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Royal Armoured Corps

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1939 to present

British Army


United Kingdom

Army Armoured Corps

Royal Armoured Corps

Currently 5 armoured regiments and 5 reconnaissance regiments

The Royal Armoured Corps (RAC) provides the armour capability of the British Army, with vehicles such as the Challenger 2 Tank and the Scimitar Reconnaissance Vehicle. It was created as a loose association of armoured regiments, both the Royal Tank Regiment and those converted from old horse cavalry regiments. Today it comprises fourteen regiments - ten Regular and four Yeomanry.



The RAC was created on 4 April 1939, just before World War II started, by combining regiments from the cavalry of the line which had mechanised with the Royal Tank Corps (renamed Royal Tank Regiment). As the war went on and other regular cavalry and Territorial Army Yeomanry units became mechanised, the corps was enlarged. A significant number of infantry battalions also converted to the armoured role as RAC regiments. In addition, the RAC created its own training and support regiments. Finally, in 1944, the RAC absorbed the regiments of the Reconnaissance Corps.

Present day units (c. 2017)

The Royal Armoured Corps is divided into regiments which operate main battle tanks (Armour), those in reconnaissance vehicles (Armoured Cavalry), and those in Weapons Mount vehicles (Light Cavalry). Of these, three regiments are designated Dragoon Guards, two as Hussars, one as Lancers and one as Dragoons. The remaining regiment is the Royal Tank Regiment. In the regular army, there are three armoured regiments, three armoured cavalry regiments and three light cavalry regiments. In the army reserve, there is one armoured regiment and three light cavalry regiments.

  • Regular Army
  • Household Cavalry1- HCav (RHG/D & LG) Armoured Cavalry
  • 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards - QDG - Light Cavalry
  • The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys) - SCOTS DG - Light Cavalry
  • The Royal Dragoon Guards - RDG - Armoured Cavalry
  • The Queen's Royal Hussars (The Queen's Own and Royal Irish) - QRH - Armour
  • The Royal Lancers - RL - Armoured Cavalry
  • The King's Royal Hussars - KRH - Armour
  • The Light Dragoons - LD - Light Cavalry
  • Royal Tank Regiment2 - RTR - Armour
  • 1: For operational purposes, the Household Cavalry Regiment is considered to be part of the RAC and constitutes the third armoured reconnaissance regiment.
    2: The Royal Tank Regiment retains a CBRN reconnaissance and survey squadron as part of its establishment

  • Army Reserve - Yeomanry
  • The Royal Yeomanry - RY - Light Cavalry
  • The Royal Wessex Yeomanry - RWxY - Armour
  • Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry - SNIY - Light Cavalry
  • The Queen's Own Yeomanry - QOY - Light Cavalry
  • A system of pairing exists in the British Army of Regular to Reserve unit. Through this, operational and training cycles are aligned, resources shared and strategic depth enabled. In the Royal Armoured Corps this manifests with each yeomanry unit being paired with a regular unit of the same role. Thus, The 1st Queen's Dragoon Guards is paired with Royal Yeomanry. The Scots Dragoon Guards are paired with the Scottish & North Irish Yeomanry. The Light Dragoons with the Queen's Own Yeomanry. The Royal Wessex Yeomanry, uniquely as the lone armoured reserve regiment, is paired with the King's Royal Hussars, the Queen's Royal Hussars and the Royal Tank Regiment.


    Regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps are based in the UK and Germany. Under the Army2020 future basing plans all RAC regiments will be stationed in the UK; as of March 2017, the Queen's Royal Hussars are the final overseas based unit, and are due to return to Tidworth by 2018.

    UK regiments

  • Tidworth - Kings Royal Hussars; Royal Tank Regiment
  • Catterick - The Royal Dragoon Guards; The Royal Lancers; The Light Dragoons
  • Windsor - Household Cavalry Regiment
  • Swanton Morley - 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards
  • Leuchars - The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys)
  • London & Midlands - Royal Yeomanry
  • South of England - Royal Wessex Yeomanry
  • North of England - Queen's Own Yeomanry
  • Scotland & Northern Ireland - Scottish & North Irish Yeomanry
  • Overseas regiments

  • Sennelager - The Queen's Royal Hussars (The Queen's Own and Royal Irish)
  • Band

    The Band of the Royal Armoured Corps is the single band representing the RAC, which falls under the administration of the Corps of Army Music. This was formed in 2014 by the amalgamation of the Heavy Cavalry and Cambrai Band, and the Light Cavalry Band. The Band of the Royal Armoured Corps is stationed at Catterick.

    Additonally the Royal Yeomanry operates an Army Reserve Band, which, alongside the bands of the Household Division, and The Honourable Artilley Regimental Band, form the state bands.

    Delivering Security in a Changing World (2004)

    The reorganisation of the Army announced in 2004 led to significant changes to the Royal Armoured Corps. Reorganisation that began in 2003 would see three armoured regiments removed from Germany to the UK, with one re-roled as an FR regiment. In addition, three Challenger 2 squadrons will be converted to Interim Medium Armour Squadrons, while each FR regiment will gain a Command and Support Squadron.


    As part of the reorganisation, postings will be realigned:

    UK based regiments

  • Catterick: Armoured Regiment (RDG) (4th Mechanised Brigade), Formation Reconnaissance Regiment (QRL) (4th Mechanized Brigade)
  • Tidworth: 2 x Armoured Regiment (RTR, KRH), (1st Mechanized Brigade, 12th Mechanized Brigade,)
  • Windsor: Formation Reconnaissance Regiment (HCR) (Theatre Troops)
  • Swanton Morley: Formation Reconnaissance Regiment (LD) (Theatre Troops)
  • Warminster: Training/Demonstration squadron (A Squadron, RTR)
  • Honington: Armoured Regiment (1RTR)
  • Bovington: HQ RAC
  • Germany based regiments

  • Bad Fallingbostel: Armoured Regiment (SCOTS DG) (7 Armoured Brigade)
  • Sennelager: Armoured Regiment (QRH), Formation Reconnaissance Regiment (QDG) (20 Armoured Brigade)
  • Hohne: Formation Reconnaissance Regiment (9/12L) (7 Armoured Brigade)
  • Strategic Defence and Security Review (2010)/Army 2020

    In 2012, following the Strategic Defence and Security Review of 2010, specific proposals about the make up of the future British Army were announced under the title Army 2020. These proposals were intended to reduce the size of the army to around 82,000. The Royal Armoured Corps was to be reduced by a total of two regiments, with the 9th/12th Royal Lancers amalgamated with the Queen's Royal Lancers to form a single lancer regiment, the Royal Lancers, and the 1st and 2nd Royal Tank Regiments joined to form a single Royal Tank Regiment.

    The Royal Armoured Corps will also see a shift with one third of its regiments operating as armoured regiments with main battle tanks, another third as formation reconnaissance regiments and a final third as light cavalry using Jackal vehicles. Armoured regiments would consist of Type 56 regiments, each with three Sabre Squadrons (comprising 18 Challenger 2 Tanks each) and a command and recce squadron. Armoured Cavalry or formation reconnaissance regiments would also have a command and recce squadron and three Sabre Squadrons; which will initially be equipped with Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked), and then with Future Rapid Effect System Scout vehicles. Jackal regiments will be part of the Adaptable Force, comprising three Sabre Squadrons (each with 16 vehicles). These regiments will be paired with a Yeomanry regiment.

    The new structure of the Reaction Force will see three armoured regiments, each assigned to a new "Armoured Infantry Brigade", alongside a formation reconnaissance regiment (renamed as "armoured cavalry"), two armoured infantry battalions and a heavy protected mobility battalion. These six regiments will fall operationally under what will become known as the "reaction forces", which will be the army's high readiness force. The remaining three regiments will be located with the remainder of the regular army under what has been term the "adaptable forces", which will provide a pool of resources to back up operations conducted by the "reaction forces".

    This new basing plan on 5 March 2013 gave an overview of where the regiments will be based. All RAC regiments will be UK based, with the 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards moving to Swanton Morley, The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards moving to the Leuchars area, the Queen's Royal Hussars to Tidworth, the Royal Lancers settling in Catterick, the Light Dragoons in Catterick, and the Royal Tank Regiment to Tidworth. The expected Army 2020 layout for the RAC is to be:

    Strategic Defence and Security Review (2015)/Army 2020 Refine

    Under a further review called "Army 2020 Refine", there will be a further change to the Royal Armoured Corps. The King's Royal Hussars will exchange its Challenger 2 tanks for Ajax (Scout SV) vehicles and with the Household Cavalry, form the first "Strike Brigade".

    This unit is allied with the following:

  • Royal Canadian Armoured Corps
  • Royal Australian Armoured Corps
  • Royal New Zealand Armoured Corps
  • Kor Armor Diraja (Royal Armoured Corps) - Malaysia
  • References

    Royal Armoured Corps Wikipedia

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