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12 Mech Bde

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                    HISTORY OF 12 MECHANIZED BRIGADE

12 Infantry Brigade was first mobilised for service in South Africa in 1899. Prior to this date the Brigade existed on paper only. The Brigade was commanded by Major General Clements. It was custom at this time for brigades to be known by the name of their commander rather than a number and Clements Brigade, as it was known, consisted of the 2nd Battalion the Bedfordshire Regiment, the 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment 2nd Battalion the Worcestershire Regiment and the 2nd Battalion the Wiltshire Regiment.

The Brigade concentrated for the first time in Aldershot on 24th November 1899 and sailed for Port Elizabeth on 16th December 1899 and onward into the action of the Boer War. The Brigade went on to win battle honours at Rensburg, Norval’s Point, Bidduiph’s Berg and Slabbert’s Nek. Following the end of the war in South Africa, 12 Brigade was sent back to England with the Brigade headquarters located in Plymouth.

On the outbreak of the 1st World War, 12 Infantry Brigade concentrated at Harrow on 19th August 1914 crossing the Channel on 22nd August 1914. At this time the Brigade consisted of the 1st Battalion the Lancashire Fusiliers, the 2nd Battalion the Inniskilling Fusiliers and the 2nd Battalion the Essex Regiment. The Brigade soon saw action in the Battle of the Marne beginning on 5th September 1914 when the British Expeditionary Force pushed back the advancing Germans. However, the lines of trenches grew stronger over the following months and a stalemate developed and the hell of trench warfare became 12 Brigade’s existence. By the end of the war, the Brigade had won many battle honours and after the signing of the Armistice, 12 Infantry Brigade was disbanded in January 1919.

In the Second World War, following the invasion of Poland, the mobilisation of the British Expeditionary Force took place between August and September 1939. 12 Infantry Brigade embarked for France on 5th October to bolster the French Army against an expected German attack. At this time the Brigade consisted of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Fusiliers, the 1st Battalion the Royal Lancashire Regiment and the 6th Battalion the Black Watch. After fighting a desperate rearguard action, the Brigade withdrew along with the rest of the British Expeditionary Force and was evacuated from the French beaches on 30th May 1940. In February 1943, the Brigade was moved to North Africa. The Brigade fought at Oved Zara, Medjez Plain and Tunis quickly defeating the German Forces. With North Africa taken care of, 12 Brigade turned its attention to Italy disembarking at Naples in February 1944 to join the attacking forces around the town of Cassino, famous for its monastery which overlooked the surrounding countryside and provided a fortress for the Germans. The subsequent fall of Cassino allowed the Allied forces to advance North driving the Germans out of Italy. The Brigade moved North eventually heading for a ‘rest and training’ period in Greece. After the end of the war, the Brigade was disbanded in March 1947.

After reforming in April 1956 as 12th Infantry Brigade, the Brigade spent time in the UK and Germany re-roleing several times as an Infantry Brigade Group, a Mechanized Brigade, the Osnabruck Garrison & Task Force Delta, and finally as an Armoured Brigade in January 1981 until its disbandment in 1992, after Options for Change.

The Strategic Defence Review in 1998, saw the reformation of the brigade, namely 12 Mechanized Brigade. In September 1999, Headquarters 12 Mechanized Brigade formed in Montgomery Lines, Aldershot and deployed to Bosnia for a 6 month tour. Upon its return from Bosnia, the Brigade completed its formation in August 2000. 12 Mechanized Brigade now located in Bulford, Wiltshire consists of the King’s Royal Hussars, 19th Regiment Royal Artillery, 4 Battalion Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers, the 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment, 3rd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment, 4 Logistical Support Regiment Royal Logistic Corps and is ably supported by 12 Mechanized Brigade Headquarters and Signals Squadron (228).