The 14th/20th Hussars assist 7th Armoured Brigade to deploy to Saudi Arabia on Operation GRANBY.

On 2nd August 1990, Iraqi troops invaded their neighbour, Kuwait, threatening the stability of the region, which was still recovering from the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988. Western oil supplies from Kuwait were cut off and Saudi Arabia, Iraq’s southern neighbour and a major supplier of oil to the West looked likely to be their next target. A coalition was formed by President George Bush Senior under US command. Within a month it had become evident that front line ground troops would be required and 7th Armoured Brigade were warned off for Operation GRANBY, deployment to the defence of Saudi Arabia.

The peacetime Army’s scales of manpower and equipment needed to be augmented to the war establishment, so 7 Brigade began acquiring the latest equipment, and trained manpower. 7 Brigade’s armour consisted of the two armoured regiments, The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (SCOTS DG) and the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars (QRIH).

7 Brigade needed to ensure that their tanks were the latest mark of Challenger; the 14th/20th prepared their late-mark Challengers to the highest standard of readiness and handed them over to SCOTS DG and QRIH. Further to this, a high level of spare parts for 7 Brigade was required and the 14th/20th began to strip their tanks of their powerpacks (engine and gearbox combination), fire control computers and the final drives which transfer the engine power to the tracks on a tank. Throughout October the 14th/20th crews undertook the depressing task of stripping their tanks to empty hulls on struts. B Squadron, which had been in Northern Ireland, arrived back in Münster on 12th November 1990.