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Gulf war British Army. 4th Armoured Brigade and Battlegroup ORBAT

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Hi all

I was wondering if anyone could help me with me with a few questions about the deployment of the British Army on Operation in the first Gulf war.  (Known to us as Operation Granby).  Then one or two questions in general on how the two different type of Armoured brigades are broken up for their battlefield role as battlegroups (Combat teams to our American Cousins). 

So the British deployed to the Gulf in 1990 1 (UK) Armoured Division consisting of two brigades. 4th Armoured Brigade and 7th Armoured Brigade. Ideally it should have been three. But the army had to strip pretty much all of BAOR to get two 'Modern' (I.E Challenger 1 MBT and Warrior AFV) fully equipped brigades out. Partly to an immediate peace dividend that the British government decided to cash in with the fall of the Berlin wall, and some financial and recruiting problems that BAOR had during the late 80s. (There was a recruiting freeze in 1989 I believe?)

So we have:

4th Armoured Brigade

No (1) Squadron 16/5 Queen’s Royal Lancers (Recce)

14/20 King’s Royal Hussars (Including A Squadron, Life Guards) Armoured Regiment

1 Royal Scots (Including Queens Company Grenadier Guards) Armoured Infantry Battalion

3 Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (Including No.2 Company Grenadier Guards) Armoured Infantry Battalion


7 Armoured Brigade

A Squadron, Queen’s Dragoon Guards (Recce)

Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys) Armoured Regiment

Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars (QRIH) Armoured Regiment

1 Staffordshire Regiment Armoured Infantry Battalion

Both Brigades then filled out with the usual artillery, engineering and other support arms. 


So my questions are:

1) Did the division then break these up into 6 battle groups for the actual war phase? Or more/less? What was the breakdown?

2) When Breaking them up. How were they broken up? 

For an armoured brigade with two armoured regiments and one armoured Infantry; you have 2 Tank Heavy battle groups  of 3x Armoured Squadrons with 1 x Infantry Company and one Infantry heavy with 1x Infantry and 1 x Armoured squadron. What happens to the two left over Company's/squadrons?

Same for the armoured brigade with one armoured regiment and two infantry battalions. You get battle groups of 2x Armoured squadron with 1 Armoured infantry company, and one Infantry heavy with 2x Infantry company's and 1 x Armoured squadron. What happens to the left over infantry battalion and remaining Armoured squadron does that become a battle group of 3 x infantry companies with 1 armoured squadron?

Thanks and regards





Edited by Intrepid_Hants
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Ok, so ive found a book called 'Order of Battle, Allied Ground Forces of Operation Desert Storm' by Thomas D Dinackus, Hellgate Press. I do remember when I got it back in 2000 it had a few errors with the British Orbat, but nothing major to suggest he didnt do his work.

1 Its very confusing, not least because the battlegroups seem to have changed in combat.  As you know in this period they didnt have sub company battlegroups (such as Team Yankee demonstrates) and prefered to keep companies pure. For example, Company C, the Staffordshire Regt, was attached to the Queens Royal irish Hussars from the Morning of 26th February, until 1645. Im unable to find Rats Tales to confirm that, but it seems logical to help the battalion in the break thorugh phase of the Iraqi defences.


So Stafs, 4 Squadrons, B and C and B squadron RSDG and C Squadron QRIH. RSDG, operationally 4 A C D Squadrons, A Company Staffordshire Regt,, B detached with the Staffs. QRIH operationally 3, C squadron detached with Staffs.  14th 20th Hussars, 3, with A and D Squadrons. To which was attached Queens Company 1st BTN Grenadier Guard. (Both the two tank squadrons were detached at the start of the campaign, so Im seriously confused by this). RRF would seem to be 4 Squadrons/Companies, A and C (as well as HQ and fire support) Companies, 2 Companie Grenadiers, and B squadron 14th 20th at least part of the time.

Basically, I get the impression they built a battlegroup to fulfill particular roles, and were happy to chop and change when needed. Im not getting the impression there was a hard and fast rule here. Ill admit, its been a very long time since I looked at this. But by and large they seemed to aim for 3 or 4 as necessary.

I might have the HMSO book on Granby somewhere, Ill have a look at the weekend. Finding Rats Tales might be beyond me. Apologies for the confusion, I hope some of that helps.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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I don't know about the details of Op Granby, but the theory is that the brigade can mix-and-match the companies as required.


The brigade has 3 headquarters, each capable of controlling from 2-5 companies, and 12 companies.

One battalion/regiment might be pure, with its four organic companies. The other two could swap to become task forces (US) or battle groups (UK). The main effort could gain a company to be a five-company TF/BG, and the remains two could swap a company to become three company TF/BG, with the odd company being retained in brigade reserve.


In the Infantry Captains Career Course in 2001, we even did a planning session where the infantry battalion (USian Force XXI organization with three-company battalions) gave up two infantry companies to the other two armor battalions, and in return received two tank companies (one from each battalion), creating a brigade with three identical task forces, each with 2 tank and 1 mech company.


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Working on getting the complete picture for you but for 7 Armd Bde....

This was the lead Bde and had trained for months together

QRIH BG - 3x MBT Sqns....it acted as the lead BG and recce element for 1 BR AD. 16/5 L & A, QDG were equipped with CVR (T) which had NOT been designed to recce by stealth in the open desert, so they were relegated to the Arty Group as security and recce for the MLRS/M110/M109s. The TOGS sights on Chally 1 were felt to be superior to anything on the CVR (T) anyway.

Scots DG - 3x MBT Sqns & 1x AI Coy

Staffords BG - 2x MBT Sqns (one each from QRIH & Scots DG) & 2x AI Coys


to be continued....



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