Portal:British Army

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The British Army

BritishArmyFlag2.svg

The British Army is the land armed forces branch of the British Armed Forces. It came into being with unification of the governments and armed forces of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in the Acts of Union 1707. The new British Army incorporated regiments that had already existed in England and Scotland and was controlled by the War Office from London. As of 2006, the British Army includes roughly 107,730 active members and 38,460 Territorial Army members. The professional British Army has also been referred to as the Regular Army since the creation of the Territorial Army. The British Army is deployed in many of the world's war zones as part of a fighting force and in United Nations peacekeeping forces.

In contrast to the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force, the British Army does not include "Royal" in its title, because of its roots as a collection of disparate units, many of which do bear the "Royal" prefix, such as the Royal Artillery and the Royal Engineers.

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Duke of Malborough signing the Despatch at Blenheim by Robert Alexander Hillingford
The Battle of Blenheim (referred to in some countries as the Second Battle of Höchstädt) was a major battle of the War of the Spanish Succession fought on 13 August 1704 King Louis XIV sought to knock Emperor Leopold out of the war by seizing Vienna, the capital of the Holy Roman Empire, and gain a favourable peace settlement. The dangers to Vienna were considerable: the Elector of Bavaria and Marshal Marsin’s forces in Bavaria threatened from the west, and Marshal Vendôme’s large army in northern Italy posed a serious danger with a potential offensive through the Brenner Pass. Vienna was also under pressure from Rákóczi’s Hungarian revolt from its eastern approaches. Realising the danger, the Duke of Marlborough resolved to alleviate the peril to Vienna by marching his forces south from Bedburg and help maintain Emperor Leopold within the Grand Alliance.

Blenheim has gone down in history as one of the turning points of the War of the Spanish Succession. The overwhelming Allied victory ensured the safety of Vienna from the Franco-Bavarian army, thus preventing the collapse of the Grand Alliance. Bavaria and Cologne were knocked out of the war, and King Louis’ hopes for a quick victory came to an end. France suffered over 30,000 casualties including the commander-in-chief, Marshal Tallard, who was taken captive to England. Before the 1704 campaign ended, the Allies had taken Landau, and the towns of Trier (Trèves) and Trarbach on the Moselle in preparation for the following year's campaign into France itself.

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Selected biography

Winston Churchill at a Conference at Quebec, August 1943
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS, PC (Can) (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. A noted statesman, orator and strategist, Churchill was also an officer in the British Army. He has been studied to a unique extent as part of modern British and world history. A prolific author, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for his own historical writings.

During his army career Churchill saw combat with the Malakand Field Force on the Northwest Frontier, at the Battle of Omdurman in the Sudan and during the Second Boer War in South Africa. During this period he also gained fame, and not a small amount of notoriety, as a correspondent. At the forefront of the political scene for almost sixty years, Churchill held numerous political and cabinet positions. Before the First World War, he served as President of the Board of Trade and Home Secretary during the Liberal governments. In the First World War Churchill served in numerous positions, as First Lord of the Admiralty, Minister of Munitions, Secretary of State for War and Secretary of State for Air. He also served in the British Army on the Western Front and commanded the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. During the interwar years, he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

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Selected unit

The Army Air Corps is a component of the British Army. There are eight regiments of the AAC as well as five Independent Flights and two Independent Squadrons deployed in support of British Army operations across the world. They are located in Britain, Belize, Brunei, Canada, and Germany. The AAC provides the organic offensive air elements of 16th Air Assault Brigade.

The Army first took to the sky when the requirement for observation aircraft was realised during the First World War, with the creation of the Royal Flying Corps.
Between the wars, the Army used RAF co-operation squadrons, though a true army presence did not occur until WWII.
At the beginning of WWII, Royal Artillery officers, with the assistance of RAF technicians, flew Auster observation aircraft under RAF-owned Air Observation Post Squadrons. Twelve such squadrons were raised—three of which belonged to the RCAF—and each performed vital duties in a wide array of missions in many theatres.
In early WWII, Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, announced the establishment of a new branch of army aviation, the Army Air Corps, formed in 1942. The corps initially comprised the Glider Pilot Regiment and the Parachute Battalions (subsequently the Parachute Regiment), and the Air Observation Post Squadrons. In 1944, the re-formed SAS Regiment was added to the Corps.

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Selected equipment

AT4 rocket launcher.jpg

The AT4 (or AT-4) is a portable one-shot anti-tank weapon built in Sweden by Saab Bofors Dynamics (previously Bofors Anti Armour Systems). In the U.S. and NATO inventory it replaces the M72 LAW (Light Anti-armor Weapon). Saab has had considerable sales success with the AT4, making it one of the most common light anti-tank weapons in the world. It is intended to give infantry units a means to destroy or disable armored vehicles and fortifications they may encounter (though it is not generally sufficient to defeat a modern main battle tank). The launcher and projectile are manufactured pre-packed as a single unit, and the launcher is discarded after use.

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Blues and Royals Trooper
Credit: Adrian Pingstone
A Trooper of the Blues and Royals on mounted duty in Whitehall, London, England.


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