33rd Armoured Brigade (United Kingdom)

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33rd Armoured Brigade
British 33rd Armoured Brigade - Tactical Formation Sign.svg
Formation Insignia of the 33rd Armoured Brigade
Active 17 March 1944 - 22 August 1945
1 January 1980 - 1 December 1992
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Type Armoured
Size Brigade
Part of Independent Brigade
79th Armoured Division
3rd Armoured Division
4th Armoured Division
Garrison/HQ Alanbrooke Barracks, Paderborn Garrison
Equipment M4 Sherman
Engagements Second World War
Invasion of Normandy
Le Mesnil-Patry
Operation Charnwood
Operation Pomegranate
Operation Totalize
Rhine Crossing

The 33rd Armoured Brigade (33rd Armd Bde) was an armoured brigade of the British Army that was active in North-western Europe in World War II from June 1944 until May 1945 and from 1980 to 1992.



The brigade was formed in the United Kingdom on 17 March 1944 by the re-designation of the 33rd Tank Brigade.[1] The brigade took part in the Normandy campaign and landed on Gold Beach on 6 June 1944. The brigade, consisting of three armoured regiments, was assigned to any infantry who were in need of armoured support; because of this mission, the brigade rarely fought as a single unit.[1]

A column of tanks advance from the left to right, each tank following in the preceding tanks track marks.
Shermans of the 33rd Armoured Brigade during Operation Charnwood.

The brigade took part in several actions that comprised the Battle for Caen. On 11 June, the brigade took part in fighting at Le Mesnil-Patry. From 8–9 July, the brigade participated in Operation Charnwood; the capture of northern Caen. Supplementing the 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division, on 16 July, the brigade took part in Operation Pomegranate, part of the Second Battle of the Odon; an attack launched to divert German attention away from the upcoming Operation Goodwood attack.[2] Following the Battle for Caen the brigade was then involved in the First Canadian Army’s attack towards Falaise; on 8 August the brigade took part in Operation Totalize.[3]

Rhine Crossing

The brigade was reformed and re-equipped with LVT 4 (Buffalo amphibious armoured fighting vehicles) for the Rhine crossing and was placed under the command of the 79th Armoured Division.[1]

Post War

During the 1970s the brigade was one of two "square" brigades assigned to 3rd Armoured Division.[4] After being briefly converted to "Task Force Echo" in the late 1970s, the brigade was reinstated in 1981, assigned to 4th Armoured Division[5] and based at Alanbrooke Barracks in Paderborn.[6] Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, in December 1992, the brigade was merged with the 20th Armoured Brigade and disbanded as part of the Options for Change programme.[6]


August 1944 until Rhine Crossing

The order of battle was as follows:[2]

Rhine Crossing

The order of battle was as follows:[7]

  • 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry
  • 1st East Riding Yeomanry
  • 4th Royal Tank Regiment
  • 11th Royal Tank Regiment

1980 - 1992

The following served with the Brigade during the 1980s:[8]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Badge, formation, 33rd Army Tank Brigade & 33rd Armoured Brigade". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 31 October 2015. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Operation Pomegranate". 59th Division. Retrieved 31 October 2015. 
  3. Poulsen, p. 91
  4. Watson, Graham (2005). "The British Army in Germany: An Organisational History 1947-2004". Tiger Lily. p. 95. 
  5. Black, Harvey. "The Cold War Years. A Hot War in reality. Part 6.". 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Alanbrooke Barracks". BAOR locations. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  7. "33rd Armoured Brigade". Orders of Battle. Retrieved 31 October 2015. 
  8. Watson, Graham (2005). "The British Army in Germany: An Organisational History 1947-2004". Tiger Lily. p. 120.