31st Indian Armoured Division

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1st Indian Armoured Division
31st Indian Armoured Division
31st indian armoured div.svg
Formation sign of the 31st Indian Armoured Division.[1]
Active 1940–present
Country British Raj British India
Allegiance  British Empire
Branch British Raj Red Ensign.svg British Indian Army
 Indian Army
Type Armoured
Size Division
Equipment Stuart tank
M3 Lee
M4 Sherman
Engagements World War II
Thomas Corbett
Robert Wordsworth

The 31st Indian Armoured Division was an armoured division of the Indian Army during World War II, formed in 1940, originally as the 1st Indian Armoured Division; it consisted of units of the British Army and the British Indian Army. When it was raised, it consisted of two Armoured Brigades (the 1st and 2nd Indian Armoured Brigades) and one Motor Brigade (the 3rd Indian Motor Brigade).


At the end of 1941, by which time the 1st Indian Support Group had joined the division, it had been renamed as the 31st Indian Armoured Division and its brigades redesignated as the 251st and 252nd Indian Armoured Brigades and the 31st Indian Support Group (the Motor Brigade's name remained unchanged).

In mid-1942, by which time the support group had been disbanded, the 251st brigade was detached and the rest of the division was shipped to join the British Tenth Army and served in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The division never saw combat, although the 3rd Indian Motor Brigade was detached to Egypt and saw heavy action in the Western Desert Campaign during 1941 & 1942 and again in 1944 and 1945 when, reformed as the 43rd Indian Infantry Brigade (Lorried), it was sent to the Italian Campaign as an independent brigade. The closest the rest of the division came to combat was in April 1944 when it was rushed to Egypt to crush a mutiny among the Greek 1st Infantry Brigade.

The Tank Regiments received M4 Shermans in November 1943, thought to be in preparation for a transfer to Italy, which never came about, and only drove them in Iraq, Syria and Egypt.[2][3]

The Division is now active as part of the present-day Indian Army, headquartered at Jhansi as part of XXI Corps.

Formation 1942[edit]

Commander: Major General Robert Wordsworth
Commander Royal Artillery: Brigadier C.P.B. Wilson

252nd Indian Armoured Brigade[edit]

3rd Indian Motor Brigade[edit]

An Indian Pattern Carrier Mk IIA named 'Dhar IV', North Africa of the type used by 3rd Indian Motor Brigade

Divisional Units[edit]


  1. ^ Cole p. 83
  2. ^ India’s Armour.By Mike Bennighof
  3. ^ "avalanchepress". 
  4. ^ a b c Mackenzie (1951), p. 71
  5. ^ "orbat" (PDF). 


  • Cole, Howard (1973). Formation Badges of World War 2. Britain, Commonwealth and Empire. London: Arms and Armour Press. 
  • Mackenzie, Compton (1951). Eastern Epic. London: Chatto & Windus. 623 pages. OCLC 1412578.