The UK Army is “effectively incapable” of matching Russia’s military might in case of a war, the force’s own think tank has warned.
The Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research (CHACR) warned in a paper that years of spending cuts have weakened the British Army so much that its only remaining fighting unit could be wiped out “in an afternoon” in case of a confrontation with countries like Russia.
“This raises an important question: is the British Army ready for such a possibility?” the report asked, according to The Sunday Times.
“If one merely sees preparedness through net manpower and kinetic force capacity, the answer might be a simple ‘no’: the British Army is at its smallest and has faced years of budget cuts,” added the report, which was compiled after a two-day seminar attended by serving and retired army officers.
“The prospect of ‘losing the division in an afternoon’ will weigh heavily on the chain of command, with strategic-to-tactical command compression almost inevitable as politicians appreciate the stakes involved in committing the division to battle,” the report added.
Experts have warned that the British Army cannot even repeat its 2003 mission in Iraq, where the government of former Prime Minister Tony Blair sent 120,000 members of the British armed forces and civilians to the Arab country.
Today, the UK Army can only deploy a brigade of 10,000 soldiers at best.
The British Ministry of Defense denied CHACR’s claims, saying that the British Army was ready to engage any threat.
“The army… is ready and capable of deploying a potent, large scale, war-fighting force at divisional level with sufficient notice,” the department told the Times.
The news of the report came days after Britain’s joint military drill with France, where the UK Army sent five tanks through the Channel Tunnel for the first time.
The test was apparently aimed at assessing the feasibility of deployment through the tunnel to Eastern Europe to confront Russia.
The UK and other members of the NATO military alliance have been deploying weapons on Russia’s western border to curb what they refer to as Moscow’s “aggression.”
British military officials have used the alleged Russian threat to convince the government and the Parliament to increase the country’s military spending.