'Desert Rats' lose tanks in Army shake-up
Wednesday 06 March 2013
The "Desert Rats" are to lose their tanks in a shake-up of the UK's shrinking Armed Forces, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.
Most famous for victories in crucial Second World War battles such as El Alamein, the 7th Armoured Brigade is to become part of an infantry brigade.
The change - described as "immensely sad" by one former commander - forms part of the speeded-up withdrawal of British troops from Germany announced yesterday.
An MoD spokesman said the famous rodent insignia would be kept when the brigade moves to Chilwell, Nottinghamshire, but the brigade will not keep its tank capacity.
"7 Brigade, including their 'Desert Rat' insignia, will remain in the Army's order of battle as an adaptable force brigade based in Chilwell," he said.
"As announced in the SDSR (Strategic Defence and Security Review), we are reducing our heavy armour by 40% and re-rolling units to face more modern threats.
"That is why the Desert Rats will in the future be an infantry brigade equipped with a range of protected mobility vehicles."
Major General Patrick Cordingley, a former commander of the Desert Rats, told The Daily Telegraph, which reported the change: "It is immensely sad.
"Like the British public, I am extremely sad that they are losing their armoured role.
"These are units whose history you would have thought might have spared them from this."
But, while he agreed that "there will be some regrets", the chairman of the Desert Rats Association, Rod Scott, said he did not believe the change was very significant.
"When people think of the Desert Rats, they do think of tanks but that was never even 50% of it," he said - adding that the Armed Forces had always been reconfigured over the years.
The 7th Armoured Brigade was disbanded after the Second World War but reformed shortly afterwards - taking on the nickname and insignia when the 7th Armoured Division was disbanded in 1958.
For a short period leading up to 1981 it was re-named "Task Force Alpha".
It had a prominent role in the 2003 Iraq war.
- 1 Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
- 2 Scarlett Johansson new band 'already hit with legal complaint' from another The Singles
- 3 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamaphobia
Liam Gallagher brands Kanye West 'utter s**t' during BRIT Awards performance
Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
Mohammed Emwazi: Family of man named as 'Jihadi John' described by neighbours as 'normal Muslim family'
Mohammed Emwazi: Nine things we know about man named as Isis militant 'Jihadi John'
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...
£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...