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...

Selected article

The Battle of Waterloo by William Sadler
The Battle of Waterloo, fought on Sunday 18 June 1815, was Napoleon Bonaparte's last battle. His defeat put a final end to his rule as Emperor of the French. Waterloo also marked the end of the period known as the Hundred Days, which began in March 1815 after Napoleon's return from Elba, where he had been exiled after his defeats at the Battle of Leipzig in 1813 and the campaigns of 1814 in France.

After Napoleon returned to power, many states which had previously resisted his rule formed the Seventh Coalition and began to mobilise armies to oppose him. The first two armies to assemble, close to the French north eastern border, were a Prussian army under the command of Gebhard von Blücher and an Anglo-allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington. Napoleon chose to attack them in the hope of destroying them before they, with other members of the Seventh Coalition (who were not such an immediate threat), could join in a coordinated invasion of France. The campaign consisted of four major battles - Quatre Bras (16 June), Ligny (16 June), Waterloo (18 June), and Wavre (18 June-19 June) - with Waterloo proving decisive.

It rained heavily overnight on 17 June, so Napoleon delayed giving battle until noon on 18 June to allow the ground to dry out. Wellington's army positioned across the Brussels road on the Mont St Jean escarpment withstood repeated attacks by the French until in the evening they counter-attacked and drove the French from the field. Simultaneously the Prussians — arriving in force — broke through Napoleon's right flank adding their weight to the attack. Losses were heavy on all sides.

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Selected biography

Portrait of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough KG (26 May/24 June 1650 – 16 June 1722) (O.S), was an English soldier and statesman whose career spanned the reigns of five monarchs throughout the late 17th and early 18th centuries. His rise to prominence began as a lowly page in the royal court of Stuart England, but his natural courage on the field of battle soon ensured quick promotion and recognition from his master and mentor James, Duke of York. When James became king in 1685, Churchill played a major role in crushing the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion; but just three years later, Churchill abandoned his Catholic king for the Protestant William of Orange.

Honoured at William's coronation, Churchill, now the Earl of Marlborough, served with distinction in Ireland and Flanders during the Nine Years' War. However, throughout the reign of William and Mary, their relationship with Marlborough and his influential wife Sarah, remained cool. After damaging allegations of collusion with the exiled court of King James, Marlborough was dismissed from all civil and military offices and temporarily imprisoned in the Tower of London. Only after the death of Mary, and the threat of another major European war, did Marlborough return to favour with William. Promoted to Captain-General of British forces, and later to a dukedom, Marlborough found international fame in the War of the Spanish Succession where his place in history as one of Europe's great generals was assured.

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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

FV107 CVR(T) Scimitar.png

FV107 Scimitar is an armoured reconnaissance vehicle (sometimes classed as a light tank) used by the British Army. It is very similar to the FV101 Scorpion but mounts a high velocity 30 mm L21 RARDEN cannon instead of a 76 mm cannon.The FV107 Scimitar is one of the CVR(T) series of vehicles and entered service in 1971.Initially the engine was the Jaguar J60 4.2-litre 6-cylinder petrol engine the same as used by several Jaguar cars. This has now been replaced by a Cummins BTA 5.9 diesel engine in British Army Scimitars, under the CVR(T) Life Extension Program (LEP).As with the FV101 Scorpion, the Scimitar saw active service with the Blues and Royals in the Falklands War of 1982.

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Dismounted members of the Blues & Royals (left) and Life Guards (right), preparing to line the route of the procession to St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle for the annual service of the Order of the Garter.
Credit: Philip Allfrey
Dismounted members of the Blues & Royals (left) and Life Guards (right), preparing to line the route of the procession to St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle for the annual service of the Order of the Garter.


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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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Siege of CalcuttaOperation TelescopeÅndalsnes landingsVyvyan EveleghRichard Vincent, Baron Vincent of ColeshillJohn Chapple (British Army officer)
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