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"Indian army company organisation in WW2" Topic

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655 hits since 15 Aug 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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VVV reply15 Aug 2017 10:25 a.m. PST

Following on from the discussion about the Canadian units, I got some information about the Australians and New Zealanders.
But not had much luck with Indian units. I assume the basic organisation was the same as the British but were they modified for operations in the desert or jungle?
I know that from 1943 onwards units received special jungle training so they would have that ability under my rules.

Starfury Rider15 Aug 2017 10:55 a.m. PST

Ah, the mystery of British Indian Army War Establishments, which have always eluded me!

Well, in the Indian version of Infantry Training (1944) there are a few wire diagrams giving just an outline of the Indian Army Infantry Battalion. The version found in the Inf Bn (Animal and Motor Transport) shows the standard layout of three Rifle Secs plus a HQ for a Rifle Platoon, three Platoons under a HQ making a Rifle Company. The Section is just described as 1 (presumably NCO) and 10 (again presumably Privates). Pl HQ has 1 VCO (equivalent I think to a Subaltern) and 5 ORs. Coy HQ shows 1 Officer (Assume British), 1 VCO and 8 ORs. Not details on weapons below a Bn summary, which is sadly unreadable in my reprint version. The Inf Bn (MT) shows a Section with 1 NCO and 11 Sepoys, Pl HQ with 1 VCO and 5 ORs, and Coy HQ with 1 BO (assume British officer, shame about the acronym), 1 VCO and 8 ORs. The Bn weapons summary shows 37 Brens and 12 2-inch mortars, so I'd assume the usual one Bren per Section and one 2-in per Pl HQ.

I've not seen enough to indicate whether the Indian units in the Western desert carried over their usual WE, had special ones issued in North Africa, or simply used British WEs with slight amendments. Likewise for Italy.


VVV reply15 Aug 2017 10:59 a.m. PST

Thanks for that. I have deleted the extra copies of the original post. Interesting that the Indian army was 2.5m strong so up there as a nations army in its own right, just part of the British Empire.

uglyfatbloke03 Sep 2017 6:22 a.m. PST

2" mortar issue was very variable – sometimes one to a platoon or a section, sometimes none at all. By 1944 a large proportion of infantry KCOs were Indians and virtually all VCOs. VCOs varied a good deal in status, so it's worth getting to grips with Jemadars and Subedars.

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