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France Norway 1940:

II Corps

II Corps was formed at the outbreak of war on 3 September 1939. Its first commander was Lieutenant General Alan Francis BROOKE, who was appointed as General Officer Commanding on 1 September 1939. The corps was deployed to France with the 3 Infantry Division and 4 Infantry Division under command. On 29 March 1940, the corps was strengthened by the addition of the 50 (Northumbrian) Infantry Division. This Territorial Army formation had arrived in France on 20 January 1940. The corps and its constituent divisions were evacuated from Dunkirk on or about 31 May 1940.

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Higher Formations History and Personnel
» II Corps History & Personnel

Corps Troops
» II Corps Troops (1940)

Divisional Formations
» 3 Infantry Division (1940)
» 4 Infantry Division (1940)
» 50 Infantry Division (1940)

On the return of the corps from France, it was based in the Norfolk area. It took command of the 18 Infantry Division and 52 (Lowland) Infantry Division on 28 June 1940. On 2 November 1940, the 52 Infantry Division moved to Scottish Command. The newly formed Norfolk County Division came under command on 24 December 1940. On 6 January 1941, the 46 Infantry Division joined the Corps, and a day later, the 18 Infantry Division left to prepare for service overseas. The 46 Infantry Division left on 13 November 1941, with the 1 Infantry Division replacing it a day later. On 18 November, the Norfolk County Division was redesignated as the 76 Infantry Division.

On 15 December 1941, the 1 Infantry Division transferred to II Corps District. The 76 Infantry Division, however, remained under II Corps until transferring to II Corps District on 2 April 1942. The 1 Infantry Division left II Corps District on 25 October 1942. The 76 Infantry Division left II Corps District on 19 December 1942 to come under the command of G.H.Q. Home Forces.

On 15 May 1943, the 54 (East Anglian) Infantry Division and 61 Infantry Division came under command of II Corps District. Both formations transferred from XI Corps District, which ceased to exist on the dame date. The 54 Infantry Division left on 30 July 1943, and the 61 Infantry Division left in September 1943. The 38 (Welsh) Infantry Division joined the Corps on 24 October 1943, leaving on 17 January 1944. The 9 Armoured Division joined on 19 January 1944, leaving on 6 March 1944.

In early 1944, the corps was due to be disbanded, when it was designated as one of two corps to form a deception formation called the 4 Army. This formation was intended to deceive the Germans into believing an Allied assault on Norway was imminent. The 3 Infantry Division and 55 Infantry Division were notionally allocated to II Corps. The other corps allocated to 4 Army was the U.S. XV Corps, then stationed in Northern Ireland. II Corps was moved south in early June 1944, apparently scheduled for deployment to France. On paper, at various times this corps had under command the 55 Infantry Division, the deception 76 Infantry Division and 79 Armoured Division. Headquarters II Corps is assumed to have closed in mid 1944 with the retirement of Lieutenant General ANDERSON.

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