The Sunday Times has reported that the British Army is set to be reduced to a target size of 70,000 by 2030.

An excerpt from this article states.

“The size of the army will be drastically reduced, with personnel to be cut by 10,000 by 2024 and a further 2,500 by 2030, to a target size of 70,000. “

You can read more by visiting the original source here.

When this was last touted, former defence minister Lord Robathan said the plan was “bonkers”.

In a House of Lords debate he said:

“I follow what the noble Lord, Lord Campbell, said because I fear that the reduction people have been speaking about—the plans to cut the army to a ceiling of 72,000—are true. Now, this is nuts. It is completely bonkers. I would like to quote Kim Darroch, who was our ambassador in the United States and is now the noble Lord, Lord Darroch. He was addressing a defence committee recently, and I thank the right honourable John Spellar for pointing this out to me. The noble Lord, Lord Darroch, said:

‘I would be really worried about reducing further the size of the British Army. I say that in part on the basis of my experience in Washington. I would go into the Department of Defense and occasionally to see General Mattis myself or to take people in to see him and his predecessor under the Obama Administration. One of the things that both would say consistently is, ‘You are already too small—in terms of your Army. I mean, 80,000 just isn’t good enough. You need to be above 100,000. It is a big mistake to reduce to the level you are at. For goodness’ sake, do not go down any further and expect to retain your current level of credibility in Washington.’

Those are powerful words from a noble Lord who sits as a Cross-Bencher, not as a Conservative.

The current coronavirus crisis shows the need for manpower—perhaps we call it people power in these politically correct days—in helping to organise the Nightingale hospitals, as my noble friend mentioned, and for the vaccinations that are still being done through military personnel. I think we used to call it military aid to civil authority. You need a disciplined force for that, and as an insurance policy to cope with the unexpected. By the way, we are about to face rocketing unemployment levels, so recruitment should become easier. We do not want to add to that unemployment.”

A spokesperson for the MoD said:

“Last November the Prime Minister announced the biggest increase to defence spending since the Cold War. This will underpin the modernisation of the Armed Forces following the conclusions of the Integrated Review, cement our place as a leader in NATO and bring jobs and prosperity to every part of the UK.

The Army will continue to have the numbers and capability required to protect the UK. As the threat changes our Armed Forces must change. Following the record financial settlement, they are being redesigned to confront future threats, not re-fight old wars.”

We will see what happens.

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George Royce

Absolutely shameful. France has 120,000 and we’re reducing our army size down to a third rate player.

Let’s just pack it in and stop saying we are a global power then. I want to hear those words come out of Bojo the clown’s mouth. He like’s the playact like he’s Churchill, more like Blairite.

Robert Blay

Yet the British Army is still more capable, and deployable. And many new capabilities will come out of this review.

captain p wash

Rubbish….. you know nothing mate….. nothing at all about capability. Christ what the hell have you done this last few decades of the UK’s fighting commitments ?

Robert Blay

Chill out mate, all will be revealed on the 16th. This is just a Sunday newspaper report. I served 14 years in the RN, Fleet Air Arm, Avionics tech on Sea Harrier FA2’s and then later Harrier GR7/9 at RAF Cottesmore. Tours of Afghan, Iraq, and 32 other countries around the world for various exercises, including Red Flag at Nellis AFB. Served on-board all 3 Invincible class carrier’s, and did 12 months with the RM Fleet protection group at Faslane. I now work in the offshore wind farm industry.

Daniele Mandelli

That’s interesting Robert. How does a FAA tech background land you with FPGRM?

Robert Blay

Hi mate. I had to leave Cottesmore after the Harrier fleet was withdrawn. I had the choice to move to couldrose on Merlin, or take a draft at Faslane. I had already decided to leave the RN, just got married and child on the way, I live near Hull, so it was the choice between a 4hr drive to Faslane or over 7 hrs to Cornwall. I clung on at Cottesmore till 2012, then moved to Faslane until I left the mob. If I had been a single lad I would have gone to NAS Pax River on the F35… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Fascinating Robert. Thanks mate. Good for you.

Robert Blay

It’s been a interesting 22 years since I first rocked up at HMS Raleigh as a skinny 20 year old ?

Daniele Mandelli

Respect, as always.

Robert Blay

Thanks mate. I think I’m going to stay clear of the comments section after the review has been published for a few day’s, it will be a shit storm on hear whatever good or bad is announced ?

peter wait

You have to allow for about 5 -10 percent medically down graded due to injuries at any one time!

Graham Moore

Are you being ironic/sarcastic, by any chance?

Robert Blay

Hi Graham. I don’t recall trying to be sarcastic.

peter wait

How do you deploy a 70 ton tank quickly with no proper bases in Germany now as Cameron the wise owl started a closure program?

Graham

You ship them out of Marchwood Military Port or put them on rail flats bound for the Chunnel. Also we have retained a vehicle depot, Ayrshire Barracks in Germany, which must have quite a few Chally2’s there.

Watcherzero

Thats the smallest its ever been since 1793 when it hit a low of 40,000 shortly before increasing to 250,000 during the Napoleonic wars and falling back to 90,000 afterwards.

Gunbuster

Yes…and…I think you will find that in 1793 there was also a lack of tanks, AFVs, Apache Gunships, MLRS and 155 Guns as well as automatic rifles , machine guns and grenade launchers…but besides that its a valid comparison to make.

John Hartley

Trouble is, any likely enemy will also have them now.

captain p wash

UK population was about a third back then

Frank62

Indeed. Our manpower & funding crisis is entirely the fault of those in charge.The tax system allows too much of our wealth to escape into offshore accounts & we’ve trashed our profesional recruitment service.

Lordtemplar

Ouch!

John

As an American I can sadly confirm that such numbers place the UK’s army at the children’s table at the international stage. Be quiet now, the adults are talking.

Levi Goldsteinberg

Damn, if only we could be raised to the same tier as you where our boys get the privilege of dying for Israel

AlexS

I see that all help Israel gave to Europe in Cold War – and after- is not recognized

dave12

NHS comes first John ,defence has not been properly funded since the end of the cold war, defence is not a vote winner for those in power.

John Hartley

Defence is not a vote winner, but it can be a big vote loser if the country has an avoidable humiliating defeat.

dave12

Totally agree, I was just stating what politicians think.

Frank62

Our top politicians are such incompetant lightweights. more like the dross rather than the cream.

Peter S

What has USA really gained from its overseas interventions since the Korean War? The existence of large and powerful forces has led it into missions that have either failed (Vietnam), made matters worse strategically ( Iraq) or produced an endless stalemate (Afghanistan).
Not sure that the USA has been led by an adult for a long time.

John

You guys are taking my comment the wrong way. Firstly, previous endeavors have little relevance to future abilities. If it were true, you could simply rely on your legacy to protect you and hand the entire check to the NHS. Secondly, it was a tongue in cheek comment that I thought you Brits would get. I follow this blog as an advocate of your military and am deeply saddened by this article and the decades long trend that has gotten us to this point. The UK not being at the adults table of FUTURE significant military considerations from the west… Read more »

Peter S

I wasn’t trying to be insulting (well perhaps a bit) but rather note that possession of large ground forces tends to lead to an over eagerness to use them, with results that are always expensive but often unsuccessful. I have no doubt that large US ground forces in West Germany helped deter Soviet aggression an effort which absorbed the greater part of the British Army for over 40 years. But the European situation is very different so what is the British Army for? Unfortunately, I believe that many of UKs defence woes arise from a mistaken attempt to be a… Read more »

John

Peter, you said “but rather note that possession of large ground forces tends to lead to an over eagerness to use them, with results that are always expensive but often unsuccessful”.

Rest assured, you should sleep well knowing you are not at risk of having too large a ground force. All will be well.

Meirion X

“What UK should do, it may have started, is organise and equip it’s forces for its own defence and that of its near neighbours. There is no rational basis for us to do more.”

Some nonesense in the above passage!

The UK has still got Global interests, and still a UNSC(P) member with it’s
responsibilities.
UK has left the EU, so we need to go further afield to trade.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
Graham Moore

Peter, As a contributor to this journal, I would hope you know what the British Army is for! But many people do not. Apparently even the MoD seems to think the army is solely for the defence of the UK in its announcement above – that is certainly its most important role, but certainly not the only one. The reason we should do more than defend the UK and our near-neighbours (just France and Ireland?) is that our membership of NATO requires us to do more than that, our retention of Overseas Territories requires us to do more than Home… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

You’re right John. Capability MUST go alongside sufficient mass. The current size, while too small ( should be at least 100,000 for a 60 million people UNSCP5 and G7 country ) would suffice if only it was properly organised and equipped, which it is not. The 10,000 cut I could still accept if only there was a vast uplift in firepower, a complete army reorganisation, and lots of unmanned systems to compliment it. And I say that while favouring an RN/RAF/ Intelligence community first policy. But that is still in question, as HMG loves cuts now jam tomorrow, just like… Read more »

Peter S

I agree broadly and hope that your hope is right.
One area not mentioned is the hugely expensive Dreadnought programme. We are planning 4 boats, each with 12 missile tubes but only 8 used. Would a fleet of 3 using all 12 not allow us to maintain a credible continuous deterrent? It would save a vast amount.

Deep32

In short NO! It’s not about the numbers of missile tubes/missiles carrier, but about hull availablity. You need a minimum of 4 to keep one at sea at all times.

Klonkie

Peter, I think Deep 32’s is correct, 4 seems to be the number. I wonder i there are economies of scale if theses boats were a modified astute design with only 8 tubes?

Smaller boats would surely allow some savings. I think back to the Resolution class boats in the 70 &80s which were about half the size of the new Dreadnought class

Andy P

They were Polaris boats, Polaris is smaller than Trident. The ‘A’ boats are pretty full already to be honest, I’m not sure where you could squeeze 8 tubes for vertical launch. Then there’s the ‘control room’ for the missiles…. Its not as simple as it seems.

Klonkie

cheers thx Andy. Going to be an expensive exercise though!

Meirion X

The USN Virginia class subs have VLS because they are longer then the Astute’s by about 18m.

TrevorH

In large part I think the size is due to the size (length) of the missiles.

Graham Moore

The Lib Dems looked fully at this when in Coalition – and it was deemed non-viable.

Graham Moore

I fear these manpower cuts will come to pass (as the army lacks the ‘political voice’ to oppose them and most influential politicians are unsympathetic). They will however promise to finally and speedily modernise the (small) A Vehicle fleet, perhaps re-vamp artillery (as you say) and they will re-state proudly that they have recapitalised the Apache fleet (omitting that they have shed 16 airframes) and plan to buy a few more unmanned systems. A bit more jam on a much smaller piece of bread. With a mere 70,000 soldiers the army will have the greatest difficulty in fielding a warfighting… Read more »

Airborne

Mate your right, wether we like it or not. While technology and highly capable assets can be used as force multipliers, and ensure less assets can achieve the same effect on kinetic ops. BUT numbers still matter, there is always a minimum number that any fall below makes your ability to operate as a genuine main player, null and void. We are there right now, and any further reduction, no matter what chuff reasons they come up with, makes us one wafer thin paper tiger. While the Army does need reorganisation, and more effort at enablers, with some more combat… Read more »

John

We see the same in the US. Every piece or kit we ever get is introduced with the promise of a 2-1, 3-1, 4-1 replacement. Eventually we will two jets that replaced the thousands we have today. No matter their capability, quantity has a quality of its own. There’s something to be said for being able to spread yourself out a bit, and not putting your eggs into one basket. Furthermore, as others have said well, the promise is rarely fully realized, and so often we instead simply see a decrease in overall capability relative to a given time. I… Read more »

Graham Moore

Very true. We had 900 Chieftain tanks from 1966 up to 1983, then only bought 420 Chally 1s, then only 386 Chally 2s. Of those 386, over 40% were withdrawn from service in a Defence Review, leaving us with 227 today (however I believe that the figure that is operational is far less than that). Our Orbat in Army 2020 Refine+ has us fielding just two tank units of 56 tanks each. F-35 orders by Europeans is low because of the astronomical price of F-35 vs. F-16 etc. Boeing must be making a ton of money out of us –… Read more »

peter wait

Seems the F35 engine is shorter than expected which raise costs!

Graham Moore

You are right mate. We would struggle to put out a warfighting division from an army of 70,000 with commitments elsewhere and 10% of the guys being non-FE – or a strong brigade on an enduring op like Afghan and maintain Harmony guideline tour intervals. At which point the Americans cease to take our land forces seriously and look to France to be their ally of choice from an army perspective anyway. We deployed 43,000 on Gulf War 1 – we could never do that from a 70,000 army.

Graham Moore

Of course we could field a single combat brigade (of 5,000 – 6,500) to an expeditionary theatre.

The army should never have been cut below the 120,000 regulars that was agreed was the correct size for our post Cold War army in the Options for Change defence review.

ChariotRider

Hi John, “What’s a serious army to you guys?” Good question and entirely reasonable. I have argued a number of times (as have quite a few others on here as I am sure you have noted) that all of the UK armed forces are way too small and the Army in particular. However, two things need sorting out across the board. The equipment available to the services and the numbers, although issues vary across each of the three services. The totality of the issues facing the UK Armed Forces is considerable and it will take more than one up lift… Read more »

AlexS

“What has USA really gained from its overseas interventions since the Korean War? The existence of large and powerful forces has led it into missions that have either failed (Vietnam), made matters worse strategically ( Iraq) or produced an endless stalemate (Afghanistan). Not sure that the USA has been led by an adult for a long time.” Pedestrian. Lack of it could have been worse. If Thailand and others would have fallen to Soviets. Not saying other alternatives tactics could not have been better, Iraq was moving the battlefield, it chattered the reputation of Al Qaeda and Bin Laden. Afghanistan:… Read more »

TrevorH

I’m not sure you are right. Strategically Iraq is a western outpost or bulwark against Russian hegemony. If we do nothing there or Afghanistan then we are effectively weakened there in the region. Who ever wants to force hegemony on to us … using oil or terrorism … if free to do so. And it’s all the more likely to then draw Israel in to conflict or real war, which politically weakens us even more.

Frank62

In part you have a point but they’ve stopped the spread of global Communism & checked fanatical islamic terrorism. Of course oil was a big factor & some of the regimes they & we’ve courted were & are no better than the Soviets or the PRC.

Dern

When was the last time the US won a war without it’s allies doing all the heavy lifting? 1898 perhaps?

OldSchool

Yes, but we still have nuclear toys 😉

Graham Moore

But we can’t use them in real wars, of course.

Graham Moore

Your comment reflects those of General Mattis and other US generals. I am in utter disbelief at the thoughts that our army will suffer yet more savage cuts.

When I joined in 1975 we had 180,000 regulars and about 50,000 TA. The army was cut to its post Cold-War size of 120,000 regs in 1991; there seems to be no justification, other than making financial savings, for any of the many cuts that have happened since then.

Guess the US Army will have to consider the French Army as a principle ally from here on in.

Paul.P

Are the RM included in the 70,000?

John

Their numbers will be reduced as well, comprising a total force of 12 men, equipped with floaties, a spear gun and a canoe.

Last edited 1 month ago by John
Mark F

The RM will become 100 personnel fighting units. I don’t think they are being reduced in numbers but I could be wrong.

Andy P

I hope that’s a hundred AND the bands…… 😉

Klonkie

The spear gun and canoe will be leased on opex in order to save capex , at twice the price of purchasing them outright.

Frank62

Sorry, Spear gun is FFBNEW.

Pacman27

Not usually, if the are that would be a 20k manpower cut.

rm figures are kept within the navy force

Mark F

No The Royal Marines are re-equiping and going back into the role they originally were trained to do and so fits in well with UK plc thinking. In fact they have stolen a March on the Army. Options for change in the early 90s almost saw the RM done for if the Army had had its way and I don’t think the Royal Marines have ever forgotten that.

Graham Moore

I doubt the army would have wanted the RM to be cut at any time, especially not in the early 90s when they were helping man Op BANNER in NI.

Graham Moore

No. They are part of the naval service, not the army. But they have suffered cuts over the years too, the last one being to lose 200 admin posts to help the RN man its second carrier.

Paul.P

Thx

Graham Moore

No, they are part of the Naval service, not Army.

Challenger

Quelle Suprise!

Would be bearable if cuts in people actually translated into comprehensive and effective modernization.

Sadly on past experience it’ll be a promise of jam tomorrow that never comes. Nothing suggests to me that the MoD and Army have learnt have to formulate a vision, stick with it and get real value for money with procurement.

Graham Moore

Its often said that the the RN and RAF man the equipment and the Army equips the man. A bit trite but fairly true The army is all about the manpower – the kit are tools in their hands. Wars are not won solely in the air or at seas – ‘Boots on the ground’ are always required. One reason we struggled in Iraq and Afghanistan was that we had too few boots on the ground. In Helmand province, about the size of Wales, we had barely 5,000 soldiers of which possibly only 500 or so were Infantry on the… Read more »

Graham Moore

Blame procurement issues on the top management of the DE&S organisation, their political masters and the Treasury – not the army. The army as a corporate entity does not procure equipment – a handful of army officers specify requirements for equipment. Also a big problem is the perception (mainly by politicians, but also eagerly embraced by RAF and RN lobbyists) that the army did well out of UORs for Iraq and Afghan and it was time for the other services to take priority, hence 2017 billed as ‘The Year of the Navy.’ Trouble is there is so much wrong with… Read more »

ChariotRider

Hi Graham, Actually the Armed Forces have been closely involved in the procurement of equipment for quite sometime. The DE&S CEO is a civilian but the three Services each have a 3 star on the board. There are also a number of flag posts at the next level down responsible for each service’s equipment programme. Also, in my experience all major defence procurement programmes were headed up by a serving 1 Star. Where else do you think all those flag officers work? You draw attention to the drawing up of equipment requirements. This is where the money is wasted. It… Read more »

Matt

Well I don’t even know where to start. Firstly I’ll hold my judgement until the review is released before I rant prematurely. But it seems to me like we are drastically changing what we mean by “defence”. It sounds like we’ll have just enough assets to defend the nation, our supply lines… And that’s about it. No more mass invasions, no more holding ground, no long term wars. We simply won’t have the mass. We’re putting a lot of faith in stuff we don’t have yet, and that concerns me. We’re retiring a lot of kit and reducing upcoming orders… Read more »

Graham Moore

It was fashionable a few years ago after Navy cuts to say ‘the Navy could never ‘do another Falklands again’. No-one has ever really said that that type of thing after army cuts.
I’ll start the ball rolling:
“I am pretty sure we could not do another Gulf War 1 or 2 if we had a 70,000 strong army.”
” It would be a real strain to keep an enduring op (strong brigade sized) going for 10 years, like Op Herrick, if we had a 70,000 army”

Frank62

Pity the blindingly obvious completely escapes those making the decisions.

Meirion X

Without leaving the cupboard empty at home!

dave12

I remember just a couple of months ago all in the chat were excited about boris ring fencing the armed forces and possible investments, now its a possible nightmare and if all rumors are true hes just lost my vote.
NHS and its constant black hole is a vote winner ,armed forces is not. If its really going to get this bad why not suspend over seas aid?

Does anybody in parliament think our defence must be first priority?.

Daniele Mandelli

Can I strangle the next MoD spokesperson who comes out with that meaningless crap?

Is there a queue?

Mark F

Told you so. Warrior scrapped, chally reduced to nothing more than a couple of sqns just to justify we have MBTs. Slimming down armoured vehicle assets and scrapping eor vehicles from Afghanistan and Iraq. Replace with expensive tacky drones from ebay.

TrevorH

We really don’t know what will happen, but in my very humble opinion we do not need heavy armour. If Strike means anything then it should be mobile infantry with proper artillery, AA support. And without armour (and there is no reason why strike cannot have 105mm guns) we can go big on all sorts of anti tank assets.

But rumour is just that.

Mark Franks

I agree the day of an extremely expensive main battle tank is over. Combat vehicles cannot survive in todays battle field environment.
It looks as though the Times were given the heads up over the weekend and if true all 3 services will be reeling from the announcement and yes I know its an old trick to spread a few rumours from the ministry.

Graham Moore

Mark, Please ask Mr Putin to scrap his 22,700 tanks (nationmaster website) when you next see him, so they are no longer a threat to a British Army without tanks!

Mark Franks

Most do not work and are obsolete and only good for target practice. Its a thing with the Russians they won’t throw kit away.

Graham Moore

We have used Challenger tanks and Warriors and MLRS more times in the last 30 years actively in a combat zone, than any ship has gone toe to toe with an enemy, and ‘delivered ordnance’. One potential enemy for NATO, Russia, has 22,700 tanks according to the nationmaster website – is it the time to cut or eliminate tanks? Has any RAF pilot had a dogfight since 1982? Has any submarine fired a torpedo at an enemy vessel since 1945 (barring HMS Conqueror)? When was the last time a MCMV laid mines? Army kit, including the heavy stuff, actually does… Read more »

Mark Franks

I think the government have made it clear no more interventions or invading other countries. Its embarrassing and a waste of live and money.

TrevorH

We have been dropping bombs for years on terorists. Ships have been prorecting the trafic through the gulf. We have been sending ships into the Black Sea. Ukraine applied for NATO in 2008. Georgia has links with NATO and aspire to join. Poland is in NATO. Warsaw Pact tanks are gone. Russian tank are hundreds of miles away from the North German Plains. Russian does not have 22,000 modern tanks. By all means let us major on anti tank weapons of various types. Why do you think we are hearing about drones left right and center…? Or (semi) autonomous? Plus… Read more »

Mark Franks

Operation Barborrosa the last time a proper tank on tank battle was fought. MBTs just do not fight tank battles only in the movies like Fury.
Heavy armour was always intended to support the infantry and if you cut infantry battalions then you are going to cut your inventory of MBTs.

Graham Moore

No tank battle could ever match that at Kursk, but the following were very major tank on tank battles: Batttle of Chawinda 1965, Vietnam 1968, Battle of the Valley of Tears 1973, Gulf War 1 1991. Tanks do not just take on other massed tanks as in the above examples, which was why I said that tanks have been frequently used in the last 30 years. Tanks only intimately support armoured infantry not all infantry battalions – you could cut light role battalions, yet not cut tank units. Anyway the army has decided to only have 2 tank regiments (battalions… Read more »

Meirion X

Yes that’s correct, Kursk the greatest tank battle of all time!

Daniele Mandelli

Battle of Prokarovka. SS Panzer Korps vs 5th Guards Tank Army.
Sorry! The Great Patriotic War ( Russian front) is one if my fav study subjects.
On an insane scale beyond anything the western allies experienced.

But apparently the US won the war on its own….?

Kevin

In these present times there’s a greater need for military hardware and forces ..now Biden is in charge in USA we need greater protection then theres eu aggressiveness too. Add to that the huge amount of illegals being invited here and aggressive ones already here we gona need forces to control any anti British lefty uprisings .

Peter S

We wouldn’t be out of line with some other Western countries. German army is now 64000, Canada @ 20000. So 70000 full timers might be OK if ( but only if) we can build better organisation of reserve forces.
If the army becomes a well equipped mobile strike force, anti guerilla operations will be impossible. For those, despite all the modern force multipliers, you need numbers on the ground. Operations like Afghanistan would be impossible- good.

John

It’s a sad day when you look to Canada and Germany for what you should be doing with your military.

Canada’s entire defense policy is predicated on assuming the US will protect them no matter, and Germany barely has any mechanically functioning equipment at any given time.

So yeah, let’s use them as a benchmark.

Last edited 1 month ago by John
Peter S

Not suggesting we copy them or that the rumoured cuts are a good idea.Looking solely at nominal headcount doesn’t give the fullest picture of capability. France deploys large numbers of troops in internal security roles as it’s state of emergency goes on and on. Its ability to sustain operations outside France depends on others.
USA makes much greater use of reserves than we do and our plan to do much better seems to have failed. But an army of 70000 plus 50000 properly equipped reserves would be a good outcome.

Andy P

“But an army of 70000 plus 50000 properly equipped reserves would be a good outcome.” I think the UK would struggle to get the ‘right’ reserves. If the UK was looking at using reserves in front line work then you’re looking at younger guys really and ones that will do what they’re ‘telt’, NOT some ‘old and bold (spelt with an A instead of an O half the time) guy who is ex regular and topping up the day job. Before anyone has a go, I’m not having a dig, I did 5 years as a reservist between my two… Read more »

Peter S

I bow to your experience! I agree we don’t really have the US love of guns and things military. Canada doesn’t either but it’s army reserve is almost as big as it’s full time one.So perhaps we could do a bit better?

Andy P

It would be good if we could and I’d love to be proved wrong but having 50,000 reserves of mostly infantry that are fit enough to be able to ‘step up’ is a big ask.

I don’t know the answers although we have a load of ‘toy soldiers’ guarding unelected Head of State and bands etc, at some point this could be looked at.

Graham Moore

I am sure you know that the ‘toy soldiers’ are fully trained Infantrymen who can and do deploy operationally. The Guards were cut from 8 battalions to 5 post Cold War so they have given their pound of flesh to the Treasury.

Bandsmen have been cut over the years, long gone are the days when every infantry battalion had their own band.

The fat was trimmed years ago.

Daniele Mandelli

Spot on. Bands been cut several times! The massed bands of the Guards and HCR have an important state role, as does the whole Household Division actually.

Graham Moore

We can’t recruit 30 – 35,000 reservists, so what hope 50,000?

Meirion X

So more Nonsense from You again!

So let terrorists takeover countries, and we will Not intervene!

I detect a Terrorist Sympathiser!
Or a bury your head in the sands guy!

So the UK would Not have enough troops, if we had to Intervene in another country taken over by terrorists!

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
Peter S

You are the most complete cretin ever to have posted on this site. Anyone who still thinks Iraq and Afghanistan were Western successes needs at least counselling and stronger medication. You also seem to need remedial English lessons as well.
You contribute nothing to otherwise civilised discussion among people who are genuinely interested, concerned and unlike you pretty well informed.

Meirion X

FFS Man, Speaking of yourself again!

You just cannot take any criticism whatsoever!
You become completely Rattled each time!
If only You could use your brain before making provocative comments!

So who is the cretin here then, begins with P?

And a Yellow bally as well!

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
Peter S

Your post just proves my points

Meirion X

My proves the Points about You alone!

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
Meirion X

The posts of yours, proves my point of You!

Graham Moore

Operations like Gulf War 1 and 2, those in Former Yugoslavia, deterrence in Estonia, would all be impossible without heavy armour (Challenger, Warrior, AS90) or an army larger than 70,000.
You are really hoping for small, short wars against low-grade opposition.

Harry Bulpit

While I am sceptical of all such rumours prior to an SDR, I do strongly believe that given the current economic situation this will not happen. Given that the government has prioritised saving jobs it would make no sense for them to just make 10,000 people redundant. In addition to that, given the current job market the military offers one of the few carrier oriented jobs available to many young people. The military is perhaps the best method at the moment to financially support the younger generation and provide them a life line so they do not become a financial… Read more »

Graham Moore

Harry you are a beacon of shining optimism. The army will be cut yet again (they tend to be cut twice a decade). The smaller but better army (to borrow a past slogan) will be promised some new and upgraded equipment (that was long overdue anyway).
They might even get a 1% pay rise like the NHS to really cheer them up.

Robert Blay

I know little about the Army outside of the Army Air Corp, so I’ll keep it brief. But it seems the Army could well look more like the USMC after this review. Highly capable, specialist, deployable, Lots of new tech and capability. But we will take a hit with numbers. But overall, much better equipped to fight future conflicts. Well see on the 16th. ?

Daniele Mandelli

“Lots of new tech and capability” That’s the thing. We have not seen it yet! I’d hope for lots of new kit and would accept the numbers loss army wise for proper fitting out, of unmanned and traditional, in the numbers needed. RA for example. The article reports demise of “1970’s guns” That will be the RA’s 4 regiments of Light Guns. There IS nothing else but 1 Regiment of GMLRS and 2 of AS90, which is also going to be replaced. So no RA for 16AA and 3 Cdo? And no RA for the Strike Brigades. What are we… Read more »

Klonkie

Danielle- I have said it before and will continue to call this out again. The balance is off. The RN receives too much at the expenses of the RAF and Army. I have never been a fan of the size of the QE carriers, not when there isn’t sufficient funding for the aircraft to deploy onto them.

Meirion X

Propose of the carriers is to project our airpower to faraway places, where it is needed most!

Klonkie

I do agree with you on the value of power projection. My point is that if something that big ( 66k tons) is built, there should be adequate aircraft for both . So my comment is rather about size and cost. Might something in the 44k tons class have been sufficient and somewhat cheaper? All a moot point now though.

Meirion X

I agree we could do with at least 20 more F-35Bs.
I was very pleased with the recent proposal for CATs & traps, which could enable large drones to be launched from the carriers, and E-2D AEW.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
Daniele Mandelli

could enable large drones to be launched from the carriers”

That will surely be their plan. Across RAF and RN ops, augmenting manned with UCAV and other UAV types.

Still need a few more F35B though with them.

Graham Moore

We have ordered 48 F-35Bs and have received at least 18 of them.

Graham Moore

We have ordered 48 F-35Bs – we are supposed to be buying 138.
Should be enough.

Meirion X

Thanks Daniele for this info!
A cut too far, I think!

Graham Moore

It was once said that our entire armed forces could configure to be like the USMC – that thought seems to have gone away.
We will be well equipped to fight future wars, so long as they don’t require a large army or many heavy vehicles.
So small, quick wars against low-grade, lightly equipped opposition then. Lets forget about considering Russia to be a threat – it makes life easier.

Andy G

Good! I want robots instead of soldiers.

Graham Moore

Why? Soldiers are more effective and flexible.

Andy G

At some things yes, at some things no. Automation is here to stay and AI is advancing very fast. Who would you rather have standing watch? Or a dangerous patrol. Who would you trust to make a shot and kill an opposing soldier more? a robot or a human?, because the robot isn’t going to miss, either intentionally or not. Robots are cheap and expendable compared to humans, you don’t have to worry about their pensions and you can use them where you can’t use humans. They can have limitless configurations and can be adapted to fight in any environment,… Read more »

D J

Til they get hacked & swap sides. Automation works well while everything runs well. Its when it does’t that automation & AI run into trouble. AI can’t think outside the square too well. You don ‘t even need to hack the system to cause trouble, just jamb the comms.

Paul.P

What are the Reserves numbers?

Paul.P

The latest wiki number I can find is 35,000.

Glass Half Full

Army reserve is 29,790 as of Oct 2020. Army regulars at 80,040 plus Gurkhas at 3,740. See the breakdown of service numbers on page 4 of linked MOD report.
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/945448/Final_SPS_1_Oct_2020.pdf

John Stevens

So, I guess there would be around 5,000 less Fully – trade trained soldiers compared to now. So it’s not really a cut of 12,500 because some 7,000 of those numbers they have not managed to recruit over the last several years or more. ( originally 82,500 planned – Currently around 75,000 ) Fully trained personnel. But, believe me I would prefer there to be no more cuts to the numbers. Just thought I would make that point.

Daniele Mandelli

It is a point I also noted. A cut is a cut, mind.

I read the army budget for new equipment goes up with it, so better see all sorts of uplifts coming in otherwise it is same old.

The reported cuts to the RAF are what horrify me the most.

John Stevens

Hi Daniele.. Just been checking the latest personnel numbers for January this year. Fully trained army (76,350), which is 2,680 more fully trained compared to January last year. So a genuine upward trend.. So this is all very unfortunate news. Let’s just hope a lot of these latest pieces of information are just rumours. eek. Agree with you also about the RAF.

Graham Moore

What are the planned cuts to the RAF? I had not heard that story.

Daniele Mandelli

Sorry Graham, missed this post.

Some Typhoon retired early. Guess tranche 1s.
Hercules cut. ( 47 Sqn support UKSFG DSF )
41 helicopters cut. ( we guess Puma and older Chinooks maybe? )

Islanders not replaced.

Sentinel already gone as we know.

No more F35 beyond first 48.

Graham Moore

I find a cut of F-35 by 90 airframes very shocking – would 24 per carrier be enough – what about attrition reserves. I am aware of the skills that the RAF has in lobbying – they would probably seek to replace the phased-out Tranche 1 Typhoons with F-35As? [I know they have different roles]

Daniele Mandelli

Any uplifts or additions yet to be reported, I’d hope they will come.
F35A with only 48 B still hamstrings the Carriers.
I’m hoping for 70B myself.
Retiring the Hercs is what annoys me most. An in use in demand asset supporting one of this nations best assets, our SF.
Typhoon Tranche 1s loss not as much, they are few and I’d prefer an extra buy of tranche 3.

TrevorH

Yes indeed.

Glass Half Full

A valid point to make. I’m waiting to see the full context of the review before passing judgment.

Paul.P

Thx

John Mulley

People seem to forget that no end of jobs in the military have been civilianised so it is not always easy to do comparisons with other countries’ armed forces. By using civilians the MOD do not have to pay pensions, provide healthcare, housing etc. More money for the frontline.

dan

Boris taking a page from Merkel’s defense book. Ugh

Geoffrey Roach

Did Merkel increase the defence budget by £16 billion? I missed that.

Rob

A 70,000 strong Army will mean we still have the ability to fight an expeditionary, allied style conflict but will not be able to put boots on the ground to secure the peace or even have influence over how it comes about. The mark one eyeball, talking to your neighbours and some guts behind a rifle can’t be replaced by machines. Now this could work if the Army Reserve was really at full strength and as deployable as say the USNG but it simply isn’t. We are going to end up with a small Regular Army who needs to depend… Read more »

John Clark

We really are speculating on rumours at the moment, but I see the direction of travel here and would hypothesize that we are heading for agile out of area expeditionary forces, scalable elements up to Brigade level, 3,500 ‘ish’, boots on the ground. Perhaps with our new trade deals and new relationships to protect world wide, that might be the way to go for the UK?? I don’t have a particular issue here, provided these forces are equipped to the highest standards and extremely well armed and we don’t drop below critical mass, though arguably we are already there at… Read more »

Meirion X

You are Wrong on Afghanistan and Iraq!

The tide has been turned in Afghanistan.
Only relavitily small numbers of western and US troops are in Afghan now. And with the USAF giving the air support and eyes in the sky for Afghans new 180000 Army to finish the job off.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
John Clark

You and I clearly have very different ideas of a successful outcome Meirion! What part of operations in Iraqi since 2003 could be called remotely successful! The whole country was left in a total state of anarchy, thanks to the stupid decision at the time, to disband the Iraqi Armed forces. At best, “slightly less Fu*ked up than it was” would be my best assessment. As for Afghanistan, you must be on glue if you think that mess is in any way sorted… It’s a sticking plaster on a festering wound, as soon as we leave, it will revert to… Read more »

Graham Moore

A deployed brigade of 3,500 – that is very tight as you have to include a National Support Element. I think we had 6,500 in Afghan that was billed as a Brigade deployment.

Meirion X

Agreed!

Geoffrey Roach

We have over supposedly a strength of 82000 at the moment plus army reserve and we are hard pushed to put together an armoured brigade of old equipment and a strike brigade without a role. My own contribution to this discussion is here under ANALYSIS…..The British Army towards 2030. Whether I’m right or wrong…Who knows? What I do know is that we can have the fighting force outlined with around 40000 personnel which is a whole lot better then we’re doing now. Numbers are not every thing.

Frank62

Trouble is, if we let numbers get too low(I think they already are)casualties & lack of replacements for resting worn out front line troops makes our forces very brittle. So we hazard our existence by becoming too weak. If a major national threat emarged, there wouldn’t be enough troops to hold the line & provide the training for new recruits.

Geoffrey Roach

Your right of course Frank but I don’t know how we are ever to get out of this problem with recruitment being what it is. In each of my suggested ideas I have allowed for a training company or group for immediate replacements.I don’t think anyone would disagree with the fact that the whole army is a mess, not people, but structure and equipment .If we can rebuild the core to become reliable and quickly deployable we can cover a good number of the threats that may come our way.

Graham Moore

Is that an army of 40,000 or the ability to deploy 40,000 on operations?

Geoffrey Roach

A core of fighting units made up of an all regular force out of an army of 70/75,000 plus the Army Reserve,

Andrew

To all you Guys Boris said in November the time of cutting stops ,but the reports don’t look good .Come on Boris smell the coffee remember what you said we really can’t afford to cut the Army far to small has it is God’s sake stand up like your hero Churchill would have done .Nice if Boris could look at our posts Guys .

Meirion X

Covid has destroyed his brain!
Poor devil!

ADW

Asking as a civvy, what benefit does UK get by spending £60bn+ (NATO 2%) on defence over say other EU countries that don’t? Some seem to have similar standards of living, GDP, global standing, dare I say respect. Is it vanity?

Have we overextended ourselves with carrier strike group? And sacrificing our land forces for it?

We (US and UK) seem to ‘protect’ others for what? What do we get in return?

FYI love the comments on this site. More often than not very knowledgeable and civilised chat.

Oh, I said other EU countries ?

Last edited 1 month ago by ADW
Karl

With a rising and expansionist china an increasingly aggressive russia and iran being within months away from getting their hands on a nuke it is really the wrong time to be reducing our force’s, If anything I would start to look where possible to increase numbers, I understand the coffers are bare with the chinese coronavirus but I think the best way to get the economy going again is to have people in jobs, Our armed forces are supported by tens of thousands of well paid and well trained individuals this is not the time to put more people out… Read more »

sophie

UK will dont defeat russia in land. but this battle not happened

Meirion X

It is the case of who controls the skys, Sophie.
That why we need super-duper aircraft that will give us air superiority.

Felix

The uk has not fought a peer on its own since the Hundred Years’ War. We have the capability to project power anywhere in the world not seen here since the sixties. We need to chill out and see what is actually proposed.

Frank62

June 1940 to December 1941. We fought Nazi Germany alone(with Empire forces-India, Canada, ANZACs etc) plus sent loads of equipment to Stalins USSR.

Meirion X

Very True!

Meirion X

Also the US only sent troops to Europe in
WW2 in late 1942. They landed in North Africa Nov. 42.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion X
TrevorH

This may be true. But the Sunday Times are just repeating a rumour that was repeated by The Daily Mail last month.

So in reality the Sunday Times really has nothing to say other than repeat other rumours. Newspapers like the Times group have virtually no reporters or investigators (except possibly those following Harry and Megan) and they have little quality.

Ernest Harrison

If this report is true – It is a disgrace. Now we are out of the EU our greatest threat IMO are the EU who are forming an EU Army. Russia are not our main threat – EU are and Gibraltar will be a flash-point maybe. Fishing disputes can turn to violence and from shots could come war, We need 100,00 troops and 50 surface warships to be credible. Russia, China have never attacked the UK, all aggression came from very close to home, we never – Learn the lessons of history. So where is all the new money our… Read more »

Frank62

Russia & PRC have attacked the UK cyberspace & will continue to do so. Russia has deployed chemical weapons in the UK at least twice in the last decade. When we transit the SCS the PRC will demand we leave the international waters they’ve illegally seized & try to bully us away as they do anyone else.

The weaker we allow our forces to become, the less success we’ll have restraining them.

Geoffrey Roach

I am anticipating a war to sprout in Belgium soon and I am expecting an attack by the Euro army in about fifteen years, decision making by the fifteen permitting.

Gareth

I’ve always loathed the way that government spokespersons (representing all departments and all parties which have been in government) issue responses like the one above. They switch the conversation to a different issue and leave the original question unanswered. I know this is straight out of Yes Minister and some like to have a good old laugh about it but it’s just so dishonest and condascending to the publc, and given the seriousness of the issue, it is just beyond a joke. “Last November the Prime Minister announced the biggest increase to defence spending since the Cold War. This will… Read more »

Gareth

….and this bit:

“Last November the Prime Minister announced the biggest increase to defence spending since the Cold War.”

is also disingenuous – the Tory government has been responsible for some of the biggest cuts in defence spending since the Cold War as well and the recent “increase” is just a partial offset of previous cuts.

…take it away Sir Arnold:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1r8iQkZJb4