Mercian Regiment battalion one of five to be axed

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THE 3rd Battalion of the Mercian Regiment is expected to be axed as the British Army faces losing thousands of front-line soldiers in a bid to save £20bn.

The Government will officially confirm today which five infantry battalions will be cut - one of which will include a battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment.

It is also expected the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and the 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh Regiment will be axed.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond will set out today how the regular Army will be cut from 102,000 troops to 82,000 by the end of the decade - its lowest level since the Napoleonic Wars.

The plan - known as Army 2020 - is expected to see it split into two, with a reaction force, ready to respond to emergencies around the globe, and an adaptable force capable of carrying out a range of tasks and commitments.

Mr Hammond has said the changes - drawn up by Lieutenant General Nick Carter - will provide the basis of a smaller, more flexible and agile Army into the future.

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