Structure of the British Army

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The the British Army is commanded by the Chief of the General Staff with Army Headquarters is located in Andover, Hampshire. Subordinate to that post there is a Commander Field Army and a personnel and UK operations command, Home Command.


The command structure is hierarchical with divisions and brigades controlling groupings of units from an administrative perspective. Major Units are battalion-sized with minor units being company sized sub-units (In some Regiments and Corps called Squadrons or Batteries) subdivided into platoons or troops. All units within the service are either Regular (full-time) or Army Reserve (full-time or part-time), or a combination with sub-units of each type.

Naming conventions of units differ for traditional British historical reasons, creating a significant opportunity for confusion; an infantry battalion is equivalent to a cavalry regiment. An infantry regiment is an administrative and ceremonial organisation only, and may include several battalions. For operational tasks, a battle group will be formed around a combat unit, supported by units or sub-units from other areas. An example would be a squadron of tanks attached to an armoured infantry battle group, together with a reconnaissance troop, artillery battery and engineering support.

Since the 1957 Defence Review, the size of the Army has consistently shrunk. Since 1990, reductions have been almost constant, through succeeding defence reviews: Options for Change (1990), Front Line First (1994), the Strategic Defence Review of 1998, Delivering Security in a Changing World (2003), the Army 2020 Restructuring (2010), the Army 2020 Refine (2015) and Defence in a Competitive Age (2021).

The British military (those parts of the British Armed Forces tasked with land warfare, as opposed to the naval forces)[1] historically was divided into a number of forces, of which the British Army (also referred to historically as the Regular Army and the Regular Force) was only one.[2][3] The oldest of these organisations was the Militia Force (also referred to as the Constitutional Force),[4] whereby the Reserve Forces units mostly lost their own identities and became numbered Territorial Force sub-units of regular British Army corps or regiments (the Home Militia had followed this path, with the Militia Infantry units becoming numbered battalions of British Army regiments, and the Militia Artillery integrating within Royal Artillery territorial divisions in 1882 and 1889, and becoming parts of the Royal Field Artillery or Royal Garrison Artillery in 1902 (though retaining their traditional corps names), but was not merged into the Territorial Force when it was created in 1908 (by the merger of the Yeomanry and Volunteer Force). The Militia was instead renamed the Special Reserve,[5][6][7] and was permanently suspended after the First World War (although a handful of Militia units survived in the United Kingdom, its colonies, and the Crown Dependencies). Unlike the Home, Imperial Fortress and Crown Dependency Militia and Volunteer units and forces that continued to exist after the First World War, although parts of the British military, most were not considered parts of the British Army[8][9] unless they received Army Funds (as was the case for the Bermuda Militia Artillery and the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps),[10][11] which was generally only the case for those in the Channel Islands or the Imperial Fortress colonies (Nova Scotia, before Canadian confederation, Bermuda, Gibraltar, and Malta).[12][13][14]

Army Headquarters[edit]

Through a major army reorganisation effective 1 November 2011, the Chief of the General Staff took direct command of the Army through a new structure, based at Andover[15] and known as "Army Headquarters".[16][17]

Reporting to the Chief of the General Staff are four lieutenant-generals: the Deputy Chief of the General Staff; the Commander Field Army (CFA); the Commander Home Command (CHC), and Commander Allied Rapid Reaction Corps. The CFA is responsible for generating and preparing forces for current and contingency operations; he commands 1st (United Kingdom) Division, 3rd (United Kingdom) Division, 6th (United Kingdom) Division and Joint Helicopter Command (JHC).[18] CHC is responsible for commanding a wide variety of organisations that both contribute to the administrative running of the Army (i.e. the Army Personnel Centre (APC) in Glasgow), and focuses on the 'home base' (i.e. Regional Command).

Field Army[edit]

The units under Field Army are:[19][11]

  • Reaction forces comprising 16 Air Assault Brigade and 3rd (UK) Division of two armoured infantry brigades (the 12th and 20th Armoured Infantry Brigades) and a Strike Brigade and along with combat support units.[20][21][22] 3rd UK Division is operationally affiliated with the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps.[23]
  • Adaptive forces comprising a 1st (UK) Division brigades.[24][25][26]
  • 6th (UK) Division comprising surveillance, intelligence, reconnaissance, communications, electronic warfare, psychological operations.
  • Joint Helicopter Command which commands most of the UK's battlefield lift and attack helicopters for the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force.

Field Army gained initial operating capability on 30 November 2015 and was formed as a result of the 2015 Army Command Review. The Commander Field Army commands all the formations of the British Army's forces for operational tasks, its collective training and tactical doctrine organisations and includes the vast majority of the Army’s fighting equipment.[27]

Structure of the British Army is located in the United Kingdom
1 (UK) Div.
1 (UK) Div.
7 Infantry
7 Infantry
11 Infantry
11 Infantry
51 Infantry
51 Infantry
102 Logistic
102 Logistic
8 Eng Bde
8 Eng Bde
104 Log Bde
104 Log Bde
2 Med Bde
2 Med Bde
1 MP Bde
1 MP Bde
1st (United Kingdom) Division brigade locations 2021

1st (United Kingdom) Division[edit]

4th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters North East[edit]

7th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters East[edit]

11th Security Force Assistance Brigade[edit]

51st Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Scotland[edit]

8 Engineer Brigade[edit]

102 Logistic Brigade[edit]

104 Logistic Support Brigade[edit]

2nd Medical Brigade[edit]

1st Military Police Brigade[edit]

  • 1st Military Police Brigade at Marlborough Lines, Andover[77][78] CGS retains full responsibility over military police investigations while day-to-day control of 1 and 3 RMP rest with General Officer Commanding (GOC) 3rd UK Division. Administrative control of other Royal Military Police Brigade units rest under GOC Regional Command.[79]

3rd (United Kingdom) Division[edit]

Updated to August 2020 structure of the 3rd (UK) Division after the Army 2020 Refine.

Division referred to as the "Reaction Force"

1st Armoured Infantry Brigade[edit]

12th Armoured Infantry Brigade[edit]

20th Armoured Infantry Brigade[edit]

1st Artillery Brigade[edit]

7th Air Defence Group[edit]

25 (Close Support) Engineer Group[edit]

101 Logistic Brigade[edit]

11th Signal Brigade and Headquarters West Midlands[edit]

6th (United Kingdom) Division[edit]

1st (United Kingdom) Signal Brigade[edit]

1st Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Brigade[edit]

  • 1st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Brigade, at Trenchard Lines, Upavon
    • 14 Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare), Royal Corps of Signals, at Cawdor Barracks, Pembrokeshire[126]
    • 1 Military Intelligence Battalion, Intelligence Corps, at Bourlon Barracks, Catterick Garrison
    • 2 Military Intelligence Battalion, Intelligence Corps, at Trenchard Lines, Upavon
    • 3 Military Intelligence Battalion, Intelligence Corps, in London (Army Reserve – paired with 1 Military Intelligence Battalion)
    • 4 Military Intelligence Battalion, Intelligence Corps, at Ward Barracks, Bulford Camp, supporting 3 (UK) Division[127]
    • 5 Military Intelligence Battalion, Intelligence Corps, in Edinburgh (Army Reserve – paired with 1 Military Intelligence Battalion)
    • 6 Military Intelligence Battalion, Intelligence Corps, in Manchester (Army Reserve – paired with 2 Military Intelligence Battalion)
    • 7 Military Intelligence Battalion, Intelligence Corps, in Bristol (Army Reserve – paired with 4 Military Intelligence Battalion)[127]
    • 5 Regiment, Royal Artillery, at Marne Barracks, Catterick Garrison (Surveillance and Target Acquisition Regiment)
    • 32 Regiment, Royal Artillery, at Roberts Barracks, Larkhill Garrison, with Desert Hawk III[22][128]
    • Honourable Artillery Company, at Armoury House, Finsbury (Army Reserve – reserve surveillance and target acquisition unit, paired with 5th Regiment Royal Artillery)
    • Land Intelligence Fusion Centre, at Denison Barracks Hermitage
    • Weapons Material and Personnel Exploitation Capacity, at Denison Barracks, Hermitage
    • Specialist Group Military Intelligence, at Denison Barracks, Hermitage

Army Special Operations Brigade[edit]

  • Headquarters, Army Special Operations Brigade, at St Omer Barracks, Aldershot Garrison[129]
    • Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, at Palace Barracks, Holywood
    • 2nd Battalion, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires), at Keogh Barracks, Mytchett[22][130][77]
    • 2nd Battalion, Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King's, Lancashire and Border), at Elizabeth Barracks, Pirbright Camp[131]
    • 4th Battalion, The Rifles, at New Normandy Barracks, Aldershot Garrison[82][22]

77th Brigade[edit]

16 Air Assault Brigade[edit]

Joint Helicopter Command[edit]

1st Aviation Brigade[edit]

Home Command[edit]

Home Command consists of:

  • Regional Command - to ensure delivery of a secure home front and forces and families in Brunei and Nepal.[157] When not engaged with operational commitments or when units may report to the Standing Joint Commander (UK) or mission-specific training (e.g. when conducting routine civilian engagement, ranges, or ceremonial duties, units and formations may report through a Regional Point of Command (RPOC) to HQ Regional Command at Andover.[158] Regional Command, as of 1 August 2019, has 38th (Irish) Brigade and 160th (Welsh) Brigade permanently under its command as RPOCs. Commander Regional Command is also Commander Army Cadet Force & Combined Cadet Force.[159]
  • London District - commands all the Army forces within the London area and conducts ceremonial events.[160]
  • Recruiting and Initial Training Command - recruits and trains soldiers.[161]
  • Army Personnel Centre - deals with personnel issues and liaises with outside agencies.[162]
  • Sandhurst Group - deals with applications of army officers Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.[163]

Commander Home Command,[164] is also the Standing Joint Commander (UK) for responsible for the planning and execution of civil contingency operations within the UK landmass and territorial waters.[165][166]

Headquarters London District[edit]

Headquarters Regional Command[edit]

Headquarters Regional Command at Montgomery House, Aldershot is commanded by a Major-General. It is the Army's HQ for the UK, Nepal and Brunei, administering Army bases in the UK and providing civil engagement. .[174] Headquarters Regional Command is also the operational command for the Army Cadets.[159][175]

38th (Irish) Brigade[edit]

160th (Welsh) Brigade[edit]

Headquarters North East[edit]

Headquarters East[edit]

Headquarters South East[edit]

Headquarters North West[edit]

Headquarters South West[edit]

Headquarters Scotland[edit]

Headquarters West Midlands[edit]

Army Recruiting and Initial Training Command[edit]

Army Recruiting and Initial Training Command was established on 1 April 2018,[77] and oversees the Army Recruiting Group, which includes the National Recruitment Centre (NRC) and local Army Careers Centres, and is staffed by a mixture of Capita staff and Army personnel.[179]

Army Training Units (ATU) are commanded and staffed by UK Army Reservists. Along with Regular Army Training Regiments (ATR), they provide Basic Training to Army Reserve recruits, except those joining 4 PARA. Reserves recruits are selected at an Army Recruit Selection Centre. They then undertake a short basic training course known as ‘alpha', over four weekends or a residential week. The alpha course is followed by a 15.5-day residential 'bravo' course to achieve trained soldier status. These generic courses teach essential elements of the Regular Common Military Syllabus 2014 (CMS 14). Recruits will then attend Initial Trade Training courses as stipulated by their cap badge / Corps. The Honourable Artillery Company currently runs its own alpha course twice a year. The current ATUs include:[citation needed]

Army Personnel Centre[edit]

The Centre is located in Glasgow. The APC's Chief Executive is the Military Secretary, who also holds the post of General Officer, Scotland. The APC deals with personnel issues and contact with outside agencies.

Sandhurst Group[edit]

Commandant Sandhurst is a Major-General.[186] The day-to-day running of the Academy is, however, devolved to a brigadier, currently Brigadier James Carr-Smith who is titled Commander Sandhurst Group and responsible for:[citation needed]

British Army Training and Support Unit Belize[edit]

British Army Germany[edit]

Order of precedence[edit]

The British Army parades according to the order of precedence, from right to left, with the unit at the extreme right being highest on the order. The Household Cavalry has the highest precedence, unless the Royal Horse Artillery parades with its guns.

Units of the regular army[edit]

Combat Arms[edit]

The Combat Arms are the "teeth" of the British Army, infantry, armoured and aviation units which engage in close action.

Household Cavalry and Royal Armoured Corps[edit]

Regiments of line cavalry and the Royal Tank Regiment together form the Royal Armoured Corps which has units equipped with either main battle tanks, light armour for reconnaissance, or lightly armoured vehicles for the light cavalry role. An additional reconnaissance regiment is provided by the Household Cavalry Regiment, of the Household Cavalry, which administratively is not considered to be part of the RAC, but is included among the RAC order of battle for operational tasking.

Armoured Regiments Armoured Cavalry Regiments Light Cavalry Regiments
The King's Royal Hussars Household Cavalry Regiment 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards
The Queen's Royal Hussars
(Queen's Own and Royal Irish)
The Royal Dragoon Guards The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
(Carabiniers and Greys)
The Royal Tank Regiment The Royal Lancers
(Queen Elizabeths' Own)
The Light Dragoons


The Infantry is divided for administrative purposes into four 'divisions', with battalions being trained and equipped to operate in one of six main roles:[citation needed]

Under the arms-plot system, a battalion would spend between two and six years in one role, before re-training for another. Following a review of the operation of the army, it was clear that continuing the system was very inefficient for an army reducing in size, and it is being phased out, with battalions specialising in role—this will see armoured infantry, mechanised infantry and air assault battalions remaining in a single posting; however, light infantry battalions will continue to be periodically rotated between postings. Personnel will be "trickle posted" between battalions of the same regiment as required, and to further their careers.

Guards Division Scottish, Welsh and Irish Division King's Division Queen's Division
1st Bn, Grenadier Guards 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th Bn,
The Royal Regiment of Scotland
1st & 2nd Bn, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment
(King's Lancashire and Border)
1st & 2nd Bn, The Princess of Wales's
Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires)
1st Bn, Coldstream Guards 1st Bn, The Royal Welsh 1st & 2nd Bn The Yorkshire Regiment (14th/15th,
19th and 33rd/76th Foot)
1st Bn, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
1st Bn, Scots Guards 1st Bn, The Royal Irish Regiment
(27th (Inniskilling) 83rd and 87th
and The Ulster Defence Regiment)
1st & 2nd Bn, The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire,
Worcesters and Foresters, and Staffords)
1st & 2nd Bn, The Royal Anglian Regiment
1st Bn, Irish Guards The Royal Gibraltar Regiment
1st Bn, Welsh Guards

Three further infantry units in the regular army are not grouped within the various infantry divisions:

The role of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment is limited to the defence of Gibraltar.

The three senior regiments of foot guards, plus the Royal Regiment of Scotland, each maintain an additional reinforced company that retains custody of the colours of battalions that are in suspended animation:

  • Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards (ex 2nd Bn, Grenadier Guards)
  • No. 7 Company, Coldstream Guards (ex 2nd Bn, Coldstream Guards)
  • F Company, Scots Guards (ex 2nd Bn, Scots Guards)
  • Balaklava Company, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (ex 5th Bn, The Royal Regiment of Scotland)

The Royal Gurkha Rifles maintains three additional company sized units that are permanently attached to various training establishments to serve in the OPFOR role in providing realistic battle training:

Brigade of Gurkhas[edit]

The Royal Gurkha Rifles is the largest element of the Brigade of Gurkhas, which includes its own support arms. These units are affiliated to the equivalent British units, but have their own unique cap badges.

Special Forces[edit]

Note: UKSF is a joint organisation and falls outside the Army chain of command.

Combat Support Arms[edit]

The Combat Support Arms provide direct support to the Combat Arms and include artillery, engineer, signals and aviation.

Royal Regiment of Artillery[edit]

The Royal Artillery consists of 13 Regular Regiments and 5 Reserve Regiments along with the ceremonial King's Troop. Although not part of the Royal Regiment of Artillery the Honourable Artillery Company shares some of the same capabilities. Three of the Regular Regiments and the King's Troop retain the cap badge, or "cypher", and traditions of the Royal Horse Artillery, although this naming convention has no link to the role that they undertake. The Royal Artillery undertakes six different roles:[192]

Home Defence
Air Defence Close Support
(AS90 & MRLS)
Close Support
(L118 Light Gun)
Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Training
King's Troop, RHA 12 Regiment RA 1st Regiment RHA 7th (Para) Regiment RHA 5 Regiment RA 32 Regiment RA 14 Regiment RA
16 Regiment RA 19 Regiment RA 29 (Cdo) Regiment RA 47 Regiment RA
26 Regiment RA 3rd Regiment RHA
4 Regiment RA

Corps of Royal Engineers[edit]

The Royal Engineers is a corps of 15 regiments in the regular army providing military engineering (civil engineering, assault engineering and demolition) capabilities to the field army and facilities management expertise within garrisons.

Regiments are associated with Brigade level formations with a number of independent squadrons and support groups associated with specific tasks:

The Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME) comprises two recruit training regiments:

  • 1 RSME Regiment – Construction Engineer School
  • 3 RSME Regiment – Combat Engineer School

The remainder are field regiments attached to various deployable formations:

Royal Corps of Signals[edit]

The Royal Signals is a corps of 16 Regiments that provides communications and information systems support to formations of Brigade level and above. Below the Brigade level support is provided by Battalion Signallers drawn from the parent unit. Within the deployable brigades, the Signal Regiment also provides support to the HQ function including logistics, life support, and force protection capabilities.

Army Air Corps[edit]

The Army Air Corps provides battlefield air support

Intelligence Corps[edit]

The Intelligence Corps provides intelligence support including collection, interpretation and counter-intelligence capabilities

  • 1 Military Intelligence Battalion
  • 2 Military Intelligence Battalion
  • 4 Military Intelligence Battalion

Combat Service Support Arms[edit]

The Combat Service Support Arms provide sustainment and support for the Combat and Combat Support Arms. Whilst CSS personnel are not intended to close with and engage opposition forces, the fluidity of the modern battlefield means that these personnel are likely to be engaged in close combat at times, particularly when associated with Battle Groups.

Royal Logistic Corps[edit]

The Royal Logistic Corps is the largest single corps in the British Army:

Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers[edit]

The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers is a corps that provides maintenance support to equipment and vehicles. Most units will have either a Light Aid Detachment (LAD) or Workshop (Wksp) attached. Seven battalions provide support to formations of brigade level and above:

Medical services[edit]

The Army Medical Services provide primary and secondary care for the armed forces in fixed locations and whilst deployed on operations. Personnel are attached to a parent unit, one of five field regiments or the defence medical services. The AMS comprises four different Corps providing the range of medical and veterinary care, with the Royal Army Medical Corps also providing the administrative framework for the regiments.

Adjutant General's Corps[edit]

The Adjutant General's Corps provides administrative, police and disciplinary and educational support to the army. The AGC is an amalgamation with three of the constituent units retaining their previous cap badge. Personnel from the AGC administrative and educational specialisations serve in attached posts to establishments or units of other arms. The police and disciplinary activities retain their own cap badges and act as discrete bodies. The Corps as a whole is divided into four separate branches:

  • Staff and Personnel Branch: The SPS branch is the largest part of the AGC and has responsibility for providing most administrative functions, including finance, IT support, human resources. The SPS branch was formed by the amalgamation of the Royal Army Pay Corps with elements of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps and Women's Royal Army Corps.
  • Education and Training Services Branch: The ETS branch provides for the educational needs of all serving personnel. These cover both professional development within the army, and wider personal development. The ETS branch was formed through the renaming of the Royal Army Educational Corps.
  • Army Legal Services Branch: The ALS branch provides legal advice to the army and to individuals requiring representation at Courts Martial. It is one of the smallest individual units, numbering 120 professionally qualified lawyers. All of its members are officers. The ALS branch retains the cap badge and traditions of the Army Legal Corps.
  • Provost Branch: The Provost branch consists of three separate elements:
    • Military Provost Staff: The MPS is the element of the provost branch responsible for administering military correctional facilities. The MPS is one of the few elements in the army that does not recruit directly; instead, its members are volunteers from other branches of the army. The MPS retains the cap badge and traditions of the Military Provost Staff Corps.
    • Royal Military Police: The RMP provides the army's policing services, both in peacetime and in wartime. Units of the RMP are trained to deploy with the Field Army in the event of mobilisation. The RMP provides two regular regiments and supplements Army Reserve regiments with one Provost company each. A further provost company is trained in the air assault mission and is permanently attached to 16 Air Assault Brigade. The Corps also provides a number of specialist capabilities, such as the Special Investigation Branch, Close Protection Teams and special escort capabilities.
      • 1 Regiment, Royal Military Police
      • 3 Regiment, Royal Military Police
    • Military Provost Guard Service: The MPGS is a unit dedicated to the guarding of military installations, allowing the army to replace civilian guards with trained soldiers. The MPGS has responsibilities at installations belonging to all three services.

Other services[edit]


Training in the Regular Army differs for soldiers and officers but in general takes place in at least two phases:

Phase one training is basic military training for all new recruits. Here candidates learn the basic standards of military performance including operation in the field, weapon handling, personal administration, drill etc.

  • Prospective officers attend the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where they undergo basic training in soldiering, defence policy and the structure of government, administration, command and leadership. The Commissioning Course for new entry officers lasts 44 weeks. Some specialist branches, Medical and Legal, undergo a short course which provides basic military training.
  • Infantry soldiers undergo a 26-week course at the Infantry Training Centre at Catterick Garrison which combines phase one and phase two training.
  • Soldiers in other specialisations undergo the 14-week Army Development Course at the Army Training Centre Pirbright or the Army Training Regiment at Winchester
  • Junior Soldiers (Under 18) at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate undergo either 23 or 46 weeks training (Junior Soldiers with trades complete 23 weeks and infantry Junior Soldiers complete 46 weeks)

Phase two training is specific to the trade that the soldier or officer will follow and is conducted in a branch specialised school. Phase two training enables the individual to join an operational unit prepared to contribute to operational effectiveness. These schools are under the direction of the parent corps or arm of the service, as illustrated above, with the Infantry Training Centre being formed of two training battalions.

Units of the Army Reserve[edit]

Combat Arms[edit]

Royal Armoured Corps[edit]

The four armoured regiments of the Army Reserve operate in two roles - provision of crew replacements for armoured regiments, and Light Cavalry (reconnaissance):


Special Air Service[edit]

Combat Support[edit]

Honourable Artillery Company[edit]

Royal Artillery[edit]

Note: The Honourable Artillery Company is a corps in its own right and is not part of the Royal Artillery.

Royal Engineers[edit]

Royal Signals[edit]

Army Air Corps[edit]

  • 6 Regiment, Army Air Corps

Intelligence Corps[edit]

  • 3 Military Intelligence Battalion
  • 5 Military Intelligence Battalion
  • 6 Military Intelligence Battalion
  • 7 Military Intelligence Battalion

Combat Service Support[edit]

Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers[edit]

  • 101 Battalion, REME
  • 102 Battalion, REME
  • 103 Battalion, REME

Royal Logistic Corps[edit]

Army Medical Services[edit]


  1. ^ Returned from Cyprus in November 2020


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External links and sources[edit]