Portal:British Army

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The British Army

Flag of the British Army (1938-present).svg

The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.

The modern British Army traces back to 1707, with an antecedent in the English Army that was created during the Restoration in 1660. The term "British Army" was adopted in 1707 after the Acts of Union between England and Scotland. Although all members of the British Army are expected to swear (or affirm) allegiance to Elizabeth II as their commander-in-chief, the Bill of Rights of 1689 requires parliamentary consent for the Crown to maintain a peacetime standing army; hence the reason it is not called the "Royal Army". Therefore, Parliament approves the Army by passing an Armed Forces Act at least once every five years. The Army is administered by the Ministry of Defence and commanded by the Chief of the General Staff.

The British Army has seen action in major wars between the world's great powers, including the Seven Years' War, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War and the First and Second World Wars. Britain's victories in these decisive wars allowed it to influence world events and establish itself as one of the world's leading military and economic powers. Since the end of the Cold War the British Army has been deployed to a number of conflict zones, often as part of an expeditionary force, a coalition force or part of a United Nations peacekeeping operation. Read more...

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Map of the Western Front
Following the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the German army opened the Western Front by first invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne. Both sides then dug in along a meandering line of fortified trenches, stretching from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier with France. This line remained essentially unchanged for most of the war.

Between 1915 and 1917 there were several major offensives along this front. The attacks employed massive artillery bombardments and massed infantry advances. However, a combination of entrenchments, machine gun nests, barbed wire, and artillery repeatedly inflicted severe casualties on the attackers and counter attacking defenders. As a result, no significant advances were made. In an effort to break the deadlock, this front saw the introduction of new military technology, including poison gas, aircraft, and tanks. But it was only after the adoption of improved tactics that some degree of mobility was restored. In spite of the generally stagnant nature of this front, this theater would prove decisive. The inexorable advance of the Allied armies in 1918 persuaded the German commanders that defeat was inevitable, and the government was forced to sue for conditions of an armistice.

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Selected biography

T. E. Lawrence at the arrival of Sir Herbert Samuel, H.B.M. (High Commissioner)
Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence, CB, DSO (16 August 1888 – 19 May 1935), known professionally as T. E. Lawrence, was a British soldier renowned especially for his liaison role during the Arab Revolt of 1916–18. His vivid writings and extroverted personality, along with the extraordinary breadth and variety of his activities and associations, have made him the object of fascination throughout the world as "Lawrence of Arabia".

At the outbreak of World War I Lawrence was a university post-graduate researcher who had for years travelled extensively within the Ottoman Empire provinces of the Levant (Transjordan and Palestine) and Mesopotamia (Syria and Iraq) under his own name. As such he became known to the Turkish Interior Ministry authorities and their German technical advisors. Lawrence came into contact with the Ottoman-German technical advisers, travelling over the German-designed, -built and -financed railways during the course of his researches.

Thus on the eve of World War I, the Ottoman authorities would have already regarded Lawrence as a foreigner who was known to have detailed knowledge of Ottoman frontier territories bordering on the British sphere of influence at Suez and in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Once the Ottoman Empire joined the war as a German ally, the Ottoman Interior Ministry would have regarded Lawrence and men like him as suspect enemy aliens who might be spies working for their governments.

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Selected unit

TRF of the Royal Gurkha Rifles
The Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR) is a regiment of the British Army, forming part of the Brigade of Gurkhas. The Royal Gurkha Rifles are now the sole infantry regiment of the British Army Gurkhas. Like the other Gurkha regiments of the British and Indian armies, the regiment is recruited from Gurkhas from Nepal, which is a nation independent of the United Kingdom and not a member of the Commonwealth. The regiment was formed in 1994 from the amalgamation of the four separate Gurkha regiments in the British Army:

The Royal Gurkha Rifles are considered to be some of the finest soldiers in the world, as is evidenced by the high regard they are held in for both their fighting skill, and their smartness of turnout on parade. Their standard of drill is considered to be on a par with that of the Foot Guards, so much so that on many occasions the regiment has mounted the guard at Buckingham Palace.

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Selected equipment

Challenger II.jpg
The FV4034 Challenger 2 is the main battle tank (MBT) currently in service with the armies of the United Kingdom and Oman. Built by the British company Vickers Defence Systems (now part of BAE Systems Land & Armaments). The manufacturer advertises it as the world's most reliable main battle tank. As of January 2008, two Challenger 2s have been damaged and one destroyed (by a friendly fire engagement with another Challenger 2) in combat.

Challenger 2 is an extensive redesign from Challenger 1, the MBT from which it was developed. It uses the basic hull and automotive parts of its predecessor but all else is new. Fewer than 5% of components are interchangeable.

Challenger 2 has now replaced Challenger 1 in service with the British Army and is also used by the Royal Army of Oman. The UK placed orders for 127 Challenger 2 tanks in 1991 and an additional 259 in 1994. Oman ordered 18 of the tanks in 1993 and a further 20 in November 1997. Challenger 2 entered service with the British Army in 1998, with the last delivered in 2002. It is expected to remain in service until 2035. Deliveries for Oman were completed in 2001. Challenger 2 has seen operational service in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq (2003–present). During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, this was the only tank operating in the Gulf that did not suffer a single loss to enemy fire. In one engagement a Challenger took 14 hits from rocket-propelled grenades and from one Milan anti tank missile. The tank had to disengage for repairs and was back in action within six hours.

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Blues and Royals Trooper
Credit: Adrian Pingstone
A Trooper of the Blues and Royals on mounted duty in Whitehall, London, England.


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Portal:British Army
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Army Motor ReserveArmy Regulation BillThomas Best (soldier)Francis BlanchainRichard BonythonBernard Brocas (Royalist)Cannon KopjeCombined Operations DirectorateCommando Basic Training CentreDonkeymanDublin BrigadeHumphrey GaleGeneral Service Enlistment ActInfantry Junior Leaders BattalionCharles Morgan (army officer)John Norris (army officer)Donat Henchy O'BrienNarendra Bir SinghThirty CommitteePaul Mainwaring JonesSiege of CartagenaCounty Galway VolunteersGurkha Security Guards LimitedKeeni-Meeni ServicesLifeguard (mercenary company)James Patterson StewardSaladin SecurityTrident MaritimeEuan McPherson (commander in Lord Loudoun's army) • Headquarters Theatre Troops (British Army current unit) • Remote Radar Head (RAF radar station classification) • No. 11 Wing RAFNo. 23 Wing RAFNo. 51 Wing RAFOperations in Waziristan (1921–1924)870 Naval Air Squadron871 Naval Air Squadron881 Naval Air Squadron883 Naval Air Squadron
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Battle of GermantownRoulementAddiscombe Military AcademyHome Defence ExecutiveOperation AccumulatorWilliam RowanRichard James DacresFrederick HainesCádiz Expedition (1625)Battle of Skerki BankCádiz ExpeditionRichard Clement MoodyArthur Reid LempriereHenry Spencer PalmerRoyal Engineers, Columbia detachment8x57mm IS (nomenclature as "7.92mm" by Poland and GB?) • William VavasourBattle of Foz de Arouce
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