1st Armoured Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom)

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"1st (Guards) Brigade" redirects here. For a similarly designated formation, see 1st Guards Brigade (United Kingdom).
1st (Guards) Brigade
1st Brigade
1st Infantry Brigade (Guards)
1st Infantry Brigade
1st Mechanized Brigade
1st Armoured Infantry Brigade
1st Mechanized.svg
Insignia of the 1st Armoured Infantry Brigade.
Active 1899–present day
Country  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type Mechanized Infantry
Size Brigade
Part of 3rd (United Kingdom) Division
Garrison/HQ Delhi Barracks, Tidworth Camp
Engagements First World War
Battle of Mons
First Battle of the Marne
First Battle of the Aisne
First Battle of Ypres
Battle of Aubers Ridge
Battle of Loos
Battle of the Somme (1916)
Battle of Pozières
Third Battle of Ypres
Battle of Épehy
Second World War
Battle of France
Fondouk
El Kourzia
Tunis
Battle of Monte Cassino
Liri Valley -
Commanders
Current
commander
Brigadier Simon Wright

The 1st Armoured Infantry Brigade is an infantry brigade of the British Army with a long history including service during both World War I and World War II. It is based at Tidworth Camp.

Previously it has been designated 1st (Guards) Brigade, 1st Infantry Brigade, 1st Mechanised Brigade (from the 1990s), and under Army 2020 will take up the 1st Armoured Infantry Brigade title.

First World War[edit]

Initially designated as the 1st (Guards) Brigade, the brigade was part of 1st Division during the First World War. Upon creation of the Guards Division in August 1915, the brigade lost 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards and 1st Battalion, Scots Guards, both to 2nd Guards Brigade, and was redesignated without the Guards reference in its title as the 1st Brigade. It was with the 1st Division on the Western Front throughout the war. It saw action at the Battle of Mons and subsequent Great Retreat, the First Battle of the Marne, the First Battle of the Aisne, the First Battle of Ypres, the Battle of Loos, the Battle of Aubers Ridge, the Battle of the Somme, the Battle of Passchendaele, the Battle of Pozières and the Battle of Épehy, part of the final Hundred Days Offensive, which broke the back of the German Army, leading to an Armistice.[1]

Order of battle[edit]

The brigade was composed as follows during the war:[2]

Second World War[edit]

Remaining active during the interwar period as the 1st (Guards) Brigade, the brigade, still part of the 1st Infantry Division, was sent to France in September 1939 during World War II as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and it later took part in the Battle of France in May–June 1940 and the subsequent Battle of Dunkirk and were evacuated to England, spending the next few years on home defence anticipating a German invasion of England.

Men of the 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards, part of the 1st (Guards) Brigade, arrive in Cherbourg in the autumn of 1939.

On 11 April 1942 the brigade was redesignated and reorganised as 1st Independent Brigade Group (Guards), with its own support units, until August when it was transferred to the 78th Infantry Division. In late 1942 it took part in the North African Campaign in Operation Torch: the Allied landings in French North Africa, arriving in Algiers in November 1942.[1]

The brigade participated in the Run for Tunis and was transferred to the 6th Armoured Division in early 1943 and saw action in the Tunisia Campaign at the Battle of Fondouk, Battle of El Kourzia and Battle of Tunis in April and May 1943. Subsequently, the 1st (Guards) Brigade served on the Italian Front for the rest of the war under command of various divisions, seeing action in the Battle of Monte Cassino (where the brigade played a holding "hinge" role during Operation Diadem) and the Battle of Liri Valley in May 1944.[1] The brigade then fought on the Gothic Line and in the Spring 1945 offensive in Italy.

Order of battle[edit]

The 1st (Guards) Brigade was constituted as follows during the war:[3]

Between 11 April 1942 and 7 August 1942 the following units formed the 1st Independent Brigade Group (Guards):[4]

Commanders[edit]

The following officers commanded the brigade during the war:[5]

  • Brigadier M.B. Beckwith-Smith (until 31 May 1940, again from 3 June 1940 until 14 July 1940)
  • Lieutenant Colonel L. Bootle-Wilbraham (acting, from 31 May 1940 until 3 June 1940)
  • Brigadier F.A.V. Copland-Griffiths (from 14 July 1940 until 14 April 1943)
  • Brigadier S.A. Foster (from 14 April 1943 until 24 July 1943)
  • Brigadier P.G.S. Gregson-Ellis (from 24 July 1943 until 18 January 1944)
  • Lieutenant Colonel A.G.W. Heber-Percy (acting, from 18 January 1944 until 3 February 1944)
  • Brigadier J.C. Haydon (from 3 February 1944 until 29 July 1944)
  • Brigadier C.A.M.D. Scott (from 29 July 1944 until 21 January 1945, again from 13 February 1945 until 11 March 1945)
  • Lieutenant Colonel E.J.B. Nelson (acting, from 21 January 1945 until 13 February 1945)
  • Brigadier G.L. Verney (from 11 March 1945)

Postwar[edit]

After the War the brigade, having lost its 'Guards' title, was transferred to Palestine for internal security duties and then to Egypt for a few months before going back to Palestine in April 1946. Two years later as the British mandate over Palestine ended the brigade and division returned to Egypt. In October 1951, British forces pulled out of Egypt outside of the Suez Canal Zone, and later the brigade returned to the United Kingdom, though it was in Cyprus during the EOKA insurgency for a period in 1957-8.[1]

By the early 1980s the brigade, having been based in the UK for many years, formed the nucleus of the UK Mobile Force earmarked to reinforce Allied Forces Northern Europe in the event of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe.[1] After the end of the Cold War it was reassigned as part of the new 3rd (UK) Division and subsequently became a Mechanised Brigade. In 1996 it was deployed to the Former Republic of Yugoslavia, with Multi-National Division (South-West), in 2000 it deployed to Sierra Leone and in 2002 it deployed to Kosovo.[1]

Iraq[edit]

More recently it deployed to Iraq on Operation Telic.[1]

Afghanistan[edit]

The brigade was deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Herrick XVIII[6] It then deployed again in 2014, commanded by Brigadier Rupert Jones.[7]

Current formation[edit]

Under Army 2020, it was renamed as 1st Armoured Infantry Brigade and remained at Tidworth Camp, forming part of the Reaction Force.[8][9] Brigade units in 2015 were:[9]

Brigade Commanders[edit]

Recent commanders have included:[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "History of 1st Mechanized Brigade" (PDF). British Army. 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  2. ^ Baker, Chris. "The British 1st Division in 1914-1918". 1914-1918.net. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  3. ^ Joslen, p. 225
  4. ^ Joslen, p. 225
  5. ^ Joslen, p. 225
  6. ^ "1 Armoured Infantry Brigade". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "Commander praises UK troops as final major Afghan deployment begins". BBC. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  8. ^ "Regular Army Basing Plan" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. 5 March 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "Army 2020 report" (PDF). British Army. July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  10. ^ Mackie, Colin (June 2015). "III: Senior Army Appointments: 1860-" (PDF). gulabin.com. p. 223. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 

Sources[edit]

  • Joslen, Lt-Col H.F. (2003) [1960]. Orders of Battle: Second World War, 1939–1945. Uckfield: Naval and Military Press. ISBN 978-1-84342-474-1.

External links[edit]