TAURUS PURSUANT Pt.2: 11th Armoured Division in the Low Countries

We left part one with 11th Armoured at the end of a succesful Operation Bluecoat, still in France but on the verge of a great avance across France and the low countries; the GreatSwan.  This second part will look at the division through the latter half of 1944 as it raced to Antwerp, supported the right flank of Market Garden, then got pulled from the line to relieve the battle of the Bulge.

Organisational Changes

11th Armoured had spent most of Normandy as part of VIII Corps but was now placed under the command of General Brian Horrock’s XXX corp.  With this, VIII’s 2nd Household Cavalry was replaced by XXX Corps “Inns of Court” as the Armoured Car regiment most likely to lead the Division.

As touched upon at the end of the last article, the Northants Yeomanry were a spent force.  With insufficient reserves to rebuild, they were withdrawn to reinforce the similarly battered 1st Northants and replaced by 15/19 King’s Royal Hussars, who adopted many of the practices of the previous Armoured Recce Regiment, not least of which included using scout cars in place of Stuart tanks.

The Challenger provided a large improvement in anti-tank capability for the Armoured Recce

Other than that, the division was equipped and manned much as in the first article.


By this point the Germans were falling back and the race was now on to close the Falaise Gap.  As part of this effort, 11th Armoured hooked South East towards Argentan (south of Falaise), running alongside (and seeming to frequently argue boundaries of operation with) 5th US Corp.

With Argentan captured, the division prepared for its next role, breaking out of Normandy and pursuing the retreating Germans.  This advance saw the division execute a very-soggy night march, covering 48 miles in 24 hours, capture Amiens at dawn, and then capture Antwerp five days later, before finally reaching the limits of the allies’ logistical train.

Forces for this operation should see D-Day British Sherman Formations paired with the Motor Rifles of 8th Rifle Brigade or D-Day British Rifle Infantry formations.  Alternatively, pair up Rifle formations with a Bulge British Cromwell Squadron with Cromwell/Challenger troops and Dingo Platoons, but no Stuarts. 

The capture of the River Rupel bridges at Boom (an ironic Belgium town name) saw 3RTR combine subterfuge and speed to overwhelm the bridge defenders whilst also being supported by the FFI.  A Sherman company backed up by the Motor rifles of G Company, 8th Rifle brigade and some French resistance could be an interesting force to recreate this attack.

Market Garden

The next stage of the campaign after this was Operation Market Garden.  Whilst the Guards Armoured Division got the honour of spearheading the main assault (and it’s interesting to speculate what may have happened if 11th Armoured had instead), 11th Armoured found itself on the flank, working to capture the Dutch town of Helmond. 

It beats walking, till the rounds start flying at least…

The 15/19th Hussars found themselves detached from the Division to support the US 101st Airborne Division, the Guards Armoured Division.

At this point, I’d suggest we say goodbye to D-Day British and switch entirely to Bulge British for our forces.  The increasing numbers of Fireflies and sabot rounds suit our purposes better.  159th can now be represented by a Kangaroo Rifle Company (sans Kangaroo) whilst 29th can use the Sherman Armoured Squadron, but not taking the Tulip option for its tanks, nor the Chaffee troop (more on that in the 3rd article, coming later).  Crusader AA seems unlikely to still be fielded as manpower shortages bite, though officially remains on the books.  Stuarts should all be Jalopies as the turrets have long since been ditched!

8th Rifle Brigade can make use of the Black Bull Motor Company formation.  They did indeed mount .50 on their half-tracks but, at 1pt a half-track, it seems a bit extravagant!

Pair up tank/infantry combinations to reflect the tank/infantry battlegroups being used.

The 15/19th have an interesting adventure with Market Garden, supporting the 101st Airborne around Son.  The Hussars Armoured Squadron is really for 1945 so we should instead use the Bulge British Cromwell Squadron, equipped with Cromwell and Challenger combined troops, Dingos, but no Stuarts or Chaffee.  Pair these up with an allied US airborne platoon or formation and refrain from divisional support units such as M10C or Sextons.  Corp level 25pdr support is likely fine.

Battle of the Bulge

After Market Garden, the division spent the autumn securing the allies’ grip on the Low Countries.  As the weather deteriorated, this became more and more 159ths war, the infantry better able to cope with the boggy ground than the Shermans and Cromwells of the 29th brigade and the 15/19th.

Force for this part of the campaign should be Kangaroo Rifle Companies with a supporting Sherman/Firefly or Cromwell/Challenger troop and division support (25pdr, Sextons, M10C)

Eventually, the 29th Armoured Brigade was withdrawn to start working up on the new Comet tank.  Division HQ had tried to make the case for withdrawing the whole division but manpower was short so 159th Infantry brigade found itself fighting without its sister brigade.  We will cover their adventures more in part 3 as they really are more in 1945.

Meanwhile, the efforts of the 29th Armoured Brigade were interrupted by the Germans launching the Battle of the Bulge.  Every man was needed so the brigade found itself having to grab some very worn-out Shermans from the supply depots and rush to the River Meuse, each tank regiment being paired up with a company of the 8th Rifle Brigade.  On arrival at their allocated bridge, the regiments quickly whitewashed their tanks and then had to repel an attack by the German 2nd Panzer Division, before 3 RTR and 8th Rifle Brigade launched a counter-attack that largely proceeded unopposed, finding only abandoned tanks and vacated positions.

Meanwhile, the 23rd Hussars and Fife and Forfar Yeomanry found themselves under the command of 6th Airborne as they pushed the Germans out of Buere.  For this, we can combine whitewashed Bulge British Sherman Armoured formations (restrict yourself to one Firefly per troop and no Chaffee or Tulip upgrades) with D-Day British Paratroop formations or platoons.  29th Armoured Brigade was detached from the division so keep support to corp level artillery and air support assets.

By the end of January, the front was stabilised and 29th Armoured could get back to training on its new mounts.  We will look at these operations in part 3.  See you then!

2 thoughts on “TAURUS PURSUANT Pt.2: 11th Armoured Division in the Low Countries

  1. Very interesting read and timely, as I plan my next FoW project and the British Bulge book keeps giving me flirtatious looks from the book shelf.

  2. It’s such a joy to read. Thank you for the article and inspiration to start thinking on expanding my Brit army.
    Regards Soren

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