Saturday, April 25, 2015

REME of Army 2020

Thanks to another FOI answer, another bit of the absurd wall of silence held up by the British Army has fallen off, and we have a list of the intended sub-unit level structure of the REME under Army 2020. 
Thanks to the friend who made the FOI request, but it continues to be absurd that it even takes a FOI for the army to share some information about its post-cuts structure. 



1 Close Support Battalion REME
-          4 CS Coy
-          12 CS Coy

Paired with 102 Battalion (Reserve)
-          124 Recovery Coy
-          186 Field Coy
-          146 Field Coy
-          147 Field Coy

2 Close Support Battalion REME
-          7 CS Coy
-          11 CS Coy

Paired with 106 Battalion (Reserve)
-          155 Recovery Coy
-          157 Field Coy
-          152 Field Coy
-          153 Field Coy


3rd Armoured Close Support Battalion REME [aligned with 20 Armoured Infantry Brigade]
-          5 Armoured  Coy
-          20 Armoured Coy
-          18 Field Coy

Paired with 105 Battalion (R)
-          131 Recovery Coy
-          130 Field Coy
-          158 Field Coy
-          160 Field Coy

4 Armoured Close Support Battalion REME (aligned with 12 Armoured Infantry Brigade)
-          9 Armoured Coy
-          10 Armoured Coy
-          17 Field Coy

Paired with 103 Battalion (R)
-          150 Recovery Coy
-          128 Field Coy
-          133 Field Coy
-          169 Field Coy

6 Armoured Close Support Battalion REME (aligned with 1st Armoured Infantry Brigade)
-          3 Armoured Coy
-          14 Armoured Coy
-          13 Field Coy

Paired with 101 REME Battalion (Reserve), even though the battalion is under command to 102 Logistic Brigade, Adaptable Force
-          119 Recovery Coy
-          125  Field Coy
-          127 Field Coy
-          159 Field Coy

5 Force Support Battalion REME
-          1 Field Coy
-          2 Field Coy
-          15 Field Coy

Paired with 104 REME Battalion (Reserve), even though the battalion is under command to 102 Logistic Brigade, Adaptable Force
-          118 Recovery Coy
-          126 Field Coy
-          129 Field Coy
-          148 Field Coy

Despite the pairing relationships being at odds with some of the assignments, the battalions are distributed through 101 and 102 Logistic Brigades in the following way:

101 Logistic Brigade, Reaction Force
3 Armoured Close Support Battalion REME
4 Armoured Close Support Battalion REME
6 Armoured Close Support Battalion REME
5 Force Support Battalion REME
103 Battalion REME (Reserve)
105 Battalion REME (Reserve)

102 Logistic Brigade, Adaptable Force
1 Close Support Battalion REME
2 Close Support Battalion REME
101 Battalion REME (Reserve)
102 Battalion REME (Reserve)
104 Battalion REME (Reserve)
106 Battalion REME (Reserve)

The REME also supply equipment support to 16 Air Assault Brigade, and carry out 2nd Line Equipment maintenance on the Army Air Corps helicopters. These tasks are covered by 7 Battalion:

7 Air Assault Battalion REME
-          8 Field Coy (PARA)
-          71 Aviation Coy
-          72 Aviation Coy
-          73 Aviation Coy

8 Field Coy is based in Colchester and directly supports 16 Air Assault Brigade.

8 Field Company had an establishment of some 150 men in 2012. Based in Colchester with 16 Air Assault brigade, it will re-ORBAT to support the cycle of readiness, probably by mixing its Forward and Support Platoons together and splitting the Airborne Forward Repair Team (the first technicians to parachute into an area of operations to support Drop Zone activities and early brigade movements) to form a couple of identical, full-spectrum platoons to rotate into readiness alongsides the other pieces of the Air Assault Task Force. 

71 and 72 aviation companies are based in Wattisham and aligned with the two Attack Helicopter Regiments, to which they provide 2nd Line Equipment Support expertise.  
They alternate yearly into the High Readiness “Vanguard” role alongside the Apache regiments, being kept at R2 (5 days notice to move). Each company has two platoons, and each platoon will be responsible for 6 months of readiness, during which it will have to generate two Forward Repair Groups of 10 specialists each. This means one FRG for each of the Apache squadron's Close Support Sections REME in the at-readiness regiment. 

73 Aviation Coy will transfer from Wattisham to Yeovilton in the coming months, to permanently assume the role of provider of 2nd Line Equipment Support for the Wildcat helicopters of 1st AAC Regiment. 1st Line Equipment Support is carried out by the REME elements of the Apache squadrons and of 1st AAC regiment respectively. Apache squadrons have recently reverted to having their own REME workshop, while 1st AAC Regiment is expected to have one centralized REME squadron from which workshops will be generated to support deploying squadrons. The Royal Marines / Royal Navy technicians of 847 NAS will, when on base, be part of the centralized maintenance squadron, but will maintain their maritime focus and shipboard role when 847 NAS deploys at sea. 


  1. It is so disconcerting just how much opposition within the MOD and the Services (army in particular) there is to releasing information to their own citizens (and taxpayer). I have read a couple of people claiming that this is a national security matter.... Rubbish - when compared to what is released both by the US and France (to name just two), neither of which can be considered un-nationalistic, this is clearly an attempt to deceive and hide information and failure from voters.... It is a disgrace, but certainly representative of the political culture which has existed in the UK for decades (indeed since WW2). On the specific REME itself, extremely interesting. The key point which, as ever, leaps out is the total lack of deployability of most of the "brigades" being set up under the Army 2020. Can I ask - do you know if other nations have the concept of non-deployable brigades or is this a unique (or at least unusually bad) UK concept. For example if I look at the US and French armies they appear to have very few infantry and armour batallions which aren't part of a deployable brigade, or am I mis understanding this?

    1. An Army tipically puts the most effort in having deployable brigades, since that's the basic level of real usefulness. An infantry battalion has its uses, of course, but on its own, it can only do a few relatively small things. A brigade, eventually split into battlegroups to cover more needs / ground at once, is where things start to make real operational sense.

      Non deployable brigades exist in other nations as well, but not on the scale seen in Army 2020, i don't think. France does have several non-brigaded regiments, but those are mostly garrisons which could be loosely compared to the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, or the Cyprus resident battalion.

      As for "national security", there is no way to call the list of sub-units of the various regiments a national secret without sounding ridiculous, i would say. And in fact, if you put in a FOI, there are no hesitations in answering. It just really seems that the secret is due to lazy communication strategy and a suicidal "wish" of helping to cover up the full extent of the cuts. If you cut a regiment down to a single company, but don't say it, people will still read "regiment"... but the name won't represent anymore what it truly is.

    2. Army 2020 is a bit of a farce really, an exercise purely in saving money and cap-badges with little in the way of joined-up thinking.

      At the very least the plan should be for fewer, more fully rounded and functional Adaptable Force brigades to seamlessly slot into an enduring commitment with the Reaction Force, more of a 3+3 rather than a 3+7 situation.

      Although actually my preference which i think is technically doable with 82,000 regulars (and some Reserves, doubt they will manage to get 30,000) would be for a 2nd medium wheeled division using most of the current AF infantry battalions and cavalry regiments, with the leftovers kept in non-operational, regional contact brigades as in days of old.

      Although not a precise comparison France plans to get something like 2 heavy, 3 medium and 2 light brigades out of a similar sized force.

    3. We share much the same view about how an actually functional Army 2020 should look like.

  2. As to your request for detail on the medical regiments, this is not easy Gabriele. Even before Army2020 I was struggling to get an accurate picture of sub units within the regiments. I will send over what I have.

    1. I have no difficulties in believing that! Medical Regiments have never been properly detailed in years...


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