The British Army Guide 2012 – 2013
By Charles Heyman
Pen and Sword (www.pen-and-sword.co.uk)
RRP GBP £9.99
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This is an extremely informative guide book on the current British Army. It contains a wide multitude of facts, data and information. If you are seeking some fact on the modern army then this book should be your first point of call. It is split into a number of sections and then there are sub-chapters devoted to each topic in greater detail.
The first section is devoted to considering general information such as the population, finances of the UK, current force levels and a description of the various facets of the UK’s armed forces. These include the Ministry of Defence, Chief of the Defence Staff, Permanent Joint Headquarters etc. Then in the next section the Army as an organisation is detailed. These pages have data on the Army Board, Staff Branches, Land Equipment, Army Brigades, Air Assault Brigade and Regional Brigades.
The role of the British Army is then placed into context within NATO and its role within the European Union. The army’s commitments to these multi-national organisations are stated such as the Allied Rapid Reaction Force, Allied Command Operations and Eurocorps. Current EU military operations are also given (Operations Althea and Atalanta), the EUTM in Somalia and Afghanistan (Operation Herrick and the ISAF).
The construction of the Regular Army, the Household Cavalry and the Royal Armoured Corps are presented in Chapters 4 and 5. These chapters list the component formations such as the Guards Division, the Scottish Division, The Rifles, the Brigade of Gurkhas, Armoured Regiments and the Joint CBRN [Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear] Regiment.
Details of the armoured and protective vehicles used by the Army and their artillery equipment are given. The structure of the infantry, army aviation, engineers, communication branches, combat service support arms (Royal Logistics Corps, REME, Army Medical Services) and Adjutant General’s Corps are presented. Details are also given on the Joint Service Units such as the Special Forces, Joint Helicopter Command, Defence Medical Services and the Ministry of Defence Police.
Critical to the functioning of the army is the recruitment, selection and training of its personnel and details of this are noted. The Basic Training, Specialist and In-service training programmes are given. There is a chapter on Reserve Forces (primarily the Territorial Army) and the final chapter has a “Miscellaneous” title which includes the ranking structure of the armed forces, the UK defence industry structure, the Royal Marines and the RAF Regiment. The book then concludes with a few sections on dates, Northern Ireland, casualty figures since 1945 and quotations.
This is a multi faceted book and covers numerous aspects of the Army. The facts it presents are extremely useful and it is likely to become the premier fact book on the Army. The author has collected an immense amount of data and has presented this data in an easy to use format. He has done a splendid job at presenting these facts and should be commended for his outstanding work.