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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The armed forces of the United Kingdom are known as the British Armed Forces or Her Majesty's Armed Forces, sometimes legally the armed forces of the Crown. Their Commander-in-Chief is the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II and they are managed by the Defence Council of the Ministry of Defence. The British Armed Forces are charged with protecting the United Kingdom and its overseas territories, promoting Britain's wider security interests, and supporting international peacekeeping efforts. They are active and regular participants in NATO and other coalition operations.
British military history is long, complex and greatly influential in world history, especially since the 17th Century. Important conflicts in which the British took part include the Seven Years' War and the Napoleonic Wars of the 18th Century/early 19th Century, the Crimean War of the mid 19th Century, and the First and Second World Wars of the 20th Century. The British Empire, which reached its apogee in the 1920s, was the largest empire in history; a quarter of the world's population were subjects of the British Crown and it controlled a quarter of the world's total land area. Since the end of the Second World War, British forces have continued to be very active and bases remain spread out across the globe in places such as Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Germany, Gibraltar, Brunei and the Falkland Islands. The current structure of defence management in the United Kingdom was set in place in 1964 when the modern day Ministry of Defence (MoD) was created (an earlier form had existed since 1940). The MoD assumed the roles of the Admiralty, the War Office and the Air Ministry.
The United Kingdom fields one of the most powerful, technologically advanced and comprehensive armed forces in the World. Its global power projection capabilities are deemed second only to those of the United States Military. The UK has the 2nd to 4th highest military expenditure in the world (depending on source), despite only having the 28th highest number of troops. It is also the second largest spender on military science, engineering and technology. Despite Britain's wide ranging capabilities, recent defence policy has a stated assumption that any large operation would be undertaken as part of a coalition. Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq (Granby, Desert Fox and Telic) may all be taken as precedent - indeed the last large scale military action in which the British armed forces fought alone was the Falklands War of 1982. The Royal Navy is the second largest navy in the world in terms of gross tonnage, with 90 commissioned ships. The Naval Service (which comprises the Royal Navy and Royal Marines) had a strength of 35,470 in July 2006 and is charged with custody of the United Kingdom's independent strategic nuclear deterrent consisting of four Trident missile submarines, while the Royal Marines provide commando units for amphibious assault and for specialist reinforcement forces in and beyond the NATO area. The British Army had a reported strength of 100,010 in July 2006 and as of 2006 9.0% of the regular Armed Forces were women. The Royal Air Force had a strength of 45,210. This puts the total number of regular Armed Forces personnel at 180,690 (not including civilians). This number is supported by
reserve forces, including over 35,000 from the Territorial Army. The total number of serving personnel, including reserve forces, is therefore in the region of 225,000 (taking into account Navy, Marines and Air Force reserves).
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Naval Service Royal Navy Royal Marines British Army Territorial Army Royal Air Force
The British Army is the land armed forces branch of the British Armed Forces. It came into being with unification of the governments and armed forces of Scotland and England into the United Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated existing English and Scottish regiments, and was controlled from London. As of 2006, the British Army includes roughly 107,730 active members and 38,460 Territorial Army members, and is considered one of the most disciplined, well-trained, and technologically advanced forces of its kind. The British Army is deployed in many of the world's war zones as part of a fighting force and in United Nations peacekeeping forces. From around 1763 until at least 1914, the United Kingdom was the dominant military and economic power of the world. The British Empire expanded in this time to include colonies, protectorates, and Dominions throughout the Americas, Africa, Asia and Australasia, and while the Royal Navy is widely regarded as having been vital for the rise of Empire, the British Army played important roles in colonisation, including garrisoning the colonies, capturing strategically important territories and participating in actions to pacify colonial borders, support allied governments, and suppress Britain's rivals. Among these actions were the Seven Years' War, the American War of Independence, the Napoleonic Wars, the First and Second Opium Wars, the Boxer Rebellion, the New Zealand Wars, the Indian Mutiny, the First and Second Boer Wars, the Fenian raids, the Anglo-Irish War, serial interventions into Afghanistan, the Crimean War, World War I, World War II, the Falklands War, the two Gulf Wars - Operation Granby and Operation Telic - and the Iraq War. In contrast to the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force, the British Army does not include "Royal" in its title, because of its roots as a collection of disparate units, many of which do bear the "Royal" prefix.
The Battle of Waterloo, one of the greatest victories in British military history
The British Army came into being with the merger of the Scottish Army and the English Army, following the unification of the two countries' parliaments and the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. Although England had made many earlier claims to sovereignty in Scotland, there
had been no unified British state prior to that time (other than a brief period during which the Roman province of Britain had achieved political independence-although even that had failed to establish complete control over the north of the island). The new British Army incorporated existing English and Scottish regiments, and was controlled from London. From roughly 1763 until at least 1914, the United Kingdom was the dominant military and economic power of the world. The British Empire expanded in this time to include colonies, protectorates, and Dominions throughout the Americas, Africa, Asia and Australasia. Although the Royal Navy is widely regarded as having been vital for the rise of Empire, and British dominance of the world, the British Army played important roles in colonisation. First, the British Army provided garrisons for the colonies, protecting them against foreign powers and hostile natives. Second, the troops also helped capture strategically important territories for the British, allowing the British Empire to expand throughout the globe. The Army also involved itself in numerous wars meant to pacify the borders, or to prop-up friendly governments, and thereby keep other, competitive, empires away from the British Empire's borders. Notable amongst these were its serial interventions into Afghanistan, which were meant to maintain a friendly buffer state between British India and the Russian Empire. Keeping the Russian Empire at a safe distance was also one of Britain's motivations for coming to Turkey's aid in the Crimean War. As had its predecessor, the English Army, in building the Empire, the British Army fought Spain, France, and the Netherlands for supremacy in North America and the West Indies. It also battled many Native American nations and groups, including the many disgruntled former allies who launched Pontiac's War in response to the wave of British settlers that flooded over the Appalachians following the defeat of France in the Seven Years' War. The British Government's attempt to mollify the Natives by delineating the Appalachians as the westward limit for European settlement was the primary motivator of the American colonies in launching the secessionist American War of Independence. The British Army fought American colonists and their Native and French allies in that war. The British army was heavily involved in the Napoleonic Wars in which the army served from Spain across to Europe to North Africa in the South. The British Army finally came to defeat Napoleon at one of Britain's greatest military victories at the battle of Waterloo.
The Battle of Rorke's Drift in which 11 VC's were awarded to British troops
Under Oliver Cromwell, the English Army had been active in the re-conquest, and the settlement, of Ireland since the 1650s. It (and subsequently, the British Army) have been almost continuously involved in Ireland ever since, primarily in suppressing numerous native revolts and guerilla and terrorist campaigns. It was faced with the prospect of battling British settlers in Ireland, who had raised their own volunteer army and threatened to emulate the American colonists if their conditions (primarily concerning freedom of trade) were not met, but the British Government acceded to these demands. The British Army still found itself fighting Irish rebels (Wolfe Tone's United Irishmen) in the unrelated, Napoleon-supported 1798 rebellion. In addition to battling the armies of other European Empires' (and of its former colonies, the United States, in the American War of 1812,) in the battle for global supremacy, the British Army fought the Chinese in the First and Second Opium Wars, and the Boxer Rebellion; Mā tribes in the first of the ori New Zealand Wars; Indian princely forces and British East India Company mutineers in the Indian Mutiny; 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. Following 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 Mary's father, James II. Following the 1707 union of England and Scotland, and then the 1801 creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, British foreign policy, on the continent, was to contain expansion by its competitor powers such as France and Spain. The territorial ambitions of the French led to the War of the Spanish Succession and the Napoleonic Wars. Russian activity led to the Crimean War.
British Mark One Tank during World War I
Great Britain's dominance of the world had been challenged by numerous other powers, notably Germany. The UK was allied with France (by the Entente Cordiale) and Russia, and when war broke out in 1914, the British Army sent the British Expeditionary Force to France and Belgium to prevent Germany from occupying these countries. The War would be the most devastating in British military history, with near 800,000 men killed and over 2 million wounded. In the early part of the war, the professional force of the BEF was decimated and, by turns, a volunteer (and then conscripted) force replaced it. Major battles included the Battle of the Somme. Advances in technology saw British advent of the tank and advances in aircraft design which were to be decisive in future battles. Trench warfare dominated strategy, and the use of chemical and poison gases added to the devastation.
In 1939, World War II broke out with the German invasion of Poland. British assurances to the Polish led the British Empire to declare war on Germany. Again an Expeditionary Force was sent to France, only to be hastily evacuated as the German forces swept through the Low Countries and across France in 1940. Only the Dunkirk evacuations saved the entire Expeditionary Force from capture. Later, however, the British would have success defeating the Italians and Germans at the Battle of El Alamein in North Africa, and in the D-Day invasions of Normandy. In the Far East, the British Army battled the Japanese in Burma. World War II saw the British army develop its Commando units including the Special Air Service. During the war the British army was one of the major fighting forces on the side of the allies. After the end of World War II, the British Empire declined with the independence of India, and other colonies in Africa and Asia. Accordingly the strength of the British military was reduced, in recognition of Britain's reduced role in world affairs. However, a large deployment of British troops remained in Germany, facing the threat of Soviet invasion. The Cold War saw massive technological advances in warfare, and the Army saw more technological advanced weapons systems installed. Despite the decline of the British Empire, the Army was still deployed around the world, fighting in the Korean War, the Suez crisis of 1956, and colonial wars in Oman and Malaysia. In 1982 the British Army, alongside the Royal Marines, helped to recapture the Falkland Islands during the Falklands War against Argentina. In the three decades following 1969, the Army was heavily deployed in Northern Ireland, to support the Royal Ulster Constabulary (later the Police Service of Northern Ireland) in their conflict with loyalist and republican paramilitary groups. This is called Operation Banner. The locally-recruited Ulster Defence Regiment was formed, later becoming the Royal Irish Regiment in 1992. Over 700 soldiers were killed during the Troubles. Following the IRA ceasefires between 1994 and 1996 and since 1997, demilitarisation has taken place as part of the peace process, much reducing the military presence in the area.
The ending of the Cold War saw a 40% cut in manpower. Despite this, the Army has been deployed in an increasingly global role. In 1991, the United Kingdom was the second largest contributor (after the USA) to the coalition force that fought Iraq in the Gulf War. The nation supplied just under 50,000 personnel and was the nation put in control of Kuwait after it was liberated.
The British Army was deployed to Yugoslavia in 1992. Initially this force formed part of the United Nations Protection Force. In 1995 command was transferred to IFOR and then to SFOR. Currently troops are under the command of EUFOR. Over 10,000 troops were sent. In 1999 British forces under the command of SFOR were sent to Kosovo during the conflict there. Command was subsequently transferred to KFOR.
In 2001 The Parachute Regiment were deployed in Kabul, Afghanistan to assist in the liberation of the troubled capital. Royal Marines Commandos also swept the Afghan mountains but this force is part of the Royal Navy. The British Armed forces are currently in charge of UN forces in the nation. The British Army is today concentrating on fighting Taliban forces and bringing security to Helmand province under NATO control
In 2003, the United Kingdom was the only other major contributor to the United States-led invasion of Iraq. There was great disagreement amongst the populace but the government voted for the war, with the result of sending over 10,000 army personnel to the region. The British Army is still the major coalition presence in the city of Basra and the Southern regions of Iraq.
The British Army has been deployed in this troubled part of the UK under Operation Banner since 1969 in support of the RUC and now the PSNI. There has been a reduction in the number of troops deployed in Northern Ireland since the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998. In 2005, after the IRA announced an end to armed conflict in Northern Ireland, it was revealed that the British Army would dismantle posts in the province and withdraw many troops and restore troop levels to that of a peace time garrison. Officially Operation Banner will end on 1 August 2007, making it the longest military operation in the history of the British Army, at 35-years-old.
The legend of Tommy Atkins
The nickname for a British soldier for several centuries was 'Tommy Atkins' or 'Tommy' for short. Present day soldiers are called 'Toms' or just 'Tom' within the services. Outside the services soldiers are generally known as 'Squaddies'. The British Army magazine Soldier has a regular cartoon strip, 'Tom', featuring the everyday life of a British soldier. Officers in the army are generally known (behind their backs) as 'Ruperts' by the Other ranks.
The Challenger 2 the British Army's Main Battle Tank
British Army statistics Personnel (Regular Army) Personnel (Territorial Army) Main Battle Tanks Infantry fighting vehicles 107,730 38,460 386 Challenger 2 667 Warrior (789 purchased)
APCs and reconnaissance vehicles 3,230–4,000+ Land Rover Wolf Pinzgauer Utility Trucks Artillery pieces and mortar Air Defence Aircraft 15,000 2,000 2,300 2,896 337 300+
'High Intensity' Operations
British troops have been based in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion there in 2001. Currently, under Afghanistan 2001– 5,000 troops Operation Herrick, the Army maintains a battalion in Kabul and most of a brigade in the southern province of Helmand.
As part of Operation Telic (Gulf War 2), the British Army participated in the invasion of Iraq. Following the decision for continued security operations, the UK commands the Multi-National Division (South-East) with a headquarters unit, National Support Element, 2003– 8,500 troops and a combat brigade (at the moment 7 Armoured Brigade), along with troops from Italy, Norway, Romania, Denmark, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Portugal, and Lithuania. A large number of Territorial Army soldiers have been used for a variety of tasks, both as individuals serving and as formed units.
'Low Intensity' Operations
One light-role infantry 1995– battalion (on rotation)
British troops are based in Bosnia as peacekeepers under UN Security Council resolutions.
Two resident infantry battalions, Royal 1960– Engineers, 16 Flight Army Air Corps and Joint Service Signals Unit at Ayios Nikolaos as a part
The UK retains two Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus after the island's independence. The bases serve as forward bases for deployment in the Middle East. British forces are also deployed separately with
of British Forces Cyprus
An infantry company Falkland 1982– group and an Engineers Islands Squadron
Constant occupation since 1833, except brief period in 1982 when Argentina invaded. Previously a platoon-sized Royal Marines Naval Party served as garrison. After 1982 the garrison was enlarged, and bolstered with an RAF base.
Gibraltar 1704– One infantry battalion
British Army garrison is provided by an indigenous regiment, the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, which has been on the Army regular establishment since the last British regiment left in 1991.
1999 3,500 troops
After the Kosovo War in 1999, the British Army led the NATO deployment in Kosovo to restore peace to the province. Since then, the UK has withdrawn some forces, as other nations provided troops.
Rest of the Middle 1990 3,700 troops East
Since the Gulf War 1 in 1991, the UK has had a considerable military presence in the Middle East. Besides Iraq, there are also an additional 3,500 troops in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, as well as regular training missions in Oman.
1999 around 100
The British Army were deployed to Sierra Leone, a former British colony, in 1999 to aid the government in quelling violent uprisings by militiamen, under United Nations resolutions. Troops remain in the region to provide military support and training to the Sierra Leone government.
Northern 1969– 11,000 troops Ireland
Operation Banner is the army's back-up role first to the Royal Ulster Constabulary and then to the Police Service of Northern
Ireland. Re-deployed in large numbers from 14 August 1969 after civil disorder. They were initially welcomed by the nationalist community as protectors but most eventually came to oppose their presence especially after Operation Demetrius (internment) and Bloody Sunday, when members of the Parachute Regiment shot dead 14 civilians. The army became involved in a conflict with the PIRA, smaller republican splinter groups and loyalist terrorists. 763 soldiers have been killed in Northern Ireland since 1969, mostly in Belfast and Armagh. Counter-terrorist experience in Northern Ireland later proved useful in Iraq. Operation Banner will end on the 1 August 2007.
British troops have been based in Belize since British Army Training the country gained independence from the UK and Support Unit in 1981. Until 1994 Belize's neighbour, 1981– Belize and 25 Flight Guatemala claimed the territory, and British Army Air Corps troops were based in Belize to provide a deterrent force
One battalion from the Royal Gurkha Rifles, British Garrison, Brunei 1962– Training Team Brunei (TTB) and 7 Flight Army Air Corps
A Gurkha battalion has been maintained in Brunei since the troubles in 1962 at the request of Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin III. The Training Team Brunei is the Army's jungle warfare school, while the small number of garrison troops support the battalion. 7 Flight Army Air Corps supports both the Gurkha battalion and the TTB.
British Army Training Training centre in the Alberta prairie. Regular Canada 1972– Unit Suffield exercises every year.
1st (UK) Armoured Division as part of Germany 1945– British Forces Germany
British forces remained in Germany after the end of World War II. Forces declined considerably after the end of the Cold War, although the lack of accommodation in the UK means forces will continue to be based in Germany.
The Army has a training centre in Kenya, British Army Training under agreement with the Kenyan and Liaison Staff government. It provides training facilities for Kenya three infantry battalions per year
The basic infantry weapons of the British Army is the SA80 assault rifle family, with several variants such as the L86A2 Light Support Weapons and the short stock variant, issued to tank crews. The general issue sidearm is the Browning L9A1, though a search is currently underway to find a replacement for the L9A1. Indirect fire is provided by the Minimi machine gun, 51 and 81mm Mortar, the L7 GPMG, as well as the RGGS, mounted under the barrel of the SA80 rifle. Sniper rifles used include the L96A1 7.62mm, the L115A1 and the AW50F, all produced by Accuracy International. In addition, some units use the L82A1 .50 calibre Barrett sniper rifle. The British Army commonly uses the Land Rover Wolf and Land Rover Defender, with the Challenger 2 as its Main Battle Tank. The Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle is the primary APC, although many variants of the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) are used, as well as the Saxon APC and FV430 series. The Army uses three main artillery systems; the MLRS, which debuted in Operation Granby and has a range of 30;nbsp;km, the AS-90, a self-propeeled howitzer, and the L118, a 105 mm towed gunhowitzer, used primarily by lighter units as well as the Royal Marines The Rapier FSC Missile System is the Army's primary battlefield air defense system, widely deployed since the Falklands War, and the Starstreak HVM is an anti-aircraft missile, launched either by a single soldier or from a vehicle mounted launcher. The Starstreak is the British equivalent of the American FIM-92 Stinger
The Army Air Corps (AAC) provide direct support for the Army, although the RAF also assist in this role. The primary attack helicopter is the Westland WAH-64 Apache, a license built modified version of the AH-64 Apache that will replace the Westland Lynx in an anti tank role. The Westland Lynx performs several roles including tactical transport, armed escort, reconnaissance and evacuation as well as anti-tank warfare; it can carry eight TOW missiles. The Bell 212 is used as a utility and transport helicopter, with a crew of two and a transport capacity of twelve troops. The Westland Gazelle helicopter is a light helicopter primarily used for battlefield scouting and control of artillery and aircraft. The Britten-Norman Islander is a light aircraft used for airborne reconnaissance and command, primarily in Northern Ireland. Firearms L85A2 5.56mm IW L86A2 5.56mm LSW L110A1 5.56mm SAW L9A1 Browning L7A2 7.62mm GPMG L96A1 7.62mm L115A1 8.6mm LRR Aircraft Apache AH.Mk.1 Gazelle AH.Mk.1 Lynx AH.Mk.7 Bell 212 Britten-Norman Islander Agusta A109 Logistics DROPS Land Rover (TUL/TUM) ATMP Armour FV4043 Challenger 2 MBT Warrior IFV CVR(T) FV432 APC
Artillery AS-90 155mm Self-Propelled Gun MLRS L118 Light Gun Rapier FSC Missile System Starstreak HVM L121 Field Howitzer
Electronics & Comms MSTAR Bowman Skynet 5 Spyglass Thermal Imager Cobra Artillery Location Radar
Formation and structure
The structure of the British Army is complex, due to the different origins of its various constituent parts. It is broadly split into the Regular Army (full-time soldiers and units) and the Territorial Army (parttime soldiers and units). In terms of its military structure it has two parallel organisations, one administrative and one operational. Administrative: Corps, which is a grouping by common function, such as Royal Corps of Signals.
Divisions administrating all military units, both Regular and TA, within a geographical area. Brigade in a non fighting capacity Regiment, which is a grouping of battalions most commonly found in the Infantry. It is also the correct name for the Corps sized grouping of Artillery regiments. Operational: The three major commands are Land Command, Headquarters Adjutant General, and Headquarters Northern Ireland. Corps made up of two or more Divisions (now unlikely to be used due to the size of the British Army.) Division made up of two or three Brigades with an HQ element and support troops. Commanded by a General Brigade made up of three Battalions an HQ element and associated support troops. Commanded by a Brigadier Battalion of about 700 soldiers, made up of five companies commanded by a Lieutenant-Colonel or: Battlegroup. This is a mixed formation of armour, infantry, artillery, engineers and support units, and its structure is task specific. It is formed around the core of either an armoured regiment or infantry battalion, and has other units added or removed from it as necessary. A battlegroup will typically consist of between 600 and 700 soldiers under the command of a Lt. Colonel. Company of about 100 soldiers, typically in three platoons, commanded by a Major. Platoon of about 30 soldiers, commanded by a Second Lieutenant or Lieutenant. Section of about 8 to 10 soldiers, commanded by a Corporal. A number of element of the British Army use alternative terms for Battalion, Company and Platoon. These include the Royal Armoured Corps,Royal Corps of Engineers, Royal Logistics Corps, and the Royal Corps of Signals who use Regiment, Squadron and Troop. The Royal Regiment of Artillery are unique in using the term Regiment in place of both Corps and Battalion, they also replace Company with Battery and Platoon with Troop.
The British Army is heavily in co-operation with the Royal Air Force for air support but the army also has its own Army Air Corps. The AAC has in its arsenal: - Westland Apache Helicopters - Westland Lynx Helicopters - Westland Gazelle Helicopters - Bell 212 Helicopters - Britten-Norman Islander Aircraft - Agusta A109
The British army contributes two of the three special forces formations within the United Kingdom Special Forces Command; the Special Air Service Regiment and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment. The largest and most famous formation is the The Special Air Service Regiment. Formed in 1941, the SAS is seen by many as the role model for every other special force in the world. The SAS comprises one regular Regiment and two Territorial Army Regiments and is headquartered at Duke of York Barracks, London. The regular regiment, 22 SAS Regiment has its headquarters and depot are located in Hereford and consists of five squadrons: A, B, D, G and Reserve and a training wing. The regiment has battlespace roles in deep reconnaissance, target identification and indication and target destruction and denial. In its Counter Terrorism role it is seen as one of the prime anti-terrorist, hostage rescue and target capture units in the world The two reserve SAS regiments; 21 SAS Regiment and 23 SAS Regiment have a more limited role, focusing on the battlespace rather than Counter Terrorism. The Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) which was formed in 2005, from existing assets, to undertake close reconnaissance and surveillance tasks.
Formed around 1st Battalion the Parachute Regiment, with attached Royal Marines and Royal Air Force asssets, the Special Forces Support Group are under the Operational Control of Director Special Forces to provide Infantry support to the elements of United Kingdom Special Forces
The Army mainly recruits within the United Kingdom, and normally has a recruitment target of around 25,000 soldiers per year. Low unemployment in Britain has resulted in the Army having difficulty in meeting its target, and in the early years of the 21st century there has been a marked increase in the number of recruits from other (mostly Commonwealth) countries, who as of mid-2004 comprised approximately 7.5% of the Army's total strength. By 2005 this number had risen to almost 10%. There were 6,460 foreign soldiers from 54 countries in the Army (not counting over 3,000 Nepalese Gurkhas). After Nepal, the nation with most citizens in the British Army is Fiji, with 1,965, followed by Jamaica with 975; soldiers also come from more prosperous countries such as Australia and South Africa (650) (However, recent proposals by the South African government may in future bar South African citizens from serving within the militaries of foreign states. The British government has appealed against this move). The Caribbean island of St Lucia, which has a population of just over 150,000, provides 220 soldiers. There has been a strong and continuing tradition of recruiting from Ireland including what is now the Republic of Ireland. Almost 150,000 Irish soldiers fought in the First World War; 49,000 died. More than 60,000 Irishmen, more than from Northern Ireland, also saw action in the Second World War; like their compatriots in the Great War, all were volunteers. There were more than 400 men serving from the Republic in 2003.
Oath of allegiance
All soldiers must take an oath of allegiance upon joining the Army, a process known as "attestation". Those who believe in God use the following words: I 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".
Flags and ensigns
Flag Ratio: 3:5. The official flag of the Army.
The non-ceremonial flag of the British Army. Sometimes the word "Army" in gold letters appears below the badge.
The British Army does not have its own specific ensign, unlike the Royal Navy, which uses the White Ensign, and the RAF, which uses the Royal Air Force Ensign. Instead, the Army has different flags and ensigns, for the entire army and the different regiments and corps. The official flag of the Army as a whole is the Union Flag, flown in ratio 3:5. A non-ceremonial flag also exists, which is used at recruiting events, military events and exhibitions. Whilst at war, the Union Flag is always used, and this flag represents the Army on the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London (the UK's memorial to war dead). A British Army ensign also exists for vessels commanded by a commissioned officer, the Blue Ensign defaced with the Army badge. However, there are currently no commissioned vessels in the Army. Each line regiment (except the Rifle Regiments) also has its own flags, known as the Colours - the Regimental Colour and the Queen's Colour. These colours have been taken into battle in the past and serve as a great sense of pride to the regiment. There is great variation in the different regimental colours. Typically the colour has the regiment's badge in the centre.
Royal Navy and RAF infantry units
The other services have their own infantry-like units which are not part of the British Army. The Royal Marines are amphibious light infantry forming part of the Royal Navy, and the Royal Air Force has the RAF Regiment used for airfield defence and force protection duties.
Overseas Territories Military Units
Numerous military units were raised historically in British territories, including self-governing and Crown colonies, and protectorates. Few of these have appeared on the Army List, and their relationship to the British Army has been ambiguous. Whereas Dominions, such as Canada and Australia, raised their own armies, Crown possessions (like the Channel Islands), and colonies (now called Overseas Territories) were, and are, legally part of the UK, and their defence remains the responsibility of the National (ie., United Kingdom) government. All military forces of overseas territories are, therefore,
under the direct command of the UK Government, via the local Governor and Commander-In-Chief. Many of the units in colonies, or former colonies, were also actually formed at the behest of the UK Government as it sought to reduce the deployment of the British Army on garrison around the world at the latter end of the 19th Century. Today, three overseas territories retain locally-raised military units, Bermuda, Gibraltar, and the Falkland Islands. The units are patterned on the British Army, are subject to review by the Ministry Of Defence, and are ultimately under the control of the UK Government, not the local governments of the Territories (though day-to-day control may be delegated to Ministers of the territorial governments). Despite this, the units may have no tasking or funding from the MOD, and are generally raised under acts of the territorial assemblies.
Structure of the British Army
At the top level, the structure of the British Army is headed by two main administrative top-level budgets - Land Command and the Adjutant-General. These are responsible for providing operational capability to the Permanent Joint Headquarters, which is responsible for the command of all operations. There are also two other significant headquarters, Headquarters Northern Ireland, and British Forces Cyprus. The command structure forms a hierarchy. Formations (divisions, and brigades) control groupings of units. Major Units are battalion- or regiment-sized units. Minor Units are smaller units, which may either be independent or part of a battalion or regiment. Units may be either Regular (full-time) or Territorial Army (part-time volunteers). The naming conventions of units differ across the army for historical reasons - for example, an infantry battalion is equivalent to a cavalry regiment. An infantry regiment is an administrative and ceremonial organisation only, and can include several battalions.
Land Command, headquartered at Wilton, has two main subdivisions, Field Army and Regional Forces. Commander Field Army commands 1 Division, 3 Division, Theatre Troops, and Director General Training Support. Commander Regional Forces, currently Lieutenant General John McColl CBE DSO, commands 2, 4, and 5 Divisions, plus London District and United Kingdom Support Command (Germany). Commander-in-Chief Land Command (CINCLAND) is also the Standing Joint Commander (UK) or SJC(UK), responsible for overall command to Military Aid to the Civil Authorities within the United Kingdom (excluding Northern Ireland). (IJDP 2)
In operational terms, a corps is a formation of two or more divisions - it could include upwards of fifty thousand personnel. Although the British Army has the capability of forming a corps using its two available Ready Divisions, it would be unlikely to deploy an all-British corps; instead, it would most likely deploy one of its two divisions to serve as part of a larger multinational force. It does however provide much of the headquarters and framework for the multinational NATO formation, the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps. The word corps is also used for some large administrative groupings by common function - for example, the Infantry Corps.
A division is a formation of (usually) three or four brigades - around twenty thousand personnel. The British Army has two main Deployable Divisions, which can deploy their headquarters and trained formations immediately to operations.
1st (UK) Armoured Division 3rd (UK) Mechanised Division,
The three remaining divisional headquarters (referred to as Regenerative Divisions), plus the London District and Northern Ireland HQ, act as regional commands in the UK itself and train subordinate formations and units under their command for UK and overseas operations; the divisions would only be required to generate field formations in the event of a general war. These Divisions are:
2nd Division - (Scotland and the North of England) 4th Division — (East Midlands, South and East England) 5th Division — (Wales, West Midlands and South West England)
A further two regional headquarters exist - Headquarters Northern Ireland and London District, at the Divisional level . Although the security situation in Northern Ireland has eased greatly in recent years and the British Army's presence there has been reduced, Headquarters Northern Ireland remains in being for the present. It contains the Territorial Army British 107 (Ulster) Brigade, which has no Internal Security role, plus British 8th Infantry Brigade and British 39th Infantry Brigade. London District's most public concern is the administration of ceremonial units and provision of garrisons for such installations as the Tower of London. However, its primary responsibility is to maintain units directly for the defence of the capital. 56 (London) Brigade was disbanded in 1993.
A brigade usually includes three or four battalion-sized units - around 5000 personnel. See Land Command for details of specific brigades within the divisions. However it should be noted that 3 Commando Brigade, Royal Marines, is an additional deployable formation, outside the operational control of the Army but containing a number of army units. When deployed on operations, the primary tactical formation is the battlegroup. This is a mixed formation formed around the core of one unit (either an armoured regiment or infantry battalion), with armour, infantry, artillery, engineers etc attached as needed. On operations, a brigade could be expected to be able to deploy up to three seperate battlegroups.
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1) Armoured Regiment 2) Armoured Infantry Battalion 3) Artillery Regiment 4) Army Air Corps Detachment 5) Provost Unit 6) Royal Logistic Corps Squadron 7) Engineer Squadron 8) Javelin Air Defence Battery 9) Long-Range Anti-Tank Guided Weapons Troop 10) Mechanised Infantry Battalion
United Kingdom Special Forces 1 Armoured Reconnaissance Brigade 1 Artillery Brigade 7 Air Defence Brigade 12 (Air Support) Engineer Brigade 29 (Corps Support) Engineer Brigade 101 Logistics Brigade (3rd Mechanised Division) 102 Logistics Brigade (1st Armoured Division) 104 Logistic Support Brigade (PJHQ) 2 (National Communications) Signal Brigade 11 Signal Brigade
Order of Precedence
For the purposes of parading, the British Army is listed according to an order of precedence. This is the order in which the various corps of the army parade, from right to left, with the unit at the extreme right being highest. The Household Cavalry have the highest precedence, apart from the Royal Horse Artillery when it parades with its guns.
Arms and Services
The Combat Arms are the "teeth" of the British Army - the infantry and armoured units which have responsibility for closing with and killing the enemy. Royal Armoured Corps The regiments of line cavalry and the Royal Tank Regiment are grouped together as the Royal Armoured Corps. These units operate either as armoured regiments with main battle tanks, or as formation reconnaissance units. The Household Cavalry is a separate corps formed of two regiments. One of these, the Household Cavalry Regiment, forms the fifth formation reconnaissance regiment. Armoured Regiments The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys) The Royal Dragoon Guards The Queen's Royal Hussars (Queen's Own and Royal Irish) The King's Royal Hussars 2nd Royal Tank Regiment Formation Reconnaissance Regiments The Household Cavalry Regiment 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales's) The Light Dragoons The Queen's Royal Lancers
1st Royal Tank Regiment operates in a dual role; two squadrons serve in the NBC role as part of the Joint CBRN Regiment, while the other two are main battle tank training squadrons that serve as part of the Combined Arms Training Battlegroup at the Land Warfare Centre at Warminster. Infantry As of 2006, the Infantry is divided for administrative purposes into divisions. These are not the same as the divisions that are sent into combat, which are a mixture of infantry, armoured and support units. It should be noted that the formar Scottish Division is now called The Royal Regiment of Scotland, as it contains 5 battalions, but only one Regiment. Instead they are groupings of regiments based on either geographical location or historical connection. Infantry battalions operate in one of five main roles:
Armoured Infantry Mechanised Infantry Air Assault Infantry Light Infantry Public Duties
Under the arms plot system, a battalion would normally spend between two and six years in one role, before re-training for another. However, plans are currently in place to phase out the arms plot system, and in future to have battalions specialise in individual roles. Royal Regiment of King's Division Scotland 1st, 2nd & The Royal 3rd Bn, The Scots Duke of 1st Bn, Borderers, Lancaster's Grenadier (1st Bn, The Regiment Guards Royal (King's Regiment of Lancashire Scotland) and Border) 1st, 2nd & The Royal 3rd Bn The Highland Yorkshire 1st Bn, Fusiliers Regiment Coldstream (2nd Bn, The (14th/15th, Guards Royal 19th and Regiment of 33rd/76th Scotland) Foot) Guards Division The Black Watch (3rd Bn, The Royal Regiment of Scotland) The Highlanders (4th Bn, The Royal Regiment of Scotland) The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (5th Bn, The Royal Regiment of Prince of Wales' Division Queen's Division
1st & 2nd Bn, The Princess of Wales's 1st Bn, The Royal 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires)
1st Bn, The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry
1st & 2nd Bn, The Royal Welsh
1st & 2nd Bn, 1st & 2nd Bn, The Royal The Light Regiment of Infantry Fusiliers
1st Bn, Scots Guards
1st Bn, The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment (29th/45th Foot) 1st Bn, The Staffordshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales's)
1st Bn, The 1st & 2nd Bn, Royal The Royal Gloucestershire, Anglian Berkshire and Regiment Wiltshire Light Infantry
1st Bn, Irish Guards
1st & 2nd Bn, The Royal Green Jackets
1st Bn, Welsh Guards
Scotland) ↑1st July 2006 - March 2007 There are three further infantry units in the regular army that are not grouped in the various infantry divisions:
1st Bn, The Royal Irish Regiment (27th Inniskillings, 83rd, 87th & The Ulster Defence Regiment) 2nd & 3rd Bn, The Parachute Regiment 1st & 2nd Bn, The Royal Gurkha Rifles The Royal Gibraltar Regiment can also be considered part of the infantry, although its primary responsibility is the home defence of Gibraltar.
Royal Irish Regiment
The Royal Irish Regiment shares the status of the largest infantry regiment in the British Army with the Parachute Regiment. The Royal Irish has a total of four battalions. The 1st Battalion, as has been stated, is a general service battalion that is part of the main body of infantry. However, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Battalions are home service battalions, purely for service in Northern Ireland.
2nd Bn, Royal Irish Regiment (Belfast and Antrim) 3rd Bn, Royal Irish Regiment (Down, Armagh and Tyrone) 4th Bn, Royal Irish Regiment (Fermanagh and Londonderry)
With the announcement of the IRA ceasefire in 2005 came the end of military support to the police in Northern Ireland, and a normalisation of the army's presence in the province. This has led to the announcement that the three home service battalions will be disbanded with the end of Operation Banner in August 2007.
Brigade of Gurkhas
The Royal Gurkha Rifles is the largest part of the Brigade of Gurkhas, which also has its own support arms. These units are affiliated to the equivalent British units, but have their own unique cap badges.
Support units of the Brigade of Gurkhas Queen's Gurkha Engineers: The Queen's Gurkha Engineers consists of: 69 Field Squadron, 36 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers 70 Field Support Squadron, 36 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers o Queen's Gurkha Signals: The Queen's Gurkha Signals consists of: 246 Gurkha Signal Squadron, 2 Signal Regiment, Royal Signals 250 Gurkha Signal Squadron, 30 Signal Regiment, Royal Signals o Queen's Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment: The Queen's Own Gurkha
Logistic Regiment consists of: - 28 Transport Squadron, 10 Transport Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps - 94 Stores Squadron, 9 Supply Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps.
Special Air Service Regiment - The regular army's special forces unit, 22 SAS Regiment is a battalion sized formation and considered as infantry. Special Reconnaissance Regiment - A tri-service element of the United Kingdom Special Forces alongside the SAS and Special Boat Service. Special Forces Support Group - A tri-service unit formed around 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment and enhanced with personnel from Combat Support Services, the Royal Marines and RAF Regiment. SFSG is designed to provide support to Special Forces operations.
Combat Support Arms
The Combat Support Arms include the artillery, engineer, signals and aviation units. Their role is to directly support the Combat Arms in combat. Royal Regiment of Artillery The Royal Artillery, despite its name, is a corps sub-divided into 16 regiments. Of these, four retain the name, cap badge and traditions of the Royal Horse Artillery. The sixteen regiments are divided into seven specialities: General Support (MLRS) Close Support (L118 Light Gun) 1 7 (Para) Regiment, Regiment, RHA RHA 3 29 (Cdo) Regiment, Regiment, RHA RA 4 40 Regiment, Regiment, RA RA 19 Regiment, RA Close Support (AS90) Surveillance and Target Acquisition 5 Regiment, RA 32 Regiment, RA
Home Air Defence Defence King's Troop, RHA
Training 14 Regiment, RA
12 39 Regiment, Regiment, RA RA 16 Regiment, RA 47 Regiment, RA
26 Regiment, RA Corps of Royal Engineers Engineering support for the army is provided by the Royal Engineers, of which there are a total of 15 regiments in the regular army. Of these, 25 Engineer Regiment is a field regiment dedicated to service in Northern Ireland, 33 Engineer Regiment is an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit, and 42 Engineer Regiment is a dedicated Geographic unit. The Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME), also has two regiments, which are the parent units for recruits to the RSME:
1 RSME Regiment - Construction Engineer School 3 RSME Regiment - Combat Engineer School
The remainder are field regiments attached to various deployable formations:
21 Engineer Regiment - 4th Armoured Brigade 22 Engineer Regiment - 1st Mechanised Brigade 23 Engineer Regiment - 16th Air Assault Brigade 24 Engineer Regiment - 3 Commando Brigade (Forming 2007) 26 Engineer Regiment - 12th Mechanised Brigade 28 Engineer Regiment - British 1st Armoured Division 32 Engineer Regiment - 7th Armoured Brigade 35 Engineer Regiment - 20th Armoured Brigade 36 Engineer Regiment - British 3rd Infantry Division 38 Engineer Regiment - 19th Light Brigade
In addition, there are a number of independent squadrons in the Royal Engineers:
59 Independent Commando Squadron - 59 Squadron is the engineers unit assigned to 3 Commando Brigade. This will form part of 24 Engineer Regiment on its formation. 62 Cyprus Squadron - 62 Squadron provides the engineering support for British Forces in Cyprus. Within the structure of the Royal Engineers are two squadrons that are capbadged as the Queen's Gurkha Engineers, manned predominantly by Gurkhas. The operational structure of the Royal Engineers also includes two specialist support groups:
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12 (Air Support) Engineer Group - this is organised to provide support to airborne forces, and is composed of both regular and TA units. Regular units assigned to 12 Engineer Group include: 39 Engineer Regiment - engineering support to the RAF Works Group, RE (Airfields) - infrastructure support to the RAF 529 Specialist Team Royal Engineers
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170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group - formerly known as the Military Works Force, this has responsibility for both permanent and temporary infrastructure development in several areas, including water, fuel, communications and utilities: HQ 170 Engineer Group, RE 62 Works Group, RE - Water Infrastructure 63 Works Group, RE - Utilities Infrastructure 64 Works Group, RE - Fuel Infrastructure
Royal Corps of Signals In the British Army, communications below brigade level are maintained by individual units. For formations of Brigade level and above, communications and ICT are provided by the Royal Signals, which has a total of ten regiments, and 13 separate squadrons:
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Regiments 1 (UK) Armoured Division HQ and Signal Regiment 2 Signal Regiment - 11 Signal Brigade 3 (UK) Division HQ and Signal Regiment 7 Signal Regiment - 1 Signal Brigade (Allied Rapid Reaction Corps) 10 Signal Regiment - 2 (National Communications) Signal Brigade 11 Signal Regiment - Royal School of Signals (Training) 14 Signal Regiment - 11 Signal Brigade (Electronic Warfare) 15 Signal Regiment - HQ Northern Ireland 16 Signal Regiment - 1 Signal Brigade 18 Signal Regiment - UK Special Forces 21 Signal Regiment - Joint Helicopter Command 22 Signal Regiment (Forming 2007) 30 Signal Regiment - 11 Signal Brigade Squadrons o 200 Signal Squadron - 20 Armoured Brigade o 204 Signal Squadron - 4 Armoured Brigade o 207 Signal Squadron - 7 Armoured Brigade o 209 Signal Squadron - 19 Light Brigade o 213 Signal Squadron - 39 Infantry Brigade (NI) o 215 Signal Squadron - 1 Mechanised Brigade o 216 Signal Squadron - 16 Air Assault Brigade o 218 Signal Squadron - 8 Infantry Brigade (NI) o 228 Signal Squadron - 12 Mechanised Brigade o 261 Signal Squadron - 101 Logistic Brigade o 262 Signal Squadron - 102 Logistic Brigade o 628 (UK) Signal Troop - Allied Forces North (AFNORTH) o Cyprus Communications Unit Within the structure of the Royal Signals are two squadrons that are cap-badged as the Queen's Gurkha Signals, manned predominantly by Gurkhas.
Army Air Corps The Army Air Corps provides the battlefield support element of the army's aviation needs (the heavy transport element comes from the helicopters of the RAF, while the amphibious element is provided by the FAA). The AAC has six regiments, and a number of independent squadrons and flights:
1 Regiment, AAC - 1st (Armoured) Division. 2 Regiment, AAC - Training Regiment 3 Regiment, AAC - Attack Regiment - 16 Air Assault Brigade 4 Regiment, AAC - Attack Regiment - 16 Air Assault Brigade 5 Regiment, AAC - Northern Ireland 9 Regiment, AAC - Attack Regiment - 16 Air Assault Brigade 657 Squadron, AAC 7 Flight - Aviation support to British Forces in Brunei 8 Flight - Aviation support for the SAS 12 Flight - Part of 1 Regiment, AAC 25 Flight - Aviation support to British Forces in Belize
Intelligence Corps The Intelligence Corps is the army's main tool for the gathering and collating of intelligence, and for the organisation of the army's counter-intelligence apparatus.
1 Military Intelligence Battalion 2 Military Intelligence Battalion 4 Military Intelligence Battalion 15 (UK) Psychological Operations Group
Joint CBRN Regiment The Joint CBRN Regiment is a specialised corps of the army tasked with defence against nuclear, biological, radiological and chemical weapons. The regiment is a joint Army/RAF unit, made up of the following regular units:
1st Royal Tank Regiment No 27 Squadron, Royal Air Force Regiment
Combat Service Support Arms
The Combat Service Support Arms have the role of providing the services necessary for sustaining the Army.
Royal Logistic Corps The Royal Logistic Corps is the largest single corps in the British Army, and is responsible for the supply and movement of material to all units. Within the corps there are 21 separate regiments: 1 Logistic Support Regiment 2 Logistic Support Regiment 3 Logistic Support Regiment 4 Logistic Support Regiment 6 Supply Regiment 7 Transport Regiment 8 Transport Regiment 12 Logistic Support Regiment 13 Air Assault Support Regiment ARRC Support Battalion 17 Port and Maritime Regiment 21 Logistic Support Regiment 23 Pioneer Regiment 24 Postal Courier and Movement Regiment
9 Supply Regiment 27 Transport Regiment 10 Transport Regiment, QOGLR 29 Postal Courier and Movement Regiment 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment 5 Training Regiment 25 Training Support Regiment There are also a number of other regular army units:
20 Logistic Support Squadron (London District) 44 Support Squadron (Royal Military Academy Sandhurst) 89 Postal and Courier Unit (SHAPE) 105 Logistic Support Squadron (BATUS) 132 Aviation Supply Squadron (16 Air Assault Brigade) Cyprus Service Support Unit (British Forces Cyprus)
Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers have responsibility for the maintenance of all of the British Army's equipment. Almost every unit will have REME tradesmen attached normally designated as a "Light Aid Detachment (LAD)" or "Workshop (Wksp)". The corps provides detachments to each formation of brigade level and higher from its total of seven battalions:
1st Battalion, REME - 4 Armoured Brigade 2nd Battalion, REME - 7 Armoured Brigade 3rd Battalion, REME - 20 Armoured Brigade 4th Battalion, REME - 12 Mechanised Brigade 5th Battalion, REME - 19 Light Brigade 6th Battalion, REME - 1 Mechanised Brigade 7th Battalion, REME - 16 Air Assault Brigade
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Army Medical Services Royal Army Medical Corps - The Royal Army Medical Corps has a total of five regiments in the regular army: 1 Close Support Medical Regiment - 1st Armoured Division 3 Close Support Medical Regiment - 3rd Mechanised Division 4 General Support Medical Regiment - 101 Logisitc Brigade 5 General Support Medical Regiment - 102 Logistic Brigade 16 Close Support Medical Regiment - 16 Air Assault Brigade Royal Army Dental Corps Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps Royal Army Veterinary Corps Adjutant General's Corps - The Adjutant General's Corps, unlike the Army Medical Services, is a single corps; however, three of the units that were amalgamated to form it were permitted to retain their own cap badges: Corps of Royal Military Police - While the majority of the Adjutant General's Corps forms part of other operational units, the Royal Military Police is formed into two regular regiments. In addition, there are regular provost companies in the TA regiments of the RMP, plus a single independent air assault trained company: 1 Regiment, Royal Military Police 3 Regiment, Royal Military Police 160 Provost Company - 4 RMP 101 Provost Company - 5 RMP 114 Provost Company - 5 RMP 156 Provost Company Military Provost Staff Corps Army Legal Corps Royal Army Chaplains' Department Army Physical Training Corps Small Arms School Corps Corps of Army Music
There are two phases in the training for recruits into the army:
Phase 1: the initial phase features the basic training for all new recruits. There are two main strands, one for officers and one for other ranks. Officers: Prospective officers first attend the Regular Commissions Board to determine whether they are suited to become officers. Once they pass the RCB, they attend the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where they undergo basic training, not just in the elements of soldiering, but also leadership. The Commissioning Course, which is the standard course for new officers, lasts 44
weeks. However, there are also short course for those with professional qualifications joining one of the services (Medicine, Law etc) that provides basic military training. Soldiers: Prospective ordinary soldiers (other than the infantry) attend either one of four Army Training Regiments or the Army Foundation College: Army Foundation College, Harrogate ATR Bassingbourn ATR Lichfield ATR Pirbright ATR Winchester
Here they undergo basic training, learning how to become soldiers. The basic course is the Army Development Course, which lasts for 20 weeks. Once new recruits have passed their initial courses, either at RMAS or an ATR, then they move to Phase 2 Training.
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Phase 2: the second phase involves the new officer or soldier choosing which branch of the service they wish to specialise in, and then undergoing the specific training. This is with one of the specialist schools located around the country: Infantry Training Centre (see below) - the ITC is responsible for both Phase 1 and Phase 2 infantry training for soldiers. Officers undergo their Phase 1 training at Sandhurst. Armour Centre Royal School of Artillery School of Army Aviation Royal School of Military Engineering Royal School of Signals Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Training Group Defence Logistic Support Training Group Defence Medical Services Training Centre AGC Training Group Royal Military School of Music
Infantry Training Centre
As of 2001, infantry training is undertaken as a single 24 week course at the Infantry Training Centre at Catterick Garrison, as opposed to being divided into Phase 1 and Phase 2 training. The ITC is divided into four separate battalions; these are divided into companies, each of which are responsible for one of the infantry's administrative divisions:
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1st Battalion, Infantry Training Centre Queen's Division Company King's Division Company Light Division Company 2nd Battalion, Infantry Training Centre Scottish Division Company
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Prince of Wales's Division Company Somme Company 3rd Battalion, Infantry Training Centre Guards Division Company Parachute Regiment Company Gurkha Company Gurkha Language Wing 4th Battalion, Infantry Training Centre HQ Company Williams Company Hook Company Army School of Ceremonial Army School of Bagpipe Music & Highland Drums Gym EL Wing
Units of the Territorial Army
The four armoured regiments of the Territorial Army operate in two roles - provision of crew replacements for armoured and NBC regiments, and formation reconnaissance:
Royal Yeomanry Royal Mercian and Lancastrian Yeomanry Royal Wessex Yeomanry Queen's Own Yeomanry
The 1999 reorganisation of the Territorial Army saw a number of new, multi-cap badge battalions take the place of the old territorial battalions of regular regiments. However, starting in 2006, these regiments will be replaced by a number of single cap-badged battalions attached to the new large infantry regiments:
3rd Battalion, The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment 4th Battalion, The Parachute Regiment 51st Highland, 7th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland 52nd Lowland, 6th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland 4th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment 3rd Battalion, Royal Anglian Regiment 4th Battalion, Duke of Lancaster's Regiment The London Regiment The Rifle Volunteers Royal Irish Rangers
Royal Rifle Volunteers 3rd Battalion, Royal Welsh 5th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers West Midlands Regiment 21st Special Air Service Regiment (Artist's) 23rd Special Air Service Regiment
A further infantry unit, not officially on the British Army list but still technically a British unit, is The Bermuda Regiment. This is a territorial infantry battalion which is responsible for the internal security of Bermuda.
Royal Artillery (TA)
Air Defence 104 Regiment, RA(V) 105 Regiment, RA(V) 106 Regiment, RA(V)
General Support (MLRS) 101 Regiment, RA(V)
Close Support (Light Gun) 100 Regiment, RA(V) 103 Regiment, RA(V)
Surveillance and Target Acquisition Honourable Artillery Company
Note: The Honourable Artillery Company does not come under the Royal Artillery's order of battle, but is instead a separate regiment.
Royal Engineers (TA)
71 Engineer Regiment (Volunteers) - Air Support Regiment 73 Engineer Regiment (Volunteers) - Air Support Regiment 75 Engineer Regiment (Volunteers) - Field Regiment 101 (City of London) Engineer Regiment (Volunteers) - Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia) - Field Regiment 131 Independent Commando Squadron (Volunteers) - Commando Support 135 Independent Geographic Squadron (Volunteers) - Topography 65 Works Group, RE (Volunteers) - Communications Infrastructure
Note: Although the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers is part of the Royal Engineers order of battle, it is a separate regiment with its own cap badge, regimental colours and traditions.
Royal Signals (TA)
31 (City of London) Signal Regiment 32 (Scottish) Signal Regiment
33 (Lancashire and Cheshire) Signal Regiment 34 (Northern) Signal Regiment 35 (South Midlands) Signal Regiment 36 (Eastern) Signal Regiment 37 (Wessex and Welsh) Signal Regiment 38 (City of Sheffield) Signal Regiment 39 (Skinners) Signal Regiment 40 (Ulster) Signal Regiment 71 (Yeomanry) Signal Regiment
Intelligence Corps (TA)
3 (Volunteer) Military Intelligence Battalion (Strategic Intelligence) 5 (Volunteer) Military Intelligence Battalion (Tactical Intelligence)
Army Air Corps (TA)
6 Regiment, Army Air Corps (Volunteers) 7 Regiment, Army Air Corps (Volunteers)
In addition to the combat units, there are Territorial Army units in:
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Adjutant General's Corps 4 Regiment, Royal Military Police 5 Regiment, Royal Military Police Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers 101 Battalion (V), REME 102 Battalion (V), REME 103 Battalion (V), REME 104 Battalion (V), REME Royal Logistic Corps 87 Postal and Courier Regiment 88 Postal and Courier Regiment 150 (Northumbrian) Transport Regiment 151 (Greater London) Logisitic Support Regiment 152 (Ulster) Transport Regiment 155 Transport Regiment 156 (North-West) Transport Regiment 157 (Wales and Midlands) Logistic Support Regiment The Scottish Transport Regiment 158 (Royal Anglian) Transport Regiment 159 Logistic Support Regiment 160 Transport Regiment 162 Movement Control Regiment
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163 Movement Control Regiment 165 Port Regiment 166 Supply Regiment 168 Pioneer Regiment Catering Support Regiment 383 Commando Petroleum Troop 395 Air Despatch Troop Army Medical Services 144 Field Ambulance 152 Ambulance Regiment 201 (Northern) Field Hospital 202 (Midlands) Field Hospital 203 (Welsh) Field Hospital 204 (North Irish) Field Hospital 205 (Scottish) Field Hospital 207 (Manchester) Field Hospital 208 (Liverpool) Field Hospital 212 (Yorkshire) Field Hospital 220 (1st Home Counties) Field Ambulance 222 (East Midlands) Field Ambulance 243 (The Wessex) Field Hospital 253 (North Irish) Field Ambulance 254 (City of Cambridge) Field Ambulance 256 (City of London) Field Hospital 306 Field Hospital 335 Medical Evacuation Regiment First Aid Nursing Yeomanry
Although the majority of the British Army performs both operational and ceremonial roles, there are some units that are purely ceremonial. These are manned by fully trained soldiers who are periodically transferred from operational units.
Queen's Guard/Queen's Life Guard
The following are units of the regular army that most regularly mount the guard at Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards and Windsor Castle:
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards No 7 Company, Coldstream Guards F Company, Scots Guards
The following are units that provide gun salutes in various parts of London:
King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery Honourable Artillery Company
The following are not part of the army, but perform the ceremonial role of Sovereign's Bodyguard. They tend to be made up of retired officers and NCOs:
Her Majesty's Bodyguard of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard Royal Company of Archers, the Queen's Bodyguard in Scotland
One of the significant duties that all of the above units (with the exception of the King's Troop and the Honourable Artillery Company) perform is to guard the catafalque upon which the coffin of a state funeral rests in Westminster Hall.
Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London: This corps provides the ceremonial guard at the Tower of London, with responsibility for guarding any prisoners housed in the fortress, and ensuring the security of the crown jewels. The most notable ceremony that the Yeoman Warders participate in is the Ceremony of the Keys. However, they also form a guard of honour in the annexe of Westminster Abbey at the coronation service. Military Knights of Windsor: This is a small formation of retired army officers, who receive a pension and accommodation at Windsor Castle. They lead the procession of the Garter Knights on Garter Day. High Constables of Holyroodhouse: This is the ceremonial guard of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, which parades whenever the Sovereign is in Edinburgh. In-Pensioners of the Royal Hospital: While not strictly speaking a corps, the InPensioners of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea form a significant part of the army's heritage and history, and often take part in major occasions, especially those of remembrance. Atholl Highlanders: A further ceremonial unit is the Atholl Highlanders. This is unique in that it is the only legal private army in Europe; instead of being in the service of the Crown, it is in the service of the Duke of Atholl.
In July 2004, the Government announced its proposals for restructuring of the armed forces. The main points concerning the army included:
Cutting four infantry battalions (three English and one Scottish) with the remaining single battalion regiments of the Scottish Division, King's Division and Prince of Wales's Division amalgamating. These will see either one regiment of four or more battalions, or two regiments of between two and three battalions in each division. One armoured regiment being re-roled as force reconnaissance, with seven Challenger 2 squadrons being cut. One heavy artillery regiment being re-roled as light artillery, with six AS-90 batteries being cut. A reduction in the number of Ground Based Air Defence units, with the disbandment of the RAF Regiment squadrons, and a reduction in the size of the Royal Artillery batteries. On 16 December 2004, Geoff Hoon announced restructuring plans. The new operational structure of the army will feature:
Two Armoured Brigades - these will be 7 Armoured Brigade and 20 Armoured Brigade. Three Mechanised Brigades - these will be 1 Mechanised Brigade and 12 Mechanised Brigade, to be joined by the current 4 Armoured Brigade, which will convert to mechanised by 2006. One Light Role Brigade - this will see 19 Mechanised Brigade convert to the light role, beginning at the start of 2005. One Air Assault Brigade - 16 Air Assault Brigade. Rumours were also confirmed, with the restructuring of the infantry along the large regiment lines. This involved the Royal Scots and the King's Own Scottish Borderers amalgamating into a single battalion on the 1st August 2006, after the two regiments had formed single battalions of the Royal Regiment of Scotland in March 2006, with battalions retaining their former titles. The regiments of the King's Division and the Prince of Wales's Division will also merge, with one battalion lost from the King's Division, and two from the Prince of Wales's. Thus, each will have one regiment of three battalions and one regiment of two battalions. The restructuring will be as follows:
Royal Armoured Corps restructuring
In 2005, the Queen's Royal Lancers will begin conversion from the Armoured role, equipped with Challenger 2, to the Formation Reconnaissance role, equipped with Scimitar.
Royal Artillery restructuring
In 2005, 40 Regiment, Royal Artillery will begin conversion to the L118 Light Gun from the AS-90.
Royal Engineers restructuring
Engineering support for 3 Commando Brigade to be expanded to a full regiment with the establishment of 24 Commando Engineer Regiment. This brings it into line with the other brigade sized formations.
Royal Signals restructuring
Establishment of a new signals regiment, 22 Signal Regiment.
The arms plot is to be abolished, with all infantry battalions given a set role and (for armoured and mechanised battalions) location. In order that officers and soldiers can keep up the various skills gained through each of the distinct roles, all single battalion regiments (with the exception of the Guards regiments and the Royal Irish Regiment) will be amalgamated into large regiments. It is planned that each division will have a total of five battalions - of these, one will be armoured infantry, one will be mechanised infantry and the remainder light infantry. Guards Division
Although there will remain five single battalion Guards regiments, operationally these will conform to the new structure, with each battalion being given a specific role (1 armoured infantry, 2 light infantry, 2 public duties). Operationally therefore, the Guards will be a single large regiment. The London Regiment will be transferred to the Guards Division, and become the Guards TA battalion.
Royal Scots and King's Own Scottish Borderers to amalgamate into a single battalion. The combined Royal Scots/KOSB to merge with the Royal Highland Fusiliers, Black Watch, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and The Highlanders into the Royal Regiment of Scotland. o The Royal Scots Borderers (1st Bn, Royal Regiment of Scotland) o The Royal Highland Fusiliers (2nd Bn, Royal Regiment of Scotland) o The Black Watch (3rd Bn, Royal Regiment of Scotland) o The Highlanders (4th Bn, Royal Regiment of Scotland) o The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (5th Bn, Royal Regiment of Scotland) The 52nd Lowland Regiment with form the 6th Bn, and the 51st Highland the 7th. Prince of Wales's Division
The breakup of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment has been cancelled. It will merge directly with the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment to form 1st Battalion, The Light Infantry.
The Staffordshire Regiment, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment and Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment to merge into the Mercian Regiment. o 1st Bn, Mercian Regiment (Cheshires) o 2nd Bn, Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters) o 3rd Bn, Mercian Regiment (Staffords) A 4th Bn will be formed from the TA West Midlands Regiment and the Cheshires element of the Kings and Cheshire Regiment The Royal Welch Fusiliers and Royal Regiment of Wales to merge into the Royal Welsh. o 1st Bn, Royal Welsh (Royal Welch Fusiliers) o 2nd Bn, Royal Welsh (Royal Regiment of Wales) The TA Royal Welsh Regiment will become 3rd Battalion, Royal Welsh King's Division
The King's Own Royal Border Regiment, King's Regiment and Queen's Lancashire Regiment to merge into the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King's Lancashire and Border). o 1st Bn, Duke of Lancaster's Regiment o 2nd Bn, Duke of Lancaster's Regiment 4th Bn, Duke of Lancaster's Regiment will be formed from the Kings Regiment elements of the TA Kings and Cheshire Regiment and Lancastrian and Cumbrian Volunteers Regiment. The Duke of Wellington's Regiment, Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire and the Green Howards to merge into the Yorkshire Regiment (14th/15th, 19th and 33rd/76th Foot). o 1st Bn, Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own) o 2nd Bn, Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards) o 3rd Bn, Yorkshire Regiment (Duke of Wellington's) 4th Bn, Yorkshire Regiment will be formed from the TA East and West Riding Regiment and the Green Howards elements of the Tyne Tees Regiment. Queen's Division
The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires), Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and the Royal Anglian Regiment are unaffected. The RRF and R ANGLIAN gain a Territorial Army Battalion. The Tyne-Tees Regiment will be the 5th Bn, RRF and the East of England Regiment will become the 3rd Bn R ANGLIAN. Light Division
As of November 2005, in a change to the original plans, a new large regiment will be created from the merger of the The Light Infantry, the Royal Green Jackets, the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment and the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment and will be called The Rifles.
1st Bn, The Rifles (from the merger of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment and the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment) 2nd Bn, The Rifles (redesignated of 1st Bn, The Royal Green Jackets) 3rd Bn, The Rifles (redesignation of 2nd Bn, The Light Infantry) 4th Bn, The Rifles (redesignation of 2nd Bn, The Royal Green Jackets) 5th Bn, The Rifles (redesignation of 1st Bn, The Light Infantry) 6th (V) Bn, The Rifles (formed from the majority of The Rifle Volunteers) 7th (V) Bn, The Rifles (formed from the majority of the Royal Rifle Volunteers)
[The Parachute Regiment
1st Battalion, the Parachute Regiment remains in the infantry order of battle roled to form the core of the Special Forces Support Group in support of United Kingdom Special Forces. Battalion strength is reduced to 450 men, with the remainder distributed among the remaining two battalions. 2nd and 3rd Battalions, the Parachute Regiment remain unaffected. 4th Battalion will conform it the new TA infantry structure but is otherwise unaffected. Royal Irish Regiment
In order to retain an 'infantry footprint' in Northern Ireland, the Royal Irish Regiment will retain its single general service battalion. The Royal Irish Rangers will become TA battalion of the R IRISH. With the announcement by the Provisional IRA that they will cease armed conflict, the three home service battalions will be disbanded. Royal Gurkha Rifles
The Royal Gurkha Rifles remain unaffected by the changes to the infantry structure.
Special Forces Support Group has been formed around a core of 1 PARA supplemented by a Squadron of RAF Regiment and a company of Royal Marines. SFSG provides infantry support of Special Forces Operations falls under the command of Director Special Forces. Administered as a regiment the SFSG is based at RAF St Athan.
With the exception of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, every infantry regiment will receive one Territorial Army battalion, with the exception of the Royal Regiment of Scotland and The Rifles, which will receive two. The Guards Division will gain an affiliated TA battalion.
The British Army has 29 military bands of varying strength. The seven bands of the Household Division each have 49 musicians, whereas the other bands each have 35 musicians. All bands can play in many different formats, but primarily as a marching band or a concert band.
While the Government maintains that regimental traditions will remain through the addition of subtitles to battalions, it should be noted that in the reforms of the 1960s, which brought the likes of the Queen's Regiment, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, Royal Green Jackets and Light Infantry, the individual regiments that made them up also retained their individual titles for only a brief period, before these were removed to promote the harmonisation of the new regiments. The government has also announced that the concept of arms plotting will be ended; however, since the announcement of reorganisation, it has been revealed that light infantry battalions will continue to be rotated, to prevent units staying in unpopular postings (Cyprus, Northern Ireland, public duties etc) for too long.
New Infantry Structure and Order of Precedence
Regular Army Guards Division 1st Bn, Grenadier Guards 1st Bn, Coldstream Guards 1st Bn, Scots Guards 1st Bn, Irish Guards 1st Bn, Welsh Guards Scottish Division 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th Bn, Royal Regiment of Scotland King's Division Prince of Wales' Division Queen's Division 1st & 2nd Bn, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment 1st & 2nd Bn, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers 1st & 2nd Bn, Royal Anglian Regiment Light Division 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th Bn, The Rifles
1st & 2nd Bn, 1st & 2nd Duke of Bn, Royal Lancaster's Welsh Regiment 1st, 2nd & 1st, 2nd & 3rd 3rd Bn, Bn, Yorkshire Mercian Regiment Regiment
1st Bn, Royal Irish Regiment 1st & 2nd Bn, Royal Gurkha Rifles 2nd & 3rd Bn, Parachute Regiment 22nd SAS Regiment 1st Bn, Parachute Regiment/JSFG Royal Gibraltar Regiment
Territorial Army Guards Division Scottish Division Prince of King's Division Wales' Division 3rd Bn, King's 3rd Bn, Lancashire and Royal Border Regiment Welsh 4th Bn, Yorkshire Regiment 4th Bn, Mercian Regiment Queen's Division 3rd Bn, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment 5th Bn, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers 3rd Bn, Royal Anglian Regiment Light Division 6th & 7th Bn, The Rifles
6th & 7th Bn, London Royal Regiment Regiment of Scotland
Royal Irish Rangers 4th Bn, Parachute Regiment 21st and 23rd SAS Regiment
The Territorial Army (TA) is a part of the British Army, the land armed forces of the United Kingdom, and composed mostly of part-time soldiers paid at the same rate, while engaged on military activities, as their Regular equivalents. It forms about a quarter of the strength of the Army. Its original purpose was home defence, but it is being restructured and reconceptualized to focus on providing support for the Regular army. Territorial soldiers, or Territorials, are volunteers, not conscripts or a militia, and often undergo military training in their spare time. They normally have a day job and often need to take leave or resign their job if called up for military service. Some employers, such as the public service, have military leave to allow these soldiers to be deployed without losing their full time job. It was created in 1908, when the War Office took over and reorganised the previously civilianadministered Volunteer Army, folding its remaining Militia and Yeomanry units into it.
World War I and earlier
The Territorial Force was originally formed by the Secretary of State for War, Richard Burdon Haldane, following the passage of the "Territorial and Reserve Forces Bill", which combined and re-organised the old Volunteer Army with the remaining units of militia and yeomanry, on August 2, 1907 and contained 14 infantry divisions, each administered by a County Association. There were also 14 mounted yeomanry brigades. The use of the word territorial signified that the volunteers who served with the force were under no obligation to serve overseas — in 1910, when asked to nominate for Imperial Service overseas in the event of mobililzation, less than 10% of the Force chose to do so. In August 1914, after the outbreak of World War I, Territorial units were given the option of serving in France and by August 25 in excess of 70 battalions had volunteered. This question over the availability of Territorial divisions for overseas service was one of Lord Kitchener's motivations for raising the New Army separately. The original divisions of the Territorial Army were:
East Anglian Division East Lancashire Division Highland Division Home Counties Division (broken up in India, December 1914) Lowland Division 1st London Division 2nd London Division North Midland Division Northumbrian Division South Midland Division
West Lancashire Division West Riding Division Welsh Division Wessex Division
The divisions were assigned numbers in April 1915 so that, for example, the 'East Anglian Division' became the 54th Division. Territorial Force battalion numbers were prefixed with '1', for instance the 1/5th Battalion, the East Surrey Regiment. A second line of Territorial units were raised by the respective County Associations in August and September of 1914. These battalion and division names were prefixed with '2' to distinguish from the originals. For instance, the second line 'Wessex Division' was originally called the '2nd Wessex Division' (later the 45th Division) and the second line battalion for the 1/5th East Surreys was the 2/5th East Surreys. When a first line battalion was sent overseas, a third line battalion, prefixed with '3', was raised thus enabling the second line battalion to be released for overseas service as well. By the end of the war 692 Territorial Force battalions had been raised. In total, nine second line divisions were raised. No complete divisions of third line battalions were raised. The second line Territorial Force divisions were:
45th (2nd Wessex) Division 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division 58th (2/1st London) Division 59th (2nd North Midland) Division 60th (2/2nd London) Division 61st (2nd South Midland) Division 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division 63rd (2nd Northumbrian) Division (broken up in July 1916) 64th (2nd Highland) Division (lost territorial association early 1918) 65th (2nd Lowland) Division (broken up 18 March 1918) 66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division 67th (2nd Home Counties) Division (lost territorial association early 1918) 68th (2nd Welsh) Division (lost territorial association early 1918) 69th (2nd East Anglian) Division (lost territorial association early 1918)
Also considered divisions of the Territorial Force were:
71st - 73rd Divisions which were formed late 1916 as Home Service divisions. All broken up early 1918 74th (Yeomanry) Division, formed early 1917 from dismounted Yeomanry 75th Division, formed early 1917 from various Territorial Force and Indian Army battalions Territorial units initially saw service in Egypt and India and other Empire garrisons such as Gibraltar, thereby releasing regular units for service in France and enabling the formation of an additional five regular army divisions (for a total of eleven) by early 1915. The first Territorial division to join the
fighting on the Western Front was the 46th Division in March 1915. The 42nd and 52nd divisions were sent to Gallipoli as reinforcements for the Helles front in May and June of 1915. As the war progressed and casualties mounted, the distinctive character of Territorial units was diluted by the inclusion of conscript and New Army drafts. Following the Armistice all units of the Territorial Force were gradually disembodied.
Interwar and World War II
New recruiting started in early 1920, and the Territorial Force was reconstituted 7 February 1920. On 1 October 1920 the Territorial Force was renamed the Territorial Army. The 1st Line divisions (that were created in 1907 or 1908) were reconstituted in that year. The 2nd Line was reconstituted in April 1939 in reaction to the declaration of war. When the 2nd Line was reformed they were a little different from their WWI predecessors. They had slightly different names and the regiments assigned were different.
List of TA Divisions, World War II
The Territorial Army armoured and infantry divisions during World War II were:
1st Line: 1st Cavalry Division (1st Line Yeomanry) 10th Armoured Division (1st Line Yeomanry) 42nd (East Lancashire) Infantry Division 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division 44th (Home Counties) Infantry Division 48th (South Midland) Infantry Division 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division 51st (Highland) Infantry Division 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division 53rd (Welsh) Division 54th (East Anglian) Infantry Division 55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division 56th (London) Infantry Division
2nd Line 9th (Highland) Infantry Division 12th (Eastern) Infantry Division 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division 18th (East Anglian) Infantry Division 23rd (Northumbrian) Division
38th (Welsh) Infantry Division 45th (Wessex) Infantry Division 46th (West Riding) Infantry Division 47th (London) Infantry Division 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division 61st (South Midland) Infantry Division 66th (East Lancashire) Infantry Division
The TA kept its former role of supplying complete divisions to the regular Army for twelve years after WW II. The manoeuvre divisions established or restablished in 1947 were:
42nd Infantry Division 43rd Infantry Division 44th Infantry Division 49th (West Riding & North Midland) Armoured Division 50th Infantry Division 51st/52nd (Scottish) Division 53rd Infantry Division 56th (London) Armoured Division
It also furnished much of the anti-aircraft cover for the United Kingdom during that period. However, as the 1950s drew to a close, British forces contracted dramatically as the end of conscription in 1960 came in sight. The TA was thus re-roled into its modern form. Instead of supplying complete combat divisions, its function was to round out regular formations by supplying units of up to battalion size (including infantry and light artillery, but not tracked armour), and supply extra support functions such as engineers, medical units and military police. After the Strategic Defence Review of 1998, the TA's size was further reduced. As of 2006 it has an authorised strength of 42,000 though recruiting difficulties put the actual strength of the TA below that figure (manning is currently at approx 82% which equates to 34 000). TA soldiers have seen service in almost every conflict the UK has been involved with since 1945. However, they served in particularly large numbers in three conflicts. The Korean War and Suez Crisis were during the 1950s, when the UK still had an imperial role. However, in 2003, 9,500 reservists, the vast majority of them from the TA, were mobilised to take part in Operation Telic, the invasion of Iraq. Given the current state of world politics and security, it seems inconceivable that the TA will not see further extensive service during the remainder of the early part of the 21st century.
Royal Armoured Corps
Royal Mercian and Lancastrian Yeomanry Royal Wessex Yeomanry Queen's Own Yeomanry
52nd Lowland, 6th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland 51st Highland, 7th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland 3rd Battalion, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires) The London Regiment 4th Battalion, Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King's Lancashire and Border) 5th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers 3rd Battalion, Royal Anglian Regiment 4th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (14th/15th, 19th and 33rd/76th Foot) West Midlands Regiment 3rd Battalion, Royal Welsh Royal Irish Rangers 4th Battalion, The Parachute Regiment The Rifle Volunteers Royal Rifle Volunteers
21st Special Air Service Regiment (Artists) (Volunteers) 23rd Special Air Service Regiment
100 Regiment, Royal Artillery 101 (Northumbrian) Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers) 103 (Lancastrian Artillery Volunteers) Regiment, Royal Artillery 104 Regiment, Royal Artillery 105 Regiment, Royal Artillery 106 (Yeomanry) Regiment, Royal Artillery
Though not part of the Royal Artillery, the Honourable Artillery Company is a further artillery unit within the Territorial Army.
71 Engineer Regiment 72 Engineer squadron 73 Engineer Regiment 75 Engineer Regiment 101 (City of London) Engineer Regiment
131 Independent Commando Squadron Royal Engineers (Volunteers) to form 24 Commando Regiment Royal Engineers in early 2007 Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers
2 (City of Dundee) Signal Squadron 31 (City of London) Signal Regiment 32 (Scottish) Signal Regiment 33 (Lancashire and Cheshire) Signal Regiment 34 (Northern) Signal Regiment 35 (South Midlands) Signal Regiment 36 (Eastern) Signal Regiment 37 (Wessex and Welsh) Signal Regiment 38 (City of Sheffield) Signal Regiment 39 (Skinners) Signal Regiment 40 (Ulster) Signal Regiment 63 (SAS) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) 71 (Yeomanry) Signal Regiment
Army Air Corps
6 (Volunteer) Regiment AAC 7 (Volunteer) Regiment AAC
3 (Volunteer) Military Intelligence Battalion
During the imperial age, home defence units were raised in various British colonies with the intention of allowing Regular Army units tied-up on garrison duty to be deployed elsewhere. These have generally been organised along Territorial Army lines. There are three units, today, in the remaining British Overseas Territories (BOT): the Bermuda Regiment, the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, and the Falkland Islands Defence Force. Although the British Government, as national government, is responsible for the defence of the territories, and holds direct control of military units raised within them, the local forces are raised and funded by the governments or the territories. These units must meet British Army standards in organisation and efficiency. Their officers are commissioned by Sandhurst, and their sergeants attend the Platoon Sergeants course at Brecon (itself having been begun as a course for Parachute Regiment NCOs, created by a Bermudian officer, Major-General Glyn Charles Anglim Gilbert). Although OT units may have no tasking under the Ministry of Defence, and members may not be compelled to serve outside their territory, many serve voluntarily on attachment to Regular Army units. In the 1980s, a cadre of officers and NCOs from the Bermuda Regiment was briefly attached to a battalion of the affiliated Royal Anglian Regiment deployed to Belize, guarding against a threatened invasion by Guatemala. The Royal Gibraltar Regiment is moving towards integration with the British
Army, having been added to the Army List, and with one of its three rifle companies having become full-time, following the withdrawal of the Regular Army garrison in 1991.
In addition to the combat units, there are Territorial Army units in the Adjutant General's Corps, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Royal Logistic Corps and Army Medical Services. Many universities also have Officer Training Corps units, which allow students to experience military life and provided a source of TA officers; for a long time, this was the only route by which it was possible to become a British Army officer without attending RMC Sandhurst, but this anomaly was removed in the mid 1980's. University Officer Training Corps(UOTCs) still officially form part of the TA. However, they fall into reserve category "B" meaning they cannot be called up for service unless there is a national emergency.
Recruits have to pass the Common Military Standard (Recruits), which for TA Soldiers lasts two weeks (as opposed to fourteen weeks for regular recruits), normally held at an Army Training Regiment.
On December 16, 2004, then Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon announced a major restructuring of the infantry. The 40 battalions of the regular army will be reduced to 36, with the majority of those remaining being amalgamated into larger regiments. The 14 TA infantry battalions will be included in this structure, with each regiment having at least one TA battalion (the Royal Regiment of Scotland will have two); the Guards Division will also have an affiliated TA battalion.
List of British Army Regiments
This is a current and updated list of regiments of the British Army, changing as new regiments are formed following the defence review Delivering Security in a Changing World.
Household Cavalry Regiment and Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
The Life Guards The Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons)
Royal Armoured Corps
The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys) The Royal Dragoon Guards The King's Royal Hussars The Queen's Royal Hussars (The Queen's Own and Royal Irish)
9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales's) The Light Dragoons The Queen's Royal Lancers 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards
The Royal Tank Regiment
1st Royal Tank Regiment 2nd Royal Tank Regiment
Grenadier Guards - 1 battalion Coldstream Guards - 1 battalion Scots Guards - 1 battalion Irish Guards - 1 battalion Welsh Guards - 1 battalion
The Royal Regiment of Scotland - 5 battalions The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires) - 2 battalions Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King's Lancashire and Border) - 3 battalions (Jul 06-Feb 07) The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers - 2 battalions The Royal Anglian Regiment - 2 battalions The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry - 1 battalion The Light Infantry - 2 battalions The Yorkshire Regiment (14th/15th, 19th and 33rd/76th Foot) - 3 battalions 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment -1 battalion The Royal Welsh - 2 battalions The Royal Irish Regiment (27th (Inniskilling) 83rd and 87th and The Ulster Defence Regiment) - 1 battalion The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry - 1 battalion The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment (29th/45th Foot) - 1 battalion The Staffordshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales's) - 1 battalion The Parachute Regiment - 3 battalions (1 Battalion forms part of SFSG) The Royal Gurkha Rifles - 2 battalions Royal Green Jackets - 2 battalions Royal Gibraltar Regiment - 1 battalion
Special Air Service Regiment Special Reconnaissance Regiment Special Forces Support Group
Support Arms and Services
Royal Regiment of Artillery Corps of Royal Engineers Royal Corps of Signals Army Air Corps Intelligence Corps
Royal Army Chaplains Department Royal Logistic Corps
Royal Army Medical Corps Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Adjutant General's Corps Royal Army Veterinary Corps Small Arms School Corps Royal Army Dental Corps Army Physical Training Corps General Service Corps Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps Corps of Army Music
The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the oldest of the British armed services (and is therefore the Senior Service). From the early 18th century to the middle of the 20th century, it was the largest and most powerful navy in the world, helping to establish the British Empire as the dominant power of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. During the Cold War, it was transformed into primarily an antisubmarine force, hunting for Soviet submarines, being mostly active in the North Atlantic Ocean. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, its role for the 21st century has returned to focus on global expeditionary (blue water) operations. The Royal Navy is the second largest navy in the world in terms of gross tonnage. There are currently 90 commissioned ships in the Royal Navy, including aircraft carriers, submarines, mine counter-measures and patrol vessels as well as the ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The Royal Navy is a constituent component of the Naval Service, which also comprises the Royal Marines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and associated reserve forces under command. The Naval Service had 39,400 regular personnel as of April 2006.
The role of the Royal Navy (RN) is to protect British interests at home and abroad, executing the foreign and defence policies of Her Majesty's Government through the exercise of military effect, diplomatic activities and other activities in support of these objectives. The RN is also a key element of the UK contribution to NATO, with a number of assets allocated to NATO tasks at any time. These objectives are delivered via a number of capabilities:
Maintenance of the UK Nuclear Deterrent through a policy of Continuous at Sea Deterrence Delivery of the UK Commando force Contribution of assets to Joint Force Harrier Contribution of assets to the Joint Helicopter Command Maintenance of standing patrol commitments; Atlantic Patrol Task (North), Atlantic Patrol Task (South), Persian Gulf patrols etc. Delivery of Mine Counter Measures capability to UK and allied commitments Provision of Hydrographic and meteorological capabilities deployable worldwide Protection of UK and EU fisheries
Command, Control and Organisation
HMS Manchester a Type 42 destroyer
The Royal Navy is established under the Royal Prerogative, hence members of the Navy (unlike the British Army and Royal Air Force) have never been required to take the oath of allegiance to the Sovereign. The head of the Royal Navy is the Lord High Admiral, the overall head of the Armed Forces is the British Sovereign with the two roles currently vested in the same individual, Queen Elizabeth II. The professional head of the service is the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, who is a member of the Defence Council and of the Admiralty Board, which undertakes the management as delegated by the Defence Council. The Navy Board, a sub-committee of the Admiralty Board, is responsible for the running of the Naval Service. These are all based in Ministry of Defence Main Building in London, where First is supported by the Naval Staff Department. Full Command of all deployable Fleet units including the Royal Marines and the Fleet Auxiliary is delegated to Commander-in-Chief Fleet, Admiral Sir James Burnell-Nugent, with a Command Headquarters at HMS Excellent in Portsmouth and an Operational Headquarters at Northwood, Middlesex, co-located with the Permanent Joint Headquarters and a NATO Regional Command, Allied Maritime Component Command Northwood. CINCFLEET is dual hatted as Commander AMCCN. CINC is supported by:
Second Sea Lord, based in HMS Excellent, Principal Personnel Officer for the Naval Service. Also Rear Admiral Fleet Air Arm. Deputy CINC, based in HMS Excellent, who commands the HQ Commander Operations, based at Northwood, responsible for operational command of RN assets. Also Rear Admiral Submarines and Commander Submarine Allied Forces North (NATO) Commander UK Maritime Forces, the deployable Force Commander responsible for the Maritime Battle Staffs; UK Task Group, UK Amphibious Task Group, UK Maritime Component Command. Commander UK Amphibious Force/ Commandant General Royal Marines
The three Naval Bases; Portsmouth, Clyde and Plymouth each host a Flotilla Command under a Commodore responsible for the provision of Operational Capability using the ships and submarines
within the flotilla. 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines is similarly commanded by a Brigadier and based in Plymouth. The purpose of CINCFLEET is to provide ships and submarines and commando forces at readiness to conduct military and diplomatic tasks as required by the UK government, including the recruitment and training of personnel. Significant numbers of naval personnel are employed within the Ministry of Defence, Defence Logistics Organisation, Defence Procurement Agency and on exchange with the Army and Royal Air Force. Small numbers are also on exchange within other government departments. In earlier times the office of Lord High Admiral was delegated to a naval officer. The office later came to be frequently put into commission, during which time the Royal Navy was run by a board headed by the First Lord of the Admiralty. In 1964 the functions of the Admiralty were transferred to the Secretary of State for Defence and the Defence Council of the United Kingdom. Since then, the historic title of Lord High Admiral has been restored to the Sovereign.
History of the Commanders-in-Chief
Well dock of HMS Albion
Historically, the Royal Navy has usually been split into several commands, each with a Commander-inChief, e.g. Commander-in-Chief Plymouth, Commander-in-Chief China Station, etc. There now remain only two Commanders-in-Chief, Commander-in-Chief Fleet and Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command. In 1971, with the withdrawal from Singapore, the Far East and Western fleets of the Royal Navy were unified under the Commander-in-Chief Fleet (CINCFLEET), initially based in HMS Warrior, a land base in Northwood, Middlesex. This continued the trend of shore-basing the home naval command that had started in 1960 when the Home Fleet command was transferred ashore. The majority of the staff have transferred to a new facility in HMS Excellent.
The Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command (CINCNAVHOME) has traditionally also been known as the Second Sea Lord (2SL) and is responsible for the shore-based establishments and manpower of the Royal Navy, and is based in Portsmouth. The Second Sea Lord and his staff were resident in Victory Building, Portsmouth Dockyard, and he formally flies his flag aboard HMS Victory. In 2006 the staffs of CINCFLEET and 2SL merged, with the majority of 2SL's staff joining the CINCFLEET staff in Excellent.
Titles and naming
Of the Royal Navy
The British Royal Navy is commonly referred to as the "Royal Navy" both inside and outside the United Kingdom. Commonwealth navies also include their national name e.g. Royal Australian Navy. However, there are other navies, such as the Koninklijke Marine (Royal Netherlands Navy) which are also called the "Royal Navy" in their own language.
Royal Navy ships in commission are prefixed with Her Majesty's Ship (His Majesty's Ship), abbreviated to HMS e.g. HMS Ark Royal. Submarines are styled HM Submarine, similarly HMS. Names are allocated to ships and submarines by a naming committee within the MOD and given by class, with the names of ships within a class often being thematic (e.g. the Type 23 class are named after British Dukes) or traditional (e.g. the Invincible class all carry the names of famous historic aircraft carriers). Names are frequently re-used offering a new ship the rich heritage, battle honours and traditions of her predecessors. As well as a name each ship, and submarine, of the Royal Navy and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary is given a pennant number which in part denotes its role.
The Royal Navy has historically played a central role in the defence and wars of England, Great Britain and later the United Kingdom. As Britain is an island nation, any enemy power would have to cross the sea to invade. Attainment of naval superiority by a hostile power would have placed the nation in great peril. Moreover, a large navy was vital in maintaining the security of supply and communication with the Empire.
England - Saxon navy (c. 800-1066)
England's first navy was established in the 9th century by Alfred the Great but, despite inflicting a significant defeat on the Vikings in the Wantsum Channel at Plucks Gutter near to Stourmouth, Kent , it fell into disrepair. It was revived by King Athelstan and at the time of his victory at the Battle of Brunanburh in 937, the English navy had a strength of approximately 400 ships. Just Prior to the Norman invasion, King Harold had put his trust in his navy, which was to halt William the Conqueror's
invasion fleet from crossing the Channel, although, obviously failed to defend against William's superior navy.
England - Norman and Medieval, to 1485 - The Cinque Ports
Saxon naval forces having failed to prevent William the Conqueror from crossing the channel and winning the Battle of Hastings, the Norman kings started an equivalent force in 1155, with ships provided by the Cinque Ports alliance (possibly created by Norman, possibly pre-existing then developed by them for their own purposes). The Normans probably did establish the post of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. King John had a fleet of 500 sail. In the mid-fourteenth century Edward III's navy had some 712 ships. There then followed a period of decline.
Sir Francis Drake, c. 1540–1596.
England - The Tudors and the Royal Navy
The first reformation and major expansion of the Navy Royal, as it was then known, occurred in the 16th century during the reign of Henry VIII whose ships, Henri Grâce a Dieu ("Great Harry") and Mary Rose, engaged the French navy in the battle of the Solent in 1545. By the time of Henry's death in 1547 his fleet had grown to 58 vessels. In 1588 the Spanish Empire, at the time Europe's superpower, threatened England with invasion and the Spanish Armada set sail to enforce Spain's dominance over the English Channel and transport troops from the Spanish Netherlands to England. However, the armada failed, due to bad weather and a revolt by the Dutch in Spain's territories across the Channel. The defeat of the armada is the first major 'victory' by the English at sea. However, the Drake-Norris Expedition of 1589 saw the tide of war turn against the Royal Navy. England continued to raid Spain's ports and ships travelling across the Atlantic Ocean under the reign of Elizabeth I but was to suffer a series of damaging defeats against a reformed Spanish navy.
A permanent Naval Service did not exist until the mid 17th century, when the Fleet Royal was taken under Parliamentary control following the defeat of Charles I in the English Civil War. This second reformation of the navy was carried out under 'General-at-Sea' (equivalent to Admiral) Robert Blake during Oliver Cromwell's Commonwealth. The incorporation of the Royal Navy was in contrast to the land forces, which are descended from variety of different sources including both royalist and Parliamentary forces.
Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1758–1805
After defeats in the second and third Anglo-Dutch wars the Royal Navy gradually developed into the strongest navy in the world. From 1692 the Dutch navy was placed under the command of the Royal Navy's admirals (though not incorporated in it) by William III's command following the Glorious Revolution. In 1707, the Royal Navy absorbed the Royal Scots Navy per the Acts of Union. The early 18th century saw the Royal Navy with a superior number of ships to contemporary navies, although it suffered severe financial problems throughout this period, and found itself in heavy debt, which affected most of its operations and administration. As the 18th century drew on the government developed improved means of financing the Royal Navy through bonds. With improved cash flow, the Royal Navy began to develop the strategic ability to counteract the movements of other countries' naval forces by the means of blockades, supported by unprecedented naval logistics, the gradual development of superior naval tactics and strategy and consistently high morale. This eventually led to almost uncontested power over the world's oceans from 1805 to 1914, when it came to be said that "Britannia ruled the waves". Even before 1805, the Royal Navy suffered only one strategic defeat - during the American Revolution at the Battle of the Chesapeake in 1781 against a French fleet commanded by the able Comte de Grasse (although in 1796 a French invasion fleet was prevented from landing in Bantry Bay, Ireland only by the weather). The Napoleonic Wars saw the Royal Navy reach a peak of efficiency, dominating the naval forces of all Britain's adversaries. The height of the Navy's achievements came on 21 October 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar where a combined French and Spanish fleet was decisively beaten by a numerically smaller but more experienced British fleet under the command of Admiral Lord Nelson.
The victory at Trafalgar consolidated the United Kingdom's advantage over other European maritime powers. By concentrating its military resources in the navy it could both defend itself and project its power across the oceans as well as threaten rivals' ocean trading routes. The United Kingdom therefore needed to maintain only a relatively small, highly mobile, professional army that could be dispatched to where it was needed by sea, as well as be given support by the navy with bombardment, movement, supplies and reinforcement. Meanwhile rivals could have their sea-borne supplies cut off, as had occurred with Napoleon's army in Egypt. Other major European powers were forced to split their resources between maintaining both a large navy and enormous armies and fortifications to defend their land frontiers. The domination of the sea therefore allowed the United Kingdom to rapidly build its empire from the Seven Years' War (1756-1763) and throughout the 19th century, giving it enormous military, political and commercial advantages.
Unlike the French navy of pre-revolutionary France, the highest commands of the Royal Navy were open to all within its ranks showing talent. This greatly increased the pool available, even if there was a bias towards the upper class. Furthermore, the French revolution's anti-aristocratic purges caused the loss of most of the French navy's experienced commanders, increasing the Royal Navy's advantage. Despite the success of the Royal Navy during this period, the conditions of service for ordinary seamen, including no increases in pay for a century, late payment of wages and maintaining ships in commission for years without shore leave, all set against the background of harsh and arbitrary discipline, eventually resulted in serious mutinies in 1797 when the crews of the Spithead and Nore fleets refused to obey their officers and some captains were sent ashore. This resulted in the short-lived "Floating Republic" which at Spithead was quelled by promising improvements in conditions, but at the Nore resulted in the hanging of 29 mutineers. Napoleon acted to counter Britain's maritime supremacy and economic power, closing European ports to British trade. He also unleashed a storm of privateers, operating from French territories in the West Indies, which placed great pressure on British mercantile shipping in the western hemisphere. The Royal
Navy was too hard-pressed in European waters to release significant forces to combat the privateers. Its large ships-of-the-line were not useful, in any case, for seeking out and running down the nimble privateers, which operated individually, or in small numbers, scattered far-and-wide. The Royal Navy reacted by commissioning small warships, of traditional Bermuda design. The first three ordered from Bermudian builders, HMS Dasher, HMS Driver and HMS Hunter, were each sloops of 200 tons, armed with twelve 24-pounders. A great many more ships of this type were ordered, or bought up from trade, primarily for use as advice ships. The most notable was HMS Pickle, the former Bermudian merchantman that carried news of victory back from Trafalgar. In the years following Trafalgar, there was increasing tension at sea between the Britain and the United States. American traders took advantage of their country's neutrality to trade with both the French controlled parts of Europe and Britain. Both France and Britain tried to prevent trade but only the Royal Navy was in a position to enforce a blockade. Another irritant was the suspected presence of British deserters aboard US merchant and naval vessels. Royal Navy ships often attempted to recover these deserters. In one notorious instance in 1807, otherwise known as the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair, HMS Leopard fired on USS Chesapeake causing significant casualties before boarding and seizing suspected British deserters. In 1812, while the Napoleonic wars continued, the United States declared war on the United Kingdom and invaded Canada. At sea, the war was characterised by single ship actions between small ships, and disruption of merchant shipping. The better designed American frigates were heavier and faster than their counterparts, and handled well under volunteer crews. As a result a number of British ships were defeated and mid-way through the war, the Admiralty was forced to issue the order to not engage American frigates individually. Additionally, there were also significant merchant losses of merchant shipping to American privateers, 866 merchant vessels; however, the Royal Navy gradually reinforced the blockade of the American coast, virtually halting all trade by sea and capturing many merchant ships and forcing the US navy frigates to stay in harbour or risk being captured.
Admiral Sir George Cockburn
By this time, the Royal Navy had begun building a naval base and dockyard in Bermuda, which had become the winter location of the Admiralty previously based in Newfoundland. The Royal Navy had begun development after American independence had deprived it of bases on most of the North American seaboard. In time, Bermuda would become the headquarters for Royal Naval operations in the waters of southern North America and the West Indies. During the War of 1812, the Royal Navy's blockade of the US Atlantic ports was orchestrated from Bermuda and HalifaxNova Scotia. The blockade kept most of the American navy trapped in port. The Royal Navy also occupied coastal islands, encouraging American slaves to defect. Units of Royal Marines were raised from these freed slaves. After British victory in the Peninsular War, part of Wellington's Light Division was released for service in North America. This 2,500 man force, composed of Major-General Ross and detachments from the 4, 21, 44, and 85 Regiments, with some elements of artillery and sappers, arrived in Bermuda in 1815 aboard a fleet composed of the 74-gun HMS Royal Oak, three frigates, three sloops and ten other vessels. It had been thought to use the combined force to launch raids on the coastlines of Maryland and Virginia, with the aim of drawing US forces away from the Canadian border. Following American atrocities at Lake Erie, however, Sir George Prevost requested a punitive expedition which would 'deter the enemy from a repetition of such outrages'. The British force arrived at the Patuxent on 17 August. It landed the soldiers within 36 miles of Washington DC. Led by Rear Admiral Sir George Cockburn, the force drove the US government out of Washington, DC. Ross shied from the idea of burning the City, but Cockburn and others set it alight. Buildings burned included the US Capitol and the US President's Mansion. Between 1793 and 1815 the Royal Navy lost 344 vessels to non-combat causes - 75 by foundering, 254 shipwrecked and 15 from accidental burnings or explosions. In the same period it lost 103,660 seamen 84,440 by disease and accidents, 12,680 by shipwreck or foundering, and 6,540 by enemy action.
During the 19th century the Royal Navy enforced a ban on the slave trade and the suppression of piracy. Another job of the Royal navy was given during the 19th century (and before and after as well), was to map the world. Mostly, this involved recording every coastline to provide this information for humanity. To this day, Admiralty charts are maintained by the Royal Navy. Royal Navy vessels on surveying missions carried out extensive scientific work. On one voyage, Charles Darwin travelled around the world on the Beagle, making scientific observations which later influenced his theory of evolution.
Life in the early Royal Navy would be considered harsh by today's standards; discipline was severe and flogging was used to enforce obedience to the Articles of War. The law allowed the navy to use the unpopular practice of impressment where seamen were forced to serve in the navy during times of manpower shortage, usually in wartime. Impressment reached its peak in the 18th and early 19th century but was abandoned after the end of the Napoleonic Wars as the peacetime navy was smaller. During the later half of the 19th century, ships of the Royal Navy were used for 'gunboat diplomacy'. For this, large, heavily armed boats with shallow draught were employed in coastal areas in the far reaches of the Empire, mostly to assure the local population/ruler of the United Kingdom's power and also to interfere where the UK's interests were at stake. By the end of the 19th century though, the Royal Navy, despite being the largest in the world, was not as powerful as it seemed to be. It was a collection of new, powerful pre-Dreadnoughts such as the Royal Sovereign Class, and of old ironclad vessels and even sailing ships, by then several decades old. Mainly thanks to the efforts of John Arbuthnot Fisher, then First Lord of the Admiralty, many of the older vessels were retired, scrapped, or placed into reserve, freeing up funds and manpower for newer ships. He also was the main force behind the development of the HMS Dreadnought, the first all big gun ship and possibly one of the most influential ships in naval history. At one stroke, this ship rendered all other battleships then existing totally obsolete, and started an arms race in which Great Britain had a lead over all others. Fisher was also a proponent of submarines, and bought a few based on John Holland's design from Vickers. At this time, other changes also took place. Admiral Percy Scott introduced new gunnery training programs and a central fire control station, greatly improving accuracy and ship effectiveness in battle. Telegraphs were introduced onto flagships, and the Parson Turbine and experimentation with oil as fuel led to greatly increased range and speed.
Landing craft convoy crossing the English Channel in 1944
During the two World Wars, the Royal Navy played a vital role in keeping the United Kingdom supplied with food, arms and raw materials and in defeating the German campaigns of unrestricted submarine warfare in the first and second battles of the Atlantic.
During the First World War the majority of the Royal Navy's strength was deployed at home in the Grand Fleet in an effort to blockade Germany and to draw the Hochseeflotte (the German "High Seas Fleet") in to an engagement where a decisive victory could be gained. Although the latter never materialised, the Royal Navy and the Kaiserliche Marine fought many battles; Battle of Heligoland Bight, Battle of Coronel, Battle of the Falkland Islands, Battle of Dogger Bank and the Battle of Jutland. The latter engagement is the best-known and was a somewhat indecisive affair, with the Royal Navy suffering heavier losses yet succeeding in its strategic goal of blockading the Hocheseeflotte. The Royal Navy was also heavily committed in the Dardanelles Campaign against the Ottoman Empire. During the war, the Navy contributed the Royal Naval Division to the land forces of the New Army. In the inter war period, the Royal Navy was stripped of much of its power. The Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 imposed limits on individual ship tonnage and gun calibre, as well as total tonnage of the navy. The treaty, compounded by the deplorable financial conditions during the immediate post-war period and the Great Depression, forced the Admiralty to scrap all capital ships from the Great War with a gun calibre under 15 inches and to cancel plans for new construction. Three planned units of the Hood class of battlecruiser and a class of 16-inch battlecruisers and 18-inch battleships - the G3 and N3 classes respectively - were cancelled. Also under the treaty, three "large light cruisers" - Glorious, Courageous and Furious - were converted to aircraft carriers. New additions to the fleet were therefore minimal during the 1920s, the only major new vessels being the two units of the Nelson class of battleships and fifteen heavy cruisers of the County and York classes. The London Naval Treaty of 1930 deferred new capital ship construction until 1937 and reiterated construction limits on cruisers, destroyers and submarines. As international tensions increased in the mid-1930s the Second London Naval Treaty of 1935 failed to halt the deterioration into a naval arms race and by 1938 treaty limits were effectively null and void. The re-armament of the Royal Navy was well under way by this point however. This resulted in the new capital ship construction, in the shape of the King George V class of 1936, being limited to the 35,000 tons and 14-inch armament. Other significant new construction included the carriers Ark Royal and of the Illustrious classes, the Town and Crown Colony classes of light cruiser and the Tribal class destroyers. In addition to new construction, several changes were made to existing ships, such as the reconstruction of old battleships, battlecruisers and heavy cruisers and the reinforcement of anti-aircraft weaponry. As a result, the Royal Navy entered the Second World War as a relatively heterogeneous force composed of World War I veterans, inter war ships limited by close adherence to treaty restrictions and new construction. It remained, however, a powerful force, though smaller and more aged than it was during World War I. During the earlier phases of World War II, the Royal Navy provided critical, if depressing cover during British evacuations from Dunkirk and Crete. In the latter operation, Admiral Cunningham ran great risks to extract the Army, but saved many men to fight another day. It suffered a massive blow however, when the battlecruiser HMS Hood was sunk by the German battleship Bismarck. The Bismarck was also sunk a few days later, though public pride in the Royal Navy was severely damaged as a result of the loss of Hood. The Royal Navy was also vital in guarding the sea lanes that enabled British forces to fight in remote parts of the world such as North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Far East. Naval supremacy was vital
to the amphibious operations carried out, such as the invasions of Northwest Africa, Sicily, Italy, and Normandy. By the end of the war however, it was clear that aircraft carriers were the new dominant weapon of naval warfare, and that Britain's former naval superiority in terms of battleships had been rendered null.
The Cold War
After World War II, the growing power of the United States and the decline of the British Empire, reduced the role of the Royal Navy. However, the threat of the Soviet Union and British commitments throughout the world created a new role for the Navy. In the 1960s, the Royal Navy received its first nuclear weapons and was later to become responsible for the maintenance of the UK's nuclear deterrent. In the latter stages of the Cold War, the Royal Navy was reconfigured with three anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft carriers and a force of small frigates and destroyers. Its purpose was to search for and destroy Soviet submarines in the North Atlantic.
HMS Warspite, the Royal Navy's third nuclear-powered submarine.
The most important post-war operation conducted predominantly by the Royal Navy was the defeat in 1982 of Argentina in the Falkland Islands War. Despite losing four naval ships and other civilian and RFA ships the Royal Navy proved it was still able to fight a battle 8,000 miles (12,800 km) from Great Britain. HMS Conqueror is the only nuclear-powered submarine to have engaged an enemy ship with torpedoes, sinking the Argentine cruiser ARA General Belgrano. The war also underlined the importance of aircraft carriers and submarines and exposed the service's late 20th century dependence on chartered merchant vessels. The Royal Navy also participated in the Gulf War, the Kosovo conflict, the Afghanistan Campaign, and the 2003 Iraq War, the last of which saw RN warships bombard positions in support of the Al Faw
Peninsula landings by Royal Marines. Also during that war, HM submarines Splendid and Turbulent launched a number of Tomahawk cruise missiles at targets in Iraq. In August 2005 the Royal Navy rescued seven Russians stranded in a submarine off the Kamchatka peninsula. Using its Scorpio 45, a remote-controlled mini-sub, the submarine was freed from the fishing nets and cables that had held the Russian submarine for three days. The Royal Navy has deployed a number of Naval Task Groups to the Far East including "NTG 03" in 2003, HM ships Exeter, Echo, RFAs Diligence and Grey Rover in 2004 and HMS Liverpool and RFA Grey Rover in 2005.
The Royal Navy today
HMS Invincible the former flagship of the Royal Navy
At the beginning of the 1990s, the Royal Navy was a force designed for the Cold War with a focus on blue water ASW, its purpose was to search for and destroy Soviet submarines in the North Atlantic, complemented by the nuclear deterrent submarine force. However, the Falklands War proved a need for the Royal Navy to regain an expeditionary and littoral capability which, with its resources and structure at the time, would prove difficult. With the UK government developing its Foreign Policy following the end of the Cold War this has been demonstrated by a number of operations which have required an aircraft carrier to be deployed globally such as the Adriatic, Peace Support Operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, Sierra Leone, the Persian Gulf. Destroyers and Frigates have also been similarly deployed conducting anti-piracy in the Malacca Straits or Horn of Africa. So, over the course of the 1990s, the navy began a series of projects to refresh the fleet, with a view to bringing its capabilities into the 21st century and allow it to turn from a North Atlantic-based anti-submarine force into an expeditionary force.
The Royal Navy is currently deployed in many areas of the world, including a number of standing Royal Navy deployments.
North Atlantic Tasks
Fleet Ready Escort HMS Northumberland Mine Countermeasures Force (Group 1) HMS Middleton Fishery Protection Squadron River class patrol vessel and rotation of Hunt class MCMV
Standing NRF Maritime (Group 2) HMS York  Mine Countermeasures Force (Group 2) HMS Hurworth
Atlantic Patrol Task (North) HMS Iron Duke, RFA Wave Ruler
South Atlantic Tasks
Atlantic Patrol Task (South) HMS Chatham, RFA Gold Rover Falkland Islands Patrol Vessel HMS Dumbarton Castle Ice Patrol Ship HMS Endurance
Armilla Patrol HMS Sutherland, RFA Diligence, HMS Echo Far-East/Pacific Tasking HMS Westminster
Custom and tradition
Commissioned ships and submarines wear the White Ensign at the stern whilst alongside during daylight hours and at the main-mast whilst under way. When alongside, the Union Jack is flown from the jackstaff at the stem, and can only be flown under way either to signal a court-martial is in progress or to indicate the presence of an Admiral of the Fleet on-board (including the Lord High Admiral, the Monarch.) .
HMS Endurance carries the Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom, HM Queen Elizabeth II, as part of the Trafalgar bi-centennial Fleet Review, 28 June 2005
The Fleet Review is an irregular tradition of assembling the fleet before the monarch. For example, at the most recent on 28 June 2005 to mark the bi-centenary of the Battle of Trafalgar; 167 ships of the RN, and 30 other nations, were present.
Nicknames for the service include "The Andrew" (of uncertain origin, possibly after a zealous press ganger) and "The Senior Service". It has also been referred to as the "Grey Funnel Line".
Traditionally, subordinates would uncover, remove their head dress, to a superior. In a book called New Art of War, printed in 1740, it is stated that; When the King or Captain General is being saluted each Officer is to time his salute so as to pull off his hat when the person he salutes is almost opposite him. Queen Victoria instituted the hand salute in the Navy to replace uncovering; The occasion being when she sent for certain Officers and men to Osborne House to thank them for rendering help to a distressed German ship, and did not like to see men in uniform standing uncovered. The personal salute with the hand is borrowed from the military salute of the Army, and there are various theories concerning its origin. There is the traditional theory that it has been the custom from time immemorial for a junior to uncover to a superior, and even to-day men on Captains Defaulters remove their hats. In this theory, the naval salute is merely the first motion of removing one's head dress. It was officially introduced into the Navy in 1890, but during the First World War a large number of old retired officers were in the habit of doffing their head gear instead of saluting, this, of course, being the method to which they were accustomed.
Another theory holds that in the age of sail, hemp ropes were preserved in tar, causing the sailor's hands to become stained. It would have been a discourtesy to show the dirty palm to one's superior, therefore the naval salute differs from the military salute in that it has the palm turned down, rather than outwards  . The Royal Marines, with their military origin, use the military rather than the naval salute.
Ships will engage in a number of affiliations with cities, e.g. HMS Newcastle with Newcastle upon Tyne, elements of the other forces, e.g. HMS Illustrious with 30 Signal Regiment, schools, cadet units and charities.
The RN has evolved a rich volume of slang, known as "Jack-speak". Nowadays the British sailor is usually "Jack" (or "Jenny") rather than the more historical "Jack Tar", which is an allusion to either the former requirement to tar long hair or the tar-stained hands of sailors. Nicknames for a British sailor, applied by others, include "Matelot" (pronounced matlow), derived from French or "Limey". Royal Marines are fondly known as "Bootnecks" or often just as "Royals".
Uckers and Ucker
Uckers is a four player board game similar to Ludo that is traditionally played in the Royal Navy. It is fiercely competitive and rules differ between ships and stations (and between other services). Ucker, pronounced you-ker, is a card game also played on board ships and in naval establishments. It is similar to Trumps, is highly competitive and extremely difficult to learn.
The Royal Navy in Fiction
The Napoleonic campaigns of the navy have been the subject of many novels including Patrick O'Brian's series featuring Jack Aubrey, C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower, and Alexander Kent's Richard Bolitho. Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series though primarily involving the Peninsular War of the time, includes several novels involving Richard Sharpe at sea with the Navy. Alexander Kent is a pen name of Douglas Reeman who, under his birth name, has written many novels featuring the Royal Navy in the two World Wars. Other well known novels include Alistair MacLean's HMS Ulysses and Nicholas Monsarrat's The Cruel Sea, both set during World War II.
Royal Navy timeline and battles
1588 The Spanish Armada 1589 The English Armada 1652 Battle of Dungeness 1690 Battle of Beachy Head 1692 Battle of La Hougue 1692 Battle of Plaisance (Placentia) 1759 Battle of Quiberon Bay and Battle of Lagos 1762 Battle of Signal Hill
1780 Battle of Cape St. Vincent (1780) 1781 Battle of the Chesapeake and Battle of Dogger Bank (1781) 1782 Battle of St. Kitts and Battle of the Saintes 1794 The Glorious First of June 1797 Battle of Cape St. Vincent (1797) 1798 Battle of the Nile 1801 Battle of Copenhagen 1805 Battle of Trafalgar 1808–1814 Peninsular war 1812–1814 War of 1812 1821 First steam paddle ships for auxiliary use (tugs etc.) 1839-1842 Opium War First Anglo-Chinese war. 1840 First screw driven Steamship, Rattler 1860 First Iron-hulled armoured battleship, Warrior 1902 First Royal Navy submarine, Holland 1 1905 First Steam turbine and all big-gun battleship, Dreadnought 1914–1918 First Battle of the Atlantic 1914 Battle of Heligoland Bight, Battle of Coronel, Battle of the Falkland Islands 1915 Battle of Dogger Bank (1915) and Dardanelles Campaign 1916 Battle of Jutland 1919 Russian Civil War 1931 Invergordon Mutiny 1939–1945 Second Battle of the Atlantic 1939 Battle of the River Plate 1940 Operation Dynamo (Dunkirk) 1941 Battle of Cape Matapan 1941 Sinking of HMS Hood and the German battleship Bismarck 1943 Battle of North Cape 1944 Operation Tungsten 1944 Operation Neptune (Normandy) 1946 Mining of Saumarez and Volage in the Corfu Channel Incident 1949 Amethyst incident on the Yangtze River 1950 Korean War begins 1956 Suez campaign 1962 Indonesian Konfrontasi begins in Borneo 1963 First British nuclear submarine, Dreadnought 1965 Beira Patrol against Rhodesia begins 1980 Armilla Patrol in the Persian Gulf begins 1982 Falklands War 1991 Gulf War 1999 Kosovo conflict 2000 Operation Palliser 2001 Afghanistan Campaign 2003 Iraq War
His/Her Majesty's Royal Marines, also known as the Royal Marines (RM), are the Royal Navy's Light Infantry, the United Kingdom's amphibious force and specialists in Arctic and Mountain Warfare. A core component of the country's Rapid Deployment Force, the Corps is able to operate independently in all terrains, and are highly trained as commando forces. The high levels of training and competence, coupled with a unique mix of capabilities, are regarded as comparable to those found in Special Forces. The Royal Marines are a component part of the Naval Service which encompasses the Royal Navy and other units.
Corps of Royal Marines
Cap Badge of the Royal Marines
Active Country Branch Type Role Size Part of Garrison/HQ
26 April 1755United Kingdom Royal Navy Commando Rapid reaction force/Home defence Six battalions Naval Service 40 Commando - Taunton 42 Commando - Plymouth 45 Commando - Arbroath Fleet Protection Group - HMNB Clyde Commando Logistic Regiment Chivenor 1 Assault Group - Poole The Royals, HM Jollies, Bootnecks Per Mare Per Terram (By Sea By Land)
(Latin) March Quick - A Life on the Ocean Wave Slow - Preobrajensky Commanders Current commander Captain-General CommandantGeneral Commando Flash Naval Service HRH The Duke of Edinburgh Major General Garry Robison RM Insignia
The Royal Marines are a maritime focussed, amphibious, light infantry force capable of deploying at short notice in support of the United Kingdom Government's military and diplomatic objectives overseas and are optimised for highly manoeuvreable operational situation. As the United Kingdom Armed Forces' specialists in cold weather warfare the Corps will provide lead element expertise in the NATO Northern Flank and are optimised for high altitude operations. In common with the other armed forces the Royal Marines can provide resources for Military Aid to Civil Authority and Military Aid to Civil Power.
Command, Control and Organisation
Command of the Royal Marines is vested in Commander in Chief Fleet with Commandant General Royal Marines, a Major General, embedded within the CINCFLEET staff as Commander UK Amphibious Force (COMUKAMPHIBFOR). The operational capability of the Corps comprises a number of Battalion-sized units, three of these are designated as "Commandos":
40 Commando (known as Forty Commando) based at Norton Manor Barracks, Taunton, Somerset 42 Commando (known as Four Two Commando) based at Bickleigh Barracks, Plymouth, Devon 45 Commando (known as Four Five Commando) based at Condor Barracks, Arbroath, Angus, Scotland Commando Logistic Regiment based at Chivenor, Devon
UK Landing Force Command Support Group based at Stonehouse Barracks, Plymouth Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines based at HM Naval Base Clyde, Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute Special Boat Service based at Royal Marines Barracks Poole, Dorset Each of these formations is commanded by a Lieutenant-Colonel of the Royal Marines, who may have sub-specialised in a number of ways throughout his career.
3 Commando Brigade
Operational Control (OPCON) of the three Commandos and the Commando Logistics Regiment is delegated to 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines based at Stonehouse Barracks which exercises control as directed by either CINCFLEET or the Permanent Joint Headquarters. As the main combat formation of the Royal Marines the Brigade has its own organic capability to support it in the field:
UK Landing Force Command Support Group which comprises: CSG Headquarters Troop Signals Squadron Two HQ Satcomm Troops Brigade Staff Squadron Support Squadron Brigade Patrol Troop Electronic Warfare Troop (Y Troop) Air Defence Troop Tactical Air Control Parties Police Troop Logistics Squadron Motor Transport Troop QMs Troop Equipment Support Troop 539 Assault Squadron
The Brigade also holds Operational Control of attached Royal Artillery and Royal Engineer assets.
The independent elements of the Royal Marines are:
Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines is responsible for the security of the United Kingdom's nuclear deterrent and other security-related duties. It also provides boarding party support for the embargo enforcement, counter narcotics and counter insurgency activities of the Royal Navy. It is commando-sized, however the structure differs to reflect its role, it bears the colours, battle honours and customs of 43 Commando. Commando Training Centre: This is the training unit for the entire corps, and consists of three separate sections: Commando Training Wing: This is the initial basic commando training section for new recruits to the Royal Marines, and the All Arms Commando Course. Specialist Wing. This provides specialist training in the various trades which Marines may elect to join once qualified and experienced in a Rifle Company. Command Wing: This provides command training for both officers and NCOs of the Royal Marines. 1 Assault Group Royal Marines: Provides training in the use of landing craft and boats, and also serves as a parent unit for the three assault squadrons permanentlyembarked on the Royal Navy's amphibious ships. 4 Assault Squadron - HMS Bulwark 6 Assault Squadron - HMS Albion 9 Assault Squadron - HMS Ocean Special Boat Service (SBS) are maritime special forces and under the Operational Control of Director Special Forces. The Service is battalion-sized and commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel with previous experience as a Swimmer Canoeist. Responsibilities include Maritime Counter-Terrorism operations and other special forces tasks. Royal Marines Band Service provides regular bands for the Royal Navy and provides expertise to train RN Volunteer Bands. Bandsmen have a secondary role as field hospital orderlies. Personnel may not be commando trained, wearing a blue beret instead of green, the band service is the only branch of the Royal Marines which admits women.
o o o
o o o
Structure of a Commando
The Commando Flash, sewn to the upper sleeve of a DPM shirt.
The three Commandos are each organised into six companies, further organised into platoon-sized troops) as follows:
o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Command Company Main HQ Tactical HQ Reconnaissance Troop (includes a sniper section) Mortar Troop (81 mm) (Includes 4 MFC pairs) AT Troop (Milan - to be replaced Javelin ATGW) Medium Machine Gun Troop One Logistic Company A Echelon 1 (A Ech1) A Echelon 2 (A Ech2) FRT RAP B Echelon (B Ech) Two Close Combat Companies Company Headquarters (Coy HQ) 3 Close Combat Troops (Troop HQ, 3 Rifle Sections, Manoeuvre Support Section) Two Stand Off Companies o Company Headquarters (Coy HQ) o Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) Troop (0.5" heavy machine guns) o Anti-Tank Troop (Milan - to be replaced with Javelin) o Close Combat Troop In general a rifle company Marine will be a member of a four-man fire team, the building block of commando operations. A Royal Marine works with his team in the field and lives with them in his accommodation (if he lives in barracks).
This structure is a recent development, formerly Commandos were structured similarly to light Infantry Battalions. During the restructuring of the United Kingdom's military services the Corps evolved from a Cold War focus on NATOs Northern Flank towards a more expeditionary posture.
Amphibious Ready Group
Royal Marines in a Rigid Raider assault watercraft
The Amphibious Ready Group is a mobile, balanced amphibious force, based on a Commando Group and its supporting assets, that can be kept at high readiness to deploy into an area of operations. The Amphibious Ready Group is normally based around specialist amphibious ships, most notably HMS Ocean, the largest ship in the British fleet. Ocean was designed and built to accommodate an embarked commando and its associated stores and equipment. The strategy of the Amphibious Ready Group is to wait "beyond the horizon" and then deploy swiftly as directed by HM Government. The whole amphibious force is intended to be self-sustaining and capable of operating without host-nation support. The concept was successfully tested in operations in Sierra Leone.
Commando Helicopter Force
The Fleet Air Arm Commando Helicopter Force uses both Sea King transport and Lynx Light lift/ light attack helicopters to provide aviation support for the Royal Marines. It consists of both Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel, who need not be commando trained.
Marines undergo the longest basic training regimen of any Infantry force in the world (32 weeks), at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) at Lympstone, Devon. The Royal Marines is the only part of the British Armed Forces where Officers and Other Ranks are trained at the same location. Much of the basic training is carried out on the rugged terrain of Dartmoor and Woodbury common with a significant proportion taking place at night. Before beginning Royal Marines recruit training the potential recruit must attend a PRMC known as Potential Royal Marines Course held at CTCRM. PRMC lasts 3 days and asseses measuring physical ability and intellectual capacity to undertake the recruit training. Officer candidates must also undertake the Admiralty Interview Board.
Officers and Marines undergo the same training up to the commando tests, thereafter Marines go on to employment in a rifle company while Officers continue training. Officer courses are required to meet higher standards in the Commando tests.
The first weeks of training are spent learning basic skills that will be used later. This includes much time spent on the parade ground and on the rifle ranges. Physical training at this stage emphasizes all-round body strength, in order to develop the muscles necessary to carry the heavy weights a marine will use in an operational unit. Key milestones include a gym passout at week 9 (not carried out with fighting order), which shows that a recruit is ready for the Bottom Field, a battle swimming test, and learning to do a "regain" (i.e. climb back onto a rope suspended over a water tank). Most of these tests are completed with the ever present "fighting order" of 32 lb of equipment. Individual fieldcraft skills are also taught at this basic stage.
The Commando Course
The culmination of training is a period known as the Commando Course. Since the creation of the British Commandos during World War II, all Royal Marines, except those in the Royal Marines Band Service, complete the Commando course as part of their training (see below). Key aspects of the course include climbing and ropework techniques, patrolling, and amphibious operations. This intense phase ends with a series of tests which have remained virtually unchanged since World War II. Again these tests, and indeed virtually all the training, is done with a "fighting order" of 32 lb (14.5kg) of equipment. The commando tests are taken on consecutive days, they include;
A nine-mile (14.5 km) speed march, carrying full fighting order, to be completed in 90 minutes; the pace is thus 10 minutes per mile (6 min/km or 6 mph). The Endurance course is a six mile, (9.65 km), course across rough terrain at Woodbury Common near Lympstone, which includes tunnels, pipes, wading pools, and an underwater culvert. The course ends with a four-mile run back to CTCRM. Followed by a marksmanship test, where the recruit must hit 6 out of 10 shots at a target representing a fig. 11 target at 200 m. To be completed in 73 minutes (71 minutes for Royal Marine officers), these times were recently increased by one minute as the route of the course was altered. The Course ends at the 25m range where the recruit must then put at least 6 out of 10 shots on target without cleaning their weapon. The Tarzan Assault Course. This is an assault course combined with an aerial confidence test. It starts with a death slide and ends with a rope climb up a thirty foot vertical wall. It must be completed with full fighting order in 13 minutes, 12 minutes for Royal Marine officers. The Potential Officers Course also includes confidence tests from the Tarzan Assault Course, although not with equipment.
The Thirty miler. This is a 30 mile (48 km) march across Dartmoor, wearing fighting order, and additional safety equipment. It must be completed in 8 hours for recruits and 7 hours for Royal Marine officers, who must also navigate the route themselves, rather than following a DS with the rest of a syndicate and carry their own equipment.
The day after the 30 mile (48 km) march, any who failed any of the tests may attempt to retake them. Completing the Commando Course successfully entitles the recruit or officer to wear the coveted green beret but does not mean that the Royal Marine has finished his training. That decision will be made by the troop or batch training team and will depend on the recruit's or young officer's overall performance. Furthermore, officer training still consists of many more months. After basic and commando training, a Royal Marine Commando will normally join a unit of 3 Commando Brigade. There are three Royal Marines Commando infantry units in the Brigade: 40 Commando located at Norton Manor Camp near Taunton in Somerset, 42 Commando at Bickleigh Barracks, near Plymouth, Devon, and 45 Commando at HMS Condor, Arbroath on the east coast of Scotland.
 Specialist training
Royal Marines may then go on to undertake specialist training in a variety of skills; Platoon Weapons Instructor, Mortar operator, signals, clerks, sniper, PT instructor, Mountain Leader, Swimmer Canoeist, chef, Landing Craft coxwain etc. Training for these specialisations may be undertaken at CTCRM or in a joint environment, such as Royal School of Signals or the Defence Police College. Some Marines undergo military parachute training at RAF Brize Norton without having to undergo PCompany training with the Parachute Regiment. This allows flexibility of insertion methods for all force elements.
L85A2 IW - 5.56 x 45 mm (Individual Weapon) L86A2 LSW - 5.56 x 45 mm (Light Support Weapon) L110A1 Light Machine Gun 5.56 x 45 mm belt or magazine. L82A1 Barret - .50 inch (12.7 mm) BMG (Browning Machine gun) anti-materiel sniper rifle L96A1 Sniper Rifle - 7.62 x 51 mm Accuracy International bolt-action sniper rifle L7A2 GPMG (General Purpose Machine Gun) - the FN MAG 7.62 x 51 mm beltfed machine gun. L1A1 Heavy Machine Gun .50 inch (12.7 mm) BMG (Browning Machine gun) LAW 80 ((Light Anti-tank Weapon)) MILAN wire guided anti-tank missile (in the process of being replaced by the Javelin Anti-Tank missile)
L16A2 81 mm Mortar (High Explosive, Smoke and Illuminating ammunition) L9A1 Browning - 9 x 19 mm Parabellum semi-automatic pistol L107A1 - 9 x 19 mm Parabellum semi-automatic pistol L17A2 UGL (Under-slung Grenade Launcher) - Attachment to L85A2
The first unit of English Naval Infantry, originally called the Duke of York and Albany's Maritime Regiment of Foot and soon becoming known as the Admiral's Regiment, was formed on October 28, 1664, with an initial strength of 1200 Infantrymen recruited from the Trained Bands of London as part of the mobilisation for the Second Dutch War. It was the fourth European Marine unit formed, being preceded by the Spanish Marines (1537), the Portuguese Marines (1610) and the French Marines (1622). Later followed by the formation of the Dutch Marines in 1665. James (later King James II), the Duke of York, Lord High Admiral and brother of King Charles II, was Captain-General of the Company of the Artillery Garden, now the Honourable Artillery Company, the unit that trained the Trained Bands. The Regiment was very distinct, being dressed in yellow rather than the red of the other Regiments until 1685. The name "Marines" first appeared in official records in 1672. John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough, was the most famous member of this Regiment. A Company of Guards served as Marines to augment the Marines of the Admiral's Regiment during the Naval battle of Sole Bay in 1672. Marlborough's conduct as an ensign in the Guards during the battle so impressed James that he commissioned him a Captain in the Admiral's Regiment after four Marine Captains died during the battle. Marlborough later led a Battalion of the Regiment in the land battle of Enzheim in 1674. The Regiment was disbanded in 1689 shortly after James II was deposed in the Glorious Revolution and The Buffs replaced them as third in precedence in the British Army.
Portrait of a Marine officer, by William Dobson, 17th century
The Marine Regiments of the Army were revived in 1690 and disbanded again in 1699. In 1702 six Regiments were formed for the War of Spanish Succession. The most historic achievement of these Marines was the capture of the mole during the assault on Gibraltar (sailors of the Royal Navy captured the Rock itself) and the subsequent defence of the fortress alongside the Dutch Marines in 1704. In 1713 three of these Regiments were transferred to the Line and the others disbanded. Only four Companies of Marine Invalids remained. Six Marine Regiments were raised for the War of Jenkins Ear in 1739 with four more being raised later. One large Marine Regiment (Spotswood's Regiment later Gooch's Marines, the 61st Foot) was formed of American colonists and served alongside British Marines at Cartegena, Columbia and Guantanamo, Cuba in the War of Jenkin's Ear (1741). Among its officers was Lawrence Washington, the half-brother of George Washington. In 1747, the remaining regiments were transferred to the Admiralty and then disbanded in 1748. Even though they were part of the Army, these Marines were quite nautical at times. Some Royal Navy officers began in these Marine regiments and some kept their Marine rank throughout their careers, one Royal Navy Captain even serving as the Captain of Marines on his own ship. They were used by the Admiralty to rig ships before they were placed in commission as the Royal Navy had no extra sailors, the law requiring that all sailors must be part of a commissioned vessel. It was another law requiring that in order for Army Regiments to be paid, the entire Regiment had to muster that led to their transfer to the Admiralty. This requirement was hard for the Marine Regiments to follow as their Companies were stationed on many different ships. In 1755 His Majesty's Marine Forces, fifty Companies in three Divisions, headquartered at Chatham, Portsmouth, and Plymouth, were formed under Admiralty control. During the rest of the 18th century, they served in numerous landings all over the world, the most famous being the landing at Bellisle on the Brittany coast in 1761. They also served in the American Revolutionary War, being particularly courageous in the Battle of Bunker Hill led by Major John Pitcairn. These Marines also often took to the ship's boats to repel attackers in small boats when RN ships on close blockade were becalmed. In 1802, largely at the instigation of Admiral the Earl St. Vincent, they were titled the Royal Marines by King George III. The Royal Marine Artillery (RMA) was formed as a separate unit in 1804 to man the artillery in bomb ketches. This had been done by the Royal Regiment of Artillery, but a lawsuit by a Royal Artillery officer resulted in a court decision that Army officers were not subject to Naval orders. As their uniforms were the blue of the Royal Regiment of Artillery this group was nicknamed the "Blue Marines" and the Infantry element, who wore the scarlet uniforms of the British infantry, became known as the "Red Marines", often given the derogatory nickname "Lobsters" by sailors. The Royal Marines Artillery (RMA) & Royal Marines Light Infantry (RMLI) where almalgamated in 1929. Pursuing a career in the Marines was considered social suicide - the Marines were deeply unpopular in society as most Marines were failures in life running away from their problems on land. Marines officers, unlike their counterparts in the Army or regular Navy, faced obstacles when trying to climb the social ladder, as officers in the Marines were widely perceived as failures unable to obtain commissions
in the Army. In addition, the Royal Navy began handing out positions previously held by RM Colonels to post-captains on half-pay, meaning that the farthest most RM officers could advance was to Major.
 19th Century
During the Napoleonic Wars, the Royal Navy suffered from manpower problems in the Marines, and so regular Infantry units from the Army often had to be used as shipboard replacements. In the War of 1812, escaped American slaves were formed into the Corps of Colonial Marines and fought at Bladensburg. Other Royal Marines units raided up and down Chesapeake Bay, fought in the Battle of New Orleans and later helped capture Fort Bowyer in Mobile Bay in the last action of the war. In 1855 the Infantry forces were re-named the Royal Marines Light Infantry (RMLI) and in 1862 the name was slightly altered to Royal Marine Light Infantry. The Royal Navy did not fight any other ships after 1850 (until 1914) and became interested in landings by Naval Brigades. In these Naval Brigades, the function of the Royal Marines was to land first and act as skimishers ahead of the sailor Infantry and Artillery. This skirmishing was the traditional function of Light Infantry. For most of their history, British Marines had been organised as fusiliers. It was not until 1923 that the separate Artillery and light Infantry forces were formally amalgamated into the Corps of Royal Marines. In the rest of the 19th Century the Royal Marines served in many landings especially in the First and Second Opium Wars (1839-1842 and 1856-1860) against the Chinese. These were all successful except for the landing at the Mouth of the Peiho in 1859, where Admiral Sir James Hope ordered a landing across extensive mud flats even though his Brigadier, Colonel Thomas Lemon RMLI, advised against it. During the Crimean War in 1854 and 1855, three Royal Marines earned the Victoria Cross, two in the Crimea and one in the Baltic. The use of the new "torpedoes" (mines) by the Russians in the Baltic made the campaign there particularly suited to RM raiding and reconnaissance parties. Landings by the British and French Navy and Marines in 1854 were repulsed by the Russians at Petropavlovsk on the Pacific coast of Russia.
 20th Century
The Royal Marines also played a prominent role in the Boxer Rebellion in China (1900), where a Royal Marine earned a Victoria Cross. For the first part of the 20th Century, the Royal Marines' role was the traditional one of providing shipboard Infantry for security, boarding parties and small-scale landings. The Marines' other traditional position on a Royal Navy ship is manning "A" (the forwardmost) gun turret.
 First World War
During the First World War, in addition to their usual stations aboard ship, Royal Marines were part of the Royal Naval Division which landed in Belgium in 1914 to help defend Antwerp and later took part in the amphibious landing at Gallipoli in 1915. It also served on the Western Front. The Division's first two commanders were Royal Marine Artillery Generals. Other Royal Marines acted as landing parties in the Naval campaign against the Turkish fortifications in the Dardanelles before the Gallipoli landing. They were sent ashore to assess damage to Turkish fortifications after bombardment by British and
French ships and, if necessary, to complete their destruction. The Royal Marines were the last to leave Gallipoli, replacing both British and French troops in a neatly planned and executed withdrawal from the beaches. It even required some Marines to wear French uniforms as part of the deception. In 1918 Royal Marines led the raid at Zeebrugge. Five Royal Marines earned the Victoria Cross in the First World War, two at Zeebrugge, one at Gallipoli, one at Jutland and one on the Western Front. After the war Royal Marines took part in the allied intervention in Russia. In 1919, the 6th Battalion RMLI mutinied and was disbanded at Murmansk.
 Second World War
During the Second World War, a small party of Royal Marines were first ashore at Namsos in April 1940, seizing the approaches to the Norwegian town preparatory to a landing by the British Army two days later. The Royal Marines formed the Royal Marine Division as an amphibiously trained division, parts of which served at Dakar and in the capture of Madagascar. In addition the Royal Marines formed Mobile Naval Base Defence Organisations (MNBDOs) similar to the US Marine Corps Defense Battalions. One of these took part in the defence of Crete. Royal Marines also served in Malaya and in Singapore, where due to losses they were joined with remnants of the 2nd Battalion , Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders to form the "Plymouth Argylls". The Royal Marines formed one Commando (A Commando) which served at Dieppe. One month after Dieppe, most of the 11th Royal Marine Battalion was killed or captured in an amphibious landing at Tobruk in Operation Daffodil , again the Marines were involved with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders this time the 1st Battalion. In 1943 the Infantry Battalions of the Royal Marine Division were re-organised as Commandos, joining the Army Commandos. The Division command structure became a Special Service Brigade command. The support troops became landing craft crew.
Men of No 4 Commando engaged in house to house fighting with the Germans at Riva Bella, near Ouistreham.
A total of four Special Service, later Commando, Brigades were raised during the war, and Royal Marines were represented in all of them. A total of nine RM Commandos (Battalions) were raised during the war, numbered from 40 to 48.
1 Commando Brigade had just one RM Battalion, No 45 Commando. 2 Commando Brigade had two RM battalions, Nos 40 and 43 Commandos. 3 Commando Brigade also had two, Nos 42 and 44 Commandos. 4 Commando Brigade was entirely Royal Marine after March 1944, comprising Nos 41, 46, 47 and 48 Commandos. 1 Commando Brigade took part in the assaults on Sicily and Normandy, campaigns in the Rhineland and crossing the Rhine. 2 Commando Brigade was involved in the Salerno landings, Anzio, Comacchio, and operations in the Argenta Gap. 3 Commando Brigade served in Sicily and Burma. 4 Commando Brigade served in Normandy and in the Battle of the Scheldt on the island of Walcheren during the clearing of Antwerp. In January 1945, two further RM Brigades were formed, 116th Brigade and 117th Brigade. Both were conventional Infantry, rather than in the Commando role. 116th Brigade saw some action in the Netherlands, but 117th Brigade was hardly used operationally. In addition one Landing Craft Assault (LCA) unit was stationed in Australia late in the war as a training unit. In 1946 the Army Commandos were disbanded, leaving the Royal Marines to continue the Commando role (with supporting Army elements). A number of Royal Marines served as pilots during the Second World War. It was a Royal Marines officer who led the attack by a formation of Blackburn Skuas that sank the German cruiser Königsberg. Eighteen Royal Marines commanded Fleet Air Arm squadrons during the course of the war, and with the formation of the British Pacific Fleet were well-represented in the final drive on Japan. Captains and Majors generally commanded squadrons, whilst in one case Lt. Colonel R.C.Hay on HMS Indefatigable was Air Group Co-ordinator from HMS Victorious of the entire British Pacific Fleet. Only one Marine was awarded a Victoria Cross in the Second World War, for action at Lake Comacchio in Italy. So far that is the last awarded to a Royal Marine.
Royal Marines in 1972
Royal Marines were involved in the Korean War. 41 (Independent) Commando was reformed in 1950, and was originally envisaged as a raiding force for use against North Korea. It performed this role in partnership with the US Navy until after the landing of United States Army X Corps at Wonsan. It then joined the 1st Marine Division at Koto-Ri. As Task Force Drysdale with Lt. Col. D.B. Drysdale RM in command, 41 Commando, a USMC company, a US Army company and part of the divisional train fought their way from Koto-Ri to Hagaru after the Chinese had blocked the road to the North. It then took part in the famous withdrawal from Chosin Reservoir. After that, a small amount of raiding followed, before the Marines were withdrawn from the conflict in 1951. It received the US Presidential Unit Citation after the USMC got the regulations modified to allow foreign units to receive the award. After playing a part in the long-running Malayan Emergency, the next action came in 1956, during the Suez Crisis. Headquarters 3 Commando Brigade, and Nos 40, 42 and 45 Commandos took part in the operation. It marked the first time that a helicopter assault was used operationally to land troops in an amphibious attack. British and French forces defeated the Egyptians, but after pressure from the United States, and French domestic pressure, they backed down. Further action in the Far East was seen during the Konfrontasi. Nos 40 and 42 Commando went to Borneo at various times to help keep Indonesian forces from causing trouble in border areas. The most high profile incident of the campaign was a company strength amphibious assault by Lima Company of 42 Commando at the town of Limbang to rescue hostages. From 1969 onwards Royal Marine units regularly deployed to Northern Ireland during The Troubles. The Falklands War provided the backdrop to the next action of the Royal Marines. Argentina invaded the islands in April 1982. A British task force was immediately despatched to recapture them, and given that an amphibious assault would be necessary, the Royal Marines were heavily involved. 3 Commando Brigade was brought to full combat strength, with not only 40, 42 and 45 Commandos, but also the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the Parachute Regiment attached. The troops were landed at San Carlos Water at the western end of East Falkland, and proceeded to "yomp" across the entire island to the capital, Stanley, which fell on 14 June 1982. Not only was 3 Commando Brigade deployed, but also a Royal Marines divisional headquarters, under Major-General Jeremy Moore, who was commander of British land forces during the war. 3 Commando Brigade was not deployed in the 1991 Gulf War, but was deployed to northern Iraq in the aftermath to provide aid to the Kurds. The remainder of the 1990s saw no major warfighting deployments, other than a divisional headquarters to control land forces during the short NATO intervention that ended the Bosnian War. More recently Royal Marines detachments have been involved in operations in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, and East Timor. From 2000 onwards, the Royal Marines began converting from their traditional light infantry role towards an expanded force protection type role, with the introduction of the Commando 21 concept, leading to the introduction of the Viking, the first armoured vehicle to be operated by the Royal Marines for half a century.
In November 2001, after the seizure of Bagram Air Base by the Special Boat Service, Charlie Company of 40 Commando became the first British regular forces into Afghanistan, using Bagram Air base to support British and US Special Forces Operations. With the arrival Bravo Company 40 Commando in December 2001 then moving into Kabul itself, beginning the building of the infrastructure which became ISAF. 2002 Saw the deployment of 45 Commando Royal Marines to Afghanistan, where contact with enemy forces was expected to be heavy. However little action was seen, with no Al-Qaida or Taliban forces being found or engaged. 3 Commando Brigade deployed on Operation TELIC in early 2003 with the USMC's 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit under command. The Brigade conducted an amphibious assault on the Al Faw peninsula in Iraq, securing the port and oil installations to assure continued operability of the Iraqs export capability. The attack proceeded well, with light casualties. 3 Commando Brigade served as part of the US 1st Marine Division and received the US Presidential Unit Citation. In late 2006, 3 Commando Brigade relieved 16 Air Assault Brigade in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, as part of Operation Herrick.
Traditions and insignia
The Royal Marines have a proud history and unique traditions; they have so many battle honours that the "globe itself" has become the symbol of the Corps.
The badge of the Royal Marines is designed to commemorate the history of the Corps. The Lion and Crown denotes a Royal regiment. King George III conferred this honour in 1802 "in consideration of the very meritorious services of the Marines in the late war." The "Great Globe itself" surrounded by laurels was chosen by King George IV as a symbol of the Marines' successes in every quarter of the world. The laurels are believed to honour the gallantry they displayed during the investment and capture of Belle Isle, off Lorient, in April through June 1761.
The word "Gibraltar" refers to the Siege of Gibraltar in 1704. It was awarded in 1827 by George IV as a special distinction for the services of four of the old Army Marine regiments (Queen's Own Marines, 1st Marines, 2nd Marines, 3rd Marines). All other honours gained by the Royal Marines are represented by the "Great Globe". As a consequence, there are no battle honours displayed on the colours of the four battalion sized units in the corps. When referring to individual Commandos: 45 Commando is referred to as "four-five" rather than "fortyfive commando" as is 42 Commando, 40 Commando is "forty". The only units which carry colours are 40 Commando, 42 Commando, 45 Commando, and the Fleet Protection Group (which is the custodian of the colours of 43 Commando). The fouled anchor, incorporated into the emblem in 1747, is the badge of the Lord High Admiral and shows that the Corps is part of the Royal Navy. Per Mare Per Terram ("By Sea, By Land"), the motto of the Marines, is believed to have been used for the first time in 1785. The regimental quick march of the Corps is A Life on the Ocean Wave, while the slow march is Preobrajensky. Dress headgear is a white Wolseley pattern pith helmet surmounted by a ball, a distinction once standard for artillerymen. This derives from the part of the Corps that was once the Royal Marine Artillery. The Royal Marines are one of six regiments allowed by the Lord Mayor of London to march through the City as a regiment in full array. This dates to the charter of Charles II that allowed recruiting parties of the Admiral's Regiment of 1664 to enter the City with drums beating and colours flying.
Order of Precedence
As the descendant of the old Marine Regiments of the British Army, the Royal Marines has a position in the Order of Precedence of the Infantry; this is after the 49th Regiment of Foot, the descendant of which is the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment. Therefore, the Royal Marines would parade after the RGBW. This is because the 49th Foot was the last Regiment raised prior to the formation of the Corps of Marines as part of the Royal Navy in 1755. However, when the Royal Navy is on parade, then the RM parades with them at the extreme right of the line.
Royal Fleet Auxiliary
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) is a component of the Naval Service that keeps the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom running around the world. Its main function is to supply the Royal Navy with fuel and supplies. It also counts a repair ship, and amphibious assault vessels amongst its assets. RFA personnel are civilians of the Ministry of Defence civil service who wear Merchant Navy-style uniforms and rank insignia and who are under naval discipline when the vessel is engaged on warlike operations. RFA vessels are manned predominantly by the civilians, augmented with regular Royal Navy personnel to perform specialised military functions, such as operating and maintaining helicopters or manning hospital facilities.
The RFA was first established in 1905 to provide coaling ships for the Navy in an era when the change from sail to coal as the main means of propulsion for the navies of the world meant that a network of bases around the world with coaling facilities or a fleet of ships able to supply coal were necessary for a fleet to operate away from its home country. Since the Royal Navy of that era possessed the largest network of bases around the world of any fleet, the RFA at first took a relatively minor role. The RFA really came into its own in World War II when the British fleet was often far from available bases, either due to the enemy capturing available bases, or, in the Pacific, the sheer distances involved. WWII also saw naval ships staying at sea for much longer periods than had been the case since the days of sail. Techniques of underway replenishment, or Replenishment At Sea (RAS), were developed particularly by the United States Navy. The British auxiliary fleet was never up to the standards of that of the American fast carrier taskforces in the Pacific. The auxiliary fleet was a polyglot collection with not only RFA ships, but commissioned warships and merchantmen as well. However, the need for such a fleet was unambiguously demonstrated by WWII. After 1945, the RFA assumed centre stage in supporting the operations of the Royal Navy in the many conflicts that the Navy was involved in. The RFA performed important service to the Far East Fleet off Korea from 1950 until 1953, when sustained carrier operations were again mounted in Pacific waters. During the extended operations of the Konfrontasi in the 1960s, the RFA was also heavily involved. As the network of British bases overseas shrank during the end of the Empire, the Navy increasingly relied on the RFA to supply its ships during routine deployments.
The RFA played an important role in the largest naval war since 1945, the Falklands War in 1982 (where 1 vessel was lost and another badly damaged), and also the Gulf War, Kosovo War, Afghanistan Campaign and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. With the end of the Cold War, and the resumption of the worldwide role for the Royal Navy, the RFA will be called on a great deal in the next few decades.
Three RFAs accompanying HMS Invincible and three Leander class frigates
Ships in RFA service carry the prefix RFA, standing for Royal Fleet Auxiliary, and wear the Blue Ensign defaced with an upright gold killick anchor. All Royal Fleet Auxiliaries are built and maintained to Lloyd's Register and Department for Transport standards. Most RFA ships are armed, typically with at least two 20 mm GAM-B01 anti-aircraft guns and a number of 7.62mm L7 GPMGs. The most important role provided by the RFA is replenishment at sea (RAS) , therefore the mainstay of the current RFA fleet are the tankers and replenishment ships. There are three classes of tankers (oilers), one of combined oiler / replenisher and one class of replenisher in service. The new fast fleet tankers of the Wave class class, the small fleet tankers of the Rover class and the support tankers of the Leaf class provide under way refuelling facilities to the RN. The Leaf class are occasionally tasked with the bulk movement of oil between terminals and MoD facilities. The Rover and Leaf classes are nearing the end of their active lives and will soon be due for replacement. The Fort Victoria class are "one-stop" replenishment oilers, capable of supplying refuelling, rearming and victualling services while the older Fort Rosalie class provide only rearming and victualling of "dry" cargoes. The Wave and both the Fort classes have generous aviation facilities, providing aviation support and training facilities and significant VERTREP (vertical replenishmet) capabilities.
The RFA is also tasked with a role supporting British amphibious operations and so contains a number of amphibious assault ships. The newest such ships are the four Bay class Landing Ship Dock (LSD) of which two are currently in service, one is working up and the fourth is fitting out (as of November 2006). The Bays are complemented by the last of the Round Table class Landing Ship Logistics (LSL), Sir Bedivere, which is due to be retained until 2011, since it underwent a SLEP from 1994 until 1998. Sir Galahad of this class was sunk in the Falklands War, and a ship of the same name was built post-war as a replacement. She, however, made her last journey under the RFA's flag as she sailed to Portsmouth to be decommissioned on July 20, 2006. Two unique support ships in the fleet are the repair vessel Diligence and the aviation training ship Argus. Both of these ships are converted former merchantmen. Diligence is a former North Sea oil industry support ship tasked with fleet repairs and maintenance. Argus, a converted Roll On/Roll Off (RoRo) container ship, is tasked with peacetime aviation training and support. On active operations, she becomes the Primary Casualty Receiving Ship (PCRS); essentially a hospital ship. She cannot be described as such - and is not afforded such protection under the Geneva Convention - as she is armed. She can, however, venture into waters too dangerous for a normal hospital ship. Argus is slated for replacement, but the new vessel is not forthcoming. Recently, two fast sealift ships were also in the fleet, Sea Crusader and Sea Centurion. They were merchant Ro-Ro ships chartered as a stopgap measure to increase the strategic lift of the RFA, enabling faster deployment of British forces. Sea Centurion was returned to its owners in 2002 and Sea Crusader in 2003, after performing cargo hauling duties for the campaign in Iraq. They have been replaced by newly built Point class vessels operated under a Private Finance Initiative; these vessels will be ordinary merchant ships leased to the Ministry of Defence as and when needed, and not in the RFA.
o o o o o o o o o
Wave-class fast fleet tankers Wave Knight Wave Ruler Rover-class small fleet tankers Gold Rover Black Rover Leaf-class support tankers Brambleleaf Bayleaf Orangeleaf Oakleaf Fort Rosalie or Fort (i) class replenishment ships Fort Rosalie (ex-Fort Grange)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Fort Austin Fort Victoria or Fort (ii) class replenishment oilers Fort Victoria Fort George Aviation training / Primary Casualty Receiving Ship Argus Forward repair ship Diligence Bay-class Landing Ships Dock (Auxiliary) Largs Bay Lyme Bay, not yet in service. Mounts Bay Cardigan Bay, not yet in service. Round Table-class Landing Ships Logistics Sir Bedivere Point class sealift ships MV Hurst Point MV Eddystone MV Longstone MV Beachy Head MV Hartland Point MV Anvil Point
Royal Naval Reserve
Blue Ensign flown by merchant vessels commanded by officers in the RNR.
The Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) is the volunteer reserve force of the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom. The present Royal Naval Reserve was formed in 1958, merging the former Royal Naval Reserve, founded in 1859 as a reserve of professional seamen, and the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR), a reserve of volunteers founded in 1903. The RNR is often called the "Wavy Navy" after the wavy sleeve stripes of officers in the RNVR and RNR during World War II. These have since been replaced by the straight rank lacing used in the full-time RN, with the addition of a small 'R' in the centre of the executive curl. There are plans in motion now to remove this R, as the RNR is further integrated with the regular Royal Navy. The modern RNR has fourteen Royal Naval Reserve Units (with 7 satellite units). These are:
o o o o o o o
HMS Scotia (Rosyth) Tay Division (Dundee) Forth Division (Edinburgh) HMS Cambria (Sully, Wales) Tawe Division (Swansea) HMS Dalriada (Greenock) Govan Division HMS Flying Fox (Bristol) HMS Calliope (Gateshead) HMS President (London) Medway Division (Chatham, Kent) HMS Eaglet (Liverpool) Menai Division (Llandudno) HMS Vivid (Devonport) HMS Sherwood (Nottingham) Ceres Division (Leeds) HMS King Alfred (Portsmouth) HMS Forward (Birmingham) HMS Caroline (Belfast)
HMS Wildfire (Northwood) HMS Ferret (Chicksands)
The University Royal Naval Units, although under the jurisdiction of BRNC Dartmouth, are also a part of the Royal Naval Reserve, with students holding the title "Midshipman RNR". There are also naval reserve forces operated by other Commonwealth of Nations navies, e.g. the Royal Australian Naval Reserve (RANR), the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNZNVR), Canadian Naval Reserve, etc. Previously there were also colonial RNVR units, e.g. the Straits Settlements Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (SSRNVR), Hong Kong Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (HKRNVR) and the South African Division of the RNVR.
Royal Marines Reserve
The role of the Royal Marines Reserve (RMR)  of the United Kingdom is to support the regular Royal Marinesin times of war or national crisis. All the volunteers within the RMR pass through the same rigorous commando course as the regulars. The former may be civilians with no previous military experience or men who transfer from the Territorial Army (the reserve component of the British Army) or are former regular Royal Marines. The RMR consists of some 600 trained ranks distributed among the five RMR Centres within the UK. About 10 percent of the RMR are working with the Regular Corps on long-term attachments in all of the Royal Marines regular units.
The mission of the RMR is to act as a general reserve to the Royal Marines command and to promote a nationwide link between the military and civilian community. Specifically it is to:
Enforce the Royal Marines when required, with individuals and sub-units worldwide. Promote a nationwide link between the Royal Marines and civilian communities. Provide a nationwide infrastructure for strengthening and replacing the regular forces in times of national emergency.
The History of the RMR
The RMR can trace their roots back to the Royal Marines Forces Volunteer Reserve (RMFVR) formed in the City of London under the Royal Marines Act 1948. The RMFVR were officially formed on the 5th November 1948 at a ceremonial parade on Bunhill Fields, the same place the Royal Marines were formed on 28th October 1664. In the beginning, Reservists were chiefly former hostilities only (HO) personnel. They were mainly, but not solely, Royal Marines who had gained experience in WWII and trained in order to support the Corps against the threat from the Soviet Bloc. However, today the majority of Reservists have no previous military experience. Their transition from civilian to Marine, is therefore more challenging. Moreover, 21st century threats compel the training to be more comprehensive to equip the Marine with an arsenal of skills to face any eventuality. The RMR have adapted to these changes and remains flexible, continuing to train in order to support properly the Corps that Sir Winston Churchill described as "The finest in the world".
What happens during RMR basic training?
RMR Basic Training and the Commando Course are not for the fainthearted. It requires real commitment and determination, as it puts great demands on the recruits spare time and dedication. In order to complete RMR Basic Training and prepare for the Commando Course. Over a period of 8 - 10 months, recruits are required to attend training at their RMR Units, one evening a week and usually two weekends a month. In addition when not training with the RMR they must work on their physical fitness in their own time. To undergo and complete RMR Basic Training a recruit must remain self-motivated and dedicated, while balancing this with the support, co-operation and understanding of families, girlfriends, wives and employers. However, it is these very challenges that attract the calibre of recruit the RMR are looking for. The fact they are willing to undergo one of the toughest courses any Reservist can attempt, to have the pride of wearing the coveted Green Beret that signifies their achievement. Outline of RMR Basic Training Basic Training for RMR recruits is divided into three parts: Phase 1A - Individual Skills Training Phase 1B - Tactics Training & Commando Course Phase 2 - Advanced & Commando Skills Training Phase 1A - Individual Skills Training Phase 1A lasts for approximately four to five months and is the beginning of RMR Basic Training. It is designed to introduce recruits to the rudiments of Individual Skills and Fieldcraft. Recruits must complete 6 Weekend training periods in addition to training for two hours for one evening a week. On completion of their Phase 1A training, recruits are required to attend a 2-week course at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM). Phase 1A - The Blue Beret Phase 1A Recruits wear the blue beret with red badge backing issued to RM personnel who have not passed the Commando Course. Basic Fieldcraft Instruction on how to fend for themselves under field conditions. This covers the construction of different types of shelters ("bivvies"), the use of the different types of ration pack, how to maintain themselves and their standards of hygiene under arduous conditions. Camouflage and concealment. Navigation Theoretical and practical aspects of finding their way over all types of terrain by day and night. Weapon Training Instruction on how to handle, maintain, strip and clean their 5.56mm Rifle correctly. Physical Training - is important from the outset, it is progressive and prepares recruits for Battle Physical Training (BPT) in Phase 1B. Physical Training periods concentrate on introducing and developing the techniques required for rope climbing, regains, fireman's carry and obstacle courses with an introduction to speed marching and load carries. However, it is necessary for recruits to continue fitness training in their own time in order to build their strength and endurance to the required level.
Field Exercises - recruits are taught and tested on how they fend for themselves under field conditions, they soon learn that their comfort and survival in the field and on operations begins with good personal organisation and preparedness. To bring these points home there is usually an inspection every morning - the NCOs have an eagle eye for detail. PHASE 1A Course at CTCRM The two-week course is designed as a confirmation of the recruit's individual and physical skills. Also the recruit's abilities are tested over an extended period to ensure that they are capable of proceeding on to Phase 1B. The course also introduces the recruits to CTCRM and provides an insight into the conduct of the Commando Tests. Phase 1A Recruit Weapon Training Camouflage & Concealment Assault Course at CTCRM Phase 1B - Tactics Training & Commando Course Phase 1B lasts for approximately four to five months and is designed to equip recruits with the skills and knowledge required to act as a Rifleman in a Commando Unit. In addition to preparing them for the rigours of the Reserve Forces Commando Course. Recruits must complete 8 Weekend training periods in addition to training for two hours for one evening a week. On completion of their Phase 1B training, recruits are required to attend the 2 week Reserve Forces Commando Course at CTCRM. Phase 1B - The Cap Comforter On the successful completion of Phase 1A, Phase 1B Recruits are entitled to wear The Cap Comforter. Since WW II, this headgear has traditionally been worn by those ranks undergoing Commando Training. Battle Physical Training - BPT - is designed to develop physical military skills, strength and endurance, whilst preparing recruits to withstand mental pressure. The BPT is designed to prepare Recruits for their BPT Pass Out and the Commando Course. Physical Training is now undertaken wearing personal load carrying equipment (PLCE/Fighting Order/Webbing). Throughout Phase 1B training, weight is gradually added to the Recruit's Fighting Order until it weighs the 22lbs required during the Commando Course. In addition the Recruits will carry their 5.56mm Rifle (a further 10lbs). Fieldcraft and Tactics - The development and practise of the recruit's Individual and Fieldcraft skills continues. Tactical instruction begins with Basic Patrolling Techniques before moving onto Recce Patrols, Observation Posts and finally Fighting Patrols and Ambushes. RESERVE FORCES COMMANDO COURSE at CTCRM The two week Reserve Forces Commando Course (RFCC) at CTCRM is the culmination of the Recruit's Basic Training. The course is designed to test whether the Recruits professional and physical abilities are of the standard required by a Commando. On successful completion of the RFCC, RMR Recruits are awarded the coveted Green Beret. As new Marines in the RMR they continue to learn Commando Skills during their Phase 2 Training. Phase 2 - Advanced & Commando Skills Training Phase 2 is designed to equip Marines who have recently passed the Reserve Forces Commando Course with the remaining skills and knowledge they required to possess if they are to serve with the Royal Marines on Exercise or Deployment. The Phase 2
Course is normally conducted over a period of 2 weeks, usually divided into two separate weeklong packages based at CTCRM. Live Field Firing Exercise (FFX) - Marines are introduced to realistic live firing exercises conducted on field firing areas. Exercises progress from individual shooting on a simple range through to a live firing troop attack involving 30 Marines. At first this can be somewhat nerve-racking, but Marines quickly learn that they must trust the men around them and act responsibly and professionally themselves to earn the trust of others. In addition to firing small arms, Marines are given the opportunity to throw live grenades and fire the 94mm Light Anti-Tank Weapon (LAW). Amphibious Exercise - Marines are taught the theory and drills associated with Amphibious Warfare. Practical training then takes place using Rigid Raiding Craft (RRC) during an Amphibious Exercise, where the Marines conduct Landing Raids from the sea. Helicopter Drills - Marines are taught the theory and drills associated with the Operational use of Helicopters. Practical training then takes place, using Helicopters. Quarry Day - The purpose of this day is to teach the Marines roping skills. The Marines practise abseiling and other Cliff Assault techniques. Further Training and Specialist Qualification Training On completion of their Phase 2 Training, Marines are considered fully trained Riflemen capable of serving with the Regular Corps. Marines are now able to embark on Further Training e.g. Mountain & Cold Weather Warfare Training. In time Marines will also have the opportunity to attend Specialist Courses and gain Specialist Qualifications (SQ) e.g. Assault Engineer.
After gaining experience as a General Duties Rifleman (GD) within their RMR Units Marines, subject to suitability, will then be given the opportunity to attend Specialist Courses and gain a Specialist Qualification (SQ). RMR Units have the responsibility of providing a pool of suitably trained volunteers for certain specialisations in order to augment the regular Corps if required. These specialisations are Landing Craft Coxswains, Assault Engineers, Heavy Weapons (Mortars) and Swimmer Canoeists. In addition here are many other specialisations open to RMR ranks.
In addition to the Specialist Qualifications on offer, ranks are able to attend specific courses to gain a number of Additional Qualifications (AdQuals) to increase their employability with the Corps. Having gained certain AdQuals, ranks can join specialist organisations within the RMR. For example, a rank qualified as a Recce Leader would be in a position to join the RMR Brigade Patrol Troop. The majority of courses are abridged versions of those undertaken by regulars, courses usually last two to four weeks. Four-week courses are divided up into separate two-week packages. As reservists
progress through the ranks in the RMR, they can attend further courses in their chosen specialisation that are of a more advanced nature (e.g.. LC3 - Marine; LC2 - Corporal; LC1 - Sergeant). However, many reservists are given the opportunity to attend the full courses undertaken by regulars if they are able to make the time available. Reservists continue to develop and practise their chosen specialisation or AdQual within their RMR Units. In addition members of the RMR are encouraged to work, exercise and operate with their specialist counterparts within the regular Corps whenever possible. There are constant opportunities for Full Time Reserve Service (FTRS) for specialists within the Regular Corps.
Life as a Reservist
On earning their Green Beret following completion of Phase 1B Training, Marines join 'Commando Company' within their RMR units. Only on completion of Phase 2 of Basic Training are Marines considered fully trained General Duties (GD) Riflemen, capable of serving with the Regular Corps on Exercise or Deployment.
Commando Company Training
The purpose of Commando Company is to continue to expand and build on the Marine's individual and team skills through further training, in order to develop Marines capable of deploying with and in aid of the Royal Marines Command (RMC). Within their RMR Units Marines will train so as to consolidate their basic soldiering skills such as Weapon Training, First Aid, Signals, Nuclear Biological Chemical (NBC) Warfare, Physical Fitness, etc. In addition to learning and developing more advanced skills such as conducting amphibious raids and learning how to conduct Operations in Built Up Areas (OBUA). Throughout each year Commando Company conduct a number of weekend exercises where they are given the opportunity to learn and develop new skills. For example - a unit live field firing exercise, where they would employ and practise weapon drills, marksmanship and troop tactics using live ammunition. During the lead up to any exercise the Marines would normally use the week night training periods to revise or learn the skills required during the forthcoming exercise. In addition to participating in Commando Company Training within their own RMR Units, Marines have the opportunity to attend a wide variety of training courses. For example - military parachute course, combat medic course, recce leader etc. They assist with the annual charitable fund raising event the Dartmoor Beast. 
Serving with the Corps
All trained ranks within the Royal Marines Reserve have the opportunity to serve with the regular Corps anywhere in the world, on exercise or operations, whenever their time and circumstances permit. These periods can vary from 2 weeks up to 6 months and provide RMR ranks with excellent scope to learn and develop new skills. These opportunities normally occur on a regular basis and are advertised within the RMR Units.
The Royal Marines are trained to fight in many places where the environment is as hostile as the enemy. Members of the RMR also have the opportunity to train in these environments, either with RMR Units or the Corps.
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the air force branch of the British Armed Forces. The RAF is the oldest independent air force in the world, formed on April 1, 1918. The RAF has taken a significant role in British military history since then, playing a large part in World War II, and more recently in conflicts such as the recent war in Iraq. With some 998 aircraft and in 2006, 46,880 personnel, the RAF is the fifth largest air force in the world. It is also one of the most technologically advanced, a position that is being enhanced significantly with the purchase of 232 Eurofighter Typhoons. The only founding member of the RAF still living today is Henry Allingham at age 110.
The RAF's mission is to "Produce a battle-winning agile air force: fit for the challenges of today; ready for the tasks of tomorrow; capable of building for the future; working within Defence to achieve shared purpose." This is to support the MOD's objectives, which are to "provide the capabilities needed: to ensure the security and defence of the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories, including against terrorism; to support the Government’s foreign policy objectives particularly in promoting international peace and security."
The RAF was founded on April 1, 1918, during the First World War, by Viscount Trenchard when he amalgamated the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. After the war, the service was cut drastically and its inter-war years were relatively quiet, with only minor actions being undertaken in some parts of the British Empire.
The RAF Memorial on the Victoria Embankment, London, commemorating RAF personnel killed in the two World Wars
The RAF underwent rapid expansion prior to and during the Second World War. Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan of December 1939, the air forces of other members of the British Commonwealth trained and formed squadrons for service with RAF formations. Many individual personnel from these countries and from continental Europe also served with RAF squadrons. A defining period of the RAF's existence came during the Battle of Britain when it held off the Luftwaffe and helped to turn the tide of the war. The largest and most controversial RAF effort during the war was the strategic bombing campaign against Germany by RAF Bomber Command. Under the leadership of Air Chief Harris, RAF forces firebombed Dresden, causing the death of ca. 35,000 civilians. On 3 May 1945, in the last days of the war, three ships (Cap Arcona, Thielbek, and Deutschland) were sunk in the Bay of Lübeck, after four separate attacks by RAF planes. Around 7,000 civilians of many nations were killed, most of them concentration camp prisoners from the Neuengamme, Stutthof and Mittelbau-Dora camps. The RAF has sealed all documents pertaining to these attacks until 2045.
Royal Air Force badge. The RAF Motto is Per Ardua ad Astra (Latin), which translates as Through Struggle to the Stars
During the Cold War years the main role of the RAF was the defence of the continent of Europe against potential attack by the Soviet Union, including holding the UK's nuclear deterrent for a number of years. Since the end of the Cold War, several large scale operations have been undertaken by the RAF, including the Kosovo War, the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Structure of the RAF
The professional head of the RAF is known as the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), currently Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy. The CAS heads the Air Force Board, which is a committee of the Defence Council. The Air Force Board (AFB) is the management board of the RAF and consists of the Commanders-in-Chief of the Commands, together with several other high ranking officers. The CAS also has a deputy known as the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (ACAS); currently this post is held by Air Vice-Marshal Chris Moran.
Authority is delegated from the AFB to the RAF's commands. While there were once individual commands responsible for bombers, fighters, training, etc, only two commands exist currently:
Strike Command — HQ at RAF High Wycombe — responsible for all of the operations of the RAF. Personnel and Training Command — HQ now also at RAF High Wycombe — responsible for recruitment, initial, trade training, including flying training.
Groups are the subdivisions of operational Commands, responsible for certain types of operation or for operations in limited geographical areas. As from 1 April 2006, Strike Command is made-up of two Groups following the disbandment of No.3 Group:
1 Group — the Air Combat Group, controls the RAF's combat fast jet aircraft, including Joint Force Harrier, and has seven airfields in the UK plus RAF Unit Goose Bay in Canada, which is used extensively as an operational training base.
2 Group — the Air Combat Support Group, controls the Strategic and Tactical air transport aircraft, the RAF Regiment, the RAF's Air to Air Refuelling aircraft as well as ISTAR and Search & Rescue assets.
Only one group exists within Personnel and Training Command, namely 22 Group.
The RAF's roundel was adopted during the First World War. The roundel has been adopted and modified by Commonwealth air forces, often replacing the red circle with a national symbol.
An RAF Station is ordinarily subordinate to a Group and it is administratively sub-divided into Wings. Since the mid to late 1930s RAF stations have controlled a number of flying squadrons or other units at one location by means of a station headquarters.
A Wing is either a sub-division of a Group acting independently or a sub-division of an RAF Station. Independent Wings are a grouping of two or more squadrons, either flying squadrons or ground support squadrons. In former times, numbered flying Wings have existed, but more recently they have only been created when required, for example during Operation Telic, Tornado Wings were formed to operate from Ali Al Salem and Al Udeid Air Bases; each of these were made up of aircraft and crews from several squadrons. On 31st March 2006, the RAF formed nine Expeditionary Air Wings (EAW). The Expeditionary Air Wings have been established to support operations. They have been formed at the nine main operating bases; RAF Coningsby, RAF Cottesmore, RAF Kinloss, RAF Leeming, RAF Leuchars, RAF Lossiemouth, RAF Lyneham, RAF Marham, and RAF Waddington. These units will be commanded by a Group Captain who is also the Station Commander. The unit is formed around the squadrons based at the stations housing the wing, however, they are flexible and can be quickly adapted for operations and deployment.  On RAF Stations, a Wing is an administrative sub-division. For a flying station these will normally be Engineering Wing, Operations Wing and Administration Wing. Aside from these, the only Wings
currently in permanent existence are the Air Combat Service Support wings of 2 Group which provide support services such as communications, supply and policing to operationally deployed units.
The term squadron (sqn) can be used to refer to an administrative sub-unit of a station, e.g. Air Traffic Control sqn, Personnel Management sqn; there are also ground support squadrons, e.g. 2 (MT) Sqn. However, the primary use for the term is as the name of the flying squadrons which carry out the primary tasks of the RAF. RAF squadrons are somewhat analogous to the regiments of the British army, in that they have histories and traditions going back to their formation, regardless of where they are currently based, which aircraft they are operating, etc. They can be awarded standards and battle honours for meritorious service. Whilst every squadron is different, most flying squadrons are commanded by a Wing Commander and, for a fast-jet squadron, have an establishment of around 100 personnel and 12 aircraft, but 16 aircraft for Tornado F3 Squadrons.
A flight is a sub-division of a squadron. Flying squadrons are often divided into two flights, under the command of a Squadron Leader; administrative squadrons on a station are also divided into flights. There are several flying units formed as Flights rather than Squadrons, due to their small size.
In 2006 the RAF employed 52,804 active duty personnel and more than 12,000 reservists.At its height during the Second World War, in excess of 1,000,000 personnel were serving at any one time.
Main article: RAF officer ranks Officers hold a commission from the Sovereign, which provides the legal authority for them to issue orders to subordinates. The commission is granted after successfully completing the 30-week-long Initial Officer Training course at the RAF College, Cranwell. The titles and insignia of RAF Officers were derived from those used by the Royal Navy, specifically the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) during World War I. For example, the rank of Squadron Leader derived its name from the RNAS rank of Squadron Commander. RAF officers fall into three categories: air officers, senior officers and junior officers.
Other Ranks attend the Recruit Training Squadron at RAF Halton for basic training, with the exception of the RAF Regiment, which trains its recruits at RAF Honington. The titles and insignia of Other Ranks in the RAF was based on that of the Army, with some alterations in terminology. Over the years, this structure has seen significant changes, for example there was once a separate system for those in technical trades and the rank of Chief Technician continues to be held only by personnel in technical trades. RAF other ranks fall into four categories: warrant officers, senior noncommissioned officers, junior non-commissioned officers and airmen.
Branches and Trades
All Pilots and Weapon Systems Officers (formerly known as Navigators) in the RAF are commissioned officers. Non-commissioned aircrew fulfil roles such as Air Loadmasters (ALM), Air Signallers, Air Electronics Operators (AEO), etc, although they are now all known as Weapon Systems Operators. The majority of the members of the RAF serve in vital support roles on the ground.
Officers and Gunners in the RAF Regiment, which was created during World War II, defend RAF airfields from attack. They have infantry and light armoured units to protect against ground attack and until recently they operated surface-to-air missiles [ Rapiers ] to defend against air attack - this role was given to the Royal Artillery in 2005 and was taken against the wishes of the RAF, which wanted to retain and maintain its organic ground-to-air defence capability. The RAF Police are the military police of the RAF and are located wherever the RAF is located. Unlike the UK Civil Police, the RAF Police are armed as needed. Since 2003 the RAF Police have stop and search, arrest, and search and seizure powers outside RAF Stations. Intelligence Officers and Analysts of the RAF Intelligence Branch support all operational activities by providing timely and accurate Indicators and Warnings. They conduct military intelligence fusion and analysis by conducting imagery and communications analysis, targeting, and assessment of the enemies capabilities and intent. Engineering Officers and technicians are employed to maintain and repair the equipment used by the RAF. This includes routine preparation for flight and maintenance on aircraft, as well as deeper level repair work on aircraft systems, IT systems, ground based radar, MT vehicles, etc. Fighter Controllers (FC) and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) control RAF and NATO aircraft from the ground. The FC control the interception of enemy aircraft while the ATC provide air traffic services at RAF stations and to the majority of enroute military aircraft in UK airspace. Administrative Officers and associated trades perform a range of secretarial tasks as well as fulfilling training management, physical education and catering roles.
Royal Air Force Chaplains are trained by the Armed Forces Chaplaincy Centre at Amport House. The Royal Air Force Medical Branch provides healthcare at home and on deployed operations, including aeromedical evacuation services. Medical officers are the doctors of the RAF and have specialist expertise in aviation medicine to support aircrew and their protective equipment. Medical Officers can go on aeromedical evacuations, providing vital assistance on search-and-rescue missions or emergency relief flights worldwide. The RAF Legal Branch provides legal advice on discipline / criminal law and operations law.
Many types of aircraft currently serve with the RAF, although there is less variety in the order of battle of the organisation than in previous decades due to the increasing cost of military systems. The types currently in the RAF inventory are listed below.
The code which follows each aircraft's name describe the role of the variant. For example, the Tornado F.3 is designated as a fighter by the 'F', and is the third variant of the type to be produced.
Strike, attack and offensive support aircraft
The mainstay of what the RAF calls its Offensive Support fleet is the Tornado GR.4. This supersonic aircraft can carry a wide range of weaponry, including Storm Shadow cruise missiles, laser guided bombs and the ALARM anti-radar missile. The Tornado is supplemented by the Harrier GR.7 & GR.7A and Jaguar GR.3 & GR.3A, which are used in the close air support role and to counter enemy air defences. The Harrier is being upgraded to GR.9 standard with newer systems and more powerful engines. The Harrier GR9 was formally accepted into RAF service in late September 06.
Air defence and Airborne Early Warning Aircraft
The Tornado F.3 is the RAF's air defence fighter aircraft, based at RAF Leuchars and RAF Leeming to defend the UK’s airspace. The Sentry AEW.1 provides airborne radar to detect incoming enemy aircraft and to co-ordinate the aerial battlefield. Both the Sentry and the F.3 have been involved in recent operations including over Iraq and the Balkans. The Tornado, in service in the air defence role since the late 1980s, is due to be replaced by the state of the art, Typhoon F.2.
Variants of attack aircraft, the Jaguar GR.3/GR.3A and Tornado GR.4A are fitted with specialist reconnaissance pods and squadrons exist with both types in the reconnaissance role. The elderly Canberra PR.9 was also used in this role for its ability to fly at high altitude for long duration sorties, however was recently retired from service. All three types are/were equipped with a range of cameras and sensors in the visual, infra-red and radar ranges of the spectrum. Providing electronic and signals intelligence is the Nimrod R.1. The new Sentinel R.1 provides ASTOR ground radar surveillance platform based on the Bombardier Global Express long range business jet.
Search and Rescue Aircraft
Three squadrons of helicopters exist with the primary role of rescuing aircrew who have ejected or crash-landed their aircraft. These are 22 Sqn and 202 Sqn with the Sea King HAR.3/HAR.3A in the UK and 84 Sqn with the Griffin HAR.2 in Cyprus. Although established in a military role, most of their operational missions are to rescue civilians from ships at sea, mountains and other locations.
The Nimrod MR2 primary role is that of Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti-Surface Unit Warfare (ASUW). The Nimrod MR2 is additionaly used in a Search and Rescue (SAR) role, where its long range and extensive communications facilities allow it to co-ordinate rescues by acting as a link between rescue helicopters, ships and shore bases. It can also drop pods containing life rafts and survival supplies to people in the sea.The already very capable MR2,will begin to be replaced by 12 NIMROD MRA4 aircraft in the next few years.The NIMROD MRA4 is described by BAE Systems as a world leader in terms of maritime patrol platforms.
An important part of the work of the RAF is to support the Army by ferrying troops and equipment to and across the battlefield. The support helicopters are organised into the tri-service Joint Helicopter Command with Army and Navy aircraft. The large twin- rotor Chinook HC.2/HC.2A, based at RAF Odiham provides heavy lift and is supported by Merlin HC.3 and the smaller Puma HC.1, based at RAF Benson and RAF Aldergrove.
Transport and Air-to-Air Refuelling aircraft
Having refuled the former Queen's Flight in 1995, 32 (The Royal) Squadron uses the BAe 125 CC.3, Agusta A109 and BAe 146 CC.2 in the VIP transport role, based at RAF Northolt in west London. More routine air transport tasks are carried out by the Tristars and VC10s based at RAF Brize Norton, both used to transport troops and cargo, and for air-to-air refuelling. Shorter range tactical transport is provided by the C-130 Hercules, the fleet including both older K-model and new J-model aircraft. The RAF has leased 4 C-17 Globemaster IIIs from Boeing to provide a strategic heavy airlift capability; it was announced in 2004 that these will be purchased, together with a further example, once the lease expires. The MOD as expressed a wish to buy a further 3 C-17's, but due to budget constraints the MOD can only afford to buy one each year, running the risk that the production line may be shut down before the RAF gets the aircraft it needs.
A wide range of aircraft types are used for training aircrew in their duties. At the more advanced stage in training, variants of front-line aircraft have been adapted for operational conversion of trained pilots, these include the Canberra T.4, Harrier T.10, Jaguar T.4 and Typhoon T.1. Advanced flying training for fast-jet, helicopter and multi-engine pilots is provided using the Hawk T.1, Griffin HT.1 and Super King Air T.1 respectively. Basic pilot training is provided on the Tucano T.1 and Eurocopter Squirrel HT.1, while navigator training is in the Dominie T.1. Elementary flying training is conducted on either the Slingsby Firefly or Tutor T.1, depending on the new pilot's route of entry to the service. The Tutor is also used, along with the Viking T.1 and Vigilant T.1 gliders, to provide air experience for Air Cadets.
The aircraft operated by the RAF continue to be upgraded and improved throughout their service life. In addition, new aircraft to replace existing fleets or fill new roles come into service every so often. Aircraft in development or soon to be deployed include the Airbus A400M, of which 25 are to be used to replace the remaining Hercules C-130Ks. (Some of the C-130K fleet was replaced by 25 new C-130J Hercules in 1999, 5 C-17s will be retained). A new version of the Chinook, the HC.3, with improved avionics and increased range, was developed mainly for special forces missions. Service entry has been delayed due to software problems and legal issues. The Eurofighter Typhoon is entering service and the RAF will be the largest operator of the type. The Typhoon will replace the Tornado F3 interceptor and the Jaguar GR3A ground attack aircraft by 2010. The Hawk 128 will replace the existing Hawks in
service; the newer model being more similar in equipment and performance to modern front line aircraft. The ageing aerial refuelling fleet of VC10s and Tristars should be replaced with the Airbus A330 MRTT under the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft programme. Problems with contract negotiations have led to unsolicited proposals for the conversion of civil Tristars or DC-10s. The Joint Combat Aircraft (the British designation for the F-35 Lightning II) will replace the Harrier GR.7 and GR.9. Studies have begun regarding the long term replacement for the Tornado GR.4 (Although the Future Offensive Air System project was cancelled in 2005). The RAF transport helicopter force, the Puma and Sea Kings, are to be replaced by the Support Amphibious and Battlefield Rotorcraft (SABR) project, likely a mix of Merlins and Chinooks.
Dates Deployment Details Baltic Air 4 Tornado F3 for a 3 months rotation under NATO Lithuania 2004 Policing monitoring mission Chinooks provided airlift support to coalition forces. Afghanistan 2001– Operation Since late 2004 six Harriers have provided Veritas reconnaissance and close air support to the ISAF. RAF enforced no-fly zones over the Balkans in the late 1990s and participated in the NATO Merlin Bosnia 1995– interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo. Today, RAF helicopters helicopters remain to provide support to the United Nations. Used as an air bridge between the UK and the Ascension 1981– Ascension Falkland Islands. United States Air Force also Island Island Base stationed at this base. RAF Unit RAF aircraft train in low-level tactical flying at CFB Canada 1940s– Goose Bay, Goose Bay, an air force base of the Canadian Air Canada Force. Located in the British Sovereign Base Area on Cyprus 1956– RAF Akrotiri Cyprus, the airfield acts a forward base for deployment of UK forces in the Middle East Built after the Falklands War to allow a fighter and Falkland RAF Mount transport facility on the islands, and to strengthen the 1984– Islands Pleasant defence capacity of the British Forces. A detachment of RAF Regiment provides anti-aircraft support. No permanently stationed aircraft. RAF aircraft, e.g. Gibraltar 1940s–RAF Gibraltar Hercules transports, make regular visits. RAF dispatched to South East Asia following the Support and Indonesia 2005 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake disaster to provide aid transport relief support RAF fighters based in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait prior Middle East 1990– Various to and during the 1990 Gulf War, and later to enforce no-fly zones over Iraq. Following the 2003 invasion Country
of Iraq and the occupation of southern Iraq by British Forces, the RAF is deployed at Basra. SH is provided in Iraq by Merlin, Puma and Chinook 1960s– Bardufoss Air RAF fighter and/or helicopter squadrons undergo Station winter-training here most years.
Symbols, flags and emblems
Royal Air Force Ensign
Following the tradition of the other British fighting services, the RAF has adopted various symbols to represent it and act as a rallying point for its members . The RAF Ensign is flown from the flagstaff on every RAF station during daylight hours. It is hoisted and hauled down by station duty staff daily. The design was approved by King George V in 1921, after much opposition from the Admiralty, who have the right to approve or veto any flag flown ashore or on board ship. British aircraft in the early stages of the First World War carried the Union Flag as an identifying feature, however this was easy to confuse with the German Iron Cross motif. Therefore in October 1914 the French system of three concentric rings was adopted, with the colours reversed to a red disc surrounded by a white ring and an outer blue ring. The relative sizes of the rings have changed over the years and during World War II an outer yellow ring was added. Aircraft serving in the Far East during World War II had the red disc removed to prevent confusion with Japanese aircraft. Since the 1970s, camouflaged aircraft carry low-visibility roundels, either red and blue on dark camouflage, or washedout pink and light blue on light colours. Most uncamouflaged training and transport aircraft retain the traditional red-white-blue roundel. The Latin motto of the RAF, "Per Ardua ad Astra", is usually translated as "Through Adversity to the Stars". The choice of motto is attributed to a junior officer by the name of J S Yule, in response to a request from the first Commander of the RFC, Colonel Sykes, for suggestions.
Royal Air Force fin flash (non combat version)
The badge of the RAF, shown at the top of this article, is in heraldic terms: "In front of a circle inscribed with the motto Per Ardua Ad Astra and ensigned by the Imperial Crown an eagle volant and affronty Head lowered and to the sinister." It was approved in 1923 based on a design by a tailor at Gieves Ltd of Savile Row, although the original had an albatross rather than the eagle and was surrounded by a garter belt rather than the plain circle. In 2006 a flash was designed and issued to personnel with the same design as the tail panel for wear on combat clothing. It is 45mm squared. There is also a badge to go over the right chest pocket with the text ROYAL AIR FORCE in black capitals on a green background. There is no desert pattern available. The RAF also has its own tartan. Designed in 1988, it was only officially recognised by the Ministry of Defence in 2001. It is used by the RAF Pipes Band and may be worn by Officers serving at Scottish units with their No.5 HD Mess Dress.
Royal Auxiliary Air Force
The Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF) is the volunteer reserve part of the Royal Air Force. It consists of volunteers who give up some of their weekends to train at one of a number of Squadrons around the United Kingdom The Royal Auxiliary Air Force owes its origin to Lord Trenchard's vision of an elite corps of civilians who would serve their country in flying squadrons in their spare time. Instituted by Order in Council on 9th October 1924, the first Auxiliary Air Force (AAF) squadrons were formed the following year.
World War II
By September 1939, there were 20 Flying Sqns, equipped with a variety of operational aircraft which included Hurricanes and Spitfires; there were also 47 Balloon Squadrons. These AAF Squadrons scored a number of notable successes before and during World War ll: the flight over Mount Everest, the first German aircraft destroyed over British territorial waters - and over the mainland, the first U-boat to be destroyed with the aid of airborne radar, the first kill of a VI flying bomb; the first to be equipped with jet-powered aircraft, and the highest score of any British Night Fighter Sqn. In the Battle of Britain, the AAF provided 14 of the 62 Squadrons in Fighter Command's Order of Battle and accounted for approximately 30% of the accredited enemy kills. The Balloon Squadrons also played their part, downing and deterring many hostile aircraft and were accredited with the destruction of 279 VI flying bombs.
These achievements were honoured by the prefix Royal conferred by King George VI in 1947. Events post WWII heralded a time of great danger for the UK. The onset of the Cold War with the Communist Bloc leading to the Berlin Air Lift and ultimately the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950. During all these crises the RAuxAF fighter squadrons, and other RAuxAF units, played their part in the UK's air defenceand participated in many NATO air exercises. In 1951, at the height of the Korean War, all 20 RAuxAF fighter squadrons representing one third of Fighter Command strength were called up for three-months full-time service. They were required for home defence in place of regular squadrons earmarked for deployment to Korea. In the event RAF fighter squadrons were not needed in Korea, but the RAuxAF squadrons were retained for intensive refresher training at their home bases The 10 March 1957 saw the disbandment of all 21 Royal Auxiliary Air Force Flying Squadrons and also the Light Anti-Aircraft Squadrons of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment. In the following two years or so, the Auxiliary Fighter Control Units associated with them were also disbanded. On the 16 March 1960, the Air Commodore-in-Chief and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, invited the Squadron Commanders and Flight Commanders of all the disbanded Royal Auxiliary Air Force units to a Reception at Buckingham Palace. (All were given a letter from the Air Commodore-inChief and this is reproduced below) The renaissance of the RAuxAF began in 1979 with the formation of three Regiment Field Sqns, and continued with a Movements Sqn in 1982, and, following lessons learned during the Falklands conflict;
an Aeromedical Evacuation Sqn in 1983. A more recent addition, in 1987, was an auxiliary element (The Grampian Troop) formed within a regular RAF Regiment Rapier Air Defence Sqn. Another step forward was taken in 1986, with the raising of four Defence Force Flts with the role of ground defence of key points on air bases. In 1984, the RAuxAF's Diamond jubilee was marked by the award to the Service of its own badge, which forms the basic motif of the Sovereign's Colour for the Royal Auxiliary Force presented by Her Majesty the Queen in 1989. The words of the badge motto COMITAMUR AD ASTRA - We go with them to the stars.
Gulf War and beyond
During the Gulf War in 1991 the Aeromedical and Movements Sqns performed with great distinction in theatre and at other locations in the UK and overseas. During 2003 the RAuxAF was involved in the first large-scale mobilisation for over 50 years. More than 900 people, over 70% of its trained strength, were called into full-time service and were deployed to support RAF operations in Cyprus, Kuwait, Iraq and the Falkland Islands, as well as those in the UK. The RAuxAF enjoyed its 80th anniversary during 2004 and Lord Trenchard's vision has been amply vindicated by its achievements spanning the years. Whilst the Auxiliary concept has moved away from the provision of Flying Sqns, the professional skill, enthusiasm and esprit-de-corps of his young men of the twenties and thirties are matched by the men and women who constitute the RAuxAF of today
Personal letter from Queen Elizabeth
BUCKINGHAM PALACE I have welcomed this opportunity of taking leave of the Commanding Officers and senior Auxiliary officers of the squadrons of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force which are being disbanded and of sending through them this message of appreciation and thanks to all their officers, airmen and airwomen. The history of the Auxiliary Air Force has been a glorious one. The first Auxiliary squadrons were included in the Air Defence of Great Britain in 1925. By the outbreak of war in 1939 the Auxiliary fighter, coastal and balloon squadrons formed an integral and vital part of our forces. It was aircraft of these squadrons which shot down the first enemy bomber over this country; and Auxiliary squadrons were heavily engaged in the air over Dunkirk and throughout the Battle of Britain. Later they were to win battle honours over the Atlantic, in Malta, North Africa, Sicily and Italy, the Arakan and Burma, and in Normandy, France and Germany. After the war, the fighter squadrons were reconstituted as the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and the traditional spirit of voluntary service found new outlets with the formation of Regiment, Air OP, Fighter Control and Radar reporting Units, some of which are to remain in being and provide further opportunities for voluntary service. The association of the Force with my family has always been close. I was proud to become Honorary Air Commodore of Nos 603, 2063 and 3603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadrons in 1951 and to succeed my father as Honorary Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force in 1952. Members of my family have always treasured their association with Auxiliary squadrons as Honorary Air Commodores.
I wish as Air Commodore-in-Chief to thank officers, airmen and airwomen of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force for all that they have given to the service of the country by their enthusiasm, their spirit and their devotion to duty in peace and war. It is a sad day when it is necessary to tell so many that it is no longer possible to use their services on the duties they have assumed so willingly. I wish them to know that they can look back with pride and satisfaction to service well done. 16 March 1957 Elizabeth R
The Royal Air Force Regiment (RAF Regt) is a specialist corps within the Royal Air Force, responsible for capturing and defending airfields and associated installations. Effectively, its members are the RAF's soldiers. Members of the Regiment are known within the RAF as 'Rock Apes' or 'Rocks' and the corps itself is simply known as 'The Regiment'. In the past the nickname 'Rock Ape' has been attributed to their traditional role guarding areas of Gibraltar, but this is not so. The term came into use after an accident in the Western Aden Protectorate in November 1952. Two Regiment Officers serving with the APL at Dhala decided to amuse themselves by going out to shoot some of the baboons (locally referred to as rock apes). The Officers drew rifles and split up to hunt the apes yet in the semi-darkness one of the Officers fired at a moving object in the distance. When he reached the target he discovered he had shot the other Officer. After emergency treatment Flight Lieutenant Mason survived to return to service a few months later. When asked why he had fired at his friend by a board of inquest the Officer replied that his target had 'looked just like a rock ape' in the half light. The remark soon reverberated around the RAF and it was not long before the term was in general use.
Organisation and current role
The RAF Regiment comes under command of 2 Group, Strike Command. Its members are organised into ten regular squadrons. There are three Ground-Based Air Defence squadrons. These are responsible for defending airfields and other high value assets against air attack and are equipped with Rapier vehicle-portable surface-to-air missiles. The remainder of the regiment consists of nine Field squadrons including three Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF) squadrons, responsible for defending against ground attack. Whilst apparently similar to British Army infantry, they are trained, equipped and manned to deal with the requirements of protecting high value air assets during operations across the spectrum of conflict. They are particularly equipped with a range of direct and indirect fire systems and specialist surveillance and night vision equipment. Unlike the infantry, each member of a field squadron is required to master a wide range of skills that include covert observation and target acquisition, and dismounted close combat. The unique nature of air operations is such that RAF Regiment personnel must have a specific understanding of its requirements in order to ensure that the tactics, techniques and procedures employed do not disrupt those operations. Additionally, because air bases are fixed and supporting elements are unable to redeploy quickly, field squadrons must engage an attacking adversary at the earliest opportunity to prevent air operations from being disrupted. This requires RAF Regiment personnel to operate in small groups and to be trained and prepared to engage the adversary in combat frequently without the level of support that would be commonplace on an infantry battlegroup. Field Squadrons employ a tactic of aggressive defence, seeking to dominate the wider area around the station by mounting observation posts and employing patrols to locate and neutralize the enemy before it can come within striking distance. Field Squadrons are divided into Flights, which are larger than an army platoon. Each squadron contains several Rifle Flights, whose task is to engage and destroy the enemy at close range, and a Support Weapons Flight, which provides fire support to the Rifle Flights by using machine guns, mortars, portable anti-tank weapons, and snipers. The Ground-Based Air Defence Squadrons are 108 strong and the field squadrons are 166 strong (increasing soon to 171 strong) making them considerably larger than an infantry company in the army.
All RAF Regiment personnel are male, in line with the British Government policy that women cannot serve in front line close-combat units. There are approximately 2,000 regular airmen (i.e. Other Ranks), 300 regular officers, and 500 reservists. Since 1990, the RAF Regiment has taken part in operations in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Croatia, Cyprus, Falkland Islands, Iraq, Kosovo, Kuwait, Northern Ireland, Saudi Arabia and Sierra Leone. Furthermore, RAF Regiment officers have been seconded as United Nations Monitoring Officers in support of UN peace-keeping mission in places such as Iraq, Cambodia and Republic of Georgia. RAF Regiment units have frequently been tasked to form part of Army and other formations to make use of their specialist skills and 51 Squadron RAF Regiment
Specialist squadrons and units
The Royal Air Force Regiment
Badge of the RAF Regiment
Active Country Branch Type Role Size Part of Garrison/HQ
1 February 1942-Present United Kingdom Royal Air Force Ground Defence Ground Defence/Low Level Air Defence 10 Squadrons Royal Air Force No 1 Sqn - RAF ST Mawgan No 2 Sqn - RAF Honington No 3 Sqn - RAF Aldergrove No 15 Sqn - RAF Honington No 16 Sqn - RAF Honington No 26 Sqn - RAF Waddington No 27 Sqn - RAF Honington No 34 Sqn - RAF Leeming No 51 Sqn - RAF Lossiemouth
No 63 Sqn (QCS) - RAF Uxbridge Nickname Motto March Air Commodore-inChief Tactical Recognition Flash The Rock Apes Per Ardua (Through Adversity) Quick - Holyrood Commanders HM The Queen Insignia
I Squadron took part in the Berlin Airlift, the 1991 Gulf War, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. II Squadron is a parachute-trained Field Squadron which is capable of inserting by parachute and securing forward airfields, a capability that was used during Operation Palliser in Sierra Leone in 2000. 3 Squadron is a Field Squadron deployed to guarantee the security of RAF Aldergrove and Belfast International Airport in Northern Ireland. 27 Squadron is a specialist unit that forms half of the Joint CBRN Regiment together with 1st Royal Tank Regiment. In addition, the Regiment has a ground extraction unit attached to No. 28 Squadron RAF, which provides Combat Search and Rescue teams to recover downed RAF Aircrew. 51 Squadron also took part in the 1991 Gulf War, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. 63 Squadron, known as the Queen's Colour Squadron, is a Field Squadron which represents the RAF at high profile ceremonial occasions (including mounting the Queen's Guard at Buckingham Palace), and is also responsible for guarding the Queen's Colour of the Royal Air Force. It was formerly purely a ceremonial squadron, the Queen's Colour Squadron (with no number), with no other duties, but it has now become a fully fledged field squadron. The RAF Regiment provides training teams for all RAF stations, which are responsible for training station personnel in Force Protection and operational deployment skills. The Regiment is also responsible for the Defence CBRN Centre at Winterborne Gunner which trains personnel from all 3 services and the civilian police in CBRN defence skills. It also provides CBRN specialist advice and support to other organisations. RAF Regiment personnel man a number of Tactical Air Control Parties, including 3 in the Army's 16 Air Assault Brigade. These parties contain RAF Regiment Forward Air Controllers who are responsible for directing fire support from fast jet attack aircraft in support of ground combat forces.
A handful of RAF Regiment personnel are deployed as part of the tri-service Special Forces Support Group which provides support to the United Kingdom Special Forces.
The genesis of the RAF Regiment was with the creation of No 1 Armoured Car Company RAF in 1921 for operations in Iraq, followed shortly afterwards by Nos II and 3 companies. These were equipped with Rolls Royce Armoured Cars and were highly successful in ground combat operations throughout the Middle East in the 1920s and 30s. The RAF Regiment came into existence, in name, on 1 February 1942. From the start it had both field squadrons and light anti-aircraft squadrons, the latter originally armed with Hispano-Suiza and Bofors automatic cannon. Its role was originally purely defensive, but later in the war it took on offensive tasks such as capturing enemy airfields and frequently worked as line infantry in all theatres of war. Several parachute squadrons were formed to assist in the capture of airfields and the recovery of downed aircrew, and No II Squadron retains this capability. 284 Field Squadron was the first RAF unit to arrive in West Berlin in 1945, to secure RAF Gatow.
World War II recruiting poster
The Regiment has a museum at RAF Honington near Bury St Edmunds. The RAF Regiment frequently mounts the King's Guard/Queen's Guard at Buckingham Palace, St James's Palace, Windsor Castle and the Tower of London, with the first occasion being on 1 April 1943. During World War II, the RAF Regiment grew to a force of 66,000 men in 280 Squadrons of 185 men each (each squadron including five officers). Each squadron consisted of a Headquarters Flight, three Rifle Flights, an Air-Defence Flight, and an Armoured-Car Flight. The flights were grouped together into Wings as needed. It also operated six Armoured Car Squadrons to provide an area response
capability to several RAF stations. Light Armoured Squadrons, equipped with FV101 Scorpion and FV107 Scimitar light tanks, continued to be operated into the 1980s. Formerly the RAF's firefighters were also members of the RAF Regiment, although they are now independent of it. Further information on the history of the RAF Regiment: 'Through Adversity' by Kingsley M Oliver
On 12 July 2004, it was announced by Geoff Hoon that the RAF Regiment will relinquish the GroundBased Air Defence role as the threat from air attack had diminished. This role will now only be carried out by the Royal Artillery, and the four RAF Regiment squadrons will be disbanded by 1 April 2008. The four squadrons to be disbanded are:
15 Squadron (March 2008) 16 Squadron (March 2007) 26 Squadron (March 2008) 37 Squadron (March 2006)
However, as part of the same re-organisation, it was announced that the RAF Regiment would make up part of the new Ranger unit, designed to support the Special Forces. It is estimated that the RAF Regiment will supply approximately 100 members of this unit. In addition, a large number of personnel from the disbanding squadrons will be employed on other specialist tasks. The Special Forces Support Group was declared operational in April 2006. As a result of the deletions of the GBAD squadrons, No 3 Squadron and No 63 (QCS) Squadron will each receive an additional 40 personnel, in order to match their operational capabilities with the four other field squadrons, while another two Force Protection units have been formed (No 5 FP Wing at Lossiemouth and No 6 FP Wing at Leuchars). In addition, No 1 Squadron is to be moved from RAF St Mawgan to RAF Honington, which will result in No 2625 Squadron, RAuxAF Regt also being disbanded.
Current RAF Regiment units
o o o o o o o
Field Squadrons 1 Squadron II Squadron (Parachute) 3 Squadron 34 Squadron 51 Squadron 63 Squadron (Queen's Colour Squadron) Ground Based Air Defence Squadrons 15 Squadron
o o o o o o o o o o
16 Squadron 26 Squadron NBC Squadrons 27 Squadron (Joint NBC Regiment) Other Units Force Protection No 1 RAF Force Protection Wing HQ No 2 RAF Force Protection Wing HQ No 3 RAF Force Protection Wing HQ No 4 RAF Force Protection Wing HQ No 5 RAF Force Protection Wing HQ No 6 RAF Force Protection Wing HQ Combat Recovery Ground Extraction Force, E Flight, No 28 (AC) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment Squadrons 2503 Squadron (Ground Defence) 2620 Squadron (Ground Defence) 2622 Squadron (Ground Defence) 2623 Squadron (CBRN) 2625 Squadron (Ground Defence)
Royal Air Force Police
The Royal Air Force Police (RAFP), also called the RAF Provost Branch or Scuffers, is the military police branch of the British Royal Air Force. It was formed on 1 April 1918, when the RAF was formed from the merger of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). It is responsible for policing the RAF and its installations. Members of the RAFP are distinguished by their white-topped caps (giving rise to their nickname of "Snowdrops"), which they have worn since 1945, and black/red/black flashes worn below their rank slides, known as "Mars Bars". Unlike their Army colleagues in the Royal Military Police, they do not wear a distinctive red beret when wearing camouflaged uniform, although they do wear the same red 'MP' flashes on the sleeve of their uniforms.
Organisation and current role
The RAF Police is headed by a Provost Marshal, who until recently held the rank of Air Commodore. The RAF Police have recently undergone a period of downsizing in line with reductions across the RAF in both manpower and aircraft. The Provost Marshal now holds the rank of Group Captain, with an Air Commodore of the RAF Regiment being in overall charge of security for the RAF. The Provost Marshal is assisted by other Provost Officers (formerly known as Assistant Provost Marshals - APM), who are in charge of the RAF Police on a unit level and are responsible for advising the Station Commander on all aspects of policing and security. There is a detachment of RAFP on most RAF stations. Usually it is a flight, commanded by a Flying Officer or Flight Lieutenant (as OC), with either a Flight Sergeant or Sergeant as Senior NonCommissioned Officer (SNCO) RAFP (sometimes referred to as the "Sheriff"). A Warrant Officer sometimes commands a police flight in place of a commissioned officer, or acts as second-in-command in a larger flight. Larger stations may have a security squadron, with a Squadron Leader in command as Officer Commanding (OC) Security, who is also responsible for the general security of the station. The security squadron may also encompass a flight of RAF Regiment personnel. The police flight in such a squadron is usually commanded by a Flight Lieutenant as OC RAFP, with a Flight Sergeant as SNCO RAFP. The RAF Police also fulfills the RAF's counter-intelligence (CI) role, similar to that carried out by the British Army Intelligence Corps. They provide specialist counter-intelligence and computer security support. Unlike their Intelligence Corps counterparts, who tend to specialise in a particular area, RAF Police CI specialists are trained in all aspects of the counter-intelligence field. Computer security (CSy) is a further specialisation within the CI field and personnel trained to this level are expected to perform all CI and CSy related tasks. The modern station RAF Police flight may operate shifts, but these are usually only involved in community policing and are normally commanded by a Corporal (larger shifts may require a Sergeant). Some stations with large airheads may also operate shifts for Air Transport Security (ATSy). The police flight will normally consist of a Community Police Section, a Special Investigations Section
(investigators trained specifically for criminal investigations - known as SI), and a CI Section. The special investigations role is undergoing a restructure that is centralising the task. In future special investigations will be handled by regional teams that will replace the station SI sections.
Outside the unit level, the RAFP also has its own Special Investigation Branch (SIB) for the investigation of serious crime. This is effectively the RAF's version of civilian police Criminal Investigation Departments. This is known as the Specialist Police Wing (SPW), and is split into four geographical regions covering the United Kingdom and Germany. This section of the RAFP is also responsible for forensic investigation through the RAF's own Forensic Science Flight. SPW is also responsible for the Counter Intelligence Field Force. The RAFP also has a tactical deployable wing known as the Tactical Provost Wing, whose major role is forward policing and Line Of Communication Policing (LoCP) in conflict zones. The TPW was heavily involved in the recent Gulf conflict. Additionally, the RAFP operate a large Police Dog Section from a number of RAF bases.
RAF Police are now trained at the Defence Police College, Southwick Park, along with the Royal Navy Service Police and Royal Military Police. The RAF Police were previously trained at RAF Halton. Until the late 1980s, training took place at RAF St Athan, whilst RAF Police dog handlers were trained at RAF Newton. TPW training includes:
police exams/assessments driving (on and off road) weapons training Lines of Communication Police training Air Transport Security Baton and handcuff training Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) warfare
Personnel are also required to maintain good physical fitness and this is tested yearly.
Royal Auxillary Air Force (Police)
3 Suadron, Tactical Provost Wing is based at RAF Henlow in Bedfordshire and is part of RAF Provost and Security Services (P&SS). During 2005 elements of 3 TPW deployed on exercise with Territorial Army units of the Royal Military Police to Poland for Exercise Uhlan Eagle.
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