17 major Army units to be axed
The Army is to lose 17 major units - including five infantry battalions - in the biggest re-structuring of the service for decades, it has been announced.
Setting out details of the Army 2020 plan, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said the changes were needed to create a "balanced, capable and adaptable force" for the future.
Among the units to disappear completely are four infantry battalions - the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, the 2nd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards), the 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment (Staffords), and the 2nd Battalion the Royal Welsh.
A fifth, the 5th Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders), will be reduced to a single public duties company carrying out ceremonial duties in Scotland.
The Armoured Corps will be reduced by two units with the merger of the Queen's Royal Lancers and the 9th/12th Royal Lancers and the 1st and 2nd Tank Regiments amalgamating.
There will also be reductions in the number of units in the Royal Artillery, the Royal Engineers, the Army Air Corps, the Royal Logistic Corps, the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and the Royal Military Police.
The changes - to be completed by the end of the decade - will see the regular Army cut from 102,000 to 82,000 while the Territorial Army will be doubled to 30,000 to give a combined force of 112,000.
The former head of the Army, General Lord Dannatt, warned that relying so heavily on reservists was "risky".
"We all recognise that placing more emphasis on the reserves is a good idea in theory but it has got to be made to work and more resources have got to be made available to the Territorial Army," he told the BBC.
"Governments make decisions. It has to carry some risk and it has got to manage those risks. So let's hope that the next decade is rather more peaceful than the last decade, but I wouldn't bet on it."