what was the current army strenght around 1982/83

Discussion in 'The Lamp and Sandbag II - The Tall Story Strikes B' started by DieHard, Aug 27, 2009.

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  1. You see so much going on the telly and newspapers about understrenth uk forces in hotspots around the world, if continuous goverments and so on had kept the strenth up im sure the job would of easier but at what exetent? i remember i think that around 1984 we had an army strenght of about 300,000 where did it all go wrong ?
  2. We haven't been at 300,000 for decades!

    I think we had about 160,000 soldiers in the 1980s. As the Berlin Wall crumbled in 1989 (20 years ago - my, how time flies!), things started changing and the brown envelopes were first sent out in 1992, IIRC. I received three but they didn't sack me at the time!

    IIRC, the plan was to reduce to 110,000 but MARILYN interfered and we never got anywhere near that figure!!!


    (Manning and Recruiting in the Lean Years of the Nineties)
  3. According to my book All the World’s Armies published in 1979 the British Army was then

    160837 strong including 5740 women and 7400 men enlisted outside of Britain. This was 51.34% of the Regular Forces.

    There were

    10 Armd Rgts
    9Armd Recce Rgts
    47 Inf Bns
    3 Para Bns
    5 Gurkha Bn
    1 Missile Rgt RA
    3 AD Rgts
    1Hvy Rgt RA
    13 Fd Rgts RA
    1 Cdo Rgt
    1 Anti Tk Rgt
    1 Loc Rgt

    10 Engr Rgt
    6 Av Rgt.

    There were 116800 Regular Reservists

    60700 TAVR making up

    2 Armd Recce Rgt
    38 Inf Bn
    2 SAS Rgt
    2 Med Rgt
    3 Lt AD Rgt RA
    7 Engr Rgts.

    There was also 11 Bns of UDR.
  4. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    In 1987 I did a day-release HND as preparation for civvy life. First day on the Business Studies module, the lecturer set us an assignment. He'd ask each of us in turn what we did and set us a relevant task. Finding I worked for Army Pay and Records at the RAPC Computer Centre, he told me to write a report telling me the number of soldiers currently serving in the Army.

    Part of the assignment was that he gave us no information about how to do the assignment but to make the response appropriate.

    I went to work the following day and stuck my head in the MOD Stats 3(A) department in the next Nissen hut and asked the question. I also pointed out to them what the object was and was the information classified in any way.

    So the answer to the question was that there were some 110,000 soldiers and a fractional number of that of officers (I forget). So that is my answer to the question posted here.

    For completeness of the story. A week later I handed him an AF 3 Memo (IIRC?) roughly hand-written but fully and correctly filled in.

    I got full marks for my assignment. All the people who had waffled on for four pages of typed or printed (computers were generally a luxury in 1987) A4 got zero marks because the point of the assignment was to present the information requested in an appropriate manner.

    EDIT: my figure relates entirely to regular army.
  5. In 1990, the total number of UK Service personnel including Ghurkas was 305,700.
    I must admit, I don't remember the figures but have a look here:
    This was just before the forces lost around 40% of the total manpower due to the cold war legacy. So I reckon the figure of 300,000 you remember was the total including RAF, RN as well as the Army.
  6. Is this a competition to establish who can screw the English language beyond comprehension?
  7. Explanation kindly requested.
  8. I dunno what the numbers were, but in the 50s it seemed that the UK had almost as many squaddies as civvies, they were everywhere. You could open a random broom cupboard and there would be at least three in there playing cards or kipping.

    That was the era in which the make work schemes ie, paining grass green and whitewashing kerb stones became prevalent. What to do with 'em all?
    Still, they only cost a couple of quid per week each, so no great hardship.
  9. First post :wink:
  10. Stonker

    Stonker On ROPs

    From memory (I was in Berlin between 1981-83) the Regular Army was about 130,000 (actual strength) in 1982 - but memeory is a fragile thing, and I could be off by a big margin.

    It was also pretty dam' near fully manned (a rare experience during my 30 years 'in') - Maggie's Army of Unemployed was at 3Million, nobody was in a hurry to get out, and a lot of folk wanted to get in, who in more prosperous times wouldn't have give soldiering a 2nd look.

    Bearing in mind that that year was pretty much the climax of the cold war, and of UK defence spending, I don't think the Regular Army was very much bigger even at the height of the NI troubles.
  11. Stonker

    Stonker On ROPs

  12. Quite a few extra in this lot as well

    It would be interesting to see if the number of Star ranked officers has gone up or down as well. :)
  13. Stonker

    Stonker On ROPs

    The total has prob'ly gone down - not least 'cos Inge binned the rank of FM (once he had been made into one)

    The real test would be to comare the ratio of Generals : Rank and File then and now.

    Back then we had then the highest no of generals per square soldier in NATO.
  14. Stonker, I don't know about binning the rank of Field Marshall, wasn't that just a war time appointment?

    Could be wrong of course, I mostly am these days.
  15. Stonker

    Stonker On ROPs

    1. I do :wink:

    2. No, it wasn't :?

    3. You are :D