Polish Forces in Scotland

during the Second World War

 

ORDERS OF BATTLE: THE POLISH ARMY IN SCOTLAND

 

Contents

 

Introduction

Background Notes to the Tables

 

Introduction

The Orders of Battle (OBs) contained in tables 1 to 7 reflect the growth and development of the Polish Forces in Scotland during the War. Whilst the bulk of the Polish Army in Great Britain during the war was located in Scotland (in Scottish Command's area), Polish GHQ and the Polish Ministry of National Defence was located in London. For a period am advanced Field HQ of the Commander-in-Chief existed in Scotland.

The OBs reveal the proliferation of the many specialist units and establishments which were deemed necessary to support an Army, both for combat and rear supporting services. They are presented in a simple format showing units grouped under its higher unit/formation. Readers should see these Orders of Battle in the context of the sections on the:- 'Polish Army' and 'Development of the Polish Army in Scotland'.

 

The growth and development of the Polish Army in Scotland was dependent on a number of factors including - political, manpower, training, equipment and military requirements - these limitations and opportunities are reflected in the Polish OB. Not all Polish units based in Scotland are recorded in the OBs. During the period 1940 to 1945 there were many other Polish units formed in Scotland. Numbers of these units/establishments were of a static nature and/or were specialist units, sometimes with a small war establishment.

Towards the end of the war more manpower became available, particularly from Polish Nationals (ex-POWs) who had been forcibly and illegally conscripted into the German Armed Forces, This enabled new Polish units to be formed in Scotland (and elsewhere in other theatres) and other formerly cadre units built-up to full war establishment. An OB of these units outside of I Polish Corps up to 18th April 1945 is given in Table 7.

 

Background Notes to the Tables

Table 1 provides an early, incomplete picture in August 1940 of the Polish Army in Scotland. The Army was reforming south-east of Glasgow at this time.

 

Table 2 The Order of Battle of the Polish Army in Scotland at the end of 1941/beginning 1942, some 18 months after the Polish troops arrived in Scotland highlights the development of the I Polish Corps.

 

Table 3 In February 1942 the 1st Polish Armoured Division was created. This division developed into the most powerful formation possessed to date by the Polish Army. The table gives the Order of Battle of the 1st Armoured Division in September 1942. (see Table 5 below)

 

Table 4 Polish Army in Scotland - Order of Battle, end 1942/beginning 1943. A command - HQ Home (Static) Forces now controlled the Army's training centres along with other units and establishments.

 

Table 5 reflects the changed organization and establishment of the Armoured Division by the spring of 1944.

 

Table 6 reflects the Order of Battle of the I Polish Corps in February 1945. With more manpower becoming available to the Polish Army in Scotland, this enabled the build up of the 4th Infantry Division; (a redesignation of the cadre Armoured Grenadier Division), the 16th Independent Tank Brigade and other units. There was also a large number of other units in Scotland under the control of HQ Polish Forces in Great Britain but these are notincluded in this table. See Table 7 below for details of these.

 

Table 7 By the spring of 1945, besides the I Polish Corps, there were based in Scotland a significant number of units/establishments at the disposal of the Polish Ministry of Defence and the British War Office, under the command of Polish GHQ (except for administration) and the Polish Ministry of National Defence (except for administration). The table illustrates the variety and numbers of these units/establishments, most of which were located in Scotland.

 

Table 8 indicates the Order of Battle of the brigade in June 1944. The Parachute Brigade figured early in the Army's Order of Battle and while it was located in Scotland for a considerable part of the war, it came under the direct control of the Polish C-in-C. It was intended that the formation be used in Poland but part of it was dropped near Arnhem in September 1944. The brigade was later to be a component of the occupation troops (BLA) in Germany along with the 1st Armoured Division. These two formations eventually returned to England and disbanded in 1947.

 

Additional Notes

The Orders of Battle presented here are restricted to Polish formations/units located in Scotland. The Orders of Battle of Polish Forces in other Theatres of War, for example, - in North Africa (the Carpathian Brigade), Italy (II Polish Corps) and the Middle East (III Polish Corps; later HQ Polish Forces in the Middle East) are not given nor are details of the Polish Home Army (AK) or the Polish People's Army (LWP) which fought on the Eastern Front.

 

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Table 1

This table provides an early, incomplete picture in August 1940 of the Polish Army in Scotland. The Army was reforming south-east of Glasgow at this time.

The Polish Army in Scotland Order of Battle in early August 1940 (OB incomplete) 

HQ Camps and Units of the Polish Army in Scotland

 

1st Rifle Bde (three battalions)

less one infantry battalion (north of Glasgow)

2nd Rifle Bde (three battalions) (brigade later redesignated 10th Armd Cav Bde)

less one infantry battalion (in Renfrewshire) 

Canadian Cadre Rifle Bde (later 4th Cadre Rifle Brigade) [about one battalion in strength]

 

HQ Army Grouping

Tank, Engineers, Signals and A-A units of 1st and 2nd Rifle Brigades forming. Engineer, Signals, A-A Art, Medical and Tank Groups;

Central Training Schools for Engineers and Signals, Officer Groups  

Engineer Battalion

 

Miscellaneous

A further 1,100 men, mostly officers were based at Broughton

 

Table 2

The Order of Battle of the Polish Army in Scotland at the end of 1941/beginning 1942, some 18 months after the Polish troops arrived in Scotland highlights the development of the I Polish Corps.

The Polish Army in Scotland Order of Battle end 1941/beginning of 1942

HQ I Polish Corps


(The HQ of the Polish General Staff was located in London at the Rubens Hotel).

The winged wheel badge of I Polish Corps

Corps Troops

Corps Service Units

1st Indep Rifle Bde;

10th Armd Cav Bde;

16th Tank Bde;

Training Bde

 

Corps Recce Btl;

Medium Art Rgt;

Medium AA Art Btl;

Machine Gun Btl;

Signals; Engineers;

and other minor units.

Medical Coy;

Ambulance Column;

Military Hospital No 2 ;

supply; workshop; and other minor units

1st Indep Para Bde

(The 1st Para Brigade was not part of the composition of the I Corps but was subordinated directly to the C-in-C.

Home (Static) Units


(not part of I Corps but based in Scotland)

Recruitment Centre No 1;

Ordnance and Medical Depots;

Military Hospital;

Officers' Holding Station

Other minor units and establishments including Polish Military Bureaux in Edinburgh, Perth, Perth and Dundee.  

Other Establishments

The Polish Military Staff College

Armoured Train Battalion

(Four existed one of which was deployed in Scotland - the other three were stationed in England).  

 

Table 3

In February 1942 the 1st Polish Armoured Division was created. This division developed into the most powerful formation possessed to date by the Polish Army. The table gives the Order of Battle of the 1st Armoured Division in September 1942. (see Table 5 below)

Order of Battle 1st Polish Armd Div on 16th September 1942

The formation sign of the Division

Order of Battle of 1st Polish Armd Div on 16th September 1942

 

HQ Div

8th Fd Court

 

(Cdr gen bryg S Maczek)

Division started to form on 25th February 1942

10th Armd Cav Bde

HQ Bde

10th Mtd Rifles Rgt

24th Lancers Rgt

14th Lancers Rgt

10th Dragoon Rgt

16th Tank Bde

1st Tank Rgt

2nd Tank Rgt

3rd Tank Rgt

16th Dragoon Rgt

Army Support Group

HQ Gp

1st Art Rgt mot

1st A-Tk Art Rgt

1st A-A Art Rgt

1st Rifle Btl (lorried)

Divisional units

1st Recce Rgt

1st, 2nd, 10th and 16th Sigs Sqns

10th and 11th Engineer Coys; 11th Engr Pk Coy

Traffic Movement Sqn

3rd Military Police Sqn

The badge of the 16th Tank Brigade, formerly the badge of the 1st Tank Regiment

Divisional Service Units

10th and 16th Transport Coys;

Transport Coy Army Support Group;

10th and 16th Workshop Coys; Div Workshop Coy; 6 Lt Aid Dtchmnts type 'B'; 6 Lt Aid Dtchmnts type 'C';Workshop Platoon AA-Art Rgt;

10th Fd Amb and 11th Fd Amb;

Div Hygiene Platoon

 

Table 4

Polish Army in Scotland - Order of Battle, A new command - HQ Home Forces now controlled the Army's training centres along with other units and establishments.

Order of Battle of the Polish Army in Scotland end 1942, beginning 1943  

I Armoured Motorised Corps

HQ Corps

Fd Court;

HQ Company;

one military police sqdn  


Large Formations subordinated to I Corps

 

1st Armoured Division

1st Independent Rifle Bde

HQ Home (Static) Forces

Training centres for:- Infantry, Artillery, Armoured troops, Signals, Engineers and Rear Area Services.  

1st Fd Hosp; one medical depot; Recruitment Office No 1 ; Polish ATS Camp; Officers' Holding Station; one field cage; four military bureaux.  

Corps Units

1st Medium Artillery Rgt;

one signals company;

one hvy AA-Art bty;

309th Army Co-operation Sqn (Polish Air Force)

 

Badge of the 1st Indep Rifle Bde

Centrally (London) controlled units located in Scotland

including, Field HQ C-in-C; Military Staff College and several other establishments. Four armoured train battalions

Corps Service Units

2nd Fd Hosp;

one ambulance column;

one ordnance depot and other minor units

 

1st Indep Para Bde

(at the disposition of the C-in-C ) 

 

Table 5

This OB reflects the changed organization and establishment of the Polish Armoured Division by the Spring of 1944. The two armoured brigade structure had changed to one armoured brigade and an infantry brigade added. The Division was subordinated to 21st Army Group - 2nd Echelon.

1st Polish Armoured Division Order of Battle, Spring 1944

(Cdr gen bryg S Maczek)

HQ Div

 

HQ Sqn

1st Traffic Control Sqn

10th Mtd Rifle Rgt (recce)

8th Fd Ct

Fd Post Office  

1st Reserve Tank Sqn

10th Armd Cav Bde

HQ Sqn

1st and 2nd Tank Rgts,

24th Lancers and

10th Dragoons Rgt

3rd Rifle Bde

HQ Coy

Highland Rifle Btl,

8th Rifle Btl and

9th Rifle Btl

Indep MG Sqn  

OC Divisional Artillery

HQ Unit

1st and 2nd Mot Art Rgts

1st A-Tk Rgt

1st Lt AA-Art Rgt

OC Divisional Engineers

10th and 11th Engr Coys

bridge pltn and park coy  

 

 

1st Signals Btl

HQ Sqn

1st, 2nd, 3rd and 10th Sigs Sqns  

Workshop Units

Wksp Coy 10th Armd Cav Bde

Wksp Coy 3rd Rifle Bde  

 

Supply Units

3rd, 10th and 11th Supply Coys

lorried infantry coy

 

Medical Units

10th Lt Fd Amb and 11th Fd Amb

1st Fd Dressing Station

Fd Hyg Pltn  

1st Ordnance Park

 

Table 6

This table reflects the Order of Battle of the I Polish Corps in February 1945. With more manpower becoming available to the Polish Army in Scotland, this enabled the build up of the 4th Infantry Division; (a redesignation of the cadre Armoured Grenadier Division), the 16th Independent Tank Brigade and other units.

The emblem of HQ Polish Forces in Great Britain

There were also a large number of other units in Scotland under the control of HQ Polish Forces in Great Britain but these are not indicated.

Order of Battle I Polish Corps February 1945

HQ I Corps

vehicle coy

mil police sqdn

supply coy

 

4th Infantry Division

9th Lancers Rgt (recce)

1st Gren Bde

HQ and three grenadier battalions.

2nd Rifle Bde

HQ and three rifle battalions.

8th Inf Bde

HQ and three infantry battalions.

 

one hvy MG battalion

16th Independent Armoured Bde

HQ 16th Indep Armd Bde

3rd Tk Rgt; 14th Lancers Rgt; 5th Tank Rgt; 16th Dragoons Rgt; one sigs sqn; one light field ambulance; one supply coy; one repair coy; one ordnance field park

The badge of the 16th Independent Armoured Brigade from April 1945

Corps Units

signals btl

Szwolezerow (light horse) Rgt (cadre)

A-Tk rgt (cadre)

art survey rgt (cadre)

engr btl (cadre)

wksp coy (cadre)

Div Art

3rd Lt Art Rgt mot

two light artillery regiments

4th Lt AA Art Rgt

counter-fire mortar battery  

Engineers

three engineer companies and one engineer park company

4th Sigs Btl  

 

Forces at Corps level for 1st Armd Div

supply coy and elts of ordnance park 1st Pol Armd Div

Supply Units

Div Supply Coy and three supply companies

Medical Services

three field ambulance companies and two field dressing stations

Other units

Div Ord Park

one mil pol sqdn

 

 

Table 7

Order of Battle of HQ Polish Forces in Great Britain and units under Polish GHQ, Ministry of National Defence and British War Office up to 18th April 1945 (excluding I Polish Corps and Parachute units)

The table illustrates the variety and numbers of Polish units/establishments outside of I Polish Corps, most of which were located in Scotland.

Note: most of the units/establishments in this OB were located in Scotland, a few were based in England

HQ Polish Forces in Great Britain

 

TRAINING CENTRES:

Armd Fighting Vehicles and Electrical and Mechanical Engineers; Artillery; Engineers; Signals and Infantry

SUPPLY and TRANSPORT:

Supply units

MEDICAL:

three general hospitals; one motor ambulance convoy; one convalescent hospital; one rehabilitation centre; one casualty sorting centre; one centre for chronic invalids; one medical store depot; three casualty reception stations;

ORDNANCE:

ordnance dumps

WORKSHOPS:

one static sub workshop; one electrical and mechanical holding unit;

MILITARY POLICE:

one mil pol coy, one court martial and detention barracks, one mil pol depot and trg centre.

WELFARE:

one welfare coy, one theatre unit, one canteen stores, one family allowance bureau, one leave hostel, one service trg centre

RECRUITING AND DEPOT UNITS

POW Screening Camp, one recruiting and record office, one reception and transit camp, primary trg camps, home depot 2 Corps and 1st Armoured Division, one reinforcement and holding unit 4 Inf Div, one Air Force personnel transit camp

Units at the Disposal of the Polish Ministry of National Defence and War Office

Ten guard companies (Note: some of these units were located in England)

Seven works companies


Units under the Command of Polish GHQ (except for administration)

Inspectorate of Training; Senior School of Military Science; Staff College; Special Admin Branch (cover for Intelligence School); Directorate of Transport; Communications course; Instit of Military Geography.

 

Note: Other military establishments/units were located in London


Units under Command of the Ministry of National Defence (except for administration)

Appeals tribunal, Accounts Office, Military Archives and Museum, Mil Works Section, Mil Govt Trg Centre, Tech Trg Group, Armoured Research Department, Central Publications Board, PW Section, Army Film Unit, Psychological Research Dept, Medical Research Dept.

 

 

 

Table 8

This table indicates the Order of Battle of the brigade in June 1944. The Parachute Brigade figured early in the Army's Order of Battle and while it was located in Scotland for a considerable part of the war, it came under the direct control of the Polish C-in-C. It was intended that the formation be used in Poland but part of it was dropped near Arnhem (Driel) in September 1944. The brigade was later to be a component of the occupation troops (BLA) in Germany along with the 1st Polish Armoured Division. These two formations eventually returned to England and disbanded in 1947.

Order of Battle 1st Independent Parachute Brigade, June 1944

HQ

Various minor units including

two airborne LADs;

field court;

military police and welfare platoons  

1st Parachute Rifle Btl

(each battalion consisted of a HQ Coy and three companies)  

2nd Parachute Rifle Btl

3rd Parachute Rifle Btl

Airborne Lt Art Btl

(of two batteries)

Airborne A-Tk Art Btl (of three batteries)

Airborne Engineer Company

Airborne Signals Unit

Parachute Medical Company

Airborne Supply Company

Airborne Workshop Company

Parachute Reserve Centre

(Total strength including reserves about 3,100 men)

 

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Last modified 22 March 2009

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Copyright R M Ostrycharz 2001