Army to lose 17 units amid job cuts


Defence Secretary Philip Hammond: "Reductions will fall across the various arms are services of the Army"

Related Stories

The Army will lose 17 major units as it cuts 20,000 regular soldiers by 2020, the defence secretary has said.

Philip Hammond told MPs that the units to go included four infantry battalions and two sections in the Armoured Corps.

He said the Army would be a "forward-looking, modern fighting machine", but Labour said the cuts were short-sighted and could put the UK at risk.

The number of regular soldiers is set to fall from 102,000 to 82,000, while reservists will double to 30,000.

The Army will be about half the size it was during the Cold War era - it had more than 163,000 troops in 1978.

'Flexible and agile'

In the infantry, Mr Hammond said, no current regiments or cap badges would be lost.

He said: "After inheriting a massive overspend from the last government, we have had to make tough decisions to implement our vision of a formidable, adaptable and flexible armed forces.


The Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond has conceded that morale in the Army is "fragile". The scrapping of 17 units will not help. Nor will two more rounds of redundancies in the Army still to be announced.

The next few years will involve a lot more pain. But the chief of the general staff does now at least have a clear sense of direction. The Army of 2020 will be smaller and more reliant on reservists.

But there's the promise that troops will be well equipped and properly trained.

There are still many unanswered questions. How will they double the number of reservists? How can the government persuade individuals and their employers to give up even more time?

Without those reservists the plan simply won't work.

"After a decade of enduring operations, we need to transform the Army and build a balanced, capable and adaptable force ready to face the future.

"Army 2020 will create a more flexible and agile Army. Unlike the past, it will be set on a firm foundation of men and material, well trained, well equipped and fully funded.

"The regimental system will remain the bedrock of the Army's fighting future."

The four infantry battalions to disappear are the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, the 2nd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards), the 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment and the 2nd Battalion the Royal Welsh.

A fifth infantry battalion, the 5th Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders), will become a single company to carry out public duties in Scotland.

The Armoured Corps will be reduced by two units with the mergers of the Queen's Royal Lancers and the 9th/12th Royal Lancers and the 1st and 2nd Tank Regiments.

The Royal Artillery, the Royal Engineers, the Army Air Corps, the Royal Logistic Corps, the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and the Royal Military Police will also be affected.

'Greater strain'

Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said: "New threats are emerging and weak and failing states outnumber strong by two to one.

"There's an arc of instability from west African states to central and south-east Asia. Non-state actors are on the rise, climate and population change are new sources of tension. The United States is pivoting towards the Pacific, while the European end of Nato will take greater strain."

The restructuring of the Army was drawn up under a plan by Lieutenant General Nick Carter, and referred to as Army 2020.

Details of the other changes are:

  • The Royal Artillery will be reduced from 13 to 12 units with the withdrawal of the 39th Regiment Royal Artillery
  • The Royal Engineers will be reduced from 14 to 11 units with the withdrawal of 24 and 28 Engineer Regiments and 67 Works Group
  • The Army Air Corps will reduce from five to four units as 1 Regiment AAC merges with 9 Regiment AAC
  • The Royal Logistic Corps will be reduced from 15 to 12 units with 1 and 2 Logistic Support Regiments withdrawn from the Order of Battle and 23 Pioneer Regiment disbanded
  • The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers will be reduced to seven units with the withdrawal of 101 Force Support Battalion
  • 5 Regiment Royal Military Police will be removed

Ahead of the announcement, the former head of the Army, Lord Dannatt, said there could be as many as 11,000 compulsory redundancies.

Philippa Tuckman, a military injury specialist lawyer, said more care would need to be taken of the part-time soldiers.

"If the MoD is to rely more on the TA and reserves we need to be reassured that the support mechanisms and aftercare the MoD have in place for regular service personnel, including re-training to re-trade after an injury, are available to them as well."


Infantry regiments losing battalions

Mercian Regiment Royal Regiment of Scotland Royal Welsh Regiment Yorkshire Regiment Royal Fusiliers

3rd Battalion

5th Battalion

2nd Battalion

2nd Battalion

2nd Battalion


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 695.

    The police now the army, god forbid there is economic collapse with the ensuing chaos, but think the recent riots but spread all over the country and we'll wish we had more of both.

  • rate this

    Comment number 694.

    How about some of the millions raised with Help The Heros funds raised helping find work for the out of work soldiers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 693.


    "Our democracy is "not fit for purpose" and should be replaced with one that is."

    What Democracy? I thought we lived in a Plutocratic Oligarchy where Cronyism rules the day dressed up as the illusion of Democracy to appease the masses.

  • rate this

    Comment number 692.

    Although I'm sure its not the reason we need to adapt to Britains place in the world and admit we are no longer a world power and STOP getting involved in overseas wars unless its part of a UN force. Our armed forces should be about defending Britain and British Terrorities. Shame we can't admit we are no longer a world power when its to do with overseas aid. All MPs are out of touch.

  • rate this

    Comment number 691.

    Our democracy is "not fit for purpose" and should be replaced with one that is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 690.

    It saddens me to see comments such as HardoHearing makes. Irrespective of the Forces cuts, it is well known that the biggest wastages are caused by the MOD, and that politicians will spend, or waste, every penny and more they take from us. No one knows if it will benefit the UK in the long term. What about the billions they will spend on a replacement for Trident, or a ridiculous HS Rail system.

  • rate this

    Comment number 689.

    I'd welcome a Euro Army, the uniforms would be a lot better for a start.

    A bayonet is a weapon with a worker on each end.

  • rate this

    Comment number 688.

    Good news,the savings made in respect of the compensation payments for stressed soldiers and wages will be far less than benefit payments.

  • rate this

    Comment number 687.

    People who blatantly lie claiming 'there is no money left' seem to have forgotten the tax havens. Its time they were made illegal or subject to significant tax which would solve our economic problems Capitalism this model is holding the nation to ransom and should be considered subversive due to its ideological extremism.

  • rate this

    Comment number 686.

    " Rambo
    Defence spending is only about 4% of what is spent on the NHS."

    Err, no it's about 40%. The biggest threat to this country comes from people who can't count!

  • rate this

    Comment number 685.

    I think it would be good for a new world order for every country to throw away their weaponry.

    Those at the top, who make money from arms would disagree.

    Some would like to see the world and the people owned by them as slaves..

  • rate this

    Comment number 684.

    The biggest threat to the people of this country comes from the NHS.

    Defence spending is only about 4% of what is spent on the NHS.

    Ironically the biggest threat to our economic security is in fact overpaid Doctors !

  • rate this

    Comment number 683.

    676.Alasdair Campbell
    .... our Armed Services now are approaching the point when they become little more than a token Self Defence Force, incapable of anything other than small scale, short-term operations
    Isn't self-defence collectively with our Allies chiefly what our Armed Forces are for in the 21st century ? Or do you envisage some kind of offensive operations by Britain acting alone?

  • rate this

    Comment number 682.

    679. Theophane

    Goodness gracious Name Number 6 - why didn't i think of that?
    So you are capable of cognitive thinking then?

  • rate this

    Comment number 681.


    "lay down their lives to defend our right to suck hamburgers and watch talent shows."

    You suck hamburgers? Perhaps you should trying chewing. Much better for digestion. ;)

  • rate this

    Comment number 680.

    Is there anything Cameron et al value?

  • rate this

    Comment number 679.


    Goodness gracious Name Number 6 - why didn't i think of that?

    :slaps forehead:

    Of course. We'll make up the shortfall by recruiting soldiers from the Empire. Or at least, maybe we can get find some other foreigners who are willing to lay down their lives to defend our right to suck hamburgers and watch talent shows.

  • rate this

    Comment number 678.

    I hope in all these cut backs in the army some of the civilian jobs go as well so army personel can do the jobs they have been trained for.As for the comments made saying that the army should get on with it i bet if a war was to breakout you would be one of the first to shout "where is the army" .

  • rate this

    Comment number 677.

    669.Arden Forester
    However unpalatable it may be, the war in Afghanistan is a legal war as it was in response to 9/11 and when a UK NATO ally (USA) had been attacked.

    The war in Iraq was Illegal.

    Each, however, was not really expected and is the reason for caution when cutting HM Forces dramatically.

    Without proper air cover (Aircraft Carriers / Planes), they would be lost anyway

  • rate this

    Comment number 676.

    "Quantity has a quality of its own' and our Armed Services now are approaching the point when they become little more than a token Self Defence Force, incapable of anything other than small scale, short-term operations. The core responsibility of any Government is the protection and defence of its electorate. Agility and flexibility are fine so long as you have 'quantity' ie sustainability.


Page 1 of 35


More UK stories



Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.