The size of the British Army will be reduced as part of a move towards automation and cyber warfare.

The cut will leave the British Army at 70,000 troops.

Numbers in the regular Army will be reduced to about 70,000 soldiers but it is understood that this will be achieved as people leave the forces, rather than redundancies.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show that despite this, the overall effect of the ‘Integrated Review‘ was an increased defence budget.

The changes will be detailed in todays ‘Defence Command Paper’.

When this was last discussed, 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 recently reported some of the changes coming to the British Army as part of changes brought about by the Future Land Combat System document. One of the most drastic changes is that Brigade Combat Teams will be formed as self-sufficient tactical combat units.

British Army ‘to be organised differently’

In a now deleted section of their website (perhaps the details were revealed a bit too early as the defence white paper accompanying the Integrated Review isn’t released untiul the 22nd of March), the British Army discussed the changes that will soon be implemented as part of the Integrated Review.

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James Fennell
James Fennell
6 months ago

Its a return to 18th-19th century British maritime / merchantile posture. Large global blue water navy, small very professional army of which much is garrisoned overseas.

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
6 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

There’s a 100 odd pages out there James saying what you just did in two lines.Your right. A strong navy, a competent air force and army units that can deploy quickly and in some force.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

I have always advocated a RN/RAF/Intelligence first policy. That does not mean I agree with a cut of this size, mind.

Will only work if there is a significant uplift in firepower, CS/CSS, and the army completely reorganised from the lopsided structure it finds itself in.

Pacman27
Pacman27
6 months ago

couldn’t agree more Daniele

I think the days of light infantry are over for the main force. At this size we need a fully mechanised infantry that has top of the range firepower, otherwise lambs to the slaughter.

I also think circa 60% of the RAF needs to be directly assigned to these forces and fully integrated – as per the USMC model.

We can make this work, but the guys need top kit.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 months ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Agree. We shall see later. Hopefully I can pick some positives out of the details and that it is more than the usual spin.

Steve R
Steve R
6 months ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Maybe leave the Rifles, for example, as 5 battalions of light infantry (just an example!) plus the Gurkhas, and cut the rest of the LI and/or make it armoured/mechanised.

BobA
BobA
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

That wouldn’t make sense given that only 1 and 2 RIFLES are Light (role) Infantry. 3 is Mech, 4 is Specialised and 5 is Armoured. The traditional light role of the regiment forms the ethos, but it’s a long time since it was an operational reality (like pre-Boer War long time). As for Light Role infantry’s days being over, I wouldn’t be so sure. Both the Urban environment and close / mountainous terrains all favour light infantry forces (Urban needs to have armour integrated to be really useful. You can of course always dismount mechanised troops, but the logistics and… Read more »

TrevorH
TrevorH
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

If brigades are going to be the main tactical unit I would like to see these ‘large regiments’ abolished and more individuality given to the battalions.

John Clark
John Clark
6 months ago

As usual I’m in broad agreement with you Daniele. The traditional cap badge mafia have to be brushed aside as we modernise. The reality is the cold war ended 30 years ago, yet elements within the army are still fixated with fighting classic tank battles on the North German planes… The army should have been transformed into an agile airmobile force decades ago, this is long overdue. I also hope we see a corresponding uplift in firepower and just as important, airlift. We need the national capability to airlift this new ‘Ranger Force’ we are apparently creating, without relying on… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

So they cut the Hercules fleet….

I know 47 Sqn support DSF but those tasks and flying autonomous MCMV kit will now fall on the 22 Atlas, with all their other roles too.

If the UK is to have a more global footprint enablers like RAF and RN/RFA assets to move and then support them there should actually be increased!!

Maybe they will order more Atlas, I’m not so sure.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 months ago

I also watched CGS yesterday talking of the Ranger Regiment. He says later it will have other elements added, Signals. Cyber, EW, Intelligence Corps, and so on. I also want to see dedicated AAC, Air Defence, and UAV, armed not Watchkeeper.

Rogbob
Rogbob
6 months ago

How does this Ranger regiment fit with the existing SFSG is my confusion. That already has attached Int and all SF have a large chunk if embedded signals (sqns then divided down to dets) from 18 Regt RSIGNALS.

So a massive expansion of SFSG?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

I see Rangers having a totally different role to SFSG who work closely with core SF units. Rangers will deploy overseas to train foreign armies, to do peace support/conflict avoidance ops and perhaps to protect post-conflict reconstruction personnel.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Concur. Having now read the doc seems that SP Ops Bde and SFSG are separate entities.
Sp Ops being formed from existing Light Infantry Btns from the SIG.

David Flandry
David Flandry
6 months ago

Agree with all that, but the fact is capability is going down due to over 10% cut in numbers. You can dress it up in MoD language, but 72,000 cannot do what 102,000 could do.

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
6 months ago

“More” ? Crikey this isn’t a scene from Oliver mate….

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Ha!

That is why every single review since 95 FLF have failed in my view.

A cut somewhere is acceptable if it is balanced with proper uplifts elsewhere.

Cutting armoured brigades? Not so useful? Fine. So expand on CS/CSS enablers, the AAC, missiles, airmobile, RA instead.

Not just investments in a programme that is then quietly cut a few years on. Proper expansion.

Hiding behind the cyber excuse is not that. We shall see.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
6 months ago

A few more Atlas would nice, not holding my breath though.

Rogbob
Rogbob
6 months ago

Just get more than 10 of them flying would solve all those problems.

But that is a major problem in itself…

No more hiding for A400!

Herodotus
Herodotus
6 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

That means keeping the C130s or replacing them with more Atlas. Selling off the C17s would reveal the ‘highly mobile’ aspirations as complete lies!

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
6 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Atlas can’t carry the Ajax vehicles that we don’t actually have though….

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Yes. The FRES was meant to be airportable.

Strike Brigades, if they still exist later today, will go via rail and road to Eastern Europe I suspect. Not to be used in other theatres unless a long build up time like GW1 allows the Points to move them.

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

They can carry Boxers though I think – chassis and/or modules.

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

C17’s can carry Ajax and Boxers. maybe we should replace the C130’s with a couple of dozen extra !

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Production line closed I think.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Boxers need to be split in two first – broken down into drive and mission modules. Bit of a pain!

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

I am waiting to see what is said about regional hubs. There is less need for rapid deployment if you already have a sizeable force in a region, good intel and established links with the local good guys.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

But you need enablers for that to support the force.
Splitting the AAC/RA into several small flights/ batteries in the hubs around the world? We don’t have enough even for that and support the remaining brigades/BCT.

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 months ago

Agreed; at least with current equipment and technology. But small changes could make a lot of difference. As a for instance, what would be the impact for example of more armed drones with Brimstone or fitting Spike missile to Boxer and AAC Wildcat?

John Clark
John Clark
6 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Selling the C17’s H, I haven’t heard that one yet….

That would be foolish in the extreme. Any drop in air transport is crazy, we need a substantial increase.

I would certainly sweep up the A400’s that Germany and Spain will without doubt, promptly sell on.

The C130’s fill an important SF support roll, were the A400 would simply be too big for the task. Are the C130’s actually going, or is this just guess work?

Replace them with a C27j buy perhaps?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Still speculation. That won’t go away.

UKSF Group are the tip of our spear and their enablers should be enhanced.

What did that Cameron say in 2015? 2 billion extra for SF enhancements? Impossible to judge as classified. Hope some goes on updated transport beyond the new Chinooks.

John Clark
John Clark
6 months ago

We can only hope mate, I await the full report with bated breath……

Herodotus
Herodotus
6 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Just a rumour that was going around a few weeks ago…hopefully, just that! The C130s were also mentioned…I think that this is more likely as the MOD has just spent millions on replacing the central wing box sections on all of them!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Yes perfectly standard to spend a fortune on something then sell it or scrap it.
[On 22 July 2014, HMS Ocean returned to the fleet after her 15-month, £65 million refit, then she ceased duties in Autumn 2017 and was sold to Brazil for £84.6 million].

Nic
Nic
6 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

The C130 is going and the C17 will probably be next so that leaves the Atlas to do all the heavy work and some of the Typhoon fleet is under threat.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

John, We are told that our main threat is from Russia – guess what, they have thousands of tanks, so we should have a few hundred and train in armoured warfare. We have used our tanks a lot on operations in the last 30 years, yet in that time no RAF pilot has had a dogfight, no submarine has fired a torpedo at an enemy ship and no escort ship has fired their guns or launched missiles in anger. Good point about moving the Ranger force – not a great idea to scrap the C130Js, all Pumas and several Chinooks… Read more »

Martyn Parker
Martyn Parker
6 months ago

Is it a cut? My understanding is that this is about the level that the Army are undermanned anyway

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 months ago
Reply to  Martyn Parker

They are short of the 82, 000. Unsure of exact figure without checking but thought it around 75,000 if those still in Ph1 and Ph2 training are included.

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
6 months ago
Reply to  Martyn Parker

A convenient massaging of figures then.

Martyn Parker
Martyn Parker
6 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

More than likely, I notice it was also said no redundancies so the vast majority of the cuts must be coming from unfulfilled roles

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
6 months ago

Hi Daniele,

You know my thoughts well enough I think, especially on the army front. Well armed and equipped, able to be readily and easily deployed with a dedicated AAC commitment. Enablers from the RAF..A highly mobile all wheel Strike Brigade..Herky Birds, I don’t like what I’m hearing but wait and see I guess..

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

I do, my friend.

Devil in the detail later.

George
George
6 months ago

Agree Daniele. Warfare is changing very fast and the UK needs to keep ahead with the use of intelligence and technology. The RAF and Royal Navy will possibly be the first frontline of a future engagement, followed by deployment of troops. However, I’m concerned that the number of full-time regular troops is going to be too small? You experts on this site can advise me, but I always thought that taking and holding ground is key in any military engagement. Sometimes the size of armies is not always crucial, quite often the small can outmatch the larger, history has taught… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 months ago
Reply to  George

The army is already too small, George.
Same with the RN/RFA, and RAF.

I agree with the direction but not in cutting to pay for it.

George
George
6 months ago

Yes that’s true.
Thanks
George

lee1
lee1
6 months ago
Reply to  George

That is partly correct. However to do that the Army would need very very good equipment. The RAF and NAVY would need more resources to be able to get the troops rapidly to where they need to be and in numbers. Taking and retaining Territory takes a lot of resources. Tanks would still likely be needed and they would need to be very good Tanks. Also there will be a critical point at which no matter how well equipped and how well trained, there just are not enough Soldiers to maintain operations. No idea why we are apparently increasing the… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 months ago
Reply to  George

The army should not have been cut below the 120,000 figure determined to be the correct size for the post-Cold War Army in Options for Change. 70,000 is far too small to meet standing commitments, to allow for non-deployable personnel and units, and to deploy significant numbers.

maurice10
maurice10
6 months ago

I don’t believe the review could have gone in another direction, as I’ve said before, it’s the RN’s turn to get the lion’s share. Land robotics and autonomous systems will expand exponentially in the next few decades.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

Didn’t the Navy get the lion’s share in 2017, the year of the Navy?
The Navy in recent years has got 2 new carriers, 6 amazing air defence destroyers, has received 4 out of 7 Astute SSNs and is embarking on replacing all frigates, bomber subs and most MCMVs – and is getting more and more F-35Bs month by month.

maurice10
maurice10
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yes, you are correct however, the Army has had funds allocated for new armour but apart from Ajax (that appears to be traveling at a snail’s pace) and Boxer, money has been squandered on Warrior Upgrade. The CH2LEP has also been a slow burner. Sadly, FV432, Warrior, Mastiff, and associated vehicles, 80 odd CH2, are to go and that’s one hell of a clear out…..I forgot CVT’s!
They are certainly sad times for the Army, but the Government is determined to build up the Navy at the cost of a heavy punching land force, that’s for sure.

James
James
6 months ago

I’m all for a well armed mobile army of 100k minimum but this size is a joke ! When you have peers and increasingly new mid level powers that are armed to the teeth with fighter jets armed drones ballastic missiles with tanks armoured vehicles increasing their global presence. What will the UK do send 5k or 50k of the army if challenged? This is a repeat of what the naval fleet faces with its escorts Size matter as you can’t be everywhere at the same time. The biggest threat to Britain this century is new mid level powers that… Read more »

David F.
David F.
6 months ago
Reply to  James

I think this statement at 16:30 will essentially confirm that Britain is a mid level power.

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
6 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

A “Large Global Blue water Navy” … oh yes please, when can we start to build it ?

Something different
Something different
6 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Two carriers, 6 AD destroyers, Type 26’s starting to be built, looks like it’s already in hand.

captain p wash
captain p wash
6 months ago

Not really when you consider the last 70 years of savage cuts and our new found areas of interest.

Sean
Sean
6 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Perfect and succinct description James.
Though I think most of the army will be garrisoned in the U.K. for fast deployment aboard.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

True and even I as an ex-army man have to agree with a mainly maritime construct, although it used to be considered that an army of 100,000 was a small army (now it seems that 70,000 is the new benchmark for ‘small army’). I wonder how much will actually be garrisoned overseas – that is expensive.

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
6 months ago

Regardless of how you spin this, it is nothing more then a national embarrassment and disgrace.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
6 months ago

And there was silly old me under the impression that boots on the ground were required to win wars?

I must have missed something clearly!

Herodotus
Herodotus
6 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Does 70,000 personnel constitute an Army? Perhaps the MOD and our Tory masters should quit the ‘world beating’ bullshit and call a spade a spade. Isn’t the term ‘corps’ more accurate?

Karl
Karl
6 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

We are still over 100,00 if you include the TA, But I think it is a serious mistake to cut the regular army to those levels.

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
6 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Well it could nearly fill Wembley for a home match !

TrevorH
TrevorH
6 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Mostly the British Army has been quite small, if you leave out the Indian Army… And the sub continent is independent now!

There was militia, which got used for strike breaking mostly and after that territorial units which in theory were not meant to leave the country.

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
6 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

It’s numbers that win Wars…. whether it’s Money, Production, Man Power, Equipment, it always comes down to numbers.

dave12
dave12
6 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Spot on captain.

Phil
Phil
6 months ago

As usual I suspect this is more about cap badges than capability. We weren’t going to engage in a Land War with Russia or China on our own, even when BAOR was at its height. We’ll only engage in a Land War as part of an alliance, either out of area with a “Coalition of the Willing” (principally America), or in Europe as part of NATO, and if it’s in Europe there are are other countries who need to be doing the heavy lifting of providing substantial Ground Forces. What we can do is provide Global Reach through the Navy,… Read more »

farouk
farouk
6 months ago

So after having sold off army recruiting to Captia resulting in a huge cluster regards recruiting, the powers that be have decided that the best way to remedy the situation is to reduce numbers, whilst allowing the merchant bankers who ‘F’ up in the first pace to continue with their inefficient (but well paid) recruiting policy. I expect to see another 10K cut in 5 years time

Herodotus
Herodotus
6 months ago
Reply to  farouk

Let the cuts begin at home….there are too many MPs and the House of Lord’s is an utter joke. At the last count there were over 800 with their heads in the expenses trough!

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

https://www.parliament.uk/globalassets/documents/lords-committees/size-of-house/size-of-house-report.pdf

The Sunday Times yesterday ran a front page headline reporting that the 2 candidates standing to replace the current speaker of the Lords, Lord Fowler, have said that the automatic right of hereditary peers to a seat in the Lords is not acceptable.
Taking these together I think the government will go quite soon for a mechanism to reduce numbers to about 600 but, retain seats by patronage rather than election. Apparently this does not require any legislation.

Herodotus
Herodotus
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I thought that was already the case…only a token cadre of hereditary peers was kept on after Blair’s reforms. The US upper house manages with 100….why would we need 600, other than to keep the political gravy train running!

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

I think there are still 80 odd hereditary peers 🙂
The real issue in my opinion is that all peers are appointed by one of two systems of patronage; feudal or political cronyism. I don’t have an issue with political parties putting forward people for a seat in the Lords but those selected should be regarded as candidates and subject to an electoral process. There are too many place men. It’s all very seedy which ever way you look at it.

Herodotus
Herodotus
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Indeed, Lord Botham…..I ask you!

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

He represent sport. Others could represent industry, farming, education, medicine, housing…why not ?

Herodotus
Herodotus
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

He represents one of Boris’ pals. Cronyism at its worst!

John Clark
John Clark
6 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

I absolutely agree, abolish the Lord’s, replace it with second debating chamber in the next parliament.

The specifics will need to be decided by the great unwashed, so I would suggest the the various camps elect an individual to go on a “Men Dancing and Singing on Love Island in a frock” type programme, to be voted on from the comfort of your armchair on a weekly basis!

Perhaps we call it ‘Congress Mc Congress’ face?????

Herodotus
Herodotus
6 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

That’s the main reason that Labour didn’t go ahead with major reforms. They couldn’t agree on how it would all work. I still think that this is a problem area for both main parties.

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

I would be happy to give them some ideas….I come cheaper than track and trace consulting day rates….

Herodotus
Herodotus
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I think a friend of Hancock has already applied for the post!

John Clark
John Clark
6 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Joking aside H, I really do agree, a stiff yard broom needs to be used on the Lord’s, sweeping the bloody lot, out of the door. It needs to be replaced with a democratically elected second chamber. My personal choice would be ‘non’ political Congress, about a quarter of the size of the Lord’s, comprised of clever Indipendent individuals, from industry, public services etc, each voted in by a group of (let’s say 4) constituencies, the MP’s in their areas of all colours would have to report to them too. It would be a debating chamber still, acting as an… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by John Clark
IKnowNothing
IKnowNothing
6 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Plus Proportional representation. Its no longer acceptable for any party to get 40-45% of the national vote but end up with an unassailable majority of MPs in the House of Commons for the next five years

Herodotus
Herodotus
6 months ago
Reply to  IKnowNothing

We had a referendum (AAAAAGGGGGHHHH) on the issue under Cameroon the Barbarian. He didn’t want it so made the whole thing so bloody complicated, nobody wanted to know!

Peter S
Peter S
6 months ago
Reply to  IKnowNothing

You would just get coalitions endlessly slightly rearranged. Better to adopt the French 2 stage vote: 50% and you’re elected otherwise top 2 go through to stage 2. So every deputy must get > 50% to be e!ected. This system allows for change and direct election, unlike PR.

Herodotus
Herodotus
6 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Sounds like a good compromise. Though I think that would entail more elections than the good old British voter could be bothered with. An alternative might be that candidates could be voted for in a secret ballot by MPs in the commons. A third could be up for re-election every couple of years like the Senate.
Oh and no faith representatives!

Last edited 6 months ago by Herodotus
lee1
lee1
6 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Is the Lords really the problem here? When we have Government ministers giving huge contracts to friends and others signing off each others immoral funding to their constituencies. MPs with too many interests in Hedge Funds and do what they can to make sure they do not lose out?

The Current Government are corrupt beyond belief but we are somehow ignoring it…

Herodotus
Herodotus
6 months ago
Reply to  lee1

In the era of Donald Trump, where corruption and outright lying are glossed over, the blatant cronyism of this government seems like a minor indiscretion!

Pacman27
Pacman27
6 months ago

STRN are reporting the Marines are to be reduced as well.

What is going on here, we are literally throwing away our edge..

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 months ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Marines? Or their enablers from the army?

Probably not 40,42,45 Cdo and 30, 43, 47 Cdo.

I fear for the CLR, 24 RE, 29RA.

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
6 months ago

The rumours/predictions came true so not a total surprise. This is becoming a token force for very short in/out deployments since not enough personnel to rotate. Fingers crossed that global geopolitcs doesn’t deteriorate in years to come, but seeing how poorly US and China discussions in Alaska went I am not that optimist.

phil
phil
6 months ago

I think that a cut of only 10k is getting off lightly. The impression I get now is that government have decided all and any future conflict will be fought exclusively on laptops between hackers. Then even our national defence can work from home.

BadNewsBears
BadNewsBears
6 months ago

Sigh. Can’t really agree with this. We’re just starting to get over the culling of RN personnel that happened many moons ago. I agree with Lord Robathan – recruitment numbers would likely increase due to unemployment but that is no longer possible due to these cuts. Are they going to seriously up-rate the reserves, then? to augment what is left from the regs, or cut the reserves, or 5,000 from each?. I’m just tremendously upset at the state of our armed forces at the current time, particularly the army. Is there more of such bad news to come I wonder… Read more »

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
6 months ago

what are the “Future Threats” exactly ? Do we now have an extra ability to see in to the future…. would have come in handy in the past.

Herodotus
Herodotus
6 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Mystic Meg has joined the Cobra team as we write!

Herodotus
Herodotus
6 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Oh sorry, that was Dom Cummings! Same haircut though!

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
6 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

I knew you’d say that….

pkcasimir
pkcasimir
6 months ago

Flimflam.

Rob
Rob
6 months ago

Much said above, rightly, about this being a return to a traditional overall maritime strategy. The trouble is that a maritime strategy means you need to have a meaningful expeditionary force. In a 21st century context that means an air assault capability, an amphibious capability (complete with LHD) and light armour (Strike) delivered by air lift. Yet 3 Cmdo Bde is being down graded and there is no LHD and they are scrapping some transport aircraft. There are some good things in this review. The new Army Rangers (why Rangers, they are Army Commandos as existed in WW2), the investment… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Apparently there was a “Ranger” regiment in the Rifles once?

James Fennell
James Fennell
6 months ago

60th Foot – the Royal Americans – became the Kings Royal Rifle Corps and then Royal Green Jackets. Also the Royal Irish Rangers and Connaught Rangers

pkcasimir
pkcasimir
6 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

A more precise lineage would be to the 80th Regiment of Light Infantry raised by Lt Col Thomas Gage (later General Gage, Governor of Massachusetts at the outbreak of war in 1775) in 1758. Gage formed this regiment because of the efficacy of colonial Rangers under the command of Robert Rogers. He intended to duplicate the tactics of this American ranger unit. They fought in several battles including Ticonderoga and were disbanded in 1763. The 80th never was as effective as Robert’s Rangers. Rogers later fought on the side of the British in the Revolutionary War forming the Queen’s Rangers.… Read more »

Herodotus
Herodotus
6 months ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

I saw the film….Spencer Tracy starred as Rogers if I remember rightly. There was to be a sequel but American cinema goers weren’t enthusiastic. Possibly due the patriotic final scene featuring the Grand Union Flag. The 13 stripes with the Union Jack in the corner…..you should have kept it?

pkcasimir
pkcasimir
6 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

The movie was titled Northwest Passage, based on a series of popular novels by Kenneth Roberts, and was very successful at the box office. Buddy Ebsen played Rogers in a US TV series in the late 1950s. Quite popular.
There was a company of Rangers stationed inside Fort William Henry during the siege portrayed in “Last of the Mohicans” with Daniel Day Lewis, which, unfortunately, was filmed in North Carolina in mountains/forests which just don’t have the same feel of upstate New York’s Appalachian mountains.

Rob
Rob
6 months ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

Good knowledge! I looked into it (yes just wicki). So the 60th became the KRRC. However the only Btns I can see named Rangers were second line TA during WW2 (1st Btn Rangers 9th KRRC & 2nd Btn Rangers 10th KRRC). The 80th became the Satffs Regt.

Herodotus
Herodotus
6 months ago
Reply to  Rob

For those of you that are old enough to remember ‘Round the Horn’, the term Ranger meant something quite different to Julian and Sandy at Bona Defence Associates. The term always makes me snigger ?

Rob
Rob
6 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Indeed.

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 months ago
Reply to  Rob

The whole strategy only hangs together in the context of the planned regional hubs. I think the model for the army is based on copying the success the navy has had with forward basing.

Sonik
Sonik
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

That makes no sense. RNs core remit, even in peacetime, includes patroling the worlds oceans with various standing commitments. So forward presence reduces the need for transit and simplifies logistics by tapping into local resources. For the army, doesn’t distributing assets and people actually make it more difficult to manage maintenance, training etc, Vs keeping it all central in the UK? In theory it can shorten logistics trails, but each forward presence would have only a small pool of resources, and it still needs to move from there to wherever it’s needed. What’s needed is a series of basic staging… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 months ago
Reply to  Sonik

Well firstly I have to confess I completely misunderstood what was intended by the term regional hubs. When I saw the defence review graphics it was clear they meant regional hubs in the UK. Consolidation of garrisons. That said it is worth a discussion on forward basing. This is what the review has to say. ” Engaged internationally. It is only through persistent and proactive engagement that we will increase our understanding, pre-empt threats and build the partnerships and capability we will need to stay safe. Through a more engaged posture we will increase our influence, promote our values and create… Read more »

JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece
6 months ago

Can the last man out please turn off the lights

Steve Salt
Steve Salt
6 months ago

Genuine question, if the army is cut to 70,000 troops how many are combat soldiers ?

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Salt

Actually i was wondering the exact same thing

Last edited 6 months ago by Lordtemplar
Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Salt

none, until called upon…..

George Royce
George Royce
6 months ago

This is absolutely pathetic. No others words can describe this.

James
James
6 months ago

Maybe someone can explain this to me please. Special forces alongside this new ranger concept need a certain type of soldier, the elite of the army and marines. I read that the rangers will be looking for soldiers who have done at least 2 tours. How can reducing the pool available allow for enough soldiers to be recruited for these roles without reducing the quality. This seems like the normal plan for the gov/mod decide what it wants to do with no reliability on when it will change its mind but have no real idea of how it actually achieves… Read more »

Rob
Rob
6 months ago
Reply to  James

You’ve hit upon a key problem. An army needs to be of a certain size to recruit high enough standard SFs. We are increasing the number of SFs (Rangers) whilst shrinking the army. Also on the Ranger Regt, if they called it Army Commandos you wouldn’t need to form yet another Regt for such a small army. Army Commandos could just keep their cap badge but with a green beret as in WW2. That would mean soldiers could move from and to their parent Regt so that experience could be shared and manning enhanced.

Something different
Something different
6 months ago

If the army is reduced to 50,000 how much money would that save over 5-10 years and how many frigates would that buy?

BobA
BobA
6 months ago

Let’s turn that around and say would you sacrifice a frigate for a generation of 30,000 trained and experienced people that you could never get back?

Pacman27
Pacman27
6 months ago
Reply to  BobA

actually this shouldn’t be about money at all. The USMC have a force that is 25% larger than the UK’s, is planning 3x the buy of f35’s and each infantry person has c.$14k of personal kit, they have more tanks, howitzers etc. etc and they do it on 50% of the UK’s defence budget. So not only do they have better kit and more people that they deploy more agressively, they do that for far less than we do. We can’t use the old excuse of they buy their kit off the back of large army orders, as we are… Read more »

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
6 months ago
Reply to  Pacman27

That is a unbelievably inaccurate comparison ?

Rob
Rob
6 months ago
Reply to  Pacman27

The USMC aren’t funding ballistic missile nuclear submarines…

That is where the money is going.

Pacman27
Pacman27
6 months ago
Reply to  Rob

I know that, and that’s why I am at pains to state this is 50% of the UK budget

with that other 30bn pa we can fund all the other stuff that the RAF, RN etc do.

I am not suggesting we half the budget I am stating that the budget should be more than enough for what we need to achieve without cutting personnel to the bone.

so $30bn on the uk’s version of the USMC, $10bn for nuclear assets and $20bn for other services should be a more than enough but doesn’t seem to be.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
6 months ago
Reply to  Pacman27

USMC don’t have any ships or submarines, those are USN assets, so basically they don’t have a navy in their budget. The USMC also don’t have certain large body air assets such as Voyager for troop transport, Sentry/Wedgetail, Rivet Joint, Poseiden, C17/A400M. So a comparison isn’t really as simple as you outline.

BTW they also don’t have tanks anymore and are largely getting rid of towed artillery in favor of rocket artillery along with other changes as part of 2030 Force Design that will make them even less relevant for direct comparison.

https://news.usni.org/2020/03/23/new-marine-corps-cuts-will-slash-all-tanks-many-heavy-weapons-as-focus-shifts-to-lighter-littoral-forces

Pacman27
Pacman27
6 months ago

and that’s what the other $30bn can be spent on

all I ask is people read my comment.. the USMC has what it has, has more people than the entire UK force, better kit and more of it in several areas and does so for 50% of the UK;s budget

we can spend the other 50% on the stuff it doesn’t do and still have loads spare

Its an audited set of accounts and should be our benchmark…

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
6 months ago
Reply to  Pacman27

USMC budget was $47B in fiscal 2020 and $46B in fiscal 2021, that’s much more than 50% of UK defence spending. It also doesn’t include other assets like intelligence services or satellites; who knows how much else isn’t captured. Its apples to oranges.

Something different
Something different
6 months ago
Reply to  BobA

Depends on the strategic needs of the government. Personally I would have ditched as much light infantry as possible to be able to have 4-5 mechanised/armoured brigades (to kick the door in), an airborne brigade and a SF brigade (plus what ever tail required to sustain this). Plenty of infantry in NATO to cover commitments.

James
James
6 months ago

So embarrassing that Britain risks anger from Washington due to its army size , that’s how bad things have come when it comes to cutting military size and sucking up to the Americans, that it globally has become known as a British fetish. 70k army ? Even third world countries have more than that , some better armed than the British army. I smell corruption not affordability issue on this

Jonny
Jonny
6 months ago

What time is the defence white paper getting released?

Rob
Rob
6 months ago
Reply to  Jonny

16:30hrs is the statement. I guess the written paper will go online then.

dave12
dave12
6 months ago

Criminal decision, little Britain it is then not global Britain ,with troops being sent far away and over stretched to fit the global Britain narrative and the US have their hands in their hands.

dave12
dave12
6 months ago
Reply to  dave12

head* in their hands

John
John
6 months ago

Time to write to your MP’s.

Herodotus
Herodotus
6 months ago
Reply to  John

I would, unfortunately he can’t read as he is a baboon. It’s a Tory constituency and he got in on account of his arse being blue!

dan
dan
6 months ago

Boris is getting more and more like Merkel everyday. Ugh

Herodotus
Herodotus
6 months ago
Reply to  dan

Yes, the twin-set and pearls don’t suit him at all.

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 months ago
Reply to  dan

Leader of Europe?

Rob
Rob
6 months ago

So Mercian Regt lose a Btn. Rifles, PWRR, DLANCs lose a Btn to the Ranger Regt. Didn’t say if 3 GURKHAS or 1 R SCOTs makes up the fourth Btn. I suspect it will be 3 Gurkhas as with the independence thing they can’t cut another Scottish Regt.

Also armoured Bdes look like having Challenger 3 tanks, Ajax Recce and Boxer IFV, so no Warrior upgrade.

Worst is that we are only getting 48 F35Bs.

Have I got anything wrong?

Rob
Rob
6 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Just announced; 1 R SCOTs will become Ranger Regt.

Rob Collinson
Rob Collinson
6 months ago

What about JLTV? Ben Wallace said that the Snatch Landrover was a disaster. There is NO mention of the JLTV in the document. Does this mean we have withdrawn from this intended purchase?

Andy L
Andy L
6 months ago

Why is the Mercian regiment for the chop again? I thought the amalgamations that brought about the Mercians was to stop 1 battalion regiments in order to give better career opportunities for Officers and other ranks. The recruitment area whole of the midlands now will have only one local battalion, so Scotland can keep all their undermanned battalions. Turn 2 Mercian into a specialised battalion and chop a specialised battalion from Scotland or the Rifles both of which have numerous battalions