Long-range ordered intermetallic alloys with L12 (Ni3Al, Cu3Au) and B2 (FeAl) structures were deformed by high-pressure torsion at room temperature up to high grades of deformation. Transmission electron microscopy shows that disordering caused by the deformation occurs on a very local scale within coarse grains along glide planes (Cu3Au, Ni3Al) and in the form of well defined local regions (Ni3Al, FeAl). The latter leads to a duplex structure consisting of an ordered coarse-grained structure and a disordered nanocrystalline structure. The different mechanisms that can lead to disordering during severe plastic deformation are discussed on the basis of the different ordering energies and on the basis of antiphase boundaries associated with gliding dislocations. The results indicate that in intermetallic alloys the formation of a nanocrystalline structure by severe plastic deformation is facilitated by the loss of order.