By Nick van der Bijl, David Aldea
For many of us it was once three Commando Brigade, commanded by means of significant basic Julian Thompson, and made from Royal Marines and Para's that recaptured the Falklands. but fifth Infantry Brigade performed a key and previously little stated position during this outstanding 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 proficient whilst it sailed from Southampton at the QE 2 and this view was once given substance by means of early mess ups comparable to the tragedy at Bluff Cove. but via the top, its contribution, of which Tumbledown is the simplest identified, couldn't be denied. Why then was once its commander (Brigadier Tony Wilson) so conspicuously missed while the medals and have been passed out?
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Extra resources for 5th Infantry Brigade in The Falklands War
Consisting of two radio and support Troops, it was commanded by Major Mike Forge. He had just completed a two-year tour in Oman and, although on disembarkation leave when the crisis erupted, responded to an appeal from Brigadier Wilson to return to duty. He was also a freefall parachutist. When the ready-to-move status was dropped to three days, Forge issued instructions for radios to be tested, vehicles thoroughly inspected and kit checked. Sergeant Larry Little and his 566 Rear Link Detachment were already at sea with 3rd Parachute Battalion.
A key asset was the Combat Engineering Tractor, a remarkably efficient amphibious general-purpose tracked vehicle equipped with a large bucket and which could fire a rocket and chain to help haul itself up steep banks. It could also ford rivers, dig pits, prepare riverbanks and recover disabled vehicles. For light helicopters, 5th Infantry Brigade was supported by a flight of six Scouts, some fitted with SS-11 anti-tank guided missiles and a flight of six Gazelles. Like most of the Brigade, helicopter deployment was also confusing.
Major Tony Rice of 29 (Corunna) Battery and two Forward Observation Officer parties, 2 Troop, 9 Parachute Squadron, Royal Engineers and three Scout helicopters from 656 Squadron, Army Air Corps, joined the battalion. Jones, who knew Brigadier Thompson from Northern Ireland, and a small headquarters flew to Ascension Island to wait for the Royal Marines. After some frustrating delays, during which the paras each night managed to convince several pub landlords to serve free ale on the pretext that this would be the last night in the United Kingdom, the battalion finally embarked on the P&O North Sea ferry MV Norland, which sailed on 26 April, eight days after the 3rd Commando Brigade had arrived at Ascension Island.
5th Infantry Brigade in The Falklands War by Nick van der Bijl, David Aldea