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8th Armoured Division
8th Armoured Division insignia.
Active 4 November 1940–1 January 1943
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
Type Armoured division
Size 13,235 men[1]
130+ tanks[nb 1][nb 2]
Sir Richard McCreery

The 8th Armoured Division was a British Army formation during the Second World War. It was deployed to Egypt in June 1942 but never operated as a complete formation and was disbanded in January the following year.


The division was sent to North Africa but never saw active service as a complete formation. As the division could not be provided with a lorried infantry brigade, it was broken up and [5] was finally disbanded in Egypt on 1 January 1943.[4]

Following the Second Battle of El Alamein a plan was put forth to use the remains of the division as a self-contained pursuit force to dart forward into the German-Italian rear as far as possibly Tobruk, however the plan to use the division was shelfed and units in the forward area were used instead.[6] Afterwards, the name of the division was used for the purpose of military deception.[7]

General Officer Commanding

The division had four officers who held the position of General Officer Commanding, during the Second World War.

Appointed General Officer Commanding
4 November 1940 Brigadier A.G. Kenchington (acting)[4]
14 December 1940 Major General Richard McCreery[4]
15 October 1941 Major-General Charles Norman[4]
24 August 1942 Major-General Charles Gairdner[4]

Component Units

(all brigades stripped away from the division prior to the Second Battle of El Alamein)

23rd Armoured Brigade
24th Armoured Brigade
133rd Infantry Brigade

Support Units

8th Support Group

See also


  1. The division was initially organised on Basic Organisation No. III (340 tanks) but on arrival in the Middle East was partially reorganised along the lines of Basic Organisation No. IV;[2] depending on the tanks used, resulting in 44 or 48 tanks per regiment at full strength.[3] However, owing to casualties within Middle East Command, the change to Basic Organisation No. IV was never completed.[4]
  2. This is the war establishment, the on-paper strength, of the division for 1942; for information on how divisions changed over the war, please see British Army during the Second World War and British Armoured formations of the Second World War.
  1. Joslen, p. 129
  2. Joslen, p. 5, 22
  3. Joslen, p. 140
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Joslen, p. 22
  5. Playfair, P. 7
  6. Playfair, pp. 81–82
  7. Thaddeus Holt. The Deceivers: Allied Military Deception in the Second World War. Phoenix. 2005. ISBN 0-7538-1917-1


  • Joslen, Lt-Col H.F. (2003) [1st pub. HMSO:1960]. Orders of Battle: Second World War, 1939–1945. Uckfield: Naval and Military Press. ISBN 978-1-84342-474-1. 
  • Playfair, Major-General I.C.O.; Brigadier C.J.C Molony, Captain F.C. Flynn, R.N. and Group Captain T.P. Gleave, C.B.E. (2004) [1966]. History Of The Second World War: The Mediterranean and Middle East, volume 4: The Destruction of the Axis Forces in Africa. United Kingdom Military Series. Uckfield, UK: Naval & Military Press. ISBN 1-84574-068-8. 

External links

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