Formation, Structure & Setup

sas tshirts British Army Formation & Structure

The structure of the British Army is complex, due to the different origins of its various constituent parts. It is broadly split into the Regular Army (full-time soldiers and units) and the Territorial Army (part-time soldiers and units).

In terms of its military structure, it has two parallel organisations, one administrative and one operational.


  • Divisions administrating all military units, both Regular and TA, within a geographical area (e.g., 5 Div. based in Shrewsbury).
    • Brigade in a non fighting capacity (e.g., 43 (Wessex) Brigade based in Bulford).


The major operational command is Headquarters Land Forces (incorporating Land Command and Headquarters Adjutant General).

Corps made up of two or more divisions (now unlikely to be deployed as a purely national formation due to the size of the British Army); e.g., the ARRC.

  • Division made up of two or three brigades with an HQ element and support troops. Commanded by a Major-general.
    • Brigade made up of between three and five battalions, an HQ element and associated support troops. Commanded by a Brigadier.
      • Battalion of about 700 soldiers, made up of five companies commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel, or
      • Battlegroup. This is a mixed formation of armour, infantry, artillery, engineers and support units, and its structure is task specific. It is formed around the core of either an armoured regiment or infantry battalion, and has other units added or removed from it as necessary. A battlegroup will typically consist of between 600 and 700 soldiers under the command of a Lieutenant Colonel.
        • Company of about 100 soldiers, typically in three platoons, commanded by a Major.
          • Platoon of about 30 soldiers, commanded by a Second Lieutenant, Lieutenant or, for specialist platoons such as recce or anti-tank, a Captain.
            • Section of about 8 to 10 soldiers, commanded by a Corporal.

A number of elements of the British Army use alternative terms for battalion, company and platoon. These include the Royal Armoured Corps, Corps of Royal Engineers, Royal Logistic Corps, and the Royal Corps of Signals who use regiment (battalion), squadron (company) and troop (platoon). The Royal Artillery are unique in using the term regiment in place of both corps andbattalion, they also replace company with battery and platoon with troop.


The British Army currently has 6 divisions with two (1st Armoured Division and 3rd Infantry Division) being deployable.

Name Headquarters Subunits 1ukdiv.gif 1st Armoured Division Herford, Germany 3 Armoured or Mechanised Brigades. British 2nd Infantry Division.png 2nd Infantry Division Craigiehall, near Edinburgh Four regional brigades. British 3rd Infantry Division2.png 3rd Infantry Division Bulford, Salisbury Two mechanized brigades, one light brigade and one infantry brigade. British 4th Infantry Division Insignia (New).png 4th Infantry Division Aldershot Three regional brigades. 5div.gif 5th Infantry Division Shrewsbury Three regional brigades, one air assault brigade and Colchester Garrison. Sixdivlogo.PNG 6th Infantry Division York Deployable divisional HQ. Created to support the UK’s rotational command of HQ Regional Command (South).

Aviation components

The British Army operates alongside the Royal Air Force as part of a Joint Force, but the army also has its own Army Air Corps.

<< back