Rifleman, 1st Battalion Staffordshire Regiment, Desert Storm, Gulf War 1, Iraq 1991
Although Britain’s rapid reaction force, the 5th Airborne Brigade, was alerted soon after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, they were never deployed when it became clear that heavy armoured units would be needed to counter Iraq’s 5,500 tanks. On 14 September 1990, it was announced that the 7th Armoured Brigade, based in Germany, would be deployed to Saudi Arabia to support the US Marine Corps’ 1 Marine Amphibious Force. The 7th Armoured Brigade possessed the Army’s modern Challenger tanks and the new Warrior infantry fighting vehicle and its armoured infantry battalion, 1st Battalion The Staffordshire Regiment, had also recently returned from intensive training in Canada.
While the Challenger Mk 1s of the Scots Dragoon Guards were swapped for the more modern Mk3 versions of the Life Guards, complete troops of tank crews from the 14th/20th King’s Hussars and 17th/21st Lancers were also drafted to make up the numbers.
In October 1990, The Staffords – as the Staffordshire Regiment was commonly known – was deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of 7th Armoured Brigade, better known as the ‘Desert Rats’. The Staffords comprised 45 Warrior APCs, and were augmented with a Grenadier Guards company and the 1st Battalion, The Prince of Wale’s Own Regiment of Yorkshire being attached to the regiment. Together, they were involved in fierce fighting with Iraqi forces from the beginning of land operations to the end.
Its regimental website states that the ground war started on the February 24, 1991 and that the Staffords were the first British Regiment to cross into Iraq. Working closely with the other elements of the Army, the Staffords overcame all opposition they faced.
The Staffords were involved in more fighting in the Gulf than any other British Infantry Battalion, with the Staffords covering 290 km in 100 hours of war.
The Battalion returned to barracks with its reputation enhanced, having being awarded a number of decorations for gallantry including two Military Crosses.
Regimental history of more than 300 years
The Staffordshire Regiment, commonly known as the Staffords, is one of those old British regiments with a long and exciting regimental history stretching back more than 306 years.
It was formed in 1959 when The South Staffordshire Regiment and The North Staffordshire Regiment merged. Although they have been together for under 50 years, the separate regiments which made up the Staffords can trace their history back to 1705 when a regiment known as the 38th Foot was raised at Lichfield. This makes it one of the oldest units in the British Army as the regiment saw service in the American Revolutionary War, the Napoleonic Wars, the Sikh Wars, the Crimea War, Indian Mutiny, Zulu War, Egypt, Sudan, South Africa and both World Wars.
The Staffords were the first allied troops into occupied Europe as it was Airborne gliders of the 2nd Battalion South Staffords that first landed to seize bridges in Operation Huskey in Sicily. They were also Chindits, allied Special Forces who operated deep behind enemy lines in North Burma in the war against Japan.
Post World War 2 saw five tours in Northern Ireland, undertaken between 1972 and 1984. For the rest of the 1980s the regiment served in the United Kingdom and Germany.
Troops from the modern regiment served in both Gulf Wars. Troops from the regiment were deployed to Iraq again in 2005 and at the end of October 2006, the Staffords began their final overseas action with a second deployment in Iraq.
Desert Rat symbol
When the British 7th Armoured Brigade was ordered to Saudi Arabia in September 1990, it quickly readopted the Jerboa or Desert Rat symbol of the old World War II 7th Armoured Division. the rat was adopted by the division during its service in North Africa, where it fought against the German Africa Corps.
Scratchbuilt PLCE 90 respirator pouch made out of paper
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