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Royal Armoured Corps
[[File:Royal20Armd20Corps|240x240px|frameless}}|Badge of the Royal Armoured Corps|alt=]]
Badge of the Royal Armoured Corps
Active 1939 to present
Country Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army British Army
Type Army Armoured Corps
Role Armoured
Size 2 Heavy, 2 Light, 2 Medium Armoured, 3 Light Cavalry, 3 Light and 1 Heavy Yeomanry
Equipment Currently Challenger II, FV107 Scimitar

The Royal Armoured Corps (RAC) was created as a loose association of armoured regiments, both the Royal Tank Regiment and those converted from old horse cavalry regiments.[1] Today it comprises ten regular regiments and four Yeomanry regiments of the Territorial Army. It provides the armour capability of the British Army, with vehicles such as the Challenger 2 Tank and the Scimitar Reconnaissance Vehicle.


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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).[2] As the war went on and other regular cavalry and Territorial Army Yeomanry units became mechanised, the corps was enlarged.[3] A significant number of infantry battalions also converted to the armoured role as RAC regiments.[4] In addition, the RAC created its own training and support regiments. Finally, in 1944, the RAC absorbed the regiments of the Reconnaissance Corps.[1]

See: List of Royal Armoured Corps Regiments in World War Two

Present day unitsEdit

The Royal Armoured Corps is divided into regiments which operate main battle tanks (armoured regiments) and those in reconnaissance vehicles (formation reconnaissance regiments). Of these, three regiments are designated Dragoon Guards, two as Hussars, two as Lancers and one as Dragoons. The remaining two are the two regiments of the Royal Tank Regiment. In the regular army, there are six armoured regiments and four formation reconnaissance regiments:

The Household Cavalry Regiment (consisting of the Life Guards and the Blues and Royals) is not part of the RAC; instead it is part of the Household Cavalry, which is classed as a corps in its own right.[citation needed] However, for operational purposes, the Household Cavalry Regiment is considered to be part of the RAC and constitutes the fifth formation reconnaissance regiment.


The Corps of Army Music is responsible for administration and training of the two RAC bands:

  • Band of the Royal Armoured Corps
  • In addition, there is a TA band within the RAC, the Regimental Band (Inns of Court and City Yeomanry) of the Royal Yeomanry.


Strategic Defence and Security Review (2010)/Army 2020Edit

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, 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.[5] Armoured regiments would consist of Type 56 regiments, each with 3 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 3 Sabre Squadrons; which will initially be equipped with Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked), and then with Future Rapid Effect System Scout vehicles.[6][7] Jackal regiments will be part of the Adaptable Force, comprising 3 Sabre Squadrons (each with 16 vehicles). These regiments will be paired with a Yeomanry regiment.[7][8]

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.[9] 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 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:

Order of precedenceEdit

Preceded by
Household Cavalry
Order of Precedence Succeeded by
Royal Regiment of Artillery

Related unitsEdit

This unit is allied with the following:

See alsoEdit



  • Forty, George (1998). British Army Handbook 1939–1945. Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-1403-3. 

External linksEdit

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