2nd Anti-Aircraft Division (United Kingdom)

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2nd Anti-Aircraft Division
Active 15 December 1935–1 October 1942
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg Territorial Army
Type Anti-Aircraft Division
Role Air Defence
Part of Northern Command (1936–39)
Anti-Aircraft Command (1939–40)
2 AA Corps (1940–42)
Engagements The Blitz

2nd Anti-Aircraft Division (2 AA Division) was an Air Defence formation of the British Army from 1935 to 1942. It controlled anti-aircraft gun and searchlight units of the Territorial Army (TA) defending the East Midlands and East Anglia during The Blitz.

Origin[edit]

In December 1935 the TA's 46th (North Midland) Division (which also acted as HQ for the North Midland Area of Northern Command) was disbanded and its headquarters was converted into 2nd Anti-Aircraft (AA) Division to control the increasing number of AA units being created. At first it administered all AA units in Great Britain outside London and the Home Counties, which were covered by 1st AA Division. The new division was first organised at York, but shortly afterwards took over 46 Division's HQ at Normanton, Derby.[1][2][3]

Order of Battle[edit]

By the end of 1936 the division had the following order of battle:[1][3]

General Officer Commanding: Major-General M.F. Grove-White

40, 41, 42, 44 and 46 AA Battalions had previously been infantry battalions in 46th Division.[3]

In 1938 the Royal Artillery replaced the traditional unit designation 'Brigade' by 'Regiment', which allowed the AA Groups to take the more usual formation title of Brigades.

As the expansion of air defences gathered pace after the Munich Crisis, new units and formations appeared. In November 1938, 31 and 33 AA Bdes transferred to the newly formed 7 AA Division and 4 AA Division respectively. In 1939, 30 AA Bde also joined 7 AA Division.[4] They were replaced in 2 AA Division by new brigades. In April 1939, AA Command was formed to control all the AA gun and searchlight defences of the UK.

Mobilisation[edit]

On the outbreak of war 2 AA Division had the following order of battle:[5][6]

HQ: RAF Hucknall

In August 1940, all RE AA battalions became Searchlight regiments of the RA, and AA regiments became Heavy AA (HAA) regiments to distinguish them from the new Light AA (LAA) regiments.

The Blitz[edit]

By late 1940, 2 AA Division formed part of 2 AA Corps.[4] The brigades were the same, but their locations and composition had changed:[7][8]

General Officer Commanding:

  • Major-General M.F. Grove-White (promoted to command 2 AA Corps on 12 November 1940)
  • Major-General F.L.M. Crossman, DSO, MC (until disbandment)
  • 32 AA Bde covering the East Midlands
  • 50 AA Bde covering Derby & Nottingham
    • 67 HAA
    • 113 HAA (part)
    • 28 LAA
    • 38 LAA (part)
    • 64 LAA (part)
    • 42 S/L
    • 38 S/L (part)
    • 50 S/L
  • 2 AA Divisional Signals

In September 1941, 2 AA Division also formed 15 AA 'Z' Regiment, RA, equipped with Z Battery rocket projectiles.[9]

Disbandment[edit]

2 AA Division, like the other AA Corps and Divisions, was disbanded and replaced on 1 October 1942 by a new AA Group structure. The Midlands and East Anglia were covered by 5 AA Group.[4]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Norman E.H. Litchfield, The Territorial Artillery 1908–1988 (Their Lineage, Uniforms and Badges), Nottingham: Sherwood Press, 1992, ISBN 0-9508205-2-0.

External sources[edit]