The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.
The modern British Army traces back to 1707, with an antecedent in the English Army that was created during the Restoration in 1660. The term British Army was adopted in 1707 after the Acts of Union between England and Scotland. Although all members of the British Army are expected to swear (or affirm) allegiance to Elizabeth II as their commander-in-chief, the Bill of Rights of 1689 requires parliamentary consent for the Crown to maintain a peacetime standing army. Therefore, Parliament approves the army by passing an Armed Forces Act at least once every five years. The army is administered by the Ministry of Defence and commanded by the Chief of the General Staff.
The British Army has seen action in major wars between the world's great powers, including the Seven Years' War, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War and the First and Second World Wars. Britain's victories in these decisive wars allowed it to influence world events and establish itself as one of the world's leading military and economic powers. Since the end of the Cold War, the British Army has been deployed to a number of conflict zones, often as part of an expeditionary force, a coalition force or part of a United Nations peacekeeping operation.
|Size||81,500 regulars [note 2]|
27,000 Army Reserve[note 3]
|Part of||British Armed Forces|
|Chief of the General Staff||Gen Sir Mark Carleton-Smith KCB CBE ADC Gen|
|Deputy Chief of the General Staff||Lt Gen Nicholas Pope CBE|
|Army Sergeant Major||WO1 Gavin Paton|
|War flag[note 4]|
Until the English Civil War, England never had a standing army with professional officers and careerist corporals and sergeants. It relied on militia organized by local officials, or private forces mobilized by the nobility, or on hired mercenaries from Europe. From the later Middle Ages until the English Civil War, when a foreign expeditionary force was needed, such as the one that Henry V of England took to France and that fought at the Battle of Agincourt (1415), the army, a professional one, was raised for the duration of the expedition.
During the English Civil War, the members of the Long Parliament realised that the use of county militia organised into regional associations (such as the Eastern Association), often commanded by local members of parliament (both from the House of Commons and the House of Lords), while more than able to hold their own in the regions which Parliamentarians controlled, were unlikely to win the war. So Parliament initiated two actions. The Self-denying Ordinance, with the notable exception of Oliver Cromwell, forbade members of parliament from serving as officers in the Parliamentary armies. This created a distinction between the civilians in Parliament, who tended to be Presbyterian and conciliatory to the Royalists in nature, and a corps of professional officers, who tended to Independent politics, to whom they reported. The second action was legislation for the creation of a Parliamentary-funded army, commanded by Lord General Thomas Fairfax, which became known as the New Model Army (originally new-modelled Army).
While this proved to be a war winning formula, the New Model Army, being organized and politically active, went on to dominate the politics of the Interregnum and by 1660 was widely disliked. The New Model Army was paid off and disbanded at the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660. For many decades the excesses of the New Model Army under the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell was a horror story and the Whig element recoiled from allowing a standing army. The militia acts of 1661 and 1662 prevented local authorities from calling up militia and oppressing their own local opponents. Calling up the militia was possible only if the king and local elites agreed to do so.
Charles II and his Cavalier supporters favoured a new army under royal control; and immediately after the Restoration began working on its establishment. The first English Army regiments, including elements of the disbanded New Model Army, were formed between November 1660 and January 1661 and became a standing military force for Britain (financed by Parliament). The Royal Scots and Irish Armies were financed by the parliaments of Scotland and Ireland. Parliamentary control was established by the Bill of Rights 1689 and Claim of Right Act 1689, although the monarch continued to influence aspects of army administration until at least the end of the nineteenth century.
After the Restoration Charles II pulled together four regiments of infantry and cavalry, calling them his guards, at a cost of £122,000 from his general budget. This became the foundation of the permanent English Army. By 1685 it had grown to 7,500 soldiers in marching regiments, and 1,400 men permanently stationed in garrisons. A rebellion in 1685 allowed James II to raise the forces to 20,000 men. There were 37,000 in 1678, when England played a role in the closing stage of the Franco-Dutch War. After William and Mary's accession to the throne England involved itself in the War of the Grand Alliance, primarily to prevent a French invasion restoring James II (Mary's father). In 1689, William III expanded the army to 74,000, and then to 94,000 in 1694. Parliament was very nervous, and reduced the cadre to 7000 in 1697. Scotland and Ireland had theoretically separate military establishments, but they were unofficially merged with the English force.
By the time of the 1707 Acts of Union, many regiments of the English and Scottish armies were combined under one operational command and stationed in the Netherlands for the War of the Spanish Succession. Although all the regiments were now part of the new British military establishment, they remained under the old operational-command structure and retained much of the institutional ethos, customs and traditions of the standing armies created shortly after the restoration of the monarchy 47 years earlier. The order of seniority of the most-senior British Army line regiments is based on that of the English army. Although technically the Scots Royal Regiment of Foot was raised in 1633 and is the oldest Regiment of the Line, Scottish and Irish regiments were only allowed to take a rank in the English army on the date of their arrival in England (or the date when they were first placed on the English establishment). In 1694, a board of general officers was convened to decide the rank of English, Irish and Scots regiments serving in the Netherlands; the regiment which became known as the Scots Greys were designated the 4th Dragoons because there were three English regiments raised prior to 1688, when the Scots Greys were first placed in the English establishment. In 1713, when a new board of general officers was convened to decide the rank of several regiments, the seniority of the Scots Greys was reassessed and based on their June 1685 entry into England. At that time there was only one English regiment of dragoons, and the Scots Greys eventually received the British Army rank of 2nd Dragoons.
After 1700 British continental policy was to contain expansion by competing powers such as France and Spain. Although Spain was the dominant global power during the previous two centuries and the chief threat to England's early transatlantic ambitions, its influence was now waning. The territorial ambitions of the French, however, led to the War of the Spanish Succession and the Napoleonic Wars.
Although the Royal Navy is widely regarded as vital to the rise of the British Empire, the British Army played an important role in the formation of colonies, protectorates and dominions in the Americas, Africa, Asia, India and Australasia. British soldiers captured strategically-important territories, and the army was involved in wars to secure the empire's borders and support friendly governments. Among these actions were the Seven Years' War, the American Revolutionary War, the Napoleonic Wars, the First and Second Opium Wars, the Boxer Rebellion, the New Zealand Wars, the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857, the first and second Boer Wars, the Fenian raids, the Irish War of Independence, interventions in Afghanistan (intended to maintain a buffer state between British India and the Russian Empire) and the Crimean War (to keep the Russian Empire at a safe distance by aiding Turkey). Like the English Army, the British Army fought the kingdoms of Spain, France (including the Empire of France) and the Netherlands for supremacy in North America and the West Indies. With native and provincial assistance, the army conquered New France in the North American theatre of the Seven Years' War and suppressed a Native American uprising in Pontiac's War. The British Army was defeated in the American Revolutionary War, losing the Thirteen Colonies but retaining The Canadas and The Maritimes as British North America.
The British Army was heavily involved in the Napoleonic Wars, participating in a number of campaigns in Europe (including continuous deployment in the Peninsular War), the Caribbean, North Africa and North America. The war between the British and the First French Empire of Napoleon Bonaparte stretched around the world; at its peak in 1813, the regular army contained over 250,000 men. A coalition of Anglo-Dutch and Prussian armies under the Duke of Wellington and Field Marshal von Blücher finally defeated Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815.
The English were involved politically and militarily in Ireland since receiving the Lordship of Ireland from the pope in 1171. The campaign of English republican Protector Oliver Cromwell involved uncompromising treatment of the Irish towns (most notably Drogheda and Wexford) which supported the Royalists during the English Civil War. The English Army (and the subsequent British Army) remained in Ireland primarily to suppress Irish revolts or disorder. In addition to its conflict with Irish nationalists, it was faced with the prospect of battling Anglo-Irish and Ulster Scots in Ireland who were angered by unfavourable taxation of Irish produce imported into Britain. With other Irish groups, they raised a volunteer army and threatened to emulate the American colonists if their conditions were not met. Learning from their experience in America, the British government sought a political solution. The British Army fought Irish rebels—Protestant and Catholic—primarily in Ulster and Leinster (Wolfe Tone's United Irishmen) in the 1798 rebellion.
In addition to battling the armies of other European empires (and its former colonies, the United States, in the War of 1812), the British Army fought the Chinese in the first and second Opium Wars and the Boxer Rebellion, Māori tribes in the first of the New Zealand Wars, Nawab Shiraj-ud-Daula's forces and British East India Company mutineers in the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857, the Boers in the first and second Boer Wars, Irish Fenians in Canada during the Fenian raids and Irish separatists in the Anglo-Irish War. The increasing demands of imperial expansion and the inadequacy and inefficiency of the underfunded British Army, Militia, Yeomanry and Volunteer Force after the Napoleonic Wars led to the late-19th-century Cardwell and Childers Reforms, which gave the army its modern shape and redefined its regimental system. The 1907 Haldane Reforms created the Territorial Force as the army's volunteer reserve component, merging and reorganising the Volunteer Force, Militia and Yeomanry.
Great Britain has been challenged by other powers, primarily the German Empire and the Third Reich during the 20th century. A century earlier it vied with Napoleonic France for global pre-eminence, and Hannoverian Britain's natural allies were the kingdoms and principalities of northern Germany. By the middle of the 19th century, Britain and France were allies in preventing Russia's appropriation of the Ottoman Empire (although the fear of French invasion led shortly afterwards to the creation of the Volunteer Force. By the first decade of the 20th century, the United Kingdom was allied with France (by the Entente Cordiale) and Russia (which had a secret agreement with France for mutual support in a war against the Prussian-led German Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire).
When the First World War broke out in August 1914 the British Army sent the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), consisting mainly of regular army troops, to France and Belgium. The fighting bogged down into static trench warfare for the remainder of the war. In 1915 the army created the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force to invade the Ottoman Empire via Gallipoli, an unsuccessful attempt to capture Constantinople and secure a sea route to Russia.
World War I was the most devastating in British military history, with nearly 800,000 men killed and over two million wounded. Early in the war, the BEF was virtually destroyed and was replaced first by volunteers and then a conscript force. Major battles included those at the Somme and Passchendaele. Advances in technology saw the advent of the tank (and the creation of the Royal Tank Regiment) and advances in aircraft design (including the creation of the Royal Flying Corps) which would be decisive in future battles. Trench warfare dominated Western Front strategy for most of the war, and the use of chemical weapons (disabling and poison gases) added to the devastation.
The Second World War broke out in September 1939 with the Russian and German Army's invasion of Poland. British assurances to the Poles led the British Empire to declare war on Germany. As in the First World War, a relatively-small BEF was sent to France and hastily evacuated from Dunkirk as the German forces swept through the Low Countries and across France in May 1940.
After the US entered the war and the British Army recovered from its earlier defeats, it defeated the Germans and Italians at the Second Battle of El Alamein in North Africa in 1942–1943 and helped drive them from Africa. It then fought through Italy and, with the help of American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, Indian and Free French forces, took part in the D-Day invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944; nearly half the Allied soldiers were British. In the Far East, the British Army rallied against the Japanese in the Burma Campaign and regained the British Far Eastern colonial possessions.
After the Second World War the British Army was significantly reduced in size, although National Service continued until 1960. This period saw decolonisation begin with the partition and independence of India and Pakistan, followed by the independence of British colonies in Africa and Asia. Although the British Army was a major participant in Korea in the early 1950s and Suez in 1956, during this period Britain's role in world events was reduced and the army was downsized. The British Army of the Rhine, consisting of I (BR) Corps, remained in Germany as a bulwark against Soviet invasion. The Cold War continued, with significant technological advances in warfare, and the army saw the introduction of new weapons systems. Despite the decline of the British Empire, the army was engaged in Aden, Indonesia, Cyprus, Kenya and Malaya. In 1982, the British Army and the Royal Marines helped liberate the Falkland Islands during the conflict with Argentina after that country's invasion of the British territory.
In the three decades following 1969, the army was heavily deployed in Northern Ireland's Operation Banner to support the Royal Ulster Constabulary (later the Police Service of Northern Ireland) in their conflict with republican paramilitary groups. The locally recruited Ulster Defence Regiment was formed, becoming home-service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment in 1992 before it was disbanded in 2006. Over 700 soldiers were killed during the Troubles. Following the 1994–1996 IRA ceasefires and since 1997, demilitarisation has been part of the peace process and the military presence has been reduced. On 25 June 2007 the 2nd Battalion of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment left the army complex in Bessbrook, County Armagh, ending the longest operation in British Army history.
The British Army contributed 50,000 troops to the coalition which fought Iraq in the Persian Gulf War, and British forces controlled Kuwait after its liberation. Forty-seven British military personnel died during the war.
The army was deployed to Yugoslavia in 1992. Initially part of the United Nations Protection Force, in 1995 its command was transferred to the Implementation Force (IFOR) and then to the Stabilisation Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (SFOR); the commitment rose to over 10,000 troops. In 1999, British forces under SFOR command were sent to Kosovo and the contingent increased to 19,000 troops. Between early 1993 and June 2010, 72 British military personnel died during operations in the former Yugoslavian countries of Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia.
Although there have been permanent garrisons in Northern Ireland throughout its history, the British Army was deployed as a peacekeeping force from 1969 to 2007 in Operation Banner. Initially, this was (in the wake of unionist attacks on nationalist communities in Derry and Belfast) to prevent further loyalist attacks on Catholic communities; it developed into support of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and its successor, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) against the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA). Under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, there was a gradual reduction in the number of soldiers deployed. In 2005, after the PIRA declared a ceasefire, the British Army dismantled posts, withdrew many troops and restored troop levels to those of a peacetime garrison.
Operation Banner ended at midnight on 31 July 2007 after about 38 years of continuous deployment, the longest in British Army history. According to an internal document released in 2007, the British Army had failed to defeat the IRA but made it impossible for them to win by violence. Operation Helvetic replaced Operation Banner in 2007, maintaining fewer service personnel in a more-benign environment. Of the 300,000 troops who served in Northern Ireland since 1969, there were 763 British military personnel killed and 306 killed by the British military, mostly civilians. An estimated 100 soldiers committed suicide during Operation Banner or soon afterwards and a similar number died in accidents. A total of 6,116 were wounded.
In November 2001, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom with the United States, the United Kingdom deployed forces in Afghanistan to topple the Taliban in Operation Herrick. The 3rd Division were sent to Kabul to assist in the liberation of the capital and defeat Taliban forces in the mountains. In 2006 the British Army began concentrating on fighting Taliban forces and bringing security to Helmand Province, with around 9,500 British troops (including marines, airmen and sailors) deployed at its peak—the second-largest force after that of the US. In December 2012 Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the combat mission would end in 2014, and troop numbers gradually fell as the Afghan National Army took over the brunt of the fighting. Between 2001 and 26 April 2014 a total of 453 British military personnel died in Afghan operations. Operation Herrick ended with the handover of Camp Bastion on 26 October 2014, but the British Army maintains a deployment in Afghanistan as part of Operation Toral.
In 2003 the United Kingdom was a major contributor to the invasion of Iraq, sending a force of over 46,000 military personnel. The British Army controlled southern Iraq, and maintained a peace-keeping presence in Basra. All British troops were withdrawn from Iraq by 30 April 2009, after the Iraqi government refused to extend their mandate. One hundred and seventy-nine British military personnel died in Iraqi operations. The British Armed Forces returned to Iraq in 2014 as part of Operation Shader to counter the Islamic State (ISIL).
The British Army maintains a standing liability to support the civil authorities in certain circumstances, usually in either niche capabilities (e.g. explosive ordance removal) or in general support of the civil authorities when their capacity is exceeded. In recent years this has been seen as army personnel supporting the civil authorities in the face of the 2001 United Kingdom foot-and-mouth outbreak, the 2002 firefighters strike, widespread flooding in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2014 and most recently supporting the security services in Operation Temperer following the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing.
The British Army has been a volunteer force since national service ended during the 1960s. Since the creation of the part-time, reserve Territorial Force in 1908 (renamed the Army Reserve in 2014) the full-time British Army has been known as the Regular Army. In January 2018 there were just over 81,500 trained Regulars and 27,000 Army Reservists.
Following the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2010 (SDSR) and the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 the British Army adopted an evolving structure (known as Army 2020 Refine) that would see the number of Regular personnel set at 82,000 and see an increase in the number of Reservists to 30,000. This would bring the ratio of regular to part-time personnel in line with the US and Canada and better integrate the Army Reserve into the Regular Army.
In addition to the active Regular and Reserve force all former Regular Army personnel may be recalled for duty if required (known as the Regular Reserve). The Regular Reserve has two categories: A and D. Category A is mandatory, with the length of time in the category dependent on time spent in Regular Army service. Category D is voluntary, and consists of personnel who are no longer required to serve in category A. Regular Reserves in both categories serve under a fixed-term reserve contract and may report for training or service overseas and at home, similar to the Army Reserve. In 2007, there were 121,800 Regular Reserves, of which 33,760 served in categories A and D. Beginning in April 2013, the full Regular Reserve strength was no longer reported—only those serving in categories A and D (30,000 in 2015).
The table below illustrates British Army personnel figures from 1710 to 2015. The Army Reserve (Territorial Army) was established in 1908.
|British Army strength[note 5]|
|Year||Regular Army||Year||Regular Army||Year||Regular Army||Army Reserve||Total|
|1730||20,000||1830||106,000||1945||3,120,000||Included in Regular||3,120,000|
The British Army's basic infantry weapon is the L85A2 or L85A3 assault rifle, sometimes equipped with an L17A2 under-barrel grenade launcher or other attachments with the Picatinny rail. The rifle has several variants, including the L86A2, the Light Support Weapon (LSW) and the L22A2 carbine (issued to tank crews). These weapons are usually equipped with iron sights or an optical SUSAT, although optical sights have been purchased to supplement these.
Support fire is provided by the FN Minimi light machine gun and the L7 general-purpose machine gun (GPMG), and indirect fire is provided by L16 81mm mortars. The L129A1 sharpshooter rifle was brought into service during the war in Afghanistan to meet an urgent operational requirement. Sniper rifles include the L118A1 7.62 mm, L115A3 and the AW50F, all manufactured by Accuracy International. Other weapons, such as the L128A1 (Benelli M4) combat shotgun, may be temporarily used.
The army's main battle tank is the Challenger 2. It is supported by the Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle as the primary armoured personnel carrier and the many variants of the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) and the FV430 series, which had its engines and armour upgraded as the Bulldog. Light armoured units often utilise the Supacat "Jackal" MWMIK and Coyote for reconnaissance and fire support.
The army has three main artillery systems: the Multi Launch Rocket System (MLRS), the AS-90 and the L118 light gun. The MLRS, first used in Operation Granby, has an 85-kilometre (53 mi) range. The AS-90 is a 155 mm self-propelled armoured gun with a 24-kilometre (15 mi) range. The L118 light gun is a 105 mm towed gun used in support of 16 Air Assault Brigade, 3 Commando Brigade of the Royal Marines and the Adaptive Force. To identify artillery targets, the army operates weapon locators such as the MAMBA Radar and utilises artillery sound ranging. For air defence it uses the Short-Range Air Defence (SHORAD) Rapier FSC missile system, widely deployed since the Falklands War, and the Very Short-Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) Starstreak HVM (high-velocity missile) launched by a single soldier or from a vehicle-mounted launcher.
Where armour is not required or mobility and speed are favoured the British Army utilises protected patrol vehicles, such as the Panther variant of the Iveco LMV, the Foxhound, and variants of the Cougar family (such as the Ridgeback, Husky and Mastiff). For day-to-day utility work the army commonly uses the Land Rover Wolf, which is based on the Land Rover Defender.
Specialist engineering vehicles include bomb-disposal robots and the modern variants of the Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers, including the Titan bridge-layer, Trojan combat-engineer vehicle, Terrier Armoured Digger and Python Minefield Breaching System. Day-to-day utility work uses a series of support vehicles, including six-, nine- and fifteen-tonne trucks (often called "Bedfords", after a historic utility vehicle), heavy-equipment transporters (HET), close-support tankers, quad bikes and ambulances. Tactical communication uses the Bowman radio system, and operational or strategic communication is controlled by the Royal Corps of Signals.
The Army Air Corps (AAC) provides direct aviation support, with the Royal Air Force providing support helicopters. The primary attack helicopter is the Westland WAH-64 Apache, a licence-built, modified version of the US AH-64 Apache which replaced the Westland Lynx AH7 in the anti-tank role. Other helicopters include the Westland Gazelle (a light surveillance aircraft), the Bell 212 (in jungle "hot and high" environments) and the AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat, a dedicated intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) helicopter. The Eurocopter AS 365N Dauphin is used for special operations aviation, and the Britten-Norman Islander is a light, fixed-wing aircraft used for airborne reconnaissance and command and control. The army operates two unmanned aerial vehicles ('UAV's) in a surveillance role: the small Lockheed Martin Desert Hawk III and the larger Thales Watchkeeper WK450.
|Afghanistan||2015||Operation Toral: The army maintains a deployment of 500 personnel in support of NATO's Resolute Support Mission.|
|Iraq||2014||Operation Shader: The army has personnel stationed in Iraq as part of the ongoing military intervention against ISIL, primarily to assist in the training of Iraqi security forces. With other elements of the British Armed Forces, there were 275 army personnel in 2016.|
|Cyprus||1964||Operation Tosca: There were 275 troops deployed as part of the UNFICYP in 2016.|
|Sierra Leone||1999||International Military Assistance Training Team: The British Army were deployed to Sierra Leone for Operation Palliser in 1999, under United Nations resolutions, to aid the government in quelling violent uprisings by militiamen. Troops remain in the region to provide military support and training to the Sierra Leone government. British troops also provided support during the 2014 West African Ebola virus epidemic.|
|Baltic states||2017||NATO Response Force: The British Army will deploy up to 800 troops in 2017 as part of its commitment to NATO to counter perceived Russian aggression against the Baltic states.|
|Belize||1949||British Army Training and Support Unit Belize: British troops were based in Belize from 1949 to 1994. Belize's neighbour, Guatemala, claimed the territory and there were a number of border disputes. At the request of the Belize government, British troops remained in Belize after independence in 1981 as a defence force. Although the main training unit was meant to be mothballed after the Strategic Defence and Security Review, in 2015 it continued to be in use.|
|Bermuda||1701||Royal Bermuda Regiment: Colonial Militia and volunteers existed from 1612 to 1816. The regular English Army, then British Army, Bermuda Garrison was first established by an Independent Company in 1701. Locally recruited reserve units, the Bermuda Militia Artillery (BMA) and Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps (BVRC) were raised again from 1894. After the Royal Naval Dockyard was redesignated a naval base in 1951, the army garrison was closed in 1957, leaving only the part-time BMA and BVRC (renamed Bermuda Rifles in 1949). All regular army personnel other than members of the Permanent Staff of the local Territorials were withdrawn. Home defence has been provided by the Royal Bermuda Regiment since the 1965 amalgamation of the BMA and Bermuda Rifles.|
|Brunei||1962||British Forces Brunei: One battalion of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, British Garrison, Training Team Brunei (TTB) and 7 Flight AAC. A Gurkha battalion has been maintained in Brunei since the Brunei Revolt in 1962 at the request of Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin III. Training Team Brunei (TTB) is the Army's jungle-warfare school, and a small number of garrison troops support the battalion. 7 Flight AAC provides helicopter support to the Gurkha battalion and TTB.|
|Canada||1972||British Army Training Unit Suffield: A training centre in Alberta prairie for the use of British Army and Canadian Forces under agreement with the government of Canada. British forces conduct regular, major armoured training exercises every year, with helicopter support provided by 29 (BATUS) Flight AAC.|
|Cyprus||1960||Two resident infantry battalions, Royal Engineers and Joint Service Signals Unit at Ayios Nikolaos as part of British Forces Cyprus. The UK retains two Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus after the rest of the island's independence, which are forward bases for deployments to the Middle East. Principal facilities are Alexander Barracks at Dhekelia and Salamanca Barracks at Episkopi.|
|Falkland Islands||1982||Part of British Forces South Atlantic Islands: The British Army contribution consists of an infantry company group and an Engineer Squadron. Previously, a platoon-sized Royal Marines Naval Party was the military presence. After the war in 1982 between Argentina and the UK, the garrison was enlarged and bolstered with a base at RAF Mount Pleasant on East Falkland.|
|Germany||1945–2020||Part of British Forces Germany: Home of the 1st (UK) Armoured Division. British forces remained in Germany after the end of the Second World War. The forces were reduced considerably after the end of the Cold War and in October 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron announced large cuts in defence; all UK troops currently in Germany will leave by 2020.|
|Gibraltar||1704||Part of British Forces Gibraltar: A British Army garrison is provided by an indigenous regiment, the Royal Gibraltar Regiment.|
|Kenya||2010||British Army Training Unit Kenya: The army has a training centre in Kenya, under an agreement with the Kenyan government, which provides training facilities for three infantry battalions per year.|
Army Headquarters is located in Andover, Hampshire. The army's structure is broadly similar to the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, in that the four-star (general-equivalent) field commands have been eliminated. Under the Army 2020 Command structure, the Chief of the General Staff is in charge of Army Headquarters. There are four lieutenant-general posts in Army headquarters: the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, the Commander Field Army, the Commander Home Command and the Commander Allied Rapid Reaction Corps. Army Headquarters is responsible for providing forces at operational readiness for employment by the Permanent Joint Headquarters.
The command structure is hierarchical, with divisions and brigades controlling groups of units. Major units are regiment/battalion-sized, and minor units are company-sized units (or platoons). All units are Regular (full-time) or Army Reserve (part-time).
Naming conventions of units differ for historical reasons, creating some confusion; the term "battalion" in the infantry is synonymous with a cavalry, artillery or engineer regiment, and the infantry "company" is synonymous with an engineer or cavalry squadron and an artillery battery. The table below illustrates the different names for equivalent units.
|Infantry||Cavalry and Engineers||Artillery|
|Regiment (two or more battalions grouped for administration)||No equivalent||No equivalent|
Adding to the confusion is the tendency of units (again for historical reasons) to misuse titles for larger administrative structures. Although the Royal Artillery consists of 13 Regular regiments (equivalent to infantry battalions), it calls itself the Royal Regiment of Artillery when referring to the units as a whole. The Royal Logistic Corps and Intelligence Corps are not corps-sized, but corps in this instance are administrative branches consisting of several battalions or regiments.
The field forces of the British Army after the Army 2020 reforms are organised in garrison as:
For operational tasks the most common unit is the battlegroup, formed around a combat unit and supported by units (or sub-units) from other areas. An example of a battlegroup in the Reactive Force (e.g. the 1st Brigade) would be two companies of armoured infantry (e.g. from the 1st Battalion of the Mercian Regiment), one squadron of heavy armour (e.g. A Squadron of the Royal Tank Regiment), a company of engineers (e.g. B Company of the 22nd Engineer Regiment), a battery of artillery (e.g. D Battery of the 1st Regiment of the Royal Horse Artillery) and smaller attachments from medical, logistic and intelligence units. Typically organised and commanded by a battlegroup headquarters and named after the unit which provided the most combat units, in this example it would be the 1 Mercian Battlegroup). This creates a self-sustaining mixed formation of armour, infantry, artillery, engineers and support units, typically 600 to 1,000 soldiers commanded by a lieutenant colonel.
The table below demonstrates how three or four battlegroups make up a brigade and three or four brigades make up a division. A division is currently the largest unit the British Army is capable of deploying independently, although it could be grouped with three or four other divisions from a multi-national coalition to form a corps.
|Type of unit||Division||Brigade||Battlegroup||Battalion, Regiment||Company, Squadron||Platoon, Troop||Section||Fire Team|
|Contains||3 brigades||3–4 battalions (battlegroups)||Combined arms unit||4–6 companies||3 platoons||3 sections||2 fire teams||4 individuals|
|Commanded by||Maj-Gen||Brig||Lt Col||Lt Col||Maj||Capt, Lt or 2nd Lt||Cpl||LCpl|
The British Army contributes two of the three special forces formations to the United Kingdom Special Forces directorate: the Special Air Service and Special Reconnaissance Regiments. The Special Air Service consists of one regular-army and two reserve regiments. The regular regiment, 22 SAS, has its headquarters and depot in Hereford and consists of five squadrons (A, B, D, G and Reserve) and a training wing. 22 SAS is supported by two reserve regiments: 21 SAS and 23 SAS—collectively, the Special Air Service (Reserve) (SAS [R])—under the command of the 1st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Brigade.
The Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR), formed in 2005, performs close reconnaissance and special surveillance tasks. The Special Forces Support Group, under the operational control of the Director of Special Forces, provides operational manoeuvring support to the United Kingdom Special Forces.
The British Army historically included many units from what are now separate Commonwealth realms. When the English Empire was established in North America, Bermuda, and the West Indies in the early Seventeenth Century there was no standing English Army, only the Militia, and this was extended to the colonies. Colonial Militias defended colonies single-handedly at first against Indigenous peoples and European competitors. Once the standing English Army, later the British Army, came into existence, the colonial Militias fought side-by-side with it in a number of wars, including the Seven Years' War. Some of the colonial Militias rebelled during the American War of Independence. Militia fought alongside the regular British Army (and Native allies) in defending British North America from their former countrymen during the American War of 1812. With the growth of the Empire around the world, Non-European (i.e., non-white, except for officers) units were recruited in many colonies and protectorates, but most were deemed auxiliaries and not part of the British Army. The West India Regiments were an exception, as they were fully incorporated into the British Army, but were kept outside of Europe and non-whites were denied commissions. Locally raised units in strategically-located colonies (including Bermuda, Gibraltar, Malta) and the Channel Islands were generally more fully integrated into the British Army as evident from their appearances in British Army Lists, unlike units such as King's African Rifles. The larger colonies (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, et cet.) mostly achieved Commonwealth Dominion status before or after the First World War and were granted granted full legislative independence in 1931. While remaining within the British Empire, this placed their governments on a par with the British Government, and hence their military units comprised separate armies (e.g. the Australian Army), although Canada retained the term Militia for its military forces until the Second World War. From the 1940s, these Dominions and many colonies chose full independence, usually becoming Commonwealth realms (as member states of the Commonwealth are known today).
Units raised in self-governing and Crown colonies that are part of the British Realm remain under UK control. The UK retains responsibility for the defence of the fourteen remaining British Overseas Territories, of which four have locally raised regiments:
Although the army primarily recruits within the United Kingdom, it accepts applications from Commonwealth citizens and (occasionally) those from friendly nations who meet certain criteria. In 2016, it was decided to open all roles to women in 2018; women had not previously been permitted to join the Combat Arms. The British Army is an equal-opportunity employer (with some exceptions due to its medical standards), and does not discriminate based on race, religion or sexual orientation.
The minimum age is 16 (after the end of GCSEs), although soldiers under 18 may not serve in operations. The maximum recruitment age is 35 years and 6 months, and the maximum age for Army Reserve soldiers is 49 years old, as of November 2018. A soldier would traditionally enlist for a term of 22 years, although recently there has been a shift towards 12-year terms with a 22-year option. A soldier is not normally permitted to leave until they have served for at least four years, and must give 12 months' notice.
I, [soldier's name], swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors and that I will as in duty bound honestly and faithfully defend Her Majesty, her heirs and successors in person, crown and dignity against all enemies and will observe and obey all orders of Her Majesty, her heirs and successors and of the generals and officers set over me.
Others replace the words "swear by Almighty God" with "solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm".
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) is the officer-training school, and Royal School of Artillery (RSA) trains the Royal Artillery. Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME) trains the Corps of Royal Engineers.
The Army Training Regiment, Grantham provides training for Army Reserve recruits, and the Army Training Regiment, Pirbright provides training for the Army Air Corps, the Royal Artillery, the Royal Corps of Signals, the Royal Logistic Corps, the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, the Adjutant General's Corps, the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Intelligence Corps. The Army Training Regiment, Winchester trains the Royal Armoured Corps, the Army Air Corps, the Royal Artillery, the Royal Engineers, the Royal Corps of Signals, the Royal Logistic Corps, the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, the Adjutant General's Corps, the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Intelligence Corps.
There is an Infantry Training Centre at Catterick and an Infantry Battle School in Brecon. Other training centres are the Army Foundation College (Harrogate) and Army Training Units.
The army's official flag is the 3:5 ratio Union Jack, although a non-ceremonial flag flies at the Ministry of Defence building in Whitehall and is often used at recruiting and military events and exhibitions. It represents the army on the Cenotaph at Whitehall in London, the UK memorial to its war dead. Each British Army unit has a set of flags, known as the colours—normally a Regimental Colour and a Queen's Colour (the Union Jack).
|NATO code||OF-10||OF-9||OF-8||OF-7||OF-6||OF-5||OF-4||OF-3||OF-2||OF-1||OF(D)||Student officer|
| United Kingdom
|Field marshal[note 6]||General||Lieutenant-general||Major-general||Brigadier||Colonel||Lieutenant-colonel||Major||Captain||Lieutenant||Second lieutenant||Officer cadet|
|Abbreviation:||FM||Gen||Lt Gen||Maj Gen||Brig||Col||Lt Col||Maj||Capt||Lt||2Lt||OCdt|
203Rank in abeyance.
| United Kingdom
|No equivalent||No insignia|
|Warrant officer class 1||Warrant officer class 2||Staff/Colour sergeant||Sergeant||Corporal||Lance corporal||Private|
Each regiment and corps has distinctive insignia, such as a cap badge, beret, tactical recognition flash or stable belt. Many units also call soldiers of different ranks by different names; a NATO OR-1 (private) is called a guardsman in Guards regiments, a gunner in artillery units and a sapper in engineer units. These names do not affect a soldier's pay or role.
The British Army uniform has sixteen categories, ranging from ceremonial uniforms to combat dress to evening wear. No. 8 Dress, the day-to-day uniform, is known as "Personal Clothing System – Combat Uniform" (PCS-CU) and consists of a Multi-Terrain Pattern (MTP) windproof smock, a lightweight jacket and trousers with ancillary items such as thermals and waterproofs. The army has introduced tactical recognition flashes (TRFs); worn on the right arm of a combat uniform, the insignia denotes the wearer's regiment or corps.
In addition to working dress, the army has a number of parade uniforms for ceremonial and non-ceremonial occasions. The most-commonly-seen uniforms are No.1 Dress (full ceremonial, seen at formal occasions such as at the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace) and No.2 Dress (Service Dress), a brown khaki uniform worn for non-ceremonial parades.
It is generally accepted that the regular standing army in Britain was officially created – in the sense of being fully accommodated within parliamentary control in 1689, although it is, strictly speaking, only correct to refer to the British army from the Act of Union with Scotland in 1707.
The first standing Army for Britain, a force of some 5,000 men on the English establishment, was formed at the Restoration in 1660–61. Separate forces were maintained on the Scottish and Irish establishments.
After the Restoration there were separate English, Scottish (until 1707) and Irish (until 1800) military establishments, reflecting the national revenue from which a military unit was maintained. In operational and administrative matters all three combined into a single formation. From 1688, the description 'British' army is both convenient and accurate.
The Army Reserve is the active-duty volunteer reserve force and integrated element of the British Army. It should not be confused with the Regular Reserve whose members have formerly served full-time. The Army Reserve was previously known as the Territorial Force from 1908 to 1921, the Territorial Army (TA) from 1921 to 1967, the Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve (TAVR) from 1967 to 1979, and again the Territorial Army (TA) from 1979 to 2014.
The Army Reserve was created as the Territorial Force in 1908 by the Secretary of State for War, Richard Haldane, when the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907 combined the previously civilian-administered Volunteer Force, with the mounted Yeomanry (at the same time the Militia was renamed the Special Reserve). Most Volunteer infantry units had unique identities, but lost these in the reorganisation, becoming Territorial battalions of Regular Army infantry regiments. Only one infantry unit, the London Regiment, has maintained a separate identity.
Its original purpose was home defence, although the establishment of the Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve in 1967 involved a restructuring and revised doctrine leading to the provision of routine support for the regular army overseas. Reservists in the past also served as constables or bailiffs, even holding positions of civic duty as overseer of their parish. The more modern Yeomen of the 18th century were cavalry-based units, which were often used to suppress riots (see the Peterloo Massacre). Several units that are now part of the Army Reserve bear the title "militia", reflecting their origins as part of that organisation prior to the formation of the Special Reserve in 1907.
During periods of total war, the Army Reserve is incorporated by the Royal Prerogative into Regular Service under one code of Military Law for the duration of hostilities or until de-activation is decided upon. After the Second World War, for example, the Army Reserve – or Territorial Army as it was known then – was not demobilised until 1947. Army Reservists normally have a full-time civilian job or career, which in some cases provides skills and expertise that are directly transferable to a specialist military role, such as NHS employees serving in Reservist Army Medical Services units. All Army Reserve personnel have their civilian jobs protected to a limited extent by law should they be compulsorily mobilised. There is, however, no legal protection against discrimination in employment for membership of the Army Reserve in the normal course of events (i.e. when not mobilised).Brigadier (United Kingdom)
Brigadier (Brig) is a senior rank in the British Army and the Royal Marines. Brigadier is the superior rank to colonel, but subordinate to major-general. It corresponds to the Rank of brigadier general in many other nations.
The rank has a NATO rank code of OF-6, placing it equivalent to the Royal Navy commodore and the Royal Air Force air commodore ranks and the brigadier general (1-star general) rank of the United States military and numerous other NATO nations.British Army of the Rhine
There have been two formations named British Army of the Rhine (BAOR). Both were originally occupation forces in Germany, one after the First World War, and the other after the Second World War.British Army officer rank insignia
Listed in the table below are the insignia—emblems of authority—of the British Army. Badges for field officers were first introduced in 1810 and the insignia was moved to the epaulettes in 1880. On ceremonial or parade uniforms these ranks continue to be worn on the epaulettes, either as cloth slides or as metal clips, although on the modern 'working dress' (daily uniform) they are usually worn as a cloth slide on the chest. Although these insignia apply across the British Army there is variation is the precise design and colours used and it can take some time to become familiar with them all.
Officers in the ranks of lieutenant and second lieutenant are often referred to as subalterns and these and captains are also referred to as company officers. Brigadiers, colonels, lieutenant colonels and majors are field officers. All above these are considered to be of general officer rank.
For a short period, the British Army used the rank of sub-lieutenant, before that was changed to second lieutenant.British Army other ranks rank insignia
The term used to refer to all ranks below officers is "other ranks" (abbreviated "ORs"). It includes warrant officers, non-commissioned officers ("NCOs") and ordinary soldiers with the rank of private or regimental equivalent. Officers may, in speaking, distinguish themselves from those "in the ranks".Captain (British Army and Royal Marines)
See Captain (armed forces) for other versions of this army and marines rank.Captain (Capt) is a junior officer rank of the British Army and Royal Marines and in both services it ranks above lieutenant and below major with a NATO ranking code of OF-2. The rank is equivalent to a lieutenant in the Royal Navy and to a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force. The rank of captain in the Royal Navy is considerably more senior (equivalent to the Army/RM rank of colonel) and the two ranks should not be confused.
In the 21st-century British Army, captains are often appointed to be second-in-command of a company or equivalent sized unit of up to 120 soldiers.Colonel (United Kingdom)
Colonel (Col) is a rank of the British Army and Royal Marines, ranking below brigadier, and above lieutenant colonel. British colonels are not usually field commanders; typically they serve as staff officers between field commands at battalion and brigade level. The insignia is two diamond-shaped pips (properly called "Bath Stars") below a crown. The crown has varied in the past with different monarchs; the current Queen's reign has used St Edward's Crown. The rank is equivalent to captain in the Royal Navy and group captain in the Royal Air Force.Ensign (rank)
Ensign (, Late Middle English, from Old French enseigne (12c.) "mark, symbol, signal; flag, standard, pennant", from Latin insignia (plural)) is a junior rank of a commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries, normally in the infantry or navy. As the junior officer in an infantry regiment was traditionally the carrier of the ensign flag, the rank acquired the name. This rank has generally been replaced in army ranks by second lieutenant. Ensigns were generally the lowest ranking commissioned officer, except where the rank of subaltern existed. In contrast, the Arab rank of ensign, لواء, liwa', derives from the command of units with an ensign, not the carrier of such a unit's ensign, and is today the equivalent of a major general.
In Thomas Venn's 1672 Military and Maritime Discipline in Three Books, the duties of ensigns are to include not only carrying the colour but assisting the captain and lieutenant of a company and in their absence, have their authority."Ensign" is enseigne in French, and chorąży in Polish, each of which derives from a term for a flag. The Spanish alférez and Portuguese alferes is a junior officer rank below lieutenant associated with carrying the flag, and so is often translated as "ensign". Unlike the rank in other languages, its etymology has nothing to do with flags, but instead comes from the Arabic for "cavalier" or "knight". Fähnrich in German comes from an older German military title, Fahnenträger (flag bearer); however, it is an officer cadet rank, not a junior officer - the same applies to the Dutch vaandrig, which has a parallel etymology. In the German Landsknecht armies (c. 1480), the equivalent rank of a Cornet existed for those men who carried the troop standard (known as a "cornet"). It is still used in the artillery and cavalry units of the Netherlands (kornet).
The NATO rank code is OF-1 (junior).Field marshal (United Kingdom)
Field Marshal has been the highest rank in the British Army since 1736. A five-star rank with NATO code OF-10, it is equivalent to an Admiral of the Fleet in the Royal Navy or a Marshal of the Royal Air Force in the Royal Air Force (RAF). A Field Marshal's insignia consists of two crossed batons surrounded by yellow leaves below St Edward's Crown. Like Marshals of the RAF and Admirals of the Fleet, Field Marshals traditionally remain officers for life, though on half-pay when not in an appointment. The rank has been used sporadically throughout its history and was vacant during parts of the 18th and 19th centuries (when all former holders of the rank were deceased). After the Second World War, it became standard practice to appoint the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (later renamed Chief of the General Staff) to the rank on his last day in the post. Army officers occupying the post of Chief of the Defence Staff, the professional head of all the British Armed Forces, were usually promoted to the rank upon their appointment.In total, 141 men have held the rank of field marshal. The majority led careers in the British Army or the British Indian Army, rising through the ranks to eventually become a field marshal. Some members of the British Royal Family—most recently Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, and Charles, Prince of Wales—were promoted to the rank after shorter periods of service. Three British monarchs—George V, Edward VIII, and George VI— assumed the rank on their accessions to the throne, while Edward VII was already a field marshal, and two British consorts—Albert, Prince Consort and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh—were appointed by their respective queens. Other ceremonial appointments were made as diplomatic gestures. Twelve foreign monarchs held the honour, though three (Wilhelm II, German Emperor; Franz Joseph I, Austrian Emperor; and Hirohito, Emperor of Japan) were stripped of it when their countries became enemies of Britain and her allies in the two world wars. Also awarded the rank were one Frenchman (Ferdinand Foch) and one Australian (Sir Thomas Blamey), honoured for their contributions to World War I and World War II respectively, and one foreign statesman (Jan Smuts).A report commissioned by the Ministry of Defence in 1995 made a number of recommendations for financial savings in the armed forces' budget, one of which was the abolition of the five-star ranks. Part of the rationale was that these ranks were disproportionate to the size of the forces commanded by these officers and that none of the United Kingdom's close allies, such as the United States (which reserves the rank of general of the army for officers who have commanded large armies in major wars), used such ranks. The recommendation was not taken up in full, but the practice of promoting service chiefs to five-star ranks was stopped and the ranks are now reserved for special circumstances. Sir Peter Inge was, in 1994, the last active officer to be promoted to the rank. Inge relinquished the post of Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) in 1997 and his successor, Sir Charles Guthrie, was the first officer not to be promoted upon appointment as CDS.The most recent promotions to field marshal came in 2012, eighteen years after the moratorium on routine promotions to the rank, when Queen Elizabeth II promoted Prince Charles, her son and heir apparent, to the five-star ranks in all three services, in recognition of support provided for her in her capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces. At the same time, Guthrie, who relinquished the post of CDS and retired from active service in 2001, was promoted to honorary field marshal. In June 2014 former Chief of the Defence Staff Lord Walker of Aldringham was also promoted to honorary field marshal.Although the rank of field marshal is not used in the Royal Marines, the insignia is used on the uniform of the Captain General, the ceremonial head of the corps (equivalent to colonel-in-chief).General (United Kingdom)
General (or full general to distinguish it from the lower general officer ranks) is the highest rank currently achievable by serving officers of the British Army. The rank can also be held by Royal Marines officers in tri-service posts, for example, General Sir Gordon Messenger the Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff. It ranks above lieutenant-general and, in the Army, is subordinate to the rank of field marshal, which is now only awarded as an honorary rank. The rank of general has a NATO-code of OF-9, and is a four-star rank. It is equivalent to a full admiral in the Royal Navy or an air chief marshal in the Royal Air Force.
Officers holding the ranks of lieutenant-general and major-general may be generically considered to be generals.Grenadier Guards
The Grenadier Guards (GREN GDS) is an infantry regiment of the British Army. It can trace its lineage back to 1656.Gurkha
The Gurkhas or Gorkhas () with endonym Gorkhali (Nepali: गोरखाली) are soldiers native to the Indian subcontinent of Nepalese nationality and ethnic Nepalis of Indian nationality recruited for the British Army, Nepalese Army, Indian Army, Gurkha Contingent Singapore, Gurkha Reserve Unit Brunei, UN peacekeeping force and war zones around the world. Historically, the terms "Gurkha" and "Gorkhali" were synonymous with "Nepali", which originates from the hill principality Gorkha Kingdom, from which the Kingdom of Nepal expanded under Prithivi Narayan Shah. The name may be traced to the medieval Hindu warrior-saint Guru Gorakhnath who has a historic shrine in Gorkha. The word itself derived from "Go-Raksha" (Nepali: गोरक्षा), "raksha" becoming "rakha" (रखा). "Rakhawala" means "protector" and is derived from "raksha" as well.
There are Gurkha military units in the Nepalese, British and Indian armies enlisted in Nepal, United Kingdom and India. Although they meet many of the requirements of Article 47 of Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions regarding mercenaries, they are exempt under clauses 47(e) and (f) similarly to the French Foreign Legion.Gurkhas are closely associated with the khukuri, a forward-curving Nepali knife, and have a reputation for fearless military prowess. Former Indian Army Chief of Staff Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw once stated that: "If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or he is a Gurkha."Lieutenant-general (United Kingdom)
Please see "lieutenant general" for other countries which use this rankLieutenant general (Lt Gen), formerly more commonly lieutenant-general, is a senior rank in the British Army and the Royal Marines. It is the equivalent of a multinational three-star rank; some British lieutenant generals sometimes wear three-star insignia, in addition to their standard insignia, when on multinational operations.
Lieutenant general is a superior rank to major general, but subordinate to a (full) general. The rank has a NATO rank code of OF-8, equivalent to a vice-admiral in the Royal Navy and an air marshal in the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the air forces of many Commonwealth countries.
The rank insignia for both the Army and the Royal Marines is a crown over a crossed sabre and baton. Since the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the St Edward's Crown, commonly known as the Queen's Crown, has been depicted. Prior to 1953, the Tudor Crown, commonly known as the King's Crown was used.Lieutenant (British Army and Royal Marines)
Lieutenant (UK: ; Lt) is a junior officer rank in the British Army and Royal Marines. It ranks above second lieutenant and below captain and has a NATO ranking code of OF-1 and it is the senior subaltern rank. Unlike some armed forces which use first lieutenant, the British rank is simply lieutenant, with no ordinal attached. The rank is equivalent to that of a flying officer in the Royal Air Force (RAF). Although formerly considered senior to a Royal Navy (RN) sub-lieutenant, the British Army and Royal Navy ranks of lieutenant and sub-lieutenant are now considered to be of equivalent status. The Army rank of lieutenant has always been junior to the Navy's rank of lieutenant.
In the 21st-century British Army, the rank is ordinarily held for up to three years. A typical appointment for a lieutenant might be the command of a platoon or troop of approximately thirty soldiers.Before 1871, when the whole British Army switched to using the current rank of "lieutenant", the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers and Fusilier regiments used "first lieutenant" and "second lieutenant".Lieutenant colonel (United Kingdom)
See Lieutenant colonel for other countries which use this rankLieutenant colonel (Lt Col), is a rank in the British Army and Royal Marines which is also used in many Commonwealth countries. The rank is superior to major, and subordinate to colonel. The comparable Royal Navy rank is commander, and the comparable rank in the Royal Air Force and many Commonwealth air forces is wing commander.
The rank insignia in the British Army and Royal Marines, as well as many Commonwealth countries, is a crown above a 4 pointed "Bath" star, also colloquially referred to as a "pip". The crown has varied in the past with different monarchs; the current one being the Crown of St Edward. Most other Commonwealth countries use the same insignia, or with the state emblem replacing the crown.
In the modern British Armed forces, the established commander of a regiment or battalion is a lieutenant colonel.
From 1 April 1918 to 31 July 1919, the Royal Air Force maintained the rank of lieutenant colonel. It was superseded by the rank of wing commander on the following day.Major-general (United Kingdom)
Major general (Maj Gen), is a "two-star" rank in the British Army and Royal Marines. The rank was also briefly used by the Royal Air Force for a year and a half, from its creation to August 1919. In the British Army, a major general is the customary rank for the appointment of division commander. In the Royal Marines, the rank of major general is held by the Commandant General.
A major general is senior to a brigadier but subordinate to lieutenant general. The rank has a NATO rank code of OF-7, equivalent to a rear admiral in the Royal Navy or an air vice-marshal in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many Commonwealth countries.
The rank insignia is the star (or 'pip') of the Order of the Bath, over a crossed sword and baton.
In terms of orthography, compound ranks were invariably hyphenated, prior to about 1980. Nowadays the rank is almost equally invariably non-hyphenated.. When written as a title, especially before a person's name, both words of the rank are always capitalised, whether using the "traditional" hyphenated style of, say, the two World Wars, or the modern un-hyphenated style. When used as common nouns, they might be written in lower-case: "Major-General Montgomery was one of several major-generals to be promoted at this time."Major (United Kingdom)
Major (Maj) is a military rank which is used by both the British Army and Royal Marines. The rank is superior to captain, and subordinate to lieutenant colonel. The insignia for a major is a crown. The equivalent rank in the Royal Navy is lieutenant commander, and squadron leader in the Royal Air Force.Royal Artillery
The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery (RA) and colloquially known as "The Gunners", is the artillery arm of the British Army. The Royal Regiment of Artillery comprises thirteen Regular Army regiments, King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery and five Army Reserve regiments.Scots Guards
The Scots Guards (SG), is one of the Foot Guards regiments of the British Army. Their origins lie in the personal bodyguard of King Charles I of England and Scotland. Its lineage can be traced back to 1642, although it was only placed on the English Establishment (thus becoming part of what is now the British Army) in 1686.
Headquarters: Main Building, Whitehall
Divisions of the British Army
|Maritime land forces|
|Air force land forces|
Armies (land forces) in Europe