Italy 1943 - 1945

British Armoured Divisions



There were three British armoured divisions deployed during the Italian campaign, however, the campaign was not suited to armoured formations.  The mountains and hills were obstacles that tanks found difficult to exploit, and the weather conditions in winter were atrocious.

The first to be deployed was the 7 Armoured Division, which landed at Salerno on 15 September 1943. It then fought in the battle of the Volturno Crossing before being withdrawn from the front line on 13 November 1943. It sailed for the United Kingdom the following month to prepare for the invasion of Normandy.

The 6 Armoured Division landed in Italy on 18 March 1944, having remained in North Africa following the conclusion of the Tunisian campaign. The division fought in the battle for the Gustav Line, forcing a way up the Liri Valley, and then took part in the battle for the Gothic Line. When the German forces were defeated in May 1945, the division moved into Austria as part of the occupation forces in that country.

The last to arrive was the 1 Armoured Division, which landed in May 1944 having also sailed from North Africa. Elements of the division fought in the Anzio bridgehead, and then the division particpated in the battles for the Gothic Line. Infantry casualties had been so heavy in Italy that the decision was taken in September 1944 to disband the formation, which was broken up in the following month.