6th Airborne Division order of battle

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The emblem of the Second World war British Airborne Forces, Bellerophon riding the flying horse Pegasus.

The 6th Airborne Division order of battle only lists those units assigned to the division, units only attached for short periods of time are not included.

The 6th Airborne Division was the second of two airborne divisions formed by the British Army during the Second World War.[1] Raised in 1943, the division fought in the Normandy landings (Operation Deadstick, Operation Tonga, Operation Mallard, Battle of Breville), the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 and January 1945. The division then participated in Operation Varsity the second airborne assault over the River Rhine during the war. Afterwards the division advanced north to the Baltic sea, reaching Wismar by the end of the war.[2]

In the immediate post war period the 1st Airborne Division was disbanded leaving the 6th as the only airborne division in the British Army.[3] Near the end of 1945, the division was named the Imperial Strategic Reserve and posted to the Middle East and deployed in an internal security role, during unrest in the British mandate of Palestine. By 1948, the British Army numbers had returned to peace time levels and the division was disbanded leaving the independent 2nd Parachute Brigade as the only regular army airborne formation.[4]

Order of battle[edit]

Second World War[edit]

The Second World War formation, that participated in the Normandy landings,[5] and Rhine Crossing.[6]

1946[edit]

This represents the division formation on arrival in the Middle East.[7]

  • 3rd Parachute Brigade
  • Divisional troops
    • 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment
    • 53rd (Worcester Yeomanry) Airlanding Light Regiment
    • 2nd Airlanding Anti-Tank Regiment
    • 2nd Forward Observer Unit
    • 1st Airborne Squadron, Royal Engineers
    • 9th Airborne Squadron, Royal Engineers
    • 286th Airborne Park squadron, Royal Engineers
    • 6th Airborne Divisional Signals
    • 21st Independent Parachute Company
    • 63rd Composite Company (Airborne), Royal Army Service Corps
    • 398th Composite Company (Airborne), Royal Army Service Corps
    • 716th Company (Airborne Light), Royal Army Service Corps
    • 127th (Parachute) Field Ambulance
    • 224th (Parachute) Field Ambulance
    • 195th (Airlanding) Field Ambulance
    • 74th Field Hygiene section
    • 6th Airborne Division Ordnance, Field Park Royal Army Ordnance Corps
    • 6th Airborne Division Workshops. Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
    • 6th Airborne Division Battle School
    • 6th Airborne Division Training School
    • 6th Airborne Division Provost Company
    • 317th Field Security Section
    • 16th Field Cash Office (Light)
    • 6th Airborne Division Air Photographic Interpretation Section
    • 2nd Mobile Photographic Enlargement Section
    • 6th Airborne Division Postal Unit

1947[edit]

By January 1947, the 6th Airlanding Brigade, the 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment, the 21st Independent Parachute Company had been disbanded and the 286th Airborne Park Squadron were renumbered the 249th.[8]

  • 2nd Parachute Brigade
    • 4th Parachute Battalion
    • 5th (Scottish) Parachute Battalion
    • 6th (Royal Welch) Parachute Battalion
  • 3rd Parachute Brigade
    • 3rd Parachute Battalion
    • 8th (Midlands) Parachute Battalion
    • 9th (Eastern and Home Counties) Parachute Battalion
  • Divisional troops
    • 3rd The King's Own Hussars
    • 53rd (Worcester Yeomanry) Airlanding Light Regiment
    • 2nd Airlanding Anti-Tank Regiment
    • 2nd Forward Observer Unit
    • 1st Airborne Squadron, Royal Engineers
    • 9th Airborne Squadron, Royal Engineers
    • 249th Airborne Park Squadron, Royal Engineers
    • 6th Airborne Divisional Signals
    • No. 1 Wing, Glider Pilot Regiment
    • 63rd Composite Company (Airborne), Royal Army Service Corps
    • 398th Composite Company (Airborne), Royal Army Service Corps
    • 716th Company (Airborne Light), Royal Army Service Corps
    • 127th (Parachute) Field Ambulance
    • 224th (Parachute) Field Ambulance
    • 195th (Airlanding) Field Ambulance
    • 74th Field Hygiene section
    • 6th Airborne Division Ordnance, Field Park Royal Army Ordnance Corps
    • 6th Airborne Division Workshops. Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
    • 6th Airborne Division Battle School
    • 6th Airborne Division Training School
    • 6th Airborne Division Provost Company
    • 317th Field Security Section
    • 16th Field Cash Office (Light)
    • 6th Airborne Division Air Photographic Interpretation Section
    • 2nd Mobile Photographic Enlargement Section
    • 6th Airborne Division Postal Unit

1948[edit]

The division had been reduced to two parachute brigades and supporting troops, the majority of which served in Palestine, while the 2nd Parachute Brigade was based in England.[9]

  • Divisional troops
    • 3rd The King's Own Hussars
    • 33rd Airborne Light Regiment
    • 66th Airlanding Anti-Tank Regiment
    • 334th Forward Observer Unit
    • 1st Airborne Squadron, Royal Engineers
    • 3rd Airborne Squadron, Royal Engineers (Based in England)
    • 9th Airborne Squadron, Royal Engineers
    • 147th Airborne Park Squadron, Royal Engineers
    • 6th Airborne Divisional Signals
    • 63rd Company (Parachute Brigade), Royal Army Service Corps (Based in England)
    • 398th Company (Parachute Brigade), Royal Army Service Corps
    • 716th Company (Parachute Brigade), Royal Army Service Corps
    • 23rd (Parachute) Field Ambulance (Based in England)
    • 195th (Parachute) Field Ambulance
    • 224th (Parachute) Field Ambulance
    • 74th Field Hygiene Section
    • 16th Field Hygiene Section
    • 17th Field Hygiene Section
    • 6th Airborne Division Ordnance Field Park, Royal Army Ordnance Corps
    • 1st Airborne Workshops, Royal Army Ordnance Corps
    • 2nd Airborne Workshops, Royal Army Ordnance Corps (Based in England)
    • 3rd Airborne Workshops, Royal Army Ordnance Corps
    • 6th Airborne Division Battle School
    • 6th Airborne Division Training School
    • 6th Airborne Division Provost Company
    • 317th Field Security Section
    • 16th Field Cash Office (Light)
    • 6th Airborne Division Air Photographic Interpretation Section
    • 2nd Mobile Photographic Enlargement Section
    • 6th Airborne Division Postal Unit

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Ferguson, p.15
  2. ^ Ferguson, pp.17–30
  3. ^ Ferguson, p.31
  4. ^ Ferguson, p.46
  5. ^ "The British Airborne Assault". Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom). Retrieved 27 July 2011. 
  6. ^ Ferguson, p.16
  7. ^ Wilson, pp.212–213
  8. ^ Wilson, pp.214–215
  9. ^ Wilson, pp.216–217

References[edit]

  • Ferguson, Gregor (1984). The Paras 1940-84. Volume 1 of Elite series. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 0-85045-573-1. 
  • Wilson, R. Dare. With 6th Airborne Division in Palestine 1945–1948. Barnsley, United Kingdom: Pen and Sword Military. ISBN 978-1-84415-771-6.