By Nick van der Bijl, David Aldea
For many of us it used to be three Commando Brigade, commanded by means of significant normal Julian Thompson, and made of Royal Marines and Para's that recaptured the Falklands. but fifth Infantry Brigade performed a key and before little stated position during this striking saga. Cobbled jointly in haste (having been stripped of its resources to deliver three Commando Brigade as much as strength), it comprised mostly of 2 Guards battalions (2nd Scots and 1st Welsh) and the Gurkhas. Many felt it used to be inadequately educated while it sailed from Southampton at the QE 2 and this view used to be given substance via early mess ups akin to the tragedy at Bluff Cove. but by means of the top, its contribution, of which Tumbledown is the easiest identified, couldn't be denied. Why then used to be its commander (Brigadier Tony Wilson) so conspicuously overlooked while the medals and have been passed out?
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Additional resources for 5th Infantry Brigade in The Falklands War
3 Troop usually supported 3rd Parachute Battalion and, although warned to join 3rd Commando Brigade, no room could be found on the ships, so it deployed with 5th Infantry Brigade. When 2nd Parachute Battalion departed, Lieutenant-Colonel Jones insisted on taking ‘his troop’, 2 Troop, which was commanded by Captain Robbie Burns. To make up for the lost troop, Captain David Foxley’s 20th Field Squadron, a dark blue beret unit among red berets, joined the Squadron as 4 Troop. Whatever the colour of their beret, the sappers had a wide range of skills ranging from laying and lifting mines, building and demolishing bridges, building water points and field defences, track and road repair, watermanship and diving, quite apart from honing infantry skills.
It was hoped that a positive show of naval and military strength by the British, as the aggrieved nation, would persuade Argentina to abandon the territories she had occupied. The previous year the Royal Navy had taken the brunt of the defence cuts and senior naval commanders were determined to show that the nation could not do without a strong maritime capability. By 9 April the Task Force order of battle was as follows Commander Task Force 317 (CTF 317) for the South Atlantic operation was Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse, who was Commander-in-Chief Fleet, with his headquarters at Northwood.
The remainder of 656 Squadron and its Air Maintenance Group were transferred to 5th Infantry Brigade at the expense of 658 Squadron. 16th Independent Parachute Brigade had pioneered the idea of a logistic regiment, but this had disappeared when the formation was disbanded, only for the concept to be adopted by the Royal Marines into the Commando Logistic Regiment. This consisted of a mix of Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Army grouped into the Medical, Ordnance, Transport and Workshop Squadrons and was ideally suited for the self-sufficient role of 3rd Commando Brigade on NATO’s Northern Flank.
5th Infantry Brigade in The Falklands War by Nick van der Bijl, David Aldea