1st Armoured Division 1940

Shield depicting the divisional emblem of First Armoured Division and the cap badges of the constituent regiments

The division, under the command of Major-General Roger Evans, comprised two Armoured Brigades. The 2nd, under Brigadier R. L. McCreery, contained the 2nd Queen's Bays, 9th Queen's Royal Lancers and 10th Royal Hussars (the so-called 'Light' Brigade).

The 3rd 'Heavy' Brigade, under Brigadier J.G. Crocker, comprised 2nd, 3rd and 5th Battalions of The Royal Tank Regiment ('R Tanks').


The regiments of both brigades were similarly organized, being battalion strength. In theory, each had a regimental HQ of Cruiser tanks and Vickers light tanks and three company-sized squadrons, each with an HQ of Cruiser and close-support Cruiser tanks and two platoon-sized troops of Cruiser tanks and two of Vickers light tanks.

The cruiser tanks were a mixture of A9 Cruiser Mk I, A10 Cruiser Mk II, A13 Cruiser Mk III, and A13 Mk II Cruiser Mk IV types.



Despatched to France in mid-May 1940, 3rd RTR was wiped out in fighting at Calais. The remainder of the formation, the bulk, was shipped to Normandy. The division was only partially assembled, when it was dragged into the desperate battles on the Somme, in a counter-attack aimed at stemming the German advance. Against well dug in artillery and anti-tank guns, the losses were extremely heavy and the combined British and French operation failed to dislodge the enemy. From this point began the long retreat across France to the western ports of Cherbourg and Brest, from where the surviving personnel were evacuated.


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