Structure of the British Army

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The page contains the current structure of the British Army. The British Army is currently being reorganised to the Future Soldier structure.

The Army is commanded by the Chief of the General Staff (CGS), within Army Headquarters, which is located in Andover, Hampshire. Subordinate to that post, there is a Commander Field Army, located at Trenchard Lines, Wiltshire and a personnel and UK operations command, Home Command, located at Aldershot Garrison, Hampshire.


The command structure within the British Army 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 or corps, battalions are called regiments, and companies are called squadrons or batteries, sub-divided into platoons or troops. All units within the British Army 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 White Paper, which re-roled British forces in Germany in favour of nuclear weapons and the end of National Service, the size of the British 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 (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 and known as 'Army Headquarters'.[15]

Reporting to the Chief of the General Staff are four lieutenant-generals: the Deputy Chief of the General Staff (DCGS), the Commander Home Command (CHC), the Commander Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (CARRC) and the Commander Field Army (CFA). The CFA is responsible for generating and preparing forces for current and contingency operations; they command 1st (United Kingdom) Division, 3rd (United Kingdom) Division, 6th (United Kingdom) Division, and Joint Helicopter Command (JHC).[16]

Allied Rapid Reaction Corps[edit]

Headquarters, Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, at Imjin Barracks, Innsworth

104 Theatre Sustainment Brigade[edit]

1st Signal Brigade[edit]

Field Army[edit]

Field Army gained initial operating capability (IOC) 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.[18]

The units under Field Army are:

1st (UK) Division[edit]

3rd (UK) Division[edit]

6th (UK) Division[edit]

Field Army Troops[edit]

1st (United Kingdom) Division[edit]

16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team[edit]

4th Light Brigade Combat Team[edit]

7th Light Mechanised Brigade Combat Team[edit]

11th Security Force Assistance Brigade[edit]

19th Brigade[edit]

8 Engineer Brigade[edit]

102 Operational Sustainment Brigade[edit]

1st Military Police Brigade[edit]

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 Deep Recce Strike Brigade Combat Team[edit]

12th Armoured Brigade Combat Team[edit]

20th Armoured Brigade Combat Team[edit]

7th Air Defence Group[edit]

25 (Close Support) Engineer Group[edit]

101 Operational Sustainment Brigade[edit]

11th Signal and West Midlands Brigade[edit]

6th (United Kingdom) Division[edit]

Army Special Operations Brigade[edit]

77th Brigade[edit]

Field Army Troops[edit]

Cyber and Electro Magnetic Activities Effects Group[edit]

Surveillance Group[edit]

Understand Group[edit]

  • Understand Group[72]
    • Land Intelligence Fusion Centre, at Denison Barracks Hermitage
    • Specialist Group Military Intelligence, at Denison Barracks, Hermitage
    • 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)

1st Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Brigade[edit]

  • 1st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Brigade,[Note 9] at Trenchard Lines, Upavon
    • 1 Military Intelligence Battalion, Intelligence Corps, at Bourlon Barracks, Catterick Garrison
    • 4 Military Intelligence Battalion, Intelligence Corps, at Kiwi Barracks, Bulford Camp, supporting 3 (UK) Division[74]
    • 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)[74]
    • Weapons Material and Personnel Exploitation Capacity, at Denison Barracks, Hermitage

Land Warfare Centre[edit]

2nd Medical Group[78][edit]

Joint Helicopter Command[edit]

Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) brings tri-service helicopters together under one command, providing lift, find and attack capabilities.

1st Aviation Brigade Combat Team[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.[102] 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.[103] 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.[104]
  • London District - commands all the Army forces within the London area and conducts ceremonial events.[105]
  • Recruiting and Initial Training Command - recruits and trains soldiers.[106]
  • Army Personnel Centre - deals with personnel issues and liaises with outside agencies.[107]
  • Sandhurst Group - deals with applications of army officers Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.[108]

Commander Home Command,[109] 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.[110][111]

Headquarters London District[112][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.[118] Headquarters Regional Command is also the operational command for the Army Cadets.[104]

38th (Irish) Brigade[edit]

51st Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Scotland[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 West Midlands[edit]

Army Recruiting and Initial Training Command[edit]

Army Recruiting and Initial Training Command was established on 1 April 2018,[40] 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.[126]

Army Training Units (ATU) are commanded and staffed by 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:

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.

Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Group[edit]

Commandant Sandhurst is a Major-General.[133]

Army Adventurous Training Group[edit]

  • HQ army adventurous training group, Upavon[134]
  • Joint service mountain training centre, Anglesey
  • The army adventurous training centre, Upavon
  • Joint service mountain training wing, Ballachulish
  • Joint service mountain training wing, Halton
  • Joint service mountain training wing, Anglesey
  • Joint service mountain training wing, Bavaria
  • Joint service mountain training wing, Llanrwst
  • Joint service mountain training wing, Inverness
  • Adventurous training foundation wing, Castlemartin
  • Adventurous training foundation wing, Harz
  • Joint service parachute wing, Netheravon
  • Joint service adventurous training wing, Cyprus

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.

British Army units in other areas of the British Armed Forces[edit]

Strategic Command[edit]

Navy Command[edit]

Air Command[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Light Cavalry is equipped with Jackal 2
  2. ^ Light Fires Regiments are equipped with 24x L118 (105mm) Light Guns
  3. ^ Light Mechanised Infantry is either equipped with Foxhound or Mastiff
  4. ^ Security Force Assistance Battalions have only two companies rather than four. In the case of the Guards Regiments they will re-role two companies to the Public Duties role to make up for the loss of manpower.
  5. ^ Armoured Fires Regiments are equipped with 24x AS-90 155mm Guns
  6. ^ Deep Fires regiments are equipped with M270 MLRS
  7. ^ Equipped with Challenger 3
  8. ^ Armoured Infantry Battalions are equipped with Warrior AFVs, by 2025 all Armoured Infantry Battalions will become Mechanised Infantry equipped with Boxer MIV
  9. ^ Under Future Soldier, the brigade was due to become a Group rather than a Brigade. However the British Army website appears to show its capabilities split into the Surveillance and Understand Groups
  10. ^ The Guards Regiments will rotate in roles across a sixteen year cycle. Eight years in the light role under 4 BCT, a further four years in the security force assistance role and four years on public duties. The exception to this, is the Scots Guards who will remain Light Mechanised Infantry and rotate through Cyprus every four years.

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External links[edit]