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A military reserve force is a military organization composed of citizens of a country who combine a military role or career with a civilian career. They are not normally kept under arms and their main role is to be available to fight when a nation mobilizes for total war or to defend against invasion. Reserve forces are generally not considered part of a permanent standing body of armed forces. The existence of reserve forces allows a nation to reduce its peacetime military expenditures while maintaining a force prepared for war. It is analogous to the historical model of military recruitment before the era of standing armies.
Under arms describes a state of military readiness. Typically, troops are considered "under arms" when they are in uniform, on duty, and carrying a weapon, as opposed to being in uniform, on duty, but not carrying a weapon.
Total war is warfare that includes any and all civilian-associated resources and infrastructure as legitimate military targets, mobilizes all of the resources of society to fight the war, and gives priority to warfare over non-combatant needs. The Oxford Living Dictionaries defines "total war" as "A war that is unrestricted in terms of the weapons used, the territory or combatants involved, or the objectives pursued, especially one in which the laws of war are disregarded."
In some countries, such as Canada, United States, Spain and the United Kingdom, members of the reserve forces are civilians who maintain military skills by training, typically one weekend a month. They may do so as individuals or as members of standing reserve regiments, for example the Army Reserve of the United Kingdom. In some cases a militia, home guard, or state guard could constitute part of a military reserve forces, such as the United States National Guard, the Norwegian Home Guard, the Swedish Home Guard, or the Danish Home Guard. In Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Colombia, and Israel, service in the reserves is compulsory for a number of years after one has completed national service.
The Army Reserve is the active-duty volunteer reserve force and integrated element of the British Army. It should not be confused with the Regular Reserve whose members have formerly served full-time. The Army Reserve was previously known as the Territorial Force from 1908 to 1921, the Territorial Army (TA) from 1921 to 1967, the Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve (TAVR) from 1967 to 1979, and again the Territorial Army (TA) from 1979 to 2014.
A militia is generally an army or some other fighting organization of non-professional soldiers, citizens of a nation, or subjects of a state, who can be called upon for military service during a time of need, as opposed to a professional force of regular, full-time military personnel, or historically, members of a warrior nobility class. Generally unable to hold ground against regular forces, it is common for militias to be used for aiding regular troops by skirmishing, holding fortifications, or irregular warfare, instead of being used in offensive campaigns by themselves. Militia are often limited by local civilian laws to serve only in their home region, and to serve only for a limited time; this further reduces their use in long military campaigns.
Home guard is a title given to various military organizations at various times, with the implication of an emergency or reserve force raised for local defense.
A military reserve force is different from a reserve formation, sometimes called a military reserve, a group of military personnel or units not committed to a battle by their commander so that they are available to address unforeseen situations, bolster defences, or exploit opportunities.
During the eighteenth century some nations' military systems included practices and institutions that functioned effectively as a reserve force, even if they were not specifically designated as such. For example, the half-pay system in the British Army during the eighteenth century provided the British state with a force of trained, experienced officers not on active duty during peacetime but available for call-up during wartime. The Militia Act of 1757 effectively gave Britain at least somewhat of an institutional structure for a reserve force. Although contemporaries debated the effectiveness of the British militia, its embodiment (i.e., mobilization) during several conflicts did increase Britain's strategic options by freeing up regular forces for overseas theaters.
The Militia of Great Britain were the principal military reserve forces of the Kingdom of Great Britain during the 18th century.
Historically reservists first played a significant role in Europe after the Prussian defeat in the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt. On 9 July 1807 in the Treaties of Tilsit, Napoleon I forced Prussia to drastically reduce its military strength, in addition to ceding large amounts of territory. The Prussian army could no longer be stronger than 42,000 men.
Prussia was a historically prominent German state that originated in 1525 with a duchy centred on the region of Prussia on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It was de facto dissolved by an emergency decree transferring powers of the Prussian government to German Chancellor Franz von Papen in 1932 and de jure by an Allied decree in 1947. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organised and effective army. Prussia, with its capital in Königsberg and from 1701 in Berlin, decisively shaped the history of Germany.
The Treaties of Tilsit were two agreements signed by Napoleon I of France in the town of Tilsit in July 1807 in the aftermath of his victory at Friedland. The first was signed on 7 July, between Emperor Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon I of France, when they met on a raft in the middle of the Neman River. The second was signed with Prussia on 9 July. The treaties were made at the expense of the Prussian king, who had already agreed to a truce on 25 June after the Grande Armée had captured Berlin and pursued him to the easternmost frontier of his realm. In Tilsit, he ceded about half of his pre-war territories.
The Krumpersystem , introduced to the Prussian Army by the military reformer Gerhard von Scharnhorst, arranged for giving recruits a short period of training, which in the event of war could be considerably expanded. With this the reduction of the army's strength did not have the desired effect, and in the following wars Prussia was able to draw up a large number of trained soldiers. The system was retained by the Imperial German Army into the First World War. By the time of the Second Reich reservists were already being given so-called "war arrangements" following the completion of their military service, which contained exact instructions relating to the conduct of reservists in time of war.
The Royal Prussian Army served as the army of the Kingdom of Prussia. It became vital to the development of Brandenburg-Prussia as a European power.
Gerhard Johann David von Scharnhorst was a Hanoverian-born general in Prussian service from 1801. As the first Chief of the Prussian General Staff, he was noted for his military theories, his reforms of the Prussian army, and his leadership during the Napoleonic Wars. Scharnhorst limited the use of corporal punishments, established promotion for merit, abolished the enrollment of foreigners, began the organization of a reserve army, and organized and simplified the military administration.
The Imperial German Army was the unified ground and air force of the German Empire. The term Deutsches Heer is also used for the modern German Army, the land component of the Bundeswehr. The German Army was formed after the unification of Germany under Prussian leadership in 1871 and dissolved in 1919, after the defeat of the German Empire in World War I.
In some countries, for example the United States, reservists are often former military members who reached the end of their enlistment or resigned their commission. Indeed, service in the reserves for a number of years after leaving active service is required in the enlistment contracts and commissioning orders of many nations.
Reservists can also be civilians who undertake basic and specialized training in parallel with regular forces while retaining their civilian roles. They can be deployed independently or their personnel may make up shortages in regular units. United Kingdom's Army Reserve is one example of such a reserve.
With universal conscription, most of the male population may be reservists. In Finland, all men belong to the reserve until 60 years of age, and 80% of each age cohort are drafted and receive at least six months of military training. Ten percent of conscripts are trained as reserve officers. Reservists and reserve officers are occasionally called up for refresher exercises, but receive no monthly salary or position. South Korean males who finish their national service in the armed forces or in the national police are automatically placed on the reserve roster, and are obligated to attend a few days of annual military training for seven years.
Reserves are used and employed in many ways. In wartime they may be used to provide replacements for combat losses to in-action units and formations, thus allowing these to remain battle-worthy longer. They can also be used to form new units and formations to augment the regular army. In addition, reservists can undertake tasks such as garrison duty, manning air defense, internal security and guarding of important points such as supply depots, prisoner of war camps, communications nodes, air and sea bases and other vital areas, thus freeing up regular troops for the front. A combination of these can be used.
In peacetime, reservists can be used in internal security duties and disaster relief, sparing reliance on the regular military forces, and in many countries where military roles outside of warfare are restricted, reservists are specifically exempted from these restrictions.
The term "reserve officer" has two different meanings. In the US, it refers mostly to retired officers of the standing army that are still eligible for military duty. In countries with universal conscription, it refers to conscripts that receive extra training to qualify for officer duty in the event of war, but in peacetime concentrate on their civilian career and receive no pay or position from the military. For example, 10% of Finnish conscripts attain a reserve officer rank after completion of one year of service.
One of the primary advantages in having military reserves is that they increase the available manpower by many fold in a short period of time, unlike the months it would take to train new recruits or conscripts, since reservists are already trained. Reservists are often experienced combat veterans which can increase not only the quantity, but the overall quality of the forces. Having a large reservist pool can allow a government to avoid the costs, both political and financial, of requiring new recruits or conscripts. The reservists are usually more economically effective than regular troops, as they are only called up when they are most needed. On the other hand, preparations made to institute a call up (which are obvious to adversaries) can be used as a display of determination. Reservists also tend to have training in professions outside the military. The skills attained in many professions are also many times useful in the military side. Furthermore, in many countries reserves have also very capable people who would not consider career in the military. They take voluntary training as their hobby, and are therefore very cheap to train. People considering reservist activity as their hobby tend to be very motivated unlike many professionals. In peacekeeping, the skills of reservists have been shown to be valuable, because they can be employed for reconstruction of infrastructure, and so tend to have better relations with the civilian population than pure career soldiers.
Reservists are usually provided with second line equipment, which is no longer used by the regulars, or is an older version of that in current service. Reservists will also have little experience with the newer weapon systems. Reservists in the sense of retired services personnel are sometimes considered to be less motivated than regular troops. Meanwhile, reservists in the sense of civilians who combine a military career with a civilian one, as in the United Kingdom's Territorial Army (TA), (now called the Army Reserve), experience demands on time not experienced by regular troops, and which affects their availability and duration of service. Conducting of exercises involving reservists is expensive, requiring compensation for lost wages, and it is difficult to call up then demobilize reservists again and again, which means that a nation that has called up reservists may be reluctant to stand them down again until the conflict is resolved. This is particularly true in the case of reservists in the sense of retired personnel, less true in the case of a standing force (e.g., the TA). In the prelude to World War I, the reluctance of the various antagonists to demobilize reserves once called up, due to the difficulty of remobilization has been held up as one of the causes why the diplomatic phase escalated so quickly to war.
Soviet Union made the largest use of reserves in both senses during the World War II, having separate and distinct military reserve force formations that included not only conscription reserves of lower readiness category cadre units, but also including the use of military reserves—reserve Armies and even a Front that constituted the reserve of the High Command.
The Volunteer Reserves:
The Regular Reserves:
The Sponsored Reserves:
The Finnish Defence Forces are responsible for the defence of Finland. A universal male conscription is in place, under which all men above 18 years of age serve for 165, 255, or 347 days. Alternative non-military service and volunteer service by women are possible.
A military academy or service academy is an educational institution which prepares candidates for service in the officer corps. It normally provides education in a military environment, the exact definition depending on the country concerned.
The Belgian Armed Forces is the national military of Belgium. The Belgian Armed Forces was established after Belgium became independent in October 1830. Since that time Belgian armed forces have fought in World War I, World War II, the Cold War, Kosovo, Somalia and Afghanistan. The ParaCommando Brigade intervened several times in Central-Africa, for maintaining public order and evacuation of Belgian citizens. The Armed Forces comprise four branches: the Land Component, the Air Component, the Naval Component and the Medical Component.
The Canadian Armed Forces, or Canadian Forces (CF), are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces."
Military police (MP) are law enforcement agencies connected with, or part of, the military of a state.
A cadet is a trainee. The term is frequently used to refer to those training to become an officer in the military, often a person who is a junior trainee. Its meaning may vary between countries. The term is also used in civilian contexts and as a general attributive, for example in its original sense of a branch of a ruling house which is not currently in the direct line of succession.
Military service is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia, whether as a chosen job (volunteer) or as a result of an involuntary draft (conscription).
An auxiliary force is an organized group supplementing but not directly incorporated in a regular military or police entity. It may comprise either civilian volunteers undertaking support functions or additional personnel directly performing military or police duties, usually on a part-time basis.
The Army of the United States is one of the four major service components of the United States Army, but it has been inactive since the suspension of the draft in 1973 and the U.S. military's transition to a volunteer force. Personnel serving in the United States Army during a major national emergency or armed conflict were enlisted into the Army of the United States, without specifying service in a component.
A reservist is a person who is a member of a military reserve force. They are otherwise civilians, and in peacetime have careers outside the military. Reservists usually go for training on an annual basis to refresh their skills. This person is usually a former active-duty member of the armed forces, and they remain a reservist either voluntarily, or by obligation. In some countries such as Israel, Norway, Singapore, and Switzerland, reservists are conscripted soldiers who are called up for training and service when necessary.
Finnish military ranks form a system that incorporates features from Swedish, German, and Russian armed forces. In addition, the system has some typically Finnish characteristics that are mostly due to the personnel structure of the Finnish Defence Forces. The ranks have official names in Finnish and Swedish languages and official English translations. The Swedish forms are used in all Swedish-languages communications in Finland, e.g. in Swedish-speaking units of Finnish Defence Force. The system of ranks in the Swedish Armed Forces is slightly different.
The Primary Reserve of the Canadian Armed Forces is the first and largest of the four sub-components of the Canadian Forces reserves, followed by the Supplementary Reserve, the Canadian Rangers, and the Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service.
Provosts are military police whose duties are policing solely within the Armed Forces, as opposed to gendarmerie duties in the civilian population. However, many countries use their gendarmerie for provost duties.
The Estonian Defence Forces is the unified armed forces of the Republic of Estonia. The Estonian military is a defence force consisting of Land Forces, Navy, Air Force, and a paramilitary organization Defence League. The national defence policy aims to guarantee the preservation of the independence and sovereignty of the state, the integrity of its land area, territorial waters and airspace and its constitutional order. Its main goals remain the development and maintenance of a credible capability to defend the nation's vital interests and development of the defence forces in a way that ensures their interoperability with the armed forces of NATO and European Union member states to participate in the full range of missions for these military alliances.
The reserve components of the United States Armed Forces are military organizations whose members generally perform a minimum of 39 days of military duty per year and who augment the active duty military when necessary. The reserve components are also referred to collectively as the National Guard and Reserve.
Canadian military bands are a group of personnel in the Canadian Armed Forces that performs musical duties for military functions. Military bands form a part of the Music Branch of the Canadian Armed Forces, composed of six full-time professional Regular Force bands, 15 Regular Force voluntary bands, and 53 part-time reserve force bands. Bands of the Music Branch are often badged with the unit or Canadian Forces base insignia that they support.
An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority.
The Volunteer Reserves are the British Armed Forces voluntary and part-time military reserve force. Unlike the Regular Reserve, the Volunteer Reserves do not consist of ex-Regular personnel who remain liable to be re-called for military service. Instead, the Volunteer Reserves consists of civilian volunteers who routinely undergo training and military operations alongside the Regular military. The Volunteer Reserves serve under a fixed-term reserve contract and provide "highly trained" military personnel integrated with their Regular counterparts, on operations both at home and overseas. For example, almost every major military operation has seen the deployment of Army Reservists alongside the Regular British Army. Volunteer Reserves are allowed to use the post-nominal letters VR after 10 years of service.