Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force. Formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. Following victory over the Central Powers in 1918 the RAF emerged as, at the time, the largest air force in the world. Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history. In particular, it played a large part in the Second World War where it fought its most famous campaign, the Battle of Britain; the RAF's mission is to support the objectives of the British Ministry of Defence, which are to "provide the capabilities needed to ensure the security and defence of the United Kingdom and overseas territories, including against terrorism. The RAF describes its mission statement as "... an agile and capable Air Force that, person for person, is second to none, that makes a decisive air power contribution in support of the UK Defence Mission". The mission statement is supported by the RAF's definition of air power.
Air power is defined as "the ability to project power from the air and space to influence the behaviour of people or the course of events". Today the Royal Air Force maintains an operational fleet of various types of aircraft, described by the RAF as being "leading-edge" in terms of technology; this consists of fixed-wing aircraft, including: fighter and strike aircraft, airborne early warning and control aircraft, ISTAR and SIGINT aircraft, aerial refueling aircraft and strategic and tactical transport aircraft. The majority of the RAF's rotary-wing aircraft form part of the tri-service Joint Helicopter Command in support of ground forces. Most of the RAF's aircraft and personnel are based in the UK, with many others serving on operations or at long-established overseas bases. Although the RAF is the principal British air power arm, the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm and the British Army's Army Air Corps deliver air power, integrated into the maritime and land environments. While the British were not the first to make use of heavier-than-air military aircraft, the RAF is the world's oldest independent air force: that is, the first air force to become independent of army or navy control.
Following publication of the "Smuts report" prepared by Jan Smuts the RAF was founded on 1 April 1918, with headquarters located in the former Hotel Cecil, during the First World War, by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. At that time it was the largest air force in the world. After the war, the service was drastically cut and its inter-war years were quiet, with the RAF taking responsibility for the control of Iraq and executing a number of minor actions in other parts of the British Empire; the RAF's naval aviation branch, the Fleet Air Arm, was founded in 1924 but handed over to Admiralty control on 24 May 1939. The RAF developed the doctrine of strategic bombing which led to the construction of long-range bombers and became its main bombing strategy in the Second World War; the RAF underwent rapid expansion prior to and during the Second World War. Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan of December 1939, the air forces of British Commonwealth countries trained and formed "Article XV squadrons" for service with RAF formations.
Many individual personnel from these countries, exiles from occupied Europe served with RAF squadrons. By the end of the war the Royal Canadian Air Force had contributed more than 30 squadrons to serve in RAF formations approximately a quarter of Bomber Command's personnel were Canadian. Additionally, the Royal Australian Air Force represented around nine percent of all RAF personnel who served in the European and Mediterranean theatres. In the Battle of Britain in 1940, the RAF defended the skies over Britain against the numerically superior German Luftwaffe. In what is the most prolonged and complicated air campaign in history, the Battle of Britain contributed to the delay and subsequent indefinite postponement of Hitler's plans for an invasion of the United Kingdom. In the House of Commons on 20 August, prompted by the ongoing efforts of the RAF, Prime Minister Winston Churchill eloquently made a speech to the nation, where he said "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few".
The largest RAF effort during the war was the strategic bombing campaign against Germany by Bomber Command. While RAF bombing of Germany began immediately upon the outbreak of war, under the leadership of Air Chief Marshal Harris, these attacks became devastating from 1942 onward as new technology and greater numbers of superior aircraft became available; the RAF adopted night-time area bombing on German cities such as Hamburg and Dresden, developed precision bombing techniques for specific operations, such as the "Dambusters" raid by No. 617 Squadron, or the Amiens prison raid known as Operation Jericho. Following victory in the Second World War, the RAF underwent significant re-organisation, as technological advances in air warfare saw the arrival of jet fighters and bombers. During the early stages of the Cold War, one of the first major operations undertaken by the Royal Air Force was in 1948 and the Berlin Airlift, codenamed Operation Plainfire. Between 26 June and the lifting of the Russian blockade of the city on 2 May, the RAF provided 17% of the total supplies delivered du
The Royal Regiment of Artillery referred to as the Royal Artillery and colloquially known as "The Gunners", is the artillery arm of the British Army. The Royal Regiment of Artillery comprises thirteen Regular Army regiments, King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery and five Army Reserve regiments. Artillery was used by the English army as early as the Battle of Crécy in 1346, while Henry VIII established it as a semi-permanent function in the 16th century; until the early 18th century, the majority of British regiments were raised for specific campaigns and disbanded on completion. An exception were gunners based at the Tower of London and other forts around Britain, who were controlled by the Ordnance Office and provided personnel for field artillery'traynes' as needed, their numbers were small. During the 18th century, the military became professional in the fields of artillery and engineering; when Marlborough was restored as Master-General of the Ordnance in 1714, he initiated a series of reforms, which included splitting the existing Ordnance Service into artillery and sappers or engineers.
This was approved and two permanent companies of field artillery were established in 1716, each 100 men strong. These were increased to four companies and on 1 April 1722 grouped with independent artillery units at Gibraltar and Menorca to form the Royal Regiment of Artillery. Selection and promotion within the Royal Artillery was based on merit, rather than the commission purchase system used elsewhere until 1870. A cadet company was formed at the Royal Military Academy or RMA Woolwich in 1741. In 1757, it split into each of twelve companies. Based in the Royal Arsenal, beginning in 1770 the regiment was rehoused in the Royal Artillery Barracks on Woolwich Common. A major innovation in 1793 was the establishment of the Royal Horse Artillery, designed to provide mobile fire support for cavalry units; the regiment was involved in all major campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars. This period saw development of the Congreve rocket, their use in the War of 1812 is referenced in the line'rockets red glare' which appears in the Star-Spangled Banner.
After Waterloo in 1815, Europe was at peace until the 1853 Crimean War. Overall supervision of the regiment was transferred to the War Office when the Board of Ordnance was abolished in 1855 and the War Office School of Gunnery established in Shoeburyness in 1859; when the British East India Company was dissolved in 1862, its artillery function was absorbed by the Royal artillery, giving it a total strength of 29 horse batteries, 73 field batteries and 88 heavy batteries. Military expenditure estimates for 1872 list the regimental strength as a total of 34,943 men and officers, including those in India. On 1 July 1899, the Royal Artillery was divided into three groups: the Royal Horse Artillery of 21 batteries and the Royal Field Artillery of 95 batteries composed one group, while the coastal defence, mountain and heavy batteries were split off into another group named the Royal Garrison Artillery of 91 companies; the third group continued to be titled Royal Artillery, was responsible for ammunition storage and supply.
Which branch a gunner belonged to was indicated by metal shoulder titles. The RFA and RHA dressed as mounted men, whereas the RGA dressed like foot soldiers. In 1920 the rank of Bombardier was instituted in the Royal Artillery; the three sections functioned as separate corps. This arrangement lasted until 1924. In 1938, RA Brigades were renamed Regiments. During the World War II there were over 1 million men serving in 960 gunner regiments. In 1947 the Riding House Troop RHA was renamed The King's Troop RHA and, in 1951, the title of the regiment's colonel-in-chief became Captain General; when The Queen first visited the Troop after her accession, it was expected that it would become "The Queen's Troop", but Her Majesty announced that in honour of her father's decision it would remain "The King's Troop". The Royal Horse Artillery, which has separate traditions and insignia, still retains a distinct identity within the regiment. Before World War II, Royal Artillery recruits were required to be at least 5 feet 4 inches tall.
Men in mechanised units had to be at least 5 feet 8 inches tall. They enlisted for six years with the colours and a further six years with the reserve or four years and eight years, they trained at the Royal Artillery Depot in Woolwich. From its beginnings, the Royal Artillery has been based in south-east London. In 2003 it was decided to move the headquarters to Larkhill on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire (the RA's training ground, where the Royal School of Artille
An officer of one-star rank is a senior commander in many of the armed services holding a rank described by the NATO code of OF-6. The term is used by some armed forces which are not NATO members. One-star officers hold the rank of commodore, flotilla admiral, brigadier general, brigadier, or in the case of those air forces with a separate rank structure, air commodore. Officers of one-star rank are either the most junior of the flag and air officer ranks, or are not considered to hold the distinction at all. In many navies, one-star officers are not considered to be flag officers, although this is not always the case; the army and air force rank of brigadier general is, by definition, a general officer rank. However, the equivalent rank of brigadier is not designated as a general officer; the air force rank of air commodore is always considered to be an air-officer rank. In the Australian Defence Force the following ranks of commissioned officers are awarded one-star ranks: Commodore Brigadier Air commodore Commodore Brigadier-general/brigadier-général The maple leaf appears with St. Edward's crown and crossed sabre and baton.
Before unification in 1968, the rank of air commodore was the one-star rank equivalent for the Royal Canadian Air Force, brigadier for the Canadian Army. Army and Air Force: Brigadegeneral Generalarzt Generalapotheker Navy: Flottillenadmiral Admiralarzt Admiralapotheker Air commodore Brigadier Commodore Deputy inspector-general Brigadir Jendral - Indonesian Army, Indonesian Marine Corps and Indonesian National Police one-star rank Laksamana Pertama - Indonesian Navy and Indonesian Maritime Security Agency one-star rank Marsekal Pertama - Indonesian Air Force one-star rank Air commodore Brigadier Commodore Deputy Inspector General of Police Deputy Inspector General of Prisons Brigadier General Brigadier General Commodore Commodore Police Chief Superintendent Fire Chief Superintendent Jail Chief Superintendent Commodore Brigadier Air commodore Rear admiral Brigadier general In the modern naval services of Belgium, Denmark and Sweden, the one-star rank is flotilla admiral. Ranks and insignia of NATO Two-star rank
British Armed Forces
The British Armed Forces known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces, are the military services responsible for the defence of the United Kingdom, its overseas territories and the Crown dependencies. They promote Britain's wider interests, support international peacekeeping efforts and provide humanitarian aid. Since the formation of a Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707, the armed forces have seen action in a number of major wars involving the world's great powers, including the Seven Years' War, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, the First World War, the Second World War. Emerging victorious from conflicts has allowed Britain to establish itself as one of the world's leading military and economic powers. Today, the British Armed Forces consist of: the Royal Navy, a blue-water navy with a fleet of 75 commissioned ships, together with the Royal Marines, a specialised amphibious light infantry force; the British Armed Forces include standing forces, Regular Reserve, Volunteer Reserves and Sponsored Reserves.
Its Commander-in-chief is the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II, to whom members of the forces swear allegiance. The UK Parliament approves the continued existence of the British Army by passing an Armed Forces Act at least once every five years, as required by the Bill of Rights 1689; the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Royal Marines among with all other forces do not require this act. The armed forces are managed by the Defence Council of the Ministry of Defence, headed by the Secretary of State for Defence; the United Kingdom is one of five recognised nuclear powers, is a permanent member on the United Nations Security Council, is a founding and leading member of the NATO military alliance, is party to the Five Power Defence Arrangements. Overseas garrisons and facilities are maintained at Ascension Island, Belize, British Indian Ocean Territory, Canada, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Qatar and the United States. With the Acts of Union 1707, the armed forces of England and Scotland were merged into the armed forces of the Kingdom of Great Britain.
During the half of the seventeenth century, in particular, throughout the eighteenth century, British foreign policy sought to contain the expansion of rival European powers through military and commercial means – of its chief competitors. This saw Britain engage in a number of intense conflicts over colonial possessions and world trade, including a long string of Anglo-Spanish and Anglo-Dutch wars, as well as a series of "world wars" with France, such as. During the Napoleonic wars, the Royal Navy victory at Trafalgar under the command of Horatio Nelson marked the culmination of British maritime supremacy, left the Navy in a position of uncontested hegemony at sea. By 1815 and the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars, Britain had risen to become the world's dominant great power and the British Empire subsequently presided over a period of relative peace, known as Pax Britannica. With Britain's old rivals no-longer a threat, the nineteenth century saw the emergence of a new rival, the Russian Empire, a strategic competition in what became known as The Great Game for supremacy in Central Asia.
Britain feared that Russian expansionism in the region would threaten the Empire in India. In response, Britain undertook a number of pre-emptive actions against perceived Russian ambitions, including the First Anglo-Afghan War, the Second Anglo-Afghan War and the British expedition to Tibet. During this period, Britain sought to maintain the balance of power in Europe against Russian expansionism, who at the expense of the waning Ottoman Empire had ambitions to "carve up the European part of Turkey"; this led to British involvement in the Crimean War against the Russian Empire. The beginning of the twentieth century served to reduce tensions between Britain and the Russian Empire due to the emergence of a unified German Empire; the era brought about an Anglo-German naval arms race which encouraged significant advancements in maritime technology, in 1906, Britain had determined that its only naval enemy was Germany. The accumulated tensions in European relations broke out into the hostilities of the First World War, in what is recognised today, as the most devastating war in British military history, with nearly 800,000 men killed and over 2 million wounded.
Allied victory resulted in the defeat of the Central Powers, the end of the German Empire, the Treaty of Versailles and the establishment of the League of Nations. Although Germany had been defeated during the First World War, by 1933 fascism had given rise to Nazi Germany, which under the leadership of Adolf Hitler re-militarised in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles. Once again tensions accumulated in European relations, following Germany's invasion of Poland in September 1939, the Second World War began; the conflict was the most widespread in British history, with British Empire and Commonwealth troops fighting in campaigns from Europe and North Africa, to the Middle East and the Far East. 390,000 British Empire and Commonwealth troops lost their lives. Allied victory resulted in the defeat of the Axis powers and the
An officer of three-star rank is a senior commander in many of the armed services holding a rank described by the NATO code of OF-8. The term is used by some armed forces which are not NATO members. Three-star officers hold the rank of vice admiral, lieutenant general, or in the case of those air forces with a separate rank structure, air marshal. In the Australian Defence Force the following ranks of commissioned officers are awarded three-star ranks: Vice admiral Lieutenant general Air marshal Official rank insignia for Australian'three-star' officers do not use stars in the same fashion as the United States; the RAN does incorporate stars into the hardboard rank insignia for flag-rank officers but this is in conjunction with other devices. Unofficial star rank insignia are sometimes worn when serving with or visiting other military organisations in order to facilitate equivalent rank recognition; the Chiefs of all three services within the Australian Defence Force hold three-star rank as well as three joint positions: Vice Chief of Defence Force, Chief of Joint Operations and Chief Capability Development Group.
Inspector general of Police Lieutenant general Vice admiral Air marshal Vice Almirante General de Divisão Major Brigadeiro The three-star rank in Brazil is the second rank in a general career. The officers in this position are divisional commanders. Vice admiral / vice-amiral Lieutenant-general / lieutenant-général Three maple leaves appear with St. Edward's crown and crossed sabre and baton. Prince Charles holds the rank of vice-admiral in an honorary capacity. Before unification, the rank of air marshal was the three-star equivalent for the RCAF; the equivalent modern German three-star ranks of the Bundeswehr are as follows: Generalleutnant and Vizeadmiral Generaloberstabsarzt and AdmiraloberstabsarztNot to be confused with the Generalleutnant and Vizeadmiral of the Wehrmacht until 1945 or the National People's Army until 1990. Air marshal Lieutenant general Vice admiral Director general Letnan Jendral - Indonesian Army and Indonesian Marine Corps three-star rank Laksamana Madya - Indonesian Navy and Indonesian Maritime Security Agency three-star rank Marsekal Madya - Indonesian Air Force three-star rank Komisaris Jenderal - Indonesian National Police three-star rank Inspector-General of the Police Lieutenant-General Air-Marshal Vice-Admiral Lieutenant general Lieutenant general Vice admiral Vice admiral Deputy Commissioner Police Deputy Director General Vice admiral Lieutenant general Air marshal Vice admiral Lieutenant general A vice admiral commands a numbered fleet, responsible for all naval ships within its area of responsibility.
An Army or Marine Corps lieutenant general commands a corps-sized unit, while an Air Force lieutenant general commands a large Numbered Air Force consisting of several wings. Additionally, lieutenant generals and vice admirals of all services serve as high-level staff officers at various major command headquarters and the Pentagon as the heads of their departments. In the Russian and Soviet armies, the three-star rank is full admiral; this is a title. Most Warsaw Pact and Soviet-aligned countries adopted this rank; the rank is held by commanders of the ground forces, chiefs of military academies and commanders of military districts. Colonel general is considered a stepping stone to the rank of general of the army, itself essential to achieving the high rank of marshal of the Russian Federation; this title applies to three star officers of the air force, MVD, police and militia, internal troops, FSB/KGB, border guards and some others. In the navy, the three star rank is admiral. Corps general Ranks and insignia of NATO Four-star rank Two-star rank
The Royal Navy is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years War against the Kingdom of France; the modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century. From the middle decades of the 17th century, through the 18th century, the Royal Navy vied with the Dutch Navy and with the French Navy for maritime supremacy. From the mid 18th century, it was the world's most powerful navy until surpassed by the United States Navy during the Second World War; the Royal Navy played a key part in establishing the British Empire as the unmatched world power during the 19th and first part of the 20th centuries. Due to this historical prominence, it is common among non-Britons, to refer to it as "the Royal Navy" without qualification. Following World War I, the Royal Navy was reduced in size, although at the onset of World War II it was still the world's largest.
By the end of the war, the United States Navy had emerged as the world's largest. During the Cold War, the Royal Navy transformed into a anti-submarine force, hunting for Soviet submarines and active in the GIUK gap. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, its focus has returned to expeditionary operations around the world and remains one of the world's foremost blue-water navies. However, 21st century reductions in naval spending have led to a personnel shortage and a reduction in the number of warships; the Royal Navy maintains a fleet of technologically sophisticated ships and submarines including two aircraft carriers, two amphibious transport docks, four ballistic missile submarines, six nuclear fleet submarines, six guided missile destroyers, 13 frigates, 13 mine-countermeasure vessels and 22 patrol vessels. As of November 2018, there are 74 commissioned ships in the Royal Navy, plus 12 ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary; the RFA replenishes Royal Navy warships at sea, augments the Royal Navy's amphibious warfare capabilities through its three Bay-class landing ship vessels.
It works as a force multiplier for the Royal Navy doing patrols that frigates used to do. The total displacement of the Royal Navy is 408,750 tonnes; the Royal Navy is part of Her Majesty's Naval Service, which includes the Royal Marines. The professional head of the Naval Service is the First Sea Lord, an admiral and member of the Defence Council of the United Kingdom; the Defence Council delegates management of the Naval Service to the Admiralty Board, chaired by the Secretary of State for Defence. The Royal Navy operates three bases in the United Kingdom; as the seaborne branch of HM Armed Forces, the RN has various roles. As it stands today, the RN has stated its 6 major roles as detailed below in umbrella terms. Preventing Conflict – On a global and regional level Providing Security At Sea – To ensure the stability of international trade at sea International Partnerships – To help cement the relationship with the United Kingdom's allies Maintaining a Readiness To Fight – To protect the United Kingdom's interests across the globe Protecting the Economy – To safe guard vital trade routes to guarantee the United Kingdom's and its allies' economic prosperity at sea Providing Humanitarian Aid – To deliver a fast and effective response to global catastrophes The strength of the fleet of the Kingdom of England was an important element in the kingdom's power in the 10th century.
At one point Aethelred II had an large fleet built by a national levy of one ship for every 310 hides of land, but it is uncertain whether this was a standard or exceptional model for raising fleets. During the period of Danish rule in the 11th century, the authorities maintained a standing fleet by taxation, this continued for a time under the restored English regime of Edward the Confessor, who commanded fleets in person. English naval power declined as a result of the Norman conquest. Following the Battle of Hastings, the Norman navy that brought over William the Conqueror disappeared from records due to William receiving all of those ships from feudal obligations or because of some sort of leasing agreement which lasted only for the duration of the enterprise. More troubling, is the fact that there is no evidence that William adopted or kept the Anglo-Saxon ship mustering system, known as the scipfryd. Hardly noted after 1066, it appears that the Normans let the scipfryd languish so that by 1086, when the Doomsday Book was completed, it had ceased to exist.
According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, in 1068, Harold Godwinson's sons Godwine and Edmund conducted a ‘raiding-ship army’ which came from Ireland, raiding across the region and to the townships of Bristol and Somerset. In the following year of 1069, they returned with a bigger fleet which they sailed up the River Taw before being beaten back by a local earl near Devon. However, this made explicitly clear that the newly conquered England under Norman rule, in effect, ceded the Irish Sea to the Irish, the Vikings of Dublin, other Norwegians. Besides ceding away the Irish Sea, the Normans ceded the North Sea, a major area where Nordic peoples traveled. In 1069, this lack of naval presence in the North Sea allowed for the invasion an