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1st Mechanized Brigade
"Forward As One"

The 1st Mechanized Brigade is a deployable brigade of the British Army assigned to the 3rd (UK) Division. It comprises armored, mechanized, and light role troops, making it capable of a wide variety of missions anywhere in the world. The Headquarters, which is based in Tidworth, Wiltshire, England commands, controls, force generates and trains units for operations in support of 3rd (UK) Division and the British Army's Land Component.

Following the Boer War, the British Army underwent significant restructuring with the introduction of sequentially numbered Corps, Divisions, and Brigades. 1st Army Corps was based at Aldershot, Hampshire, England with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Divisions under its command. The 1st Division consisted of 1st and 2nd Brigades. By 1902, this new structure represented both a peacetime organizational system and the system under which forces would be deployed for war: from 1906, this system was to provide the framework for a future Expeditionary Force.

In 1914, at the outbreak of the Great War, 1st Infantry Division deployed to France with 1st Guards Brigade, and 2nd and 3rd Infantry Brigades. On 23 August 1915, the Brigade was re-designated 1st Infantry Brigade when its Guards Battalions (1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards and 1st Battalion, Scots Guards) were transferred to the newly-formed Guards Division. Thereafter, 1st Infantry Brigade continued to serve with 1st Infantry Division under this title throughout the Great War. The Brigade saw heavy action at Mons; the first battle of the Marne; Aisne; the first and third Battle of Ypres; Aubers Ridge; Loos; Somme; Pozières; and Épehy.

After the armistice 1918, The 1st Division was again based in Aldershot and consisted of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Infantry Brigades. In December 1920, 1st Infantry Brigade became 1st Infantry Brigade (Guards), the title it retained until 1960. The Brigade's only overseas service in the inter-war period was with the British Corps of Occupation in Constantinople from September to October 1922. The Brigade otherwise remained in Aldershot under 1st Division until World War II, consisting of a changing mix of Guards and line infantry Battalions.

In the Second World War, following the German invasion of Poland, the 1st Infantry Brigade (Guards) deployed to France with 1st Infantry Division in September 1939, taking part in the Battle of France and subsequent evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk. Following the withdrawal from the Continent, the Brigade remained in the United Kingdom until November 1942, when it sailed for the Middle East as part of the invasion force in North Africa under the 1st Army. There it saw action in the Battles for Fondouk, El Kourzia and Tunis in April and May 1943.

Subsequently, the Brigade served in the Italian Campaign for the rest of the war under command of various divisions, seeing action in the Battles of Monte Cassino and the Liri Valley in May 1944. The wartime 1st Infantry Brigade (Guards) returned to the United Kingdom in August 1945 and was re-designated as the 1st Independent Brigade Group in September 1945, still under 1st Infantry Division. Throughout the Second World War the following units served under the Brigade: 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards; 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards; 3rd Battalion, Welsh Guards; 2nd Battalion, The Hampshire Regiment; 8th Battalion, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders; and 1st Battalion, The Welch Regiment.

After the end of the Second World War, the Brigade served overseas in both Palestine and Egypt from 1945 to 1951, at which time it finally returned to the United Kingdom. The Brigade returned to the region briefly during the Suez Crisis in 1956 and was in Cyprus during the EOKA insurgency during 1957 and 1958. The Brigade was re-designated again in March 1959 as 1st Guards Brigade Group, before being disbanded in November 1960.

In April 1977, the Brigade reformed in the United Kingdom as 6th Field Force before being re-designated 1st Infantry Brigade in January 1982. From December 1988 until April 1992 the Brigade formed the nucleus of the United Kingdom Mobile Force (UKMF), a component of NATO's Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Force at the time, earmarked to reinforce Denmark in the event of a Warsaw Pact invasion of Western Europe.

In April 1993, after the end of the Cold War, the Brigade was reassigned as part of the new 3rd (UK) Division and subsequently became a Mechanized Brigade. From April to October 1996 it deployed to the Former Republic of Yugoslavia, acting as Headquarters, Multi-National Division (South West), returning again from March to September 1999 in support of Operation Palatine.

From October 2000 until May 2001, the 1st Mechanized Brigade deployed to Sierra Leone in support of Operation Silkman, followed by a deployment to Kosovo from April to November 2002 in support of Operation Agricola's rotation 8. Following the coalition invasion of Iraq in 2003, 1st Mechanized Brigade deployed twice to Southern Iraq, firstly in support of Operation Telic's rotation 4 from April to October 2004 and again for the operation's tenth rotation from June to December 2007.

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Page last modified: 08-10-2012 18:35:08 ZULU