British Army

British Army

Overview
The British Army is the land warfare
Army
An army An army An army (from Latin arma "arms, weapons" via Old French armée, "armed" (feminine), in the broadest sense, is the land-based military of a nation or state. It may also include other branches of the military such as the air force via means of aviation corps...

 branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces
British Armed Forces
The British Armed Forces are the armed forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.Also known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces and sometimes legally the Armed Forces of the Crown, the British Armed Forces encompasses three professional uniformed services, the Royal Navy, the...

 in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 and Scotland
Kingdom of Scotland
The Kingdom of Scotland was a Sovereign state in North-West Europe that existed from 843 until 1707. It occupied the northern third of the island of Great Britain and shared a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England...

 into the Kingdom of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England and Scotland and was administered by the War Office
War Office
The War Office was a department of the British Government, responsible for the administration of the British Army between the 17th century and 1964, when its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defence...

 from London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. It has been managed by the Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

 since 1964.

As of mid 2011 the British Army employs 110,210 regulars (which includes the 3,860 Brigade of Gurkhas
Brigade of Gurkhas
The Brigade of Gurkhas is the collective term for units of the current British Army that are composed of Nepalese soldiers. The brigade, which is 3,640 strong, draws its heritage from Gurkha units that originally served in the British Indian Army prior to Indian independence, and prior to that of...

) and 33,100 territorials for a combined component strength of 143,310 soldiers.
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Encyclopedia
The British Army is the land warfare
Army
An army An army An army (from Latin arma "arms, weapons" via Old French armée, "armed" (feminine), in the broadest sense, is the land-based military of a nation or state. It may also include other branches of the military such as the air force via means of aviation corps...

 branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces
British Armed Forces
The British Armed Forces are the armed forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.Also known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces and sometimes legally the Armed Forces of the Crown, the British Armed Forces encompasses three professional uniformed services, the Royal Navy, the...

 in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 and Scotland
Kingdom of Scotland
The Kingdom of Scotland was a Sovereign state in North-West Europe that existed from 843 until 1707. It occupied the northern third of the island of Great Britain and shared a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England...

 into the Kingdom of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England and Scotland and was administered by the War Office
War Office
The War Office was a department of the British Government, responsible for the administration of the British Army between the 17th century and 1964, when its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defence...

 from London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. It has been managed by the Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

 since 1964.

As of mid 2011 the British Army employs 110,210 regulars (which includes the 3,860 Brigade of Gurkhas
Brigade of Gurkhas
The Brigade of Gurkhas is the collective term for units of the current British Army that are composed of Nepalese soldiers. The brigade, which is 3,640 strong, draws its heritage from Gurkha units that originally served in the British Indian Army prior to Indian independence, and prior to that of...

) and 33,100 territorials for a combined component strength of 143,310 soldiers. In addition there are 121,800 regular reserves of the British Army.

The full-time element of the British Army has also been referred to as the Regular Army since the creation of the reservist Territorial Force
Territorial Force
The Territorial Force was the volunteer reserve component of the British Army from 1908 to 1920, when it became the Territorial Army.-Origins:...

in 1908. The British Army is deployed in many of the world's war zones as part of both Expeditionary Forces
Expeditionary warfare
Expeditionary warfare is used to describe the organization of a state's military to fight abroad, especially when deployed to fight away from its established bases at home or abroad. Expeditionary forces were in part the antecedent of the modern concept of Rapid Deployment Forces...

 and in United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping is an activity that aims to create the conditions for lasting peace. It is distinguished from both peacebuilding and peacemaking....

 forces. The British Army is currently deployed in Kosovo, Cyprus
British Forces Cyprus
British Forces Cyprus is the name given to the British Armed Forces stationed in the UK sovereign base areas of Dhekelia and Akrotiri on the island of Cyprus...

, Germany
British Forces Germany
British Forces Germany , is the name for British Armed Forces service personnel and civilians based in Germany. It was first established following the Second World War as the British Army of the Rhine ....

, Afghanistan and many other places.

All members of the Army swear (or affirm) allegiance to the monarch as commander-in-chief. However the Bill of Rights of 1689
Bill of Rights 1689
The Bill of Rights or the Bill of Rights 1688 is an Act of the Parliament of England.The Bill of Rights was passed by Parliament on 16 December 1689. It was a re-statement in statutory form of the Declaration of Right presented by the Convention Parliament to William and Mary in March 1689 ,...

 requires Parliamentary consent for the Crown to maintain a standing army
Standing army
A standing army is a professional permanent army. It is composed of full-time career soldiers and is not disbanded during times of peace. It differs from army reserves, who are activated only during wars or natural disasters...

 in peacetime. Parliament therefore annually approves the continued existence of the Army.

In contrast to the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

, Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

 and Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

, the British Army does not include Royal in its title. Many of the Army's constituent Regiments and Corps have been granted the "Royal" prefix and have members of the Royal Family
British Royal Family
The British Royal Family is the group of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom. The term is also commonly applied to the same group of people as the relations of the monarch in her or his role as sovereign of any of the other Commonwealth realms, thus sometimes at variance with...

 occupying senior positions within some regiments.

The professional head of the British Army is the Chief of the General Staff
Chief of the General Staff (United Kingdom)
Chief of the General Staff has been the title of the professional head of the British Army since 1964. The CGS is a member of both the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Army Board...

, currently General Sir Peter Wall KCB CBE ADC Gen.
Peter Wall (British Army officer)
General Sir Peter Anthony Wall, KCB, CBE, ADC Gen. is a senior British Army officer, currently the Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the British Army....


History




The British Army came into being with the merger of the Scottish Army and the English Army
English Army
The English Army existed while England was an independent state and was at war with other states, but it was not until the Interregnum and the New Model Army that England acquired a peace time professional standing army...

, following the unification of the Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 and the Kingdom of Scotland
Kingdom of Scotland
The Kingdom of Scotland was a Sovereign state in North-West Europe that existed from 843 until 1707. It occupied the northern third of the island of Great Britain and shared a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England...

, as the Kingdom of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 in 1707. The new British Army incorporated existing English and Scottish regiments, and was controlled from London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

.

From the time of the end of the Seven Years' War
Seven Years' War
The Seven Years' War was a global military war between 1756 and 1763, involving most of the great powers of the time and affecting Europe, North America, Central America, the West African coast, India, and the Philippines...

 in 1763, Great Britain and its successor the United Kingdom has been one of the leading military and economic powers
Economic history of the United Kingdom
The economic history of the United Kingdom deals with the history of the economy of the United Kingdom from the creation of the Kingdom of Great Britain on May 1st, 1707, with the political union of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland...

 of the world.

Early British Empire


The British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 expanded in this time to include colonies
Colony
In politics and history, a colony is a territory under the immediate political control of a state. For colonies in antiquity, city-states would often found their own colonies. Some colonies were historically countries, while others were territories without definite statehood from their inception....

, protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

s, and Dominion
Dominion
A dominion, often Dominion, refers to one of a group of autonomous polities that were nominally under British sovereignty, constituting the British Empire and British Commonwealth, beginning in the latter part of the 19th century. They have included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland,...

s throughout the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 and Australasia
Australasia
Australasia is a region of Oceania comprising Australia, New Zealand, the island of New Guinea, and neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean. The term was coined by Charles de Brosses in Histoire des navigations aux terres australes...

. Although the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 is widely regarded as having been vital for the rise of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, and British dominance of the world, the British Army played an important role in the colonisation of India and other regions. Typical tasks included garrison
Garrison
Garrison is the collective term for a body of troops stationed in a particular location, originally to guard it, but now often simply using it as a home base....

ing the colonies, capturing strategically important territories, and participating in actions to pacify colonial borders, provide support to allied governments, suppress Britain's rivals, and protect against foreign powers and hostile natives.


British troops also helped capture strategically important territories, allowing their empire to expand throughout the globe. The army also involved itself in numerous wars meant to pacify the borders, or to prop-up friendly governments, and thereby keep other, competitive, empires away from the British Empire's borders. Among these actions were the Seven Years' War
Seven Years' War
The Seven Years' War was a global military war between 1756 and 1763, involving most of the great powers of the time and affecting Europe, North America, Central America, the West African coast, India, and the Philippines...

, the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

, the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, the First
First Opium War
The First Anglo-Chinese War , known popularly as the First Opium War or simply the Opium War, was fought between the United Kingdom and the Qing Dynasty of China over their conflicting viewpoints on diplomatic relations, trade, and the administration of justice...

 and Second Opium War
Second Opium War
The Second Opium War, the Second Anglo-Chinese War, the Second China War, the Arrow War, or the Anglo-French expedition to China, was a war pitting the British Empire and the Second French Empire against the Qing Dynasty of China, lasting from 1856 to 1860...

s, the Boxer Rebellion
Boxer Rebellion
The Boxer Rebellion, also called the Boxer Uprising by some historians or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in northern China, was a proto-nationalist movement by the "Righteous Harmony Society" , or "Righteous Fists of Harmony" or "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists" , in China between...

, the New Zealand land wars
New Zealand land wars
The New Zealand Wars, sometimes called the Land Wars and also once called the Māori Wars, were a series of armed conflicts that took place in New Zealand between 1845 and 1872...

, the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857, the First
First Boer War
The First Boer War also known as the First Anglo-Boer War or the Transvaal War, was fought from 16 December 1880 until 23 March 1881-1877 annexation:...

 and Second Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

s, the Fenian raids
Fenian raids
Between 1866 and 1871, the Fenian raids of the Fenian Brotherhood who were based in the United States; on British army forts, customs posts and other targets in Canada, were fought to bring pressure on Britain to withdraw from Ireland. They divided many Catholic Irish-Canadians, many of whom were...

, the Irish War of Independence
Irish War of Independence
The Irish War of Independence , Anglo-Irish War, Black and Tan War, or Tan War was a guerrilla war mounted by the Irish Republican Army against the British government and its forces in Ireland. It began in January 1919, following the Irish Republic's declaration of independence. Both sides agreed...

, its serial interventions into Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 (which were meant to maintain a friendly buffer state
Buffer state
A buffer state is a country lying between two rival or potentially hostile greater powers, which by its sheer existence is thought to prevent conflict between them. Buffer states, when authentically independent, typically pursue a neutralist foreign policy, which distinguishes them from satellite...

 between British India and the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

), and the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

 (to keep the Russian Empire at a safe distance by coming to Turkey's aid).

As had its predecessor, the English Army
English Army
The English Army existed while England was an independent state and was at war with other states, but it was not until the Interregnum and the New Model Army that England acquired a peace time professional standing army...

, the British Army fought Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, and the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 for supremacy in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and the West Indies. With native and provincial assistance, the Army conquered New France
New France
New France was the area colonized by France in North America during a period beginning with the exploration of the Saint Lawrence River by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Spain and Great Britain in 1763...

 in the Seven Years' War
Seven Years' War
The Seven Years' War was a global military war between 1756 and 1763, involving most of the great powers of the time and affecting Europe, North America, Central America, the West African coast, India, and the Philippines...

 and subsequently suppressed a Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 uprising in Pontiac's War. The British Army suffered defeat in the American War of Independence, losing the Thirteen Colonies
Thirteen Colonies
The Thirteen Colonies were English and later British colonies established on the Atlantic coast of North America between 1607 and 1733. They declared their independence in the American Revolution and formed the United States of America...

 but holding on to Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

.

The British Army was heavily involved in the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 in which the army served in multiple campaigns across Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 (including continuous deployment in the Peninsular War
Peninsular War
The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

), the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

, North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

 and later in North America
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

. The war between the British and the First French Empire
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

 of Napoleon Bonaparte stretched around the world and at its peak, in 1813, the regular army contained over 250,000 men. A Coalition of British and Prussian Armies under the Duke of Wellington
Duke of Wellington
The Dukedom of Wellington, derived from Wellington in Somerset, is a hereditary title in the senior rank of the Peerage of the United Kingdom. The first holder of the title was Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington , the noted Irish-born career British Army officer and statesman, and...

 and Marshal Bulcher defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

 in 1815.

The English had been involved, both politically and militarily, in Ireland since being given the Lordship of Ireland
Lordship of Ireland
The Lordship of Ireland refers to that part of Ireland that was under the rule of the king of England, styled Lord of Ireland, between 1177 and 1541. It was created in the wake of the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169–71 and was succeeded by the Kingdom of Ireland...

 by the pope in 1171. English republican dictator, Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

's campaign was characterised by its uncompromising treatment of the Irish towns (most notably Drogheda
Drogheda
Drogheda is an industrial and port town in County Louth on the east coast of Ireland, 56 km north of Dublin. It is the last bridging point on the River Boyne before it enters the Irish Sea....

) that had supported the Royalists during the English Civil War. The English Army (and subsequently the British Army) stayed in Ireland primarily to suppress numerous Irish revolts and campaigns for independence. It was faced with the prospect of battling Anglo-Irish and Ulster Scots
Ulster-Scots
The Ulster Scots are an ethnic group in Ireland, descended from Lowland Scots and English from the border of those two countries, many from the "Border Reivers" culture...

 peoples in Ireland, who alongside their other Irish groups had raised their own volunteer army and threatened to emulate the American colonists if their conditions were not met. The British Army found itself fighting Irish rebels, both Protestant and Catholic, primarily in Ulster
Ulster
Ulster is one of the four provinces of Ireland, located in the north of the island. In ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial...

 and Leinster
Leinster
Leinster is one of the Provinces of Ireland situated in the east of Ireland. It comprises the ancient Kingdoms of Mide, Osraige and Leinster. Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the historic fifths of Leinster and Mide gradually merged, mainly due to the impact of the Pale, which straddled...

 (Wolfe Tone's
Theobald Wolfe Tone
Theobald Wolfe Tone or Wolfe Tone , was a leading Irish revolutionary figure and one of the founding members of the United Irishmen and is regarded as the father of Irish Republicanism. He was captured by British forces at Lough Swilly in Donegal and taken prisoner...

 United Irishmen) in the 1798 rebellion
Irish Rebellion of 1798
The Irish Rebellion of 1798 , also known as the United Irishmen Rebellion , was an uprising in 1798, lasting several months, against British rule in Ireland...

.


In addition to battling the armies of other European Empires (and of its former colonies, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, in the American War of 1812), in the battle for global supremacy, the British Army fought the Chinese
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 in the First
First Opium War
The First Anglo-Chinese War , known popularly as the First Opium War or simply the Opium War, was fought between the United Kingdom and the Qing Dynasty of China over their conflicting viewpoints on diplomatic relations, trade, and the administration of justice...

 and Second Opium War
Second Opium War
The Second Opium War, the Second Anglo-Chinese War, the Second China War, the Arrow War, or the Anglo-French expedition to China, was a war pitting the British Empire and the Second French Empire against the Qing Dynasty of China, lasting from 1856 to 1860...

s, and the Boxer Rebellion
Boxer Rebellion
The Boxer Rebellion, also called the Boxer Uprising by some historians or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in northern China, was a proto-nationalist movement by the "Righteous Harmony Society" , or "Righteous Fists of Harmony" or "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists" , in China between...

, Māori tribes in the first of the New Zealand Wars, Nawab Shiraj-ud-Daula's forces and British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 mutineers in the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857
Indian Rebellion of 1857
The Indian Rebellion of 1857 began as a mutiny of sepoys of the British East India Company's army on 10 May 1857, in the town of Meerut, and soon escalated into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to...

, the Boers in the First
First Boer War
The First Boer War also known as the First Anglo-Boer War or the Transvaal War, was fought from 16 December 1880 until 23 March 1881-1877 annexation:...

 and Second Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

s, Irish Fenians in Canada during the Fenian raids
Fenian raids
Between 1866 and 1871, the Fenian raids of the Fenian Brotherhood who were based in the United States; on British army forts, customs posts and other targets in Canada, were fought to bring pressure on Britain to withdraw from Ireland. They divided many Catholic Irish-Canadians, many of whom were...

 and Irish separatists
Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army was an Irish republican revolutionary military organisation. It was descended from the Irish Volunteers, an organisation established on 25 November 1913 that staged the Easter Rising in April 1916...

 in the Anglo-Irish War.

Following William and Mary's accession to the throne, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 involved itself in the War of the Grand Alliance
War of the Grand Alliance
The Nine Years' War – often called the War of the Grand Alliance, the War of the Palatine Succession, or the War of the League of Augsburg – was a major war of the late 17th century fought between King Louis XIV of France, and a European-wide coalition, the Grand Alliance, led by the Anglo-Dutch...

 primarily to prevent a French invasion restoring Mary's father, James II
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

. Following the 1707 union of England and Scotland
Acts of Union 1707
The Acts of Union were two Parliamentary Acts - the Union with Scotland Act passed in 1706 by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act passed in 1707 by the Parliament of Scotland - which put into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union that had been agreed on 22 July 1706,...

, and the 1801 creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

, British foreign policy, on the continent, was to contain expansion by its competitor powers such as France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. The territorial ambitions of the French led to the War of the Spanish Succession
War of the Spanish Succession
The War of the Spanish Succession was fought among several European powers, including a divided Spain, over the possible unification of the Kingdoms of Spain and France under one Bourbon monarch. As France and Spain were among the most powerful states of Europe, such a unification would have...

 and the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

. Russian activity led to the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

. After 1745 recruits were increasingly drawn from Scotland; by the mid-1760s between one fifth and one third of officers were from Scotland.

The vastly increasing demands of imperial expansion, and the inadequacies and inefficiencies of the underfunded, post-Napoleonic Wars British Army, and of the Militia
Militia (United Kingdom)
The Militia of the United Kingdom were the military reserve forces of the United Kingdom after the Union in 1801 of the former Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland....

, Yeomanry
Yeomanry
Yeomanry is a designation used by a number of units or sub-units of the British Territorial Army, descended from volunteer cavalry regiments. Today, Yeomanry units may serve in a variety of different military roles.-History:...

, and Volunteer Force
Volunteer Force (Great Britain)
The Volunteer Force was a citizen army of part-time rifle, artillery and engineer corps, created as a popular movement in 1859. Originally highly autonomous, the units of volunteers became increasingly integrated with the British Army after the Childers Reforms in 1881, before forming part of the...

, led to the Cardwell
Cardwell Reforms
The Cardwell Reforms refer to a series of reforms of the British Army undertaken by Secretary of State for War Edward Cardwell between 1868 and 1874.-Background:...

 and Childers Reforms
Childers Reforms
The Childers Reforms restructured the infantry regiments of the British army. The reforms were undertaken by Secretary of State for War Hugh Childers in 1881, and were a continuation of the earlier Cardwell reforms....

 of the late 19th century, which gave the British Army its modern shape, and redefined its regimental system. The Haldane Reforms
Haldane Reforms
The Haldane Reforms were a series of far-ranging reforms of the British Army made from 1906 to 1912, and named after the Secretary of State for War, Richard Burdon Haldane...

 of 1907, formally created the Territorial Force
Territorial Force
The Territorial Force was the volunteer reserve component of the British Army from 1908 to 1920, when it became the Territorial Army.-Origins:...

 as the Army's volunteer reserve component.

World Wars





Great Britain's dominance of the world had been challenged by numerous other powers, notably Germany
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

. The UK was allied with France (by the Entente Cordiale
Entente Cordiale
The Entente Cordiale was a series of agreements signed on 8 April 1904 between the United Kingdom and the French Republic. Beyond the immediate concerns of colonial expansion addressed by the agreement, the signing of the Entente Cordiale marked the end of almost a millennium of intermittent...

) and Russia, and when the First World War broke out in 1914, the British Army sent the British Expeditionary Force to France and Belgium to prevent Germany from occupying these countries. The War would be the most devastating in British military history, with near 800,000 men killed and over 2 million wounded. In the early part of the war, the professional force of the BEF was virtually destroyed and, by turns, a volunteer (and then conscripted) force replaced it. Major battles included the Battle of the Somme. Advances in technology saw advent of the tank
Tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

, with the creation of the Royal Tank Regiment
Royal Tank Regiment
The Royal Tank Regiment is an armoured regiment of the British Army. It was formerly known as the Tank Corps and the Royal Tank Corps. It is part of the Royal Armoured Corps and is made up of two operational regiments, the 1st Royal Tank Regiment and the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment...

, and advances in aircraft
Aircraft
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

 design, with the creation of the Royal Flying Corps
Royal Flying Corps
The Royal Flying Corps was the over-land air arm of the British military during most of the First World War. During the early part of the war, the RFC's responsibilities were centred on support of the British Army, via artillery co-operation and photographic reconnaissance...

, which were to be decisive in future battles. Trench warfare
Trench warfare
Trench warfare is a form of occupied fighting lines, consisting largely of trenches, in which troops are largely immune to the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery...

 dominated strategy on the Western Front
Western Front (World War I)
Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by first invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne...

, and the use of chemical and poison gases added to the devastation.

The Second World War broke out in 1939 with the German invasion of Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

. British assurances to the Polish led the British Empire to declare war on Germany. Again an Expeditionary Force
British Expeditionary Force (World War II)
The British Expeditionary Force was the British force in Europe from 1939–1940 during the Second World War. Commanded by General Lord Gort, the BEF constituted one-tenth of the defending Allied force....

 was sent to France, only to be hastily evacuated as the German forces swept through the Low Countries and across France in 1940. Only the Dunkirk evacuation
Battle of Dunkirk
The Battle of Dunkirk was a battle in the Second World War between the Allies and Germany. A part of the Battle of France on the Western Front, the Battle of Dunkirk was the defence and evacuation of British and allied forces in Europe from 26 May–4 June 1940.After the Phoney War, the Battle of...

 saved the entire Expeditionary Force from capture. Later, however, the British would have spectacular success defeating the Italians and Germans at the Battle of El Alamein
Second Battle of El Alamein
The Second Battle of El Alamein marked a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. The battle took place over 20 days from 23 October – 11 November 1942. The First Battle of El Alamein had stalled the Axis advance. Thereafter, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery...

 in North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, and in the D-Day invasion of Normandy with the help of American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand forces. Almost half of the Allied soldiers on D-day were British. In the Far East, the British army battled the Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese in Burma. The Second World War saw the British army develop its Special Air Service
Special Air Service
Special Air Service or SAS is a corps of the British Army constituted on 31 May 1950. They are part of the United Kingdom Special Forces and have served as a model for the special forces of many other countries all over the world...

, Commando
British Commandos
The British Commandos were formed during the Second World War in June 1940, following a request from the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, for a force that could carry out raids against German-occupied Europe...

 units and the Parachute Regiment.

Postcolonial era



After the end of the Second World War, the British Army was significantly reduced in size, although National Service
National service
National service is a common name for mandatory government service programmes . The term became common British usage during and for some years following the Second World War. Many young people spent one or more years in such programmes...

 continued until 1960. This period also saw the process of Decolonisation commence with the end of the British Raj
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

, and the independence of other colonies in Africa and Asia. Accordingly the army's strength was further reduced, in recognition of Britain's reduced role in world affairs, outlined in the 1957 Defence White Paper
1957 Defence White Paper
The 1957 White Paper on Defence was a British white paper setting forth the perceived future of the British military. It had profound effects on all aspects of the defence industry but probably the most affected was the British aircraft industry...

. This was despite major actions in Korea
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 in 1950 and Suez
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

 in 1956. A large force of British troops
British Army of the Rhine
There have been two formations named British Army of the Rhine . Both were originally occupation forces in Germany, one after the First World War, and the other after the Second World War.-1919–1929:...

 also remained in Germany, facing the threat of Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 invasion. The British Army of the Rhine
British Army of the Rhine
There have been two formations named British Army of the Rhine . Both were originally occupation forces in Germany, one after the First World War, and the other after the Second World War.-1919–1929:...

 was the Germany garrison formation, with the main fighting force being I (BR) Corps. The Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 saw significant technological advances in warfare and the Army saw more technologically advanced weapons systems come into service.

Despite the decline of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, the Army was still deployed around the world, fighting colonial wars in Aden
Aden Emergency
The Aden Emergency was an insurgency against the British crown forces in the British controlled territories of South Arabia which now form part of the Yemen. Partly inspired by Nasser's pan Arab nationalism, it began on 10 December 1963 with the throwing of a grenade at a gathering of British...

, Cyprus
EOKA
EOKA was an anticolonial, antiimperialist nationalist organisation with the ultimate goal of "The liberation of Cyprus from the British yoke". Although not stated in its initial declaration of existence which was printed and distributed on the 1st of April 1955, EOKA also had a target of achieving...

, Kenya
Mau Mau Uprising
The Mau Mau Uprising was a military conflict that took place in Kenya between 1952 and 1960...

 and Malaya
Malayan Emergency
The Malayan Emergency was a guerrilla war fought between Commonwealth armed forces and the Malayan National Liberation Army , the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party, from 1948 to 1960....

. In 1982 the British Army, alongside the Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

, helped to recapture the Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located about from the coast of mainland South America. The archipelago consists of East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 lesser islands. The capital, Stanley, is on East Falkland...

 during the Falklands conflict
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

 against Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

.

In the three decades following 1969, the Army was heavily deployed in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

, to support the Royal Ulster Constabulary
Royal Ulster Constabulary
The Royal Ulster Constabulary was the name of the police force in Northern Ireland from 1922 to 2000. Following the awarding of the George Cross in 2000, it was subsequently known as the Royal Ulster Constabulary GC. It was founded on 1 June 1922 out of the Royal Irish Constabulary...

 (later the Police Service of Northern Ireland
Police Service of Northern Ireland
The Police Service of Northern Ireland is the police force that serves Northern Ireland. It is the successor to the Royal Ulster Constabulary which, in turn, was the successor to the Royal Irish Constabulary in Northern Ireland....

) in their conflict with republican paramilitary groups, called Operation Banner
Operation Banner
Operation Banner was the operational name for the British Armed Forces' operation in Northern Ireland from August 1969 to July 2007. It was initially deployed at the request of the Unionist government of Northern Ireland to support the Royal Ulster Constabulary . After the 1998 Belfast Agreement,...

. The locally recruited Ulster Defence Regiment
Ulster Defence Regiment
The Ulster Defence Regiment was an infantry regiment of the British Army which became operational in 1970, formed on similar lines to other British reserve forces but with the operational role of defence of life or property in Northern Ireland against armed attack or sabotage...

 was formed, later becoming the Royal Irish Regiment in 1992. Over 700 soldiers were killed during the Troubles
The Troubles
The Troubles was a period of ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland which spilled over at various times into England, the Republic of Ireland, and mainland Europe. The duration of the Troubles is conventionally dated from the late 1960s and considered by many to have ended with the Belfast...

. Following the IRA
Provisional Irish Republican Army
The Provisional Irish Republican Army is an Irish republican paramilitary organisation whose aim was to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and bring about a socialist republic within a united Ireland by force of arms and political persuasion...

 ceasefires between 1994 and 1996 and since 1997, demilitarisation has taken place as part of the peace process, reducing the military presence from 30,000 to 5,000 troops. On 25 June 2007, the Second Battalion Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment vacated the Army complex at Bessbrook Mill in Armagh. This is part of the 'normalisation' programme in Northern Ireland in response to the IRA's declared end to its activities.

Gulf War



The ending of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 saw a significant cut in manpower, as outlined in the Options for Change
Options for Change
Options for Change was a restructuring of the British Armed Forces in 1990, aimed at cutting defence spending following the end of the Cold War....

 review. Despite this, the Army has been deployed in an increasingly global role, and contributed 50,000 troops to the coalition force that fought Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 in the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

. British forces were put in control of Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 after it was liberated.
47 British Military personnel died during the Gulf War.

Balkans conflicts



The British Army was deployed to Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

 in 1992; initially this force formed part of the United Nations Protection Force
United Nations Protection Force
The United Nations Protection Force ', was the first United Nations peacekeeping force in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Yugoslav wars. It existed between the beginning of UN involvement in February 1992, and its restructuring into other forces in March 1995...

. In 1995 command was transferred to IFOR
IFOR
The Implementation Force was a NATO-led multinational peacekeeping force in Bosnia and Herzegovina under a one-year mandate from 20 December 1995 to 20 December 1996 under the codename Operation Joint Endeavour. Its task was to implement the military Annexes of The General Framework Agreement for...

 and then to SFOR
SFOR
The Stabilisation Force was a NATO-led multinational peacekeeping force in Bosnia and Herzegovina which was tasked with upholding the Dayton Agreement. It replaced the previous force IFOR...

. Currently troops are under the command of EUFOR. Over 10,000 troops were sent. In 1999 British forces under the command of SFOR were sent to Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

 during the conflict there. Command was subsequently transferred to KFOR. Between early 1993 and June 2010, 72 British military personnel died on operations in the former Yugoslavian countries of Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia.

Afghanistan




In 2001 the United Kingdom, as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom with the United States, invaded Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 to topple the Taliban. The 3rd Division
British 3rd Infantry Division
The 3rd Mechanised Division, known at various times as the Iron Division, 3rd Division or as Iron Sides; is a regular army division of the British Army...

 were deployed in Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

, to assist in the liberation of the troubled capital. The Royal Marines' 3 Commando Brigade
3 Commando Brigade
3 Commando Brigade is a commando formation of the British Armed Forces and the main manoeuvre formation of the Royal Marines. Its personnel are predominantly Royal Marines, supported by units of Royal Engineers, Royal Artillery, The Rifles, and the Fleet Air Arm, together with other Commando...

 (part of the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 but including a number of Army units), also swept the mountains. The British Army is today concentrating on fighting Taliban forces and bringing security to Helmand province. Approximately 9,000 British troops (including marines, airmen and sailors) are currently in Afghanistan, making it the second largest force after the US. Around 500 extra British troops were deployed in 2009, bringing the British Army deployment total up to 9,500 (excluding Special Forces). Between 2001 and June 2011 a total of 362 British military personnel have died on operations mainly in Afghanistan.

Iraq War




In 2003, the United Kingdom was a major contributor to the United States-led invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

. There was major disagreement amongst the domestic populace but the House of Commons voted for the conflict, sending a force that would reach 46,000 army personnel to the region. The British Army controlled the southern regions of Iraq and maintained a peace-keeping presence in the city of Basra
Basra
Basra is the capital of Basra Governorate, in southern Iraq near Kuwait and Iran. It had an estimated population of two million as of 2009...

 until their withdrawal on April 30, 2009. 179 British Military personnel have died on operations in Iraq. All of the remaining British troops were fully withdrawn from Iraq after the Iraqi government refused to extend their mandate.

Northern Ireland



Although having permanent garrisons there, the British Army was initially deployed in a peacekeeping role – codenamed "Operation Banner" – in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 in the wake of Unionist attacks on Nationalist communities in Derry
Derry
Derry or Londonderry is the second-biggest city in Northern Ireland and the fourth-biggest city on the island of Ireland. The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Irish name Doire or Doire Cholmcille meaning "oak-wood of Colmcille"...

 and Belfast
Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

 and to prevent further Loyalist attacks on Catholic communities, under Operation Banner
Operation Banner
Operation Banner was the operational name for the British Armed Forces' operation in Northern Ireland from August 1969 to July 2007. It was initially deployed at the request of the Unionist government of Northern Ireland to support the Royal Ulster Constabulary . After the 1998 Belfast Agreement,...

 between 1969 and 2007 in support of the Royal Ulster Constabulary
Royal Ulster Constabulary
The Royal Ulster Constabulary was the name of the police force in Northern Ireland from 1922 to 2000. Following the awarding of the George Cross in 2000, it was subsequently known as the Royal Ulster Constabulary GC. It was founded on 1 June 1922 out of the Royal Irish Constabulary...

 (RUC) and its successor, the Police Service of Northern Ireland
Police Service of Northern Ireland
The Police Service of Northern Ireland is the police force that serves Northern Ireland. It is the successor to the Royal Ulster Constabulary which, in turn, was the successor to the Royal Irish Constabulary in Northern Ireland....

 (PSNI). There has been a steady reduction in the number of troops deployed in Northern Ireland since the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998. In 2005, after the Provisional Irish Republican Army
Provisional Irish Republican Army
The Provisional Irish Republican Army is an Irish republican paramilitary organisation whose aim was to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and bring about a socialist republic within a united Ireland by force of arms and political persuasion...

 announced an end to its armed conflict in Northern Ireland, the British Army dismantled posts and withdrew many troops, and restored troop levels to that of a peace-time garrison.

Operation Banner ended at midnight on 31 July 2007, bringing to an end some 38 years of continuous deployment, making it the longest in the British Army's history. An internal British Army document released in 2007 stated that the British Army had failed to defeat the IRA but had made it impossible for them to win through the use of violence. Operation Helvetic replaced Operation Banner in 2007 maintaining fewer servicemen in a much more benign environment. From 1971 to 1997 a total of 763 British Military personnel were killed during the troubles. The British Armed Forces killed over 300 people. A total of 303 RUC officers were killed in the same time period. In March 2009, two soldiers and a Police Officer were killed in separate dissident republican attacks in Northern Ireland.

High intensity operations

CountryDatesDeploymentDetails
Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

2001–2012 About 10,000 troops British troops have been based in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

 there in 2001. Currently, under Operation Herrick
Operation Herrick
Operation Herrick is the codename under which all British operations in the war in Afghanistan have been conducted since 2002. It consists of the British contribution to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force and support to the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom...

, the Army maintains troops in Camp Souter, Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

 and a brigade on 6-monthly rotation in the southern province of Helmand
Helmand Province
Helmand is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the southwest of the country. Its capital is Lashkar Gah. The Helmand River flows through the mainly desert region, providing water for irrigation....

, mostly based in Camp Bastion
Camp Bastion
Camp Bastion is the main British military base in Afghanistan. Accommodating 21,000 people it is situated northwest of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province, and exists to be the logistics hub for operations in Helmand....

 and forward operating bases. In late 2009, the resident brigade is 11 Brigade. This brigade has previously served tours in Afghanistan. In 2009, the then Secretary of State for Defence
Secretary of State for Defence
The Secretary of State for Defence, popularly known as the Defence Secretary, is the senior Government of the United Kingdom minister in charge of the Ministry of Defence, chairing the Defence Council. It is a Cabinet position...

 Bob Ainsworth
Bob Ainsworth
Robert William Ainsworth is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Coventry North East since 1992, and was the Secretary of State for Defence from 2009 to 2010...

 announced British troop numbers in Afghanistan to increase by 500 to a new high of more than 9,500 by late 2009.

Low intensity operations

CountryDatesDeploymentDetails
Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

1960– Two resident infantry battalions, Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

, 16 Flight Army Air Corps
16 Flight Army Air Corps
16 Flight AAC was an independent flight within the British Army's Army Air Corps.Based at Britain's sovereign bases of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in Cyprus, it operated in support of Army units based there. The unit operated Westland Gazelle AH.1 helicopters....

 and Joint Service Signals Unit at Ayios Nikolaos as a part of British Forces Cyprus
British Forces Cyprus
British Forces Cyprus is the name given to the British Armed Forces stationed in the UK sovereign base areas of Dhekelia and Akrotiri on the island of Cyprus...

The UK retains two Sovereign Base Areas
Sovereign Base Areas
The Sovereign Base Areas are military bases located on territory in which the United Kingdom is sovereign, but which are separated from the ordinary British territory....

 in Cyprus after the island's independence. The bases serve as forward bases for deployments in the Middle East. British forces are also deployed separately with UN
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 peacekeeping forces on the island. Principal facilities are Alexander Barracks at Dhekelia and Salamanca Barracks at Episkopi.
Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located about from the coast of mainland South America. The archipelago consists of East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 lesser islands. The capital, Stanley, is on East Falkland...

1982– An infantry company group and an Engineer Squadron Previously a platoon-sized Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

 Naval Party acted as the military presence. After the 1982 war between Argentina and the UK, the garrison was enlarged and bolstered with an RAF base at Mount Pleasant
RAF Mount Pleasant
RAF Mount Pleasant is a military base for the Royal Air Force in the British Overseas Territory of the Falkland Islands. The facility is part of the British Forces South Atlantic Islands...

 on East Falkland.
Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

1704–1991 One infantry battalion, Joint Provost and Security Unit as a part of British Forces Gibraltar
British Forces Gibraltar
British Forces Gibraltar is the name given to the British Armed Forces stationed in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. Gibraltar is used primarily as a training area, thanks to its good climate and rocky terrain, and as a stopover for aircraft and ships en route to and from deployments...

 
British Army garrison is provided by an indigenous regiment, the Royal Gibraltar Regiment
Royal Gibraltar Regiment
The Royal Gibraltar Regiment is the home defence unit for the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. It was formed in 1958 from the Gibraltar Defence Force as an infantry unit, with an integrated artillery troop.-Formation:...

, which has been on the Army regular establishment since the last British battalion left in 1991.
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

1920– About 3,200 troops Since 2007 part of Operation Helvetic which replace Operation Banner
Operation Banner
Operation Banner was the operational name for the British Armed Forces' operation in Northern Ireland from August 1969 to July 2007. It was initially deployed at the request of the Unionist government of Northern Ireland to support the Royal Ulster Constabulary . After the 1998 Belfast Agreement,...

.
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone , officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea to the north and east, Liberia to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and southwest. Sierra Leone covers a total area of and has an estimated population between 5.4 and 6.4...

1999 Only a few The British Army were deployed to Sierra Leone, a former British colony on Operation Palliser
Operation Palliser
Operation Palliser was a British Armed forces operation in Sierra Leone in 2000 under the command of Brigadier David Richards.Initially, its scope was limited to evacuation of non-combatants only....

 in 1999 to aid the government in quelling violent uprisings by militiamen, under United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 resolutions. Troops remain in the region to provide military support and training to the Sierra Leonean government.
Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

2009–2012 24 instructors 24 instructors from the British Army along with 6 American Army personnel will be training Pakistan’s paramilitary Frontier Corps over a period of 3 years
Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

2011- 12 advisors and 4 Apaches 12 officers from the British army and 12 from the French army deployed in a non combat advisory role to the National Transitional Council
National Transitional Council
The National Transitional Council of Libya , sometimes known as the Transitional National Council, the Interim National Council, or the Libyan National Council,...

, 4 Apache AH.1 attack helicopters have been deployed from the army air corps to create a buffer zone around Misrata and may additionally carry snipers and military commanders.

Permanent overseas postings

CountryDatesDeploymentDetails
Belize
Belize
Belize is a constitutional monarchy and the northernmost country in Central America. Belize has a diverse society, comprising many cultures and languages. Even though Kriol and Spanish are spoken among the population, Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official...

1940s– British Army Training and Support Unit Belize and 25 Flight Army Air Corps
25 Flight Army Air Corps
25 Flight Army Air Corps is one of the Independent Flights within the British Army's Army Air Corps.Based in Belize, it supports the British Army Training and Support Unit, Belize which facilitates jungle warfare training and infantry training exercises...

British troops have been based in Belize
Belize
Belize is a constitutional monarchy and the northernmost country in Central America. Belize has a diverse society, comprising many cultures and languages. Even though Kriol and Spanish are spoken among the population, Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official...

 from the late 1940s until 1994. Belize's neighbour, Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

 claimed the territory and there were numerous border disputes. At the request of the Belizean government, British troops remained in Belize after independence in 1981 to provide a defence force.
Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located about from the coast of mainland South America. The archipelago consists of East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 lesser islands. The capital, Stanley, is on East Falkland...

1982– An infantry company group and an Engineer Squadron Previously a platoon-sized Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

 Naval Party acted as the military presence. After the 1982 war between Argentina and the UK, the garrison was enlarged and bolstered with an RAF base at Mount Pleasant
RAF Mount Pleasant
RAF Mount Pleasant is a military base for the Royal Air Force in the British Overseas Territory of the Falkland Islands. The facility is part of the British Forces South Atlantic Islands...

 on East Falkland.
Brunei
Brunei
Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

1962– One battalion from the Royal Gurkha Rifles
Royal Gurkha Rifles
The Royal Gurkha Rifles is a regiment of the British Army, forming part of the Brigade of Gurkhas. The Royal Gurkha Rifles are now the sole infantry regiment of the British Army Gurkhas...

, British Garrison
British Military Garrison Brunei
The British Military Garrison Brunei is the name given to the British armed forces presence in Brunei. Since the handover ceremony of Hong Kong in 1997, the garrison in Brunei is the only remaining British military base in the Far East, and along with Diego Garcia one of only two East of Suez...

, Training Team Brunei (TTB)
British Army Jungle Warfare Training School
The British Army Jungle Warfare Training School is the British Army's training establishment located at the BGB at Seria, Brunei.The courses run from the TTB which train soldiers and Royal Marines are:* Jungle Tracking...

 and 7 Flight Army Air Corps
7 Flight Army Air Corps
7 Flight Army Air Corps is an independent flight of the British Army Army Air Corps, based at the British garrison in Seria, Brunei. They replaced C Flight, 660 Squadron AAC, following the handover of Hong Kong in 1997....

 
A Gurkha battalion has been maintained in Brunei since the Brunei Revolt
Brunei Revolt
The Brunei Rebellion broke out on 8 December 1962. The rebels began co-ordinated attacks on the oil town of Seria and on police stations and government facilities around the protectorate...

 in 1962 at the request of Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin III
Omar Ali Saifuddin III
Al-Marhum Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Maulana Paduka Seri Begawan Al-Hajj Sultan Sir Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien III, GCVO, KCMG was the 28th Sultan of Brunei ruled from 4 June 1950 until his abdication from the throne on 4 October 1967. He was also the first Bruneian Minister of...

. The Training Team Brunei (TTB) is the Army's jungle warfare school, while the small number of garrison troops support the battalion. 7 Flight Army Air Corps provides helicopter support to both the Gurkha battalion and the TTB.
Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

1972– British Army Training Unit Suffield
British Army Training Unit Suffield
The British Army Training Unit Suffield is a British Army unit located at the vast training area of Canadian Forces Base Suffield in Alberta, Canada...

 and 29 (BATUS) Flight Army Air Corps
29 (BATUS) Flight Army Air Corps
The 29 Flight Army Air Corps is an independent flight within the British Army's Army Air Corps.The British Army Training Unit Suffield conducts major training exercises in Alberta, Canada at the Canadian Forces Base Suffield. 29 Flight AAC provides aviation support for the training...

A training centre in the Alberta
Alberta
Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

 prairie which is provided for the use of British Army and Canadian Forces
Canadian Forces
The Canadian Forces , officially the Canadian Armed Forces , are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces."...

 under agreement with the government of Canada
Government of Canada
The Government of Canada, formally Her Majesty's Government, is the system whereby the federation of Canada is administered by a common authority; in Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council...

. British forces conduct regular, major armoured training exercises here every year, with helicopter support provided by 29 (BATUS) Flight AAC.
Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

1945–2020 1st (UK) Armoured Division as part of British Forces Germany
British Forces Germany
British Forces Germany , is the name for British Armed Forces service personnel and civilians based in Germany. It was first established following the Second World War as the British Army of the Rhine ....

British forces remained in Germany after the end of the Second World War. Forces declined considerably after the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, and in October 2010 Prime Minister David Cameron
David Cameron
David William Donald Cameron is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Conservative Party. Cameron represents Witney as its Member of Parliament ....

 announced large cuts in defence with all UK troops currently in Germany to leave by 2020.
Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

2010– British Army Training Unit Kenya The Army has a training centre in Kenya, under agreement with the Kenyan government. It provides training facilities for three infantry battalions per year

Formation and structure


The structure of the British Army is complex, due to the different origins of its various constituent parts. It is broadly split into the Regular Army (full-time Officers/soldiers and units) and the Territorial Army (Spare-time Officers/soldiers and units).

In terms of its military structure, it has two parallel organisations, one administrative and one operational.

Administrative
  • Regiments and Corps. These are listed below (in the template to the right), ranging from the Household Cavalry
    Household Cavalry
    The term Household Cavalry is used across the Commonwealth to describe the cavalry of the Household Divisions, a country’s most elite or historically senior military groupings or those military groupings that provide functions associated directly with the Head of state.Canada's Governor General's...

     to the Army Physical Training Corps
    Army Physical Training Corps
    The Royal Army Physical Training Corps is the British Army corps responsible for physical fitness and physical education. Its members are all Royal Army Physical Training Corps Instructors ....

     and the Royal Logistic Corps
    Royal Logistic Corps
    The Royal Logistic Corps provides logistic support functions to the British Army. It is the largest Corps in the Army, comprising around 17% of its strength...

    . Uniquely and somewhat confusingly, the Infantry, which is not a corps but a collection of separate regiments, is administered by 'Divisions' of infantry – Guards Division
    Guards Division
    The Guards Division is an administrative unit of the British Army responsible for the administration of the regiments of Foot Guards and the London Regiment.-Introduction:...

    , Queen's Division
    Queen's Division
    The Queen's Division is a British Army command, training and administrative apparatus designated for has the regiments from the east of England and the remaining regiment of Fusiliers. The Queen's Division was formed in 1968 with the regimentation of the Home Counties Brigade, Fusilier Brigade and...

    , Scottish Division
    Scottish Division
    The Scottish Division is a British Army Infantry command, training and administrative apparatus designated for all Scottish line infantry units. The Scottish Division was formed on July 1, 1968 with the amalgamation of the Lowland Brigade and Highland Brigade...

     and so on.


Operational
  • The major operational command is HQ Land Forces (following the amalgamation of Land Command and Headquarters Adjutant General
    Adjutant-General to the Forces
    The Adjutant-General to the Forces, commonly just referred to as the Adjutant-General , is one of the most senior officers in the British Army. He is in charge of administration, personnel and organisational matters. The Adjutant-General usually holds the rank of General or Lieutenant-General...

    ). It is split into divisions and subordinate units ranging from regiments to squadrons.
  • Divisions
    Division (military)
    A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. In most armies, a division is composed of several regiments or brigades, and in turn several divisions typically make up a corps...

     both operational (1 Div. based in Herford
    Herford
    Herford is a town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, located in the lowlands between the hill chains of the Wiehen Hills and the Teutoburg Forest. It is the capital of the district of Herford.- Geographic location :...

     in Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

     and 3 Div. based in Bulford
    Bulford
    Bulford is a village and civil parish in Wiltshire, England, close to Salisbury Plain. According to the 2001 census the parish had a population of 4,698.The name is derived from the Old English bulut ieg ford meaning 'ragged robin island ford'....

    ) and regional divisions (effectively military district
    Military district
    Military districts are formations of a state's armed forces which are responsible for a certain area of territory. They are often more responsible for administrative than operational matters, and in countries with conscript forces, often handle parts of the conscription cycle.Navies have also used...

    s) administrating all military units, both Regular and TA, within a geographical area (2 Div. based in Edinburgh
    Edinburgh
    Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

    , 4 Div. based in Aldershot
    Aldershot
    Aldershot is a town in the English county of Hampshire, located on heathland about southwest of London. The town is administered by Rushmoor Borough Council...

     and 5 Div. based in Shrewsbury
    Shrewsbury
    Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire, in the West Midlands region of England. Lying on the River Severn, it is a civil parish home to some 70,000 inhabitants, and is the primary settlement and headquarters of Shropshire Council...

    ).
    • Brigade
      Brigade
      A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of two to five battalions, plus supporting elements depending on the era and nationality of a given army and could be perceived as an enlarged/reinforced regiment...

      s, both fighting and in a non fighting regional capacity within HQ LF (for example,, 43 (Wessex) Brigade
      Brigade
      A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of two to five battalions, plus supporting elements depending on the era and nationality of a given army and could be perceived as an enlarged/reinforced regiment...

       based in Bulford
      Bulford
      Bulford is a village and civil parish in Wiltshire, England, close to Salisbury Plain. According to the 2001 census the parish had a population of 4,698.The name is derived from the Old English bulut ieg ford meaning 'ragged robin island ford'....

      ).

Structure of units


The standard operational units are structured as follows, although various units have their own structure, conventions, names and sizes:
Type of Unit Division
Division (military)
A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. In most armies, a division is composed of several regiments or brigades, and in turn several divisions typically make up a corps...

Brigade
Brigade
A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of two to five battalions, plus supporting elements depending on the era and nationality of a given army and could be perceived as an enlarged/reinforced regiment...

Battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

 / Regiment
Regiment
A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

Company
Company (military unit)
A company is a military unit, typically consisting of 80–225 soldiers and usually commanded by a Captain, Major or Commandant. Most companies are formed of three to five platoons although the exact number may vary by country, unit type, and structure...

 / Squadron
Squadron (cavalry)
A squadron was historically a cavalry sub unit. It is still used to refer to modern cavalry units but can also be used as a designation for other arms and services.-United States:...

Platoon
Platoon
A platoon is a military unit typically composed of two to four sections or squads and containing 16 to 50 soldiers. Platoons are organized into a company, which typically consists of three, four or five platoons. A platoon is typically the smallest military unit led by a commissioned officer—the...

 / Troop
Troop
A troop is a military unit, originally a small force of cavalry, subordinate to a squadron and headed by the troop leader. In many armies a troop is the equivalent unit to the infantry section or platoon...

Section
Section (military unit)
A section is a small military unit in some armies. In many armies, it is a squad of seven to twelve soldiers. However in France and armies based on the French model, it is the sub-division of a company .-Australian Army:...

Fire Team
Fireteam
A fireteam is a small military unit of infantry. It is the smallest unit in the militaries that use it and is the primary unit upon which infantry organization is based in the British Army, Royal Air Force Regiment, Royal Marines, United States Army, United States Marine Corps, United States Air...

Contains 2–3 Brigades 3–5 Battalions 5-7 Companies 3 Platoons 3 Sections 2 Fire Teams 4 Individuals
Personnel 10,000 5,000 550–750 100 30 8–10 4
Commanded by Maj-Gen
Major-General (United Kingdom)
Major general is a senior rank in the British Army. Since 1996 the highest position within the Royal Marines is the Commandant General Royal Marines who holds the rank of major general...

Brig
Brigadier (United Kingdom)
Brigadier is a senior rank in the British Army and the Royal Marines.Brigadier is the superior rank to Colonel, but subordinate to Major-General....

Lt Col Maj Capt
Captain (British Army and Royal Marines)
Captain is a junior officer rank of the British Army and Royal Marines. It ranks above Lieutenant and below Major and has a NATO ranking code of OF-2. The rank is equivalent to a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy and to a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force...

, Lt
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

 or 2nd Lt
Cpl LCpl


Corps
Corps
A corps is either a large formation, or an administrative grouping of troops within an armed force with a common function such as Artillery or Signals representing an arm of service...

 are made up of two or more divisions, but now are rarely deployed as a purely national formation due to the size of the British Army.

In place of a Battalion, a task-specific Battlegroup
Battlegroup (army)
A battlegroup , or task force in modern military theory, is the basic building block of an army's fighting force. A battlegroup is formed around an infantry battalion or armoured regiment, which is usually commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel...

 may be formed. A battlegroup is grown around the core of either an armoured regiment or infantry battalion, and has other units added or removed from it as necessary for its purpose. It results in a mixed formation of armour, infantry, artillery, engineers and support units, typically consisting of between 600 and 700 soldiers under the command of a Lieutenant Colonel.

A number of elements of the British Army use alternative terms for battalion, company and platoon. These include the Royal Armoured Corps
Royal Armoured Corps
The Royal Armoured Corps is currently a collection of ten regular regiments, mostly converted from old horse cavalry regiments, and four Yeomanry regiments of the Territorial Army...

, Corps of Royal Engineers, Royal Logistic Corps
Royal Logistic Corps
The Royal Logistic Corps provides logistic support functions to the British Army. It is the largest Corps in the Army, comprising around 17% of its strength...

, and the Royal Corps of Signals
Royal Corps of Signals
The Royal Corps of Signals is one of the combat support arms of the British Army...

 who use regiment (battalion), squadron
Squadron (cavalry)
A squadron was historically a cavalry sub unit. It is still used to refer to modern cavalry units but can also be used as a designation for other arms and services.-United States:...

 (company) and troop
Troop
A troop is a military unit, originally a small force of cavalry, subordinate to a squadron and headed by the troop leader. In many armies a troop is the equivalent unit to the infantry section or platoon...

 (platoon). The Royal Artillery
Royal Artillery
The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery , is the artillery arm of the British Army. Despite its name, it comprises a number of regiments.-History:...

 are unique in using the term regiment in place of both corps
Corps
A corps is either a large formation, or an administrative grouping of troops within an armed force with a common function such as Artillery or Signals representing an arm of service...

 and battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

, they also replace company with battery
Artillery battery
In military organizations, an artillery battery is a unit of guns, mortars, rockets or missiles so grouped in order to facilitate better battlefield communication and command and control, as well as to provide dispersion for its constituent gunnery crews and their systems...

 and platoon with troop.

Divisions


The British Army currently has 5 divisions with two (1st Armoured Division and 3rd Infantry Division) being at continual operational readiness for deployment.
Name Headquarters Subunits
1st Armoured Division Herford, Germany Two armoured brigades.
2nd Infantry Division Craigiehall
Craigiehall
Craigiehall is a late-17th-century country house, which now serves as the Headquarters of the 2nd Division of the British Army. It is located close to Cramond, around west of central Edinburgh, Scotland....

, near Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

Four regional brigades.
3rd Infantry Division Bulford
Bulford
Bulford is a village and civil parish in Wiltshire, England, close to Salisbury Plain. According to the 2001 census the parish had a population of 4,698.The name is derived from the Old English bulut ieg ford meaning 'ragged robin island ford'....

, Salisbury
Salisbury
Salisbury is a cathedral city in Wiltshire, England and the only city in the county. It is the second largest settlement in the county...

Two mechanized brigades, one light brigade and one infantry brigade.
4th Infantry Division
4th Infantry Division (United Kingdom)
The 4th Infantry Division is a regular British Army division with a long history having been present at the Peninsular War the Crimean War , the First World War , and during the Second World War.- Napoleonic Wars :...

Aldershot
Aldershot
Aldershot is a town in the English county of Hampshire, located on heathland about southwest of London. The town is administered by Rushmoor Borough Council...

Three regional brigades.
5th Infantry Division Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire, in the West Midlands region of England. Lying on the River Severn, it is a civil parish home to some 70,000 inhabitants, and is the primary settlement and headquarters of Shropshire Council...

Three regional brigades, one air assault brigade and Colchester Garrison
Colchester Garrison
Colchester Garrison is located in Colchester in the county of Essex. It has been an important military base since the Roman era. The first permanent military garrison in Colchester was established by Legio XX Valeria Victrix in 43 AD following the Claudian invasion of Britain. Colchester was an...

.

Aviation components


The British Army operates alongside the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 as part of a Joint Force, but the army also has its own Army Air Corps. Military helicopters of all three services are commanded by Joint Helicopter Command
Joint Helicopter Command
Joint Helicopter Command is a tri-service organisation uniting military helicopters of the British Armed Forces for command and coordination purposes...

, a joint 2 star headquarters operating under HQ Land Forces.

Special forces



The British Army contributes two of the three special forces
Special forces
Special forces, or special operations forces are terms used to describe elite military tactical teams trained to perform high-risk dangerous missions that conventional units cannot perform...

 formations within the United Kingdom Special Forces
United Kingdom Special Forces
The United Kingdom Special Forces is a UK Ministry of Defence Directorate which also has the capability to provide a Joint Special Operations Task Force Headquarters...

 Command; the Special Air Service
Special Air Service
Special Air Service or SAS is a corps of the British Army constituted on 31 May 1950. They are part of the United Kingdom Special Forces and have served as a model for the special forces of many other countries all over the world...

 Regiment and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment
Special Reconnaissance Regiment
The Special Reconnaissance Regiment or SRR is a Special Forces regiment of the British Armed Forces. It was established on 6 April 2005 and is part of the United Kingdom Special Forces under command Director Special Forces, alongside the Special Air Service , Special Boat Service and the Special...

. The most famous formation is the Special Air Service
Special Air Service
Special Air Service or SAS is a corps of the British Army constituted on 31 May 1950. They are part of the United Kingdom Special Forces and have served as a model for the special forces of many other countries all over the world...

 Regiment. The SAS comprises one regular Regiment and two Territorial Army Regiments.

The regular Regiment, 22 SAS, has its headquarters and depot located in Hereford
Hereford
Hereford is a cathedral city, civil parish and county town of Herefordshire, England. It lies on the River Wye, approximately east of the border with Wales, southwest of Worcester, and northwest of Gloucester...

 and consists of five squadrons: A, B, D, G and Reserve with a training wing. The two reserve SAS Regiments; 21 SAS and 23 SAS have a more limited role, to provide depth to the UKSF group through the provision of Individual and collective augmentation to the regular component of UKSF and standalone elements up to task group (Regimental) level focused on support and influence (S&I) operations to assist conflict stabilisation.

The Special Reconnaissance Regiment
Special Reconnaissance Regiment
The Special Reconnaissance Regiment or SRR is a Special Forces regiment of the British Armed Forces. It was established on 6 April 2005 and is part of the United Kingdom Special Forces under command Director Special Forces, alongside the Special Air Service , Special Boat Service and the Special...

 (SRR) which was formed in 2005, from existing assets, undertakes close reconnaissance and special surveillance tasks. Formed around 1st Battalion the Parachute Regiment, with attached Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

 assets, the Special Forces Support Group
Special Forces Support Group
The Special Forces Support Group or SFSG is a special operations unit of the British Armed Forces. The SFSG is the newest addition to the United Kingdom Special Forces. It was formed officially on 3 April 2006 to support the Special Air Service and the Special Boat Service on operations. This could...

 are under the Operational Control of Director Special Forces to provide operational manoeuvre support to the elements of United Kingdom Special Forces.

Overseas Territories military units


Numerous military units were raised historically in British territories, including self-governing and Crown colonies, and protectorates. Few of these have appeared on the Army List, and their relationship to the British Army has been ambiguous. Whereas Dominions, such as Canada and Australia, raised their own armies, the defence of Crown possessions (like the Channel Islands), and colonies (now called Overseas Territories) was, and is, the responsibility of the UK (due to their status as territories of Britain, not British protectorates).

Current Overseas Territories Regiments

  • Bermuda Regiment
    Bermuda Regiment
    The Bermuda Regiment is the home defence unit of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda. It is a single territorial infantry battalion that was formed by the amalgamation in 1965 of two originally voluntary units, the all white Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps and the mostly black Bermuda Militia...

  • Gibraltar Regiment
  • Falkland Islands Defence Force
    Falkland Islands Defence Force
    The Falkland Islands Defence Force is the locally maintained volunteer defence unit in the Falkland Islands. The FIDF works alongside the military units supplied by the United Kingdom to ensure the security of the islands.-History:...




Royal Navy and RAF ground units


The other armed services have their own infantry units which are not part of the British Army. The Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

 are amphibious light infantry
Light infantry
Traditionally light infantry were soldiers whose job was to provide a skirmishing screen ahead of the main body of infantry, harassing and delaying the enemy advance. Light infantry was distinct from medium, heavy or line infantry. Heavy infantry were dedicated primarily to fighting in tight...

 forming part of the Naval Service, and the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 has the RAF Regiment
RAF Regiment
The Royal Air Force Regiment is a specialist airfield defence corps founded by Royal Warrant in 1942. After a 32 week trainee gunner course, its members are trained and equipped to prevent a successful enemy attack in the first instance; minimise the damage caused by a successful attack; and...

 used for airfield defence, force protection duties and Forward Air Control.

Equipment






Infantry
The basic infantry weapon of the British Army is the L85A2
SA80
The SA80 is a British family of 5.56mm small arms. It is a selective fire, gas-operated assault rifle. SA80 prototypes were trialled in 1976 and production was completed in 1994....

 assault rifle, sometimes equipped with an L17A2 underbarrel grenade launcher and with several variants such as the L86A2, the Light Support Weapon (LSW) and the L22A2 carbine variant, issued to tank crews. Support fire is provided by the FN Minimi
FN Minimi
The Minimi is a Belgian 5.56mm light machine gun developed by Fabrique Nationale in Herstal by Ernest Vervier. First introduced in 1974, it has entered service with the armed forces of over thirty countries...

 light machine gun and the L7 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG); indirect fire by 51 and 81 mm mortars
L16 81mm Mortar
The United Kingdom's L16 81 mm mortar is the standard mortar used by the British armed forces. It originated as a joint design by UK and Canada. The version produced and used by Australia is named the F2 81mm Mortar, whilst the version used by the U.S...

. Sniper rifles used include the L118A1 7.62 mm, the L115A3 and the AW50F
AW50F
The AW50F is a .50 BMG anti-materiel rifle used by the Australian military. It is a version of Accuracy International AW50 , but with an Australian-produced barrel and a folding stock...

, all produced by Accuracy International
Accuracy International
Accuracy International is a specialist British firearms manufacturer based in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England and best known for producing the Accuracy International Arctic Warfare series of precision sniper rifles...

. Some units use the L82A1 .50 calibre Barrett sniper rifle. More recently the L128A1 (Benelli M4) 'combat shotgun' has been adopted, and is intended for close quarters combat in Afghanistan.

Armour
The British Army's main battle tank
Main battle tank
A main battle tank , also known as a battle tank or universal tank, is a tank that fills the heavy direct fire role of many modern armies. They were originally conceived to replace the light, medium, heavy and super-heavy tanks. Development was spurred onwards in the Cold War with the development...

 is Challenger 2. Other armoured vehicles include Supacat "Jackal" MWMIK
MWMIK
The Jackal or MWMIK or Mobility Weapon-Mounted Installation Kit is a family of vehicles designed and developed by Supacat Ltd at their factory in Honiton, Devon for use by the British Army....

 and the Iveco "Panther" CLV
Iveco LMV
Iveco LMV is a 4WD tactical vehicle developed by Iveco, and in service with several countries.After its adoption by the Italian Army under the name VTLM Lince , it won the “FCLV” competition of the British Army as the Panther and has been adopted by the armies of Belgium, Croatia, Norway, Russia...

. The Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle is the primary armoured personnel carrier
Armoured personnel carrier
An armoured personnel carrier is an armoured fighting vehicle designed to transport infantry to the battlefield.APCs are usually armed with only a machine gun although variants carry recoilless rifles, anti-tank guided missiles , or mortars...

, although many variants of the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (tracked)
Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked)
The Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance  —or CVR—is a family of armoured fighting vehicles s in service with the British Army and others throughout the world...

 are used, as well as the Saxon APC and FV430 series
FV430 series
The FV430 series covers a number of armoured fighting vehicles of the British Army, all built on the same chassis. The most common of the series is the FV432 armoured personnel carrier....

 now being re-engined and uparmoured and returned to front line service as Bulldog. The British Army commonly uses the Land Rover Wolf
Land Rover Wolf
The Land Rover Wolf is a military utility vehicle in service with UK Armed Forces and the Dutch Marine Corps. The vehicle is famous for being the primary utility vehicle of the British Army....

 and Land Rover Defender.

Artillery
The Army uses three main artillery systems: the Multi Launch Rocket System (MLRS), AS-90
AS-90
The AS-90 is a lightly armoured self-propelled artillery piece used by the British Army. It was first delivered in 1993...

 and L118. The MLRS was first used operationally in Operation Granby
Operation Granby
Operation Granby was the name given to the British military operations during the Gulf War. 53,462 troops were deployed during the conflict. The total cost of operations was £2.434 billion of which at least £2.049 billion was paid for by other nations such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia; £200...

 and has a range of 70 km (43 mi). The AS-90 is a 155 mm self-propelled gun. The L118 Light Gun is a 105 mm towed gun used primarily in support of 16 Air Assault Brigade, 19 Light Brigade and 3 Commando Brigade (Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

). The Rapier FSC Missile System is the Army's primary battlefield air defence system, widely deployed since the Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

 and the Starstreak HVM (High Velocity Missile) is a surface-to-air weapon, launched either by a single soldier or from a vehicle-mounted launcher.

Army Aviation
The Army Air Corps (AAC) provide direct aviation support for the Army, although the RAF also assist in this role. The primary attack helicopter is the Westland WAH-64 Apache
Westland WAH-64 Apache
The AgustaWestland Apache is a licence-built version of the Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter for the British Army's Army Air Corps. The first eight helicopters were built by Boeing; the remaining 59 were assembled by Westland Helicopters at Yeovil, Somerset in England from...

, a license-built, modified version of the AH-64 Apache
AH-64 Apache
The Boeing AH-64 Apache is a four-blade, twin-engine attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement, and a tandem cockpit for a two-man crew. The Apache was developed as Model 77 by Hughes Helicopters for the United States Army's Advanced Attack Helicopter program to replace the...

 that will replace the Westland Lynx AH7 in the anti-tank role. The Bell 212 is used as a specialist utility and transport helicopter, with a crew of two and a transport capacity of 12 troops. The Westland Gazelle helicopter is a light helicopter, primarily used for battlefield reconnaissance and control of artillery and aircraft. The Eurocopter AS 365N Dauphin
Eurocopter Dauphin
The Eurocopter SA 365/AS365 Dauphin 2 is a medium-weight multipurpose twin-engine helicopter manufactured by Eurocopter .-Design and development:...

 is used for Special Operations Aviation and the Britten-Norman Islander
Britten-Norman Islander
The Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander is a 1960s British light utility aircraft, regional airliner and cargo aircraft designed and originally manufactured by Britten-Norman of the United Kingdom. The Islander is one of the best-selling commercial aircraft types produced in Europe. Although designed in...

 is a light aircraft used for airborne reconnaissance and command.

Recruitment



The Army mainly recruits within the United Kingdom; it normally has a recruitment target of around 12,000 soldiers per year.

Low unemployment in Britain has resulted in the Army having difficulty in meeting its target. In the early years of the 21st century there has been a marked increase in the number of recruits from other (mostly Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

) countries. In 2006 overseas recruitment, mostly in Commonwealth countries, generated more than 6,000 soldiers from 54 nations; together with the 3,000 Gurkhas, 10% of the British Army is a foreign national.

The Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

 now caps the number of recruits from Commonwealth countries, although this will not affect the Gurkhas. If the trend continues 10% of the army will be from Commonwealth countries before 2012. The cap is in place as some fear the army's British character
Britishness
Britishness is the state or quality of being British, or of embodying British characteristics, and is used to refer to that which binds and distinguishes the British people and forms the basis of their unity and identity, or else to explain expressions of British culture—such as habits, behaviours...

 is being diluted, and employing too many could make the army seen as employing mercenaries.

The minimum recruitment age is 16 years (after the end of GCSEs), although soldiers may not serve on operations below 18 years; the maximum recruitment age was raised in January 2007 from 26 to 33 years. The normal term of engagement is 22 years, and, once enlisted, soldiers are not normally permitted to leave until they have served at least 4 years.

There has been a strong and continuing tradition of recruiting from Ireland including what is now the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

. Over 200,000 Irish soldiers fought in the First World War. More than 60,000 Irishmen from what was then the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

 (now the Republic of Ireland) and 38,000 from Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 served in the Second World War, all volunteered.

Oath of allegiance


All soldiers must take an oath of allegiance upon joining the Army, a process known as attestation. Those who believe in God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

, and wish to swear by Him, use the following words:
Others replace the words "swear by Almighty God" with "solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm".

Training establishments


  • Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
    Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
    The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst , commonly known simply as Sandhurst, is a British Army officer initial training centre located in Sandhurst, Berkshire, England...

     (RMAS) is the officer training establishment. All officers, regular and reserve, attend RMAS at some point in their training.
  • Royal School of Artillery
    Royal School of Artillery
    The Royal School of Artillery is the principal training establishment for artillery warfare in the British Army. Established in 1915, it is located at Larkhill, on the south edge of Salisbury Plain in the United Kingdom...

     (RSA) trains the Royal Artillery
    Royal Artillery
    The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery , is the artillery arm of the British Army. Despite its name, it comprises a number of regiments.-History:...

    .
  • Royal School of Military Engineering
    Royal School of Military Engineering
    The Royal School of Military Engineering is the main training establishment for the British Army's Royal Engineers. After they have successfully completed their Phase 1 - Basic Soldier Training, members of the Corps of Royal Engineers attend 3 RSME, at Minley for Phase 2a - Combat Engineering...

     (RSME) trains the Corps of Royal Engineers
    Royal Engineers
    The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

     as well as personnel from across the Armed Forces and other Government Departments in a variety of general engineering and specialist skills.
  • Army Training Regiments:
    • ATR Bassingbourn
    • ATR Winchester
    • ATC Pirbright
  • Infantry Training Centre
    Infantry Training Centre
    The Infantry Training Centre is a unit of the British Army administered by HQ School of Infantry responsible for both basic and advanced training of Soldiers and Officers joining the infantry...

    s:
    • ITC Catterick
    • Infantry Battle School, Brecon
    • Support Weapons School, Warminster
  • Army Foundation College
    Army Foundation College
    The Army Foundation College in Harrogate trains future soldiers from the infantry, armoured corps, artillery and elements of the Royal Logistic Corps . School-leavers aged between 16 and 17 years and five months of age are eligible to join. The AFC offers young men and women the opportunity to...

     (Harrogate)
  • Regional training centre
    Regional Training Centre
    Regional Training Centres were created from the previously existing Specialist Training Teams to provide training for the United Kingdom Territorial Army...

    s
  • Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College

Flags and ensigns




The British Army does not have its own specific ensign for the whole Army, unlike the Royal Navy, which uses the White Ensign
White Ensign
The White Ensign or St George's Ensign is an ensign flown on British Royal Navy ships and shore establishments. It consists of a red St George's Cross on a white field with the Union Flag in the upper canton....

, and the RAF, which uses the Royal Air Force Ensign
Royal Air Force Ensign
The Royal Air Force Ensign is the official flag which is used to represent the Royal Air Force. The Ensign has a field of air force blue with the Union Flag in the canton and the Royal Air Force roundel in the middle of the fly....

. Instead, the Army has different flags and ensigns, some for the entire army and many for the different regiments and corps. The official flag of the Army as a whole is the Union Flag
Union Flag
The Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack, is the flag of the United Kingdom. It retains an official or semi-official status in some Commonwealth Realms; for example, it is known as the Royal Union Flag in Canada. It is also used as an official flag in some of the smaller British overseas...

, flown in a ratio of 3:5. A non-ceremonial flag also exists, which is used at recruiting events, military events and exhibitions. It also flies from the Ministry of Defence building in Whitehall.

Whilst at war, the Union Flag is always used, and this flag represents the Army on The Cenotaph
The Cenotaph, Whitehall
The Cenotaph is a war memorial located in Whitehall, London. It began as a temporary structure erected for a peace parade following the end of World War I, but following an outpouring of national sentiment it was replaced by a permanent structure and designated the United Kingdom's official war...

 at Whitehall
Whitehall
Whitehall is a road in Westminster, in London, England. It is the main artery running north from Parliament Square, towards Charing Cross at the southern end of Trafalgar Square...

, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 (the UK's memorial to its war dead).

The British Army has throughout its history operated ships, ports and a myriad of boats. Boats
Rigid Raider
The Rigid Raider is a series of fast patrol/assault boat made by RTK Marine, a subsidiary of Halmatic . They are in service with many armed forces, including the Royal Marines, the SBS and Royal Engineers...

, Landing Craft
Landing craft
Landing craft are boats and seagoing vessels used to convey a landing force from the sea to the shore during an amphibious assault. Most renowned are those used to storm the beaches of Normandy, the Mediterranean, and many Pacific islands during WWII...

 and Ports
Marchwood Military Port
Marchwood Military Port is a military port located in Marchwood, UK, and the base of 17 Port & Maritime Regiment Royal Logistic Corps. The port was built in 1943 to aid in the D-Day assault on Normandy in 1944 and has since been used to support the Falklands War.Marchwood is also the base-port for...

 are still operated by the Army and ensigns exists for vessels commanded by the Army. The Royal Logistic Corps
Royal Logistic Corps
The Royal Logistic Corps provides logistic support functions to the British Army. It is the largest Corps in the Army, comprising around 17% of its strength...

 operates a large fleet of vessels from its base at Marchwood near Southampton
Southampton
Southampton is the largest city in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated south-west of London and north-west of Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest...

.

The Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

 has had fleets since the introduction of diving in 1838 and was granted an ensign following the foundation of the Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

 Submarine Mining Service in 1871, where it operated sea mine laying ships, before transfer of the trade to the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

. The Corps maintains a Blue Ensign
Blue Ensign
The Blue Ensign is a flag, one of several British ensigns, used by certain organisations or territories associated with the United Kingdom. It is used either plain, or defaced with a badge or other emblem....

 defaced by the crest of the Board of Ordnance
Board of Ordnance
The Board of Ordnance was a British government body responsible for the supply of armaments and munitions to the Royal Navy and British Army. It was also responsible for providing artillery trains for armies and maintaining coastal fortresses and, later, management of the artillery and engineer...

 from where the Corps developed, which it flys from its fleet and shore establishments that routinely operate boats.

Each Foot Guards
Foot Guards
-British Army:The Foot Guards are the Regular Infantry regiments of the Household Division of the British Army. There have been six regiments of foot guards, five of which still exist. The Royal Guards Reserve Regiment was a reserve formation of the Household Brigade in existence from 1900-1901...

 and line regiment (excluding The Rifles
The Rifles
The Rifles is the largest regiment of the British Army. Formed in 2007, it consists of five regular and two territorial battalions, plus a number of companies in other TA battalions, Each battalion of the Rifles was formerly an individual battalion of one of the two large regiments of the Light...

 and Royal Gurkha Rifles
Royal Gurkha Rifles
The Royal Gurkha Rifles is a regiment of the British Army, forming part of the Brigade of Gurkhas. The Royal Gurkha Rifles are now the sole infantry regiment of the British Army Gurkhas...

 (RGR)) also has its own flags, known as Colours
Colours, standards and guidons
In military organizations, the practice of carrying colours, standards or Guidons, both to act as a rallying point for troops and to mark the location of the commander, is thought to have originated in Ancient Egypt some 5,000 years ago...

—normally a Regimental Colour and a Queen's Colour. The design of different Regimental Colours. vary but typically the colour has the Regiment's badge in the centre. The RGR carry the Queen's Truncheon
Queen's Truncheon
The Queen's Truncheon is a ceremonial staff carried by the Royal Gurkha Rifles that serves as the equivalent of and is carried as the Colour. It is made of bronze and silver. The top represents the minaret of Delhi Palace with three Gurkhas standing on it supporting the Queen's crown above their...

 in place of Colours.

Ranks, specialisms and insignia


>
Abbreviation: FM Gen Lt Gen Maj Gen Brig Col Lt Col Maj Capt Lt 2Lt OCdt
  • 1Rank in abeyance
    Abeyance
    Abeyance is a state of expectancy in respect of property, titles or office, when the right to them is not vested in any one person, but awaits the appearance or determination of the true owner. In law, the term abeyance can only be applied to such future estates as have not yet vested or possibly...

    .


>
Abbreviation: Cdr WO1 WO2 S/Sgt /
C/Sgt
Sgt Cpl /
Bdr
L/Cpl /
L/Bdr
Pte


Every regiment and corps has its own distinctive insignia, such as cap badge
Cap badge
A cap badge, also known as head badge or hat badge, is a badge worn on uniform headgear and distinguishes the wearer's nationality and/or organisation. The wearing of cap badges is a convention commonly found among military and police forces, as well as uniformed civilian groups such as the Boy...

, beret
Beret
A beret is a soft, round, flat-crowned hat, designated a "cap", usually of woven, hand-knitted wool, crocheted cotton, or wool felt, or acrylic fiber....

, tactical recognition flash
Tactical recognition flash
100px|thumb|Red and blue tactical recognition flash of the [[Royal Artillery]].A Tactical Recognition Flash is a coloured patch worn on the arm of combat clothing by members of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force to distinguish their Regiment or Corps in the absence of a cap badge. It...

 and stable belt
Stable belt
A stable belt is an item of uniform used in the armed forces of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries. Stable belts or similar derivatives are also worn by the armed forced of other nations such as Denmark....

.

Throughout the army there are many official specialisms. They do not affect rank, but they do affect pay bands.
Ranger Paratrooper
Musician Survey Technician
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

Farrier Biomedical Scientist
Driver Tank Transporter Registered General Nurse
Radar Operator Telecom Op (Special)
Meteorologist Aircraft Technician
Military Engineer Bomb Disposal
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

Special Air Service
Special Air Service
Special Air Service or SAS is a corps of the British Army constituted on 31 May 1950. They are part of the United Kingdom Special Forces and have served as a model for the special forces of many other countries all over the world...

 Soldier
Telecom Op (Linguist) Ammunition Technician
Ammunition Technician
An Ammunition Technician is a British Army soldier trained to inspect, repair, test and store, and modify all ammunition and explosives used by the British Army...

Operator Special Intelligence
Construction Materials Technician
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

Driver Specialist
Armoured Engineer
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

Royal Armoured Corps Crewman
Army Diver
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

Sapper

Tommy Atkins and other nicknames



A long established nickname for a British soldier has been Tommy Atkins
Tommy Atkins
Tommy Atkins is a term for a common soldier in the British Army that was already well established in the 19th century, but is particularly associated with World War I. It can be used as a term of reference, or as a form of address. German soldiers would call out to "Tommy" across no man's land if...

or Tommy for short. The origins are obscure but most probably derive from a specimen army form circulated by the Adjutant-General Sir Harry Calvert to all units in 1815 where the blanks had been filled in with the particulars of a Private Thomas Atkins, No 6 Company, 23rd Regiment of Foot. German soldiers in both World Wars would usually refer to their British opponents as Tommys. Present-day British soldiers are often referred to as Toms or just Tom. The British Army magazine Soldier has a regular cartoon strip, Tom, featuring the everyday life of a British soldier. Outside of the services, soldiers are generally known as squaddies by the British popular press, and the general public.

Another nickname which applies only to soldiers in Scottish regiments is Jock, derived from the fact that in Scotland the common Christian name John is often changed to Jock in the vernacular.
Welsh soldiers are occasionally referred to as Taffy or just Taff. This may only apply to those from the Taff-Ely Valley in South Wales, where a large portion of men, left unemployed from the decline of the coal industry in the area, enlisted during WW I and WW II. Alternatively, it is derived from the supposed Welsh pronunciation of Dafydd—the vernacular form of Dave or Davey, the patron Saint of Wales being Saint David.
Irish soldiers are referred to as Paddy or Mick.

Junior officers in the army are sometimes known as Ruperts by the Other ranks
Other Ranks
Other Ranks in the British Army, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force are those personnel who are not commissioned officers. In the Royal Navy, these personnel are called ratings...

. This nickname is believed either to be derived from the children's comic book character Rupert Bear
Rupert Bear
Rupert Bear is a children's comic strip character, who features in a series of books based around his adventures. The character was created by the English artist Mary Tourtel and first appeared in the Daily Express on 8 November 1920. Rupert's initial purpose was to win sales from the rival...

 who epitomises traditional public school
Public School (UK)
A public school, in common British usage, is a school that is neither administered nor financed by the state or from taxpayer contributions, and is instead funded by a combination of endowments, tuition fees and charitable contributions, usually existing as a non profit-making charitable trust...

 values or from the preponderance of that particular forename amongst young men from a public school background.

See also

  • Ministry of Defence
    Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
    The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

  • Redcoat
    Red coat (British army)
    Red coat or Redcoat is a historical term used to refer to soldiers of the British Army because of the red uniforms formerly worn by the majority of regiments. From the late 17th century to the early 20th century, the uniform of most British soldiers, , included a madder red coat or coatee...

  • Territorial Army (United Kingdom)
  • ArmyNET
    ArmyNET
    is a restricted access information portal, built by the British Army for the Army community.It is a one-stop shop for Army information of an UNCLASSIFIED nature - not designed for general public release...

  • Volunteer Army
  • British military history
    British military history
    The Military history of Britain, including the military history of the United Kingdom and the military history of the island of Great Britain, is discussed in the following articles:...

  • Royal Navy
    Royal Navy
    The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

  • Royal Air Force
    Royal Air Force
    The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

  • United Kingdom Special Forces
    United Kingdom Special Forces
    The United Kingdom Special Forces is a UK Ministry of Defence Directorate which also has the capability to provide a Joint Special Operations Task Force Headquarters...

  • Modern equipment of the British Army
  • British Army Uniform
    British Army Uniform
    British Army uniform currently exists in several grades, which are worn depending on the requirements of a unit or individual, ranging from ceremonial uniforms to combat dress.-History:...

  • Sexual orientation and military service
    Sexual orientation and military service
    The military forces of the world have differing approaches to the enlistment of homosexual and bisexual individuals. The armed forces of most developed countries have now removed policies excluding non-heterosexual individuals...

  • Army Cadet Force
    Army Cadet Force
    The Army Cadet Force is a British youth organisation that offers progressive training in a multitude of the subjects from military training to adventurous training and first aid, at the same time as promoting achievement, discipline, and good citizenship, to boys and girls aged 12 to 18 and 9...

     (ACF)
  • Jankers
    Jankers
    In the British Armed Services, jankers is a much used vernacular term for an official punishment. The punishment was the consequence of a man or woman committing a minor breach of discipline, as opposed to the more severe punishment of "detention" which would be given for a man committing a more...

     (army punishments)
  • British campaign medals
    British campaign medals
    British campaign medals are awarded to members of the British Armed Forces, Allied forces and civilians participating in specified military campaigns...


External links