British Army Structure


British Army Structure

The British Army consists of the General Staff and the deployable Field Army and the Regional Forces that support them, as well as Joint elements that work with the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. The Army carries out tasks given to it by the democratically elected Government of the United Kingdom (UK).

Its primary task is to help defend the interests of the UK, which consists of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This may involve service overseas as part of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) force or any other multi-national deployment. Soldiers may also be deployed on United Nations (UN) operations and used to help in other emergencies.


The regimental system

The increasing demands of imperial expansion together with inefficiencies highlighted during the Crimean War led to the Cardwell and Childers Reforms of the late 19th century. These gave the British Army its modern shape, and defined its regimental system. The Haldane Reforms of 1907 formally created the Territorial Force which still exists as the Army’s volunteer reserve component, which is now called the Army Reserve.

Command structure

The command structure is hierarchical with divisions and brigades responsible for administering groupings of smaller units. Major Units are regiment or battalion-sized with minor units being smaller, either company sized sub-units or platoons. All units within the service are either Regular (full-time) or Army Reserve (part-time), or a combination with sub-units of each type.


Naming conventions

Unit names differ for historical reasons. An infantry regiment is an administrative and ceremonial organisation only and may include several battalions. An infantry battalion is equivalent to a cavalry regiment. For operational tasks a battle group will be formed around a combat unit, supported by units or sub-units from other areas. Such an example would be a squadron of tanks attached to an armoured infantry battle group, together with a reconnaissance troop, artillery battery and engineering support.

The Army Reserve

This section explains the role of the Army Reserve (formerly known as the Territorial Army) and how it fits within the greater British Army organisation. For details of what it’s like to belong to the Army Reserve and recruiting information, please visit the Joining The Army section, where the role of the individual Reservist is explained in greater detail.

Who are the Army Reserve?

The average person spends 15 days a year surfing the web in their spare time. You can join the Army Reserve and get to do something different with your time – most roles ask for just 27 days a year. You’ll get to learn new skills, make friends and get paid too.

Want to find out more about what the Army Reserve is, and what they do?  Find out about the Army Reserve

The Army Reserve is the largest of the Reserve Forces, the others being the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR), the Royal Marines Reserve (RMR) and the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR). The Army Reserve provides support to the Regular Army at home and overseas, and throughout its history almost every major operation has seen reservists operate alongside their Regular counterparts.

  • Army Reserve Soldiers come from all walks of life and work part-time as soldiers for the British Army alongside full-time Regular soldiers.
  • Regular Reservists are soldiers who have left the Regular army but are recalled in times of need to come back and join operations alongside Regular soldiers.

The role of the Army Reserve

The Army Reserve has two clearly defined roles. Firstly, it provides highly trained soldiers who can work alongside the Regulars on missions in the UK and overseas. Secondly, it gives people who have specialist skills, like medics and engineers, a range of exciting opportunities to use them in new ways.

Over the next few years the role of the Army Reserve will be expanded and they will work even more closely with the rest of the Army. This means that there will be more opportunities for people who want to enjoy the challenges that come with being a Reservist.


How are we structured?

At the heart of life as a Reservist is the local Army Reserve Centre. This is where soldiers work and train, although they will travel as they gain experience. The Army Reserve Centre could be home to a detachment of over 30 soldiers, part of a company, squadron or battery of over 100 soldiers or a regiment of over 500 soldiers. Each of these elements has a military task and a variety of jobs within it.

Types of Army Reserve Unite

Regional units

Most of these units recruit locally; they make up the majority of the Army Reserve and have centres in most areas, so finding one near to you should not be difficult.


National units

National units differ slightly from Regional units in that they recruit from the whole of the UK. They provide highly specialised services and skills and have a 19 day training liability.


Unit Location Role Telephone
CVHQ Royal Artillery Woolwich, London
Bath, Somerset
Larkhill, Wiltshire
All Arms Staff Officers; Artillery Specialists and Instructors; Naval Gunfire Officers; Ground Liaison Officers and Forward Air Controllers 0208 781 3421
Army Air Corps Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk, Netheravon, Wilts Pool for individual replacements to AAC units and support to UK Operations (note – Pilots must have passed the Army Pilots Course) 01284 71 9148 or 01980 67 8292
United Kingdom Special Forces (Reserve) Various Reinforcements to UKSF Operations 0121 386 8224


Unit Location Role Telephone
170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group. Royal Engineers Chilwell, Notts Engineering Support 0115 957 2869/2873
2 Tp, 217 Fd Sqn (EOD). Royal Engineers Wimbish, Essex EOD and Search capability for national and international operations 01223 203608

Logistics and Support

Unit Location Role Telephone
77 Brigade


Military Stabilisation Support Group

Camberley, Surrey  

Project and development liaison between military and civilian agencies. This is a joint service, regular and reservist unit that deals with the all aspect of helping civilian reconstruction and administration usually after a national emergency such as conflict or a natural disaster.

01252 863377
77 Brigade


Media Operations Group

Hermitage, Thatcham, Berkshire Media operations as part of 77 Brigade, providing capability in support of the Army and Defence on operations, training and, if called upon, during civil and national emergencies. 01635 204204
Royal Army Chaplains Department Amport, Wilts To provide multicultural religious and pastoral support to the Army 01980 618032
Royal Military Police Various Assisting with all aspects of Policing duties when on exercise, attachment or when deployed 020 8674 0501
Military Provost Staff Colchester, Essex The Army’s own Prison Service support the Regular MPS on operations and by assisting at the Military Corrective Training Centre 01206 54 3591
AGC – Army Legal Services Worthy Down, Wilts To advise Army Commanders on all aspect of civil and military law 01980 61 5013
AGC – Educational and Training Services Various To provide military Professional Development, Cultural and Language education to Regular Army and Army Reserve units and personnel 01264 381605

Intelligence, IT and Comms

Unit Location Role Telephone
CRHQ Royal Signals Corsham, Wilts Provides fixed communications and IT Support for the armed forces 01225 81 4810

HR and Finance

Unit Location Role Telephone
Adjutant Generals Corps Worthy Down, Hants HR and Finance 01962 88 7522


Unit Location Role Telephone
Army Medical Services Strensall, Nr York Medical services including Doctors, Nurses, Dentists, Vets and other medical backgrounds 01904 44 2681

University Officers’ Training Corps

The mission of the University Officers’ Training Corps (UOTC) is to develop the leadership potential of selected university students and raise awareness of the Army ethos.

Unique Opportunity

The University Officers’ Training Corps (UOTC) is a Type B Army Reserve unit, but is very similar to a University society. It presents university students with a unique opportunity to develop themselves as leaders and challenge themselves by partaking in military exercises, adventurous training, sport, community projects and expeditions both in the UK and overseas.

There are 15 UOTCs and 2 Officer Training Regiments (OTRs – incorporating 2 UOTCs each) spread across the country. Catering for over 4000 university students drawn from about 150 Universities.

Each UOTC is effectively an independent regiment with its own cap badge, stable belt and traditions, and is usually based close to the University in self-contained buildings or within a local Army Reserve Centre.

Officer Cadet

UOTC members are classed as Officer Cadets (OCdt) and are members of the Army Reserve, paid when on duty. UOTC members cannot be mobilised for active service, have no obligation to join the armed forces when they leave university and can resign from the UOTC at any time.

The UOTC has two key roles. Firstly to provide a positive military experience to those OCdts who ultimately go on to civilian employment, so that they are minded to act as positive advocates for the Army and secondly, to aid in and facilitate the recruiting of regular and reserve officers.

The UOTC is led by officers and non-commissioned officers, who function as instructors and support staff, from the Regular Army and the Army Reserves.

Interested in joining?

There are 15 UOTCs and 2 Officer Training Regiments (OTRs – incorporating 2 OTCs each) spread across the country.  They cater for over 4000 university students drawn from about 150 Universities.