7th Armoured Brigade
"The Desert Rats"
The 7th Armoured Brigade is based at Hohne Garrison, to the north of Hannover, Germany, and is assigned to the 1st (UK) Armoured Division as part of British Forces in Germany.
7th Armoured Brigade was raised as part of the newly formed 7th Armoured Division from garrison troops stationed in North Africa in 1938. In the early part of the Second World War, the Brigade fought in the North African campaigns against the Germans and Italians from 1940 to 1941 in Desert Campaign from Sidi Barrani and Beda Fouum. This including participation in Operation Battleaxe in June 1941 and culminated in 'Operation Crusader' during late 1941, in which the 7th Armoured Brigade was involved in bitter fighting at Sidi Rezegh from 20 November to 27 December 1941, an action that the Brigade Headquarters continued to commemorate.
In 1942 7th Armoured Brigade was moved to Burma, arriving at Rangoon in the February 1942. There it was involved in the retreat through Burma to India during 1942. The Brigade moved back to the Middle East in 1943 and was stationed in Iraq and Egypt before moving to Italy in May 1944. There the Brigade fought in Italy as part of the Canadian Corps for the rest of the Second World War.
The end of the Second World War found 7th Armoured Brigade based in northern Italy as part of the occupying forces. In 1947 the Brigade moved to Germany. In 1959, the 7th Armoured Division was disbanded, but the history and name was carried on by the 7th Armoured Brigade, who continued to wears the famous 'Desert Rat' flash on their uniforms, which originated from the North African campaign when the 7th Armoured Division adopted the insignia and nickname of the 'Desert Rats'.
As part of the 1st (UK) Armoured Division, the Brigade deployed to the Persian Gulf in October 1990 in support of Operation Granby and subsequently took part in Operation Desert Sabre resulting in the liberation of Kuwait.
The Brigade took part in Operation Telic in early 2003 resulting in the liberation of Iraq. Beginning in early 2004, the Brigade also commenced conversion to the Bowman communications system, becoming the first armoured brigade in the British Army to do so.
Troops from the 7th Armoured Brigade were deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 and returned in 2012, having supported the Operation Herrick 14 rotation as part of a task force led by 3 Commando, Royal Marines.
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