After the United Kingdom voted to BREXIT from the European Union, we wondered who would win if the two went to battle? Is the military of the UK as strong and powerful as the EU military? Who do you think would win in a fight between the British Army and the European Army (air force, army, tanks, navy, nuclear, space, fuel, etc)? Which military do you think is stronger and smarter: The UK or The EU?
“Brexit” is a word that has entered the lexicon of international politics in the last year. It may sound like a new brand of breakfast cereal, but it actually has quite a few more implications than your morning bowl of Cap’n Crunch. In 2016, the British people voted in favor of exiting the European Union, and while they’ve done so peacefully, it made us wonder; what if the UK had to fight to leave the EU, just like the United States had to fight the UK back in 1776. Would the UK even stand a chance against the EU? Or would the EU just demolish the UK? Let’s take a closer look at the all the variables in this episode of the Infographics Show; the United Kingdom vs the European Union.
Before we can delve into this subject, we have to first define the European Union? The EU is a group of countries located in Europe that have entered into an economic and political partnership. The idea began after WWII to help foster economic cooperation in hopes that countries that traded together would be less likely to go to war with one another. In 1993, it became official. There are a total of 27 countries in the EU, 28 if you still include the UK, with nations like Italy, Spain, France, Croatia, Germany, and others filling out the roster. The European Union has not yet had to be a combined military force, but some of its members have tried to combine their military powers. In fact, just last year, it was reported that Germany, France, Italy, Poland, and Spain made plans to have their militaries work together in the future with hopes that more of the EU will join them as well.
Up until the recent vote to leave the EU, the United Kingdom had been a member of the union in one form or another since 1973. The United Kingdom consists of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Fully leaving the EU is a process that political scientists believe will take a few more years to complete.
Before they voted to leave, the UK made up about 12.8% of the European Union’s population as of 2015 with a total of nearly 65 million (64,875,165) people. From these citizens, the UK has about 150,000 active frontline personnel in their military and about 180,000 in reserve personnel. The European Union has far more members in its military. In the 27 countries combined, there are over 1.27 million active military members and over 1.5 million personnel in reserve. If we’re talking about heads in helmets alone, the EU has an extremely sizable advantage.
But what about other measures of military? Although the types of tanks may differ, the UK has around 400 tanks in their battalion, which is beaten by Poland alone, which comes in at over 1,000 tanks. The UK also has 6,000 AFVs, 90 SPGs, 138 Towed-Artillery and 42 MLRSs, while EU has 6,300 tanks, 43,000 AFVs, 2,200 SPGs, 3,350 Towed-Artillery and 1,030 MLRSs.
The EU clearly wins on land, but what about the sky? The United Kingdom has around 880 total aircraft involved in their defense system, while the European Union has a whopping 5,900 birds in the sky. That many winged beasts would be insurmountable. Maybe the European Union is the real-life Mother of Dragons. Sorry Daenerys Targaryen, there’s a new khaleesi in town!
Now, let’s take this hypothetical battle to the seas. The UK has 1 aircraft carrier, 10 submarines, 13 frigates, 6 destroyers, 0 corvettes, 15 mine warfare craft and 18 patrol craft. Combining all of the European Union’s naval power far exceeds the United Kingdom’s naval presence. The EU has 7 aircraft carriers, 51 submarines, 89 frigates, 15 destroyers, 39 corvettes, 152 mine warfare craft and 192 patrol craft. France alone could take down the UK’s navy with its 4 aircraft carriers, 10 submarines, and 11 destroyers.
And, of course, we mustn’t forget fuel, the lifeblood of any first world army. The United Kingdom produces 1 million barrels of oil a day, and consumes 1.2 million barrels each day. It also has 3 billion barrels of oil in reserve. The European Union produces only .7 million barrels of oil a day, and consumes almost 17 times that each day. It has 2.6 billion barrels of oil in reserve.
Finally, in the unlikely scenario that nuclear weapons are used, the UK and the EU could destroy each other from their nuclear-armed submarines. The UK has 215 warheads while the European Union has 300. France is the only other country in the EU with nuclear warheads.
It seems like in pretty much every military area you look at, the European Union comes out on top over the United Kingdom. Maybe the UK could win in a 300-type situation where it’s more about skill and training, but based on size alone, the European Union is the military behemoth in this battle.
With countries around the world growing more and more impressive militaries, it’s interesting to think about what would happen if the UK had to fight for its independence from the European Union like so many nations had to do in the past. Hopefully, societies of the future can take note from the UK’s peaceful secession and the wars of the world can be saved for video games. Do you think the UK could ever defeat the EU? Let us know in the comments! Thanks for watching and check back for our next video in a few days.