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Britain faces an army recruitment crisis, with frontline combat units operating as much as 40% below strength, figures obtained by the Guardian reveal. Data released by the Ministry of Defence under freedom of information laws shows the number of soldiers in the British army’s infantry regiments has declined steadily over the past five years. There are more than 2,500 fewer personnel in frontline units than 2015, and all 16 regular regiments have shortfalls.

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