THE Rifles Regiment, which has troops stationed in Wiltshire, looks set to lose around 921 soldiers in a Ministry of Defence Integrated Review, it has been disclosed.

It is one of the British Army’s largest infantry regiments, comprising five regular battalions and three reserve battalions.

The Regiment - whose Colonel-in-Chief is the Duchess of Cornwall - is expected to lose more than 900 troops.

It is forecast to fall in strength from around 2,500 regular soldiers to 1,600 by 2025. One of its Battalions, 5 Rifles, has around 600 troops stationed at Bulford Camp.

At present, it is not known what the impact of the proposed cuts will have on Army families, the local community in Bulford and the local economy.

Devizes MP Danny Kruger said: "I support the modernisation of our infantry with a greater focus on specialist skills including in high-tech warfare.

"Nevertheless, the Army needs mass and scale in order to face down our enemies and rise to the unexpected."

The plans are set out in a memo circulated among officers of The Rifles, whose regimental motto is ‘Swift and Bold’.

The proposals are yet to be confirmed but, if approved, could see the infantry battalions shrink by as much as one regular soldier in three, from around 16,500 to 11,000.

The Rifles officer who wrote the memo said: “The Commanding Officer has passed on information of interest to you all.

“Not all is universally positive and I implore you to communicate it with compassion and a bit of common sense.

“There is a leadership responsibility on us to ensure we lead our people through this process.

“We, the Army, will evolve from a capability-based force to a threat-based force optimised to counter VEOs (Violent Extremist Organisations) and HSAs (Hostile State Actors).

“Speed of response is key so we are substituting mass for speed and technology. The plan envisages a big reduction in size and a modernisation.

“The infantry will shrink by 32 per cent. The Rifles will lose 921 [troops] by 2025, which is a very short timeline. Regimentally, this is a huge challenge.”

The organisation of the Army’s 30 full-time infantry battalions will also be overhauled, with seven divisions of infantry shrinking to four.

Each of these divisions will be aligned to a battalion from the Army’s new £120 million overseas training force known as The Rangers.

An MoD spokesman said: “Plans for structural reform are not yet finalised so speculation is unhelpful. Detailed plans will be submitted to ministers later this autumn.”

The Army Special Operations Brigade is designed to operate alongside both regular and irregular partners and proxies in high-threat and hostile environments.

Consisting of four specialist battalions, the new Ranger Regiment - based on 18th century ‘irregulars’ in North America - will be the vanguard of the Army’s global footprint.

While always ready to fight, the Army is evolving to more actively counter the broad security threats presented by state competitors and violent extremists in the digital age.

The MoD spokesman added: “The Rangers draw their name from a crack unit that fought in the British Army in the 18th century in North America using irregular tactics.

“We are proud to share this heritage with US Special Operations Forces whose 75th Ranger Regiment traces its lineage back to the same grouping.”

The controversial cuts will be overseen by the new Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin.

The MoD said the Army is still committed to retaining 72,500 troops overall – a reduction from 82,000 confirmed in this year’s Integrated Review.

Critics fear the huge cuts to the British Army’s infantry battalions – its main body of fighting troops – will leave the UK unable to conduct lengthy military campaigns like those in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Reductions in personnel will see the military send smaller-sized forces on shorter missions, rather than bigger and longer deployments.

The full-time troops being cut from The Rifles Regiment would be reassigned to more specialised units or not replaced after retiring or accepting voluntary redundancy packages. No sackings are anticipated.

Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the House of Commons defence committee, said he backed the creation of The Rangers.

But he urged the MoD to “retain resilience in our conventional capability” and to protect the infantry.

He added: “This is based on wider complex threats that loom over the horizon, such as Russia and China, and our recent experience in tackling Covid and the Afghan evacuation. Troop numbers need to be maintained.”