British Armoured Divisions Order of Battle - Visual Timeline

Discussion in 'Higher Formations' started by SquireBev, May 20, 2021.

  1. SquireBev

    SquireBev Well-Known Member

    Evening all.

    Some of you are already aware of my efforts to create a comprehensive guide to British and Commonwealth Tank and Vehicle Markings.

    Many of you have helped with my research, for which I am forever grateful.

    Having now acquired quite the library of books, I've decided to expand into Orders of Battle, and produce some visual timelines of the composition of various units - particularly British Armoured Divisions and Brigades. Some of these can already be seen on the website, but I'm trying to go further.

    Armed with copies of Joslen, Bellis and Bevis, and the incredibly useful database at, I've set about starting work on a Complete Armoured Division Order of Battle Visual Timeline.

    A very early version comprising just the Guards Armoured Division and the 1st Armoured Division can be found at the link:

    And a sample of the general layout and design is shown below:


    I welcome your feedback, particular with regards to the readability and general user-friendliness of the design. And of course, if you spot any glaring errors, don't hesitate to point them out!

    Many thanks for your continued support in these endeavours.

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  2. SquireBev

    SquireBev Well-Known Member

  3. SquireBev

    SquireBev Well-Known Member

  4. SquireBev

    SquireBev Well-Known Member

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    SquireBev Well-Known Member

  6. SquireBev

    SquireBev Well-Known Member

  7. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Nice work. Some observations.

    1) Typo in 1 Army Tk Bde, should be Nov 1941, not 1939, not sure about the date.
    2) You are missing 22 Armoured Brigade for CRUSADER, joined end of October 1941
    3) In CRUSADER 4 Armoured Brigade did not come under 7 Armoured Division until around 20 November or thereabouts. It was subordinate to 30 Corps until then.
    4) 7 Support Group operated independently in January 1941, the division HQ had been withdrawn at the end of December I think.
    5) You're missing a lot of artillery and armoured car units for CRUSADER I think?

    All the best

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  8. JDKR

    JDKR Member

    Excellent work and my congratulations for all your effort. I would just make one observation regarding 7 Armd Div's orbat in 1945. While you are strictly correct with regard to brigade and unit affiliations, by 1945 the armoured and infantry brigades fought as mixed armoured and infantry brigade groups; thus 22 Armd Bde Gp in April 45 comprised 8th Hussars paired with 1 RB, and 1 RTR paired with 1/5 Queens. You could, if you so wished, add a footnote to reflect this. Best. John
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  9. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

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  10. SquireBev

    SquireBev Well-Known Member

    Thank you. I'll re-check my sources and update accordingly. I'm mainly working from a first edition of Joslen at the moment, but I'm sure the mistakes are mine and not his!

    As for the movements around Operation Crusader, I've been torn over whether or not to include temporary attachments made for particular battles and operations. If I were to include every such attachment it could get very messy.

    But I will see what I can do, as I do need some way to properly explain that the 8th AD, for instance, never operated as a complete formation, with its units being parcelled out to other formations.

    Thank you. I believe the Guards adopted a similar structure. I might need to introduce another "layer" in order to incorporate this into the diagram. I'll see if I can find a way without making it excessively busy.

    Well spotted, thank you! I must have been looking at 1941...
  11. Aixman

    Aixman War Establishment addict Patron

    When I put Joslens books into tables, with upcoming scanners in the mid-nineties, I found several contradictions. So it might be him, too. But I don't blame him while I'm trying myself to make a full War Establishment table (1932 - 1945). A long period over years and of many hours, many chances to let concentration fade away. I admire Joslen for his work, especially given that information in the fifties was much harder to obtain.

    Thank you for your work. I didn't check yet as I'm no specialist anyway, but will use it as a handy graphic basis. Every hint from members in doubt adds to the quality rather than revealing mistakes.

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  12. MarkN

    MarkN Banned

    I suspect he had far more access to documents and data than we do now.

    Joslen was one of the official historians employed full-time by the tax payer to produce work such as his orbats as well as to assist the efforts of external or other approved historians.

    The point being, he could summon up the original documents from storage and/or contact persons responsible in an official capacity.

    His restriction was a lack of digital support having just pencil, pen, paper and clerk with a typewriter.
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  13. SquireBev

    SquireBev Well-Known Member

    • Added 10th Armoured Division
    • A few corrections to dates and names
    Latest PDF version:


    I'm not 100% happy with this one. A lot of units seem to be assigned to the division for a matter of a few days, and so I've really struggled to fit their names in the space available. I'm also unsure about seniority/precedence of Indian regiments, so I might have made a couple of errors there. I've only got Volume I of Joslen, so I'm hamstrung by the lack of information on Indian units and formations.

    I'm still working on a way of showing temporary/tactical attachments for particular battles and operations. I've tried a few things with overlay layers but it just looks a mess. I may yet end up producing a whole separate diagram, leaving this one to show "official" assignments - units and formations assigned to divisions for administrative purposes - and another to show the actual picture in the field - temporary attachments, warts and all. It'll keep me busy if nothing else!

    Feedback, as ever, is welcome.
  14. SquireBev

    SquireBev Well-Known Member

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    SquireBev Well-Known Member

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