British Army staff structure and responsibilities

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Fatboy Coxy
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British Army staff structure and responsibilities

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 19 May 2020 21:33

Hi all

I have a few questions on how the British Army staff structure and responsibilities worked in overseas colonies, especially Malaya/Singapore and Hong Kong. I am familiar with a field command having the three branches, and using a Corps staff as an example;

G branch, the general branch, (hence G), responsible for operations, intelligence and training. Commanded by the brigadier general staff (BGS, rank brigadier).

A branch, the administration branch, responsible for all aspects of personnel management. Commanded by the Assistant adjutant general (AAG, rank brigadier).

Q branch, the quartermaster branch, responsible for logistic and equipment support. Commanded by the assistant quartermaster general (AQMG rank brigadier).

OK so G branch planned everything the field units did in field exercises and operations

And Q branch ensured they had everything they needed to do that from food, equipment, fuel and munitions. Presumably both the RAOC and RASC both fell under their control?

But what of other rear area functions, like

A, infrastructure development, ie the construction of new barracks and camps, reinforcing bridges etc

B, the recruitment and basic training of local forces, running an Officer Cadet Training Unit

C, the provision of internal security forces, guarding strategic sites etc

D, provision and maintenance of firing ranges

Who had responsibilities for these, which branch or was there an entirely different structure for these rear area activities?

Regards
Fatboy Coxy

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Sheldrake
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Re: British Army staff structure and responsibilities

Post by Sheldrake » 19 May 2020 22:30

I had a look at the staff distinctions at the start of the Army List the branches under the CIGS, AG and QMG. These show the reporting lines.

In practice several staff branches may be involved.

Take the construction of new barracks. The decision to deploy a unit will be an Operational decision staffed by Staff Duties. The purchase or leasing of land is a Q matter. The Royal Engineers may be tasked with reinforcing bridges or building camps - which would be an operational matter for the engineers - but the supply of engineering stores will be a Q matter for the engineers. The manning for any new establishments will be a A matter.

There may be interactions between the staffs of field force formations and garrison staffs. The barracks, roads, training areas and other facilities belong to the garrisons and districts. Suppose the field force needed an anti tank range. They would construct a case and if approved the garrison constructs it - maybe with manpower and technology from the field force.

Internal security may have been institutionalised within districts and garrisons. So in Poona, India, standing orders stated that units would provide a guard for the arsenal at Kirkee and carry arms at Sunday church parade as well as various Garrison guards. These would be supplied by Garrison units

But the responsibilities within a colonial garrison may be more complicated as the colonial administration might have their own input. After all they paid at least some of the bills and had a responsibility to the civilian population. In Singapore the colonial administration had a baleful interaction with the military defence of the colony.

Fatboy Coxy
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Joined: 26 Jul 2009 16:14
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Re: British Army staff structure and responsibilities

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 29 May 2020 20:40

Hi Sheldrake, thank you, that's very helpful

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