4th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters North East

4th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters North East (The Black Rats), previously known as 4th Mechanized Brigade (The Black Rats) is a brigade formation of the British Army, currently based in Catterick, North Yorkshire as part of 1st (United Kingdom) Division.[1] The brigade, now known as the 'Black Rats', was formed in 1939 and fought in the Second World War in the Western Desert Campaign in North Africa. The Black Rats were subsequently involved in the invasion of Sicily and fighting in Italy before taking part in the Battle of Normandy and the advance through Belgium, Holland and into Germany.[2]

Heavy Armoured Brigade (Egypt)
4th Armoured Brigade
4th Armoured Brigade Group
4th Mechanized Brigade
4th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters North East
Black Rat Patch .jpg
Current insignia of the 4th Infantry Brigade & HQ North East.
Active1939–1945
1976–Present
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
TypeInfantry
SizeBrigade
Part of1st (United Kingdom) Division
Garrison/HQCatterick, North Yorkshire
Nickname(s)The Black Rats
EngagementsSecond World War
North African Campaign
Invasion of Sicily
Battle of Normandy
North West Europe Campaign
Gulf War
Bosnian War
Kosovo Campaign
Iraq War
Afghanistan
Commanders
Current
commander
Brigadier Oliver Brown
Notable
commanders
Michael Carver

More recently, the Brigade took part in the First Gulf War and completed a number of tours to the Balkans during the 1990s. The Black Rats have since deployed twice to Iraq and once before to Afghanistan for Operation Herrick 12 in 2010. The Brigade returned to Helmand Province, Afghanistan in October 2012 for Operation Herrick 17 to take over as the lead formation of British troops. The roulement tour saw the brigade working in support of the Afghan Army's 3/215 Brigade and elements of the Afghan National Police.

HistoryEdit

Second World WarEdit

In September 1939, at the start of the Second World War this brigade changed its title from Heavy Armoured Brigade (Egypt) to 4th Armoured Brigade.[3]

On 27 July 1941, it handed over its units to the 1st Army Tank Brigade and received new units based in Egypt. It was reformed again when the HQ arrived in Sicily and it took control of new units there. The 4th Armoured Brigade saw service in the North African Campaign, the Allied invasion of Sicily, the Italian Campaign and in North-western Europe. Although it served under many different formations it was most famous as part of the 7th Armoured Division, the Desert Rats.[3]

The 4th Armoured Brigade left the 7th Armoured Division in North Africa in 1943 for the Allied Invasion Force for Normandy. In June 1944, the brigade landed in Normandy and served with distinction during the Battle of Normandy during the Battle for Caen. From Normandy until the end of the war, the 4th Armoured Brigade was composed as follows:

The 4th Armoured Brigade was the first to cross the Rhine into Germany.[4]

Order of battle, Second World WarEdit

Cold War EraEdit

The Brigade spent many years in Germany as part of the British Army of the Rhine. The brigade was one of two "square" brigades assigned to 2nd Armoured Division when it was formed in 1976.[5] After being briefly converted to "Task Force Charlie" in the late 1970s, the brigade was reinstated in 1981, assigned to 3rd Armoured Division[6] and was based at York Barracks in Münster.[7] The Brigade deployed to the First Gulf War on Operation Granby in 1990/91 and was involved in the liberation of Kuwait. It moved to Quebec Barracks at Osnabrück in 1993 to replace 12th Armoured Brigade as part of 1st (UK) Armoured Division.[8]

Post-Cold WarEdit

4th Armoured Brigade deployed to Bosnia in October 1995 as UNPROFOR HQ Sector South-West and subsequently as the leading UK element of the NATO Implementation Force (IFOR).[9] On its return to the United Kingdom in 2007 it was transferred from 1st (UK) Armoured Division to 3rd (UK) Mechanised Division.[9] The Black Rats have since deployed twice to Iraq and once before to Afghanistan for Operation Herrick 12 in 2010. The Brigade returned to Helmand Province, Afghanistan in October 2012 for Operation Herrick 17 to take over as the lead formation of British troops. The roulement tour saw the brigade working in support of the Afghan Army's 3/215 Brigade and elements of the Afghan National Police.[10] As part of the latter changes of Army 2020 both the 2nd and 4th Battalions of the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment will move out of the brigade. The 2nd battalion will move to the Specialised Infantry Group and the 4th battalion will move to the re-named Headquarters, North West.[11][12]

Current formationEdit

4th Infantry BrigadeEdit

Under Army 2020, the brigade lost its armour and converted to an infantry brigade. The units to be under its control include:[11][13][14]

HQ North EastEdit

 
Structure of 4 Inf Bde & HQ North East as of July 2020.

The Brigade also exercises command over all British Army Units based in the North East for the purposes of UK Operations, this also includes the cadets and forces of the region. The regional element is referred to simply as 'HQ North-East', which covers the counties of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham, Teesside, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, East Yorkshire, and South Yorkshire.[17][18] Organisations and units which fall under this regional command include:[18][19][20]

Operational CommandEdit

Administrative CommandEdit

While HQ North East administer some formations based in the north east, the HQ also oversees all units based in the North East of England, these include:[33]

4th Infantry Brigade is also regionally aligned with the northern African region as part of defence engagement.[34]

Second World War CommandersEdit

 
Sherman DD tank of the 44th Royal Tank Regiment, 4th Armoured Brigade, passing Universal Carriers of the 6th Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers east of the River Rhine, 25 March 1945.

During the Second World War:[35][36]

  • January 1940 to April 1941 Brigadier J.A.L. Caunter
  • April 1941 to April 1942 Brigadier A.H. Gatehouse
  • April 1942 to July 1942 Brigadier G.W. Richards
  • July 1942 to September 1942 Brigadier W.G. Carr
  • September 1942 to November 1942 Brigadier M.G. Roddick
  • November 1942 to January 1943 Brigadier C.B.C. Harvey
  • January 1943 to February 1943 Brigadier D.S. Newton-King
  • February 1943 to December 1943 Brigadier J.C. Currie
  • December 1943 to March 1944 Brigadier H. J. B. Cracroft
  • March 1944 to June 1944 Brigadier J. C. Currie
  • June 1944 to August 1945 Brigadier R.M.P. Carver

Brigade CommandersEdit

Recent commanders have included:[37]

Notable former soldiersEdit

Former BBC Motor sports commentator Murray Walker served with 4th Armoured Brigade during the Second World War as a member of The Royal Scots Greys. After the war he started a motorcycle club, organising trials and scrambles for the soldiers within the Brigade.[42]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ 4th Mechanized Brigade, British Army, retrieved 15 February 2017
  2. ^ Brigadier RMP Carter (1945). The History of the 4th Armoured Brigade. ISBN 978-1470119645.
  3. ^ a b Brief History Of The British 4th Armoured Brigade Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Desert Rats Association website Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Watson, Graham (2005). "The British Army in Germany: An Organisational History 1947-2004". Tiger Lily. p. 95.
  6. ^ Black, Harvey. "The Cold War Years. A Hot War in reality. Part 6".
  7. ^ "York Barracks". BAOR Locations. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  8. ^ 4th Mechanized Brigade Archived March 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Global Security
  9. ^ a b The Blue Beret (December 2000/January 2001) Archived August 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "4th Mechanized Brigade to replace 12 Mechanized Brigade in Helmand". MoD. 11 July 2012.
  11. ^ a b c "4th Infantry Brigade and HQ North East". www.army.mod.uk. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  12. ^ "Duke of Lancaster's Regiment". www.army.mod.uk. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  13. ^ "Famed Desert Rats to lose their tanks under Army cuts". Telegraph. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  14. ^ page 9 Archived June 10, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ How the Army moved an entire battalion from Cyprus to Chester, Cheshire Live, retrieved 13 May 2019
  16. ^ "Field Army Restructuring Battalion movements" (PDF). whatdotheyknow.com. whatdotheyknow. 11 September 2019. Retrieved 12 September 2019. 2nd and 6th Battalions The Royal Regiment of Scotland have transferred to 4th Infantry Brigade from 51st Infantry Brigade
  17. ^ "Reserve Forces and Cadets Association - Army Cadets". www.rfca-ne.org.uk. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  18. ^ a b "Reserve Forces and Cadets Association - Cadets & Youth". www.rfca-ne.org.uk. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  19. ^ "Reserve Forces and Cadets Association - Chairman's Welcome". www.rfca-ne.org.uk. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  20. ^ "4th Infantry Brigade and HQ North East - British Army Website". web.archive.org. 13 January 2018. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  21. ^ "Reserve Forces and Cadets Association - Home". www.rfca-ne.org.uk. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  22. ^ "Reserve Forces' Cadets' Association (RFCA) in Yorkshire and The Humber". www.rfca-yorkshire.org.uk. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  23. ^ "Public Information Leaflet, DTE North (East)" (PDF). assets.publishing.service.gov.uk. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  24. ^ "United Kingdom Security Vetting". GOV.UK. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  25. ^ "ITC Catterick Phase 2/3". www.army.mod.uk. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  26. ^ "AFC Harrogate". www.army.mod.uk. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  27. ^ "The Light Dragoons [UK]". web.archive.org. 3 January 2008. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  28. ^ "Meet the UK's only behind-bars cadet unit". Youtube. 14 July 2020. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  29. ^ "Catterick Garrison". Army Garrisons. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  30. ^ "York Garrison". Army Garrisons. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  31. ^ a b "Leeds UOTC". www.army.mod.uk. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  32. ^ a b "Sheffield UOTC". www.army.mod.uk. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  33. ^ "HQ North East Units & Formations Requestion FOIA" (PDF). What do they know?. 17 July 2020. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  34. ^ "Information regarding British Army brigades being regionally aligned" (PDF). assets.publishing.service.gov.uk. Ministry of Defence UK. 2 August 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2020. Responsible Organisation 4th Infantry Brigade Region Northern Africa
  35. ^ Orders of Battle Archived March 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  36. ^ "4th Armoured Brigade Commanders". Desert Rats. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  37. ^ Army Commands Archived July 5, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  38. ^ 5,000 'Rats' spotted in Basra Archived October 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Defence News, 11 December 2007
  39. ^ Brigadier salutes move to Garrison Archived August 17, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Northern Echo, 17 February 2009
  40. ^ 4th Mechanized Brigade Archived October 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine 11 April 2011
  41. ^ New man takes over the Black Rats Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Northern Echo, 12 June 2013
  42. ^ Murray Walker (2003). Unless I'm Very Much Mistaken. ISBN 0-00-712697-2.

Further readingEdit

  • Brigadier RMP Carter (1945). The History of the 4th Armoured Brigade. ISBN 978-1470119645.

External linksEdit