5th Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom)

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The 5th Infantry Brigade was a regular infantry brigade of the British Army that was in existence since before the First World War until amalgamating with 24th Airmobile Brigade, in 1999, to form 16 Air Assault Brigade.


The brigade was part of the 2nd Division during the First World War and was one of the first British units to be sent overseas on the outbreak of war. The brigade became part of the British Expeditionary Force and saw action on the Western Front in the Battle of Mons and the subsequent Great Retreat and at the First Battle of Ypres, which saw the old Regular Army virtually destroyed.

During World War IIm the 5th Brigade was again part of the 2nd Infantry Division and was sent to France in 1939 shortly after the outbreak of war, where it joined the British Expeditionary Force. It served on the Franco-Belgian border until May 1940, when it was evacuated at Dunkirk after fighting in the short but fierce battles of France and Belgium in which the German Army nearly cut off the entire BEF from the French Army. With the division, the brigade remained in Britain on home defence until 10 April 1942, when it was shipped out to India to fight the Imperial Japanese Army after a series of disasters suffered by the British and Indian troops stationed there. The 5th Brigade served with the 2nd Infantry Division in the Burma Campaign under General Sim's British Fourteenth Army and fought in the Battle of Kohima, which managed to help turn the tide of the campaign in the Far East.

Component Units in World War I[edit]

The brigade commanded the following units in the First World War:[1]

Component Units in World War II[edit]


Post 1945[edit]

Following the war, it was part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan, and then the British Army of the Rhine until 1964, when the Brigade Group was released to bolster the strategic reserve. It arrived in Borneo in October 1965 to take control of the Mid West Sector, but by 1968 it was back in the United Kingdom as part of the 3rd Infantry Division. It did a tour in Northern Ireland during the early part of the Troubles. In the early 1980s, the Field Force concept was dropped in favour of traditional Brigades; 5th Infantry Brigade was reformed at Aldershot in 1981 by the redesignation of 8th Field Force. The Brigade consisted of the former elements of the Parachute Contingency Force (PCF) from 6 Field Force (which became the 1st Infantry Brigade), at the time 2 PARA, together with a second Parachute Battalion from 8 Field Force (3 PARA).

Falklands War[edit]

The Brigade was sent to the Falklands in 1982 as the follow-on force to 3rd Commando Brigade. Having had its two Parachute Regiment battalions withdrawn to reinforce 3 Commando Brigade, it was hurriedly reconstituted with two Guards battalions pulled from Public duties in London. The final order of battle included:

5th Airborne Brigade[edit]

Following the Falklands War, it was converted into 5th Airborne Brigade. The brigade comprised the two battalions of the Parachute Regiment, together with additional parachute support elements and a small parachute deployable Brigade HQ. The 7th Regiment RHA returned from Germany and was converted to an airborne unit and attached to the brigade. A Brigade Logistic Battalion was formed. On 1 September 1999, the brigade merged with 24 Airmobile Brigade to produce 16 Air Assault Brigade.

5th Airborne Brigade Order of Battle[edit]

  • HQ 5 Airborne Brigade
 Each fire unit was equipped with Rapier Field Standard A and DN181 ‘Blindfire’ radar.
 There was also an HQ Flight and an Engineering Flight.
  • 613 Tactical Air Control Party (Parachute) RAF Regt
  • 614 Tactical Air Control Party (Parachute) RAF Regt

Logistic Battalion[edit]

Territorial Army Enhancement[edit]


  1. ^ Baker, Chris. "The 2nd Division in 1914-1918". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 

External links[edit]