12th Armoured Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom)
|12th Mechanized Brigade|
Insignia of 12th Mechanized Brigade
|Active||1899 – present day|
|Part of||3rd (United Kingdom) Division|
|Engagements||World War I
Battle of Marne
Battle of Aisne
First Battle of Ypres (1914)
Battle of Messines (1914)
Second Battle of Ypres (1915)
Battle of Albert
Battle of Le Transloy
Battle of the Somme
First Battle of the Scarpe
Third Battle of the Scarpe
Battle of Polygon Wood
Battle of Broodseinde
Battle of Poelcapelle
Battle of Passchendaele
Battle of Arras (1918)
Battle of Hazebroucke
Battle of Bethune
Advance in Flanders
Battle of the Scarpe (1918)
Battle of Drocourt-Quéant
Battle of the Canal du Nord
Battle of the Selle
Battle of Valenciennes
World War II
Second Boer War
The brigade was first formed in December 1899 as 12th Infantry Brigade and saw action at the Battle of Rensburg, Battle of Norval's Point, Battle of Biddulph's Berg and Battle of Slabbert's Nek.
First World War
During the First World War, the 12th Infantry Brigade, a regular army formation, was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division. It was dispatched to France, crossing the English Channel on 22 August 1914, as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and saw action in the First Battle of the Marne beginning in September 1914. It then spent much of the rest of the conflict engaged in trench warfare.
Brigade units during the First World War included:
- 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster)
- 2nd Battalion, the Lancashire Fusiliers
- 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment
- 2nd Battalion, Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment) (from January 1916 to 10th Bde. February 1918)
- 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment (from March 1915, to 11th Bde. July 1915)
- 1/5th Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment (from February 1915 until January 1916)
- 1/2nd Battalion, Monmouthshire Regiment (until January 1916)
Second World War
During the Second World War, except for a few brief periods of detachment, the brigade formed part of the 4th Infantry Division, as in the First World War. It was part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and took part in the Dunkirk evacuation in May 1940. The brigade remained in the United Kingdom for the next two years, preparing and training to repel Operation Sea Lion, the German invasion of England, although that never arrived. It moved to North Africa in February 1943 to take part in the later stages of the Tunisia Campaign and saw action at the Battle of Oved Zara, the Battle of Medjez Plain and the Battle of Tunis. It then took part in the Italian Campaign, moving to Naples in February 1944 and saw further action at the Fourth Battle of Monte Cassino. By October 1944 the 4th Division was taking part in the British Eighth Army's battle on the Gothic Line but was withdrawn in November to spend the rest of the war in Greece, part of the Allied force tasked to prevent civil unrest as rival factions attempted to fill the political vacuum when the Germans withdrew from the country.
Order of battle
The 12th Infantry Brigade was constituted as follows during the war:
- 2nd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers
- 1st Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment (until June 1940)
- 1st Battalion, Black Watch (until March 1940)
- 6th Battalion, Black Watch (from March 1940)
- 1st Battalion, Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment (from September 1940)
The following officers commanded the brigade during the war:
- 3 September 1939 Brigadier John Clark
- 20 October 1939 Brigadier John Hawkesworth
- 18 June 1940 Brigadier Daniel Beak
- 10 December 1941 Brigadier R. G. W. Callaghan
- 14 April 1943 Lieutenant Colonel J. M. Haycroft (Acting)
- 17 April 1943 Brigadier Richard Hull
- 17 June 1943 Brigadier Gordon MacMillan
- 22 June 1943 Lieutenant Colonel B. J. G Madden (Acting)
- 29 June 1943 Lieutenant Colonel J. M. Haycroft (Acting)
- 7 July 1943 Lieutenant Colonel T. P. D. Scott
- 12 November 1943 Brigadier F. M. Elliott
- 26 April 1944 Brigadier A. G. W. Heber-Percy
The Brigade was disbanded in March 1947, but reformed from 91 Lorried Infantry Brigade in April 1956. During the 1970s, it was one of two "square" brigades assigned to 2nd Armoured Division. After being briefly converted to "Task Force Delta" in the late 1970s, the brigade was reinstated in 1981, assigned to 1st Armoured Division and based at Quebec Barracks at Osnabrück. It remained with 1st Armoured Division, apart from a spell under HQ 3rd Armoured Division during Operation Granby, until disbandment under Options for Change. Following the Strategic Defence Review in 1998, the brigade was reformed in mechanized form under 3rd Mechanised Division at Aldershot Garrison: it relocated to Ward Barracks in Bulford Camp in February 2004.
The brigade headquarters, with two battle groups – the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment and the 1st Battalion The Grenadier Guards – deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 to form the headquarters and main infantry combat units of Task Force Helmand as a part of the NATO International Security Assistance Force. Under Army 2020, its headquarters remains at Bulford and it forms part of the Reaction Force. It has been renamed 12th Armoured Infantry Brigade and includes the following units:
- The Royal Lancers (Formation Reconnaissance)
- The King's Royal Hussars (Armoured)
- 1st Battalion, Scots Guards (Heavy Protective Mobility) (Note: This Heavy Protected Mobility Infantry Unit rotates amongst the five Guards Division Battalions)
- 1st Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (14th/15th, 19th and 33rd/76th Foot) (Armoured Infantry)
- 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh (Armoured Infantry)
Recent commanders have included:
- 1956–1957 Brigadier I. H. Freeland
- 1970–1972 Brigadier D. T. Young
- 1972–1974 Brigadier W. R. Taylor
- 1984–1986 Brigadier J. J. Mackenzie
- 1989–1990 Brigadier J. M. F. C. Hall
- 1999–2002 Brigadier J. Cooper
- 2002–2003 Brigadier J. D. Shaw
- 2005–2007 Brigadier J. G. Lorimer
- 2007–2009 Brigadier D. M. Cullen
- "History of 12 Mech Bde HQ and Sig Sqn (228)" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-08-07.
- Watson, Graham (2005). "The British Army in Germany: An Organisational History 1947-2004". Tiger Lily. p. 95.
- Watson, p. 76
- Black, Harvey. "The Cold War Years. A Hot War in reality. Part 6.".
- "Quebec Barracks". BAOR Locations. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
- Task Force Helmand Transfer of Authority Ceremony NATO
- "Regular Army Basing Plan" (PDF). Retrieved 20 December 2014.
- "Army 2020 Brochure" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 April 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
- "Regular Army Basing Announcement" (PDF). AFF. Retrieved 2013-04-14.
- "page 7. This rotation occurs until 2016." (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 June 2014. Retrieved 2013-08-07.
- Regular Army Basing Announcement footnote 10
- "Army Commands" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-08-07.
- Watson, Graham (2005). The British Army in Germany: An Organizational History 1947–2004. Tiger Lily. ISBN 978-0972029698.