19th Infantry Division (India)

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Indian 19th Division
Active 1941– postwar
Branch British Indian Army
Nickname Dagger Division
Engagements Burma Campaign
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Major General Jackie Smyth VC
Major General Thomas Wynford Rees

The Indian 19th Infantry Division was an infantry division of the Indian Army during World War II, and played a prominent part in the final part of the Burma Campaign.

It was raised in Secunderabad in India in October 1941 and became part of Southern Army which was mainly concerned with defence against possible seaborne invasion by the Japanese. The division originally consisted of the 47th, 48th and 49th Indian Infantry Brigades. Its first commander was Major-General Jackie Smyth VC, who left in December 1941 to command Indian 17th Infantry Division, then fighting in Burma. Between January and April 1942 all three brigades were reassigned and replaced by 62nd Indian Infantry Brigade, 64th Indian Infantry Brigade and 98th Indian Infantry Brigade.[1]

After short periods under the command of Geoffrey Scoones and Douglas Stuart the division in October 1942 came under the command Major-General Thomas Wynford Rees who was to command it until December 1945. It spent an extended period on internal security duties and in training before being committed to Fourteenth Army on the Burma front in July 1944.[1] From October the division concentrated on the Imphal plain under IV Corps and from November its brigades were involved in operations on the Chindwin River advancing to establish contact with 36th Infantry Division advancing from the north on their left.[1] Concentrating once more at Sinlamaung the division came under Indian XXXIII Corps, and played the major role in the capture of Mandalay which was completed on 20 March.[1] Transferred to IV Corps, it guarded the British Fourteenth Army's line of communication and mounted an offensive towards Mawchi, in the Shan States.

Its successes were due to its fitness and high morale. Not having been stationed in the unhealthy mountains on the Indian / Burmese border in 1943, nor fought during the battles in 1944, it had a high proportion of pre-war regulars among its officers and senior NCO's.

The division was occasionally referred to as the "Dagger Division", from its divisional sign, which was a hand thrusting a dagger overhand, in yellow on a red background.

During World War II, a large number of brigades were assigned or attached to the division. The included at various points the 9th Indian Infantry Brigade, 47th Indian Infantry Brigade, 48th Indian Infantry Brigade, 49th Indian Infantry Brigade, 62nd Indian Infantry Brigade, 64th Indian Infantry Brigade, 98th Indian Infantry Brigade, 99th Indian Infantry Brigade as well as the 22nd (East Africa) Infantry Brigade.[2]

Order of Battle 1st March, 1945[edit]

British 3-inch mortar detachments support the 19th Indian Division's advance along the Mawchi Road, east of Toungoo, Burma. The mortar proved the most effective weapon in jungle warfare.

General Officer commanding: Major General Thomas Wynford Rees
Commander, Royal Artillery: Brigadier John Alexander MacDonald
Chief of Staff (GSO1): Lieutenant Colonel John Masters

62nd Indian Infantry Brigade (Brigadier James Ronald Morris)
2nd Battalion, Welch Regiment
3rd Battalion, 6th Rajputana Rifles
4th Battalion, 6th Gurkha Rifles
64th Indian Infantry Brigade (Brigadier John Godfrey Flewett)
2nd Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment
5th Battalion, 10th Baluch Regiment
1st Battalion, 6th Gurkha Rifles
98th Indian Infantry Brigade (Brigadier Charles Ian Jerrard)
2nd Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment
8th Battalion, 12th Frontier Force Regiment
4th Battalion, 4th Gurkha Rifles
Divisional Units
7th Light Cavalry (attached) Stuart Tanks
1st Battalion, Assam Regiment (attached)
1st Battalion, 15th Punjab Regiment (Divisional reconnaissance regiment)
MG Battalion, 11th Sikh Regiment (Divisional Machine gun unit)
134th Medium Regiment, RA
4th Field Regiment, IA
5th Field Regiment, IA
115th Field Regiment, RA
20th Mountain Regiment, IA
33rd Anti-tank Regiment, RA (mixed anti-tank and light anti-aircraft batteries)
Queen Victoria's Own Madras Sappers & Miners, Indian Engineers
  • 64th Field Company, IE
  • 65th Field Company, IE
  • 327th Field Park Company, IE
Royal Bombay Sappers and Miners, Indian Engineers
  • 29th Field Company, IE
  • 9th Bridging Platoon

Postwar[edit]

Just before the Indian/Pakistani war of 1965 began, 19th Infantry Division was at Baramula under XV Corps (India). Its brigades were the 104th Brigade, Tithwal, the 161st Brigade, Uri and the 268th Indian Infantry Brigade, Baramula.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Kempton, Chris (2003). 'Loyalty & Honour'. The Indian Army September 1939 - August 1947. Part I: Divisions. Milton Keynes, U.K.: The Military Press. pp. 101–105. ISBN 0-85420-228-5. 
  2. ^ "19 Division units". Order of Battle. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Latimer, Jon Burma: The Forgotten War, London: John Murray, 2004 ISBN 0-7195-6576-6
  • Masters, John The Road Past Mandalay London:Cassell Military, Reprinted 2002 ISBN 0-304-36157-7

External links[edit]