Sunday, April 7, 2013

Army 2020: regiments, roles, ORBAT

I must warn you all that the ORBAT described and visualized in this article cannot, for a whole range of reasons, be definitive. The Review of the army reserve has not yet been announced, for example, so we don't yet know the identity of the TA formations and, even if the roles and general positions have been announced, there might still be changes to come. There are also some residual uncertainties about the regulars, of course: for example, while it has not yet been clearly stated, i do not think that the Foxhound-mounted battalions will deploy to Cyprus with their vehicles, as someone suggests after reading the documents released so far by the MOD. I think the Foxhound vehicles will remain in Catterick and Cottersmore, and will be used by the battalions posted to the two garrisons.
Other uncertainties regard the integration of some regular and reserve elements into hybrid formations (details to follow later) and, of course, late changes to plans: for example, 299 Signal Squadron (Special Communications) had been announced as part of the restructured 11 Signal Brigade, but at the end of the day it was actually resubordinated to 1 Signal Brigade instead. There might be more rethinks to come.

However, thanks to the good source documents i used, i believe that this ORBAT is the most accurate currently available outside of the Army's restricted circles.

This ORBAT includes the Reserve units, which, under Army 2020, are no longer kept in separate Brigades and Divisions but, as we know, are integrated into the Regular structure. The ORBAT also includes the Army units deployed overseas, the forces of the overseas territories (Bermuda Regiment, Royal Gibraltar Regiment, Falklands Islands Defence Force) and the army units commanded by other HQs (air defence units, for example, which are under the control of Air Command). Reserve units can be identified by color and, of course, by the indication (Volunteers) or (V).

Excluded from the ORBAT are the training units such as 14 Regiment Royal Artillery, or 11 Regiment Royal Signals (Royal School of Signals). I took the decision to exclude these formations because the ORBAT looks already crowded as it is. In addition, admittedly, i've been trying to work out the exact chain of command for the training units but i've not yet quite managed to work it out. While most Army training units report to the 3-star Commander Force Development and Training at Andover, there are exceptions and complications due to "jointery" of various nature: for example, the Royal School of Signals (11 Signal Regiment) reports to No 22 (Training) Group Royal Air Force  as part of the Defence College of Communications and Information Systems (DCCIS).
Thanks also to how horribly outdated the MOD's websites usually are, map out the changes and restructurings and draw on paper the current structure is, if you ask me, immensely complex.


16 Close Support Medical Regiment is the only medical regiment directly assigned to a brigade. It looks almost certain  that it will maintain 144 (Parachute) Medical Squadron (Volunteers) as part of its structure.

The Scots Guards will be in the Heavy Protected Mobility role (mechanised infantry mounted on Mastiff) in the Reaction Force "at least until 2019". The idea is that the rotation of the Guards battalion is organised so to enable a battalion to spend a full six years in the Heavy Protected Mobility Role. At any one time, two more guards battalions are assigned to 11 Infantry Brigade (Adaptable Force), with one of them mounted on Foxhound (Light Protected Mobility). The remaining two battalions, posted to Windsor and Hounslow, are engaged in Ceremonial/Public Duties and respond to London District HQ (2-star).

The London Regiment (TA) is shown under London District. Take this with more than a bit of salt, because i suspect it will actually respond to 11 Infantry Brigade, but could not find anything in support of my guess, for the moment.

16 Air Assault Brigade used to be under Joint Helicopter Command, but all documents released by the MOD suggest that it will be now resubordinated to 3rd (Reaction) Division.

The two Logistic Brigades (101 and 102) are assigned to the Divisions, with the Logistic Support Brigade (104) assigned to Force Troops.

The assignment of the TA infantry and cavalry to the different brigade HQs is currently only my educated guess. For sure we only know that 4 PARA will respond to 16 AA brigade, with the remaining 13 infantry battalions assigned to the Adaptable Force. The ORBAT shows a likely structure, based on geography and on the long-standing assignment of the battalions to the various regional brigades.

The reserve Medical Squadrons in 102 Logistic Brigade are currently shown as indipendent units, but i actually think they are likely to be assigned to 2 and 3 Medical Regiments.

We are also told that there will be four reserve Close Support engineer squadrons in the Adaptable Force. Apparently, they will be assigned to 21 and 32 Engineer Regiments, which will each lose a regular squadron, giving them a 2-regular, 2-reserve squadrons structure.

The Reaction Force logistic brigade is to include 2 reserve REME Force Support battalions. I've guessed their identity, and i'm relatively confident that 104 REME is going to be in the Reaction Force. But, again, it is a guess.
Added to 5 Force Support REME battalion (regular), the 2 reserve battalions cover the whole of the 3 Armoured Infantry brigades of the Reaction Division. There are also going to be 3 Transport Regiment of the RLC TA component.

102 Logistic Brigade will have 4 reserve Force Support REME battalions, 2 supply and 2 transport regiments, plus a Fuel Support regiment, widely expected to be 152 (Ulster) Transport Regiment, properly reconfigured.
A number of TA Transport Regiments are set to disband, apparently, since there are currently 9, and the future requirement is given as 5 plus the Fuel Support Regiment.

The reserve artillery units are located, alongside the regulars, under 1st Artillery brigade. There will be two Light Gun regiments (down from 3), 1 STA regiment (Honourable Artillery Company, i'm betting) and 1 GMLRS regiment (will it continue to include STA batteries as well?).
There is also going to be a reserve Air Defence regiment (106 RA), almost certainly to be directly subordinated to Joint Ground Based Air Defence, under Air Command.
My guess for the reserve UAV regiment (104 RA) is that it will follow the regular units with the same role and resubordinate under the Intelligence brigade.

The Air Defence Units are all relocating to Thorney Island, and the command is consolidated under RAF Air Command. Included in the Joint Ground Based Air Defence force is the 49 (Inkerman) Battery, in charge of the LEAPP (Land Environment Air Picture Provision) system. As of early 2013, the battery is manned jointly by army (roughly two thirds) and RAF. A quick overview of LEAPP is available, among with other information regarding the artillery, in this older article.  

8 Force Engineer brigade's structure is tricky. There is little available information about its future shape. My guess is that the current Groups (12 (Air Support), 29 (Land Support) and 170 (Infrastructure) will all remain.
29 Group is mostly known for being the EOD centre of excellence, but it will likely take on 36 Regiment (Force Support) and one or more of the TA regiments in the Force Support role.
39 Regiment, the second force support regular regiment, is notoriously the Air Support formation, so it is under 12 Group, but under Army 2020 there is a possibility that its land support role will expand too. Currently, two TA regiments are in Air Support role (71 and 73 regiments), which means having two thirds of the TA Force Support element dedicated to airfields: i wouldn't be surprised if this changed.
29 Group will command 11 (EOD) Regiment RLC and the Military Working Dogs regiment as well. The reserves are expected to contribute with 4 Search squadrons and 2 Military Working Dog squadrons, probably integrated into the relevant regular regiments.  
My guess is that a new Group will be formed as the Close Support engineer regiments are moved into the brigade. Once, there were Divisional Engineer Groups: under the 1998 SDR, for example, the assumption was that 1st and 3rd Division would each have an Engineer group comprising one Force Support regiment (28 and 36) and a Close Support regiment for each brigade.
Now, i expect that all Close Support regiments will be grouped together under a new Group.

The Royal Engineers will also contribute 42 Engineer Regiment (Geographic) to Joint Forces Command. The regiment will be an integrated formation, including the reserve squadron 135.
The formation will transfer to Wyton, under the command of the 3-star Joint Forces Intelligence Group (one of many components of Joint Forces Command), which also controls the Joint Services Signals Organisation, which includes some 200 Royal Signals posts. The Army also contributes to the Defence HUMINT unit. 

A similar path has been chosen by the Royal Signals, in fact, with 11 Signal Brigade: as the signal regiments move in, the brigade will be divided in two Groups (7th and 2nd), with the first holding the five regular Multi-Role signal regiments and the second comprising the specialist regiments and the TA formations.
4 TA Signal Regiments are planned, a reduction from the current five. 251 Squadron (V) will be taken into 10 Signal Regiment.
There will also be 3 TA Specialist Technical Support Signal Squadrons.

The number of Military Intelligence battalions in the reserve will double, from 2 to 4. There will also be a  Special Military Intelligence company.

The Medical Brigade will benefit froma substantial reserves contribution: 3 medical regiments, 10 field hospitals, 1 hospital support regiment and the MEDEVAC Group.

The Security Assistance Group's structure is not yet set entirely in stone, but it is currently planned to include the Military Stabilisation Support Group, the 15 Psychological Operations Group and the Defence Media Operations Group.

The Military Police brigade will command all provost companies, which will be centralised in three homogeneous regiments comprising a TA contribution of 3 MP companies.
Doubts in this area include the fate of 156 Provost Coy, the Military Police unit of 16 Air Assault Brigade. I think it might well remain were it is, judging from what happened with all other brigade support elements: all maneuver brigades lost their CS and CSS elements to Logistic and Force Troops brigades, but 16AA retained its signal squadron, its artillery, its medical, REME and Logistic support formations.
Another doubt is about the position of the Military Provost Staff units: initially it seemed like the new Military Police brigade HQ would somehow include the 1-star Provost Marshal HQ, but now it seems both 1-star posts will continue to exist, with the MPS and MPGS units assigned to the Provost Marshal and the RMP to the Police Brigade. The Provost Marshal will also control the Special Investigation Branch RMP and the Special Operations Unit RMP.

104 Logistic Support Brigade will include several TA elements, such as the Catering support regiment and the reserve Port & Maritime Regiment (165 Regt).
It will also have an integrated Postal Courier & Movement regiment, which suggests that the current 88 P&C and 162 Movement Control regiments will merge.
The Pioneer regiment is set to share the fate of the last regular Pioneer regiment and disband, becoming history.

Another mistery is the effective role, usefulness and stance of the 2-star "UK Support Command" created after the SDSR to replace the Regional Division HQs.
This HQ is the son of a plan which pre-dates the 82.000 regulars figure introduced in the summer of 2011: it was originally part of a plan which called for 94.000 regulars in five multi-role brigades (plus 16AA brigade) in two regular Divisions and up to 10 regional brigades in support, controlled by the UK Support Command.
Inside Army 2020, this command now seems redundant, but apparently it remains planned. HQ London District also remains, and Cyprus stays as a 2-star command as well. In my opinion, none of this is actually necessary.  

The Roles of the TA under Army 2020 as disclosed so far by the Army

Anyway, as always, i will work to keep this article and you all up to date about the next moves and changes. I also plan to eventually put together an "alternative Army 2020" plan showing how i would have organised things had i been in general Nick Carter's place, because on several aspects i do disagree with this plan.

Official document showing basing, roles and subordinations of the regular army units:


  1. Daniele MandelliApril 7, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    Stunning post, a great bit of work Gabriele.

    Thank you.

    1. My thanks to you for reading and taking the time to comment. In the last while i haven't been posting much, but i hope to be able to do better in the future.

  2. Gaby

    A highly impressive piece of work.

    In your ORBAT you hve included 1 Rifles as part of 160 Infantry Brigade and HQ Wales and have them as being based at Chepstow.

    Does that mean that they are out of the Commando role entirely? There has been a certain amount of uncertainty regarding this in articles I have read over recent months.

    Also, have you discovered any news regarding equipment arrangements for Army 2020 (beyond that already published, I mean). Have you any idea when the equipment arrangements will become clearer, or even finalized? I was thinking, for instance, of how many variants of FRES SV would be include in Reconnaissance Regiments, that kind of thing.

    1. It does definitely look like 1st Rifles no longer will be part of 3rd Commando brigade. The document released by the MOD to the Army Families Federation does say 1st Rifles to 160 Brigade. I think there is no longer any uncertainty, at this point.

      As for the exact organisation of the regiments, it's hard to say. It might be a long time before we learn about it in detail. Differently from the US, the MOD sure won't make it easy to access ORBAT tables showing the organisation of the various units...

      Regarding FRES SV, i look forwards to an announcement myself, because the talk of bringing forwards the development of the Command and Ambulance variants from the start instead of hoping in a future "Recce Block 2" program was promising. I hope the army manages to do it.

  3. I still believe it does'nt go far enough with regards to trimming the top heavy nature of the british army,I personally dont think cyprus is deserving of a 2 star posting and im sure there are other post that could be trimmed down.

    1. We agree on that. 2-star commander with a 1-star deputy, for two infantry battalions? No way.

      My alternative Army 2020, for example, among other changes brings Cyprus down to a single 1-star HQ, and replaces London District with Guards Brigade, which brings back an historic badge while reducing headcount and costs, from 2 to 1 star.

    2. I think the two star is needed for operations in Africa and the Middle East--he and his staff could be deployed.

      Support Command exist for civil-military relationships in the UK. With 3 and 1 deployed, there has to be some general behind.

      London remains 2-star for the Queen.

    3. Agree with Anonymous above.

      British Forces Cyprus is a bit more than just two infantry battalions. Especially when the SBA are used as a staging point for operations in the region (ELLAMY) or supporting operations such as HERRICK through activities such as Decompression.

      Commander of British Forces Cyprus is also double-hatted as the Administrator of the Sovereign Base Area - effectively carrying similar responsibilities to the civilian Governors of other British Overseas Territories. The latter are typically at a 2/3-star level (either military or diplomatic).

      I'd say the 2-star rank will remain more for the latter reason than anything else.

    4. I have an idea of the work that is there to be done. But i still think that, like frankly in all modern western armies, there is quite some attention for protecting as many multi-star posts as possible, while things could be often done in less expensive ways.
      Only when they are pressed really, really hard, then some higher command disappears. With such harsh cut to the frontline and with the number of high-rank posts remaining still very high, i think there really should be more done to cut back where possible.

    5. I don't think the Army has that many high ranking officers. Perhaps that can be said of the RAF post SDSR. The Navy is the worse off--only one major Vice Admiral as Fleet Commander. Perhaps BF Cyrus cna lose the Brigadier as a deputy. But the UK homeland still needs a two star for civil-military stuff. i don't expect Support Command to have a full Division staff (S1,2,3,4 etc). London? Ask the Queen why she needs a Major-General.

      More arguments for Cyrpus--the only big joint operation before East of Suez. BF Brunei could do with more than just a battalion plus, sadly that place is too small.

  4. I don't know how you calculated the TA regiments within the Adaptable Force Brigades. Where's the offical MOD document on TA?

    1. The image at the bottom of the article comes from Army Reserve Quarterly, an internal british army publication for the Territorial Army. It was part of an early announcement on the ongoing review to the forces.

      The full announcement on reserves, which will reveal the identity of the regiments and squadrons in the roles outlined, should eventually follow on May 15.

    2. ARQ magazine can be accessed in PDF format on the TA army website page, here:

      The breakdown of reserve roles is contained in the autumn 2012 issue.

  5. Where's the websites/links on "Joint Ground Base Air Defence"? How do you know 16th RA is not under their command?


    1. 16 RA is absolutely under their command. My mistake, my eyes betrayed me, and i didn't see before that i incorrectly wrote 47 Regt instead. Despite checking the image multiple times, i hadn't noticed.

      Corrected now. As for a website, i don't think JGBAD has one. It is one little advertised bit of jointery introduced by the Labour reviews of the 90s.

      The AFF document and an IISS article both confirm the sitting of the AD regiments under Air Command, though.

    2. Ah, yes. So it came from the Labour reviews, not the dreaded 2010 SDSR.

      All i can find about it through google is the Olympics security. and that it is under a 3 star Air Marshal (RAF).

    3. It came from the Labour reviews, yes. The SDSR 2010 built on the same input, removing 12 Regiment from the Army and passing it too to the JGBAD.
      12 (and 47, until it re-roled to UAVs) used to be divisional assets since they did SHORAD. Now, 12 regiment, while continuing to do SHORAD in close support to the army, is moving under Air Command.

    4. looked through the first SDSR. Didn't mention air defence?

      Does this mean the RAF Regiment regains control of Rapier?

    5. This is a factsheet comprising the announcement of the creation of what became JGBAD.

      If you mean the SDSR 2010, then no, the document released to the public does not specify the transfer of 12 Regiment under RAF Command.
      Might be a successive decision made with Army 2020. Or they just didn't bother listing it. There are other things they have been less than detailed about, so it would not be a surprise.

      As for RAF regaining Rapier, it kind of regained command of it years ago. 12 Regiment has the Starstreak, 16 has the Rapier. And 16 RA was the first regiment to go to JGBAD.

      The Rapier will physically remain in 16 Regiment Royal Artillery, but probably RAF personnel will be able to serve in the batteries. They might already be doing it, i don't know.
      As i wrote in the article, for sure the RAF provides one third of the manpower of the LEAPP battery. I don't know if and how much they contribute to the manning of Rapier batteries.

    6. You wrote that 49th Battery will be part of the JGBAD and will operate that system?

      Where's the timeline links on who moved or merged? Very frustrating to have to google and find mirror websites.

    7. They already do. This particular info comes from an interview of IQ Defence to a british army officer, during an Air Defence conference last January.
      See video near the bottom of this page:

      (you'll have to insert your personal data to access the short video, though. It's free, at least.)

      As for a complete timeline of mergers and movements, i don't even know if it exists. If it did exist, it would make my "job" of piecing information together much, much easier.

      The timeline of my army 2020 articles is on the Future Force 2020 - Army page, here:
      This can help, i hope.

      Royal Artillery changes and movements of batteries between regiments and into suspended animation have been detailed over several successive issues of the Gunner magazine.

  6. Is the inclusion of 10 Regiment Royal Signals twice(7 and 2 Signals Groups in 11 Signals Brigade)correct, please?

    1. Of course not. It is only part of 2 Signals Group.

      7 Group only contains 16, 21, 1, 2 and 3 regiments, which are to be converted in Multi-Role Signals regiments.

    2. Your diagram needs amending in that case.

    3. Daniele MandelliApril 8, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      Crikey, give him a break! Errors can be easily corrected.

    4. The diagram has already been corrected, indeed.

      Thanks for pointing the issues out. My eyes refused to see them when i looked over the damn thing. Took a lot of work, must have left me brain-dead for a while afterwards, evidently.

  7. Gaby

    "There is also going to be a reserve Air Defence regiment (106 RA)"

    Gaby, in connection with the above, there was some discussion on the ARRSE website the other day about whether the TA (or Reserve) AD Regiment would get Stormer HMV. Would that refer to 106 RA and have you heard anything similar? Would be difficult for a Reserve regiment in terms of maintenance, I would think, although the Reserve MLRS one seems to manage alright.

    1. It could happen. Can't say if it will happen, but it is possible.
      The talk so far seemed to be about removing the Rapier from the Reserve, having it only in 16 RA, but expand the Starstreak capability in 106 RA as a consequence.
      Perhaps in part because the Army continues to have two divisions (sort of, at least...) but 47 RA no longer is a SHORAD regiment, leaving one of the two divisions uncovered.

      Plus, of course, doing away with Rapier in the reserve is likely to ease the strain on the budget...

      We'll see what is announced in the end.

    2. Is it the case that 12 and 16 serve both the Reaction and Adaptable forces?

    3. 12 and 16 regiment basically will have to cover for everyone who'll need ground based air defence in the future, as they are the only ones left in the job along with the Royal Marines's own Air Defence Troop within 30 Commando.

      I think 12 Regiment currently has a lightweight battery on two troops, one of which is kept at high readiness to support the Airborne Task Force / a deployment of any kind.
      The other two batteries should still be on Stormer HVM, and in they cover the rest.

      16 Regiment has to rotate one of its batteries to the Falklands and be ready to deploy when needed.
      The regiment used to have a Commando battery destined to support the Marines in times of need, but that was closed down long ago.

  8. Gaby

    Thanks for the reply.

    Are we getting more Foxhounds? Have just read on the Shephard defence site that General Dynamics Land Systems-Force Protection Europe has placed an order with Ricardo for an additional 76 Foxhounds.

    I can only remember 300 being ordered previously (in 2 lots), so it looks as if these are extra vehicles. Apologies if I am wrong. Good news if I am right!

    1. I'm afraid they are not new vehicles. The 76 additional Foxhounds have been ordered with two separate MOD calls.

      25 in August 2012

      51 in November 2012

      The current announcement is just about General Dynamics passing the order over to Ricardo, which is the subcontractor which actually builds the vehicles.

  9. Daniele MandelliApril 8, 2013 at 6:56 PM


    Do we have a current location for 299 Signals?

    In their last identity as 1 ( RBY ) Signals Squadron they were part TA and part regular and based at the TA Centre at Bletchley.

    Now the regulars have broken away as 299 are they still there? Cannot find any data.

    1. Not entirely sure how it is going to work out. Probably it will continue to be an hybrid regular/reserve unit. They should still be based at Bletchley: i heard nothing so far about them moving.

    2. Daniele MandelliApril 8, 2013 at 7:17 PM

      Sure, it is possible.

      The " F A N Y " is another interesting little unit concerning signals.

    3. 1 (RBY) Signal Squadron (SC) has itself been split along the Regular/TA lines of the Squadron. The regular element previously known as Operations Troop have formed 299 Signal Squadron (SC) continuing their current operational role but with a far busier calendar and increased staffing requirements to meet this. The TA element formerly known as Communications Troop has been re-named as 899 (RBY) Signal Troop.

    4. Yeah, i've just read the same report.

      So, if i understand right, 299 Sqn is a wholly regular unit now, while 1 Signal Squadron, including 899 (RBY) Troop, is part of 38 Signal Regiment (Strategic Communications)(Volunteers).

    5. Yes Gabriele.

      That is how I have it on my database too.

      299 staffing expanded and now regular ( not surprising given its role. )
      I suspect they may have moved from Water Eaton but cannot find anything on that.

      Interestingly, the other strategic comms squadron, No 2 Signals Squadron in Dundee, with the Aerostats, has also been consolidated into 38 Signals Regiment.

    6. Exactly. I'd say there is every reason to believe that 38 Signal Regiment is going to stay around in the reserves review... which means it's between the other four that the victim of the reorganisation will be chosen.

    7. Agreed. No idea who has precedence though, if that is any consideration.

  10. 144 PARA MED SQN has been part of 16 since there has been a 16 MR. I read your note.

    1. Very funny, picking on my choice of words. Fine, i'll go back and clear that up too.

  11. Gaby

    Thanks for putting me right on Foxhound. Misplaced optimism!

    1. There were big hopes for more orders this year with the money spared in the budget cycle, but the Autumn and Budget 2013 cuts probably will eat it all and more...

  12. You said it "looks like it will be" and all I've done is helped you by pointing out it is and has been part of it the Regiment for some time.

    And to help you with the note again, it is certain it will stay with 16 MR.

    1. Have you seen some document i've missed, or are you an insider in the TA?

      Either way, good news. Not a real surprise, but still... uncertainty is never nice.


  13. Gabriele,

    Well done, that must have taken a lot of work.

    I hope there is a review and some changes made.

    There are to many for me to list the changes I would like to see!


    1. As i've written, i hope to write a post with the description of my own idea of Army 2020...

      If you ever feel like writing, i would be glad to put online your own idea too.

    2. Thanks Gabriele,

      I will try and get my ideas down as soon as I can.

      Keep up the great work.


    3. Hi Gabriele,

      Just a few thoughts of the current version of Army 2020.

      1. You cannot reduce the army by such numbers as they have been, and not reduce there commitments.
      We must reduce the number of infantry on public duties, for a start.
      2. Having 9 infantry battalions committed to unit moves every 3 years is in my opinion avoidable.
      That adds up to a lot of operational down time for a third of the infantry.
      The Ghurkhas could rotate from Cyprus to Burma, rather than come back to the UK, and a Guards Battalion could rotate from public duties to Cyprus.
      3. The present Brigade set up, in my opinion is a mess. How can you have some of your brigade on Salisbury plain, and rest in Catterick or Aldershot? A rethink is in order, rather than writing down grand plans on paper, let’s take a look at what we can do.
      Just one course of action, how about the 3 Salisbury plain brigades having 2 warrior battalions, 1 Challenger regiment, with a recce squadron, and a TA battalion each? That’s do able.
      That would mean we could also have 2 further deployable infantry brigades, and have a spare battalion to move to 16 AA. We would then have 6 deployable brigades, which was the aim. It’s not ideal to have 2 regular plus 1 TA battalions to a brigade, but we don’t live in an ideal world. Alternatly, we could just go with 2 armoured brigades, 3 infantry and 16AA. Either one makes more sense to me.
      4. I would really like to see a review of the infantry. I know that would not be popular, but if the Scottish infantry regiments could reform into a sensible regiment, anyone can.
      5. I would think it was a wise to move to let the RAF take over all air defence. That would give the RAF Regiment a purpose, and release some manpower back to the Army.
      6. More cuts are coming, the hope of more equipment is a slim one, and I would not rule further cuts in numbers, but hopefully not on the scale we have just had. We must make the best use of what we have, it may not be ideal, but the hope of better times to come is a fantasy.
      Gabriele, I am sure you have many ideas of your own, and I look forward to reading them.


    4. Correct in proposing a reduction in public duties units.

      I prefer 2 more Warrior Battalions, located within any of the Adaptable force brigades. 6 Warriors are not enough.

      I don't see why Cyprus gets Foxhound battalions while the Falklands gets a lonely-foot solider company. As terrible is the terrain in the Falklands, it could do with a Foxhoun Company

      I would liek to see one more active Challenger 2 unit. 3 Tank Battalions are not enough.

    5. If we are going down the 3 heavy brigades route then 3 is indeed all that is needed. In fantasy world without these cuts we would have more.

      I'm happy with the makeup of the Reaction Brigades. I would like to see 3 proper light brigades from the adaptable force to go with them, not a hotch potch to make up 2.

      And all brigades should have organic support regments of artillery, RE CS Regiment, RLC CS Regiment, REME Battalion, RMP Coy, RAMC Regiment.

      I also would ( in fantasy world ) see a build up of the Brigade of Gurkha's into a full deployable Brigade. It would join 16AA and 3 Cdo in my Rapid Deployment Light Division, alongside the Reaction Heavy Brigades and the Adaptable Light Brigades. Gurkha recruitment is always high, we turn many away, so manning is not a problem.

      Just think of a Division of Paras, Marines and Gurkhas!!

      All perfectly feasible except HMG don't give a toss.

    6. There is no reason for so many Foxhound battalions. At best, they are extremely light recce. You can have at least one or two more Warrior Battalions in the Adaptable force. 6 isn't enough.

    7. Thank you for your comments guys.

      But there is no money for anymore warriors or challengers, even if we wanted them.
      We will be lucky to maintain the numbers planned in my view.
      As to increasing the number of battalions of any regiment, again we will be lucky to maintain the numbers planned.

      Making do with what we have, or hope to have is the order of the day.

      As I understand it, the US Army only have two battalions in each of there armoured brigades.


    8. Not for much longer, they plan to correct that. Successive reviews of their field experience with BCTs has had them deciding that they will reduce the overall number of brigades further, using some of the battalions to bring the remaining BCTs back to 3 manoeuvre formations each.
      They also plan to bring back to the brigade some relevant combat engineer resources, upping from the current single company to a whole engineer battalion.

    9. Hi Gabriele,

      The US Army has the luxury of large numbers of units, training areas, bases, equipment and money to fund its army. A position which the UK army does not find itself in. This situation is not going to get any better; in fact it may get worse.

      It is my opinion that the current proposed Army Orbat 2020, is not the best way forward.

      Having 3 brigades, with key units unable to train together, and conducting brigade staff meetings by video link, and brigadiers flying up to Catterick to inspect units under there command is in my view unworkable. As to having a further two brigades formed ad hoc is even worse, and just having two units in the rapid reaction force is again in my view a poor choice.

      If the Army looked at what it has, and organised itself accordingly it could have a sensible and workable orbat. With 5 deployable brigades and a rapid reaction brigade. Remember these plans are not a temporary measure, this is for 2020 plus.


    10. bunching up units is neither the key position to go to, even if there is no massive threat of invasion of the UK homeland.

      Despite not using more than three tank battalions in the past, keeping just three MBT units is still risky. And Foxhound-ding rather than Warrior-ing nits is a little impractical.

    11. We kind of agree on the point, and i do not really like how spread out the mechanised infantry battalions are, either. But i think this last point is manageable, although non optimal. I would have tried to have the Mastiff battalions not further away from Salisbury plain than Aldershot, that's all.

      As for the number and organisation of brigades, i think the army, with the numbers given so far, could and should have actually fielded 6 decent brigades, plus 16AA Bde: the 3 armoured brigades, and 3 lightish/mechanised brigades. The other units would form up smaller, non-deployable brigades useful to reinforce the others and to do upstream engagement abroad.
      I will explain it better when i find the time to work out my own ORBAT proposal.

      5 multi-role brigades were going to be probably the most effective kind of formation, despite their own defects. And they are kind of achievable with the vehicle holdings proposed for army 2020. The problem is basing and training areas: it would take a big investment in this area that the army cannot make.
      That's why i've veered myself to a plan much more similar to the current A2020: to make do with the same basing layout and with the same training areas.

    12. Hi Gabriele,

      I look forward to seeing your A2020 ideas.

      For me the key is making the best of we have got, not wishing for something that's just not going to happen.


    13. 5 multi role brigades would reduce warrior battalions by one and MBTs by 2. Ok fine, 3 MBTs are ok, but the Adaptable Force still lacks teeth. I don't see why Foxhounds are so well adored vs other possible IFVs/AFVs. 5 Multi roles would also increase Mastiff battalions--ok the TA may make up in the current Army 2020. There are just too many grey areas. B Army is shifting to a intel/Humint org but needs some more teeth.

    14. The multi role brigades plan still had six Warrior battalions, actually: one would be in a training/demonstration/OPFOR role.
      Tank regiments were to be five, but they would have been inexorably much smaller due to the number of tanks being the same. Instead of 3x Type 56, it would have probably been 5x Type 38.

      As for Foxhound, it is quite good for light forces. Of course the Army would love to better mechanize the adaptable brigades, but who is going to give them the money for it? Santa?

    15. That is an interesting point Gabriele.

      What becomes of the Warminster LWC Demo battalion?

      Are one of the Warrior Battalions earmarked as is now?

      And what of A Squadron 1 RTR in the same role?

    16. I don't know if the new plan is properly fleshed out yet. I think there might not be a LWC battalion in the future, and A Squadron 1 RTR definitely won't be around. It probably has ceased its activity already, indeed.

      The idea is that the armoured infantry brigade in its training year will act as a training/experimentation formation, working where possible even with industry, to inform future requirements for new kit, as well as tactics and other factors.

    17. I personally prefer Jackal to Foxhound.

    18. That could work. Or they could use elements of the RAC Centre Regiment or maybe the DRAC ATDU.

  14. Insider in that particular unit.

    1. Great to hear so, then. Thank you. Have you also heard something that you can share about other TA elements, by chance?

  15. HAC will be under 1 Intelligence and Surveillance Brigade, not 1 Arty.

  16. The confusion about Foxhound battalions in Cyprus is the result of the confusing way in which the information was presented in the government documents. If you look at the rotation of battalions between UK and Cyprus, there seems to be two cycles of rotation. One involves three battalions of the Kings Division, and the other three battalions of the Queens Division. In each cycle, one battalion will be stationed in Cyprus for a period of three years, and the other two battalions will be in the UK for six years. The Foxhound equipped battalions will be based at Catterick and Cottesmore.
    To see what this could look like in practice here is a possible scenario for each cycle.

    1. UK/Dhekelia cycle-
    2014-2 PWRR
    2017-2 R Anglian
    2020-1 R Anglian
    2023-2 PWRR
    2014-1 R Anglian
    2020-2 R Anglian -to 2026
    Cottesmore [Foxhound]
    2014-2 R Anglian
    2017-2 PWRR -to 2023
    2. UK/Episkopi cycle-
    2013-2 Yorkshire
    2016-1 Lancashire
    2019-2 Lancashire -2022
    Catterick [Foxhound]
    2013-1 Lancashire
    2016-2 Yorkshire -to 2022
    2013-2 Lancashire
    2019-1 Lancashire -to 2025
    Hope this makes matters clearer.

    1. That's what i think as well. The document released by the MOD tricked people in believing that the Foxhounds will go to Cyprus because the dates of the moves back and forth from the UK to the island haven't been properly interpreted or noticed.

  17. On a RAF note, there will be no reserve F-35 squadrons

    Whoopie? Whoop?

    1. The idiot minister may have taken "Reserve" literally.

      There should be a Lightning OCU with a (R) numberplate. No 17?

    2. No 17 will switch to F35 later this year, but as OEU. There might be another numberplate assigned to the OCU, eventually. I don't know.

      But yes, i think the minister meant a squadron of fighters flown by reservists... and, unsurprisingly, there is not going to be one such formation.

    3. That makes better sense.

  18. Warhogs will be retained?

    Video says Royal Lancers will shift from CVRT to Warthog?

    1. I think the switch is only for the deployment of 9th/12th Lancers in Afghanistan for Herrick 19, actually.
      The merger that will give us "The Royal Lancers" won't happen before the end of Herrick 19 and the celebration of the tercentenary of the regiment.

      There has not been any real mention of keeping Warthog for future use, as far as i am aware.
      Differently from other vehicles, which have already been selected for this or that role, the Warthog seriously risks being scrapped.
      Its best bet is being taken over by the Royal Marines, who have a lot of BV206 vehicles in need of an armored, more capable replacement.

    2. Interesting why they get Warthog though. Lancers dont have the troop numbers to fill the troop spaces in the Warthog.

      Also, I'm surethey are ending the CVRTs faster than expected. So which vehicles would the scout units use before FRES?

    3. Scimitar.

    4. The Warthog group in Afghanistan is not regiment sized, to start with, and i think it provides mobility and mobile firepower to other units: the RAC personnel driving it and manning the guns on it is not supposed to also fill up the troop seats.

      As for the vehicle that will go on until FRES Scout arrives, it'll be Scimitar and CVR(T)s. Last i heard, the MOD expected the last CVR(T) to only bow out of service in 2026...!

  19. Gaby

    Perhaps this is not directly on the thread subject but what do you make of the recent General Dynamics UK decision to trim their workforce?

    Do you think that this is simply cutting back in line with the recession or do you feel that it perhaps heralds the reduction in orders for more variants of FRES SV?

    1. I don't want to read too much into those reductions, at least for now. The FRES, after all, remains firmly planned, with the Utility Vehicle also in the plan and due to follow. Numbers of vehicles to be purchased will be a bit lower than earlier thought, perhaps, but that should be it.

    2. On Warthogs, do you know the size of the RM Armoured Support Group? They say about 99 Vikings, but is it comopany sized or battalion sized?

    3. It is probably closer to battalion size than to company. However, it is actually spread (together with its vehicles) over the 3 Commando battalions, it is not a formed maneuvre unit in its own right, if i understand correctly.

    4. But many articles place it under the 539 Assault group.

    5. That's for administration. It is correct. What i'm saying is that you won't see the Armoured Support Group rolling into battle as a formed unit, cavalry regiment style.

    6. You are correct Gabriele re the Viking distribution.

      Here is the make up of the Commando's from my database.
      I assume it is still current and correct.

      45 Commando

      - Commando HQ.
      - Command Company.
      - Logistics Company.
      - W Close Combat Company.
      - X Stand Off Combat Company. V
      - Y Close Combat Company.
      - Z Stand Off Combat Company. W

      42 Commando

      - Commando HQ.
      - Command Company.
      - Logistics Company.
      - J Close Combat Company.
      - K Stand Off Combat Company. V
      - L Close Combat Company.
      - M Stand Off Combat Company. W

      40 Commando.

      - Commando HQ.
      - Command Company.
      - Logistics Company.
      - A Close Combat Company.
      - B Stand Off Combat Company. W
      - C Close Combat Company.
      - D Stand Off Combat Company. V

      Each has a wheeled company and a Viking Company.

      This was the original Commando plan which changed with
      the Afghan war.

      The Armoured Support Group is not under 539 Assault
      Squadron as far as I'm aware.

    7. I'm pretty sure it is under 539 Squadron, instead. The Royal Marines website seems to support my memory in this, as the Armoured Support Group is definitely listed as part of the squadron.

    8. As you said, administratively, which is a non issue as far as the operational distribution of ATV (P) is concerned. They are split up within 40,42,45 Commando.

      Concerning Warthog and other vehicles, is there a definitive list yet of what vehicles the MoD are retaining and bringing into core.

      Mastiff, Jackal of course. And?

    9. EPLS, Ridgback, almost certainly Wolfhound.

      The Springer has been abandoned, and i think no one really regrets it. It was never loved by the troops.

      Doubts remain on the Talisman system (unmanned Land Rover Snatch with ground penetrating radar; Buffalo etcetera) and on Warthog.

      There is not yet a definitive, complete list.

    10. Springer is no loss. Agree Talisman must be retained, all components, UAV, excavators, Buffalo, Land Rover, and given to a dedicated RE Squadron.

      Coyote, Husky, Bushmaster for UKSF, there are a few others.

      In the air the most vital for me are the Sentinel, Shadow and Reaper. I will be sick if they remove them.

      I feel a FOIA request coming on, it has been a while since I sent one.

  20. Gaby

    Thanks for the reply. Yes, I thought that plans for FRES were well advanced, with the factory already built (?), etc.

  21. How do you know it's 1st GG that gets Foxhound? AFF says one of the Guards Divisions. Then 2nd Duke also gets Foxhound. Who's right and wrong

    1. On Foxhound, as i said i believe the units rotating in and out of Cyprus are to be considered as Foxhound-mounted only when in the UK. So, depending on the rotation period, some of the Foxhound battalions change.

      As for the Grenadier Guards having Foxhound, it is because i've read that it would be one of the Guards battalions based in Aldershot. As the only other Guards in Aldershot are the Scots, and they are on Mastiff, it's easy.

      And anyway, there would in any case be only another realistic alternative: the Guards battalion at Pirbright.
      Windsor and Hounslow are "public duty/ceremonial" stations, so no Foxhounds to be expected.


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