From time to time I like to look at an article in the mainstream media and come over all smug at the basic lack of research or any basis in fact but this one took even an old cynic like me by surprise.
Writing in the Telegraph today Con Coughlin makes a case for a strong navy, nothing wrong with that of course. We do need a strong navy but in justifying the central point he makes the following statements
But, then, the fact that the Royal Navy can only get into the headlines these days by providing an emergency ferry service for fractious holidaymakers is indicative of just how little public attention is paid to it
By all accounts the holiday makers were far from fractious and had nothing but admiration for the way the Royal Navy and Royal Marines handled the situation. Whilst one can be forgiven a little cynicism (none more than me) about Gordon Brown showboating by sending the Royal Navy into the English Channel when the cross channel ferries were doing a good job with little fuss the movement of service personnel returning from Afghanistan is a good use of Royal Navy resources.
Indeed, its role in the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan has been so peripheral that many people might be surprised to discover that we still have a navy at all.
In fairness, it is not the Navy’s fault that the two major wars Britain has fought in the early 21st century have been in countries with little or no access to the sea.
As with the RAF, the Navy has been mainly reduced in Afghanistan to providing a support role for the movement of troops and equipment to and from the conflict zone. The only contribution of real note has come from the Royal Marines, who have fought heroically.
What the fcuk is he going on about. The RAF has supported operations in Afghanistan with everything from ISR, unmanned systems, transport inter and intra theatre, vital close air support, force protection, air traffic control, logistics and dogs. Let’s not even go to the members of the RAF and RAF Regiment that have been killed or injured. As for the Royal navy, the Naval Strike Wing, provision of helicopters, support personnel, drivers, technicians, the initial Tomahawk attacks and of course sustainment via the sea bridge, without which the operation would grind to a halt. A recent MC winner was I believe a RN medic.
A quick look at the components of Task Force Helmand shows the tri service nature of the deployment.
As for Iraq, do the words Umm Qasr and the Al Faw peninsula mean anything to him.
Yet it must share some of the blame for its decline in the military rankings, given its less than impressive showing on those rare occasions when its expertise has been called upon
Although we might give the Andrew a bit of stick about iPods and running aground this is plain insulting.
Prior to the September 11 attacks, one of our most successful overseas interventions was in Sierra Leone. The aircraft carrier Illustrious made a crucial contribution: with its Harrier jets providing vital air cover for the Paras fighting on the ground. The carrier’s presence also allowed helicopters to fly troops and supplies to and from the combat zone
Mr Coughlin needs to read a bit of history, the Royal navy harrier force arrived on the scene 5 days after Lunghi Airport had been secured by 1 Para, who arrived via C130 flown by the RAF via Senegal. The Harriers did some training, a few shows of force and recce missions but were hardly instrumental in securing success. The coercive effect of the Sea Harriers might be argued as considerable but then was a show of precision and combat power from the 105mm Light Guns of 8 battery 29 Commando Royal Artillery.
Whilst the central theme of wanting a strong navy is fine the rest of the article I am afraid is complete dog toffee