6th Guards Tank Brigade (United Kingdom)

The 6th Guards Tank Brigade was an armoured brigade of the British Army during the Second World War formed from the Foot Guards in 1941 as the 6th Guards Armoured Brigade when the United Kingdom was under the threat of invasion and more armoured formations were required.

6th Guards Armoured Brigade
6th Guards Tank Brigade
6th Guards Brigade
Insignia of the 6th Guards Tank Brigade[1]
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
Part ofGuards Armoured Division 1941–1942
Independent 1942–1945


Permission was granted from King George VI and the Colonels of the Regiments involved and, over the summer of 1941, the Infantry of the Guards converted into an armoured formation and the Guards Armoured Division was formed, containing the 5th and 6th Guards Armoured Brigades, together with supporting units. The 6th Brigade, was converted from the 30th Independent (Guards) Infantry Brigade[2]

In 1942, all British armoured divisions were reorganised to have one armoured brigade and one motorised infantry brigade. The 6th Guards Armoured Brigade thus became an independent tank brigade, being renamed as the 6th Guards Tank Brigade.[3] The brigade, now equipped with the Churchill tank,[4] served in the North West Europe campaign landing in Normandy on 20 July 1944.[5]

Correspondence in Winston Churchill's The Second World War (Volume V: Closing the Ring, Annex C) in April 1944 appears to indicate there was consideration of breaking the brigade up and making its personnel available as replacements for other army formations. Churchill was opposed to this, and nothing appears to have been done.[6]

The brigade went on to take part in the Battle of Normandy in Operation Bluecoat,[7] Operation Veritable finally ending the war at Lübeck on the Baltic Sea where they captured a U-boat.[8]

Churchill tanks of 6th Guards Tank Brigade laying a smokescreen during the advance on Venray, Netherlands, 17 October 1944

Order of battle

The 6th Guards Tank Brigade was constituted as follows during the war:[9]


The following officers commanded 6th Guards Tank Brigade during the war:[10]

  • 15 January 1943 – 3 August 1944 Brigadier GL Verney
  • 3 August 1944 – 16 August 1944 Brigadier Sir Walter Bartellot, Bt
  • 18 August 1944 – 2 February 1945 Brigadier WDC Greenacre

See also


  1. Cole p. 123
  2. The Guards Divisions 1914 – 45 By Mike Chappell, p 28
  3. "Guards Armoured".
  4. 6th Guards Tank Brigade: The Story of Guardsmen in Churchill Tanks
  5. "D-Day tanks". Archived from the original on 9 August 2007. Retrieved 8 October 2008.
  6. Winston Churchill, The Second World War: Volume V: Closing the Ring, Reprint Society, London, 1954 (Hardback), Appendix C, notes of 4 April 1944, 4 April 1944, and 9 April 1944, pages 541-542.
  7. British Armour in the Normandy Campaign 1944 By John Buckley, p 101
  8. "brief history of the brigade".
  9. Joslen, pps. 157, 197.
  10. Joslen, pps. 157, 197.


  • The Guards Divisions 1914–45 By Mike Chappell, Published by Osprey Publishing, 1995 . ISBN 1-85532-546-2
  • Cole, Howard (1973). Formation Badges of World War 2. Britain, Commonwealth and Empire. London: Arms and Armour Press.
  • British Armour in the Normandy Campaign 1944 By John Buckley, Published by Routledge, 2004 . ISBN 0-7146-5323-3
  • 6th. Guards Tank Brigade: The Story of Guardsmen in Churchill Tanks by Patrick Forbes, Published by Sampson Low, 1946. OCLC 464061159
  • Joslen, H. F. (2003) [1990]. Orders of Battle: Second World War, 1939–1945. Uckfield: Naval and Military Press. ISBN 978-1-84342-474-1.

See also