Leaks and Rumours on impending Army Cuts

There have been a number of leaks and rumours recently regarding the impending cuts to the British Army. Naturally, with the Army faced with losing 20% of its manpower strength, the current structure of Regiments and Corps will be unsustainable with this smaller footing.

And with the British Army being as tribal as it is, there have been numerous articles, letters, meetings and the like lobbying to keep certain Regiments. No lobby group swings into action like an old-boys network when ‘the Regiment’ is under threat. This kind of layalty is very admirable, particularly when it fosters a closeness among serving soldiers, but it also makes decision making very uncomfortable, particularly when political considerations come into play.

An article on the BBC News website reported that a letter from the honorary Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers to the CGS had been leaked. Apparently draft plans appear to show the two Fusiliers Battalions being merged into one – obviously not a good move for any Regimental Colonel, the tribal elder. The CGS will probably have had letters from every Colonel of every Regiment no doubt. A further article in the Daily Telegraph reported that at least five infantry Battalions are to be cut, along with a third of the Royal Artillery and a third of the Royal Logistics Corps.

An article in the Guardian reported that a Battalion each of the Yorkshire Regiment and the Royal Regiment of Scotland would be cut. Under the leaked document the Army’s troops would be reformed into three categories – spearhead (namely the Royal Marines and Paras); adapatable forces to take over from the spearhead, but taking 18 months to train for the specific theatre; and force troops, ie support units such as artillery, etc. Mergers have also been proposed within the Royal Armoured Corps, with the Queens Royal Lancers merging with the 9th/12th Lancers, and the 1st and 2nd Royal Tank Regiments merging. The Parachute Regiment’s three Battalions will also be spared.

Finally, today’s Portsmouth News contained a report fearing for the future of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment. The Tigers were only formed by a merger just over two decades ago, and as a two Battalion Regiment are vulnerable to either being cut and or merged. The News understands that there are proposals to merge the PWRR with the Royal Anglian Regiment and the Fusiliers to form an East of England Regiment. This would be the next step on from Mike Jackson’s Regimental reforms some years ago. Whilst it is sad that centures old traditions are being lost, the size of the Army and the recruiting patterns of todays Army do not support the old structure.

One would hope that the Government and the Ministry of Defence take into account recruiting patterns, capability and future developments when they are thinking about which Regiments to cut and which to merge, and not just quaking in the face of Alex Salmond’s predictable jibes. When we have to plug gaps in Scottish Regiments with Commonwealth volunteers, then it’s no wonder the downsizing is to be considered.

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13 Comments

Filed under Army, defence, News, politics

13 responses to “Leaks and Rumours on impending Army Cuts

  1. x

    They have done for our county regiment. I always thought recruiting was good here. But obviously not. :(

    Note the Guards, Ghurkas, and RAF Regiment all survive.

    Odd day. Gain a sub-atomic particle. Loose regiment and Eric Sykes. There is joke in there somewhere.

    • James Daly

      The RAF Regiment is a freak of nature, god knows hot it survives in its current state. I’m sure anyone with any military sense knows that any infantry Battalion could and should be able to take up defensive positions around an airfield. Why the Rock Apes need the equivalent of 9 reinforced companies to do that god only knows.

  2. x

    3Cdo are loosing their engineer regiment. Why? I don’t know. Everybody is building and buying amphibs. UK? We appear to be getting out of the business slowly but surely and concentrating our combat on quick reaction armour. QUICK, REACTION, ARMOUR? We live on a freakin’ island.

    It is a shambles.

  3. x

    I have now been told that 24 Cdo was a regiment in name only. 3 Cdo will go back to just 59 Independent Commando Squadron Royal Engineers.

    Phew……….

  4. It seems a bit odd tha many critics in the media seem to miss the point that many of the possible operations they discuss would be non starters without cairrier based airpower, and many other things caught by the SDSR axe.

  5. x

    Well UK lives under the US defence umbrella. We will never go anywhere that needs carrier cover without the US; that is against a peer or near peer enemy.

    You have to view the CVF as the UK bringing more to the Western defence effort than as a national asset in and of itself. In the maritime sphere it goes along with SSNs, MCMV, hyrdography, and the UK deterrent.

    My main complaint is that CVF isn’t more like Cavour, doesn’t carry Sea Viper, and doesn’t have VLS for cruise. The RN showed a lack of imagination and just went the mini-strike route instead of going foe maximum versatility.

    The way I see CVF being used,

    1) Escort carrier for ARG or USN CBG. If they go to sea 24 F35b and ASaC it may not equal a USN carrier air wing but 24 modern jets concentrated in one spot is still considerable amount of air power.

    2) Working with the USMC as host to their F35b squadrons freeing their amphib decks for helicopter operations.

    3) Working with the French. I think the lack of interoperability is a minor to non-existent issue used by carrier detractors. Again an air group of 24 F35b and ASaC working alongside a French air wing of similar size is considerable amount of air power, more than many countries can muster.

    4) Working with the Australians and New Zealanders.

    5) UK only operations.

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