13th Frontier Force Rifles

Second World War

During the Second World War, the Machine Gun Battalion and the 9th Battalion of the 13th Frontier Force Rifles were both Divisional (Machine Gun) Battalions.

Machine Gun Battalion, 13th Frontier Force Rifles

Formed 15 January 1942 at Abbottabad.

Rawalpindi District – 15 January 1942 to 20 December 1942

The battalion was raised at Abbotabad on January 15th, 1942 and moved to Tobe Camp near Kakul in March 1942. At the end of May 1942, it moved to Rawalpindi to train. It was mobilized in November 1942 and left Rawalpindi on December 20th, 1942 for Trichinopoly.

25th Indian Infantry Division – 11 January 1943 to March 1944

It arrived at Trichinopoly on January 11th, 1943 and joined the 25th Indian Infantry Division, coming under command of the 53rd Indian Infantry Brigade for administration. From Feburary to September 1943, it operated in exercises under the 19th and 25th Indian Infantry Divisions. It changed its role to a support battalion in June, but retained the title of M-G Battalion. It moved to Malabar at the start of October 1943 and was attached to the 19th Indian Infantry Division in the Nilambur area for training. At the end of November, it returned to the 25th Indian Infantry Division at Ootacamund. It moved to Bangalore with the division in January and remained with the division until the division departed for Burma in March 1944.

Frontier Reserve Brigade – March 1944 to 14 November 1944

The battalion then moved to the North-West Frontier and joined the 3rd Indian Infantry Brigade (now called the Frontier Reserve Brigade) at Batrasi near Abbottabad, where it arrived in April. It moved to Tahlian camp to train in August 1944 and left Rawalpindi for Kohima on November 14th, 1944.

7th Indian Infantry Division – 14 November 1944 to 31 August 1945

It joined 7th Indian Infantry Division on arrival in Kohima and remained with it for the rest of the war. It moved to Tamu on January 2nd and was distributed among the brigades with ‘A’ Company under the 89th Brigade, ‘B’ Company under the 33rd Brigade, ‘C’ Company under the 114th Brigade, and the Battalion HQ and ‘D’ Company under the 7th Divisional HQ. It served with the brigades in the crossing of the Irrawaddy and the advance south. The battalion was located at Yenangyaung during May and June at the end of the advance south. It moved to Prome at the end of June and then to Pegu, where the division concentrated. It moved to Mingladon on August 15th and remained there until the end of the war.

9th Battalion, 13th Frontier Force Rifles

This battalion was raised as an infantry battalion on 1 April 1941 at Bareilly as part of the 98th Indian Infantry Brigade and served with the brigade through July 1942. On August 1st, 1942 it was converted to 54th Regiment, Indian Armoured Corp at Lahore and was to be equipped with medium cruiser tanks. It was part of the 268th Indian Armoured Brigade in August and received two light tanks in October 1942. On October 1st 1942, the Battalion was converted back to an infantry battalion and the brigade to the 268th Indian Infantry (Lorried) Brigade at Secunderabad. The battalion did not join the brigade for a month since it was doing internal security duty in the Bezwada District. After joining the brigade it trained with it from March to November 1943, when the brigade was called to Calcutta to perform famine relief duties. The brigade operated in an area thirty miles north of Calcutta from early December 1943 until March 1944. At the end of this period the battalion was moved to Ranchi and half the battalion was given leave. Due to this fact, it was left behind in Ranchi when the brigade was rushed to Burma in March 1944. In May 1944 the Battalion was sent to Quetta to train as a Machine-Gun Battalion and remained there in training through December 1944, when it was posted to the 17th Indian Infantry Division as its Machine-Gun Battalion. Here is its service with the division:

17th Indian Infantry Division – December 1944 to 31 August 1945

The 9th Battalion moved to Ranchi and joined the division in January of 1945 just as half of the division was about to leave for Burma. It joined the advanced elements of the division south of Imphal in early February 1945, except for ‘D’ Company, which flew into Meiktila on February 4th with the 99th Indian Brigade. During the advance south, ‘A’ and ‘B’ Companies served under the Divisional HQ and ‘C’ Company served under the 48th Indian Brigade. The battalion crossed the Irrawaddy on February 16th and reached Taungatha on February 25th. It was then involved in the drive on Meiktila from February 28th to March 3rd. On April 1st, 1945, the battalion was organized with ‘A’ Company supporting the 63rd Brigade, ‘B’ Company with the Divisional HQ, ‘C’ Company with the 48th Brigade and ‘D’ Company with the 99th Brigade. After the Meiktila battles, the battalion moved to Pyawbe with the division. It then fought in the battle of the Pegu Yomas. After this battle, the battalion was dispersed with ‘A’ Company at Penwegong, ‘B’ Company at Daiku and ‘D’ Company at Kanguktwin. It remained in service in Burma with the division until the end of the war.