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Credits 
Introduction 
Explanation of terms 
 Army data 
 Unit histories 
 Orders of battle 
 Orders of appearance 
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Army Data: India

Pre-war plans called for India to contribute limited forces to the defense of British interests in the Near East and Egypt. Given the succession of crises in the Middle Eastern theater, and the perception of Western Asia as a gateway to the Indian subcontinent, the British Chiefs of Staff diverted brigade after brigade of the Indian Army to campaign in and garrison the Western Desert, Italian East Africa, Iraq, Persia, the Levant, and Cyprus. The forces were of mixed quality, ranging from the excellent 4th Indian Division to the less well-trained, equipped, and experienced battalions which whiled away the war in the dusty encampments of the Persia and Iraq theater.

The main Indian formations in this OB include 31st Armored Division, 4th Infantry Division, 5th Infantry Division, 6th Infantry Division, 8th Infantry Division, and 10th Infantry Division. Prior to 1943, these divisions are tracked through their component brigades. Also included in the OB are 2nd (later 252nd) Armored Brigade, 3rd Motor Brigade, 10th Motor Brigade, and 43rd Gurkha Lorried Brigade.

Indian brigades were often transferred among divisions and Indian battalions were often interchanged among brigades. This policy led to numbers of excess "unbrigaded" battalions assigned to various garrison and security tasks, especially in Persia and Iraq where, along with assorted construction units, the unbrigaded battalions were commonly controlled by administrative formations such as the "Baghdad Sub-Area" and "Mosul Sub-Area." Such admin HQs are not tracked in this OB, and the battalions themselves are tracked only when serving under a brigade HQ.

As much as practicable, Indian brigades included a pair of Indian battalions and a single British battalion. (Later in the war, in the Burma theater, General Slim preferred to segregate British and Indian battalions into their own brigades, believing that each fought better under that organization.) Divisional artillery, AA, signals, and technical services tended to be provided from the British army, but more of these came from Indian assets as the war continued.

The following Indian regiments and their battalions served in Africa, Europe, and/or Western Asia during the war. Depending on space constraints within a specific entry, the abbreviation may be slightly shortened or lengthened.

Indian Armor and Cavalry:
Abbreviation   Regiment
1st Cav         1st Duke of York's Own Cavalry (Skinner's Horse)
2nd RL         2nd Royal Lancers (Gardner's Horse)
4th Lan         4th Duke of Cambridge's Own Lancers (Hodson's Horse)
6th Lan         6th Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers (Watson's Horse)
10th Cav      10th Queen Victoria's Own Frontier Force (Guides Cavalry)
11th Cav      11th Prince Albert Victor's Own Cavalry (Frontier Force)
13th Lan      13th Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers
14th Cav      14th Prince of Wales's Own Cavalry (Scinde Horse)
17th Cav      17th Queen Victoria's Own Cavalry (Poona Horse)
18th Cav      18th King Edward VII's Own Cavalry
21st Hor      21st King George V's Own Horse (Central India Horse)

Indian Infantry:
Abbreviation   Regiment
Punj         1st Punjab Regiment: 1st, 3rd bns
Punj         2nd Punjab Regiment: 1st, 3rd bns
Mad            3rd Madras Regiment: 28th Coast Defense bn
Bom            4th Bombay Grenadiers: 1st bn
MLI            5th Mahratta Light Infantry: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th bns
RRif         6th Rajputana Rifles: 1st, 2nd, 4th bns
RReg         7th Rajput Regiment: 3rd, 4th bns
Punj         8th Punjab Regiment: 3rd, 4th bns
Jat            9th Jat Regiment: 3rd bns
Bal            10th Baluch Regiment: 1st, 3rd, 4th, 17th bns
Sikh         11th Sikh Regiment: 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th bns
FFReg         12th Frontier Force Regiment: 1st, 3rd, 5th, 14th, 26th Garrison bns
Afr            1st Afridi bn (of 12th Frontier Force Regiment)
FFRif         13th Frontier Force Rifles: 4th, 5th, 6th bns
Punj         14th Punjab Regiment: 3rd bn
Punj         15th Punjab Regiment: 3rd bn
Punj         16th Punjab Regiment: 4th bn
Dog            17th Dogra Regiment: Machine Gun bn
GRif         18th Garhwal Rifles: 3rd bn
Hybad         19th Hyderabad Regiment: 1st (Russell's) bn
Kum            1st Kumaon Rifles bn (of 19th Hyderabad Regiment)

Gurkha Rifles:
Abbreviation   Regiment
Gurk         1st Gurkha Rifles: 1st bn
Gurk         2nd Gurkha Rifles: 1st bn
Gurk         3rd Gurkha Rifles: 2nd bn
Gurk         4th Gurkha Rifles: 2nd bn
Gurk         5th Gurkha Rifles: 1st bn
Gurk         6th Gurkha Rifles: 2nd bn
Gurk         7th Gurkha Rifles: 2nd bn
Gurk         8th Gurkha Rifles: 2nd bn
Gurk         9th Gurkha Rifles: 1st bn
Gurk         10th Gurkha Rifles: 2nd bn

More resources

Books about Indian armies and and ground forces

Indian units on file

31st Armored XX
4th Infantry XX
5th Infantry XX
6th Infantry XX
8th Infantry XX
10th Infantry XX
2nd Armored X
252nd Armored X
3rd Motor X
10th Motor X
43rd Gurkha Lorried Inf X
5th Infantry X
7th Infantry X
9th Infantry X
10th Infantry X
11th Infantry X
17th Infantry X
18th Infantry X
19th Infantry X
20th Infantry X
21st Infantry X
24th Infantry X
25th Infantry X
26th Infantry X
27th Infantry X
29th Infantry X
38th Infantry X
161st Infantry X

 

 

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17:29 on 19 December 2014