1st Armoured Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom)
|1st (Guards) Brigade
1st Infantry Brigade (Guards)
1st Infantry Brigade
1st Mechanized Brigade
1st Armoured Infantry Brigade
Insignia of the 1st Armoured Infantry 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
Battle of Monte Cassino
Liri Valley -
|Brigadier Simon Wright|
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
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.
Order of battle
The brigade was composed as follows during the war:
- 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards (until August 1915)
- 1st Battalion, Scots Guards (until August 1915)
- 1st Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment)
- 2nd Battalion, Royal Munster Fusiliers (until August 1914)
- 1st Battalion, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders (from September 1914)
- 1/14th Battalion, London Regiment (from November 1914, left February 1916)
- 10th (Service) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment (from August 1915, disbanded February 1918)
- 8th (Service) Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment (from August 1915, left February 1918)
- 1st Machine Gun Company, Machine Gun Corps (formed 26 January 1916, moved to 1st Battalion, Machine Gun Corps 28 February 1918)
- 1st Trench Mortar Battery (formed 27 November 1915)
- 1st Battalion, Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire) (from February 1918)
Second World War
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.
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.
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. The brigade then fought on the Gothic Line and in the Spring 1945 offensive in Italy.
Order of battle
The 1st (Guards) Brigade was constituted as follows during the war:
- 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards
- 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards
- 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment (until 1 June 1941, rejoined 10 September 1941 until 25 November 1942, rejoined 18 February 1943, left finally 22 February 1943)
- 1st Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Company (disbanded 31 December 1940)
- 8th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (from 25 December 1942 until 16 February 1943)
- 3rd Battalion, Welsh Guards (from 1 March 1943)
- 1st Battalion, Welch Regiment (from 9 March 1945 until 29 June 1945)
Between 11 April 1942 and 7 August 1942 the following units formed the 1st Independent Brigade Group (Guards):
- 8th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
- 1st Independent Brigade Group Machine Gun Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers
- 1st Independent Brigade Group Reconnaissance Company, Reconnaissance Corps
- 17th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery
- 204th Anti-Tank Battery, Royal Artillery
- 136th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, Royal Artillery
- 214th Field Company, Royal Engineers
- 1st Independent Brigade Group Company, Royal Army Service Corps
- 152nd Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps
- 1st Independent Brigade Group Ordnance Company, Royal Army Service Corps
The following officers commanded the brigade during the war:
- 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)
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.
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. 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.
- Household Cavalry Regiment (Formation Reconnaissance)
- Royal Tank Regiment (Armoured)
- 1st Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (Armoured Infantry)
- 1st Battalion, Mercian Regiment, (Armoured Infantry)
- The Royal Wessex Yeomanry (Armoured Reinforcement)
Recent commanders have included:
- 1946-1947 Brigadier JNR Moore
- 1947-1949 Brigadier GF Johnson
- 1952-1954 Brigadier GC Gordon-Lennox
- 1997-1999 Brigadier J McColl
- 1999-2000 Brigadier JP Riley
- 2001-2002 Brigadier S Mayall
- 2012-2014 Brigadier RTH Jones
- "History of 1st Mechanized Brigade" (PDF). British Army. 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
- Baker, Chris. "The British 1st Division in 1914-1918". 1914-1918.net. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
- Joslen, p. 225
- "1 Armoured Infantry Brigade". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
- "Commander praises UK troops as final major Afghan deployment begins". BBC. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- "Regular Army Basing Plan" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. 5 March 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
- "Army 2020 report" (PDF). British Army. July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
- 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.
- Joslen, Lt-Col H.F. (2003) . Orders of Battle: Second World War, 1939–1945. Uckfield: Naval and Military Press. ISBN 978-1-84342-474-1.
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