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Operation Telic

Operation Telic is the codename under which all British operations against Iraq in 2003 are being conducted. A total of 43,000 troops of all the British Services were committed to the operation. At the peak of the campaign, some 26,000 British Army Soldiers, 4,000 Royal Marines Soldiers, 5,000 Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary Sailors, and 8,100 Royal Air Force Airmen were in action.

Operation Telic is one of the largest deployments of British forces since WWII It is only approached in size by the 1991 Operation Granby[?] deployment for the Gulf War and the 1956 Operation Musketeer[?] Suez Crisis deployment. It is considerably larger than the 1982 Operation Corporate[?] in the Falklands War, which saw some 30,000 personnel deployed, and the Korean War, which saw less than 20,000 personnel deployed.

Notice that British forces were deploying to the region was given in three separate Commons statements by Geoff Hoon, the Secretary of State for Defence[?]. On 7 January, the deployment of the naval[?] forces was announced, along with the Royal Marines component. 20 January saw the land forces deployment announced, and 6 February the air forces. The forces were all in place in time for hostilities to start on 19 March. When compared with the deployment of forces prior to the Gulf War, things proceeded a great deal faster, with the slowest deploying elements taking 10 weeks to get from base to warfighting condition in theatre.

In total, the deployment used 64 British and foreign flagged merchant vessels.

The force was commanded by a three star tri-service headquarters. The commander of the operation was Air Marshal Brian Burridge, with Major General Peter Wall acting as his Chief of Staff. The headquarters was situated at CENTCOM[?] headquarters in Qatar. The three services each had two star commanders heading up operations. The Royal Navy commander was Rear Admiral David Snelson, who had his headquarters ashore in Qatar. The afloat Royal Navy commander was Commodore Jamie Miller, who had the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal as his flagship. The Army division was commanded by Major General Robin Bimms. Three army brigades were assigned to the division. 16 Air Assault Brigade[?] was commanded by Brigadier 'Jacko' Page, 7th Armoured Brigade[?] by Brigadier Graham Binns, and 102 Logistics Brigade[?] by Brigadiar Shaun Cowlam. The Royal Marines 3 Commando Brigade[?] was also under the operational command of the division and was commanded by Brigadier Jim Dutton. The Air Force commander was Air Vice Marshal[?] Glenn Torpy. Since the conflict, Major General Wall has taken over command of the British division, and has been replaced as Chief of Staff by Major General Barney White-Spunner. Rear Admiral Snelson has been suceeded by Major General Tony Milton, Commandant of the Royal Marines[?], as maritime forces commander.

The conflict saw over 100 fixed wing aircraft and over 100 rotary wing aircraft of virtually every type in the British inventory deployed. It also saw a 33 ship fleet, which was the largest taskforce deployed by the UK since the Falklands War. Some 120 Challenger 2[?] main battle tanks, 150 Warrior[?] infantry fighting vehicles, 32 AS-90 self propelled 155mm howitzers, and 36 105mm towed howitzers were deployed with the land forces, along with reconnaisance vehicles, and everything else that makes a modern mechanised and armoured force function.

For further details of the UK's contribution, please see the Operation Telic order of battle.

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