British Army: 2300AD
Territorial Army Volunteers and Reserves
Thanks to Bryn Monnery, David Gillon and others at the Etranger Group.
The British Army's reputation has been formed largely by its all-volunteer regulars fighting expeditionary battles far from the shores of the British Isles. This has left the defence of Britain in the hands of Volunteers or Militia in various guises. However the role of volunteers in major wars when they reinforce the regulars should not be underestimated. At various times volunteers have provided individual volunteers to reinforce regular units, such as in the Napoleonic and Twilight Wars. Sometimes that have provided formed units of up to divisional size, such as during the 1st and 2nd World Wars. On occasions they have done both, such as during the Boer War.
Nevertheless the British Army has always been somewhat wary of its reserve formations, preferring to use only regular troops in combat unless forced otherwise by the demands of global warfare. However the Twilight War forced a radical overhaul in the way things were done. The loss of 90% of the regular army and destruction of recruiting areas forced many ancient regiments to amalgamate. Whilst pacifying Britain as well as conducting Britains other commitments was beyond the Army's capabilities. Instead part time formations were used to garrison the devastated parts of the country, which produced a tradition of volunteer service that exists to this day.
Since the Defence Review of 2260 the TAVR consists of two types of recruits. Ex-regular Reserve soldiers who serve out their reserve commitment in their local units, and Volunteers from the area with no previous military experience. There are also Regular Army Special Reserves (mostly Officers and SNCO) who can be called up directly, but serve with no unit.
Within the TAVR there is a separate category of soldiers, and sometimes whole battalions, who are on higher standards of readiness. Know as the 'TA Reaction Force' they are required to undertake more training and be available to be mobilised at short notice. In return they receive higher rates of pay. Many individuals from the TARF have volunteered to serve with regular units on the French Arm and are a vital reserve of skilled soldiers.
Training in the TA normally occurs on one weekday evening a week, two weekends a month, and one two week camp a year. TARF members are required to undertake two fortnightly camps a year (and have government employment protection.) Many TAVR soldiers also undertake more training than this taking advantages of the many courses (most run by the Regular Army) that are available.
The TAVR wins many plaudits for the dedication of its soldiers. Their individual and small unit skills can often rival those of regular troops. However the lack of opportunity to train in large units mean that substantial training would be required before these units could take the field in units larger than company size. Standard equipment is the same as the regular Army, however heavier equipment is normally a generation or two behind that of the regulars.
TA infantry battalions are attached to regiments like their regular counterparts. Sometimes these regiments have both regular and TA battalions and in some cases they have only one type. The Guards, Gurkhas, Royal German Legion and the Royal Greys have no TA battalions.
The infantry regiments are organised into administrative divisions. These Divisions are not fighting formations but provide depots for centralised training of recruits to the units within the Division. As well as the divisions there are several units whose training is undertaken separately. The TA battalions send their recruits to the Divisional establishments for training and this reinforces links between regular and TA.
Some regiments recruit battalions from different parts of the country, and where appropriate this is noted after each battalion in italics. Newly raised battalions are noted (*).
The Scottish Division
Obviously all of these units are recruited from Scotland.
The Queen's Division
The Queen's Division is primarily drawn from the south and east Midlands of England, although the Royal Fusiliers have a large proportion of soldiers drawn from Newcastle and Northumbria. The QUEENS and RRF also have battalions in the London Regiment.
The King's Division
All of the TAVR battalions of the King's Division are recruited from the north of England.
The Prince of Wales's Division
The Prince of Wales's Division is formed from regiments drawn from Wales and the west and midlands of England.
The Light Division
The Light Infantry battalions are drawn from distinct geographical areas like their regular counterparts. The RGJ battalions however are recruited from across the country and trained at central locations.
The Parachute Regiment
The Parachute Regiment maintains three TAVR battalions, all of which are maintained at high standards of training and readiness. These units have some of the highest proportions of ex-regulars in its ranks. Many individual volunteers have seen service with the regular battalions on the French Arm.
The London Regiment
The London Regiment is a peculiar formation, composed of many individual battalions from a variety of sources including other major regiments such as the Queen's and Fusiliers but also single battalion regiments such as the 'Exiles' like the London Scottish. The battalions can each trace their history back to heritage from their own regiments and have retained a distinct culture in the time since London's long recovery from destruction when they were combined as a single formation. The London Regiment is a powerful formation within the Army and has successfully lobbied for the re-creation of a new battalion, the Artists Rifles, from within its ranks. Obviously the regiment's battalions are recruited from the capital. Their initial recruit training is conducted with the Queen's Division.
The Special Air Service
The vast majority of TAVR battalions are in the GS category however mechanised and close recce units are also present. Generally each battalion follows a similar system to the regulars with three rifle companies, a fire support company and an HQ company. As noted above these units would require substantial training in order to take the field against a first class enemy, however levels of individual and small unit skills are high.
Infantry Battalion Mechanised
These are battalions mounted in armoured vehicles and trained extensively in manoeuvre warfare. They are the back bone of the Mechanised Brigades and work closely alongside Yeomanry regiments. They are currently equipped mainly with the modern Rifleman IFV, which has become available thanks to the early re-equipment of the regular Army with the Templer.
Infantry Battalion General Service
GS battalions are standard 'foot' infantry units, mobile only with trucks or other soft-skinned vehicles. The GS battalions have only a few support weapons whose platoons are really training cadres rather than properly formed. Nevertheless they are capable of putting up good resistance to any hostile actions.
Infantry Battalion Close Recce
This is a fairly recent tasking in the British Army, and these battalions are attached to Divisional and Corps Recce Groups. They are trained to supplement Medium Recce units by providing small units of troops for OP, close recce and surveillance duties.
Infantry Battalion Combat Walker
The is one single TAVR CW battalion attached to 18 Mech Bde, 12 RGJ. This battalion has pioneered the use of CW assets by the TAVR and is the only operational battalion in the brigade. The battalion consists of four companies each with two CW platoons, and has a strength of 200 Bowman CW. The battalion does not operate en-masse but rather is dispersed to the Mechanised or Infantry Divisions when required.
Copyright 2009, D Hebditch