Sunday, February 24, 2008

Brits increasing fighting strength in Afstan

They certainly are taking things seriously:
THE elite infantry unit made famous by the television series Sharpe, which starred Sean Bean, is to be deployed to fight the Taliban on the front line in Afghanistan.

Military commanders say that the battalion, 1 Rifles, consisting of 450 crack troops and support, will be deployed alongside 3 Commando Brigade of the Royal Marines in September.

The move, to be announced by Des Browne, the defence secretary, this summer, will mean that there will be more than 8,000 troops in Afghanistan [emphasis added] - a significant upgrading of Britain’s fighting capability.

It heralds a tacit recognition by ministers and military chiefs that the situation in the province of Helmand is precarious and may deteriorate further if Britain’s presence is not reinforced.

Senior officers say the Rifles will fight alongside two other battalions of Royal Marines, which will take on the Taliban in Helmand this autumn.

The command of the Rifles is set to be transferred from the army to the navy in five weeks’ time. The move has led some in the military to suggest that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is trying to beef up the marines on the cheap.

However, supporters of the Rifles believe the decision to deploy them will signal to the Taliban that British forces will not flinch in their determination to press them back high into the mountains.

Troop numbers increased last year by 1,400 to 7,000. In a recent statement to parliament Browne said that overall force levels in Afghanistan would remain “broadly unchanged” for the next few months.

However, the number of frontline fighting units is expected to increase substantially when Browne formally confirms the deployment of the Rifles and other fighting units in July.

The Rifles are a historic regiment which fought in the Napoleonic wars and at the battle of Balaclava. They became part of the Royal Green Jackets in 1966 but were reformed last year. Their exploits were dramatised in the ITV series Sharpe, in which Bean played the role of Richard Sharpe, a fictional British soldier in the Napoleonic wars...


Blogger Algy said...

Those "Black Button Bastards" get everywhere. Check out Michael Yon's posts of 2 and 4 Rifles in Basra. I was a Rifleman for 12 years (3 then 2 RGJ) and I'm incredibly proud of the way these soldiers do business.

Swift and Bold.

11:03 p.m., February 24, 2008  
Blogger Dave in Pa. said...

The Rifles, a Gurkha battalion, Royal Marines Commandos...You know, for a second, I almost feel sorry for the Taliban cavemen who go up against those lads!

Allah had better have a lot of virgins standing by for all the Martyrs to be arriving.

4:28 p.m., February 25, 2008  

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