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Guards Armoured Division
British XXX Corps cross the road bridge at Nijmegen .jpg

Guards tanks cross the road bridge at Nijmegen during its capture.
Active 17 June 1941–12 June 1945[1]
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
Type Armoured Division
Size 14,964 men[2][nb 1]
Engagements Operation Overlord
Operation Market Garden
Battle honours 18–23 July 1944 Bourguébus Ridge[3]
30 July 9–August 1944 Mont Pinçon[3]
17–27 September 1944 The Nederrijn[3]
6 February–10 March 1945 The Rhineland[3]
Sir Oliver Leese
Allan Adair

The Guards Armoured Division was a Second World War British Army formation.

The Guards Armoured Division was formed on 17 June 1941. The division remained in the United Kingdom, training, until 26 June 1944, when it landed in Normandy as part of VIII Corps. Its first major engagement was Operation Goodwood, the attack by three armoured divisions towards Bourguebus Ridge in an attempt to break out of the Normandy beachhead. That was followed by Operation Bluecoat, the advance east of Caen as the Falaise pocket formed. Transferred to XXX Corps, the division liberated Brussels. It led the XXX Corps attack in Operation Market Garden, the ground forces' advance to relieve airborne troops aiming to seize the bridges up to Arnhem, capturing Nijmegen bridge in conjunction with American paratroopers. During the battle of the Bulge, it was sent to the Meuse as a reserve in case the Germans broke through the American lines. It endured hard fighting in Operation Veritable, the advance towards the Rhine through the Reichswald, and again in the advance through Germany. The division existed until 12 June 1945, when it was reorganised as an infantry division, the Guards Division.


Order of battle

Although its paper organisation remained one armoured brigade and one mechanised infantry brigade, after Normandy the division generally fought as four combined-arms battlegroups, two under each brigade headquarters.

A Lloyd carrier of the anti-tank platoon of 3rd Battalion, Irish Guards explodes during 30 Corps advance up the Eindhoven road at the start of Operation 'Market-Garden'. 17 September 1944
Sherman tanks of the Irish Guards Group advance past others which were knocked out earlier during Operation 'Market-Garden'. 17 September 1944
A Sherman Firefly tank of the Irish Guards Group advances past Sherman tanks knocked out earlier during Operation 'Market-Garden'. 17 September 1944

Division Headquarters & Staff
General Staff Officer 1st grade (GSO1)

Lt.Col. D.S. Schreiber (01.07.1942 - 05.06.1944)
Lt.Col. P.R.C. Hobart (06.06.1944 - 02.09.1944)
Lt.Col. J.D. Hornung (03.09.1944 - 05.05.1945)

5th Guards Armoured Brigade

32nd Guards Brigade

  • 5th Battalion, Coldstream Guards
  • 3rd Battalion, Irish Guards
  • 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards

Support Units


Component units


  • 153rd Field Regiment, Royal Artillery 01/06/42-11/06/45
  • 55th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery 08/06/42-11/06/45
  • 21st Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery 01/06/42-29/05/45
  • 75th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery 01/06/42-11/06/45
  • 94th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery 01/06/42-11/06/45


  • 14th Field Squadron, Royal Engineers 04/08/41-11/06/45
  • 15th Field Squadron, Royal Engineers 01/08/45-22/02/43
  • 615th Field Squadron, Royal Engineers 01/03/43-11/06/43
  • 148th Field Park Squadron, Royal Engineers 04/08/41-11/06/45
  • 11th Bridging Troop, Royal Engineers 01/10/43-11/06/45


Scouting forces

Divisional infantry

  • 1st Independent Machine Gun Company 24/03/44-11/06/45


Higher formations served under

  • War Office Control 17 June–14 September 1941[1]
  • Southern Command 15 September 1941–17 March 1943[1]
  • VIII Corps 17 March 1943–19 June 1944[1]
  • XII Corps 19 June–27 June 1944[1]
  • Second Army 27 June–4 July 1944[1]
  • XII Corps 4 July–13 July 1944[1]
  • VIII Corps 13 July–23 July 1944[1]
  • Canadian II Corps 24 July–30 July 1944[1]
  • VIII Corps 30 July–28 August 1944[1]
  • XXX Corps 28 August–12 December 1944[1]
  • XII Corps 13 December–20 December 1944[1]
  • XXX Corps 20 December 1944–17 January 1945[1]
  • Canadian First Army 18 January–20 January 1945[1]
  • XXX Corps 21 January–7 March 1945[1]
  • Canadian II Corps 8 March–9 March 1945[1]
  • XXX Corps 10 March–15 April 1945[1]
  • XII Corps 16 April–27 April 1945[1]
  • XXX Corps 28 April–11 June 1945[1]

General Officer Commanding

The Guards Armoured Division only had two General Officer Commanding, during its existence:

Appointed General Officer Commanding
17 June 1941 Major-General Sir Oliver Leese, 3rd Baronet[1]
12 September 1942 Major-General Allan Adair[nb 2]


  1. ^ This is the war establishment, the on-paper strength, of the division for 1944/1945; for information on how the division size changed over the war please see British Army during the Second World War and British Armoured formations of the Second World War.
  2. ^ Adair initially took over as the acting General Officer Commanding on 12 September 1942 and officially took command on 21 September. On 12 June when the division was reorganised as an infantry division, Adair remained as the General Officer Commanding.[4]
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Joslen, p. 11
  2. ^ Joslen, p. 129
  3. ^ a b c d Joslen, p. 12
  4. ^ Joslen, pp. 11 and 34


  • Boscawen, Robert. Armoured Guardsmen: A War Diary, June 1944-April 1945. Barnsley, England: Pen & Sword, 2001.
  • Joslen, Lieutenant-Colonel H.F (1960) [1960]. Orders Of Battle Second World War 1939-1945. Naval & Military Press Ltd. ISBN 978-184342-474-1.  
  • Sanders, J, British Guards Armoured Division 1941-1945, Osprey Vanguard, 1979


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