The Micks get muscular

Formed on 1 April 1900 by order of Queen Victoria to commemorate the Irishmen who fought in the Second Boer War, the Irish Guards, commonly known as “The Micks,” have been a facet of the Guards for going on 119 years.

Besides heavy frontline service in both World Wars, the Irish Guards have been best-known for…well, guarding (Photos: MOD Crown Copyright)

This month they came off of their normal peacetime gig– that of the largely ceremonial public order duty in their traditional bearskins– and are transitioning to an operational unit, ready for overseas service with the British Army’s 11 Brigade.

On 30 January they paraded with their regimental Drums and Pipes off Buckingham Forecourt for the final time for the next few years.

The Irish Guards return to Wellington Barracks, having come off Queen’s Guard Duty 2019. Note the winter grey greatcoats

The Irish Guards and their Colours after their final Queen’s Guard Duty for some time.

The Irish Guards on the steps of Wellington Barracks after their Guard Duty came to an end last month.

Currently spread all over the UK and overseas in small contingents undergoing workups, the Micks will remain nominally in London for at least the rest of the year before they are marked ready to deploy and then…who knows.

Hanging up their redcoats and bearskins, they are now transitioning to Foxhound armored fighting vehicles. The 1st Battalion Irish Guards is currently composed of three rifle companies, No.1, No.2, and No.4 Companies, along with Headquarters Company, and Support Company the latter of which has Recon, Anti-Tank, Sniper and Artillery Platoons.

Some of the Irish are on Pirbright ranges brushing up on small arms, others are in the Stanford Training Area doing small unit tactics.

The Reconnaissance Platoon emerges from the early morning mist in Northumberland on their 8-mile fitness test.

Irish Guards in the dreary Salisbury Plain Training Area Feb 2019

Irish Guards at the Ash Ranges with LMT’s DMR, dubbed the L129A1 Sharpshooter Rifle, in British service. Feb 2019. Note they still have the Guards flash on their sleeve

A platoon is in Uganda assisting the Ugandan Peoples Defence Force in training, and still, others are creeping along the sewers and underground tunnels of the UK preparing for city fighting.

No. 2 Company Irish Guards carrying out bayonet fighting in the sewage system under Eastmere Village Feb 2019

This includes exercises in the Williamson Tunnels in Liverpool – the first time troops have been in the tunnels since the 1950s.

While I am sure some are happy to get away from the daily interaction with tourists from around the globe, hopefully, they will not get a chance to add more honors to their colors.


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