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Armoured Formations

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altTill the 1965 War, India only had a single Armoured Division and an Independent Armoured Brigade. However the number of formations raised has seen a steady expansion after 1965. These have been augmented with the raising of "Mechanised" Brigades consisting of Mech Infantry Regiments. 

 

DIVISIONS:

 

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1 Armd Div 31 Armd Div 33 Armd Div

1st Armoured Division : raised Sept 1940. Temporarily redesignated 31st Armd Division. Hyderabad Operations (1948), in Jammu Sector (1965 War) . Army Reserve in Fazilka during Bangladesh War (1971)

31st Armoured Division : Originally 1st Armd Division. re-raised 1975 (Orbat.com History)

33rd Armoured Division : initially raised on 15th Nov 1982 as 33 Mechanised Division by late Maj Gen L B Sondhi at Hisar. It consisted of 88 Mech Bde (already in existence). 39 Mech Bde and 33 Arty Bde were also raised on 15th Nov 1982.  Finally 57 Mech Bde (raised on 1 Mar 83) completed the Divisions Orbat. The Division structure had 3 Mech. Bde's each comprising one Armoured regiment and 2 Mech. Battalions. The Armoured regiments were equipped with T-55 tanks and the Mech. battalions with BMP-1 ICV's. 33 Arty Bde had three regiments; 1 x towed, 1 x Self Propelled and 1 x LT AD and was located at Faridkot/Ferozpur. 627 (Indep) Mech AD Bde became part of the Orbat on 1st December 1989.  The Division formed part of 2 Corps and took part in Major exercises like Digvijay (March 83), RAN-Sanghar (Feb - Mar 85), Brasstacks (Nov 86 to Mar 87) and Ranthambor (Feb 95) where tactical concepts for its employment as part of strike Corps were evolved and refined.  Reflecting the Army's changing operational concepts, the division was converted to an Armoured Division in December 1993. It was on the Orbat of 21 Corps from 01 September 1991 to 31 December 1992. The Division has been on the Orbat of 1 Corps since 01 January 1993.  Strategically located on the fringes of the Thar desert at Hisar. The present equipment profile is T-72 tanks and BMP-2's.

 

BRIGADES:

1st Armoured Brigade : raised originally as the 255 Indian Tank Brigade (June 1942).  redesignated 1st Armoured Brigade (Nov 45). Part of 1st Armoured Divison during all operations. (History)

2nd (Independent) Armoured Brigade:  The history of the Fleur-de-Lis brigade dates back to 1904 when the Merru Cavalry brigade was raised at Meerut. During WW1, it was known as the 7th Indian Cavalry Brigade. It formed part of the 2 Indian Cavalry Division of the Indian Cavalry Corps. The Brigade took part in the battles of Festubert (Jan 1915), Neuve Chapelle (Mar 1915), Ypres (April 1915) and Loos (1915). As a token of their esteem for the gallant actions, the French citizens of Charters presented the brigade with the Fleur-del-Lis emblem, which was adopted as the formation sign. In June 1916, the brigade left France and thereafter took part in operations in Mesopotamia. In 1921-1922, it was designated the 3rd Meerut Cavalry Brigade. Between 1939 and 1945, it became the 2 Light Armoured Brigade. During WW2, the Brigade was successively known as 2 Indian Armoured Brigade and 252 Indian Armoured Brigade and undetook operations in Iraq, Palestine and Persia. It returned to India on 12 Jan 1946 and was designated 2(I) Armoured brigade. In the post independence period, in 1965, the brigade fought in the Khemkaran sector and was responsible for blunting the offensive of Pakistan's 1 Armoured Division. In 1971, the brigade spearheaded the offensive of 1 Corps in the Shakargarh sector.  In 1973, the brigade formed part of the newly raised 31 Armoured Division and was designated 2 Armoured Brigade. 2 Armoured Brigade also formed part of the IPKF in Sri Lanka during which Indian  Mechanised forces were tasked for urban insurgency operations.  On 1 April 1993, the formation was once again re-designated 2(I) Armoured brigade and it regained the prestigious Fleur-de-Lis formation sign. The HQ shifted from Babina to Mamun.

3rd (Independent) Armoured Brigade: raised 1945, disbanded 1947. Re-raised May 1970. Bangladesh - temporarily designated as XXXIII Corps Armoured Brigade. (A discussion on the lineage of 3rd Armd Bde can be read here )

6th (Independent) Armoured Brigade: temporarily raised as Mike Force during the 1971 War. Re-raised after the war.

14th (Independent) Armoured Brigade: 14 (I) Armoured Brigade was raised by Late Brigadier R P S Randhawa at Ambala Cantt. The raising commenced on 04 January 1967 and was completed on 20th March 1967 which is celebrated as its raising day. It adopted the Black Charger (Shayamal Ashav) as its formation sign.  On raising, the Brigade was placed under 11 Corps and participated in the 1971 operations. In the last week of September 1971 it moved to Fatehgarh churian for OP "CACTUS LILY" and was assigned both offensive and defensive tasks. However, as it was not employed concentrated, only the newly raised 71 Armoured Regiment took park in OP 'AKAL' for the capture of the Dera Baba Nanak Bridge, where it acquitted itself creditably.  In 1976, the Brigade was placed under 2 Corps. where it has remained since. Besides taking part in almost all major exercises of Western command, it has also taken part in OP 'BLUE STAR', OP 'RAKSHAK II' and OP 'PARAKRAM I & II'

16th (Independent) Armoured Brigade: raised Jun 1969. Shakargarh Sector (1971 War)

23rd (Independent) Armoured Brigade:

27th Armoured Brigade:

39th Armoured Brigade: formerly a Mechanised Brigade forming part of 33 Mech Div (now Armoured)

43rd Armoured Brigade: raised as 3rd Indian Motor Brigade (July 1940). redesignated 43rd Indian Lorried Brigade (1944). redesignated 43rd Lorried Infantry Brigade (1947). with 1 Armoured Div (1965 War). Reserve in Fazilka (1971 War). redesignated as 43rd Armoured Brigade (19??)

55th (Independent) Mechanised Brigade:

57th Armoured Brigade: part of 33rd Armoured Division

88th Armoured Brigade: formerly a Mechanised Brigade - it now forms part of 33rd Armoured Division

94th Armoured Brigade: part of the 31st Armoured Division

340th (Independent) Mechanised Brigade: formerly an Infantry Bde.

Acknowledgements: rahulm, Ravi Rikhye (Orbat.com), Mandeep S Bajwa (Orbat.com)

Last Updated on Friday, 19 November 2010 05:43  

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