journey of nearly five months.

    The long journey time out to India is most likely explained by your father spending some time in South Africa in a transit camp. It was very common for troops from the U.K. to disembark in South Africa to await transport to their onward destinations, typically the Middle East or India. The duration of the stay in South Africa varied from between a few days to many weeks. A number of transit camps were created to house the troops. Many troops who disembarked in South Africa were shown great hospitality by local South Africans.

    Looking at convoys that most closely correspond with the date of your father’s departure from the U.K. and his arrival in India, it might be that he disembarked in South Africa from convoy WS 26 at the end of February 1943 and did not leave until late May 1943, on convoy WS 29. The Bombay portion of this convoy arrived on 10th June 1943. See the additional details below which may be of help in your search to identify the ships he sailed on.

    As the 131st L.A.A. Regiment, R.A. appears not to have been sent out to India, it seems likely that your father was posted from the Regiment to a reinforcement batch and subsequently transported to India where he was later posted to the 13th L.A.A. Regiment, I.A.

    Best wishes for your ongoing research.


    For further details of the convoys see:

    WS (Winston Specials) Convoys in WW2 - 1943 Sailings

    “The Winston Specials, Troopships via the Cape, 1940-1943”, Archie Munro, Maritime Books (2006).

    Convoy WS 26

    Sailed from the United Kingdom on 24th January 1943.

    “Among those carried on WS 26 were the 20th Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers; 100th Anti-Tank Regiment, R.A., 158th Regiment, R.A.C., all of these units proceeding to India….”

    Arrived Capetown on 22nd February 1943. The Durban detachment arrived at that port on 25th February 1943.

    The transshipment plan for WS 26 upon reaching South Africa was:
    - 9,144 personnel on the Duchess of Richmond, Ruys and Sibajak disembarked at Capetown and accommodated in Retreat Transit Camp for three weeks awaiting onward transport to their destinations
    - At Durban on 25th February 1943, Empress of Canada and Volendam transshipped 4,200 of their 6,268 personnel to three waiting Indian Ocean troopers. The balance of 2,140 went to Clairwood Camp to await onward transport four weeks later in “a nine ship Indian Ocean convoy to Bombay and Suez”.

    Convoy WS 29

    Sailed from Durban 25th-26th May 1943

    Convoy split and WS29B went on to Bombay, arriving on 10th June 1943. The ships were:

    Almanzora: carried West African troops of the 81st West African Infantry Division. [p398-9]

    Athlone Castle: troops originally embarked at Liverpool by 14th April 1943 [p396]

    Chitral: Armed Merchant Cruiser – joined as escort on 2nd June 1943. [pp400-1]

    Orbita: “….embarked 2,800 of the personnel landed from Britannic in WS 28” [p399]

    Strathaird & Strathmore: “…embarked 9,049 personnel transshipped from Orion and the two Highland liners” (Highland Brigade, Highland Monarch) [p399]
  18. Heathmount

    Heathmount Member

    Hello Steve,

    Thank you very much once more for providing this information.
    You mention that the 131st LAA Regiment RA appears not to have been sent to India, and I note from my father’s service records that from it he was posted to the Depot Draft in England on 23-10-42, then embarked for Bombay on 20-01-43.

    You are also perfectly correct about him spending some time in a Southo African transit camp en route to India. He was indeed in Clairwood Camp from February to May 1943.

    Your information about Convoys 26 & 29 is most interesting. So much so that I will be paying another visit to TNA in Kew next week to access the relevant ships’ logbooks.

    Like so many others, my father very seldom mentioned his wartime experiences and didn’t claim his service or campaign medals. However, I did after his death, and I am proud to bear them on my right side on Remembrance Days, especially his Burma Star.

    I will try and post up several of his photographs taken in S.Africa and India/Burma.

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  19. Heathmount

    Heathmount Member

  20. Heathmount

    Heathmount Member

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