Motor Battalion

As part of an Armoured Division in the Second World War, a Motor Battalion provided infantry support within the Armoured Brigade, as opposed to the operations of the Infantry Brigade. The Motor Battalion was heavily mechanised and used some additional armoured fighting vehicles. Whilst there was an Independent Machine Gun Company in the Armoured Division, this was to support the Infantry Brigade and the Motor Battalion had its own machine gun support in the form of two platoons in the later stages of the war.

In the Middle East, in 1942, the Motor Battalion included a machine gun platoon in each of the Motor Companies. This provided 16 guns across the Battalion but decentralised unlike the pre-war Infantry Battalions. They were carried in 3-ton lorries.

In January 1944, the Motor Battalion (not in the Middle East) had two machine gun platoons, each with four guns and carried in Universal Carriers, in the same manner as a machine gun platoon of a machine gun battalion.

motorbn

The Motor Battalions of the Second World War were from the following regiments:

Motor battalions had their own training arrangements, different from the infantry battalions and the machine gun battalions. Whereas a machine gunner in a Divisional (Machine Gun) Battalion would be trained at one of the Machine Gun Training Centres, machine gunners in a Motor Battalion received their training alongside other members of the battalion at a Motor Training and Holding Battalion. This included specialist companies that provided the training for the different platoons in the support company of the Motor Battalion. This included an MMG Platoon within the Specialist Company.  A full transcript of the War Establishment of the Motor Training and Holding Battalion is available as a PDF download.


Sources:

  • Bouchery, 1999
  • The National Archives, WO 24/944, War Establishments July to September 1942.
  • The National Archives, WO 24/950, War Establishments 1944.