Military Wiki
31st Indian Armoured Division
Active 1940 - 1945, postwar
Country British India
Allegiance British Crown
Branch British Indian Army
Indian Army
Type Armour
Size Division
Equipment Stuart tank
M3 Lee
M4 Sherman tank
Engagements Second World War
Major General Robert Harley Wordsworth

The 31st Indian Armoured Division was an armoured formation of the Indian Army during World War II, formed in 1940, as 1st Indian Armoured Division; it consisted of units of the British Army and the British Indian Army. When it was raised it consisted of two Armoured Brigades (1st and 2nd Indian Armoured Brigades) and one Motor Brigade (3rd Indian Motor Brigade).


At the end of 1941, by which time 1st Indian Support Group had joined the division, it was renamed 31st Indian Armoured Division and its brigades redesignated as the 251st and 252nd Indian Armoured Brigades and 31st Indian Support Group (the Motor Brigade's name remained unchanged).

In mid-1942, by which time the support group had been disbanded, the 251st brigade was detached and the rest of the division was shipped to join the British Tenth Army and served in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The division never saw combat although the motor brigade was detached to Egypt and saw heavy action in the Western Desert Campaign during 1942 and again in 1944 and 1945 when, reformed as the 43rd Indian Infantry Brigade (Lorried) it was sent to the Italian Campaign as an independent brigade. The closest the rest of the division came to combat was in April 1944 when it was rushed to Egypt to crush a mutiny among the Greek 1st Infantry Brigade.

The Tank Regiments received M4 Shermans in November 1943, thought to be in preparation for a transfer to Italy which never came about, and only drove them in Iraq, Syria and Egypt.[1][2]

The Division is now active as part of the present-day Indian Army, headquartered at Jhansi as part of XXI Corps.

Formation 1942

Commander: Major General Robert Harley Wordsworth
Commander Royal Artillery: Brigadier C.P.B. Wilson

252nd Indian Armoured Brigade

3rd Indian Motor Brigade

An Indian Pattern Carrier Mk IIA named 'Dhar IV', North Africa of the type used by 3rd Indian Motor Brigade

Divisional Units

    • 13th Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers
    • 15th Field Artillery, Royal Artillery
    • 144th Field Artillery, R.A.
    • 79th Antitank Regiment, R.A.
    • 32nd Field Squadron, QVO Madras Sappers & Miners, Indian Engineers
    • 39th Field Park Squadron, QVO Madras Sappers & Miners, I.E.
    • 31st Indian Armoured Divisional Signals [4]



  • Mackenzie, Compton (1951). Eastern Epic. London: Chatto & Windus. 623 pages. OCLC 1412578. 

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