Neha Patil (Editor)

10th Indian Infantry Division

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Active  1941–19471947–
Allegiance  British Empire
Type  Infantry
Country  British India
Branch  Indian Army
Size  Division
10th Indian Infantry Division

The 10th Indian Infantry Division was a war formed infantry division of the Indian Army during World War II. In four years, the division travelled over 4,000 miles (6,400 km) from Tehran to Trieste, fought three little wars, and fought two great campaigns: Anglo-Iraqi War, Invasion of Syria-Lebanon, Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran, North African Campaign, and Italian Campaign.


World War II

The 10th Indian Infantry Division was formed during World War II in Iraq in early 1941 under Major General William Fraser. Command was passed in May 1941 to Major General William "Bill" Slim when Fraser fell ill.

As part of Iraqforce, the division first fought in Iraq, in Syria, and in Iran against forces potentially barring the road from Europe to India.

We had scrambled thought skirmishes of the Iraq rebellion, been blooded, but not too deeply, against the French in Syria, and enjoyed the unrestrainedly opéra bouffe of the invasion of Persia. We had bought our beer in Haifa and drunk it on the shores of the Caspian. We could move, we could fight, and we had begun to build up that most valuable of all assets a tradition of success. We had a good soldierly conceit of ourselves. Now in March 1942, in spite of dust was stimulating to be in what we all felt was a critical spot, waiting for the threatened German invasion of Turkey.

In March 1942 command of the division passed from Major General Slim to Major General Thomas "Pete" Rees when Slim was ordered to India to take command of Burma Corps, the kernel that would eventually become the British Fourteenth Army.

The division then moved on to North Africa for the battle for Libya. Initially the 10th Indian Infantry Division was committed piecemeal with units involved El Adem and Sidi Rezegh during the 1942 Battle of Gazala. In June the division, with the 2nd Free French Brigade under command, was ordered by Lieutenant General William Gott, the XIII Corps commander, to hold a position near the Egyptian border with Libya for 72 hours during the British Eighth Army's retreat to El Alamein. Major General Rees responded that the division had only just concentrated and that defensive works were as yet inadequate. He believed therefore that the division was unlikely to be able to withstand a full-scale attack from Rommel. Gott immediately visited Rees and relieved him of command of the division, telling him he lacked resolution. Command passed to Major General John Nichols and as Rees had foretold, the division was overrun at the Mersa Matruh defences. Rees was posted to command 19th Indian Infantry Division in the Burma Campaign. Nichols was soon posted to command of the British 50th Infantry Division.

The division then went to Cyprus for regrouping and hill training under Major General Alan Blaxland and then to Iraq to join the Tenth Army, part of Paiforce. In July 1943, Major General Wilfrid Lloyd took command when Blaxland was promoted and in January 1944, command passed to Major General Denys Reid when Lloyd was killed in an air crash. Reid remained in command until the end of British involvement in the division in 1947.

After nearly a year of relative inactivity and training, the 10th Indian Infantry Division, under Major General Reid, was sent to Italy in March 1944 to join the British Eighth Army on the Adriatic front. The division fought the rest of the Italian Campaign, facing hard fighting northwards through central Italy with the Eighth Army. Numerous mountain battles and river crossings followed with Operation Olive on the Gothic Line and then Operation Grapeshot. The 10th Indian Infantry Division earned many battle honours and decorations and suffered many casualties before final victory in Italy and the end of World War II in Europe in May 1945. Security tasks on the Yugoslav border around Trieste completed the 10th Indian Division's war service.


Prior to its piecemeal dispatch to Iraq, April 1941

  • 20th Indian Infantry Brigade
  • 2nd Battalion, 8th Gurkha Rifles
  • 2nd Battalion, 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles
  • 3rd Battalion, 11th Sikh Regiment
  • 21st Indian Infantry Brigade
  • 2nd Battalion, 10th Gurkha Rifles
  • 2nd Battalion, 4th Gurkha Rifles
  • 4th Battalion, 13th Frontier Force Rifles
  • 24th Indian Infantry Brigade
  • 2nd Battalion, 6th Rajputana Rifles
  • The Kumaon Rifles
  • 5th Battalion, 5th Mahratta Light Infantry
  • 25th Indian Infantry Brigade
  • 1st Battalion, 5th Mahratta Light Infantry
  • 2nd Battalion, 11th Sikh Regiment
  • 3rd Battalion, 9th Jat Regiment
  • Division Troops
  • 6th Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers
  • Royal Artillery
  • 3rd Field Regiment
  • 157th Field Regiment
  • Indian Engineers
  • 9th and 61st Field Companies Queen Victoria's Own Madras Sappers and Miners
  • 41st Field Park Company Queen Victoria's Own Madras Sappers and Miners
  • 1944

    Italy, March 1944-June 1945

  • 10th Indian Infantry Brigade
  • 1st Battalion, 2nd Punjab Regiment (until 29 August 1944)
  • 1st Battalion, Durham Light Infantry (from May 1944)
  • 4th Battalion, 10th Baluch Regiment
  • 2nd Battalion, 4th Prince of Wales's Own Gurkha Rifles
  • 20th Indian Infantry Brigade
  • 8th Battalion, Manchester Regiment (until Oct 1944)
  • 1st Battalion, 2nd Punjab Regiment (from Oct 1944 to May 1945)
  • 2nd Battalion, Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire) (from May 1945)
  • 3rd Battalion, 5th Mahratta Light Infantry
  • 2nd Battalion, 3rd Queen Alexandra's Own Gurkha Rifles
  • 25th Indian Infantry Brigade
  • 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster)
  • 3rd Battalion, 1st Punjab Regiment
  • 3rd Battalion, 18th Royal Garhwal Rifles
  • 4th Battalion, 11th Sikh Regiment (from January 1945)
  • Division troops
  • 1st Duke of York's Own Skinner's Horse (Divisional Reconnaissance Regiment)
  • 10th Indian Division Signals
  • 1st Battalion, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers (Machine Gun Battalion)
  • Royal Artillery
  • 68th (South Midland) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery
  • 97th (Kent Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery
  • 154th (Leicestershire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery
  • 13th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery
  • 30th Light A.A. Regiment, Royal Artillery (left November 1944)
  • Indian Engineers
  • 5th Field Company King George's Own Bengal Sappers and Miners
  • 10th and 61st Field Companies Queen Victoria's Own Madras Sappers and Miners
  • 41st Field Park Company King George's Own Bengal Sappers and Miners
  • Support Units
  • Royal Indian Army Service Corps
  • 10th Indian Division Troops Transport Company
  • 10th, 20th and 25th Brigade Transport Company
  • 27th Animal Transport Company (Mule)
  • Indian Army Medical Corps
  • 14th, 21st and 30th Indian Field Ambulances
  • 12th Indian Field Hygiene Section
  • Corps of Military Police (India)
  • 10th Indian Division Provost Unit
  • Indian Army Ordnance Corps
  • 10th Indian Division Ordnance Field Park
  • Indian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (IEME)
  • 125th, 126th and 127th Infantry Workshop Companies
  • 10th Indian Division Recovery Company
  • Indian General Service Corps
  • 10th Indian Divisional Field Post Office
  • 53rd Indian Field Post Office
  • Intelligence Corps (India)
  • 5th and 407th Indian Field Security Sections
  • Assigned brigades

    In addition to those listed above the following brigades were assigned or attached to the division for relatively short times during World War II.

  • 1st Armoured Brigade (1–5 June 1942)
  • 2nd Indian Armoured Brigade (Aug–Dec 1942)
  • 7th Armoured Brigade (Nov 1944–Jan 1945)
  • 9th Armoured Brigade (Sept 1941)
  • 252nd Indian Armoured Brigade (Jan 1942)
  • 1st Guards Brigade (2–5 June 1942)
  • 5th Indian Infantry Brigade (Jun–Jul 1942)
  • 15th Indian Infantry Brigade (Feb–Mar 1941)
  • 17th Indian Infantry Brigade (Jul–Aug 1941)
  • 18th Indian Infantry Brigade (Jun 1942)
  • 43rd (Lorried) Indian Infantry Brigade (Oct–Dec 1944)
  • 234th Infantry Brigade (Aug–Sept 1943)
  • General Officers Commanding


  • Major-General W.A.K. Fraser (January 1941 to May 1941)
  • Major-General William Slim (May 1941 to March 1942)
  • Major-General T.W. Rees (March 1942 to June 1942)
  • Major-General J.S. Nichols (June 1942 to July 1942)
  • Major-General A.B. Blaxland (July 1942 to July 1943)
  • Major-General W.L. Lloyd (July 1943 to January 1944)
  • Major-General D.W. Reid (January 1944 to end of war)
  • References

    10th Indian Infantry Division Wikipedia