Combat 18 (C18) is a neo-Nazi cartel associated with the Blood and Honour organisation, based on the principles of "leaderless resistance". It originated in the United Kingdom but has since spread to other countries. Members of Combat 18 have been suspected in numerous deaths of immigrants, non-whites, and other C18 members. The 18 in its name is derived from the initials of Adolf Hitler: A and H are the first and eighth letters of the Latin alphabet. Combat 18 members are barred from joining the British Prison Service and police.
Combat 18 was formed in early 1992 by Charlie Sargent and Harold Covington. C18 soon attracted national attention for threats of violence against immigrants, members of ethnic minorities and leftists. In 1992, it started publishing Redwatch magazine, which contained photographs, names and addresses of political opponents. Combat 18 is an openly neo-Nazi group that is devoted to violence and is hostile to electoral politics, and for this reason Sargent split decisively from the BNP in 1993.
1997: murder of Christopher Castle
Sargent had split with his former C18 colleagues over allegations that he was an informer for British security services. The rival faction, led by Wilf "The Beast" Browning, wanted Sargent to return the C18 membership list, in exchange for the return of his plastering tools and £1,000. However, such was the animosity and fear between them that a mutually acceptable go-between, 28-year-old C18 member "Catford Chris" Castle, was driven to Sargent's mobile home in Harlow, Essex, by Browning, who waited in the car, whilst Castle went to visit Sargent. He was met at the door by Charlie Sargent and his political associate, former Skrewdriver guitarist Martin Cross. Cross plunged a nine-inch (22 cm) blade into Castle's back. Browning took Castle to hospital in a taxi, but doctors were unable to save him and he died shortly after arriving in hospital.
Despite Sargent's attempt to implicate Browning, Sargent was convicted of murder at Chelmsford Crown Court the following year. He and Cross were sentenced to life imprisonment. Cross remains in prison and, following a short period on licence, Sargent was returned to custody on the weekend of 15 November 2014.
Between 1998 and 2000, dozens of Combat 18 members in the UK were arrested on various charges during dawn raids by the police. These raids were part of several operations conducted by Scotland Yard in co-operation with MI5. Those arrested included Steve Sargent (brother of Charlie Sargent), David Myatt and two serving British soldiers, Darren Theron (Parachute Regiment) and Carl Wilson. One of those whose house was raided was Adrian Marsden, who later became a councillor for the British National Party (BNP). Several of those arrested were later imprisoned, including Andrew Frain (seven years) and Jason Marriner (six years).
Some journalists believed that the White Wolves are a C18 splinter group, alleging that the group had been set up by Del O'Connor, the former second-in-command of C18 and member of Skrewdriver Security. The document issued by the White Wolves announcing their formation has been attributed to David Myatt, whose Practical Guide to Aryan Revolution allegedly inspired nailbomber David Copeland, who was jailed for life in 2000 after being found guilty of causing a series of bombings in April 1999 that killed three people and injured many others.
A group calling itself the Racial Volunteer Force split from C18 in 2002, although it has retained close links to its parent organization. On 28 October 2003, German police officers conducted raids on 50 properties in Kiel and Flensburg that were believed to be linked to German supporters of the group. The Anti-Defamation League says there are Combat 18 chapters in Illinois, Florida and Texas. On 6 September 2006, the Belgian police arrested 20 members of Combat 18 Flanders. Fourteen of them were soldiers in the Belgian army.
C18 has long been associated with loyalists in Northern Ireland. In July 2008, C18 was painted on St. Mary's Oratory in County Londonderry. On 18 June 2009, graves belonging to numerous people, including Provisional Irish Republican Army hunger-striker Bobby Sands were desecrated with C18 graffiti.
Racist attacks on immigrants continue from members of C18. Weapons, ammunition and explosives have been seized by police in the UK and almost every country in which C18 is active. In late 2010 five members of Combat 18 Australia (among them Jacob Marshall Hort and Bradley Neil Trappitt) were charged over an attack on a mosque in Perth, Western Australia. Several rounds were fired from a high-powered rifle into the Canning Turkish Islamic Mosque, causing over $15,000 damage.
The online forum presence of Combat 18 was officially ended at the end of November 2014, with the Combat 18 forum redirecting to a USA-based nationalist video and DVD merchandising store which now owns the domain.
Links with football hooliganism
Members of the organisation include known football hooligans and groups. The most high profile incident involving Combat 18 members in football came on 15 February 1995, when violence broke out in the stands at Lansdowne Road in the international friendly between the Republic of Ireland and England. There was also taunting of "No Surrender To The IRA" aimed at Irish fans. The violence was so bad that the match had to be abandoned.
- "Ex-Combat 18 man speaks out". BBC News. 25 November 2001.
- Staff Membership of Racist Groups and Organisations: Annex A, HM Prison Service, 2001
- BBC News,"Officer resigns over BNP badge" 3 October 2008
- BNP Under the skin: 1992, BBC, 2001
- World in Action documentary April 1993
- "BNP: under the skin", BBC, 2005
- Nick Ryan, 'Memoirs of a Street Fighting Man'
- "MI5 swoops on Army 'neo-Nazis'", Sunday Telegraph, 7 March 1999
- BNP Under the skin: Profile of Adrian Marsden, BBC News
- Stuart Millar, "Anti-terror police seek White Wolf racist over bombs", The Guardian, 28 April 1999
- "Combat 18" at www.metareligion.com
- "German raids target neo-Nazis" BBC News, 28 October 2003
- Anti-Defamation League "Racist Skinhead Project"
- "Neo-Nazi vandals in church attack" BBC News Northern Ireland, 26 July 2008
- "C18 graffiti daubed on graves", U.TV, 18 June 2009
- "Belfast racists threaten to cut Romanian baby's throat", Belfast Telegraph, 17 June 2009
- Hopkins, Nick (20 April 1999). "Splinter group that found the BNP too soft". The Guardian. London.
- Kelsey, Tim (7 August 1993). "Informer exposes neo-Nazi football gangs: Tim Hepple, who infiltrated the British National Party after a decade as a football hooligan and neo-Nazi activist, says a new more violent group, Combat 18, is behind many racial attacks, Tim Kelsey reports". The Independent. London.
- Official Combat 18 website defunct link
- Official Czech Republic Blood and Honour / Combat 18 website
- Official UK Combat 18 website
- Combat 18 Russia
- Nick Lowles,"Panorama: Ex-Combat 18 man speaks out", BBC News, 2003
- "Combat 18's hardline racism", BBC News, 19 April 1999
- Stuart Millar, "We're at war and if that means more bombs, so be it...", The Guardian, 27 April 1999
- Incidents attributed to Combat 18 by the START terrorism database