by: Brian Culbertson [ ]
Originally published on:
“The British Army since 2000” is a 64 page, semi-gloss paperback authored by Brigadier James Tanner with Illustrations by Mr. Peter Dennis. This is Brigadier Tanners first book to be published by Osprey Publishing as part of the “Elite” series, number 202, of source/reference material for historians, modelers, or anyone that has an interest in these subjects.
This book covers the history of military forces, artifacts, personalities and techniques of warfare used by the British Army since 2000 which goes into how it has had to adopt to the Global changes on and off the battlefield.
About the author and illustrator:
According to the inside cover text and which reads in its abridged form, “Brigadier James Tanner was commissioned into the Staffordshire Regiment in 1976, and served with 1 Staffords in Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, Germany, and during the First Gulf War (‘90-‘91) where he was wounded. He served on staff of the 7th Armd Bde, where he commanded his battalion in England, Northern Ireland, and Hong Kong in ’96-’97, and returned to Iraq as Chief of Staff, Multi-National Division, South-East in 2003 after which he commanded the British military mission to the Saudi Arabian National Guard until his retirement in 2011 from the Army. Mr. Tanner has an honours degree in history from the University of Kent and performs commercial and defense consulting, guiding battlefield tours, and continues the study of military history.”
“Illustrator Peter Dennis was born in the 1950’s. Inspired by contemporary magazines such as “Look and Learn” he studied illustration at Liverpool Art College. Mr. Dennis had since contributed to hundreds of books, mainly covering historical subjects, including many Osprey titles. Mr. Dennis is also a keen wargamer and modelmaker and is based in Nottinghamshire, UK.”
The inside cover page of this book, as with the rest of the book, is done on semi-glossy white paper with a photo insert of two British soldiers firing an 81mm mortar. This photo can be seen again on page 39 of this book. Throughout this book there are several photo inserts and illustrations to help the reader to better follow the content of the book. On the back of the cover page are the legal page, acknowledgements, artist’s notes, and a list of abbreviation used in the book.
The book is laid out as follows:
Introduction page: 2 pages in length, this lets the reader know what areas are going to be discussed and the purpose of the changes over the last 15 years that the British Army has undergone and the future that is ahead.
Chapter 1: “The Army’s Role and Character” is 6 pages in length and hits on several areas ranging from “The task: graduated readiness, the men and women, Foreign-born personnel, Composition-Regulars and Territorials/Reserves, Nomenclature, Strengths, and Higher Command.” On page 11 of this chapter is an illustration of Ceremonial Dress uniforms used by the Household Division.
Chapter 2: “Land Force Structure” is 7 pages in length, starting in the middle of page 12, and ending ¾ of the way down on page 19, covering the following areas: Operational/Peacetime structures, the 1990’: From BAOR (British Army of the Rhine) to ARRC (Allied Rapid Reaction Corp (NATO.), The home garrison, Northern Ireland, Restructuring post-SDSR (Strategic Defense & Security Review) 2010, Peacetime operational formations pre-2010, Restructuring operational formations for “Army 2020” -Reaction and Adaptable force. Throughout this chapter there are Tables of Organization, a total of 6 in all. There is also an illustration of Parade Uniforms used in higher-profile events contained in this chapter on page 17.
Chapter 3: “The Regiments & Corps” is the longest chapter in the book, starting at the bottom of page 19 and ending on page 45. On page 20 there is an illustration of Cap badges of the Regular Army’s Regiment and Corps in 2013, in order of precedence. Throughout this chapter there are varies illustration that cover Mess, barrack, working, and combat uniforms along with photo’s examples containing varies equipment and weapons used. This chapter gives the reader an abridged detail of Regiments and Corps unit composition with brief histories.
Chapter 4: “The Army on Operations and at War” starts on page 46 and ends on page 54. This chapter examines the role of the British Army during Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, (both wars) along with operations in Cyprus, Bosnia/Kosovo, East Timor, Sierra Leone, Libya, and Northern Ireland.
Chapter 5: “Uniforms” starts on page 54 and ends on page 63 with a section on further readings that will further compliment the contents of this book. The uniform chapter covers the following areas of dress used; Orders of Dress: Full Dress, Ceremonial, Parade (Service Dress), Mess Dress, Barracks, Protective Clothing, Combat, Personal equipment with a section on Badges on combat dress and Medals.
This book is chock full of all types of information. I found it helpful in trying to understand the make-up of today’s complex British Army system and it gives the reader insight on the ever changing roles that are ahead and how the British Army will deal with them in the coming years. This a great reference book on the modern British Army not only for modelers, but history junkies as well. This book is very well illustrated as well, giving the reader the information needed to correctly model dress and combat uniforms on British army figures. The down side to this book is that it can be somewhat confusing in that the Author has had to compress a lot of information into only 64 pages. The reader may have to use some of the “further readings” that are mentioned in the book to fully understand the complexity of the modern British Army.