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The Grenadier Guards:

Grenadier Guards


The Great War

The Grenadier Guards were an Infantry Battalion that would have had an MG Section as part of its Battalion Headquarters. These weapons would have been brigaded when the Machine Gun Corps was formed in 1915. The guns, and crews, would have been formed into a Machine Gun Company.

During the Great War, the dispositions of Battalions were as follows:

1st

At the outbreak of war, the 1st Battalion was part of 20th Brigade, 7th Division. As a unit of the 7th Division, it will have taken part in the following engagements.

The division had no existence before the outbreak of War; it was gradually assembled at Lyndhurst between the 31st August and the 4th October, 1914. The 12 infantry battalions included the three remaining unalloted regular battalions left in England, as well as nine battalions brought back from various overseas stations, viz. - Guernsey (1), Gibralter (2), Malta (2), Cairo (1), Natal (1), and the Transvaal (2). The mounted troops included an existing yeomanry regiment as well as a cyclist company, formed on mobilization. The Field Artillery was made up by one R.H.A. Brigade (XIV., of two batteries), and one R.F.A. Brigade (XXXV.) still left at home, together with one R.F.A. Brigade (XXII.) from the Transvaal. The two heavy batteries were new units formed at Woolwich after the outbreak of War, and the field companies came from Chatham and Pretoria. Three of the A.S.C. companies (30, 40 and 42) came from Gibralter, Malta, and Pretoria, but the remaining company (86) was a new formation.

The 7th Division embarked at Southampton on the 4th and 5th October, and began disembarkation at Zeebrugge on the 6th October. The division moved to Bruges on the 7th October, and reached Ghent on the 9th October. During the night of 11/12 October, a retirement on Ypres was begun and the place was reached on the 14th. The 7th Division served on the Western Front in France and Belgium until the 17th November, 1917, when it began entraining for the Italian Front, on which it served for the remainder of the War. The 7th Division was engaged in the following operations:-

1914
25 August to 05 SeptemberRETREAT FROM MONS [II. Corps, 26 to 30 August 1914, and III. Corps from 31 August 1914.]
26 AugustBattle of le Cateau [under II. Corps].
01 SeptemberNery (1/R. War. R. and 2/R.D.F., 10th Bde.)
06 to 09 SeptemberBattle of the Marne [III. Corps].
13 to 20 SeptemberBATTLE OF THE AISNE [III. Corps].
13 October to 02 NovemberBattle of Armentieres [III. Corps].
13 OctoberCapture of Meteren
1915
25 April to 25 MayBATTLES OF YPRES [V. Corps, Second Army].
25 April to 04 MayBattle of St. Julien [V. Corps, Second Army, and from 28 April to 07 May in Plumer's Force].
08 to 13 MayBattle of Frezenberg Ridge [V. Corps, Second Army].
24 and 25 MayBattle of Bellewaarde Ridge [V. Corps, Second Army].

It was transferred to the 3rd Guards Brigade, Guards Division on 04 August, 1915 (arriving on 05 August, 1915). It's MG Section was transferred between 01 September and 19 September, 1915, to form the 3rd Guards Bde. MG Coy..
In July, 1915, His Majesty approved the formation of a Guards Division, and in August, 1915, the Guards Division was formed in France, the units, on arrival, being concentrated around Lumbres (near St. Omer).

2nd

At the outbreak of War, the 2nd Battalion was part of the 4th (Guards) Brigade, attached 2nd Division.

As part of the 2nd Division, it will have taken part in the following operations:-
On the outbreak of War the 2nd Division (less the 4th (Guards) Brigade) in the London District) was quartered at Aldershot, and mobilized there (4th (Guards) Brigade mobilizing at Windsor and in London).

The division crossed to France between the 11th and 16th August, concentrated around Wassigny, Etreux, etc., and began to moved forward on the 21st August.

1914
23 and 24 AugustBattle of Mons [I. Corps].
24 August to 05 SeptemberRETREAT FROM MONS [I. Corps].
01 SeptemberVillers Cotterets.
06 to 09 SeptemberBattle of the Marnes [I. Corps].
13 to 26 SeptemberBATTLE OF THE AISNES [I. Corps].
13 SeptemberPassage of the Aisne.
20 SeptemberActions on the Aisne Heights.
19 October to 20 NovemberBATTLES OF YPRES [I. Corps].
21 to 24 OctoberBattle of Langemarck [I. Corps].
29 to 21 OctoberBattle of Gheluvet [I. Corps].
11 NovemberBattle of Nonne Bosschen [I. Corps].
1915
01 FebruaryCuinchy
06 FebruaryCuinchy
15 to 20 MayBattle of Festubert [I. Corps, First Army].
25 September to 04 OctoberBattle of Loos [I. Corps, First Army].
13 to 19 OctoberHohenzollern Redoubt [I. Corps, First Army].

On 19 August, 1915, the 4th (Guards) Brigade was transferred to the Guards Division and renumbered 1st Guards Brigade on 20 August, 1915. It's MG Section was transferred between 01 September and 19 September, 1915, to form the 1st Guards Bde. MG Coy..
In July, 1915, His Majesty approved the formation of a Guards Division, and in August, 1915, the Guards Division was formed in France, the units, on arrival, being concentrated around Lumbres (near St. Omer).

3rd

The 3rd Battalion joined, from England on 19 August, 1915, the 2nd Guards Brigade, Guards Division. It's MG Section was transferred between 01 September and 19 September, 1915, to form the 2nd Guards Bde. MG Coy.
In July, 1915, His Majesty approved the formation of a Guards Division, and in August, 1915, the Guards Division was formed in France, the units, on arrival, being concentrated around Lumbres (near St. Omer).

4th

The 4th Battalion joined, from England on 18 August, 1915, the 3rd Guards Brigade, Guards Division. It's MG Section was transferred between 01 September and 19 September, 1915, to form the 3rd Guards Bde. MG Coy.


The Inter-war Period

In 1922, the Machine Gun Corps and Guards MG Regiment were disbanded and the guns returned to the Infantry Battalion as a Machine Gun Platoon and then formed as a Machine Gun Company in the early 1930s.


The Second World War

This remained until the formation of Divisional Machine Gun Battalions in 1936 where guns were brigaded once again.

However during the Second World War, the 1st (Motor) Bn Grenadier Guards became the Motor Battalion to the 5th (Guards) Armoured Brigade of the Guards Armoured Division and therefore retained a Machine Gun Platoon within its support elements. These guns were transported using Universal Carriers.

The Guards Armoured Division was created on 17th June 1941 in Great Britain. It took part in the following battles:

  • Bourguebus Ridge (18th - 23rd July 1944)
  • Mont Pincon (30th July - 9th August 1944)
  • Nederijn (17th - 27th September 1944)
  • Rhineland (8th February - 10th March 1945)

    Post-Second World War

    After the Second World War, the MG assets reverted to MG Platoons within support companies of Infantry Battalions.


    Sources

  • Bouchery, 1999
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