The calamitous state of the British Army is revealed today in a leaked briefing. All but one of its 33 infantry battalions are dangerously short of combat-ready troops, according to the alarming Ministry of Defence report. Marked ‘Official: Sensitive’, it shows that key frontline units have barely half the manpower needed for operational deployment. A former defence minister said it brought into question whether the UK could still meet its obligations as a leading member of Nato. Despite the shortfalls, a number of infantry battalions face the axe in a review of defence expenditure and long-term strategy. The manpower crisis was blamed last night on years of poor pay and conditions and on the decision to outsource recruiting to a private firm. Colonel Richard Kemp said the £1.3billion contract handed to Capita had proved ‘disastrous’, with bureaucratic hurdles putting off potential recruits. The officer, who commanded forces in Afghanistan, added: ‘The Army is already too small to adequately protect Britain in an increasingly dangerous world. These further cuts are dangerously irresponsible.’ The MoD document – titled ‘Infantry Battalion Soldier Strength Summary, January 2021’ – lists how many soldiers each of the 33 battalions needs. The 1st Battalion, the Scots Guards, one… Read full this story
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