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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

12 Mechanised Brigade to take over as lead UK formation in Iraq

Published Friday 27th May 2005

UK Ministry of Defence

Secretary of State for Defence John Reid announced the latest deployment of UK Forces to Iraq in a Written Ministerial Statement to Parliament on 25 May 2005.

The deployment is part of the routine turnover (roulement) of UK forces in the Multinational Division (South East) (MND(SE)).  4 Armoured Brigade, formerly the lead UK formation, will be replaced by 12 Mechanised Brigade.  The handover will be largely complete by 30 May 2005.

The new deployment will total around 8,500 troops – an increase of a little over 400 in the number of personnel deployed in Iraq.  Half of this small increase is accounted for by the fact that 12 Mechanised Brigade has about 200 more personnel than 4 Armoured Brigade.  The rest of the increase is in order to allow greater effort on training, development and mentoring of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).  The aim is to help the Iraqis to develop capabilities such as leadership, command and control, logistics, and management, which will enable them to take independent responsibility for their own security. 

UK forces in South-Eastern Iraq are already helping the Iraqis to develop these key skills by mentoring Iraqi Army Divisional and Brigade Headquarters and through informal partnerships between Iraqi Army units and units from coalition forces in MND(SE).  The scope of these activities is being increased, including plans to expand basic training for new recruits provided for Iraqi Security Forces at the Regional Training Centre in the South. 

Across Iraq, over 165,000 ISF personnel are now equipped and trained.  During the elections in January, they demonstrated both their determination and their capability to take responsibility for Iraq’s security.  The ISF are conducting increasingly successful counter-insurgency operations, and are already operating with some independence across MND(SE). 

The full text of John Reid’s statement is as follows:

Roulement of UK Forces in Iraq

"As part of the routine management of UK forces in the Multinational Division (South-East) (MND(SE)) in Iraq, we are conducting a roulement of forces.  The lead UK formation, previously 4 Armoured Brigade, will now be provided by 12 Mechanised Brigade.  The majority of forces involved in this roulement will complete their deployment by 30 May.  The following units are involved:

"Currently Deployed in Iraq

  • 4 Armoured Brigade Headquarters and Signal Squadron
  • 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards
  • The Royal Dragoon Guards
  • 4th Regiment the Royal Artillery
  • 1st Battalion Scots Guards
  • 1st Battalion Welsh Guards
  • 1st Battalion The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment
  • 21 Engineer Regiment
  • 7 Transport Regiment Royal Logistic Corps
  • The East & West Riding Regiment/Tyne Tees Regiment TA
  • 2nd Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment

"After Roulement

  • 12 Mechanised Brigade Headquarters and Signals Squadron
  • The King’s Royal Hussars
  • The Light Dragoons
  • 19th Regiment the Royal Artillery
  • 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards
  • 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment
  • 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Wales
  • 1st Battalion The Staffordshire Regiment
  • 26 Engineer Regiment
  • 3 Close Support Regiment Royal Logistic Corps
  • The East of England Regiment TA The Royal Rifle Volunteers TA
  • 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment

"At the end of this process the number of troops in Iraq will be around 8,500 – a little over 400 more than at present.  The reason for this small increase is in order to allow greater effort to be put into the training, development and mentoring of the Iraqi Security Forces: this will enable them to take on ever greater responsibility for their own security and so pave the way for UK troops to withdraw.

"We will continue to consider, with the Iraqi Transitional Government and our partners in the multinational force, the levels and dispositions of forces required in Iraq.  If we judge that further changes to the UK military contribution would be appropriate, we will of course inform the House at the earliest opportunity."

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