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III Anti-Aircraft Corps
III AA corps.svg
Formation sign of III Anti-Aircraft Corps. Sign is in Corps colours (red and white) and has crescents from the coat of arms of the GOC Lieutenant-General H. G. Martin.[1]
Active 11 November 1940 – 30 September 1942
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Type Anti-Aircraft corps
Role Air Defence
Part of Anti-Aircraft Command
Garrison/HQ Edinburgh
Engagements The Blitz
Baedeker Blitz

III Anti-Aircraft Corps was a high-level formation of Britain's Anti-Aircraft Command from 1940 to 1942. It defended Scotland, Northern Ireland and North East England during the Blitz and the middle years of World War II.

Origin[edit | edit source]

AA Command had been created in 1938 to control the Territorial Army's rapidly-expanding anti-aircraft (AA) organisation within Air Defence of Great Britain. On the outbreak of war in September 1939, it commanded seven AA Divisions, each with several AA Brigades, disposed around the United Kingdom.[2][3][4][5] Continued expansion made this organisation unwieldy, so in November 1940 – during the Luftwaffe's nightly Blitz on London and other British cities – five further AA Divisions were organised, and all the divisions grouped under three corps headquarters directly subordinate to AA Command. III AA Corps covered North Eastern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and by February 1941 comprised four division-level headquarters and 11 brigades. Its boundaries roughly coincided with No. 13 Group and No. 14 Group of RAF Fighter Command.[2][5][6]

Order of battle[edit | edit source]

III AA Corps had the following organisation from February 1941:[7][8][9][10][11][12]

Corps HQ: Edinburgh

General Officer Commanding:[5][13]

3rd AA Division[edit | edit source]

7th AA Division[edit | edit source]

12th AA Division[edit | edit source]

Orkney & Shetland Defence Force (OSDEF)[edit | edit source]

Intermediate Ammunition Depots[edit | edit source]

Equipment Ammunition Magazines[edit | edit source]

  • Invergordon
  • Bishopbriggs, near Glasgow
  • Renfrew, near Glasgow

Operations[edit | edit source]

During its short existence, III AA Corps had to deal with the 1940–41 Blitz on industrial towns and cities such as Belfast, Clydebank, Greenock and Newcastle upon Tyne, as well as later raids on Middlesbrough and Sunderland.[15] In August 1942, the 3rd AA Division HQ was sent south to assist in defending the South Coast of England against 'hit and run' attacks by the Luftwaffe.[12][16]

Disbandment[edit | edit source]

The AA Corps and Divisional HQs were disbanded in October 1942 and a replaced by a more flexible system of AA Groups. The area covered by III AA Corps became the responsibility of two of the new groups: 6th AA Group (North East England and Scotland) and 7th AA Group (Northern Ireland); OSDEF remained directly subordinate to AA Command.[2][5][17]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Cole p.54
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Pile's despatch.
  3. Routledge, p. 65.
  4. Farndale, p. 5.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Robert Palmer, A Concise History of Anti-Aircraft Command (History and Personnel) at British Military History.[dead link]
  6. Routledge, p. 394.
  7. Routledge, p. 394; Table LXV, p. 396.
  8. Farndale, Annex D, pp. 257–9.
  9. AA Command structure at British Military History.[dead link]
  10. Order of Battle of Non-Field Force Units in the United Kingdom, Part 27: AA Command, 12 May 1941, The National Archives (TNA), Kew file WO 212/79.
  11. Order of Battle of Non-Field Force Units in the United Kingdom, Part 27: AA Command, 2 December 1941, TNA file WO 212/80.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Order of Battle of Non-Field Force Units in the United Kingdom, Part 27: AA Command, 14 May 1942, with amendments, TNA file WO 212/81.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Farndale, Annex J.
  14. Martin at Generals of World War II
  15. Routledge, pp. 387–404 & Map 35.
  16. Routledge, pp. 402–3.
  17. Routledge, p. 401 & Map 36.

References[edit | edit source]

External sources[edit | edit source]

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