Thursday, March 7, 2013

The basing announcement

Here you can download the documents from the MOD with the Army basing plan. 

I've put together a map visualizing the laydown of the major Headquarters as announced:

In the end, it seems the Army decided to go ahead with the retention/creation of brigades meant to group up the combat support elements. All 21 announced brigade HQs figure in the basing plan, including the new 1st Intelligence and Surveillance Brigade and 1st Military Police brigade, the first based in Tidworth and the latter to stand up in Andover. The Engineer brigade is also going to stay. It is still to be seen how this will effectively impact the assignment of the artillery and engineer regiments, since despite the announced "centralisation" under the relative specialist brigades, the formations have been physically distributed in a way that suits the daily training and work within the relevant manoeuvre brigades. In fact, the 3 artillery regiments for the reaction force will be reunited in Larkhill, alongside the UAS regiments (32 and 47), while the Adaptable artillery regiments remain one in Topcliffe (4 Royal Artillery) and one in Abemarle barracks, near Newcastle (3 Royal Horse Artillery).
For the engineers, the approach is roughly the same, with the Reaction formations at Perham Down and the Adaptable regiments in Catterick.   

I was proven right on the disappearing regional brigades, with only one surprise: the South-East is now assigned to 11 Infantry Brigade, a new HQ identity coming from the "merge" of 145 and 2 Regional Brigades.
In my graphic i had shown 20 Brigade going to the Cottersmore area (HQ in Chilwell, to be precise) and the Desert Rats going to Salisbury. It was a 50/50 chance to be right, but i was wrong: rather surprisingly, in my opinion, the Army chose to remove the heavy armor from the 7th Brigade, despite it being worldwide-known for its historical armored role and exploits.
I'm sure the army has reasons for this choice, but it did surprise me, it saddens me, and it allowed the press to make a lot of noise ever since the announcement came out. Inevitable, really: the Desert Rats losing their heavy metal was inexorably going to be a loud thing.

So, the new ORBAT as announced includes the following Divisions and Brigades:

3rd (UK) Division, Bulford

1st Armoured Brigade, Tidworth

12th Armoured Brigade, Bulford 

20th Armoured Brigade, Bulford

               16th Air Assault Brigade, Colchester

The Adaptable Force should all come under the command of 1st Division HQ:

 1st (UK) Division, York


7th Infantry brigade, Chilwell

4th Infantry Brigade, Catterick

11th Infantry Brigade, Aldershot

160th Infantry Brigade, Brecon


42th Infantry Brigade, Preston


 51th Infantry Brigade, Edinburgh 


38th Infantry Brigade, Lisburn

There are two other Division-level headquarters of not very clear usefulness: 

HQ UK Support Command (2-star), Aldershot

London District (2-star), London

And then the Force Troops element:


HQ Force Troops (2-star), Upavon 


101th Logistic Brigade, Aldershot

102th Logistic Brigade, Grantham 

104th Logistic Brigade, South Cerney

11th Signal Brigade, Donnington

1st Signal Brigade, Innsworth


1st Artillery Brigade, Tidworth

Badge not yet known - 1st Intelligence and Surveillance Brigade, Upavon

Badge not yet known - 1st Military Police Brigade, Andover

8th Engineer Brigade, Minley


2nd Medical Brigade, Strensall 

Below is a map of the Salisbury Plain area, with the Army 2020 units listed out for location.

Here is a map of the East region, controlled by 7th Infantry Brigade, with HQ in Chilwell.

Scotland is controlled by the HQ 51st Infantry Brigade, in Edinburgh.

North East, responsibility of 4th Infantry Brigade, in Catterick.

The Home Counties include the Aldershot super garrison.

Aldershot is the base for some elements of the Reaction Force, such as 4th Armoured Medical Regiment. Although for now it is unconfirmed, i suspect the 3 infantry battalions to be based in Aldershot (4 RIFLES and a couple of Guards battalions on rotation) will be the ones roled as Mechanised Infantry in the Reaction Force.
Windsor remains the home of the Household Cavalry Regiment, expected to be mounted on FRES Scout to serve as a reconnaissance regiment in the Reaction Force.
Guards battalions will also rotate into the barracks at Pirbright and Windsor.
In Andover, the Army is standing up the HQ of the newly-created 1st Military Police Brigade, which will assume control over all RMP elements. These will comprise:

three identically structured RMP Regiments (1st, 3rd and 4th Regiments) fully integrated to maximise the utility of the Provost Reserves with fewer, but larger and more capable Regular and Reserve Provost Companies and larger Regimental Headquarters;

an integrated RMP Special Investigation Branch Regiment with a small RMP SIB Reserve element and with a new deployable capability to meet the requirement of contingency;

a new RMP Specialist Operations Unit, which groups existing, but disparate, specialised capabilities (the Service Police Crime Bureau (SPCB), the Close Protection Unit (CPU) and the Operational Support Unit (OSU)), and allows for the appropriate depth of command so that the delivery of scarce and highly skilled niche specialist capabilities, such as Cyber-Crime and covert policing, can be better managed while also interacting in the national policing landscape at home.

The military provost staff (MPS) will see its Regular capability growing to number 191 personnel (up from 106 personnel) and will have an enduring Reserve component.
In future Tier-1 Service Custody Facilities (SCF) in Garrisons will be manned by MPS, along with the Tier-2 The Military Corrective Training Centre (MCTC). The aim is to  professionalise and optimise Firm Base custody thereby increasing surety.
The enlarged MPS will be better able to meet future contingency capability by drawing across the whole MPS structure to deploy personnel to man Tier-3 Operational Facilities.

The Military Provost Guard Service (MPGS)  of the future will have its structure changed somewhat as it'll need to adapt to the changing disposition of the army, as a number of Military sites are closed, security levels are reviewed and other bases are expanded. 

I've also prepared a map of the South-West and Cornwall. Included on the map are the bases of the Royal Marines and the two defence colleges at Lyneham and Worthy Down.

Worthy Down is due to become the tri-service school for catering and logistics/administration under Project Wellesley. It all began with Project Kestrel, the planned relocation of the Royal Logistic Corps headquarters and Phase 2 training from Deepcut (which will be disposed of), but it expanded to include the relocation of RAF and RN elements: the RAF Catering training moved to Worthy Down before 2012 came to an end, and RAF Administration training followed. RAF Logistics training will also move in, from RAF Halton, and the Royal Navy will relocate its own logistics training from HMS Raleigh in the coming years. 
The space freed at HMS Raleigh was at one point expected to be used to allow the relocation of 45 Commando battalion from Arbroath, but, as of Army 2020 plan, the idea of moving the commandos south has been abandoned. Honestly, i expect the idea to resurrect in the future, though. 

Lyneham will be the tri-service technical training centre, while Bovington is a fundamental training ground for vehicle fleets. The Royal Marines are getting a purpose-built facility in Bovington to support their training with the Viking armored vehicles of the Armoured Support Group, which is based in Yeovilton. 

Bicester, Abingdon and Hullavington host the logistic support units for two of the 3 armoured infantry brigades. Each Reaction Brigade will in fact be supported by a Close Support Regiment RLC and a Theatre Support Regiment RLC. The third logistic element is based in Aldershot. The pairings would appear to be: 

3 Close Support Regiment RLC
10 Queen's Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment  [will be configured as Theatre Support Regiment] 

4 Close Support Regiment RLC
27 Theatre Support Regiment RLC 

Bicester - Hullavington 
1 Close Support Regiment RLC 
9 Theatre Support Regiment RLC 

There is no certainty at the moment on how these pairs will be assigned and managed. They could either be assigned directly to the reaction brigades or be assigned to the centralised control of 101 Logistic Brigade. 
The two Force Support RLC regiments will be assigned one to each logistic brigade, with (possibly) 7 Regt in 101 Brigade and 6 Regt in 102 Brigade, considering that the 7th, being based in Cottersmore, is much closer to the reaction force than the 6th, to be based in Dishforth on return from Germany. The Force Support regiments are described as "a fusion of Supply and Transportation from point of entry to foxhole for the entire force".
The Reaction Force is also expected to be supported by three Transport Regiments of the RLC Reserve component, one per each brigade, but we'll have to wait for the Reserves plan in order to get the details.  

Bicester is also the home and training centre for the newly created Defence EOD, Munitions and Search (DEMS) Training Regiment. It is part of the DEMS School (DEMSS) which also includes the RLC training school for ammunition technicians, based just 30 km away, at Kineton.
The DEMS Training Regiment brings together EOD and Search expertise from all three services, and centralizes the DEMSS infrastructure around Bicester and Kineton, allowing the closure of older facilities at Lodge Hill.

In the map you can also see that 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines is based in Devonport, along with 10 Landing Craft Training Squadron. This is because i'm accounting for their planned move from Poole to the newbuilt facility on Weston Mill Lake.       

London will continue to have its own 2-star HQ, the London District. 
The units based within London are those on Public Duty: at any one time, two battalions of Guards and one battalion of line infantry are busy in the role. The two Guards battalions on public duty are stationed one in Windsor and one in Hounslow, while the line infantry battalion moves into Woolwich. 

Wellington Barracks is the permanent home of the three Guards incremental companies, while Woolwich also hosts The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery. 
The Basing Plan published by the MOD, contains two paragraphs that are incomplete. A lot of text is missing, and this means we do not know the details of the army unit moves rotations. 
The Guards will move regularly between Aldershot (Mons and Keogh barracks), Pirbright, Windsor and Hounslow, but it is not clear how many years will pass between a move and another. As a consequence, currently it is unclear who will fullfil the role of Mechanised Infantry for the three reaction brigades: Aldershot is arguably the best location in which to base them, since there is no space on the Salisbury Plain. And according to the basing plan, there are exactly 3 battalions home-based in Aldershot. One is 4 Rifles, which was indicated time ago for the Mechanised role, but the other two battalions are Guards. Could they serve in the Mechanised Role between a Public Duty tour and another? It might be, if the turnation gives them a full three years to spend assigned to a deployable brigade, enabling them to fit into the Operational Readiness Mechanism, which is based on a 36 months cycle. In this way they could train with the Reaction Brigade and then serve in its ORBAT for its year at readiness, before moving on to Public Duty

Unit Moves will be the norm for the King's and Queen's divisions, too. Once more, the paragraph on the official document is incomplete (a mistake that i expected would quickly be spotted and corrected, but that instead seems not to concern anyone...). For the Queen's Division, the battalions to rotate will be 2nd PWRR, 1st and 2nd Royal Anglian. 
For the King's Division, i'm assuming (the relevant text was lost...) that the rotating battalions will be 2nd Yorks, 1st and 2nd LANCS. 
These battalions will rotate into Cyprus (2 battalions, every 3 years) and Woolwich (1 battalion, every 2 or 3? years). 
Lastly, the two Gurkha battalions will rotate between Shorncliffe and Brunei every 3 years.       

The South-East has the Royal Gurkha Rifles battalion in Shorncliffe and one of the two Force Support regiments of the Royal Engineers (the other being 39 Engineer Regiment, in Kinloss). Currently in the high-assurance Search role in support of the anti-IED campaign in Afghanistan, 36 Engineer will return to its broad range of engineer capabilities afterwards, in support of the wider army. My personal hope/belief is that the regiment will inherit equipment such as the M3 rigs of the disbanded 28 Engineer and the TALISMAN route-clearance kit used in Afghanistan. 

In the West, the "home of the Signals" is taking shape, with full steam ahead for Project BORONA, the relocation of a further two Signal Regiments to Stafford, where 22 Signal Regiment is already based. The 143rd Regional Brigade, which used to control this region, will vanish, replaced by a Regional Point of Contact (West) in the HQ of 11th Signal Brigade, in Donnington. The ARRC and its support elements remain in Innsworth. 

In Wales, the 160th Infantry Brigade is confirmed and stays with its HQ in Brecon. 14 Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare) transfers to St Athan. 

The North-West remains under the control of 42nd Infantry Brigade, with HQ in Preston, while Northern Ireland is under the command of 38th Infantry Brigade, in Lisburn. 5th Regiment Army Air Corps will continue to fly from Aldergrove, with its HQ located in Belfast.


  1. Daniele MandelliMarch 7, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    So it begins...

    Thanks you for these updated articles.

    Do we know which 2 Brigades in the adaptable force will be the deployable ones?

    Strange that they are using 3rd Division rather than 1st as the main warfighting formation.

    1. The 3 "deployable" adaptable brigades (which actually serve as skeletons to ensure the generation of two deployable brigades) are, in the words of army generals, the Cottersmore-area one, the Catterick-area one, and the Scottish-based one.

      So, 51, 7 and 4 brigades.

    2. Daniele MandelliMarch 7, 2013 at 7:15 PM

      Thank you.

      At least the famous 51st Highland and 7th Armoured live on in a deployable format.

      No more info on the units forming the Intelligence Brigade?

      Agree with your conclusions over the months that this should contain the UAV Regiments, the 5th Regiment RA, 14 Signal Regiment, and the Intelligence Battalions. I would like to see 5th Regiment AAC expanded and also added to this as it was said this would be the armies " Manned Airborne Surveillance Capability "

      As for the concentration of units in the Salisbury area, I am surprised they did not use Lyneham. Lots of space, hangerage, and a nice runway that could be kept useable for deploying overseas from.

      Thanks again for all the updates.

    3. Lyneham is due to become the Defence Technical Training Centre, so it is going to be well used all the same.
      Logistics training for all three the services is due to be similarly centralized, in Whorty Down, while significant effort is being made to bring tri-service intelligence capability into Digby and the Military Stabilisation Support Group into Hermitage.

      As for official news regarding the Intelligence brigade, nothing new.

    4. Daniele MandelliMarch 7, 2013 at 7:32 PM

      Yes, I'm aware of that, just do not agree with it. I would choose Cosford. Centrally located, with a railway station, and technical facilities on site already.

      I assumed Hermitage would close, so was surprised to see 15 Psy Ops moving there from Chicksands.

      I was not aware of other units going to Digby, which is already a major Sigint site. Do you not mean Wyton and Pride?

    5. Yes, the big moves yet to come are under Project Pride, to Wyton.

  2. Hi Gabriele,

    Thanks for putting that together.

    How about adding the units to the brigade badges under there command?


    1. I'd do that gladly, but it would only be a guess, until an official announcement is made regarding the subordination of units to the various brigades.

    2. Gabriele,

      Your Guess's are pretty good!


  3. There are still annoucements to be made on the training areas. There will be no surprises that Salisbury Plain is going to be fully used (too full?) but the Catterick based units will have to start using Otterburn more (that's OK for Inf and Arty but unsuitable for WR/FRES), they could even use Kirkcudbright and the neighbouring Galloway Forest / West Freugh areas which are still closer to them than Salisbury Plain - might even bring some more jobs to a high unemployment area of SW Scotland.

  4. It's a bit weird that the 3rd and not the 1st is going to the reaction division.

    I would have liked to have seen a few more of the old regional brigade numbers retained, but apart from that it all seems quite reasonable.

    Glad the desert rats are being retained, with or without any tanks!


    The Queen’s Dragoon Guards are a brigade reconnaissance regiment based in Sennelager, Germany, and are part of 20th Armoured Brigade.

    They are due to rerole to ‘Light Cavalry’ and move to Swanton Morley in Norfolk as part of the Army 2020 restructuring exercise.

    Does this mean they will be shifted to the Jackal or the CVRT/FRES?

    1. They will get Jackal. Same for the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in Leuchars. The third Light Cavalry regiment should be the Light Dragoons, according to the last info i heard.

      FRES Scout is supposed to go to the Household Cavalry, to the Royal Dragoon Guards and the Royal Lancers.

    2. Can you give me the source for your "last info"?


    3. It's the rumor circling in the Royal Armoured Corps serving community. They were well informed when they predicted the coversion to Light Cavalry of the RSDG and their basing in Leuchars, so i think it is a voice that can be trusted.

  6. Hi Gabriele,

    How will having 11 battalions rotating effect things?
    I think it took about 2 to 3 months to move from Catterick to Cyprus in my day. I am no time and motion expert but having at least 10 battalions on unit moves every 3 years must have an effect on the number of battalions available and must also have a cost to the Army. Not forgetting the Falklands unit tour aswell.


    1. I don't think it will be a problem. The number/complexity of unit moves in Army 2020 should go down compared to now.
      As for availability of the battalions, it all depends on how easy it will be to take at least one of the battalions in Cyprus and deploy it on operation.
      That leaves two Guards and one Line Infantry battalions based in London on their Public Duty turn. If i understand right, the Falklands infantry company will come out of the Public Duty battalions.

  7. hi gabbie, great work as usual.

    two questions for you:

    1. what units comprise the Military Stabilisation & Support Group (MSSG), and do they sit in the AF or the Force troops?

    2. are there still three regular light cav formations in the AF, and where are they located phsically and army structure wise?


    1. The Military Stabilisation Group is part of Force Troops. I don't know if it will physically include any particular formation, but it will certainly work closely with the co-located units at Hermitage, such as the Psyops group and the Defence Cultural Specialist Unit.

      The regular light cavalry regiments in the Adaptable Force are:

      Queen's Dragoon Guards, in Swanton Morley - 7th Brigade

      Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, in Leuchars - 51th Brigade

      The third regiment is expected to be the Light Dragoons, in Catterick - 4th Brigade

    2. There is still technically a possibility that the Light Dragoons get FRES Scout and not Jackal, but the substance does not really change: one of the three Catterick-based cavalry regiments will be Light, mounted on Jackal, and assigned to 4th Brigade.

    3. Cheers gabbie.

      These arethe three large af brigades designed to partner with rf brigades I presume, and not the lighter after brigades intended to be regional partners?

    4. That's correct. 4th, 7th and 51st are the brigades meant to serve as "skeletons" for the generation of the two missing "multi-role" brigades needed to sustain an enduring deployment abroad.

  8. Excellent post Gabriele!
    Agree about the Desert Rats, and waiting for the western brigades and the assignment of the remaining battalions.

    Talking about cavalry, is this correct?
    - 1st: Tank Regiment (Armoured), Royal Lancers (Heavy Recce)
    - 12th: King's Hussars (A), Dragoon Guards (HR)
    - 20th: Queen's Hussars (A), Household Cavalry (HR)

    - 4th: Light Dragoons (Light Recce), Queen's Own Yeomanry (LR)
    - 7th: Queen's Dragoons (LR), Mercian & Lancastrian Y. (LR)
    - 51st: Scots Dragoons (LR)
    - 11th: Household Mounted Regiment

    Wich brigade will Royal Wessex Y. (Tanks crew replacement) be assigned to? 1st, 12th or 20th?

    1. It's a good guess, but i don't think it is official yet which tank regiment goes to which brigade. The Light Cavalry regiments are much easier to assign, as we are told which brigades are to have their cavalry element, and the geography gives the answer.

      The assignment of the reserve cavalry regiments will be mostly determined by geography, although as you know and show in your post, they will be paired to the regular light cavalry regiments.

    2. So will the 51st brigade have an aditional Yeomanry regiment as replacement of the Royal Scots Dragoons Guard?

      You didn't answer me about Royal Wessex. Will it be assigned to any of the armoured brigades?

    3. All three the regular Light Cavalry regiments are expected to pair up with a reserve cavalry regiment. But this does not mean that the reserve regiment will figure in the ORBAT of the same brigade.

      I'll make an example without much thinking: the RSDG could be paired to the Queen's Own Yeomanry, but while the RSDG is part of 51st Brigade, the QOW could end up being part of the ORBAT of the 42nd brigade.

      As for the Tank Crew reserve regiment, i don't think it'll feature in the ORBAT of any of the three armoured brigades. It used to be part of the 43rd regional brigade, which does not exist anymore under Army 2020.
      It might just report to the Regional Point of Contact established in the 1st Artillery Brigade HQ, or perhaps be formally attached to 11th Infantry brigade.

    4. Could it be possible some Infantry/Cavalry regulars/reserve units reporting to other brigades than the Infantry ones, like Artillery or Signals?

    5. The way i understand it, it is very likely. A number of the current regional brigades have been replaced by Regional Point of Contact offices within the headquarters of other brigades, including 1st Artillery Bde and 11th Signal Bde.
      The units within the region, as a consequence, might well report to the Artillery/Signal brigade.

  9. That makes no sense.
    In the same way, the three self-propelled Artillery regiments could report to the armoured brigades, because their garrisons are in Salisbury, not in Cornualles...

    1. Well, if it was for me, they would. I'm a believer in the "complete" brigade. Which has to have its own artillery regiment.

      Instead, it seems likely all artillery regiments will report to 1st Artillery Brigade (HQ in Tidworth), but train with the manoeuvre brigades, and deploy with them in the field, obviously, while 1st Artillery Brigade HQ is not even deployable.
      That's why i would have removed the artillery brigade altogether, but that's another matter. I guess the army needed some 1-star posts, otherwise it would have to further reduce the number of Brigadiers, and of course that is a no-no...

      It does make sense, as the british army has always assigned a number of regular and all of the reserve units on the basis of their geographic position. This is unlikely to change, and where the region no longer reports to a Regional Brigade HQ but to a RPoC, the units could be administrated by a Signal or Artillery HQ.
      They would be assigned to a Manoeuvre brigade for deployment.

  10. Do we know the full list of foxhound battalions?

    1. The full list, no.
      But 3 of the 6 battalions should be

      3 SCOTS
      3 RIFLES
      1 LANCS

      I'd place a little bet on 4 SCOTS too.

  11. Gaby

    You have probably mentioned this before, in which case I apologize for bringing the subject up.

    With all the re-arrangement of armoured units taking place (into Armour, Armoured Cavalry, Light Cavalry, etc.), is there any possibility of one unit of light cavalry being made available as a dedicated force to support rapid reaction formations such as 16 AA Bde and 3 Commando Bde?

    I was hoping that something like the Household Cavalry Regiment mounted on Scimitars (and other CVR(T)s) could be retained as a dedicated armoured support unit for such formations. CVR(T)s rather than Jackals because they have better armament (30mm cannon), tracks rather than wheels, which enables them to tackle more types of terrain efficiently, and, importantly, because there are about 60 Scimitar 2s available and they are almost new vehicles which will last a considerable time.

    1. I don't think the Army has the money to spare for that enterprise. The Commandos have their own Jackals and Vikings, and their Brigade Recce Force, part of 30 Commando IX.

      For the PARAs, things are a fair bit more complex, since they used to get support from a squadron of the Household Cavalry. I don't know what they can hope for, in the future.

      My suggestion? Rise a unit like 30 Commando IX for the PARAs.
      One Brigade Recce Force with Jackals/Foxhounds (which can be para-dropped on platforms), the signals element (which now is the stand-alone 216 sqn), one air defence troop of Starstreak LMM, all this kind of supports that 16AA brigade in some cases no longer has, following the multiple restructurings of the Army.

  12. Gaby

    Seems like a good suggestion. Thanks. It does seem rather feckless to deploy a rapid deployment force like 16 AA Bde without adequate and integrated air defence.

    1. Until not too long ago it used to call on the services of 21 (Gibraltar) battery, 47 Regiment royal artillery. But the battery, and indeed the regiment, became a UAV formation, as we know.

      One thing i do not like of Army 2020 is that, despite the focus on them in words, in the facts it has weakened both of the high readiness brigades, damaging 16AA and 3rd Commando both. I sure would have wanted to do things differently.

  13. Two more Questions:

    1) Why is the RM Armoured Support Group stationed away from 539 assault?

    2) Will they still use the Panter vehicle or just only Foxhound, Jackal and Mastiff?

    1. 1) Because evidently they thought Yeovilton better served the cause and/or only Yeovilton had the space needed.

      2) Panther was indicated among the vehicles that stay in service. It will mostly revert to its indended role of command and liaison vehicle, but it will also be part of the Light Cavalry regiments, possibly helping with long-range surveillance (with the remote turret camera and, perhaps in the future, with mast-mounted sensor such as the JANUS EO/IR turret used by the italian army on the same vehicle for the same role, while the Jackal does the "get close to the enemy and fix it" sort of thing.

  14. Only 4 regiments of the Air Corps remaining? What will happen to 2, 7, and 9th Regiment?

  15. 2 is the training regiment and should remain.

    7 has long since been cut.

    9 will merge with No 1 Regiment, that has been well covered here by Gabriele.

    There is also No 6 Regiment but that has no helicopters of its own.

    1. Actually, both 2nd and 7th are Training regiments, with 7th being the regiment grouping up the OCU squadrons, including the Apache one.

      6 Regiment AAC is the reserve element, has two squadrons and should gain a third one, but it's not covered here since this article is solely about Frontline Regular units.
      Training formations (such as 2 and 7 regiment AAC, 14 regiment Royal Artillery and so along) are not mentioned here, as aren't on the Army document.

      I also did not try to map out the new Reserve formations, since the White Paper is still being written.

      1st and 9th Regiments are to merge and be based in Yeovilton, to fly the Wildcat.

    2. I am kinda newbie when comes to british military affairs. So help me out plz. Typically how many aircrafts or choopers are possessed by each Air Corps regiment?

    3. Normally it is 8 Apache / Lynx helicopters per squadron, with three squadrons in each Regiment.

      3 and 4 Regiments have each three squadrons of Apache, with 8 helicopters each.

      9 Regiment has 3 squadrons on Lynx helicopters, and 1st Regiment has two squadrons.

    4. Ok. I got it. British Army Air regiment is roughly the size of American Army aviation battalion. The squadron is in line with American aviation company. Thanks for the explanation. Your posts and replies are very detailed and informative. Probably the best defense topic blog I ever visted. Keep the good work.

    5. Thank you, i'm always glad when i can supply good info.

  16. Have some more information on the role of various infantry battalions. According to a recent newsletter from the Major General London, the five guards battalions will have the following roles- one heavy protected in Reaction Force, one light protected and one light role in the Adaptive Force; and two on public duties in London. Compare this with the basing plan, I suggest that the battalion roles are -
    1 Scots Guards heavy protected Aldershot
    1 Grenadier Guards, light protected Aldeshot
    1 Welsh Guards, light role Pirbright
    1 Coldstream Guards, public duties Windsor
    1 Irish Guards public duties Hounslow
    The three light battalions will rotate every three years, and the two protected battalions every six years.

    Note how muchj of the Reaction Force has been retained at Catterick- RDG, RL and 4 Scots.

    Reagrding the six light protected mobile batalions I can list four- 1 G Gds, 3 Scots, 1 Lancs, 3 Rifles. Prime candidates for the other two-by process of elimination are either 2 Royal Anglian, 2 Mercian or 1 Royal Irish-would welcome confirmation.

    1. That is... weird. 4 SCOTS in Catterick is in the wrong place, and a Light Protected Mobility battalion in Aldershot is almost as much out of place...

      In addition, the rotation on two different time schedules of the guards battalions sound even more weird. I'm horrible with math... is it possible for them to rotate in a way to always sustain two battalions in public duty with this mechanism?

      As for the Light Protected Mobility battalions, i'd place my bet on the 2 Royal Anglian for sure. The other might be 2nd Mercian, but it's only a guess.

      Thank you for the heads up though. Is the newsletter available somewhere you can link me to? I'd like to read it, if possible.

    2. 4 Scots at Catterick may seem odd but RDG and RL remain at Catterick as RF. General Wall indicated that one Scots bn would be RF. As the other three -1Scots at Belfast [very strange and contorversial], 2 Scots at Edinburgh and 3 Scots at Fort George are obviously AF, the 4 Scots must be the HPM Bn.

    3. Nope this is all wrong

    4. It was in the Scottish regiment newsletter too, some time ago: 3 Scots on Foxhound as Light Protected Mobility, and 4 Scots in the Reaction Force, on Mastiff.

      And i do know that the cavalry regiments are up in Catterick. Still, it sounds weird to me, and i would have greatly preferred to have the 3 mechanised infantry battalions all in Aldershot.

  17. Are the air defence artillery (12th and 16th) under the 1st Artillery Brigade or under Support Command.

    1. They sit under a RAF/Army command called Joint Ground Based Air Defence. For what i understand it is RAF-heavy and getting RAF-heavier. I think the offices are in High Wycombe.

      As a consequence, it kinds of sits under neither of the two.

    2. Correct Gabriel. JGBAD Environment is indeed based at High Wycombe, very small as you say.

  18. I am just curious. How come there is no medimum and/or upper-tier air defense systems employed by the UK military? As far as I can tell, both RAF and Royal Artillery are equipped with short range air defense only, lacking any capability against high flying fast jet and ballistic missile.

    1. That will improve somewhat with the FLAADS system replacing Rapier. But i guess the Army has no intest in investing big money on air defence: the assumption is that the RAF will guard the sky above deployed forces, leaving the army to defend itself mostly from low-flying raiders.

      There is a somewhat renewed interest in air defence for the future, under NEADS, with a focus on C-RAM and anti-UAV defence.

    2. Still it seems odd to me. Both Germany and Dutch have American made Patriot/PAC-3. Italy and France are collaborating on SAMP/T which is more or less equal to American's terminal phase defense systems such as PAC-3 or Thaad. Italy, Germany and US are also working on a tri-national project called Meads. But no any development effort comes from UK. You would think as Europe's strongest military power they would come up with something similar.

  19. Replies
    1. Just a few snippets 160th Welsh has only one regular battalion.

    2. No surprise really, why would it need more?

      4th, 7th and 51st Brigades are the ones who's ORBAT is of most interest to me.

    3. 51st Infantry will be the strongest of all the Adaptable Force Brigades.

    4. I would love that, given the history of 51st Highland Division.

    5. Well that wasn't such a friendly tone.

      4th Brigade won't a be a full brigade of regular units. So there.

    6. Eh??? What did I say in hoping 51st is a powerful brigade that was not friendly???

    7. And no it's not going to be these three brigades. At best 7th and 51st only. Guesses are not exactly right.

    8. Jeneral28, the three adaptable brigades to be used as base for the creation of two deployable ones have been identified by general Peter Wall and general Nick Carter both. It is not my guess, they have announced it in public speeches, of which videos exists, that i've included in earlier articles on Army 2020.

      We do not yet know exactly how the infantry battalions get subordinated to the various brigade HQs. Even if the three "deployable" brigades do not directly have a minimum of 3 regular infantry battalions under command, it does not mean anything: they are going to pick the battalions needed from the rest of the Adaptable force. The Army 2020 document is quite clear on this.

      The fact that you and someone else have drawn an ORBAT table on Wikipedia does not mean you know what is going to happen, unless you somehow had access to more recent official documents. If this is the case, share what you can, otherwise stop it, because i'm definitely sticking to what i heard from the chief of the Army and from the one general that leaded the Army 2020 efforts. I think they should know what they have been doing, thank you. With all due respect, you have been disputing the news i've reported, all the time, including on the fate of SCOTS DG, only to be proven wrong again and again.

      And while i'm at it, i'll point out another evident mistake or two in that ORBAT table: the guards battalion in the Heavy Protected Mobility role has been announced as the Scots Guards, not the Welsh Guards.
      And the Royal Yeomanry regiment of the TA is no longer involved in CBRN duties, which have moved entirely in the hands of the RAF Regiment and affiliated Reserve squadrons of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. The TA is going to have 4 Cavalry regiments, three in Light Cavalry role and 1 in Challenger 2 crew replacement role.

      Also, if my eyes do not trick me, 1st LANCS does not even figure in that ORBAT table. If i was in you, i'd be very careful in taking that table as Truth gifted from the Heavens.

    9. Ok I really do have the full ORBAT unfortunately not from an MOD source. And it shows the three brigades you mentioned not having full regular army strength except for maybe 51st. You don't have a monopoly over info and neither do I.

    10. And I wish you put inline citations on the " i'm definitely sticking to what i heard from the chief of the Army and from the one general that leaded the Army 2020 efforts." instead of repeating that you have heard.

      And on another point, study IR. International Security is not just conducted through hard power not soft power.

    11. Yeah, i know you like international aid. I do not. Not as much as you, not as is done now.

      As for the citation, go here and watch the goddamn video. That is general Nick Carter, the one who put Army 2020 together, and he says (don't ask me at which minute though) that the 3 relevant adaptable brigades are based one in Scotland, one in Catterick and one around the Cottersmore area.
      Not so hard.

      And here the list of the distribution of the roles of the Reserves:

      Here the links to the various articles on Army 2020, they all contain indications of the official sources for the information.

      That's it, like it or not.

  20. Have attempted to work out the rotation of guards battalions and of Cyprus battalions. It seems as if the guards rotation will be as follows-
    Role Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
    HPM Bn 1SG 1SG 1CG
    LPM Bn 1GG 1GG 1WG
    LR Bn 1WG 1CG 1IG
    PD Bn 1CG 1WG 1GG
    PD Bn 1IG 1IG 1SG

    The Cyprus rotation could look like this-
    Base Year1 Year3 Year3
    Dhekelia 2PWRR 1PWRR 2RAnglian
    Woolwich 1PWRR 2PWRR 2PWRR
    Cottesmore 2RAnglian 2RAnglian 1PWRR

    Episkopi 2Yorks 2Lancs 1Lancs
    Weeton 2Lancs 2Yorks 2Yorks
    Catterick 1Lancs 1Lancs 2Lancs


  21. Well, from what information Gabriele has provided for us here 4th, 7th and 51st are the main brigades of the adaptable force, to make 2 deployable ones, so I'm happy to go with that.

    1. Sorry, this should be in thread above.

    2. That's his info. My info with the final ORBAT shows that many of these three brigades won't have full regular army strength and will have to wait to see the TA plan if it works.

      No one has a monopoly over information btw.

    3. Of course not. But for someone like me who's hobby is knowledge and interest in the UK military then there is more information of interest here in Gabriele's blog than in other sites, in my opinion.

      I have not read the Wikipedia ORBAT, but I'm happy to. I read Gabriele has found fault with it. Will have a look.

      And I thought it was well understood that the adaptable force would be augmented by TA units, so no problem with that.

    4. I think Jeneral refers to this ORBAT, at the bottom of the page:

      Not a bad work, and a commendable effort, but i think there are errors, and it should be taken with a grain of salt.

    5. I have just had a quick scan of it, it looks pretty good actually. There will always be errors in everything unofficial. Will read it in detail later.

      I would hope that 5th Regiment RA would go to the the Intelligence Brigade, rather than the 1st.

      We really need an announcement on the TA units to get a better picture.

      All this restructuring is causing chaos with my data base, it keeps changing!

      Damn government. Cut foreign aid and give it to HM forces!

  22. @Daniele Mandelli

    "Cut foreign aid and give it to HM forces!"

    Agree absolutely.

  23. Hi Gabriele,

    Hearing some rumours about the PARA's getting a make over?

    Have you heard anything?


    1. You mean the noise regarding the "abandon" of parachute training, or something else?

    2. Yes, and official roll as Helicopter assault troops?


    3. Parachute training is not being abandoned, but downscaled. The official position is that the lead airborne battlegroup will have only one company parachute ready. The others will only be capable of aviation/helicopter assault. It is not an absurd proposition overall.

      Besides, the PARA in Army 2020 don't sound like they are getting a bad deal. The establishment of a PARA battalion is put at 660 men by official figures, and that beats the 634-strong ORBAT that was around until the labour SDR came. The airmobile infantry battalion of the 90s had 680-strong establishment, while i don't have accurate figures for the Air Assault (Parachute) establishment that is in use now and should date back to the 1998 SDR, roughly. I read somewhere 582 men, but i'm not sure it is correct.

      660 is a good figure, though. It's the Light Role infantry that gets shafted, not the PARAs.
      Light Role used to be 605-strong, and now the plan is for just 561...

    4. Hi Gabriele,

      Thanks for that. But as there are only two battle groups, 2 and 3 PARA, in 16 AA, that's only a best strength of 1320.
      With it seems 1 PARA to be reduced to 1 Company, the number of PARA's about will be few and far between.
      Of course there seems to be no problem in deploying in brigade strength manpower on public duties.


    5. I refuse to believe in the reports of such reductions to the SFSG, personally. And i really do not think it is official yet, while it has already been reported that other suggestions, such as cutting a SBS squadron, have been rejected.

      16AA brigade is also going to have 4 PARA, which should be able to contribute some after the reserves restructuring.
      Of course, i do believe that a third regular battalion in the brigade is badly needed. One solution would be the lone british-based Gurkha battalion. Until the resubordination of battalions and regiments isn't clearly announced, i'm willing to keep my hopes up. I just can't see how general Carter (or anyone else in the Army) would actually suggest to give just two battalions to the primary reaction element of the Army. It makes no sense, i can't believe they plan to do it.

  24. 4th and 7th infantry Brigade?!?

    1. Yes. That's how it is going to be. Unless you want to call mechanised brigades formations that are going to have a cavalry regiment on Jackal and one or two infantry battalions equipped with Foxhound...

  25. Gabriele,

    If you go to Service Children's Education ( are newsletters detailing the dates of closure of garrisons in Germany and a full spread sheet detailing the future locations, roles and brigade alignments of all major units moving from there. Very useful.

    Have only posted on this site once before and didn't want to get involved in the speculation about things. Respect your work completely - though I wish you would say "arse" instead of the American euphemism "ass".


    1. I think i found the newsletters, although they only reach up to 2012, but i cannot see the spreadsheet. Can you point me to the relevant section of the site?

    2. Found, thank you for the heads up.

  26. You're welcome. Sorry if I wasn't clear enough.

    Army Families Federation ( also has a very detailed summary of all 2020 units in its news section.


    1. Awesome documents, thank you very much for sharing.

  27. Hi Gabrielle,

    Many thanks for the post - interesting and informative as ever.

    I was wondering if you had plans to compare the UK/French military? I remember you mentioning it a while back and I would be fascinated to see what you could come up with if you have the time!

    1. I would like myself to make a bit of a comparison between the main players in Europe, so UK, France, Germany and Italy, but it is not too easy to gather up all the info needed. However, of course, the thing that is really keeping me from doing it is that the French are working through their defence White Paper right now. Until they publish it, it's better to wait: the data would inexorably be overcome by the events, since cuts are on the way for sure...

      In the future, though, i hope i'll do something on these lines.


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