The battalion is the basic unit of combat, with a strength of 36 officers and 600 to 800 enlisted men.
In World War Two the British Army battalion was composed of various sub-units: sections, platoons, and companies.
- Three ten-man sections made up a platoon, commanded by a lieutenant.
- Three platoons in turn comprised a rifle company, under a major or captain.
Each infantry battalion had a headquarters company, four rifle companies, and a support company (with carrier, pioneer, mortar, and anti-tank gun platoons).
Authorised personnel and equipment for an infantry battalion, June 1944:
|34||Webley revolvers||32||Sten guns (submachine guns)|
|695||No. 4 Lee-Enfield rifles||63||Bren guns (light machine guns)|
|26||2-inch mortars||6||3-inch mortars|
|23||PIAT anti-tank launchers||6||6-pounder anti-tank guns|
The regiment was an administrative organization only, with no combat function. Each regiment consisted of a number of battalions. Newly organized battalions were assigned to a regiment generally by geographical origin, irrespective of regimental unity. The battalions of a regiment have only their regimental name in common no effort was made to group the battalions of a regiment together for training or fighting.
Infantry brigades consisted of three battalions which would typically be employed in combat as a unit, supported by divisional assets which varied depending on the requirements of the combat assignment.
For armour support, an entire armoured brigade would report to the infantry division HQ, which in turn would allocate smaller armoured formations to its brigades.
An infantry division consisted of three infantry brigades, which bore the primarily responsibility for carrying out the division's combat assignments, and a full complement of supporting divisional assets artillery, engineers, transport, supply, special weapons, etc.
The strength of 59 Division just before going to Normandy was 1,147 officers and 21,575 enlisted men.
Two or more divisions made up a corps 59 Division was part of 12 Corps (Lieut. Gen. Ritchie), the invasion follow-up corps, along with 43rd (Wessex) and 53rd (Welsh) Divisions. 59 was also "loaned" to the other British corps in Normandy as required by the operational situation.
Two or more corps formed an army 12 Corps was part of the British 2nd Army (General Dempsey), along with 1 Corps, 30 Corps, and 8 Corps.
Two or more armies formed an army group in Normandy, 21st Army Group was under the command of Field-Marshal Montgomery and consisted of British 2nd Army and Canadian 1st Army.
ARE : Assault Regiment Royal Engineers
Bde : Brigade
Bty : Battery
Coy : Company
Fd : Field
HJ : Hitlerjugend (12th SS Panzer Div)
KG : Kampfgruppe (battle group)
LAH : Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler (1st SS Panzer Div)
LF : Lancashire Fusiliers
MG : Machine Gun
Ostubaf : Obersturmbannführer
ORs : Other Ranks
RA : Royal Artillery
RAC : Royal Armoured Corps
RASC : Royal Army Service Corps
RE : Royal Engineers
Regt : Regiment
REME : Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
RNF : Royal Northumberland Fusiliers
SP : Self-propelled artillery
Sqdn : Squadron