The British government will release details Thursday of major army cuts which will see the number of soldiers reduced by a fifth, taking force levels to their lowest since the early 19th century.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond is to outline how the size of the army will be reduced from 102,000 regular troops to 82,000 in a statement to the House of Commons.
Five infantry battalions are likely to be axed in the biggest overhaul of the British army in more than a century.
The changes will also see Britain become more reliant on part-time soldiers in the future, with the number of reservists expected to double to 30,000.
Hammond has said that Britain, which has some 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, needs a smaller, more flexible army and warned that "difficult decisions" were unavoidable as Britain struggles to shrink its massive deficit.
But the plan has drawn intense criticism.
Brigadier David Paterson has written to General Peter Wall, the chief of the General Staff, to say that he is "bitterly disappointed" by proposals to axe some of the country's most celebrated battalions, the Daily Telegraph reported Tuesday.
"It cannot be presented as the best or most sensible military option," wrote Paterson, the honorary Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
"It (the army) won't be capable of conducting two operations simultaneously of the scale of Iraq and Afghanistan as we have done over the last 10 years," he said.
"It will mean that we can do less but we will still do an enormous amount."
Source: AFP European Edition