1 (UK) Armoured Div - Divisional HQ Structure - army3a1



The 1st Armoured Division was formed in 1940. Since World War II the Division has been re-titled three times and became the 1st (United Kingdom) Armoured Division in 1993, having successfully fought in the Gulf War of 1991. The Division has its headquarters at Herford in Germany and currently (2011) commands two Armoured Brigades situated throughout North West Germany and is the major component of British Forces Germany.

British Forces Germany (BFG) is the composite name given to the British Army, Royal Air Force and supporting civil elements stationed in Germany. The terms British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) and Royal Air Force Germany (RAFG), until recently were the traditional names used to describe the two Service elements of the British Forces stationed in Germany.

For many years following World War II, and as a result of the confrontation between NATO and the former Warsaw Treaty Organisation, the UK Government had stationed four Army divisions and a considerable part of its Air Force at five airbases in the Federal Republic of Germany. On the whole this level of commitment was maintained until 1992 and although these forces appeared to be solely national, they were in fact closely integrated with the NATO Northern Army Group (NORTHAG) and the 2nd Allied Tactical Air Force (2 ATAF).

As a result of political changes in Europe and the UK Government's 'Options for Change' programme, the British Army's presence in Germany has been reduced to two armoured brigades and a divisional headquarters with logistical support. The majority of the RAF presence has since been withdrawn and the 2010 SDSR announced plans to withdraw all of BFG to bases in the UK by 2020. It is likely that a large number of major units will be returned to the UK well before that date.


1 (UK) Armoured Division has its headquarters at Herford in Germany (about 50kms from Hanover) and the three Armoured Brigades under command are located at Osnabruck, Bergen-Hohne and Sennelager. This division will return to the UK at some stage during the next five years.

Divisional Structure HQ 1 (UK) Armoured Division

Divisional Structure HQ 1 (UK) Armoured Division

Note: (1) DAG (Divisional Artillery Group) This DAG could be reinforced by Rapier Air Defence and MLRS units from the UK as necessary. (2) Personnel total in Germany is approximately 18,500 with about 17,000 in 1 (UK) Armoured Division. During early 2011 this Division could probably provide the Headquarters (HQs) for up to six Battlegroups.
Personnel totals in Germany will probably fall to around 15,000 from late 2009. During 2009 this Division could probably provide the Headquarters (HQs) for up to six Battlegroups.

Estimate of Force Levels in 1 (UK) Armoured Division (1 Jan 2011 – our estimates)

Army Personnel             17,000
Challenger 2 MBT               100
Warrior AIFV                      300
Other Tracked Vehicles       900
Helicopters (Army Aviation)   24
Artillery Guns                      48
MLRS                                  0
AVLB                                 18

It is probable that in the event of hostilities (as was the case in recent operations in Iraq) considerable numbers of officers and soldiers from the Territorial Army (TA) would be used to reinforce this division. These reinforcements would consist of individuals, drafts of specialists, or by properly formed TA units varying in size from Mobile Bath Units of 20 men, to Major Units over 500 strong.

The United Kingdom Support Command (Germany) has responsibility for British Army Troops on the Continent of Europe that are not part of 1st (United Kingdom) Armoured Division. Its headquarters replaces that of the British Army of the Rhine, whose sign it has adopted. The headquarters of UKSC(G) is located at Rheindahlen and has about 3, 600 personnel under command.


This brigade provides third line combat service support wherever this is required army wide but is the first ‘port of call’ for combat service support to 1st Division. The Brigade Headquarters is at Gutersloh in West Germany, reasonably close to the Headquarters of 1st Division in Herford. The Brigade, with units based around a core group of 3 x RLC Regiments is due to return to Cosford in the UK between 2009 and 2012.


In addition to the mid 2006 announcement of the move of 4 Armoured Brigade from Germany to the UK, the Secretary of State for Defence has announced the intention to make further adjustments to the structure of the British Forces in Germany.

These include proposals for the return to the UK of Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (HQ ARRC) to Innsworth (Gloucestershire) in 2010. Additionally 102 Logistic Brigade and 1 Signal Brigade will move to Cosford (Shropshire) over the period 2009-2012.

There are also plans for a series of minor moves within Germany which will lead to the closure of Osnabruck Station from during 2009. These moves will probably result in the concentration of UK Germany-based forces in Hohne, Paderborn and Guttersloh garrisons.

Once all of these moves have been completed we would expect total UK force levels in Germany to reduce from around 20,000 to about 14,000.

During early 2011 there were just over 18,000 UK Service Personnel stationed in Germany over 96 per cent of which were army personnel. Since 2009 a number of major units have returned to locations in the UK amongst which were HQ Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (HQ ARRC), 102 Logistics Brigade (102 Log Bde) and 1 Signal Brigade (1 Sig Bde).

During the late 2010 SDSR the Secretary of State for Defence announced the return of half of UK personnel from Germany by 2015 and the remainder by 2020.

The estimated cost to the public purse of maintaining and operating bases in Germany in 2010-11 is approximately £190 million. It is believed that the net injection to the German economy from the UK presence in Germany is around £700 million and following the return from Germany a similar sum will be injected into the UK economy.