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The First Royal Tank Regiment

The First Royal Tank Regiment is the world’s oldest armoured regiment. It has been at the centre of the British Army’s armoured forces since the first tanks were used in the Battle of the Somme in France, 1916.

The First

The First has a distinguished history, which has seen it break the German line at Cambrai in 1917, hold out against Rommel in the North African Desert as part of the Desert Rats and it repelled repeated Communist attacks in Korea in1951.

The Regiment has returned to the armoured role after handing over the specialist CBRN reconnaissance role to the RAF Regiment, a role which it has pioneered and developed since 1999. It now operates a range of vehicles which includes the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank, a formidable machine designed to destroy enemy vehicles and punch a hole in their defences.

The Regiment has served in Afghanistan, mounted in several different variants of the British Army's new fleet of Protected Patrol Vehicles. Tankies once again demonstrated their adaptability and utility when handling these vehicles in difficult terrain, protecting the Afghan people in the face of a determined enemy.

In recent months the First has returned from Helmand province in support of the Infantry and equipped with the Mastiff vehicle. Other units facilitated the handover of forces deployed on Op HERRICK, and a small team deployed as dog handlers. The Regimental Headquarters deployed to fill a number of jobs in the Brigade Headquarters.

A Squadron remain the armoured squadron of the Land Warfare Centre Battlegroup; providing support to all major exercises on Salisbury Plain Training Area using Challenger 2 and CVR(T) Scimitar, as well as training the armoured crews of the future.

The First has now returned to armoured training in preparation for training execises in Canada and the future merger of the 1st and 2nd Royal Tank Regiments in 2014.

Mastiffs in convoy

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