The UK's shrinking navy
It recently emerged that a trio of Russian naval vessels transiting the English Channel were intercepted by a British minehunter rather than one of the fleet's frigates, due to a shortage in vessels and personnel. The British Ministry of Defense usually publishes details of such events but on this occasion, HMS Cattistock's Russian rendezvous was kept away from the headlines.
Today, the service has 73 commissioned ships, 20 of which are major surface combatants, along with 10 submarines. Its 29,000 personnel pales with numbers historically. In 1945 at the end of Second World War, the Royal Navy has 861,000 personnel, a number that fell to 128,000 in 1955 and 62,000 in 1991 when the Berlin Wall came down. By 2000, naval manpower shrunk to 38,880 before reaching today's historic low.
This chart shows the number of regular enlisted personnel in the Royal Navy.