he Grenadier Guards (GREN GDS) is an infantry regiment of the British Army. It is the most senior regiment of the Guards Division and, as such, is the most senior regiment of infantry. It is not, however, the most senior regiment of the Army, this position being attributed to The Life Guards. Although The Coldstream Guards were formed before The Grenadier Guards, the regiment is ranked after the Grenadiers in seniority as, having been a regiment of the New Model Army, the Coldstream served the Crown for four fewer years than the Grenadiers (the Grenadiers having formed as a Royalist regiment in exile in 1656 and the Coldstream having sworn allegiance to the Crown upon the Restoration in 1660).
During the Second World War the regiment was expanded to six service battalions, with the re-raising of the 4th Battalion, and the establishment of the 5th and 6th Battalions. The Grenadier Guards' first involvement in the war came in the early stages of the fighting when all three regular battalions were sent to France in late 1939 as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF).
The 1st and 2nd Battalions were serving in the 7th Guards Brigade, which also included the 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards, and were part of the 3rd Infantry Division, led by Major General Bernard Montgomery. The 3rd Battalion was in the 1st Guards Brigade attached to the 1st Infantry Division, commanded by Major General Harold Alexander.
As the BEF was pushed back by the German blitzkrieg during the battles of France and Dunkirk, these battalions played a considerable role in maintaining the British Army's reputation during the withdrawal phase of the campaign before being themselves evacuated from Dunkirk.
After this they returned to the United Kingdom where they undertook defensive duties in anticipation of a possible German invasion. Between October 1940 and October 1941, the regiment raised the 4th, 5th, and 6th Battalions. Later, in the summer of 1941, there was a need to increase the number of armoured and motorised units in the British Army and as a result many infantry battalions were converted into armoured regiments and so the 2nd and 4th Battalions were re-equipped with tanks, while the 1st Battalion was motorised. The 1st and 2nd (Armoured) Battalions were part of the 5th Guards Armoured Brigade, attached to the Guards Armoured Division, and the 4th Battalion was part of the 6th Guards Tank Brigade Group. They subsequently served in the North West Europe Campaign of 1944–45, taking part in several actions including the Battle for Caen, particularly in Operation Goodwood, as well as Operation Market Garden, the Battle of the Bulge and Operation Veritable.
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Philip Reinders, 2016