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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 Armoured Infantry, Mechanized Infantry, Light 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 Samuel L. Humphris







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 the initial Army 2020 reforms assumed the title of 1st Armoured Infantry Brigade.

Early history[edit | edit source]

Following the end of the Second Boer War in 1902, the army was restructured and the 1st Guards Brigade was established permanently as part of the 1st Division in the 1st Army Corps, stationed at Aldershot Garrison.[1]

First World War[edit | edit source]

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.[2]

Order of battle[edit | edit source]

The brigade was composed as follows during the war:[3]

Second World War[edit | edit source]

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.

HM The King reviews the 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards at Bachy, France, December 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.[2]

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.[2] The brigade then fought on the Gothic Line and in the Spring 1945 offensive in Italy.

Order of battle[edit | edit source]

The 1st (Guards) Brigade was constituted as follows during the war:[4]

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

Postwar[edit | edit source]

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.[2] In 1968 the dispatch of the entire 3rd Infantry Division began to be planned, as part of the United Kingdom Mobile Force, to reinforce Allied Land Forces Schleswig-Holstein and Jutland (LANDJUT).[5] By the mid-1980s the British Army force earmarked as part of the UKMF to reinforce LANDJUT had shrunk to the 1st Infantry Brigade, as it had become.

In 1984-85 the brigade was subordinate to South West District. It consisted of the brigade headquarters, at Jellalabad Barracks, Tidworth; 1st Battalion, the Gloucestershire Regiment, at Lucknow Barracks; 3rd Battalion, The Light Infantry, at Aliwal Barracks; 1st Battalion, The Royal Green Jackets, at Mooltan Barracks, Tidworth, though it was seemingly actually in the Falklands; an armoured regiment, the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, at Bhurtpore Barracks, Tidworth; a reconnaissance regiment, the 16th/5th Queen's Royal Lancers, at Assaye Barracks; 26 Field Regiment Royal Artillery, at Baker Barracks on Thorney Island (West Sussex); 22nd Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers at Swinton Barracks on Perham Down; and No. 656 Squadron AAC at Netheravon Airfield.[6]

After the end of the Cold War, the brigade was reassigned to 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 was deployed to Sierra Leone and, in 2002, to Kosovo.[2]

The brigade was deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Herrick XVIII.[7] It was deployed again in 2014, commanded by Brigadier Rupert Jones.[8]

Current formation[edit | edit source]

Under Army 2020, it was renamed as 1st Armoured Infantry Brigade and remained at Tidworth Camp, forming part of the Reaction Force.[9][10] A parliamentary reply stated that the 1st Armoured Infantry Brigade will form up as a Strike Brigade by 2021.[11][12][13]

The Brigade consists of the following units:[12][14]

Brigade Commanders[edit | edit source]

The following officers commanded the brigade during the Second World War:[4]

  • 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. Forster (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)

Recent commanders have included:[17]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". 7 October 1902. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "History of 1st Mechanized Brigade". British Army. 2015. http://www.army.mod.uk/documents/general/History_1Mech_Bde.pdf. 
  3. Baker, Chris. "The British 1st Division in 1914–1918". 1914-1918.net. http://www.1914-1918.net/1div.htm. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Joslen, p. 225
  5. CHIEFS OF STAFF COMMITTEE, UNITED KINGDOM MOBILE FORCE DEPLOYMENT TO NORTHERN EUROPEAN COMMAND (JUTLAND/SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN) PART 1 OF JOINT THEATRE PLAN (JTP) NATO 70 - OPERATION GRACIE, 27 December 1972.
  6. David Isby and Charles C. Kamps, Armies of NATO's Central Front, Jane's Publishing Company, 1985, 225.
  7. "1 Armoured Infantry Brigade". Ministry of Defence. http://www.army.mod.uk/structure/29028.aspx. 
  8. "Commander praises UK troops as final major Afghan deployment begins". BBC. 10 October 2013. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24470368. 
  9. "Regular Army Basing Plan". Ministry of Defence. 5 March 2013. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/136406/regular_army_basing_plan.pdf. 
  10. "Army 2020 report". British Army. July 2013. http://www.army.mod.uk/documents/general/Army2020_Report_v2.pdf. 
  11. "Strike Experimentation Group:Written question - 117878". British Army. 6 December 2017. https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2017-12-06/117878/. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 at 12:03pm, Hannah King 28th July 2020. "Plans For Catterick Garrison Redevelopment Ahead Of Arrival Of 3,500 Extra Troops" (in en). https://www.forces.net/news/catterick-study-assess-how-army-base-can-welcome-3500-extra-troops. 
  13. "Information on the Army 2020 refine exercise". 10 March 2017. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/632554/2017-02130.pdf. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 "Information on the Army 2020 refine exercise". 10 March 2017. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/632554/2017-02130.pdf. 
  15. "Strike Experimentation Group". UK Hansard. 11 December 2017. https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2017-12-06/117878. "The Strike Experimentation Group (SEG) was established in Warminster in April 2017 and is part of the headquarters of 1st Armoured Infantry Brigade" 
  16. "9th/12th Charitable Association Website". Delhispearman.org.uk. 5 July 2012. http://delhispearman.org.uk/notice-of-regimental-amalgamation-5thjuly-2012/. 
  17. Mackie, Colin (June 2015). "III: Senior Army Appointments: 1860–". gulabin.com. p. 223. http://www.gulabin.com/armynavy/pdf/Army%20Commands%201900-2011.pdf. 

Sources[edit | edit source]

  • 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 | edit source]



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