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Remembered Today:

Reduction of British and Australian Divisions


Captain Dave
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I'm doing a bit of a paper at the moment, part of which compares the size of the Dominion Divisions to the British Divisions in 1917- 1918. I understand that the British Divisions were reduced from 12 Bns to 9 Bns, but when? Was there a specific Army order reorganising the Divisions etc? Can anyone point me in the direction of a good ref.

Secondly, I understand that the Australians had difficultys manning thier Divs due to lack of numbers etc, and eventually followed the British lead of reducing thier Div sizes. Again when exactly, and where all Divs affected, or only some of them?

Any information most graciously accepted. :)

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British battalions received the orders for disbandments at the end of January 1918 and the battalions effected generally disbanded during February. The Australians received similar orders in September 1918. On 23 September 1918 an order was promulgated to disband the 19th, 21st, 25th, 37th, 42nd, 54th and 60th Battalions to reinforce others. All but the 60th refused to disband and on 27 September Monash postponed the order until after the coming attack on the Hindenburg Line. All of the battalions so ordered eventually disbanded.

Rgds

Tim D

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Dave

Having looked into this one myself the best reference that I have come across is WO 162/6 at the National Archives Kew. This states that in January 1918 the Army Council directed GHQ BEF to carry out the divisional reorganisation. On 26th January GHQ stated that the reorganisation would commence on 29th January and was likely to be completed by 15th February.

Incidently, sonce each infantry division had thirteen battalions, the 13th being the Pioneer bn, the reduction was actually from 13 to 10 bns.

Charles M

PS This topic was addressed in an article in Stand To, the journal of the Western Front Association, a few years ago. Someone should be able to tell you the precise issue.

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Thank you for the help everyone, Especialy the point ref the Pioneer Bns as part of the order of battle.

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