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5th Infantry Brigade in The Falklands War by Nick van der Bijl, David Aldea

By Nick van der Bijl, David Aldea

For many of us it used to be three Commando Brigade, commanded by way of significant normal Julian Thompson, and made from Royal Marines and Para's that recaptured the Falklands. but fifth Infantry Brigade performed a key and beforehand little stated function during this amazing saga. Cobbled jointly in haste (having been stripped of its resources to convey three Commando Brigade as much as strength), it comprised largely of 2 Guards battalions (2nd Scots and 1st Welsh) and the Gurkhas. Many felt it was once inadequately educated whilst it sailed from Southampton at the QE 2 and this view was once given substance by way of early failures equivalent to the tragedy at Bluff Cove. but by means of the top, its contribution, of which Tumbledown is the simplest recognized, couldn't be denied. Why then was once its commander (Brigadier Tony Wilson) so conspicuously overlooked whilst the medals and have been passed out?

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Very few members of the Welsh and Scots battalions, their families or the public imagined that within ten weeks they would travel south in a luxury liner and land on windy rainswept beaches at San Carlos, still bearing the scars of battle, for instance the buoy marking the spot where HMS Antelope lay beneath the waves. One battalion would suffer a long casualty list without firing a shot and the other would storm, at night, a well-defended hill held by one of Argentina’s toughest units. The unreasonable and unjustified controversy that emerged over the deployment of the Guards battalions was largely inspired by the media and others, who felt that it would be a more sensible option for a 1st Infantry Brigade battalion, in particular the Queens Own Highlanders, to join the Task Force and for the Guards to be attached to 1st Infantry Brigade in the unlikely event of hostilities against the Soviet Union.

The Brigade did not have an integral transport unit and was supported by 407 Troop, Royal Corps of Transport, which was commanded by Lieutenant Paul Ash. It arrived from 27 Logistic Support Group Regiment with Eager Beaver forklifts. Not to be forgotten was 160 Provost Company, Royal Military Police, and 6th Field Cash Office, Royal Army Pay Corps, which played a critical role in the non-medical administration and notification of casualties. While Major Lambe was preparing 5th Infantry Brigade for war, he encountered entrenched Ministry of Defence bureaucracy and close adherence to peacetime procedures.

While Major Lambe was preparing 5th Infantry Brigade for war, he encountered entrenched Ministry of Defence bureaucracy and close adherence to peacetime procedures.

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