Portal:British Army

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The British Army

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

The British Army is the land armed forces branch of the British Armed Forces. It came into being with unification of the governments and armed forces of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in the Acts of Union 1707. The new British Army incorporated regiments that had already existed in England and Scotland and was controlled by the War Office from London. As of 2006, the British Army includes roughly 107,730 active members and 38,460 Territorial Army members. The professional British Army has also been referred to as the Regular Army since the creation of the Territorial Army. The British Army is deployed in many of the world's war zones as part of a fighting force and in United Nations peacekeeping forces.

In contrast to the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force, the British Army does not include "Royal" in its title, because of its roots as a collection of disparate units, many of which do bear the "Royal" prefix, such as the Royal Artillery and the Royal Engineers.

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Flag of the British Army - Regular and Territorial
The Territorial Army (TA) is the principal reserve force of the British Army, the land armed forces branch of the United Kingdom, and composed mostly of part-time soldiers paid at the same rate, while engaged on military activities, as their Regular equivalents. It forms about a quarter of the overall strength of the Army. Its original purpose was home defence although the establishment of the Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve in 1967 involved a restructuring and revised doctrine leading to provision of routine support for the Regular army overseas. The Indian Territorial Army is based on its British counterpart.

Territorial soldiers, or Territorials, are volunteers who undergo military training in their spare time either as part of a formed local unit or as specialists in a professional field. TA members have a minimum commitment to serve 27 training days per annum, with specialists only required to serve 19 days, which normally includes a two-week annual camp. As a volunteer military reserve raised from local civilians, the TA may be considered a militia and several units bear the title "militia", although historically, the British official term Militia designated a specific force, distinct from the Volunteers and the Yeomanry. Territorials normally have a full-time job or career, which in some cases provides skills and expertise that are directly transferable to a specialist military role, such as NHS employees serving in TA Royal Army Medical Corps units. All Territorial personnel have their civilian jobs protected by employment law should they be compulsorily mobilised. There are currently approximately 34,000 serving members in the TA, although it has a target established strength of 42,000.

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Selected biography

Portrait of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, KP, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS (c. 1 May 1769 – 14 September 1852), was an Anglo-Irish soldier and statesman. He was one of the leading military and political figures of the nineteenth century.

Born in Ireland to a prominent Ascendancy family, he was commissioned an ensign in the British Army in 1787. Serving in Ireland as aide-de-camp to two successive Lords Lieutenant of Ireland he was also elected as member of Parliament in the Irish House of Commons. A colonel by 1796, Wellesley saw action in the Netherlands and later India where he fought in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War at the Battle of Seringapatam. He was later appointed Governor of Seringapatam and Mysore.

Wellesley soon rose to prominence as a General during the early Napoleonic Wars. In the Peninsular Campaign he led the Allied forces to victory against the French and after the Battle of Vitoria in 1813, was granted a Dukedom and promoted to the rank of field marshal. Serving as the ambassador to France following the exile of Napoleon, he returned to fight Napoleon's forces after the Hundred Days. This culminated at the Battle of Waterloo, which saw the defeat of the French Emperor and a decisive coalition victory.

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The Army Air Corps is a component of the British Army. There are eight regiments of the AAC as well as five Independent Flights and two Independent Squadrons deployed in support of British Army operations across the world. They are located in Britain, Belize, Brunei, Canada, and Germany. The AAC provides the organic offensive air elements of 16th Air Assault Brigade.

The Army first took to the sky when the requirement for observation aircraft was realised during the First World War, with the creation of the Royal Flying Corps.
Between the wars, the Army used RAF co-operation squadrons, though a true army presence did not occur until WWII.
At the beginning of WWII, Royal Artillery officers, with the assistance of RAF technicians, flew Auster observation aircraft under RAF-owned Air Observation Post Squadrons. Twelve such squadrons were raised—three of which belonged to the RCAF—and each performed vital duties in a wide array of missions in many theatres.
In early WWII, Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, announced the establishment of a new branch of army aviation, the Army Air Corps, formed in 1942. The corps initially comprised the Glider Pilot Regiment and the Parachute Battalions (subsequently the Parachute Regiment), and the Air Observation Post Squadrons. In 1944, the re-formed SAS Regiment was added to the Corps.

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Selected equipment

Accuracy International Arctic Warfare - Psg 90.jpg

The Accuracy International Arctic Warfare rifle is a family of bolt-action sniper rifles designed and manufactured by the British company Accuracy International. It has proved popular as a civilian, police and military rifle since its introduction in the 1980s.

Generally Artic Warfare rifles are outfitted with a Schmidt & Bender PM II telescopic sight with fixed power of magnification or with variable magnification. Variable telescopic sights can be used if the operator wants more flexibility to shoot at varying ranges, or when a wide field of view is required. Accuracy International actively promotes fitting the German made Schmidt & Bender PM II product line as sighting components on their rifles, which is almost unique for a rifle manufacturer. The German Army preferred a telescopic sight made by Zeiss over Accuracy Internationals preference.

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