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Anti-Aircraft Command
Active 1939-1955
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Type Command
Garrison/HQ Bentley Priory

Anti-Aircraft Command was a British Army command of the Second World War that controlled the anti-aircraft artillery units of the British Isles.

Origin

The formation of a body of anti-aircraft guns had been announced in 1938 but Anti-Aircraft Command was not formed until 1 April 1939 under General Sir Alan Brooke who then passed control to Sir Frederick Pile, another British Army officer. Pile would remain in command until the end of the war.

It was under the operational direction of RAF Fighter Command and occupied a headquarters known as Glenthorn in the grounds of Bentley Priory, home of Fighter Command.[1]

The majority of the guns of AAC were operated by regular British Army and Territorial Army units. Later as the war progressed, these were freed up by the use of men of the Home Guard (loading and firing the guns) and women of the Auxiliary Territorial Service (handling ammunition and operating gun directors).

Divisional organisation

Divisions under the command were:[2][3][4]

AA Command was also responsible for the Orkney and Shetland Defences (OSDEF)

Corps organisation

At the end of 1940 the Command created three Corps to supervise this expanding organisation:[2][4]

Group organisation

In October 1942 the corps and divisions were abolished and replaced by seven flexible AA Groups:[2]

  • 1st Anti-Aircraft Group covering London
  • 2nd Anti-Aircraft Group covering the Solent, South-East England and southern East Anglia

(1st and 2nd AA Groups coincided with No 11 Group RAF)

  • 3rd Anti-Aircraft Group covering South-West England and South Wales (coinciding with No 10 Group RAF)
  • 4th Anti-Aircraft Group covering North Wales and North-West England (coinciding with No 9 Group RAF)
  • 5th Anti-Aircraft Groupp covering northern East Anglia and the East Coast as far as Scarborough, North Yorkshire (coinciding with No 13 Group RAF)
  • 6th Anti-Aircraft Group covering North-East England and Scotland (coinciding with No 13 Group RAF (except Northern Ireland) and No 14 Group RAF)
  • 7th Anti-Aircraft Group covering Northern Ireland
  • OSDEF remained separate

Later events

Later, 6th AA Group took over the Solent area to cover the preparations for Operation Overlord and was replaced in NE England by a new 8th Anti-Aircraft Group.

A new 9th Anti-Aircraft Group was formed to cover southern East Anglia during the flying bomb offensive (Operation Diver).

On 1 April 1943 AA Command took over control of smoke screens from the Ministry of Home Security. These installations were manned by the Pioneer Corps

On 1 December 1954 it was announced that AA Command would be disbanded with effect from 10 March 1955.[8]

General Officers Commanding-in-Chief

General Officers Commanding-in-Chief have included:[9][10][11]

Notes

References

External links

See also

  • Balloon Command


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