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United Kingdom 1939 - 40


At the outbreak of war in September 1939, the British Army in the United Kingdom consisted of four infantry divisions up to strength, and one under strength infantry division (the 5 Infantry Division). The recently formed 1 Armoured Division was slowly being equipped with tanks and was undertaking training. There were twelve other infantry battalions scattered around the U.K.

The bulk of the British Army was to the be found in the twelve first line Territorial Army divisions and twelve second line divisions. Most of the personnel in these formations were still undergoing basic training and the divisions were poorly equipped, particularly in terms of artillery and machine guns.


Order of Battle Structure Diagram(s)
» 40.09 Order of Battle U.K.
» Map U.K. 1940

The priority for the British Army was to put together an expeditionary force for deployment to France. This was in anticipation of a German invasion of Belgium and The Netherlands to reach France, in a similar manner to what happened in 1914. The 1 Infantry Division and 2 Infantry Division left immediately for France, with the embryonic I Corps headquarters formed from elements of Aldershot Command. The 3 Infantry Division and 4 Infantry Division followed soon afterwards, allowing II Corps to be formed in France.

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