|Heavy Armoured Brigade (Egypt)|
4th Armoured Brigade
4th Armoured Brigade Group
4th Mechanized Brigade
4th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters North East
Current insignia of the 4th Infantry Brigade & HQ North East.
|Part of||1st (United Kingdom) Division|
|Garrison/HQ||Catterick, North Yorkshire|
|Nickname(s)||The Black Rats|
|Engagements|| Second World War Gulf War |
|Brigadier Oliver Brown|
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.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.After being briefly converted to "Task Force Charlie" in the late 1970s, the brigade was reinstated in 1981, assigned to 3rd Armoured Division and was based at York Barracks in Münster. 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.
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).On its return to the United Kingdom in 2007 it was transferred from 1st (UK) Armoured Division to 3rd (UK) Mechanised Division. 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. 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 moving to the Specialized Infantry Group and the 4th battalion moving to the re-named Headquarters, North West.
Under Army 2020, the brigade lost its armour and converted to an infantry brigade. The units to be under its control include:
The Brigade also exercises command over all British Army Units based in the North East for the purposes of UK Operations. 4th Infantry Brigade is also regionally aligned with the northern African region as part of defence engagement.
During the Second World War:
Recent commanders have included:
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.
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2nd and 6th Battalions The Royal Regiment of Scotland have transferred to 4th Infantry Brigade from 51st Infantry Brigade
Responsible Organisation 4th Infantry Brigade Region Northern Africa
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