Could the British Army Defeat Russia?

The British Army’s own think tank says ‘No’.

Shrunken army fears Russia could destroy it in an afternoon

The Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research (CHACR) has warned that the British Army could not effectively oppose a large modern army, such as that of the Russian Federation.

The story appeared in the Sunday Times on 22 January 2017, but the CHACR made the warning some time ago.

What is the CHACR? According to the British Army’s website:

The British Army’s Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research (CHACR) is a “think-tank” tasked with informing military doctrine and force development and acting as an academic hub for the generation of soldier-scholars.

As the British Army’s think tank, the CHACR’s opinion carries weight.

The report came out of two workshops conducted on 23 June and 29 July 2016, and published in the CHACR’s journal Ares and Athena in November 2016. It was a wide-ranging document covering everything from divisional structure to cyber warfare, discussing the role of the 77th Brigade, for example, alongside more conventional warfaring. But the cyber role also came in for criticism:

The Army is currently under-resourced in the realm of information activity […]

Restructuring under Army 2020 to develop a triparite force brings with it the danger of “losing the division in an afternoon”. The report highlighted that defence under-funding and poor public support were the chief problems, but remained confident that the British Army could react capably within its means.

The British Army today may not be able to defeat Russia single-handedly, but the Sunday Times‘s report overlooks the UK’s membership of NATO: it is unlikely that Britain would face Russia alone. Nor is it a new problem: it is unlikely that the British Army could have defeated Russia single-handedly at any point after the Second World War.

Photo: 1 Yorkshire Regiment (1 York) Battlegroup conducting live firing during Exercise Prairie Lightning (Crown Copyright).

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