The British Army as an Elite

“The Army of Great Britain currently enjoys, both at home and abroad. the reputation of being (for its size) of the best in the world. Composed entirely of volunteers, it morale sustained by its curious and little-understood attitudes towards tradition, the British Army attracts respect and admiration from the military expert and the layman alike. It has kept the peace in Ulster for nearly two decades with a restraint few other armies could muster; and in 1982 it managed to defeat an Argentine army in the Falklands, despite the severe difficulties imposed by the remoteness of the arena of war, and the unpreparedness brought about by poor political foresight.

Not even its staunchest champions would claim the British Army to be without fault. It operates under limitations on manpower, budget and equipment; it is at times stretched to fulfil its tasks world-wide; and it is accused – by a lobbying existing within a well as outside the Army itself – of spending too much of its valuable time, effort and resources on out-dated practices.

Yet, because it is held in such high regard throughout the world, the British Army may be claimed to be an elite. Not perhaps the best (this claim – if it is to be made at all – must be made for a far larger army), but certainly among the best.” (Chappell, 1987, p.6).


Chappell, M. (1987) Elite 014: The British Army in the 1980s. London: Osprey Publishing Ltd.


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