Sunday 16 June, 2024
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UK must train citizens for war warns outgoing army chief

The outgoing Chief of the General Staff of the British Army, General Sir Patrick Sanders, has said that Britain should prepare for a potential land war by training and equipping a “citizen army” amid the threat from Russia.

Speaking at the International Armoured Vehicles conference in London, General Sanders stated that increasing the number of troops ahead of any conflict would require a “whole-of-nation undertaking” adding that Britain could not rely on its naval and air power, arguing “we must be able to credibly fight and win wars on land.”

General Sanders said that Britain needed to be ready to take quick action to prevent being pulled into a major conflict due to its inability to contain Russian expansionism and compared the current situation to the build-up to the Second World War in 1937.

“We need an Army designed to expand rapidly to enable the first echelon, resource the second echelon and train and equip the citizen army that must follow.”

“Within the next three years it must be credible to talk of a British Army of 120,000, folding in our reserve and strategic reserve. But this is not enough.

“Our friends in eastern and northern Europe, who feel the proximity of the Russian threat more acutely, are already acting prudently, laying the foundations for national mobilisation.”

“Ukraine brutally illustrates that regular armies start wars; Citizen armies win them.”

A UK Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “The British military has a proud tradition of being a voluntary force and there is absolutely no suggestion of a return to conscription.”

Neil Ritchie
Neil Ritchie
Neil Ritchie is the founder and editor of Neil is also the editor of other online publications covering military history, defence and security. He can be found on Twitter: @NeilRitchie86.

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