read the news // live the culture
The Upcoming | Read the news // Live the culture
Tuesday 25th November 2014
Menu
Current affairsNews

Army cuts to leave Desert Rats without tanks

  Wednesday 6th March 2013
  Wednesday 6th March 2013

The Desert Rats, Britain’s most famous tank unit, will soon lose its tanks as part of the Coalition Government’s sweeping cuts. 

Under the plans, the Army’s 7th Armoured Brigade head-quarters, currently based in Hohne in Germany, will return to the UK and become a part of the new infantry brigade based at Chigwell in Nottinghamshire.

Desert Rats unit loses tanks after army cuts. Photo: Ministry of Defence

The Ministry of Defence said that it was reducing heavy armoury by 40% and re-rolling units to face more modern threats, and confirmed that it has decided to cut short 20,000 posts in the British Army.

It was announced that the new infantry unit will be equipped with a range of protected wheeled reconnaissance mobility vehicles, like the Jackal patrol car, but no tanks will be used in the future. 

However, an army spokesman said “the 7th Brigade including their Desert Rats insignia will remain in the Army’s order of battle as an adaptable force brigade”.

Defence sources say the changes are a part of a strategic shift in the Army’s planning, announced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2010, to reduce the number of heavy tanks, and focus more on lighter and manoeuvrable forces.

Commenting on the loss of tanks, Major General Patrick Cordingley, a former commander of the Desert Rats, said: “The change would dismay veterans and the general public. It is extremely sad that the 7th Armoured is losing its armour.”

The Desert Rats won fame in North Africa under General Bernard Montgomery, with victories in battles including El Alamein, and fought against Iraqi forces in both first and second Gulf wars.

Details have also emerged another unit, the 4th Merchandised Brigade known as the Black Rats, would shortly follow the Desert Rats, and could loose its role as a tank force and become part of the infantry.

Aastha Gill


More about the author

Aastha Gill

Share this story


  • Pin It
  • Share on Google+
  • Reddit
  • Stumble
  • LinkedIn

Latest related

UK scientists discover brains’ weakest link for Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia
UK scientists discover brains’ weakest link for Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia

Researchers at Oxford University have found a specific network of human brain regions that are more vulnerable to [read more]

Lee Rigby murder report to look into M15 modus operandi‏
Lee Rigby murder report to look into M15 modus operandi‏

A government report into the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby is set to criticise MI5 over its monitoring of one of the [read more]

May to introduce new laws to improve online national security
May to introduce new laws to improve online national security

Police are to gain powers that will enable them to force internet firms to pass on details linked to IP addresses so [read more]

Superstore price wars held liable for 146 food producer shutdowns
Superstore price wars held liable for 146 food producer shutdowns

Food producers have become cannon fodder in the ongoing supermarket price war, according to the accountancy firm Moore [read more]

Labour proposes to sell “non-essential” buildings to ease national deficit
Labour proposes to sell “non-essential” buildings to ease national deficit

Labour has proposed plans to sell four “non-essential buildings” in London in order to reduce the country’s [read more]

Archives