Amphib Training 1941 - 1942

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Sid Guttridge
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Re: Amphib Training 1941 - 1942

Post by Sid Guttridge » 12 Mar 2021 17:56

Hi Aber,

I think you are largely right.

From memory, at the time of the Munich Crisis in 1938, the UK could send only two divisions to the continent.

The division we are talking about here, 3rd Division, included 7th Guards Brigade containing the senior Guards battalions, which presumably were also engaged in ceremonial duties, so it may well not have been fully worked up as a full formation, no matter how many beaches 8th and 9th Brigades ran up and down.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Sheldrake
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Re: Amphib Training 1941 - 1942

Post by Sheldrake » 12 Mar 2021 18:50

Sid Guttridge wrote:
12 Mar 2021 11:15
Hi Sheldrake,

Another problem was that divisions weren't together for long. Each regiment had two regular battalions, one of which was usually on an overseas posting in the Empire. They were rotated every few years, with the result that the OB of the few Home divisions was in continual flux. There was no guarantee that any of the battalions that took part in the landing exercises of 8th Brigade in 1936 were still with the brigade in 1939.

Cheers,

Sid.
Rotations were around four - eight years. Drafts were sent annually. The routine rotation, what we might call the arms plot stopped on mobilisation.

3 Division seems to have kept five out of the six battalions in the two brigades in the 1938 exercise.

Amphibious Exercise 1938
8th Infantry Brigade
1st Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
2nd Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment
2nd Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment

9th Infantry Brigade
2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment
1st Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers
2nd Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles

7th Guards Brigade

D Day 1944
8th Brigade (assault brigade)
1st Battalion Suffolk Regiment
2nd Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment
1st Battalion South Lancashire Regiment

9th Brigade
2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment
1st Battalion King's Own Scottish Borderers
2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles

185 Brigade


It only lost 2nd Gloucesters in early 1944 to make up 56 Independent Infantry Brigade, an additional infantry brigade formed from Home Forces and deployed under 50 Div Command on D Day. There was some logic to this as 2nd Gloucesters had been trained as an assault battalion since May 1943 and would provide some expertise in a brigade where the other units had not.

There was a massive mess around due to higher level restructuring, forming lots of armoured divisions and the experiment in 1942-43 to restructure all infantry divisions as "Mixed", and then restructuring back....

7th Guards Brigade became the Support Group for the Guards Armoured Division Sep 1941 and was replaced by the 37th Independent Brigade 27/11 /41 ,(6R Sussex, 2/6 Surreys & 2 SWB) which was then renumber 7th Brigade 8/12/41. (Got this so far?) 3 Div then lost 7 Inf Bde to 9th Panzer/Panda Div in June 1942 and got 34 armoured Brigade in exchange as part of Paget's mixed division experiment and received 185 Brigade back in April 1943 when 34 Armoured Brigade became independent. 185 Brigade was formed from 204 Independent infantry Brigade (Home), formed from No 4 Infantry Training Group in Oct 1940. It was renumbered 185 when it became the Motor brigade for 79th Armoured Division on formation Sep 1942, and was no longer needed when 79 Armoured became the formation HQ for the Funnies. This makes the D Day role for 185 rational. As the motor brigade for an armoured division it was the logical pick for a motorised dash inland on D Day.

At the same time the whole formation moved regularly around the UK from the south coast to Hertfordshire, then back to Hampshire, then Kent then to scotland and then back to Sussex before D Day. All self inflicted. no enemy action needed to disrupt the British Army. It is quite capable of plenty of nugatory work left to its own devices, the technical terms being nearly burgering about and effing around.
Last edited by Sheldrake on 12 Mar 2021 19:08, edited 3 times in total.

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Sheldrake
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Re: Amphib Training 1941 - 1942

Post by Sheldrake » 12 Mar 2021 18:55

Aber wrote:
12 Mar 2021 17:30
Sid Guttridge wrote:
12 Mar 2021 11:15
Another problem was that divisions weren't together for long.
From memory, did divisions really exist interwar?

I thought they pretty much existed on paper, and exercises above Brigade level were unusual?
Yes.

However, the British did conduct several significant exercises in the 1920s and 30's including the experimental mobile brigade and the concept of how tanks and mechaniozed troops would work.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experimen ... ized_Force
https://tankdevelopment.blogspot.com/20 ... 934-6.html

The Army was the third priority for defence spending.

Hamilton claims that the idea for the amphibious exercise was Montgomery's and he was given the go ahead at least in part to siognal that the Army was thinking about the need to deploy Expeditionary Forces and wasn't it time the politicians accepted we might need one.

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Re: Amphib Training 1941 - 1942

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 20 Mar 2021 05:00

Picking through all this Im starting to think there was not a brigades worth of suitable transports and assault craft in 1941. There was three corps worth by the time of the TORCH operations, but that lot seems to have been mostly built and crews trained in 1942.

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Re: Amphib Training 1941 - 1942

Post by Richard Anderson » 20 Mar 2021 08:04

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
20 Mar 2021 05:00
Picking through all this Im starting to think there was not a brigades worth of suitable transports and assault craft in 1941. There was three corps worth by the time of the TORCH operations, but that lot seems to have been mostly built and crews trained in 1942.
Three corps? More like three divisions Carl. Each amphibious task force was essentially a reinforced division.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Amphib Training 1941 - 1942

Post by daveshoup2MD » 20 Mar 2021 09:27

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
20 Mar 2021 05:00
Picking through all this Im starting to think there was not a brigades worth of suitable transports and assault craft in 1941. There was three corps worth by the time of the TORCH operations, but that lot seems to have been mostly built and crews trained in 1942.
There were corps and aviation troops included for TORCH, but I'd put it more like:

WTF - 3rd ID; 9th ID (-); one CC from 2nd AD; 34K; call it two division equivalents;
CTF - 1st ID; 1st AD (-); 39K; again, call it two division equivalents;
ETF - 34th ID (-); Br. 78th ID (-); 1 RCT from the US 9th ID; 33K; again, pretty close to two divisions equivalents.

Since you made the point of saying "by the time of the TORCH operations" seems fair to include the US amphibious forces in other theaters; going by WATCHTOWER, that's about 16,000 in assault shipping, so another division, at least.

Overall, call it 120,000 - that's a rough equivalent to six reinforced divisions, and all in ocean-going shipping, so (very roughly) two corps, total?

Still pretty impressive, considering how little dedicated assault shipping the RN or USN had in existence, even a year earlier.

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Re: Amphib Training 1941 - 1942

Post by EwenS » 20 Mar 2021 14:00

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
20 Mar 2021 05:00
Picking through all this Im starting to think there was not a brigades worth of suitable transports and assault craft in 1941. There was three corps worth by the time of the TORCH operations, but that lot seems to have been mostly built and crews trained in 1942.
You are correct that there was not much dedicated Landing Ship Infantry and other assault shipping in 1941. But in terms of larger troop transports / LSI that was something that persisted in the RN throughout the war and hides something else.

Starting with Operation Ironclad in May 1942 much of the British troop lift in landing operations came from merchant passenger/cargo liners diverted temporarily to the task and given LCA instead of lifeboats. They might only be taken up for one operation before being returned to their main task of shipping personnel around the world. Some took part in multiple operations. Some 40+ ships fall into this category ranging in size from about 3,000 tons to 27,000 tons.

Convoy KMF1 that took much of the British troop lift on Operation Torch had 30+ British controlled troop carriers (+3 US APA). Of those only about 8 were fully converted LSI.

From mid-1940 the following ships were taken in hand for conversion to LSI:-

The 3 Glens. HMS Glengyle*, Glenroy and Glenearn were probably the best British LSI conversions of the war carrying 700-1100 troops with conversion started in 1940. Glengyle, completed Sept 1940, was in the Med from early 1941. They were followed in 1942 by 3 more Keren*, Karajna* and Lamont.

Most of the remainder were converted cross channel / North Sea / Irish Sea ferries some of which were not necessarily fit for long ocean going voyages. They were more suited for the raiding style operations across the Channel and to Norway which was the main assault task in 1941. In 1941 these included:-

LSI(S)
HMS Prince Charles, Prince Leopold, Princes Astrid and Princes Josephine Charlotte capacity of 250 troops & 8 LCA all commissioned in May 1941.
HMS Prince Philippe, Prins Albert 250 troops & 8 LCA commissioned Jun & Sept 1941.

LSI(M)
HMS Queen Emma* & Princess Beatrix* capacity 372 troops & 6 LCA & 2 LCM both commissioned Jan 1941.

LSI (H) - H for hand hoisting
HMS Ulster Monarch* 580 troops 6 LCA 1942 conversion
HMS Royal Scotsman* & Royal Ulsterman* 830 troops 6 LCA 1942 conversion
HMS Duke of Wellington 250 troops & 10 LCA converted 1942.

* present in KMF1

In terms of major increase in dedicated LSI that didnt happen until the arrival of the 13 "Empire" class LSI(L) from the USA in late 1943 / early 1944.

1940 also saw the conversion of 2 train ferries to LSS (Landing Ship Stern Chute) to carry LCM (Princess Iris & Daffodil entering service in April & Jun 1941). 1941 also saw 3 tankers completed as LSG (Landing Ship Gantry) to carry LCM. 1941 also saw the conversion of the 3 Maracaibo tankers as the first LST and the ordering of the 3 Boxer class LST. LCT(1) production began in 1940 with LCT(3) from April 1941 and LCT(4) design beginning from about August.

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Re: Amphib Training 1941 - 1942

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 20 Mar 2021 22:28

Thx

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