The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
World War I
World War I known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history, it is one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide. On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, leading to the July Crisis. In response, on 23 July Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia. Serbia's reply failed to satisfy the Austrians, the two moved to a war footing. A network of interlocking alliances enlarged the crisis from a bilateral issue in the Balkans to one involving most of Europe.
By July 1914, the great powers of Europe were divided into two coalitions: the Triple Entente—consisting of France and Britain—and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. Russia felt it necessary to back Serbia and, after Austria-Hungary shelled the Serbian capital of Belgrade on the 28th, partial mobilisation was approved. General Russian mobilisation was announced on the evening of 30 July; when Russia failed to comply, Germany declared war on 1 August in support of Austria-Hungary, with Austria-Hungary following suit on 6th. German strategy for a war on two fronts against France and Russia was to concentrate the bulk of its army in the West to defeat France within four weeks shift forces to the East before Russia could mobilise. On 2 August, Germany demanded free passage through Belgium, an essential element in achieving a quick victory over France; when this was refused, German forces invaded Belgium on 3 August and declared war on France the same day. On 12 August and France declared war on Austria-Hungary.
In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Alliance, opening fronts in the Caucasus and the Sinai Peninsula. The war was fought in and drew upon each power's colonial empire as well, spreading the conflict to Africa and across the globe; the Entente and its allies would become known as the Allied Powers, while the grouping of Austria-Hungary and their allies would become known as the Central Powers. The German advance into France was halted at the Battle of the Marne and by the end of 1914, the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, marked by a long series of trench lines that changed little until 1917. In 1915, Italy opened a front in the Alps. Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 and Greece joined the Allies in 1917, expanding the war in the Balkans; the United States remained neutral, although by doing nothing to prevent the Allies from procuring American supplies whilst the Allied blockade prevented the Germans from doing the same the U. S. became an important supplier of war material to the Allies.
After the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, the revelation that the Germans were trying to incite Mexico to make war on the United States, the U. S. declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917. Trained American forces would not begin arriving at the front in large numbers until mid-1918, but the American Expeditionary Force would reach some two million troops. Though Serbia was defeated in 1915, Romania joined the Allied Powers in 1916 only to be defeated in 1917, none of the great powers were knocked out of the war until 1918; the 1917 February Revolution in Russia replaced the Tsarist autocracy with the Provisional Government, but continuing discontent at the cost of the war led to the October Revolution, the creation of the Soviet Socialist Republic, the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by the new government in March 1918, ending Russia's involvement in the war. This allowed the transfer of large numbers of German troops from the East to the Western Front, resulting in the German March 1918 Offensive.
This offensive was successful, but the Allies rallied and drove the Germans back in their Hundred Days Offensive. Bulgaria was the first Central Power to sign an armistice—the Armistice of Salonica on 29 September 1918. On 30 October, the Ottoman Empire capitulated. On 4 November, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to the Armistice of Villa Giusti after being decisively defeated by Italy in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. With its allies defeated, revolution at home, the military no longer willing to fight, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated on 9 November and Germany signed an armistice on 11 November 1918. World War I was a significant turning point in the political, cultural and social climate of the world; the war and its immediate aftermath sparked numerous uprisings. The Big Four (Britain, the United States, It
South African Army Infantry Formation
The South African Army Infantry Formation supervises all infantry within the South African Army. South African Infantry originated as the Infantry Branch of the Union Defence Forces in 1913. In 1915, the defence forces established the South African Overseas Expeditionary Force for war service outside Southern Africa, it included the South African Infantry, comprising twelve battalions, the Cape Corps, comprising two battalions of Coloured volunteers. These units were disbanded in 1919; the Infantry Branch was enlarged in 1934, the mounted rifles regiments were converted to infantry in 1935. In 1943, the Infantry Branch was incorporated into the new South African Armoured Corps, divided into armour and infantry branches after World War II. Based on the findings of a committee led by Brigader H. B. Klopper in late 1953, it was recommended that some English-speaking units be converted to Afrikaans medium units, while other regiments should be amalgamated or contracted. Despite representations made by some of the units affected, the reorganization went ahead from January 1954.
In 1956 a further reorganization was made necessary by the considerable increase in the number of citizens balloted for training in some areas. The Army was accordingly reorganized to consist of 32 Afrikaan-speaking units and 20 English medium units; the changes were implemented with effect from 22 September 1956. In 1954, the SAAC's Infantry Branch, the personnel of the South African Instructional Corps, were formed into the South African Infantry Corps. In 1972, continuous national service was increased to twelve months and by 1974, there were ten full-time motorised infantry battalions, besides the parachute battalion; the infantry reserve comprised 42 citizen force infantry battalions, a parachute regiment and over 200 commando internal defence units. Plans were in place to establish volunteer black infantry units along ethnic lines, comparable to the Cape Corps; the volunteer black infantry unit plans bore fruit with the formation of 21, 111, 113, 115, 116, 117, 118, 121 and 151 Battalions.
Another battalion, 114 Battalion, was planned but not formed. Many of their members were Service Volunteers, members of all the population groups who were not compelled to do National Service; the various black battalions amounted to about 16,000 troops, some of the members of these battalions became Auxiliary or Permanent Force members. In the post apartheid era, no ethnic or language based infantry exist at all. By 1997, several units were reorganised: 13 SAI was amalgamated into 14 SAI at Umtata, 151 Battalion was amalgamated into 1 SAI 113 Battalion was amalgamated into 7 SAI 61 Mechanised Battalion Group was disbanded and elements incorporated into 8 SAI 16 SAI was disbanded 1997. In the 1980s Regiment Port Natal appears to have been a component of 84 Motorised Brigade, it was amalgamated with the Durban Light Infantry about 1999. In 2000 the Corps became known as the South African Army Infantry Formation; the first woman battalion commander appears to have been appointed in 2001. The specialised horse/motorcycle/dog-using battalion, 12 South African Infantry Battalion, was disbanded in April 2005.
The previous General Officer Commanding up to 2012 was Lieutenant General Themba Nkabinde. Since 1994, South Africa's Infantry units have supported numerous operations for the United Nations and the African Union across the continent, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Force Intervention Brigade in particular, Burundi, in the Comores, with AMIS/UNMIS in the Sudan; the infantry corps contains a total of 15 regular battalions in a variety of different roles: Mechanised Infantry - 2 battalions Motorised Infantry - 8 battalions Light Infantry - 1 battalion Parachute Infantry - 1 battalion Air Assault Infantry - 1 battalion Seaborne Infantry - 1 battalion Basic Training - 1 battalion The Oudtshoorn army base houses the South African Infantry School. The infantry corps contains a total of 26 reserve battalions in the following roles: Mechanised Infantry - 6 battalions Motorised Infantry - 14 battalions Light Infantry - 3 battalions Parachute Infantry - 1 battalion Air Assault Infantry - 2 battalions Within the South African Army, there are six main types of infantry: 44 Parachute Regiment – a brigade sized regiment consisting of the following units: Regular Force1 Parachute Battalion, 44 Pathfinder Platoon, 44 Training Wing, Reserve Force3 Parachute Battalion, Air Assault infantry are trained to be deployed using helicopters, parachute or aircraft.
Regular Force6 South African Infantry Battalion Reserve ForceFirst City Regiment Prince Alfred's Guard Regular Force9 South African Infantry Battalion Reserve ForceCape Town Rifles, Fast mobile skirmishers. Regular Force21 South African Infantry Battalion Reserve ForceRand Light Infantry Regiment Oos Rand Regiment Paul Kruger Mechanised infantry are equipped with the Ratel armoured personnel carrier, a wheeled vehicle that can deploy over all terrain. Regular Force1 South African Infantry Battalion 8 South African Infantry Battalion Reserve ForceRegiment de la Rey Regiment Northern Transvaal Cape Town Highlanders Regiment Regiment Westelike Provinsi
Witwatersrand Rifles Regiment
The Witwatersrand Rifles Regiment is a mechanised infantry regiment of the South African Army. As a reserve unit, it has a status equivalent to that of a British Army Reserve or United States Army National Guard unit; the Witwatersrand Rifles was formed by proclamation on 1 May 1903 and absorbed the members of the Railway Pioneer Regiment and the Rand Rifles, both of which had fought on the British side during the Second Anglo-Boer War of 1899 – 1902. As befitted a regiment based from the gold-rich Witwatersrand region, it had a close relationship with the mining establishment of the time; the regiment first saw action during the Bambata Rebellion of 1906, when it deployed a contingent to Zululand. In 1907 the regiment was further strengthened when it absorbed the Transvaal Light Infantry Regiment; the regiment was mobilised again. The first action that it took part in was the South African invasion of German South-West Africa. After the successful conclusion of this campaign all members volunteered for overseas service.
Most of the volunteers were assigned to the 3rd South African Infantry Battalion. The most well-known action that this unit took part in was the Battle of Delville Wood in the Somme. Other members of the regiment served in the Witwatersrand Rifles company of 7th Infantry ACF, which served in German East Africa against the forces of General von Lettow-Vorbeck; the inter-war years saw the regiment deployed during the 1922 Rand Revolt, when rebellious South African Communist Party white miners attempted to overthrow the government of General Jan Smuts. In the early 1930s the regiment affiliated with the Cameronians Regiment of the British Army; as a consequence, the Witwatersrand Rifles adopted the uniform and many of the traditions of this Scottish Lowland regiment. Despite the Cameronians' disbandment in 1968, the Wits Rifles still continues this heritage today; as a result of the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the regiment was expanded to two battalions. However, due to the battalions being used to supply replacements in a piecemeal fashion to depleted South African units taking part in the North African Campaign, the Witwatersrand Rifles was only deployed as a coherent unit in 1943.
During its service in North Africa, the Witwatersrand Rifles was amalgamated with Regiment de la Rey. This combined regiment, nicknamed the "Royal Boere", saw extensive action in Italy as part of the South African 6th Armoured Division at Monte Caprara and Monte Stanco. From 1970 until the first all-race democratic elections in 1994, the regiment saw action in the South African Border War in South-West Africa and Angola as well as on the South Africa/Botswana border and in South African townships; when conscription ended in 1993, the regiment began an active recruitment drive to maintain reserve troop strength. During South Africa's second democratic election in 1999, the regiment deployed 180 volunteers in support of the South African Police Service. In the 21st century the Witwatersrand Rifles Regiment continues to attract volunteers for regular part-time training. To re-establish and maintain the its Scottish links, the regiment has formed alliances with the Cameronians and the King's Own Scottish Borderers.
Members of the regiment continue to maintain their traditional Scottish Lowland uniforms and traditions and uphold high standards of discipline and effective military training. The regiment has an active pipe band as well as one of the top shooting teams in the country and is ably supported by a Regimental Council, a active Regimental Association and a Ladies Committee. Over the past few years the regiment has provided troops for internal operations in support of the South African Police Service and on the border as well as for United Nations peacekeeping operations in the DRC and the Sudan; the Regiment holds the Freedom of the Cities of Johannesburg and Germiston as well as the town of Barberton. HM Queen Elizabeth Lt Col. J. E. Capper, RE Regimental motto: "Pro Deo et Patria"; this motto was adopted in 1961, when the Republic of South Africa became a republic, prior to 1961 the motto was "Pro Deo et Rege et Patria". Regimental march: "Within a Mile O' Edinburgh Town". Regimental anniversaries: Regimental Day, Monte Stanco Day.
Regimental Freedoms: Germiston, Barberton. Regimental badge: A Maltese cross within a wreath of ten Protea flowers, with a rifle on each side of the cross; the cross is surmounted by a stringed bugle and in the centre of the cross is a mine shaft in a circlet. At the top of the wreath is the Cameronian Star and on the base of the wreath is a scroll with the inscription "Pro Deo et Patria". Regimental headdress: Glengarry or Kilmarnoch with black hackle. Regimental tartan: Douglas; as a Rifle regiment, the Witwatersrand Rifles does not carry colours. Instead the honours banner are displayed on the pipes of the Pipe Major; the Witwatersrand Rifles has the following battle honours: First World War: South West Africa 1914–1915 Second World War: Italy 1944–45 Cassino II Allerona Florence Monte Querciabella Monte Fili The Greve Gothic Line Monte Stanco Monte Salvaro Sole/Cap
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
Infantry is the branch of an army that engages in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry and tank forces. Known as foot soldiers, infantry traditionally relies on moving by foot between combats as well, but may use mounts, military vehicles, or other transport. Infantry make up a large portion of all armed forces in most nations, bear the largest brunt in warfare, as measured by casualties, deprivation, or physical and psychological stress; the first military forces in history were infantry. In antiquity, infantry were armed with an early melee weapon such as a spear, axe or sword, or an early ranged weapon like a javelin, sling, or bow, with a few infantrymen having both a melee and a ranged weapon. With the development of gunpowder, infantry began converting to firearms. By the time of Napoleonic warfare, infantry and artillery formed a basic triad of ground forces, though infantry remained the most numerous. With armoured warfare, armoured fighting vehicles have replaced the horses of cavalry, airpower has added a new dimension to ground combat, but infantry remains pivotal to all modern combined arms operations.
Infantry have much greater local situational awareness than other military forces, due to their inherent intimate contact with the battlefield. Infantry can more recognise and respond to local conditions and changing enemy weapons or tactics, they can operate in a wide range of terrain inaccessible to military vehicles, can operate with a lower logistical burden. Infantry are the most delivered forces to ground combat areas, by simple and reliable marching, or by trucks, sea or air transport, they can be augmented with a variety of crew-served weapons, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles. In English, use of the term infantry began about the 1570s, describing soldiers who march and fight on foot; the word derives from Middle French infanterie, from older Italian infanteria, from Latin īnfāns, from which English gets infant. The individual-soldier term infantryman was not coined until 1837. In modern usage, foot soldiers of any era are now considered infantrymen. From the mid-18th century until 1881 the British Army named its infantry as numbered regiments "of Foot" to distinguish them from cavalry and dragoon regiments.
Infantry equipped with special weapons were named after that weapon, such as grenadiers for their grenades, or fusiliers for their fusils. These names can persist long after the weapon speciality. More in modern times, infantry with special tactics are named for their roles, such as commandos, snipers and militia. Dragoons were created. However, if light cavalry was lacking in an army, any available dragoons might be assigned their duties. Conversely, starting about the mid-19th century, regular cavalry have been forced to spend more of their time dismounted in combat due to the ever-increasing effectiveness of enemy infantry firearms, thus most cavalry transitioned to mounted infantry. As with grenadiers, the dragoon and cavalry designations can be retained long after their horses, such as in the Royal Dragoon Guards, Royal Lancers, King's Royal Hussars. Motorised infantry have trucks and other unarmed vehicles for non-combat movement, but are still infantry since they leave their vehicles for any combat.
Most modern infantry have vehicle transport, to the point where infantry being motorised is assumed, the few exceptions might be identified as modern light infantry, or "leg infantry" colloquially. Mechanised infantry go beyond motorised, having transport vehicles with combat abilities, armoured personnel carriers, providing at least some options for combat without leaving their vehicles. In modern infantry, some APCs have evolved to be infantry fighting vehicles, which are transport vehicles with more substantial combat abilities, approaching those of light tanks; some well-equipped mechanised infantry can be designated as armoured infantry. Given that infantry forces also have some tanks, given that most armoured forces have more mechanised infantry units than tank units in their organisation, the distinction between mechanised infantry and armour forces has blurred; the terms "infantry", "armour", "cavalry" used in the official names for military units like divisions, brigades, or regiments might be better understood as a description of their expected balance of defensive and mobility roles, rather than just use of vehicles.
Some modern mechanised infantry units are termed cavalry or armoured cavalry though they never had horses, to e
Libya the State of Libya, is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad to the south, Niger to the southwest, Algeria to the west, Tunisia to the northwest. The sovereign state is made of three historical regions: Tripolitania and Cyrenaica. With an area of 1.8 million square kilometres, Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa, is the 16th largest country in the world. Libya has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world; the largest city and capital, Tripoli, is located in western Libya and contains over one million of Libya's six million people. The second-largest city is Benghazi, located in eastern Libya. Libya has been inhabited by Berbers since the late Bronze Age; the Phoenicians established trading posts in western Libya, ancient Greek colonists established city-states in eastern Libya. Libya was variously ruled by Carthaginians, Persians and Greeks before becoming a part of the Roman Empire.
Libya was an early centre of Christianity. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the area of Libya was occupied by the Vandals until the 7th century, when invasions brought Islam to the region. In the 16th century, the Spanish Empire and the Knights of St John occupied Tripoli, until Ottoman rule began in 1551. Libya was involved in the Barbary Wars of the 19th centuries. Ottoman rule continued until the Italian occupation of Libya resulted in the temporary Italian Libya colony from 1911 to 1947. During the Second World War, Libya was an important area of warfare in the North African Campaign; the Italian population went into decline. Libya became independent as a kingdom in 1951. A military coup in 1969 overthrew King Idris I; the "bloodless" coup leader Muammar Gaddafi ruled the country from 1969 and the Libyan Cultural Revolution in 1973 until he was overthrown and killed in the 2011 Libyan Civil War. Two authorities claimed to govern Libya: the Council of Deputies in Tobruk and the 2014 General National Congress in Tripoli, which considered itself the continuation of the General National Congress, elected in 2012.
After UN-led peace talks between the Tobruk and Tripoli governments, a unified interim UN-backed Government of National Accord was established in 2015, the GNC disbanded to support it. Parts of Libya remain outside either government's control, with various Islamist and tribal militias administering some areas; as of July 2017, talks are still ongoing between the GNA and the Tobruk-based authorities to end the strife and unify the divided establishments of the state, including the Libyan National Army and the Central Bank of Libya. Libya is a member of the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Arab League, the OIC and OPEC; the country's official religion is Islam, with 96.6% of the Libyan population being Sunni Muslims. The Latin name Libya referred to the region west of the Nile corresponding to its central location in North Africa visited by many Mediterranean cultures which referred to its original inhabitants as the "Libúē." The name Libya was introduced in 1934 for Italian Libya, reviving the historical name for Northwest Africa, from the ancient Greek Λιβύη.
It was intended to supplant terms applied to Ottoman Tripolitania, the coastal region of what is today Libya having been ruled by the Ottoman Empire from 1551 to 1911, as the Eyalet of Tripolitania. The name "Libya" was brought back into use in 1903 by Italian geographer Federico Minutilli. Libya gained independence in 1951 as the United Libyan Kingdom, changing its name to the Kingdom of Libya in 1963. Following a coup d'état led by Muammar Gaddafi in 1969, the name of the state was changed to the Libyan Arab Republic; the official name was "Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" from 1977 to 1986, "Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" from 1986 to 2011. The National Transitional Council, established in 2011, referred to the state as "Libya"; the UN formally recognized the country as "Libya" in September 2011, based on a request from the Permanent Mission of Libya citing the Libyan interim Constitutional Declaration of 3 August 2011. In November 2011, the ISO 3166-1 was altered to reflect the new country name "Libya" in English, "Libye" in French.
In December 2017 the Permanent Mission of Libya to the United Nations informed the United Nations that the country's official name was henceforth the "State of Libya". The coastal plain of Libya was inhabited by Neolithic peoples from as early as 8000 BC; the Afroasiatic ancestors of the Berber people are assumed to have spread into the area by the Late Bronze Age. The earliest known name of such a tribe was the Garamantes, based in Germa; the Phoenicians were the first to establish trading posts in Libya. By the 5th century BC, the greatest of the Phoenician colonies, had extended its hegemony across much of North Africa, where a distinctive civilization, known as Punic, came into being. In 630 BC, the ancient Greeks colonized the area around Barca in Eastern Libya and founded the city of Cyrene. Within 200 years, four more important Greek cities were established in the area that became known as