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Defence cuts means the only remaining fighting unit in the British Army could be completely destroyed in an afternoon by a 'competent enemy' such as Russia, a new report has warned.

An army think-tank has said years of reduced budgets means Britain's ability to remain an effective fighting force has been 'effectively removed'.

They also say that cuts have resulted in a 'hollowing out or depletion of the army's capabilities', especially when faced with a severe threat.

The report was compiled by the Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research (CHACR), the army's own think tank, which is based at the royal military academy in Sandhurst.

It was written after a two-day seminar last year attended by both serving army officers, veterans and military academics and comes amid heightening tensions between the UK and Russia.

And although the report admits that Britain is not facing an immediate risk of a direct attack it adds the country could be dragged into conflict if there is aggression towards allies or countries of strategic importance.

The report explains: 'This raises an important question: is the British Army ready for such a possibility?

'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.

'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 also adds how if the UK were at war, there would be 'political pressure' to try and safeguard the fighting division.
The last time the fighting division was sent to war was in 2003 during the Iraq War but according to experts if they were to be deployed now, at best they would only be able to deploy a brigade of 10,000 troops.

However, the Ministry of Defence told the Sunday Times: 'The army... is ready and capable of deploying a potent, large scale, war-fighting force at divisional level with sufficient notice.'

News of the report comes as the British Army sent a tank through the Channel Tunnel last week for the first time as the military prepares to respond to Russian ground forces in Europe.

Soldiers sent tanks, the Warrior fighting vehicle and recovery vehicles across to France on train wagons in the early hours on Wednesday.

They made the 40-minute return journey a few hours later.

The forces have used the Channel Tunnel to ferry supplies and equipment but never armoured vehicles.

A Challenger tank and matching recovery vehicle, a Warrior armoured fighting vehicle, a Warrior recovery vehicle and a reconnaissance vehicle were all sent across the Channel during the exercise.

The army is said to be looking for ways to transport its tanks once bases in Germany are shut down at the end of the decade.
A defence source said: 'This was not a charge to Eastern Europe. You have to practice before you try and move hundreds of tanks through the tunnel.

'It is testing the viability of using the tunnel should we be required to move our armoured troops.'
However the move comes as Britain's relations with Russia are in deep freeze after Moscow blamed MI6 for the dossier of sordid claims about new US president Donald Trump.

Date
2017.01.23 / 09:48
Author
Axar.az
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