Structure of the British Army

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The structure of the British Army is broadly similar to that of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, with a single command based at Andover known as "Army Headquarters". As the top-level budget holder, this organisation is responsible for providing forces at operational readiness for employment by the Permanent Joint Headquarters.

The command structure is hierarchical with divisions and brigades controlling groupings of units from an administrative perspective. Major Units are regiment or battalion-sized with minor units being either company sized sub-units or platoons. All units within the service are either Regular (full-time) or Army Reserve (full-time or casual), 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. Such 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 structure of the Army has consistently shrunk. A comparison of the List of British Army Regiments (1962), the List of British Army Regiments (1994) and the List of British Army Regiments (2008) will show the steep decline in the number of infantry and armoured regiments. 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), and the Strategic Defence and Security Review of 2010.

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[1] and known as "Army Headquarters".[2][3]

Reporting to the Chief of the General Staff are: the Commander Land Forces, the Adjutant-General and the Commander Force Development and Capability. The Commander Land Forces is responsible for generating and preparing forces for current and contingency operations, the Adjutant-General is responsible for developing the Army's personnel policies and supporting its people and the Commander Force Development and Training is responsible for recruiting and training the Army, and developing its capability, sustainability and doctrine.[4]

The Commander Land Forces commands 1st (United Kingdom) Division, 3rd (United Kingdom) Division and Theatre Troops. He also commands the garrisons in the mainland UK through HQ Support Command based in Aldershot and British Forces Germany.

The Chief of the General Staff is the Standing Joint Commander (UK) (SJC(UK)), responsible for overall command of Military Aid to Civil Power within mainland United Kingdom.[5]

Formations[edit]

Commands[edit]

A command is a military formation that handles a specific task or region, and can direct forces as large as multiple corps or as little as a few battalions. Previously the Army had regional commands in the UK, including Aldershot Command, Eastern Command, Northern Command, Scottish Command, Southern Command and Western Command. In addition, there were functional commands, such as Anti-Aircraft Command (disbanded in the 1950s), and overseas commands, such as Middle East Command. Gradually, these were consolidated into a land command in the UK, Headquarters UK Land Forces, and a land command in Germany, British Army of the Rhine. Eventually, both were merged into Land Command.

From 1995, UK commands and later districts were replaced by regenerative divisions. 2nd Division, 4th Division, 5th Division and London District acted as regional commands within the UK reporting to Commander Regional Forces. Scotland District was absorbed by 2nd Division in 2000. The divisions were responsible for training subordinate formations and units under their command for operations in the UK, such as Military Aid to the Civil Community, as well as training units for overseas deployments. 2nd, 4th and 5th Divisions were replaced by Support Command on 1 November 2011.[6]

London District includes many units with significant ceremonial roles. The Queen's Guard at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle is primarily mounted by the two Foot Guards Battalions and one Line Infantry Battalion, together with the Foot Guards Incremental companies: Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards, No 7 Company, Coldstream Guards, and F Company, Scots Guards. The guard at Horse Guards is normally drawn from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (HCMR). The Honourable Artillery Company carries out public duties in the City of London. The HAC and the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery provide gun salutes in London. Under the General Officer Commanding Scotland, public duties in Edinburgh are the responsibility of a new incremental company, Balaklava Company, 5th Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders), formed after the reduction of the Argylls from battalion status.

Corps[edit]

United Kingdom
British Army lists
Commands and Army groups
Field armies in World War I
Field armies in World War II
Corps in World War I
Corps in World War II
Divisions in World War I
Divisions in World War II
Brigades in World War I
Brigades in World War II
Royal Armoured Corps Regiments in World War II
Royal Artillery Batteries
Regiments of Foot
Regiments in 1881
Territorial Force Units in 1908
Yeomanry Regiments converted to Royal Artillery
Regiments in 1962
Regiments in 1994
Regiments in 2008
Territorial Army units in 2012
Present-day Regiments
Nicknames of regiments

A corps, in the sense of a field fighting formation, is a formation of two or more divisions, potentially 50,000 personnel or more. While the British Army has no standing corps headquarters, forces are allocated through a number of multinational arrangements to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and European commitments, providing much of the headquarters capability and framework for the multinational Allied Rapid Reaction Corps. The last purely British corps, I (BR) Corps, disbanded in Germany after the end of the Cold War.

The word corps is also used for administrative groupings by common function, such as the Royal Armoured Corps and Army Air Corps. Various Combat Support Arms and Services are referred to in the wider sense as a Corps, such as the Royal Corps of Signals.

Divisions[edit]

A division is a formation of three or four brigades, around twenty thousand personnel, commanded by a Major General.

The British Army has two deployable divisions, capable of deploying the headquarters and subordinate formations immediately to operations.

London District is responsible for the maintenance of capability for the defence of the capital and the provision of ceremonial units and garrisons for the Crown Estate in London, such as the Tower of London.

Several infantry regiments are organised into five administrative divisions based on the type of infantry unit or traditional recruiting areas:

Brigades[edit]

A brigade contains three or four battalion-sized units, around 5,000 personnel, and is commanded by a one star officer, a Brigadier. The brigade will contain a wide range of military disciplines allowing the conduct of a spectrum of military tasks.

The brigade would be required to deploy up to three separate battlegroups, the primary tactical formation employed in British doctrine. The battlegroup is a mixed formation built around the core of one unit, an armoured regiment or infantry battalion, with sub-units providing artillery, engineers, logistics, aviation, etc., as required.

Combat formations include:

There are also several non-combat focused service support units of brigade size.

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.

Arms and services[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 or with light armour for formation reconnaissance. 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 Formation Reconnaissance Regiments
The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
(Carabiniers and Greys)
The Household Cavalry Regiment
The Royal Dragoon Guards 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards
The Queen's Royal Hussars
(Queen's Own and Royal Irish)
9th/12th Royal Lancers
(Prince of Wales's)
The King's Royal Hussars The Light Dragoons
Royal Tank Regiment The Queen's Royal Lancers

Infantry[edit]

The Infantry is divided for administrative purposes into five divisions, with battalions being trained and equipped to operate in one of five main roles:

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 has been demonstrated that this system is inefficient and 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 Division King's Division Prince of Wales' 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 Mercian Regiment 1st & 2nd Bn, The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires)
1st Bn, Coldstream Guards 1st & 2nd Bn The Yorkshire Regiment (14th/15th, 19th and 33rd/76th Foot) 1st Bn, The Royal Welsh 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 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)
Brigade of Gurkhas[edit]
Main article: Brigade of Gurkhas

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 considered a joint organisation and as such falls outside the Army chain of command.

Army Air Corps[edit]

The Army Air Corps provides battlefield air support with 6 Regiments and 4 independent squadrons and flights:

  • 1 Regiment, AAC – 1st Armoured Division (Lynx)
  • 2 Regiment, AAC – Training Regiment
  • 3 Regiment, AAC – Attack Regiment – 16 Air Assault Brigade (Apache)
  • 4 Regiment, AAC – Attack Regiment – 16 Air Assault Brigade (Apache)
  • 5 Regiment, AAC – Northern Ireland (Gazelle & Defender)
  • 7 Regiment, AAC – Training Regiment
  • 9 Regiment, AAC – Attack Regiment – 16 Air Assault Brigade (Lynx)
  • 667 Squadron, AAC - Development & Trials [7]
  • 658 Squadron, AAC – Joint Special Forces Air Wing (support to UKSF)
  • 7 Flight – Aviation support to British Forces in Brunei
  • 25 Flight – Aviation support to British Forces in Belize

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 14 regiments, four of which retain the cap badge, or "cypher", and traditions of the Royal Horse Artillery. The Royal Artillery undertakes seven different roles:

Home Defence
(Ceremonial)
Air Defence General Support
(MLRS)
Close Support
(AS90)
Close Support
(L118 Light Gun)
Surveillance and
Target Acquisition
Training
King's Troop, RHA 12 Regiment RA 39 Regiment RA 1st Regiment RHA 7th (Para) Regiment RHA 5 Regiment RA 14 Regiment RA
16 Regiment RA 19 Regiment RA 29 (Cdo) Regiment RA 32 Regiment RA
26 Regiment RA 3rd Regiment RHA 47 Regiment RA
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:

Two squadrons of 36 Engineer Regiment are cap badged as Queen's Gurkha Engineers and are manned predominantly by Gurkhas.

    • 170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group (formerly Military Works Force); responsible for permanent and temporary infrastructure development, including water, fuel, communications and utilities:
      • 62 Works Group, RE – Water Infrastructure
      • 63 Works Group, RE – Utilities Infrastructure
      • 64 Works Group, RE – Fuel Infrastructure
      • 65 Works Group, RE – Line of Communications Infrastructure
      • 530 Specialist Team Royal Engineers (Materials)
      • 627 Works Marines Comabat engineers (Destruction)

Royal Corps of Signals[edit]

The Royal Signals is a corps of 10 Regiments and 13 independent squadrons which 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.

  • Regiments
    • 1 (UK) Armoured Division HQ and Signal Regiment
    • 2 Signal Regiment – 11 Signal Brigade
    • 3 (UK) Division HQ and Signal Regiment
    • 7 Signal Regiment – 1 Signal Brigade (Allied Rapid Reaction Corps)
    • 10 Signal Regiment – 2 (National Communications) Signal Brigade
    • 11 Signal Regiment – Royal School of Signals (Training)
    • 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare) – 11 Signal Brigade (Electronic Warfare)
    • 15 Signal Regiment – HQ Northern Ireland
    • 16 Signal Regiment – 1 Signal Brigade
    • 18 Signal Regiment – UK Special Forces
    • 21 Signal Regiment – Joint Helicopter Command
    • 22 Signal Regiment – 1 Signal Brigade
    • 30 Signal Regiment – 11 Signal Brigade
  • Squadrons
    • 200 Signal Squadron – 20 Armoured Brigade
    • 204 Signal Squadron – 4 Mechanised Brigade
    • 207 Signal Squadron – 7 Armoured Brigade
    • 209 Signal Squadron – 19 Light Brigade
    • 213 Signal Squadron – 39 Infantry Brigade (NI)
    • 215 Signal Squadron – 1 Mechanised Brigade
    • 216 Signal Squadron – 16 Air Assault Brigade
    • 218 Signal Squadron – 8 Infantry Brigade (NI)
    • 228 Signal Squadron – 12 Mechanised Brigade
    • 261 Signal Squadron – 101 Logistic Brigade
    • 262 Signal Squadron – 102 Logistic Brigade
    • 628 (UK) Signal Troop – Allied Forces North (AFNORTH)
    • Cyprus Communications Unit

Two squadrons are cap badged as the Queen's Gurkha Signals and are manned predominantly by Gurkhas.

Intelligence Corps[edit]

The Intelligence Corps provides intelligence support including collection, interpretation and counter-intelligence capabilities with three battalions and a joint service group:

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; responsible for a range of supply, sustainment and movement tasks. Within the corps there are 21 regiments and 6 independent sub-units:

  • 1 Logistic Support Regiment
  • 2 Logistic Support Regiment
  • 3 Logistic Support Regiment
  • 4 Logistic Support Regiment
  • 5 Training Regiment
  • 6 Regiment
  • 7 Regiment
  • 8 Regiment
  • 9 Regiment
  • 10 Queen's Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment
  • 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment
  • 12 Logistic Support Regiment
  • 13 Air Assault Support Regiment
  • 17 Port and Maritime Regiment
  • 19 Combat Service Support Battalion[8]
  • 23 Pioneer Regiment
  • 24 Postal Courier and Movement Regiment
  • 25 Training Regiment
  • 27 Regiment
  • 29 Postal Courier and Movement Regiment
  • ARRC Support Battalion
  • 20 Logistic Support Squadron (London District)
  • 44 Support Squadron (Royal Military Academy Sandhurst)
  • 89 Postal and Courier Unit (SHAPE)
  • 105 Logistic Support Squadron (BATUS)
  • 132 Aviation Supply Squadron (16 Air Assault Brigade)
  • Cyprus Service Support Unit (British Forces Cyprus)

Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers[edit]

The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers is a corps that provides maintenance support to equipment. 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:

  • 1st Battalion, REME – 4 Mechanised Brigade
  • 2nd Battalion, REME – 7 Armoured Brigade
  • 3rd Battalion, REME – 20 Armoured Brigade
  • 4th Battalion, REME – 12 Mechanised Brigade
  • 19 Combat Service Support Battalion[8] – 19 Light Brigade
  • 6th Battalion, REME – 1 Mechanised Brigade
  • 7 Air Assault (Air Asslt) Battalion, REME – 16 Air Assault Brigade

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 prisons. 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
      • 160 Provost Company – 4 RMP
      • 101 Provost Company – 5 RMP
      • 114 Provost Company – 5 RMP
      • 156 Provost Company – Air assault
    • 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[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, the Army Training Regiment at Winchester or the Army Foundation College at Harrogate.

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]

Armour[edit]

The four armoured regiments of the Army Reserve operate in two roles - provision of crew replacements for armoured and NBC regiments, and formation reconnaissance:

Infantry[edit]

Special Air Service[edit]

Army Air Corps[edit]

  • 6 Regiment, Army Air Corps

Combat Support[edit]

Honourable Artillery Company[edit]

Royal Artillery[edit]

Royal Engineers[edit]

  • The Engineer and Logistic Staff Corps – Specialist industry knowledge (invitation only, industry leaders)
  • Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia) – Field Regiment
  • 71 Engineer Regiment – Air Support Regiment
  • 72 Engineer Regiment – Field Regiment
  • 73 Engineer Regiment – Air Support Regiment
  • 75 Engineer Regiment – Field Regiment
  • 221 and 579 Squadrons of 101 (City of London) Engineer Regiment – Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment
  • 131 Independent Commando Squadron – Commando Support
  • 135 Geographic Squadron – Geographic Support to Defence
  • 591 Independent Field Squadron – Field Squadron
  • 65 Works Group, RE – Communications Infrastructure
  • 299 Parachute Squadron RE – Parachute Field Squadron

Note: Although the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers is part of the Royal Engineers order of battle, it is a separate regiment with its own cap badge, regimental colours and traditions.

Royal Signals[edit]

Intelligence Corps[edit]

  • 3 Military Intelligence Battalion (Strategic Intelligence)
  • 5 Military Intelligence Battalion (Tactical Intelligence)

Combat Service Support[edit]

Adjutant General's Corps[edit]

Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers[edit]

  • 101 Battalion, REME
  • 102 Battalion, REME
  • 103 Battalion, REME
  • 104 Battalion, REME
  • 105 Battalion, REME
  • 106 Battalion, REME

Royal Logistic Corps[edit]

Army Medical Services[edit]

  • 225 Medical Regiment in Dundee
    • 153 Medical Squadron – Dundee
    • 222 Medical Squadron – Leicester with Derby detachment
    • 231 Evacuation Squadron – Glenrothes
    • 251 Medical Squadron – Sunderland
    • A Support Squadron – Dundee
  • 254 (East of England) Medical Regiment
    • HQ Squadron – Cambridge
    • 160 Squadron – Norwich
    • 161 Squadron – Colchester
    • 220 Squadron - Maidstone
    • 162 Squadron – Hitchin
  • 144 Parachute Medical Squadron (part of 16 Medical Regiment)
  • 2 Medical Brigade
    • 201 (Northern) Field Hospital
    • 202 (Midlands) Field Hospital
    • 203 (Welsh) Field Hospital
    • 204 (North Irish) Field Hospital
    • 205 (Scottish) Field Hospital
    • 207 (Manchester) Field Hospital
    • 208 (Merseyside) Field Hospital
    • 212 (Yorkshire) Field Hospital
    • 243 (Wessex) Field Hospital
    • 256 (City of London) Field Hospital

Restructuring[edit]

Delivering Security in a Changing World[edit]

In July and December 2004, a significant restructuring of the armed forces was announced with a wide ranging impact on all three services. For the army, the infantry strength was to be reduced by four infantry battalions (three English and one Scottish), with the remaining single battalion regiments amalgamating within their division; Scottish, King's and Prince of Wales's. The armoured strength was to be rebalanced, reducing the strength by seven Challenger 2 squadrons by re-roling one regiment as force reconnaissance. The artillery strength was to be rebalanced, reducing AS-90 battery numbers by six by re-roling a regiment to the light gun and reducing the size of individual Ground Based Air Defence batteries.

The brigade structure was to be restructured to become:

  • One Air Assault Brigade – 16 Air Assault Brigade
  • One Commando Brigade – 3 Commando Brigade. (This is a Royal Naval Commando formation, not part of the Army Chain of Command)
  • One Light Role Brigade – 19 Brigade
  • Three Mechanized Brigades – 1 Mechanised Brigade, 4 Mechanised Brigade and 12 Mechanised Brigade
  • Two Armoured Brigades – 7 Armoured Brigade and 20 Armoured Brigade

Infantry restructuring[edit]

The arms plot is to be abolished, with all infantry battalions given a set role and (for armoured and mechanised battalions) location. In order that officers and soldiers can keep up the various skills gained through each of the distinct roles, all single battalion regiments (with the exception of the Guards regiments and the Royal Irish Regiment) will be amalgamated into large regiments. It is planned that each division will have a total of five battalions; of these, one will be armoured infantry, one will be mechanised infantry and the remainder light infantry.

Guards Division[edit]
  • Although there will remain five single battalion Guards regiments, operationally these will conform to the new structure, with each battalion being given a specific role (1 armoured infantry, 2 light infantry, 2 public duties). Operationally, therefore, the Guards will be a single large regiment. The London Regiment will be transferred to the Guards Division, and become the Guards Army Reserve battalion.
Army Reserve[edit]
  • The Royal Regiment of Scotland and The Rifles will each receive two Army Reserve battalions. With the exception of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, every other infantry regiment will receive one Army Reserve battalion. The Guards Division will gain an affiliated Army Reserve battalion.

Bands[edit]

  • The British Army has 23 military bands of varying strength. There are seven bands that each have 49 musicians, whereas the other bands each have 35 musicians. All bands can play in many different formats, but primarily as a marching band or a concert band. The Bands of the Household Cavalry also play mounted.

New Infantry structure and Order of Precedence[edit]

Regular Army[edit]

Guards Division Scottish Division King's Division Prince of Wales' Division Queen's Division Light Division
1st Bn, Grenadier Guards 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th Bn, Royal Regiment of Scotland 1st & 2nd Bn, Duke of Lancaster's Regiment 1st & 2nd Bn, Royal Welsh 1st & 2nd Bn, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th Bn, The Rifles
1st Bn, Coldstream Guards 1st, 2nd & 3rd Bn, Yorkshire Regiment 1st, 2nd & 3rd Bn, Mercian Regiment 1st & 2nd Bn, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
1st Bn, Scots Guards 1st & 2nd Bn, Royal Anglian Regiment
1st Bn, Irish Guards
1st Bn, Welsh Guards

Army Reserve[edit]

Guards Division Scottish Division King's Division Prince of Wales' Division Queen's Division Light Division
London Regiment 6th & 7th Bn, Royal Regiment of Scotland 4th Bn, Duke of Lancaster's Regiment 3rd Bn, Royal Welsh 3rd Bn, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment 6th & 7th Bn, The Rifles
4th Bn, Yorkshire Regiment 4th Bn, Mercian Regiment 5th Bn, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
3rd Bn, Royal Anglian Regiment
  • 2nd Bn, The Royal Irish Regiment
  • 4th Bn, Parachute Regiment

Operational Structure of the British Army[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Correspondence from Army Secretariat
  2. ^ Army Command reorganization Defence Marketing Intelligence, 10 November 2011
  3. ^ Higher Command
  4. ^ Army conducts Top Level Organisational Review Defence News, 9 December 2009
  5. ^ Operations in the UK: The Defence Contribution to Resilience (Interim Joint Doctrine Publication 2)
  6. ^ Charles Heyman, 'The British Army: A Pocket Guide 2012-2013', p.31
  7. ^ 667 (Development & Trials) Squadron AAC
  8. ^ a b 19 CSS Battalion is an integrated combat service support unit combining both RLC and REME elements.

External links and sources[edit]

  • Official Army Website
  • SaBRE
  • British Monarchy and the British Army
  • A Guide to Appointments and Invitations for Defence Staffs within High Commissions and Embassies in London, UK Ministry of Defence, June 2005 edition
  • Operations in the UK: The Defence Contribution to Resilience (Interim Joint Doctrine Publication 2)