Thursday, July 5, 2012

Army announcement: not all questions get an answer - UPDATE

The Army is to be reduced by 23 Regular units to meet the manpower and budget targets for the future. The changes are due to be implemented by 2015, with the overall mandate to reach the capacity of 82,000 for the Regular Army and 30,000 for the Reserves by 2018, meaning that the whole reduction process was speeded up even further since the reduction to 82.000 was first announced in July last year.

The announcement came today in the House of Commons by Secretary of State for Defence the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP after months of work by the Army to create a modern force for the challenges of 2020 and beyond. The force structure is the brainchild of the Army 2020 team, leaded by General Nick Carter.

The complete list of the victims of the Army reform which will deliver Army 2020, as for today's long awaited announcement, is as follows:

Household Cavalry and Royal Armoured Corps
• The Queens Royal Lancers will amalgamate with 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales's) upon completion of scheduled operational commitments and not before October 2014.
• The 1st Royal Tank Regiment and the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment will merge upon completion of scheduled operational commitments and not before April 2014.

Royal Regiment of Artillery
• 39 Regiment Royal Artillery and 40 Regiment Royal Artillery will both be removed from the ORBAT by October 2015.

Corps of the Royal Engineer
• 24 Commando Engineer Regiment will be removed from the ORBAT not before April 2013.
• 25 Engineer Regiment and 28 Engineer Regiment will be removed from the ORBAT not before October 2015.
• 38 Engineer Regiment will be removed from the ORBAT.
• 67 Works Group will also be removed from the ORBAT not before April 2015.

Royal Corps of Signals
• 7th Signal Regiment (Allied Rapid Reaction Corps) is to be removed from the ORBAT.

• 5th Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders,) will be reduced to form a Public Duties Incremental Company on completion of current task and not before August 2013.
• 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers will be removed from the ORBAT and absorbed into the rest of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers upon completion of scheduled operational commitments in the autumn of 2014.
• The 2nd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howard's) will be removed from the ORBAT and absorbed into the rest of The Yorkshire Regiment on completion of their Cyprus tour and not before the Autumn of 2013.
• The 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment (Staffordshire) will be removed from the ORBAT and absorbed into the rest of The Mercian Regiment on completion of Op HERRICK 19 and not before October 2014.
• 2nd Battalion the Royal Welsh (The Royal Regiment of Wales) will be removed from the ORBAT and absorbed into the rest of The Royal Welsh Regiment not before Autumn 2013.
• 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment will join the Prince of Wales’ Division.

Army Air Corps
• 1 Regiment Army Air Corps will merge with 9 Regiment Army Air Corps, bringing the Wildcat force under a single HQ based at Yeovilton not before October 2015.

Royal Logistic Corps (RLC)
• 1 Logistic Support Regiment will be removed from the ORBAT not before April 2015.
• 2 Logistic Support Regiment will be removed from the ORBAT not before October 2014.
• 23 Pioneer Regiment will be removed from the ORBAT not before October 2015.
• 8 Regiment, 19 Combat Service Support Battalion and 24 Regiment RLC will be removed from the ORBAT.

Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineer
• 101 Force Support Battalion will be removed from the Regular Army ORBAT not before Autumn 2015, and will transfer to the Reserve.

Royal Military Police unit
• 5 Regiment Royal Military Police is to be removed from the ORBAT as part of the drawdown from Germany. The three remaining Regiments will be re-organised.
• All SIB capabilities will be reorganised under one headquarters, while the Military Provost Service will be increased, and a specialist Support Operations group will be created.

There were a couple of surprises in the announcement: first of all, the loss of 39 Royal Artillery regiment. This is the only Regular regiment equiped with GMLRS, and it is the regiment introducing Fire Shadow into service. 
It is not clear at the moment if the loss of the Regiment implies the loss of GMLRS as well. Obviously, i hope it doesn't. The SDSR names GMLRS as a capability that would stay, so perhaps it will move entirely into 101 Regiment TA, which is the GMLRS reserve unit, or be maintained with some other kind of arrangement.  
Dispelling some of the fears about "shared support elements" for the Reaction brigades, both 29 Commando Royal Artillery and 7 Royal Horse Artillery are staying. 
The survival of

is also promising: perhaps, as i hoped, the RA will be able to stand up the 5 combined AS90/L118 regiments as planned. 

The UAV regiments (32 and 47) are staying, and both air defence units (12 and 16) are safe. We do not know the structure of any regiment, though, so there might be changes we are not yet aware of. Surely, all regiments will get smaller.

Weirdly, 14 Regiment (Training), is not named as part of the cuts, but does not appear in the Army 2020 Brochure. Mistake? 
Same situation for 11 Regiment Royal Signals, 5 and 25 Regiment RLC, the training formations, which again are not mentioned. 
What does it mean? Aren't the Training regiments worth reporting as part of the force...? 

The other surprise is the loss of the only Pioneer regiment of the Army, 23 RLC. Apparently, judging from Army documents, all 3 Logistic Brigade HQs could survive in a form or another, differently from what was announced in news reports. The document contains a graphic that specifically names 101 and 102 Brigades, but also shows a further 1-star Logistic formation, which i guess could be 104 Bde. This third "Logistic Support Brigade" is shown as having a secondary role as Regional HQ for the South of England area, giving it control over the variety of units which will be based there.
Differently from what i thought, however, a few parts of 104 Bde are going to be lost. I thought this would not happen, since 104 Brigade is unique in its nature, but 23 Pioneer is nonetheless being disbanded. 24 Movement Control and Postal & Courier Regt will also be lost. Evidently their capability was assessed deliverable under other means (contractors or reserves). The other two Logistic Brigades (101 and 102) will stay for sure, 101 supporting the Reaction Division and 102 supporting the Adaptable force, according to the Army document.  

17 Port and Maritime Regiment, thankfully, is safe. 
8 Regiment, a Transport regiment based in Germany, will disband. The loss of 19 CSS Battalion is no surprise, as it was the supporting unit of 19 Light Brigade, which is itself disbanded. 
1st and 2nd Logistic Support Regiments will be gone. 1st Regiment used to be the Divisional logistic element of 1st UK Division, but its role currently is direct support to briga of 1st and 3rd Division, even if their effective role is direct support to brigades. 2nd Regiment is the support element of 7th Armoured Brigade. 

The Army 2020 brochure gives the future regimental structure of the RLC as: 

1 Close Support Logistic Regiment [isn't 1st Regiment being cut?
2 Close Support Logistic Regiment [isn't 2nd Regiment being cut?]
6 Force Logistic Regiment
9 Force Logistic Regiment
10 Gurkha Logistic Regiment
12 Close Support Logistic Regiment
13 Air Assault Support Regiment
27 Theatre Logistic Regiment
7 Theatre Logistic Regiment 
29 Poastal and Courier Regiment 
17 Port and Maritime Regiment
11 EOD Regiment

The Army Brochure is good under many aspects, but i've located a problem: despite being in the list of units being cut, 1st and 2nd RLC regiments are also listed into the future regimental structure of the RLC for Army 2020.   
What is the right story?    

My interpretation is that the Close Support Logistic Regiments would go to the 3 Armored Brigades of Reaction. 13 Air Assault Support is obviously for 16AA brigade. 
While 101 and 102 Logistic brigades would each have 1 Theatre and 1 Force Logistic regiments. 
But we'd need to know what actually happens to 1st and 2nd regiments, obviously. 

Another little mystery is that there is no mention anywhere of the Commando Logistic Regiment. The Regiment is a Royal Marines formation, so it should be safe, but it is not clear if the RLC will continue to contribute to it. Probably, it will.  

The Engineers are losing 25 Regiment: no surprise, it had already been announced: it is being merged with 39 Regiment as both are in the Air Support role. I've extensively reported of this change in previous posts. 
No surprise is the loss of 38 Regiment either, as it was part of the disbanded 19 Light Brigade. 

The loss of 28 Regiment General Support is a whole different story. It is a large Germany-based regiment which includes the only Amphibious squadron of the Army, equipped with the M3 rigs, which have been mothballed until 2015. 
Like with the GMLRS case, my hope is that the loss of the regiment does not imply the loss of the one unique capability it offered. 

The Army is also divesting the 24 Commando Engineer Regiment, unfortunately. This regiment was stood up in 2008, with around 340 men, with the aim of expanding to over 500 by adding, in time, a second regular squadron. 
This squadron (56 Sqn) always remained only on paper, so the regiment effectively has only 54 HQ & Support Squadron, 59 Commando Engineer Squadron and the 131 Commando Squadron (Volunteers) from the TA. 
Now the Army will re-downgrade, down to the sole 59 Squadron plus 131(V) Commando Sqn.
My suggestion is for the Navy to make an effort in the next few years and take directly over the matter, funding the expansion to regiment itself and asking the RE only for help in the training aspect. Making the formation wholly Royal Marines owned, if not entirely Royal Marines manned, is the only way to have control over what is done to it. 

36 General Support Regiment is staying. Until 2015 it will be maily roled in EOD Search and Assurrance, but after that, hopefully, it will be able to be used as a "container" for specialist capabilities, namely Talisman and M3 rigs. It is what i've been proposing all along: retain a single General Support Regiment as centre of excellence for those particular capabilities that aren't used as often as the others, but that are invaluable when the moment comes. 

21, 22, 26, 32 and 35 Engineer Regiments are all staying as well, thankfully. No doubt they'll have to be restructured and made somewhat smaller, but keeping them all is an excellent news. The rule of the 5, as i prayed, is being respected in almost all fields, to enable future enduring operations. 

Safe are also 33 and 101 EOD regiments, 42 (Geographic) Regiment and 4 out of 5 regular Works Groups (62, 63, 64, 66). The 5th Group (65) is a Territorial Army unit, which i think will definitely stay. These specialized Works Groups are invaluable, providing great and much needed services, and it is great to see them safe. 

On the Royal Signals, i seem to be proven consistently right: all brigades will lose their Signal squadron, save for 16 Air Assault. The Army document in fact gives the composition of the force in Army 2020 as: 

1, 2, 3, 16, 21 Regiments (which will likely become Theatre Support regiments as i explained in my post yesterday) 

10, 14 (Electronic Warfare), 15 (Information Support), 22 and 30 Regiments

16° Air Assault HQ and Signal Squadron 

No reason to mention a specific brigade squadron if all other Sqns were staying. This is a cut by stealth. Units vanish, without it being announced.

The Regular component of the Medical Service are interesting: 

1, 2, 3 Armoured Medical Regiments - quite an easy guess what they are meant to do.
4, 5 Medical Regiments - These and the Field Hospitals will be in the Medical brigade along with reserve regiments, i think
16 Medical Regiment (16 Air Assault Brigade) 
22, 33, 34 Field Hospitals 
1st Military Working Dog Regiment, Royal Army Veterinary Corps

The Army Air Corps cut i've long been expecting and i've widely announced it in more than a post. With Wildcat numbers being so low, there was no way to stand up 5 Squadrons. As 1st and 9th Regiments are merged as 1 Regiment AAC, their combined 5 squadrons will become 3, probably. There will be just 30 Wildcat RECCE helicopters, and 6 will go to 847 Naval Air Service for Commando duties. That leaves 24 for the 1st AAC regiment, very few airframes to work with. 
The base at Dishfort will most likely be closed as the regiment relocated to Yeovilton, where Navy and Army will operate the Wildcat squadrons in close collaboration.

Before we take a look at the Army structure, let me say one thing: i'm immensely relieved by the look of things as announced. Even with the wrong note of the reduction of Engineer capability for 3rd Commando Brigade, and even with the fears for GMLRS and M3 capability, i can no doubt say that the relief is immense
I'm still full of worries because we don't know the details, the structures and capabilities of the regiments, but the picture is infinitely less scary than it appeared from the press reports. The cuts have been made with some real common sense, overall, at battalion/regiment level. 
Now we have to see what the cost was in terms of sizes and capability of each surviving formation, but retaining, for example, 5 artillery regiments plus specialist elements, 5 Engineer regiments plus specialist elements, is exactly what had to be done. I'm much relieved by the Army 2020 document, honestly. 

Army Structure for 2020 

The Army structure envisaged is surprisingly rational. It is well shown by this graphic: 

So, there will be 2 Divisions, the Reaction and the Adaptable divisions, each with their own 2-star HQ, both of which will apparently be deployable, at least to some degree. The newly created UK Support Command will also stay, and provide Command and Control for internal tasks and Homeland resilience. Each Division will have a Logistic Brigade in support, and deploying forces will "feed" from the centralized Force Troops to obtain the necessary support elements. In addition, there is Joint Helicopter Command (a 2-star HQ) and the Military Police, on three regiments grouped under a 1-star command.

We do not yet know the accurate make up of the brigades making up Force Troops, but i've given my idea for how they could be organized in yesterday's post, and i think i was substantially correct in my analysis.

Note the presence of a "Logistic Support" 1-star formation among the Force Troops: i think that, differently from what appeared in news reports, all 3 brigade commands in the RLC are staying. I think this one formation would be 104 Bde and would include 17 Regiment Port and Maritime.

The current Military Intelligence brigade has instead vanished, replaced by the "Intelligence and Surveillance" command, which in my opinion will bring together the 3 Intelligence Battalions and the UAV and STA regiments of the Royal Artillery.
1st Artillery Brigade will be modified, in my opinion, to contain the five surviving Fires regiments, plus the 2 air defence ones.

The Medical Brigade will in my opinion contain 4 and 5 Regiment (Regular), the regular Field Hospitals and the Reserve medical formations, while 1, 2, 3 and 16 Medical Regiments will stay attached directly to the Reaction Brigades.  

The Engineers regiments could all be centralized in the Engineer brigade, save for the regiment of 16 Air Assault Brigade and 59 Commando Squadron.

The Security Assistance Group is likely to be the new army branch for "upstream engagement" with foreign countries, and will be "feed" personnel and units from within the Adaptable brigades.

The Armored Brigades of the Reaction Division are very, very interesting.

The Armored Brigade will pack quite a punch
A new kind of Tank Regiment is adopted, the Type 56, which will have one Command and Recce Squadron (including two Challenger 2 and 8(?) Fres Scout vehicles) plus 3 Sabre Squadrons on 18 Challenger 2 tanks each.

The Recce Regiment will also have 3 Sabre squadrons, on FRES SV in the future, with each squadron having 16 vehicles. My gut feeling is that 12 of these vehicles will be Scouts, but 4 will be FRES SV Protected Mobility Vehicles carrying teams of 8 dismounts. We'll see if i'm right. Incorporating a number of APCs to increase the number of dismounts has been very common in Recce regiments in modern days, so i think i'm likely right.

The two Armoured Infantry Battalions will be roughly the same as today's ones, on three rifle companies, each with 14 vehicles plus the maneouvre support coy.

The third infantry battalion in the force is shown mounted on Mastiff, with the future vehicle for them indicated in the FRES UV, which was confirmed as part of the Core Budget and which will (hopefully) enter service in the middle 2020s. Here is the confirmation that Mastiff will stay post-Afghanistan.

As i expected, there is no organic artillery or engineer formation: these will be sourced from Force Troops prior to deployment.

There is no information on the structure of the various Infantry Brigades, and we don't know if 16 Air Assault will drop down to 3 battalions or if 5 SCOTS battalion will be replaced into the brigade by another one. In any case, there will be 2.5  to 2.7 regular infantry battalions for each of the 7 Infantry Brigades. Most brigades will end up with 3, and some with 2, i'm guessing.
An unspecified number of Light Cavalry regiments (mounted on Jackal vehicles) will be part of the Adaptable Division. There is 4 TA armour regiments that could provide the basis for such formations, and there is no indication of how the Army will use the 4th Regular Tank regiment and 4th Regular Recce Regiment. They might be re-roled as Light Cavalry, even if my expectation is that the 4th Tank Regiment will serve as Training and Demonstration regiment (perhaps with one squadron, as has been done so far with A Sqn, 1RTR) and Crew Replacement Unit (with the other two squadrons, allowing the TA formations currently in this role to assume new roles). This is, however, only my personal view.

We are shown, however, a promising example of Brigade-sized formation sourced from the Adaptable Division: this formation is shown with a Regular Light Cavalry regiment (on three Sabre Squadrons with 16 Jackals each) paired with an equal regiment of Reserves. 

Similarly, there are 2 Regular infantry battalions, augmented by 2 Reserve battalions. One Regular and one Reserve infantry battalions are shown mounted in Foxhound protected vehicles.  

The Reserve will lose a "small" number of units because of merges, re-roling and restructuring, as the TA's structure is reorganized and its trained strength increased to 30.000. A number of Regional Brigades HQs are also going to vanish, but details on this part of the Army restructuring will only arrive later on, along with the updated Basing plan.
For now, there is only a map showing the notional geographic distribution of the major commands of the Army.

To the left, the new map relative to Army 2020. To the right, a map of the current Regional Brigades.

Assuming that the Army will want to make the fewest possible changes to save time and money, we can assume that the Irish 38 Brigade will stay, along with 51st (Scotland), 160 (Wales), 42 (North West), 15 (North East), 49 (East). However, the Army might well decide to save the badges of the 2 current regular brigades that will be "lost" as the thick of the regular component is concentrated in the 3 armored formations.
The London Based Brigade [South brigade?] might be given a whole new identity as the current regional brigade HQs based in Southern England, (145, 43, 2) are disbanded//merged. 11 Brigade, which was also re-formed in recent years for a tour in Afghanistan, might be a possible identity, or one of the three regional badges going will be used instead.  
143 Regional Brigade HQ is also likely to go, judging from the map at least.  

In conclusion

We do not have all the answers yet. Arguably, some new questions have come up, such as "what about GMLRS?", but we do have an indication of what's being done, finally, and it luckily is not nearly as bad as it risked being.
The day of doom has, fortunately, been less terrible than feared. Even though, of course, it won't feel this way to a lot of personnel in the Army who found out that their unit will be disbanded. They have my understanding: it's a shame that this has to happen, and i regret each and every redundancy and disbandment to come. 

But at least, for the Army itself, the picture is not one of total gloom as feared. The structure is almost identical to what i painted yesterday in my article.
Now we need to get some more detail over the composition of the Artillery and Engineer regiments that remain, and know more about the Force Troops, to make ourselves a real idea. 

And of course, for it to really work, we need the Reserves boost plan to be successful. And this is probably the biggest challenge of the Army 2020 plan.

Reserves boost 

From Philip Hammond's written statement of today, 5 July 2011: 

To achieve the redesign of the Army required by Army 2020 will require us to expand the volunteer Army Reserve to 30,000 trained strength and better to integrate the Regular and Reserve components of the future Army. Army 2020 has defined the Army Reserves’ role and we are establishing more predictable scales of commitment in the event that Reserves are committed to enduring operations.

In the past, the Reserve was essentially designed to supplement the Regular Army; in future, the Reserve will be a vital part of an integrated Army. The principle of greater integration was established in the Commission’s report and, based on their findings, our concept for Army Reserves sees them ready and able to deploy routinely at sub-unit level and in some cases as formed units. They will be trained, equipped and supported accordingly. Officers and soldiers will have command opportunities which have not always been available in the recent past.

The process of reshaping the Reserves for their future role has already begun: we are recruiting Reserves now for all three Services. The Army has started overseas Reserve training exercises at company level (26 this year, and increasing in number significantly by 2015); we are putting in place routine partnered training of Army Reserve and Regular units, including for operational deployments.

More equipment is arriving in the form of modern support vehicles, the Wolf Land
Rover and Bowman radios. We plan that, over time, the personal equipment of Reservists will be on a par with that used by Regulars. The greater reliance on the Reserve envisaged in Future Force 2020, and the additional £1.8Bn over 10 years that we have committed to the Reserves, ensures that Reservists will receive the kit and the training they need.

But in exchange we expect them to commit to specific amounts of training time and, for the Army in most cases, to accept a liability for up to 6 months deployed service, plus pre-deployment training, in a five year period, dependent on operational demand. There will be opportunities for shorter periods of deployed service commitment for those in some specialist roles.

The Navy’s Maritime Reserves will expand to a trained strength of 3,100 to deliver a greater range and depth of capability, within its well established and integrated model, to provide individual augmentees to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines in specialist and generalist roles. Key areas of growth will be in a range of command and communication, intelligence and surveillance disciplines, including cyber, support to the Fleet Air Arm and the exploitation of niche capabilities in the role of maritime security. The aim is to build Maritime Reserves that are fully integrated and able to provide the Naval Service with a range of flexible manpower, including greater access to civilian skills. The expansion will be supported by an infrastructure programme to provide modern
and efficient training facilities.

The Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF) provides resilience and strength in depth to the Royal Air Force contribution to Defence capability by providing individual augmentees to Regular Forces. It will grow to a trained strength of 1,800. The principal growth will be in the specialist areas of logistics, flight operations, medical, intelligence, media, RAF Police and cyber; individual augmentees will be trained to a sufficient standard to be fully integrated with the Regulars as part of the Whole Force Concept.

Five new Reserve Squadrons will be established:

No 502(Ulster) Squadron will form at JHC Station Aldergrove;

611(West Lancashire) Squadron will form in Liverpool;

614(West Glamorgan) Squadron will form in South Wales, most likely at RAF St Athan.

These squadrons will be general service support squadrons representing various trades and branches from within the RAF.

At RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, 2624(County of Oxford) Squadron will re-form in the force protection role and 622 Squadron will stand-up as the Reserve unit for aircrew augmenting the RAF’s air mobility force.

The Regular Component of the RAF Regiment is expected to shrink by 2 Field Squadrons come 2015, leaving 6 squadrons plus the Defence CBRN Wing (26 and 27 Squadrons).

Is is the end of even the name "Territorial Army"? Army Reserve seems to be the new term. Let's just hope it can be made to work.

As additional information, in the last few months the Territorial Army has seen some of its units re-subordinated to major regular HQs, in particular:

4 PARA (V)
2 Royal Irish (V)

have been re-surbodinated to Joint Helicopter Command, and now are the (integrated) reserve element of 16 Air Assault brigade.
In exchange the brigade might not be given a replacement 4th maneuver battalion when 5 Scots is downgraded to Public Duty company. It is not yet evident.

Honourable Artillery Company
101 (V) Royal Artillery
104 (V) Royal Artillery
106 (V) Royal Artillery

have moved under Theatre Troops, the command now apparently due to re-name as Force Troops. The HAC provides reinforcement patrols to Sphynx battery, Special Observation Posts.
101 (V) is the GMLRS reserve regiment (2 batteries) and also has 2 Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) batteries for supplementing 5 Regiment RA.
104 (V) is a drone reserve battalion, if the plan does not change it will support 32 and 47 RA in their Watchkeeper role.
106 (V) is a reserve Air Defence formation on both Rapier and Starstreak.

Also under Theatre Troops moved:

151 RLC (V)
155 RLC (V)
159 RLC (V)
Scottish Transport Regiment

Some of these units might be re-assigned or even re-roled in the coming years, though, as the new Army Reserve structure is rolled out.


  1. Hi Gabriele,
    Just had a quick read,a number of things I would like to ask;
    Whats happening to the Bulldogs?
    Did the guards escape, yet again?
    Are 5 SCOTS to be based in Scotland on public duties?
    Is it confirmed that 1 RIFLES is to leave 3 CDO?

  2. Hi Phil.

    The Bulldog in its APC variant might be approaching its end, since it seems like the 3 mechanized battalions will move on Mastiff in a few years time.
    It's a paradox, but it'll be the FV430 MK2, non updated, which live longer, since these cover special roles (mortar, communications ecc) within the armoured battalions...

    The Guards are all safe.

    5 Scots becomes a Scotland-based public role company. Personnel from the scottish regiment will rotate into it.

    It is not yet confirmed that 1st RIFLES is to leave 3rd Commando brigade. If it is, at least, i have not yet heard anything about it.

    1. Thanks Gabriele,
      No shock that the Guards escaped yet again!
      I can't see any mention of Cyprus.
      I assume that only one battalion will remain post Afghan, but I guess this would be confirmed or not on the base plan paper when it comes out?
      It seems the plan to base all 3 armoured brigades around Salisbury plain? in time.
      I assume we will see the remaining Regiments of the Queens division (RRF, POW R ANG), merge at a latter stage?

    2. Cyprus remains a commitment, will be given a battalion from the Adaptable brigades. Cyprus is mentioned and appears even in the graphic.

      Yes, all 3 armored brigades should go to Salisbury area.

      The merge of the Queen's Division was an option, but it seems to have been abandoned for good and it should not happen.

  3. A litany of errors and questionable assumptions in this post. A couple that jumped out before I got bored of reading nonsense and skipped to the comments:
    1) The loss of 23 Pnr Regt RLC is not a surprise, and has in fact been widely predicted.
    2) 8 Regt RLC has already disbanded under the RLC's internal restructuring programme, not under A2020.
    3) The third log bde HQ is far more likely to be JFLogC than 104X.
    4) LSRs do not support the XX which owns them, but are affiliated to X formations.

    But hey, why not speculate and get things wrong at a time when people reading this will be under a lot of stress and worrying about their future livelihoods?

    1. 1) If it is not a surprise, the better for the guys in the regiment. To me, it was a surprise.
      2) I'm reporting what the Army and ministers are saying. Internal restructuring or not, it is all part of Army 2020
      3) Perhaps. Maybe no. Can you say i'm wrong? No.
      4) They are affiliated to brigades, but 1 and 2, if you go searching on the army website itself, used to be "divisional".

      You are being extremely unpleasant, basically for nothing.

    2. It's not for nothing. There will be thousands of soldiers googling the A2020 announcement today, and a good proportion will end up here, where inaccurate/dubious speculation presented as fact ("which would no doubt be 104 Bde", for example) will only fuel worry.

      Not to enter into a debate, but it is worth noting that it is not "all part of Army 2020", and that several arms and services conducted their own internal restructuring totally independently. A2020 is what was announced today: no more, no less.

      And a minor point for your education: div tps of any role do not support divisons. They are part of the div, and are used in sp of bdes within that formation.

    3. I do not need your "education", thank you.

      As to the internal work made in the various branhes of the Army, it is part of the restructuring for Army 2020. They are not cutting regiments without a reason.

      If you have all the answers already, write your own piece and give them to everyone. I do my best with what the MOD makes available to the general public.

    4. Will has a point.

    5. By the way, a new official announcement from the Army proves me right: 104 Logistic Brigade stays and takes over the Joint Force Logistic Support role.

  4. Gabriele

    Just an initial reaction.

    Like you I'm hugely relieved by the announcements today. The measures ar not nearly as bloody as mny of us feared. As you say, the cuts have been made with some real common sense.

    On particular cuts:

    At first I was rather concerned that the GMLRS system would be lost completely. On consideration, though, that does not seem particularly likely. In its new form, that of precision "long-range rifle", it has proved highly successful in Afghanistan. Maybe, as you say, it will be given to the Gateshead TA unit (101st Regiment), who already operate the system. It has been hailed as a wepon of the future and I cannot really see it being withdrawn completely. Perhaps it is even the plan to keep on the highly succcessful "hybrid" unit consisting of a small number each of GMLRS, Light Guns and Exactors.

    I don't particularly like the sound of two of the Army Air Corps being merged with only 24 Wildcat to equip them. Will some Lynx AH9 be kept on, do you think?

    One other point. I didn't quite get one of the points made by Philip Hammond in hs reply to one question. He said something like: "No, these will be Multi-Role Brigades" or "This will be a Multi-Role Brigade", a statement which surprised me! (smacks of the SDSR!) Was he referring to the seven infantry brigades in the Adaptable Forces or something else, perhaps?

    More to follow!

    1. I hope the GMLRS situation will become clear soon.
      But yes, my hope and belief is that it will be retained somehow. I'd be greatly surprised by the opposite.

      As to Philip Hammond calling the brigades multi-role, do not attach much weight to it: for the MOD, even the Type 45 is "multirole".
      Which, as you know, is only very partially true, since it lacks a lot of systems that would make it actually multi role.

      In this case, "multi role" has nothing to share with the previous concept of MRB. It is more a generic claim that the brigades will be able to adapt to the role at hand.

  5. Hi

    have i got my maths wrong? there are 5 tank regiments at present with an extra one as a training regiment (so thats 6), with the 1st and 2nd RTR combining that takes us down to five with one of those now the training regiment so that takes to 4 active Tank Regiments and 4 Recce Regiments?

    where are they going to get another 7 Recce Regiments for the 7 Brigades?

    1. There 4 TA armour battalions that could provide the basis.
      And there's no way to tell if each infantry brigade will have its own recce element. Some might not get it.

    2. About Yeomanry, we have 14 Yeomanry Squadron. It is approximately the number of Squadron for a supplemantary Yeomanry Regiment.

  6. Hi Grabriele, terrific post!

    I will need some time for studying the details, as I am not very friendly with the name of the regiments and their actual deployment.

    I think that we will have six cavalry and armoured regiments in the armoured brigades, three recce regiments in the pool of adaptable forces (attached to that brigade which commands the territory where they will have their garrisons), plus the Household horse cavalry, and that makes ten regular regiments, the same that are listed at the end of the Army 2020 document. Does it?

    The problem is with the infantry battalions, because there are 32 battalions, and if we have 3x3 armoured brigades, 3xAAB, and 2x3 adaptable brigades there are only 18. Where are supposed to be the other 14? Are the adaptable brigades going to have more than two regular and two reserve battalions?

    Related to the GMLRS, are they to become a part of the new mixed artillery regiments, like in Germany?

    Are the Force Command Support HQ going to be merged with the actual Theatre Troops 2 stars HQ?

    And finnally, I can see recce regiments having 5 Scouts per platoon, as we had in Spain before. That makes 16 with the captain's one. Perhaps they will not have extra dismonted troops.

    Thanks in advance for your patient and sorry because of my awful English.

    1. There are only going to be 9 regular cavalry units post cuts, down from 11 including 1 Royal Tank Regiment which is a training unit, merging with 2nd Royal Tank Regiment for Army 2020.
      3 tank and 3 recce regiments are in the armored brigades. One i guess will keep being used for training and demonstration.
      That makes 2 regular regiments for the 7 infantry brigades, plus 4 TA cavalry units.

      Pre-cuts, infantry battalions are 36, plus 1 PARA in Special Forces Support Role.
      Post cuts, we go down to 31 + 1.

      9 in the armored brigades, 3 or 4 in 16 Air Assault, 1 in 3rd Commando brigade (?), 1 Gurkha battalion in Brunei.
      In the very worst case, there will be 16 regular battalions of infantry to put in the 7 infantry brigades, so at least 2 battalions per brigade.
      Up to 2 more would come from the TA's 14 infantry battalions.
      The Adaptable brigades will have max 4 infantry battalions in total.

      As for Theatre Troops, in the graphic there is no sign of it being a 2-star command.
      Maybe it will be controlled via UK Support Command, but it is not clear yet.

      GMLRS, i wish we knew!

      As for the composition of recce regiments, you might be right, at the moment we don't know.

    2. Gabriele

      Thanks for the reply about GMLRS, etc. One thing that puzzles me about the Artillery arrangements is the retention of no fewer than 5 AS90 regiments. With the number of AS90s available now reduced to 90 (approx.), that will mean only 18 per regiment, as oppposed to 32(?) previously.

      Spaniard has mentioned the term "mixed artillery regiments. I wonder whether some of the AS90 formations (1,3,4, 19 and 26) will include not only 105 mm guns but also GMLRS.

      Another concern of mine is that none of the brigades appears to have a Signals squadron, as you have pointed out. I do not know much about the world of communications but surely it will be very difficult to assimilate a Signals unit (squadron?) that is suddenly inserted into a Brigade, if that Signals unit has not previously worked with the HQ and command structure of that particular Brigade.

      Has there been any news on the exact formation of 16 AA Brigade? I have seen none. The word "modified" still worries me.

    3. They are keeping 5 artillery regiments, and last i heard they would have each 2 AS90 batteries (8 guns?) and one L118 battery, but that might have changed.
      As for GMLRS, separating it in batteries all over the place does not sound likely to me: it is the kind of system you prefer to keep centralized for ease of training and support. We'll see what happens.

      As for the Signals, the change is apparently driven from the inside: the restructuring has been projected from the Royal Signals themselves, so i guess they are confident, thanks to the experience gained with the Campaign Signal Regiment arrangement for Afghanistan, that they can do it.

      As for 16AA, save for the assignment of its dedicate reserve units, no news.
      My feeling is that 1st Rifles comes out of 3rd Commando and 16AA also goes down to 3 regular battalions, but we will really have to wait, i fear. For now we don't know.

    4. Gabriele

      Thanks for the reply.

      "As for GMLRS, separating it in batteries all over the place does not sound likely to me:"

      I wasn't quite meaning that. I meant that possibly one of the former AS90 regiments might take all the Regular GMLRS systems and combine them with either a Light Gun battery or an AS90 battery.

    5. Well, i guess it might be an option.

  7. May I ask?
    If and only if Scotland goes, how does this, [if at all] effect army numbers,
    From the 20,000
    Thank you

    1. I think not even the MOD has thought about it yet. The hope is for Scotland to stay.

  8. "My feeling is that 1st Rifles comes out of 3rd Commando and 16AA also goes down to 3 regular battalions, but we will really have to wait, i fear."

    might make sense for 3Cdo and 16AAB to work on the rule of 3 (internally) as members of the reaction force, just as the heavy brigades do (externally).

    same pressures guiding deployment ambitions, etc.

    cheers Gabbie.

    1. I think it does make sense indeed. Waiting for confirmations, though.

      For now, i'm relieved by the fact that the absurd idea of sharing support elements between 16AA and 3Cdo turned out being press's madness and nothing more.

      I'm just worried for the GMLRS and M3s, mainly. I hope to hear something soon about that.

  9. Interestingly, based on our other discussion thread from earlier this week, the Reaction Force has Mech Info on Mastiff to be replaced by FRES UV, and the adaptable Force has regular and 'mirror' Reserve Infantry brigades labelled as 'Protected Mobility' on Foxhound, so where does the new MRV(P) fit in?

    1. MRV(P) due to its role in the second-line would probably fit kind of everywhere. In different ways and numbers, but it would be in the ORBATs of nearly all units.
      It was us who wondered if it could not be made "everything-doing" by using it on the frontline as well, but the actual requirement is replacing Land Rovers and Pinzgauers and so along. It'll be quite ubiquitous.

    2. Yep, your right on that, and I get the supportin role bit - just wondering if an MRV(P) APC variant might now become a bit more important and more widely used by the infantry too :-)



    3. Who knows, hopefully it will. But budget remains really tight. It would sure be nice to mechanize and mount more infantry on Protected Mobility vehicles adequate for the future.

      Indeed, FRES UV procured for just 3 battalions is something i do not like at all. Come on, that's ridiculous. Either FRES UV gets merged somehow with MRV(P), or it must go and equip some battalions into the Adaptable force as well.
      Otherwise it makes little sense, to me.

  10. Well the future force 2020 with 5 MRB is out of the window.
    There isn't any strategic planning gone into this if you look at it, they lost there bottle by not getting rid of 5 Scots to pander to the SNP the reduction to 9 cavalry regiments is bizarre ( at least my old regiment survived (for now))and the plan for 3 sabre Sqns of 18 tanks it just doesn't look thought out the 39 regiment RA is a divisional asset to split them between the field regiments is strange.
    The light cavalry in the adaptable brigades there equipement isn't even in the core budget yet so how will this go down well with the soldier on the ground this is another cost cutting plan I never thought I'd see the day that a consevative PM over saw the slow death of the British Army they've done more damage to the defence of the realm than the germans did .

    1. There is some politic compromise they had to adapt to, but to say that this structure is not thought out is not correct. The structure is solid, overall, and makes sense.

      The loss of 39 regiment, as i said, does worry me, but my guess is that they'll use a reserve regiment to regroup GMLRS.

      As to the Core budget, we don't know what is in it and what is not, but internal studies are ongoing. If the army itself says that they want Mastiff and Jackal in the force, they evidently want these two in the Core to start with.

      Next thing they'll look into, i guess, will be Husky, Coyote and Foxhound.
      They'd be a good bridging solution ahead of MRV(P).

      As to this "surprise" about Tories being bringers of cuts, i'm actually surprised myself to hear you britons surprised.
      Has the devastating John Nott's strategic review been forgotten? He was a Tory, in a Tory government, and his review was a disgrace of horrendous proportions that had a big role in causing the Falklands War.
      No one should forget the past.

  11. Amazing that the GMLRS regiment is being removed. The AS-90s are not strong artillery--even the German PzH 2000 shots a far longer range than the AS-90.

    It appears that the Adaptable Force only has Infantry Brigades/Battalions? No Challengers?

    1. No battle tanks in the Adaptable Division, no.

    2. So they assume they can conduct any operation with just 56 Challenger 2s?

    3. The Army will be capable to deploy a Division for a six-months effort. Assuming elements from 16AA and 3rd Commando will make up part of it, 2 of the reaction brigades would likely make up the rest.

      That might mean 112 tanks deployed. Only 4 less than those that went to Iraq in 2003. It is not bad.

    4. Where are the 112 Tanks from? I count only 56/58 from the main Reaction Forice

    5. The Reaction Force has 3 brigades, each with a Type 56 regiment. In total the army is retaining some 227 tanks, more than Germany which cut down to 225.

      In a major crisis, deploying two brigades from the Reaction force plus PARAs and Commandos would be the first option, so around 112 tanks could well go.

  12. Gabriele, as ever your articles and comment are based on fact and give food for thought. I believe that many years ago the Bootnecks had "combat engineers" within their own ranks. Perhaps this may be a new or reintroduced? additional qualification for some (if 24 Cdo Regt does not revert to 59 Independent Cdo Squadron). We have seen this sort of change before (particularly when 16 Parachute Bde was supposedly done away with). I have also found it interesting that 3 Cdo Bde has stood up 30 IX Cdo and now stood up Fleet Protection Group as 43 Cdo. Could this be an indicator of 1 Rifles leaving the Brigade? I have found that usually 3 Cdo Bde reforms in a way that the Army adopts/modifies for itself ..... BRF for instance. As you indicate we still need lots of info on equipment and who gets what.

    1. There have long been calls for giving each Commando group a 110-or-so strong Assault Engineer squadron, which indeed i think was once, years and years ago, the case.

      Since the 3 Commando battlegroups enter readiness on rotation, it sure would greatly help if they each had their engineer element as well.
      Problem is the money, as always, but i hope the Royal Marines try to bring this plan forwards in the next future.

      As to 1st Rifles leaving the brigade... well, that's my gut feeling. But for now it is a suspect, not at all a certainty.

      For the rest, thank you! Glad my posts are of help.

  13. Gabbie
    Good blog.

    There are rumours on arsse that 3RHA will re-role to GMLRS when 39RA goes. Not confirmed though.

    Overall I'm finding army2020 an odd mish-mash between units formed for the 5 MRB structure sitting alongside the new structure of reaction/adaptable forces. I think those units created for the 5 MRBs (i.e. the signal regiments) now no longer really fit, and will be changed once again after some time has passed to better fit the new structure. I also don't expect to see other MRB designed units, such as the proposed 5 artillery regiments with a mixture of AS90/L118 as these also no longer really fit.

    1. Thank you for the comment, and for letting me know of that rumour. I'll try and look into it later.

      As to the mish-mash, i wouldn't say so. I believe that the Army would have 5 MRBs, had it been free to cut what it wanted, regardless of capbadges, to fit into the manpower target.

      But the new structure does not mean that the 5 Signals or Artillery regiments no longer make sense.

      The assumption is still that the Army must be able to keep a brigade deployed on an enduring operation.
      To do so within current Harmony Guidelines, you need 5 men for keeping one deployed all the time.
      5 men, or five formations.

      That's why having 5 standardized engineer, artillery and signals regiments still make perfect sense, even in the new structure. They are the most the army can get, and the number the army needs to meet the SDSR targets.

      IF there were resources, the Armored Brigades would have each one large regiment on AS90 and the others would all have a regiment on L118, but there are no resources for this.
      So the army must try and save 5 "general service" formations in each enabler type, so it can face the need for enduring operations.

      That's the problem with making 3RHA a GMLRS unit: the Artillery would no longer have the necessary 5 "general service" Fires regiments.
      The GMLRS situation is one to keep under real observation.

    2. Hum...maybe.

      I think the new structure has been formed in order to discourage enduring operations. My speculation is that the army originally intended to go down the 5 MRB route, but were told at a late date by the government that this was not required. This would explain why the adaptable/reaction forces structure came out of nowhere at the last moment.

      If I'm right, having enough units to fit the harmony guidelines no longer applies and we can expect to see changes to this.

      Just my theorising.


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