Battle Group

13-21 Royal Anglian regiment cap badgeThe Royal Anglians were normally based at Elizabeth Barracks, Pirbright, in the Surrey countryside, but almost all of the soldiers came from the battalion’s four recruiting counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex in south-east England.

Around 700 strong, the 1st Battalion was one of the two regular battalions of The Royal Anglian Regiment, which was able to trace its history back more than 300 years through the direct lineage of former regiments. Some of these regiments were heavily engaged in the nineteenth-century Afghan wars. They had won the battle honour ‘Afghanistan’, passed down from generation to generation and now emblazoned on the Royal Anglian Regiment’s Colours, the historic rallying point of an infantry regiment in battle. The Royal Anglians’ direct forebears were also deployed in Afghanistan in the 1920s and 1930s. Then following a lengthy gap, the 1st Battalion were among the first British troops into Kabul after the 2001 invasion, doing a six-month stint there in 2002. The 2nd Battalion followed suit in 2003.

In 2007 the 1st Battalion formed the headquarters and core fighting elements of a battle group, together with 28/143 Battery (Tombs’s Troop) Royal Artillery, 8 Armoured Engineer Squadron Royal Engineers and a Royal Marines Armoured Support Company equipped with Viking tracked amphibious armoured vehicles. An Estonian armoured infantry company and a Danish formation recce squadron were also normally part of the battle group. The Royal Anglian Battle Group was known officially as Battle Group North, and operated within Task Force Helmand, the British-led NATO formation responsible for security throughout the province. With all its attachments, the battle group peaked at a strength of 1,500 men and women, but fighting strength for most of the tour was around 1,000.

Royal Anglian Battle Group Organisation

Royal Anglian battle order