59th (Staffordshire) Division 1939-1944

Organization

Battalion

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:

36Officers809Other Ranks
34Webley revolvers32Sten guns (submachine guns)
695No. 4 Lee-Enfield rifles63Bren guns (light machine guns)
262-inch mortars63-inch mortars
23PIAT anti-tank launchers66-pounder anti-tank guns

Regiment

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.

Brigade

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.

Division

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.

Corps, Army, Army Group

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.


Abbreviations

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

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http://59div.morssweb.com/?divorg - August 11, 2011
original text and graphics copyright © 2014 Robert Morss