Structure of the British Army

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The structure of the British Army of the United Kingdom (UK) will be reorganised in 2022 with the Future Soldier reform. The British Army is commanded by the Chief of the General Staff (CGS), with Army Headquarters which is located in Andover, Hampshire. Subordinate to that post, there is a Commander Field Army, and a personnel and UK operations command, Home Command.

Introduction[edit]

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 and Corps 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 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 (DCGS), the Commander Field Army (CFA), the Commander Home Command (CHC), and Commander Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (CARRC). 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:[11][19]

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.[26]

1st (United Kingdom) Division[edit]

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

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[74][75] 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.[76]

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[122]
    • 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[123]
    • 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)[123]
    • 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][124]
    • 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[125]
    • 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][126][74]
    • 2nd Battalion, Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King's, Lancashire and Border), at Elizabeth Barracks, Pirbright Camp[127]
    • 4th Battalion, The Rifles, at New Normandy Barracks, Aldershot Garrison[79][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.[153] 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.[154] 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.[155]
  • London District - commands all the Army forces within the London area and conducts ceremonial events.[156]
  • Recruiting and Initial Training Command - recruits and trains soldiers.[157]
  • Army Personnel Centre - deals with personnel issues and liaises with outside agencies.[158]
  • Sandhurst Group - deals with applications of army officers Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.[159]

Commander Home Command,[160] 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.[161][162]

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. .[170] Headquarters Regional Command is also the operational command for the Army Cadets.[155][171]

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,[74] 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.[175]

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.[182] 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.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Returned from Cyprus in November 2020

References and sources[edit]

Sources
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