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The British Army - A Pocket Guide 2000-2001

Peter Brown

The British Army - A Pocket Guide 2000-2001 by Charles Heyman Published by Pen & Sword Books Ltd, 47 Church Street, Barnsley S70 2AS, England ISBN 0 8052 710 4 Soft covers, 180 pages, 10.5 x 15cm UK price 4.95 email sales@pen-sword.demon.co.uk web site www.pen-and-sword.co.uk

Most studies of armed forces have several drawbacks. They tend to be large and expensive, as well as being hard to read and full of jargon which is not easy for the outsider to follow. Luckily, this is not true of this book. This seventh edition follows the same pocket format and is as usual packed with facts and figures.  Updated to cover recent reorganisations, not much is left out. Included are details of the UK, the role of the armed forces in peace and wartime, the higher command structure, Britain's part within NATO, and budget figures. Separate chapters on each arm of service describe them, their role and their main equipment with diagrams show how each type of unit is organised and silhouettes depicting equipment types The chapter on armour shows the difference between tank and recce regiments and the capabilities of their tanks, likewise that one on infantry does the same for armoured, mechanised, light role and Territorial Army units and the same format is followed for the other arms and support services.

Coverage also includes the Territorial Army - non-regular, part time forces - with background on how it would be brought into action when required. Shorter sections also cover Royal Marines and RAF Regiment, and there are details of RAF aircraft and
helicopters used for troop transport Regimental titles - so often complicated in British service - are listed in full and with their standard abbreviations. Recruitment, training, pay rates and  rank structures and typical career profiles for an officer and soldier are given. Also useful is a glossary of terms and abbreviations. In short, a lot is packed into a book of such small size. Inevitably something has to be left out, so do not expect detailed descriptions of each type of tank, small arm or artillery piece or a long account of uniforms which anyway need a full book to themselves in larger format than this. What is here is the full facts on the Army at the start of the century. Its only real drawback is that, to get everything in, the text is printed in a small size but that should not be a problem to modellers! The book is fantastic value as it includes so much at such a small price, and is a very useful reference book which should answer a lot of questions.

The publishers have other books on the other services the same format. For a general view, the new edition of "The Armed Forces of the United Kingdom 1999-2000" also by Charles Heyman, ISBN 0 8502 621 3 price 5.95, is in the pocket format and covers all three services. As would be expected it does
not cover them is an much detail as the Army one alone but it is still a valuable source of basic information for anyone wanting to have the facts to hand.

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