Organisation of the British Army in the Great War

To help organisation in World War One , the army had units of different sizes to allow the commanders to provide the right number of men for the front line and for the logistics needed to support them.

The smallest unit was a section, made up of 10 to 15 men, led by a Lance Corporal.

Four sections  made up a platoon, led by a Lieutenant.

Four platoons made up a company, led by a Captain.

4 companies made up a battalion which was led by a Lt-Colonel

Each battalion was then part of a brigade which consisted of three to six battalions although in World War One it tended to consist of four battalions.

The commander of a Brigade was a Brigadier General who would have his own HQ and command team.

division would be made up of a number of Brigades, often as many as eight or nine in WW1.

The makeup would provide the skills required i.e. infantry, machine gun corps, cavalry, artillery, engineers, medical corps and specialist units such as veterinary, service corps, cyclist etc.

A division was under the control of a Major-General who controlled as many as 10,000 men.

Divisions were then allocated large tasks like holding a long stretch of front line trenches, taking a specific targets or garrisoning a large area. The General was then able to allocate individual tasks to the Divisions who themselves would allocate tasks from their resources.

Two divisions made up a corps led by a Lieutenant General

Two corps or Four divisions made up an army which was led by a General.

During the course of World War One there were five British armies fighting.

For details of the Divisions and Brigades in which Essex battalions served during World War One Click Here