30th Armoured Brigade

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30th Armoured Brigade
The British Army in North-west Europe 1944-45 B12028.jpg
Sherman Crab flail tanks of the Westminster Dragoons carry infantry of the 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders during the advance east of Beringe, 22 November 1944.
Active1940–1945
Disbanded31 August 1945
CountryUnited Kingdom
BranchBritish Army
TypeArmoured brigade
RoleInfantry support
EquipmentSherman Crab
EngagementsWestern Front (1944–1945)
Battle honoursThe Rhineland (8 February – 10 March 1945)
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Brigadier Nigel W. Duncan (1943–1945)

The 30th Armoured Brigade was a World War II British Army unit that served in the campaign in Western Europe as part of the 79th Armoured Division.[1]

Unit history[edit]

A Valentine tank of 30th Armoured Brigade which broke down in a stream during exercises near Kirkby Lonsdale in Lancashire, 1 April 1942.
A disabled Sherman Crab flail tank of the Westminster Dragoons on Sword Beach, 7 June 1944.
Brigadier N. W. Duncan, commander of 30th Armoured Brigade, observes the attack on Caen from beside his Humber Scout Car outside Beuville, 8 July 1944.

The 30th Armoured Brigade was created on 27 December 1940[1][2] as part of Northern Command.[2] It was initially formed from the 2nd Battalion, The Queen's Westminsters, a motorized infantry unit, which was joined by a cavalry unit, the 23rd Hussars, three days later, on 30 December.[3] Just over a week later, on 8 January 1941, the 23rd Hussars were replaced by the 22nd Dragoons,[3] and on 28 January the brigade was transferred to Western Command.[2]

On 8 March the brigade was augmented with the addition of another cavalry unit, the 2nd County of London Yeomanry (Westminster Dragoons)[3], and the following day another armoured regiment, the 1st Lothians and Border Yeomanry was added,[3] and the brigade also became part of the 11th Armoured Division, alongside the 29th Brigade,[2] for training, under the command of Major-General Percy Hobart, and operating the Valentine tank. Soon after, on 22 March, the 2nd Queen's Westminsters were renamed the 12th Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps.[3]

On 20 April 1942 the brigade was briefly transferred to the 3rd Armoured Group, and on 13 May it was transferred again to the 42nd Armoured Division.[2] The brigade lost the 12th KRRC on 15 October 1943,[3] and two days later, on 17 October was transferred for the last time, joining the 79th Armoured Division,[2] and finding itself once again under the overall command of Percy Hobart.

It now consisted of three Armoured units - the 22nd Dragoons, 1st Lothian and Border Yeomanry, and the Westminster Dragoons - that would remain the backbone of the brigade. After a succession of officers, command was assumed by Brigadier Nigel W. Duncan on 6 December 1943.[4] Duncan would command the brigade during its active service from D-Day until after the end of the war in Europe.

By the time of the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944 all three units of the 30th Armoured Brigade were operating the Sherman Crab flail tank, designed to clear paths through minefields and other obstructions.[5] However in common with other 79th Division units they rarely found themselves operating together. On D-Day itself, 'A' Squadron of the 22nd Dragoons, and two troops of 'C' Squadron, landed on Sword Beach with the first wave, while the 22nd's 'B' Squadron landed on Juno Beach, with the remainder of 'C' Squadron, landing there later in the day. The Westminster Dragoons 'B' and 'C' Squadrons landed alongside the 50th Infantry Division on 'Jig' and 'King' sectors of Gold Beach in the first wave,[6] with 'A' Squadron landing later in the day on 'Queen' sector of Sword Beach.[7] The 1st Lothian and Border Yeomanry did not arrive in France until 12 July, but soon found itself in action around Caen.[8]

30th Brigade continued in action for the rest of the war, taking part in several operations, including the assault on Le Havre in September 1944,[9] the invasion of Walcheren ("Operation Infatuate II") in November 1944,[8] and the crossing of the Rhine in March 1945.[9]

It also had various additional units attached to it temporarily. The 141st Regiment Royal Armoured Corps was part of the brigade from July to September 1944,[3] and the 11th Royal Tank Regiment was added from December 1944 to January 1945.[3] 11th RTR returned with 4th Royal Tank Regiment at the end of March 1945 until the end of April.[3]

Finally, the 22nd Dragoons, the 1st Lothians and Border Yeomanry and the Westminster Dragoons were all transferred from the brigade on 31 August 1945, bringing its existence to an end.[3]

Order of Battle[edit]

Source[3]
Unit From To
2nd Battalion, The Queen's Westminsters
(renamed 12th Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps on 22 March 1941)
27 December 1940 15 October 1943
23rd Hussars 30 December 1940 8 January 1941
22nd Dragoons 8 January 1941 31 August 1945
2nd County of London Yeomanry (Westminster Dragoons) 8 March 1941 31 August 1945
1st Lothians and Border Yeomanry 9 March 1941 31 August 1945
141st Regiment Royal Armoured Corps
(formerly 7th Battalion, The Buffs)
2 July 1944 4 September 1944
11th Royal Tank Regiment 22 December 1944 27 January 1945
4th Royal Tank Regiment 30 March 1945 25 April 1945
11th Royal Tank Regiment 31 March 1945 25 April 1945

Commanders[edit]

Source[4]
Name From To Notes
Brigadier J. H. Anstice 31 December 1940 14 April 1941 Later CO 7th & 8th Armoured Brigades
Lieutenant-Colonel J. G. Crabbe 14 April 1941 13 May 1941
Brigadier Sir C. F. Keightley 13 May 1941 24 December 1941 Later CO 11th and 6th Armoured Divs.,
78th Div., and V Corps.
Brigadier J. J. Kingstone 24 December 1941 4 March 1942
Brigadier O. L. Prior-Palmer 4 March 1942 26 August 1942 Later CO 29th & 7th Armoured Brigades.
MP for Worthing 1945–1964.
Brigadier J. A. Aizlewood 24 August 1942 3 December 1942 Later CO 42nd Armoured Div.
Lieutenant-Colonel J. G. Crabbe 3 December 1942 13 January 1943
Lieutenant-Colonel G. L. Craig 13 January 1943 16 January 1943
Brigadier P. G. S. Gregson-Ellis 16 January 1943 20 July 1943 Later CO 1st (Guards) Bde. & 5th Div.
Brigadier G. P. B. Roberts 20 July 1943 6 December 1943 Later CO 11th & 7th Armoured Divs.
Brigadier N. W. Duncan 6 December 1943 20 May 1945 Later Director, Royal Armoured Corps Centre,
& Curator, The Tank Museum.[9]
Lieutenant-Colonel C. J. Y. Dallmeyer 20 May 1945 8 July 1945 CO, 1st Lothians and Border Yeomanry.[10]
Brigadier N. W. Duncan 8 July 1945 31 August 1945

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Organization of British Armoured Brigades 1939–1945" (PDF). Combined Arms Research Library. U.S. Army. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 January 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "30 Armoured Brigade: Unit Superiors". Orders of Battle Military Unit Database. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "30 Armoured Brigade: Order of Battle". Orders of Battle Military Unit Database. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  4. ^ a b "30 Armoured Brigade: Command Appointments". Orders of Battle Military Unit Database. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  5. ^ "M4A4 Sherman V Flail". The Tank Museum, Bovington. Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  6. ^ "The Westminster Dragoons - 2nd County of London Yeomanry". The Tank Museum. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  7. ^ Ramsey, Jim (3 June 2004). "D-Day Memories of a Tank Gunner: With 'A' Squadron Westminster Dragoons". BBC History. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Tpr. James Douglas Scott: 1st Lothian & Border Horse". Wartime Memories Project. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  9. ^ a b c "Nigel W. Duncan". The Tank Museum. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  10. ^ "Allied Forces: Infatuate II (Westkapelle)" (PDF). Zeeland 1940–1945 (in Dutch). Retrieved 10 December 2018.

External links[edit]