10th Armoured Brigade (United Kingdom)
|10th Armoured Brigade|
|Type||Armoured (later Tank) Brigade|
|Size||3 Armoured regiments|
|Anniversaries||Minden (1 Augustl)|
|Brigadier Philip Bowden-Smith|
10th Armoured Brigade came into existence on 1 November 1941 when 125th (Lancashire Fusiliers) Brigade based at Barnard Castle was converted to the armoured role. The brigade had been serving in 42nd (East Lancashire) Infantry Division, which was being converted to an armoured division. The brigade comprised three battalions of the Lancashire Fusiliers, which were converted to regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC), and a motor battalion was added. The brigade commander, Brigadier Philip Bowden-Smith, was a cavalryman (and former Olympic Equestrian) who had joined 125 Bde shortly before it was converted. He commanded 10th Armoured for its entire service.
10th Armoured Brigade was constituted as follows:
- 1/5th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers (Territorial Army, (TA) became 108 RAC
- 1/6th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers (TA), became 109 RAC
- 9th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, became 143 RAC
- 13th Battalion Highland Light Infantry (joined from 216th Independent Infantry Brigade (Home) 17 November 1941, left for 71st Infantry Brigade 13 June 1942) 
Four days after the official conversion, 10th Armd Bde received its first equipment. The War Diary records: 'The first two tanks arrived, two Vickers Medium tanks dated 1923 and 1924. These were not in going order, and were practically useless'. The brigade got its first cruiser tanks – four Covenanters – on 1 December,  and over the next two years received a trickle of widely varied tanks, including Cruiser Mk I, Cruiser Mk II, Cruiser Mk IIa, Covenanter and Crusader cruiser tanks, Valentine and Churchill infantry tanks, and later some Sherman Vs.
In May 1942, 10th Armd Bde left 42nd Armoured Division and the motor battalion was withdrawn. Then, on 25 July, the brigade was redesignated 10th Tank Brigade. The role of a tank brigade was infantry support. On 17 October 1942, the brigade was placed under the command of 48th (South Midland) Division, which was a reserve formation, and was given the role of holding and training reinforcements for other tank units.
The brigade maintained Lancashire Fusilier traditions, initially wearing the regimental badge on the black beret of the RAC, and celebrating Minden Day on 1 August 'in traditional style. Each unit held a ceremonial parade and march past'. When rumours began to circulate that 10th Tank Brigade was scheduled for disbandment, Members of Parliament for the Lancashire towns complained about the loss of their TA battalions. In August 1943, a recruiting team persuaded about 60 other ranks of the brigade to volunteer for the Parachute Regiment if the brigade disbanded. The brigade moved to Wensleydale in September, with Brigade HQ at Bedale,  but shortly afterwards the impending disbandment was confirmed, the brigade came under direct War Office control, and the regiments began to dispose of their equipment to other regiments. Brigade HQ and Signals were disbanded with effect from 25 November and completed by 16 December.
Of the three tank regiments, 108 and 109 RAC (formerly 1/5th and 1/6th Lancashire Fusiliers TA) were 'dispersed', while 143 RAC (formerly the hostilities-only 9th Lancashire Fusiliers) was disbanded. Of these battalions, only 5th Lancashire Fusiliers was reconstituted in the TA after the war.
- Joslen, p. 164.
- Joslen, pp. 29, 68.
- Forty, p. 50.
- Joslen, pp 164, 302, 379.
- 10th Armoured Brigade War Diary, November 1941, The National Archives, Kew file WO 166/1097
- 10th Armoured Brigade War Diary, December 1941, The National Archives file WO 166/1097
- 10th Armoured Brigade War Diary 1942–43, The National Archives files WO 166/6657 and WO 166/10742.
- Joslen, pp. 29, 77, 164, 198.
- 10th Armoured Brigade War Diaries 1943, The National Archives file WO 166/10742.
- 10th Armoured Brigade War Diary August 1943, The National Archives file WO 166/10742.
- 10th Armoured Brigade War Diary September 1943, The National Archives file WO 166/10742.
- Joslen, p. 198.
- 10th Armoured Brigade War Diary November 1943, The National Archives file WO 166/10742
- George Forty, "British Army Handbook 1939-1945", Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 1998, ISBN 0-7509-1403-3.
- Lt-Col H.F. Joslen, Orders of Battle, United Kingdom and Colonial Formations and Units in the Second World War, 1939–1945, Volume I, London: HM Stationery Office, 1960/Uckfield: Naval & Military, 2003, ISBN 1843424746.