The Burma Campaign

1st Anti-Aircraft Regiment/Anti-Tank Regiment, I.A.

The 1st Anti-Tank Regiment, I.A. was first raised at Hyderabad as ‘K’ Anti-Tank Regiment, I.A. on 1st August 1940.  It became the 1st Anti-Tank Regiment, I.A. from 2nd April 1941.  Four batteries were regimented, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Anti-Tank Batteries, I.A.  In late 1941, the Regiment went to Iraq where it served with the 8th and 10th Indian Infantry Divisions.[1]  The Regiment returned to India from Iraq in March 1943, disembarking at Karachi on 13th March 1943 before moving to quarters at Sialkot two days later.  At the time, the Regiment was equipped with 6-pounder anti-tank guns. 

The 4th Anti-Tank Battery transferred to the Mountain Artillery on the 20th April 1943, being replaced by a composite Mahratta battery transferred two days later from the 8th (Mahratta) Anti-Tank Regiment, I.A.  However, the 4th Battery is mentioned as serving with the Regiment during December 1943.[2]

From 8th June 1943, the Commanding Officer of the Regiment was C.O. Lt. Colonel R.G. Lascelles.

On 2nd August 1943, the Regiment transferred to Eastern Army and left Sialkot for Chas, in Jharkhand state, where it arrived complete by 29th August 1943.  The next day it came under the command of the 26th Indian Infantry Division.  Whilst this move was taking place, on 15th August, the Regiment had been notified that it was earmarked for conversion to an A.A./Atk regiment.  On 12th September 1943, the Regiment moved to Barambe, near Ranchi.[3]

The conversion to the new role and organisation was slow.  During September 1943, eleven 6-pounder guns were handed over to the 24th Anti-Tank Regiment, R.A. and four officers and 14 Other Ranks went on an anti-aircraft course.  The following month, however, eight 6-pounder guns were taken on strength.  Preparations for the anti-aircraft role continued, with the batteries identified for conversion undertaking aircraft recognition training.  During November 1943, two officers and seven Indian Other Ranks went on anti-aircraft courses.[4]

The Regiment is listed in the India Command Orders of Battle as having begun conversion by October 1943 but unfortunately the war diary for 1944 only covers the period October-December.[5]

Indian divisional anti-tank regiments were once again the subject of reorganisation from August 1944, when they were reorganised to consist of three batteries, each equipped with twelve 6-pounder anti-tank guns and twelve 3-inch mortars.[6]  By October 1944, the Regiment had converted to this new organisation.[7]  (Note: The war diaries do not cover the period January-September 1944).  It left Ranchi for Chittagong on 6th October 1944, coming under the command of the 26th Indian Infantry Division on the same day.  While en route and in rest camp at Alipore, the Regiment collected 28 3-inch mortars from Jubbulpore.  At this time, the Regiment was composed of three anti-tank/mortar batteries; the 1st, 2nd and 30th Batteries, the latter having been transferred from the disbanded 15th (Punjab) Anti-Tank Regiment, I.A.[8]

29 July 2019

[1] David Ryan;”The British Armies in World War Two, An Organisational History”, Vol 10, Hughes, Ryan, Rothwell, Nafziger (2008).

[2] War diary 1st Anti-Tank Regiment, I.A., WO 172/2403

[3] WO 172/2403

[4] WO 172/2403

[5] India Command Orders of Battle, WO 33 series; War diary 1st Anti-Tank Regiment, I.A., WO 172/4755

[6] “History of The Regiment of Artillery, Indian Army”, Palit D.K., Leo Cooper (1972).

[7] WO 172/4755; WO 33.2290

[8] WO 172/4744