Size of an Army?????

Does anybody know the true amount of soldiers required to be held by a country in order for it to be called an Army?

For example....... :wink: :wink: If it were 100,000, then we here in the UK would be perilously close to no longer having an Army.

The next question therefore would be "what do you call a group of soldiers of less than 100,000?"

I have been informed that we would then have a Militia......

Anyone care to shed any truth to the above and if we should get a further cut will the Sec Of Def then rename us the British Militia?

Maybe this is why the cuts stopped when we reached 102,000!!
We copy the Spams nowadays, so this is from the website

SQUAD – Nine to 10 soldiers. Typically commanded by a sergeant or staff sergeant, a squad or section is the smallest element in Army structure, and its size is dependent on its function.

PLATOON – 16 to 44 soldiers. A platoon is led by a lieutenant with an NCO as second in command, and consists of two to four squads or sections.

COMPANY – 62 to 190 soldiers. Three to five platoons form a company, which is commanded by a captain with a first sergeant as the commander’s principal NCO assistant. An artillery unit of equivalent size is called a battery, and a comparable armored or air cavalry unit is called a troop.

BATTALION – 300 to 1,000 soldiers. Four to six companies make up a battalion, which is normally commanded by a lieutenant colonel with a command sergeant major as principal NCO assistant. A battalion is capable of independent operations of limited duration and scope. An armored or air cavalry unit of equivalent size is called a squadron.

BRIGADE – 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers. A brigade headquarters commands the tactical operations of two to five organic or attached combat battalions. Normally commanded by a colonel with a command sergeant major as senior NCO, brigades are employed on independent or semi-independent operations. Armored, cavalry, ranger and Special Forces units this size are categorized as regiments or groups.

DIVISION – 10,000 to 15,000 soldiers. Usually consisting of three brigade-sized elements and commanded by a major general, divisions are numbered and assigned missions based on their structures. The division performs major tactical operations for the corps and can conduct sustained battles and engagements.

CORPS – 20,000 to 45,000 soldiers. Two to five divisions constitute a corps, which is typically commanded by a lieutenant general. As the deployable level of command required to synchronize and sustain combat operations, the corps provides the framework for multi-national operations.

ARMY – 50,000+ soldiers. Typically commanded by a lieutenant general or higher, an army combines two or more corps. A theater army is the ranking Army component in a unified command, and it has operational and support responsibilities that are assigned by the theater commander in chief. The commander in chief and theater army commander may order formation of a field army to direct operations of assigned corps and divisions. An army group plans and directs campaigns in a theater, and is composed of two or more field armies under a designated commander. Army groups have not been employed by the Army since World War II.
It depends if you count just the "teeth" or both the "teeth" and tail parts in the count.

The BW battle group was 850 strong, formed around an Inf Bn. There are to be 36 of these, so 36 x 850 = 30,600. So if you count the "teeth" part then we have 2 Divs or a smaller-than average Corps.
1. A large body of people organized and trained for land warfare. OR
2. The entire military land forces of a country. OR
3. A tactical and administrative military unit consisting of a headquarters, two or more corps, and auxiliary forces.
From my Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus:


a. Organised armed land force (fair enough)
b. Vast number (........vast????)
c. Organised body (.....yeah right)

Anyone want to buy a dictionary?
The old chestnut about the British Army no longer being an army if it falls below 100,000 strong is not true. I've seen some attempt to claim that it's to do with the definitions of an "army" under international law, but there are no such definitions to do with size. An army is usually a full-time, standing force, whereas a militia is a reserve force often staffed by volunteers, but these are in no way enshrined in international law.

IF's definition is factually correct for a generic Army.

However as far as the British Army is concerned, CGS has publically stated that the 100,000 is the critical mass figure. Drop below this and the British Army as we know it today - will no longer be sustainable.

Food for thought for the future !

But remember:

In War it is not numbers that give the advantage. If you do not advance recklessly, and are able to consolidate your own strength, get a clear picture of the enemy's situation, and secure the full support of your men; it is enough.

Sun Tzu, The Art of war
As a comparison, slightly off topic. Yesterdays Telegraph comment by good old "Boris". This government has created 530,000 jobs in the civil service since comming to power in 1997.

If we fall below the stated minimum as described in this thread, the next time we are called upon to form up and kill people and/or police them somewhere in some god forsaken country them maybe we should send the requisite number of CS to the "hot spot". Oh yeah don't bother giving them addiquate training and only guns that "should work" but don't
FNUSNU said:
As far as I know, you need 100,000+ for an Army, any less and it's counted as a defence force!
I reckon it's an urban myth. I've heard it said loads of times, including MCM Div roadshow but no-one has ever come up with the source of the "factoid".

Makes for a good drunken argument though :D
FNUSNU said:
As far as I know, you need 100,000+ for an Army, any less and it's counted as a defence force!
Historically was not the German Army reduced to 100,000 after WWII and was thus deemed a "Home Defence Force" only to be used to protect its borders
GP3_Bunny said:
FNUSNU said:
As far as I know, you need 100,000+ for an Army, any less and it's counted as a defence force!
Historically was not the German Army reduced to 100,000 after WWII and was thus deemed a "Home Defence Force" only to be used to protect its borders
I dont think that explains it either, GP3_Bunny. Bundeswehr was only formed in 1955. Perhaps thinking of restricted pre-1935 Reichswehr.

Strength of Japanese "Self Defence Force" is well over 100K.

There must be some basis for this urban myth, but I cant think what it is. Dictionary? No. UK domestic law? No. International law? Nothing I can find. Possibly something historical.

100K is of course a landmark figure, and may well have been the agreed limit in a number of treaties and national constitutions. As a generalisation, a 'militia' or a treaty-limited 'self defence force' is likely to be smaller than an "army", and therefore more likely to be under 100K.
The Treaty of Versailles stated that the German Army was unable to grow to more than 100,000 men - The way that Adolf Hitler dealt with this issue was to allow the Sturm Abteilung (SA) to grow rapidly. In 1935 Hitler introduced military conscription. This enabled the German Army to train 300,000 conscripts a year. By 1938 it had 36 infantry divisions of 600,000 men. - Thanks for reminding me - :oops: :oops: :oops:

In essence 100,000 is the key figure and we are very close to this as you quite rightly indicated :evil:
thanks GP3_Bunny, it seems that once again the combined brains of arrse got there in the end.

If only we could put this power to some productive use... :wink:

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