The 1st Battalion Scots Guards have been shaking down their tactics, techniques and procedures and getting back to their more familiar role having spent much of the past six months supporting the United Kingdoms battle with the coronavirus pandemic.

The British Army say the Scots Guards have just spent a week on manoeuvres across Salisbury Plain on Exercise TARTAN STRIKE.

Devised by Major Charlie Turner, the Officer in Command of the Battalion’s Right Flank Company, the exercise was designed to test the Guardsmen in their mechanised infantry capacity; or to put it simply, how to go into battle and assault the enemy from their armoured fighting vehicles.

“Exciting times lay ahead for the battalion as it is earmarked to be in the vanguard of the British Army’s new concept of developing strike brigades and will look to re-equip with state-of-the-art new armoured vehicles to replace the Mastiffs, Huskies and Jackals they currently operate.”

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Good stuff from the Scots Guards, well done.

I’d love to know how many commonwealth soldiers each regiment has? Some regiments seem get a battalion cut (like 2RRF) who have a good recruiting record and some seem to maintain strength but are populated by soldiers recruited outside the UK.

What is going on here?

Daniele Mandelli

I assume by “some regiments” you mean the RRS ones? It has been well publicised that the Scots regiments have quite a few Commonwealth soldiers compared to some English ones.

Some suggest it is political and HMG do not want the flak at losing a Scots formation yet happily lose the likes of 2 RRF, which as you say was not short, from what I read. I don’t know the truth of that,mind.


Reports previously have said that SG are up to 40% undermanned. So if Commonwealth recruits want to join then good luck to them.
But its surely not HMGs fault if this particular regiment is failing to get recruits from Scotland itself. I believe quite a few English recruits join there.

But I guess there are a few reasons.

Daniele Mandelli

Yes, I have no issue with Commonwealth recruits, in any Regiment.
But it did seem curious that 2 RRF was disbanded with a healthy recruitment situation where’s other struggling units were spared, as Rob pointed out.


Im guessing that it’s the issue of cap badges. There is a big regiment with Fusilier in its name so one battalion goes to keep say Scots Guard badge.

I would recreate more cap badges, but make the battalion smaller and link them to coherent ‘brigades’ that themselves would be flexible in how/why they are composed. I mean, not every ‘regiment’ would be active in the ‘brigade’… may be rest or training.

I hope the gist of my idea/point gets across.



That is exactly how the infantry used to be organised in the 50’s & 60’s. For example the Home Counties Brigade was made up of the Middlesex Regt, Royal Surrey Regt, The Buffs, Royal Kent Regt & Royal Sussex Regt before they were amalgamated into the Queens Regt which was then amalgamated with the Royal Hamps to form the present PWRR.


Yes. Although i was not thinking necessarily of regional units.
I do not suggest recreating ALL cap badges of course… But if say 2 smaller regiments, from say a group of 4 or 5, were regularly available, this would in effect produce equivalent of 1 large (or more) current regiment. Plus a further 1 extra added for a specific purpose. All ‘brigades’ would train and recruit together. Furthermore, could territorials not link more closely with these ‘brigades’?

Nevertheless, I hope my drift is of use and interest.


Sorry I’m having difficulty parsing that. Are you suggesting changing the regiment from an administrative grouping to a combat command?


The existing battalions restructured into slightly smaller units and create & renew new ‘regiments’ and cap badges all to retain tradition . These units to be linked as 3 to 5 (?) together in a ‘brigade’. Im not saying that all units would be active at the same time within the brigade, they could be training or whatever. Obviously, part of a regiment could linked to a full regiment if necessary on an operation, not least because of the ethos of the parent brigade. And the brigade could still have all its necessary regular supporting services. Put simply I am… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

What is interesting is that I have read similar suggestions coming from the army talking of a British “Corps” of 3 Divisions.
At the moment fantasy, but if the Divisions, Brigades, and component Regiments and Battalions are smaller then a possibility.
Especially if there are more unmanned systems bulking it out.


Bulked up with firepower… and mobility… and yes autonomous firepower.

But I do accept that boots are needed.

I mainly suggest that traditional regiments can be ‘rescued’. But there remains the concept of a flexible ‘brigade’ which works as one with its strength composed as is suitable/available with these regiments.


Sorry that doesn’t really answer my question. The regiment in the British army is not a combat formation, it’s an admininstrative formation in charge of managing soldiers careers In terms of combat command the Regiment doesn’t factor into it at all besides as a form of moral and ethos. Currently the way it works is: Multiple Battalions form a Brigade, these usually generate a Battlegroup for operations (being established usually by drawing on the Company within the Battlegroups that’s on the relevant readyness state), or (in the case of 3 Div) the Brigade on high readyness can be generated. The… Read more »


I know all that.


Okay. Forgive me but from your comments it really doesn’t seem like you did.
*edit* Again reading what you wrote it does seem you are advocating what is done already to form battlegroups but want to make it a bit more confusing by calling companies “battalions” and battlegroups “brigades.”

Last edited 4 months ago by Dern

Fine. I think my developing thread was clear enough however, and I don’t want to make a meal of it, but… I dont see the point of these artificial administrative large so called regiments. I am just suggesting like-minded single battalion regiments, smaller so to recreate cap badges, and organised into a flexible tactical unit called a brigade, a brigade suited to its size composition and purpose. Such regiments and brigades would have an ethos and esprit … and hopefully suitable recruitment … which these admin large so called regiments don’t really have. (In my opinion of course!!) I believe… Read more »


It’s because a soldiers and officers career from start to finish can not be managed within a small battalion. Once you go beyond Cpl/Captain there is a tendency for soldiers to be posted to other battalions within the regiment in order for their career to progress. Combined with E-Postings it reduced the need for soldiers to sit in PID’s for long periods of time waiting for a position to free up and promote into. I’d disagree, I’ve spend time in “large adminstrative regiments” and the ones I’ve been in have had some excellent regimental pride (not to mention that the… Read more »


Yes. Thats fine. My thoughts were eg not suggesting officers stay in one regiment/battalion.
The Rifles and the long list of its original regiments are a good example of ethos and history.

And indeed is a de facto ‘brigade’ a battle group, or is a de facto ‘battle group’ a brigade as I hint.


No because there already is a brigade that is a different thing from a battlegroup. Nomenclature is already complicated enough without further duplicating words to mean two different things. A brigade is a brigade, a battlegroup is a battlegroup. Lets keep it at that.


Quite a few commonwealth lads in most Regiments, was a period when the RLC had about 18% commonwealth soldiers, and actually were told to slow it down. Plenty of rugby crazy Fijian lads in a few sporty Battalions and Regiments, ie rugby! The Scottish Regiments, certainly late 90s and early naughties were so undermanned they recruited plenty of commonwealth soldiers. As for now, with a smaller and smaller Army, it would be interesting to know how much we rely on the commonwealth. Cheers.



I’ve got absolutely no problem with commonwealth lads, especially if they help the Army win the Navy rugby match. Just think that:

  1. Some Regiments & Battalions are getting the short straw and being withdrawn from the front line for ‘political reasons’ rather than recruiting problems.
  2. As much as I like Fijians etc, there does become a point when the British Army is no longer British.

I was about to post that some regiments go beyond the commonwealth – my nephew in HCR trained with some camerooni recruits. I then looked it up and saw that Cameroon joined the commonwealth in 1995 – which i found surprising. Cameroon is unique in so far as it is a francophone country. I suspect the French also recruit from Cameroon

700 Glengarried Men

Problems with recruitment in Scotland can be laid at the door of the local authorities who won’t let the recruitment teams on their property or events


I thought the RM were supposed to get the HK416/417? Maybe I was thinking of another unit.


Oops. My bad. I didn’t read the title of the article.