Could America Invade Britain? We Find Out

The United States and Britain are two of the strongest allies in the world. However, the two countries have fought major wars against each other in the past. Although there are close economic and cultural ties between the UK and America, they do not always agree politically. So, if the relationship deteriorated again, could we see a conflict between the two countries? And, if war broke-out, could America actually invade Britain?

America could launch an invasion of Britain and conquer it if it wished to. However, the UK and the US are strong allies there is almost no reason why America would invade Britain. An American invasion of Britain would almost certainly never happen.

…but that’s just an overview. To get the full answer, let’s begin by looking at the comparative military strengths of the United Kingdom and US.

Does America Have the Military Strength to Conquer Britain?

The first factor we need to consider when discussing a possible American attack on Britain is if the US has the military capacity to launch an invasion of the UK?

America has the military strength to invade and conquer Britain. The armed forces of the US are significantly more powerful than the British armed forces. America has more soldiers, tanks, combat aircrafts and war ships than the UK.

Below is a comparison of the military strengths of the UK and US:

CountryNumber of Active-Duty SoldiersNumber of ReservistsNumber of Battle TanksNumber of Combat AircraftNumber of Warships
United States1,388,100844,0506,2092,628490

All data from Wikipedia

As we can see, the American armed forces are significantly more powerful than Britain’s. This is a clear indication that the US could take over Britain if it wanted too.

America has almost ten times the number of active soldiers than the UK. They also have over ten times the number of reservists. The number of troops the US has shows it has the military strength to invade the UK.

The US has over twenty times the number of main battle tanks than Britain does. This would mean America could deploy much more armoured divisions against British forces if they attacked the UK.

Britain has ten times fewer combat aircraft than America. The US would dominate the skies in any invasion of the UK, and this would give them a significant advantage.

The American navy is over ten times larger than Britain’s. This would also be key in a US invasion of Britain and would mean America could gain control of the seas around the UK easily.

It’s important to note that the US has troops stationed all over the world and it would be unlikely they would commit the full strength of their armed forces to an invasion of the UK. However, the American military is so much stronger than Britain’s that even without deploying all of America’s troops they could still conquer the UK.

Why Would the US Invade Britain?

So, it’s clear that America has the military strength to take over the UK, if it wanted to. However, a US invasion of the UK is pretty much an impossibility. There are almost no circumstances in which America would try and conquer Britain. With that said, let’s look at the very few situations where we might see a US invasion of the UK. These are:

  • Intervention in a British civil war
  • Part of a conflict between America and the UK
  • To defend the UK from another nation’s invasion

Let’s briefly go over each of these…

Intervention In a British Civil War

A first reason why the US might invade Britain would be intervene in a civil war in the UK. If Britain fell into a major political crisis, especially if armed conflict broke-out in the nation, it is conceivable that the US would intervene to put an end of the violence and restore order.

Part of a Conflict Between America and the UK

A second reason why America could try and conquer Britain would be as part of a wider conflict between the two countries. If a major war broke-out between America and the UK, the US could launch an invasion of the Britain Isles in order to win the war.

To Defend the UK From Another Nation’s Invasion

A third reason why Britain could be invaded by the US would be if it was taken over by another country. If Britain was conquered by another country, America could launch an invasion to defeat the enemy and liberate the UK from occupation.

What Would Happen If America Attacked The UK?

Another factor we need to consider when discussing a possible American invasion of Britain is what would actually happen if the US launched an attempt to takeover the UK?

An American attack on the Britain would begin a large-scale conflict. The UK would defend itself and has significant military capacity to do so. The UK is also a nuclear power so an American attack on the UK could begin a nuclear confrontation.

If America attacked the UK, it would be a major world event. Even a small-scale attack by the United States on the UK would be a major shift in the current global political order.

An unprovoked attack by America on the UK would draw condemnation from almost every other country in the world. A war between the UK and US, would have many countries come out against it. Allied countries, such as Canada and France, would likely try and mediate a swift end of the conflict and prevent an invasion of the UK by the US through diplomatic efforts.

How Would the US Invade Britain?

It’s clear that America has the military strength to take over the UK. We also know the reasons why a possible attack on Britain by the US might occur. Now, let’s look at how the US would launch an invasion of Britain, in the unlikely event that war between the two countries broke-out.

A US invasion of the UK would likely begin with missile and air strikes on key British military and civilian infrastructure. America would then launch troops to capture strategically important locations in the UK. This would be followed by a major ground invasion by US troops.

Recent American invasions of other countries, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, show likely how an American attempt to takeover the UK would go.

Long range missiles filed from ships, and airstrikes launched from aircraft carriers, would almost certainly by the first attacks by America in an any invasion of the UK.

America would need to deploy large numbers of troops if a full-scale invasion of Britain were to be launched. If European countries remained allied to the US, troops could be moved towards the UK from American bases in Germany and Italy. France could be used as a launch point for an invasion of Britain.

If European countries were against a US invasion of the United Kingdom, or remained allied to Britain, America would need to launch an invasion using its naval power. This would be more difficult. However, the size and strength of the US navy means this is likely possible. Especially if Britain was fighting the US alone.

Has The USA Ever Invaded The UK?

In order to fully understand a possible American invasion of Britain, we need to look at the historical context. So, has America ever invaded the UK before?

America has never invaded Britain. There is no time in history where US troops have fought on British soil and there have been no attempts by America to conquer the United Kingdom.

The United States was established as a colony of Great Britain. Two major wars have been fought between the UK and US – the American War of Independence, and the War of 1812. However, both conflicts were fought in North America. There has never been a war between Britain and America fought in Europe.

No battles in history between American and British troops have taken place in the UK. America has never launched an attack on the British mainland and there has never been an attempt by the US to take over the UK.

Will America Invade Britain?

Finally, let’s look into the future and think about how likely an American invasion of the UK is. Could we ever see an attempt by America to takeover Britain?

America will not invade Britain. There is almost no event that would lead to a US invasion of the UK. An American attempt to conquer Britain is extremely unlikely.

It is almost impossible to conceive of an event that would lead to America invading the UK. Britain and America are strong allies and have not fought a war against each other since 1815.

Both the UK and the US are NATO members. They also share strong cultural, political, economic, and historical links. There is significant good feeling between British people and Americans, and the chances of a major conflict between the two countries occurring is incredibly small.

Global Affairs Explained

Global Affairs Explained is an ongoing project aiming to provide concise guides to world events. Focusing on international relations, history, and geo-politics, Global Affairs Explained uses original research and data to answer questions often not covered by traditional media.

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