Saturday, November 11, 2006

A new army and the 4th Armoured Brigade

Robert Crisp mentions that the 3rd RTR and the 4th Armoured Brigade starting having stream of VIP visitors. They included Lt-General Cunningham, and oddly, the Maharajah of Kashmir. Robert and his comrades could tell that something was happening to cause this. They eventually found out that the new command was formed, called the 8th Army, with General Cunningham as its commander.

Within the 8th Army, the 4th Armoured Brigade was organized as an all-arms brigade group, with tanks predominating. There were the three armoured battalions, a troop of the RHA (equipped with 25 pdrs), "a detachment of the Scots Guards", and "antitank and antiaircraft units". Alec Gatehouse was the brigade commander, and he was actually a tank officer, rather than a converted cavalryman. Robert Crisp says that the 4th Armoured Brigade was the first all-arms "combat team" in the Army. This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book Brazen Chariots.

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