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4.3 out of 5 stars21
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most officers and soldiers within the British army confine their service to their own sphere of influence - gunners serving with the Royal Artillery, Paras serving with Airborne Forces are two examples with very few instances where such officers and soldiers would serve with, say, an armoured or engineer brigade. Consequently, many experienced service men and women are often unaware of `how the other half lives' inside the army and this book goes a long way to explain the makeup of those elements which may be unfamiliar.

This is not a book one can sit down and enjoy as a read. Instead it is a fully comprehensive explanation of the way in which the British army is structured - laid out in tabular form. As such, the 15 chapters are: Overview, Organisation, International Commitments, Units of the Regular Army (to late 2011), Household Cavalry and RAC, Armoured and Protected Vehicles, Infantry, Artillery, Army Aviation, Engineers, Communications, Combat Service Support, Joint Service Units, Recruiting - Selection and Training, Reserve Forces and Miscellaneous.

Infuriatingly, the book has no index which means that anyone wishing to look up a specific such as, say, Gurkhas, Guards or Medical Corps will have to troll through the detail contained below each chapter heading in order to find what they are searching for.

Two small errors relating to the formation of the Adjutant General's Corps in 1992; The Royal Army Chaplains Department is not part of the AGC. At the time of that particular phase of reorganisation, the RAChD refused to join because such a merger would place them within a structure of combatant troops and Chaplains are strictly non-combatant. In addition to those corps which did join the AGC and retained their primary function (pay, education, legal and police) all those former members of the WRAC (also disbanded at that time) who were not transferred to whichever regiment or corps in which they had been serving, were also absorbed.

Overall, this is a useful tool which should find a place within every orderly room as an item of reference.

NM
(British army major (retired))
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on 16 December 2012
If you have an interest in such things you will find this informative. Yes, it can be a bit tricky to find your way around but on the whole you can generally find what you are after. The book does seem to be pretty up to date and covers all the things you would expect - structure, equipment, training and includes the TA/Reserves as well.
All in all a very good reference work albeit not a particularly easy read.
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on 13 April 2013
A good basic snap-shot to the army today - covering briefly all aspects of deployment and arms. The detail is just right to give you a picture of what is going on in the British Army. However, for more information, you will need to consult other books. Great reference.
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on 23 July 2012
This book is one of the most insightful I have ever read.
Although it can get tedious for those who lack interest in The British Army, the layout and script are very easy to comprehend and Charles Heyman makes the most complicated system very simple.
The 'piece du resistance' is the selection of quotes at the back of the book. A good laugh and a very lighthearted way to finish a diction.
Overall this book is a good read, very intelligently done, and captures the 2020 changes in the Army, explaining the reasons for the change and making it all very simple.
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on 24 April 2013
I'm looking to join the army and was recommended to buy this book to brush up on all aspects of the British Army for interviews and tests, the book doesn't disappoint. Includes all you need to know and more, find out a lot I didn't know as well. Not set out like a story and is basically a book full of facts with descriptions so not a read for fun but for facts and knowledge
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on 26 July 2015
Contains everything you would expect to find, I wouldn't say it is a concise summary - it has a lot of information in it, in a very small font.

It's not always easy reading for this reason - there is so much information in it.

However, it is very detailed - it depends what you are looking for.
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on 10 September 2012
Good overview of the formation of today's Army before the Government savage our fighting forces even more. Suspect morale within the ever-decreasing Army described here is falling.
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on 24 February 2014
The deep in depth look at the army,it,s training ,equipment just a shame we cannot get a similar look at the morons ai Whitehall who have squandered the blood and money of this great institution.
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on 1 July 2014
Stating that it has been updated since 2010 is a load of crap to be honest. It still has a lot of relevant info but its literally just been a reprinted cover from 2009.
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on 23 February 2015
Very very detailed but overwhelmingly so and therefore quickly out of date. A good insight into the complexity of the armed forces though
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