10th Armoured Brigade (United Kingdom)

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10th Armoured Brigade
Active 1941–1943
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg Territorial Army
Type Armoured (later Tank) Brigade
Role Training
Size 3 Armoured regiments
Anniversaries Minden (1 Augustl)
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Brigadier Philip Bowden-Smith

10th Armoured Brigade was a short-lived armoured formation of the British Army in World War II. It had been converted from infantry battalions, and never saw action.

Formation[edit]

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.[1] The brigade had been serving in 42nd (East Lancashire) Infantry Division which was being converted to an armoured division.[2] 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.[citation needed]

Composition[edit]

10th Armoured Brigade was constituted as follows:[1]

Service[edit]

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'.[5] The brigade got its first cruiser tanks – four Covenanters – on 1 December, [6] 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.[7]

In May 1942, 10th Armd Bde left 42nd Armoured Division and the motor battalion was withdrawn.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, and on 17 October 1942 the brigade was placed under the command of 48th (South Midland) Division. This was a reserve formation, and 10th Tank Bde was given the role of holding and training reinforcements for other tank units.[8]

For training, 10th Tank Brigade was based in the 'Dukeries' area of Nottinghamshire, with HQ at Carlton-in-Lindrick and the regiments at Thoresby Hall, Welbeck Abbey and Rufford Abbey.[9]

Disbandment[edit]

The brigade maintained Lancashire Fusilier traditions, initially wearing the regimental badge on the black beret of the RAC,[3] and celebrating Minden Day on 1 August 'in traditional style. Each unit held a ceremonial parade and march past'.[10] 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.[10] In August 1943 a recruiting team persuaded about 60 other ranks of the brigade to volunteer for the Parachute Regiment if the brigade disbanded.[10] The brigade moved to Wensleydale in September, with Brigade HQ at Bedale, [11] but shortly afterwards the impending disbandment was confirmed, the brigade came under direct War Office control,[12] 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.[13]

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.[13] Of these battalions, only 5th Lancashire Fusiliers was reconstituted in the TA after the war.[14]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Joslen, p. 164.
  2. ^ Joslen, pp. 29, 68.
  3. ^ a b c d Forty, p. 50.
  4. ^ Joslen, pp 164, 302, 379.
  5. ^ 10th Armoured Brigade War Diary, November 1941, The National Archives, Kew file WO 166/1097
  6. ^ 10th Armoured Brigade War Diary, December 1941, The National Archives file WO 166/1097
  7. ^ 10th Armoured Brigade War Diary 1942–43, The National Archives files WO 166/6657 and WO 166/10742.
  8. ^ Joslen, pp. 29, 77, 164, 198.
  9. ^ 10th Armoured Brigade War Diaries 1943, The National Archives file WO 166/10742.
  10. ^ a b c 10th Armoured Brigade War Diary August 1943, The National Archives file WO 166/10742.
  11. ^ 10th Armoured Brigade War Diary September 1943, The National Archives file WO 166/10742.
  12. ^ Joslen, p. 198.
  13. ^ a b 10th Armoured Brigade War Diary November 1943, The National Archives file WO 166/10742
  14. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20051227043136/http://regiments.org/regiments/uk/volmil-england/vinf-no/la-f5.htm

References[edit]

  • 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.