159th Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom)

The 159th Infantry Brigade was a motorised infantry brigade of the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...



The creation of the 11th Armoured Division (which included this Brigade together with 29th Armoured Brigade
British 29th Armoured Brigade
- History :Created in 1940 it served mainly with the 11th Armoured Division, notably in the Battle of Normandy and the campaign in Western Europe.- Component Units :*22nd Dragoons - Until Jan '41...

) was part of the British answer to the success of German panzer divisions in the previous years. In Poland in 1939 then in Western Europe in 1940, the German armoured elements had clearly displayed new tactics and methods of fighting, and the Allied Forces now had to address those developments in Europe.

Originally part of the 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division, the brigade detached to form the 11th Armoured in October 1943, from thereon being involved in intensive training while gradually receiving new, modern equipment.

Normandy to Belgium

The Brigade landed on Juno Beach
Juno Beach
Juno or Juno Beach was one of five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, during the Second World War. The sector spanned from Saint-Aubin, a village just east of the British Gold sector, to Courseulles, just west of the British Sword sector...

 in Normandy on 13 June 1944. During the campaign in Normandy the brigade took part in Operation Epsom
Operation Epsom
Operation Epsom, also known as the First Battle of the Odon, was a Second World War British offensive that took place between 26 and 30 June 1944, during the Battle of Normandy...

, Operation Goodwood
Operation Goodwood
Operation Goodwood was an attack launched on 18 July 1944, during the Second World War, by the British army to the east of the city of Caen...

, Operation Bluecoat
Operation Bluecoat
Operation Bluecoat was an attack by the British Second Army at the Battle of Normandy during the Second World War, from 30 July – 7 August 1944. The geographical objectives of the attack were to secure the key road junction of Vire and the high ground of Mont Pinçon...

 and the actions around the Falaise Gap. In August the Brigade, as part of 11th Armoured Division, advanced into France participating in the "swan" to Amiens; the fastest and deepest penetration into enemy territory ever made until the 1991 Gulf War. The 11th Armoured Division then turned northward to Belgium and captured the city of Antwerp on 4 September.

Market Garden to Germany

The Brigade had a minor role in Operation Market Garden and went on to participate in the Ardennes.

Soon thereafter, the 11th Armoured Division pushed forward into the German-occupied Netherlands. In March 1945, it crossed the Rhine River and by the end of the war had advanced to the northeast and captured the German city of Lübeck
The Hanseatic City of Lübeck is the second-largest city in Schleswig-Holstein, in northern Germany, and one of the major ports of Germany. It was for several centuries the "capital" of the Hanseatic League and, because of its Brick Gothic architectural heritage, is listed by UNESCO as a World...

 on 2 May 1945.

As it drove into Germany, the Brigade occupied the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on 15 April 1945, pursuant to an 12 April agreement with the retreating Germans to surrender the camp peacefully. When the Brigade entered the camp, they found more than 60,000 emaciated and ill prisoners in desperate need of medical attention. More than 13,000 corpses in various stages of decomposition lay littered around the camp. Units of the Division and its higher formations were detached to oversee the work needed in the camp.

From the end of the war in Europe (8 May 1945) the Division was involved in the occupation of Germany until its disbandment in January 1946.

Component Units

  • 4th battalion The King's Shropshire Light Infantry
    The King's Shropshire Light Infantry
    The King's Shropshire Light Infantry was a regiment of the British Army, formed in 1881, but with antecedents dating back to 1755. The KSLI was amalgamated with three other county light infantry regiments in 1968 to became part of The Light Infantry...

  • 3rd battalion The Monmouthshire Regiment
  • 1st battalion The Herefordshire Regiment

External links

  • http://www.rrw.org.uk/museums/brecon/fact_sheets/24.htm
  • http://www.strategos.demon.co.uk/D-Day/Hill%20112.htm
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