Army 2020 – The Morning After Edition #Army2020

So, the morning after the leaks and briefing had been concluded we will have the results later.

OBSERVATIONS

A few of observations before getting into the details…

ONE – Did we Actually Need to Make Any Cuts At All?

There is absolutely no question in my mind that without economic security there can be no other security so the need to address the deficit as the overriding strategy of the coalition government was a sound one. However, that does not mean that it should automatically follow that defence should be subject to any budget reductions whatsoever.

There is equally a need to address the profligate MoD that have wasted money on a biblical scale but successive Governments have written cheques the emaciated and inefficient MoD and Armed Forces were unable to cash. Both Iraq and Afghanistan have been failures of resourcing as much as one might argue they were failures of anything else.

The current SDSR argues that significant reductions, and they are significant, can be achieved without strategic shrinkage.

That is clearly nonsense of the worst kind and the equivalent of putting ones fingers in your ears and shouting la la la la.

Setting the armed forces up for failure in the future by pretending all in the garden is rosy is fundamentally dishonest and it needs to be said.

TWO – Backbone; or Complete Lack of It

One of our commenters made the very valid point that the armed forces are political and should always be, so it is inevitable that politics would play a large part of the decision making. Instead of looking at the Household Division, Gurkhas or other untouchables the government has tied the hands of those trying to deliver the reductions.

Timing is always an interesting point but I also wonder if these announcements could have been made earlier, avoiding keeping people in uncertainty.

Getting the Jubilee and Armed Forces Day out of the way seems like a bit of cynical PR to me, should we be suprised?

THREE – Leaking, Spinning and Vested Interests

When is the leaking culture going to stop?

The MoD and political leadership in Government needs to get a grip of this, it is wholly unhealthy and breeds a culture of mistrust. No matter what the justification there is no excuse and it is pretty saddening to be honest that those in positions of trust feel they are justified in undermining the process.

When I read about either cap badge or service special pleading and corrosive politicking by the higher echelons of the forces I despair. All of them seem to be guilty of it and this is yet another failure of political leadership.

FOUR – Speculation

Having looked at this for a while now I came to the conclusion that hanging on to every leaked report and breathlessly pronouncing on the future of individual units really was unhelpful to those that might be looking at a very uncertain future.

I also have a bad taste in my mouth when I read people being critical of those making these incredibly difficult and detailed decisions from a position of zero experience or access to anything beyond a leaked report, Wikipedia and copy of the Soldier magazine.

If anyone thinks those that will be affected by this already know and therefore it doesn’t matter clearly have no clue whatsoever of how these things work and little regard for the indviduals involved.

So, in general terms, I have stayed away from that, apologise if you were expecting different.

FIVE – A Sudden Interest in ‘Homeland Resilience and Security’

When the Conservative Party released its pre-election defence strategy I covered in some depth its focus on using the Armed Forces to deliver against an increased obligation for homeland security and resilience.

Oh, stop there a minute…

Anyone who uses the term homeland in relation to the UK should be taken outside and debagged, it’s a pathetic and demeaning display of a slavish devotion to US military and security fashion, like warfighting, it needs expunging from any British defence language.

Rant over

For several years the Armed Forces had seen civil contingency support as something they should do as a last resort and rightly so. The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and subsequent guidance shifted the relevant responders away from any form of reliance of the Armed Forces but as the end to operations in Afghanistan is in sight it seems that they are now all over the ‘mission’

Like the ‘security theatre’ and anti-aircraft missiles on rooftops for the expensive summer sports day that are part of the new found interest we need to have a very long think about this, not sure we are travelling the correct road.

SIX – The Reserves

There is an almost religious belief that the reserves can make up the short fall in regular force numbers and whilst it should be obvious to all that there exists a tremendous reserve component across all three services without any change in primary employment legislation are we just hoping for the best?

SEVEN – Its Not Just About The Infantry

Most of the press has focussed on the infantry but the cuts in the combat support and combat service support (if rumours are true) seem more disproportionate, perhaps the strategy is to rely on the reserves and contractors for some of these functions, if so, that is equally worthy of debate.

PREPARING THE GROUND

Writing in The Times newspaper, Chief of the General Staff General Sir Peter Wall has outlined the thinking behind the changes to be made to the Army in today’s Army 2020 announcement.

General Wall writes:

Today the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond will set out what the Army is for.

After the experiences of the past ten years there is unlikely to be much of a national appetite for protracted war. Yes, the United Kingdom faces new threats from terrorism and cyber attack. But in an era where there has been no threat of conventional invasion since the end of the Cold War, some might ask why we can’t shrink our Army by even more than the significant numbers already announced.

Fighting wars through precision attacks from air and sea has obvious political as well as military attractions. And if that won’t work then why not rely on our allies to do the hard yards? Or support a local proxy force to deliver ‘boots on the ground’?

The answer lies in the level of assurance that we as a nation require when our interests are being threatened and we are vulnerable. The world is not going to be any less confrontational just because of its economic plight; in all probability it will be more so.

Some threats we face will come from well outside the military sphere: challenges to our economic interest, to our values and beliefs, to the conditions that underpin stability around the world. Diplomacy and negotiation will always be our first resort. But the credibility of these approaches often depends on the implicit understanding that military options exist – and that, when the preferred means aren’t working, we may need to turn to them.

And that when we do, they must work.

Increasingly that means forming coalitions that include regional partners as well as our traditional allies. They are becoming ever more important in political and military terms, but also to confer international legitimacy on our actions. We should only commit forces when we have a clear understanding of the nuances of the situation at all levels – including the human terrain. Understanding that is critical as both Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated. Such a level of clarity is hard to come by.

We have designed Army 2020 against this backdrop. Our future force will be structured around three core purposes. The first is intervention and conventional deterrence; the second is overseas operations in multinational alliances to prevent conflict at source; the third purpose is activity within the UK – partly to make us more responsive to domestic operations such as flood relief and the Olympics and to improve homeland resilience, but primarily to ensure that we can sustain the reformed Army Reserve that will be a key element of our new forces.

The Army Reserve will include armoured forces and light forces, intelligence and surveillance. It will work with the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force as well as government departments and NGOs [non-governmental organisations]. It can be adapted to handle smaller operations, or configured as a full-scale brigade for a sustained period, as we currently operate in Afghanistan. Given warning it will field a division for even larger challenges.

Despite a reduction of 20 per cent in our regular manpower, our future capacity will not be far short of its current level. We have managed this by building a high dependence on the new Army Reserve, and a support network of specialist contractors. This is a groundbreaking change. But I am confident that with imagination and the help of employers and industry – supported by changes to legislation – this will work.

Relocating the Army from Germany calls for some focused spending on new bases – and the sooner we can do this the better. We will have important new equipment, including the excellent capabilities returning from Afghanistan.

But what of our officers and soldiers who are so critical to this venture? They are to be found in the warrior generation that has fought courageously in Iraq and Afghanistan. We need them to soldier on into the new era, and we need people of comparable courage, talent and commitment to join them.

After our departure from Afghanistan in 2014 life in this new Army is going to be different for sure; but it will be just as challenging. So we will look after them and their families. The ongoing redundancy programme is unavoidable. We must do everything possible to support those soldiers making the transition into civilian life. Equally we need to ensure the military continues to attract the best.

Change is always difficult, and for an organisation as mindful of its history as the British Army this is especially so. I am confident that Army 2020 is imaginatively configured and properly resourced to meet the future demands of this uncertain world, manned by soldiers of the highest quality.

THE DETAILS

Apart from the sacred cows I think we might be surprised by how well thought out this will be given the poison chalice the Army had been handed and political meddling that s only too obvious, we might only get the general announcements later with details following.

Watch live here

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=11031

Bullet points from Phil Hammonds statement to the House of Commons and associated releases

Army 2020 announcement confirms Army to be reduced by 23 units

The Army is to be reduced by 23 Regular units since the Strategic Defence and Security Review as part of Army 2020. The changes are due to be implemented by 2015, with the overall mandate to reach the capacity of 82,000 for the Regular Army and 30,000 for the Reserves by 2018.

The announcement came today in the House of Commons by Secretary of State for Defence the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP after months of work by the Army to create a modern force for the challenges of 2020 and beyond.

The changes to the Order of Battle (ORBAT) will include:

Household Cavalry and Royal Armoured Corps

The Queens Royal Lancers will amalgamate with 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s) upon completion of scheduled operational commitments and not before October 2014.

[TD: The new unit will be called The Royal Lancers (RL)]

The 1st Royal Tank Regiment and the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment will merge upon completion of scheduled operational commitments and not before April 2014.

Royal Regiment of Artillery

39 Regiment Royal Artillery and 40 Regiment Royal Artillery will both be removed from the ORBAT by October 2015.

Corps of the Royal Engineer

24 Commando Engineer Regiment will be removed from the ORBAT not before April 2013.

[TD: Reverts to 59 Independant Commando Squadron RE and 131 Independant Commando Squadron RE (V)]

25 Engineer Regiment and 28 Engineer Regiment will be removed from the ORBAT not before October 2015.

[TD: 25 squadrons moved to 39 a while ago]

38 Engineer Regiment will be removed from the ORBAT.

[TD: Already disbanded when 19 Lt Bde disbanded]

67 Works Group will also be removed from the ORBAT not before April 2015.

Royal Corps of Signals

7th Signal Regiment (Allied Rapid Reaction Corps) is to be removed from the ORBAT.

Infantry

5th Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders,) will be reduced to form a Public Duties Incremental Company on completion of current task and not before August 2013.

2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers will be removed from the ORBAT and absorbed into the rest of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers upon completion of scheduled operational commitments in the autumn of 2014.

The 2nd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howard’s) will be removed from the ORBAT and absorbed into the rest of The Yorkshire Regiment on completion of their Cyprus tour and not before the Autumn of 2013.

[TD Edit

Message from the Colonel of the Regiment –

We have been directed to form two regular battalions in Autumn 2013. We shall therefore merge the current 2nd Battalion into the current 1st and 3rd Battalions. The 3rd Battalion will become the 2nd Battalion. The 4th Battalion will remain as a TA Battalion. We shall not retain the names of our antecedent regiments in our battalion titles.

This is a change that affects the whole Regiment, not merely one battalion of The Yorkshire Regiment. This is a merger, not a takeover or disbandment. The priority is to ensure that our people are managed properly. All directly affected individuals will be consulted and kept informed. The chain of command will work closely with the Army Personnel Centre to manage careers. The Executive Committee of The Yorkshire Regiment chaired by a senior member of the Board will oversee the merger.

We do not like losing a Battalion from the Regiment’s Order of Battle. But for this change to work, we must accept and embrace it. Resistance to the merger will be an unnecessary and destructive distraction – the Regiment will not engage in special pleading or lobbying. We will make this merger work

After the merger, we will have two fully manned regular battalions of The Yorkshire Regiment supported by a reserve battalion. These battalions will not be PWO, Dukes or Green Howards. They will be YORKS. Hence the removal of the antecedents from our regular battalion titles. The Executive Committee, having consulted widely, will recommend how we are to retain the ‘golden thread’ connecting us to our antecedent regiments for endorsement by me and approval by our Colonel in Chief.
]

The 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment (Staffordshire) will be removed from the ORBAT and absorbed into the rest of The Mercian Regiment on completion of Op HERRICK 19 and not before October 2014.

2nd Battalion the Royal Welsh (The Royal Regiment of Wales) will be removed from the ORBAT and absorbed into the rest of The Royal Welsh Regiment not before Autumn 2013.

1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment will join the Prince of Wales’ Division.

Army Air Corps

1 Regiment Army Air Corps will merge with 9 Regiment Army Air Corps, bringing the Wildcat force under a single HQ based at Yeovilton not before October 2015.

Royal Logistic Corps (RLC)

1 Logistic Support Regiment will be removed from the ORBAT not before April 2015.

2 Logistic Support Regiment will be removed from the ORBAT not before October 2014.

23 Pioneer Regiment will be removed from the ORBAT not before October 2015.

8 Regiment, 19 Combat Service Support Battalion and 24 Regiment RLC will be removed from the ORBAT.

Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineer

101 Force Support Battalion will be removed from the Regular Army ORBAT not before Autumn 2015, and will transfer to the Reserve.

Royal Military Police unit

5 Regiment Royal Military Police is to be removed from the ORBAT as part of the drawdown from Germany. The three remaining Regiments will be re-organised.

All SIB capabilities will be reorganised under one headquarters, while the Military Provost Service will be increased, and a specialist Support Operations group will be created.

The Royal Gurkha Rifles are to remain with two Battalions to sustain their capability and meet their unique operational requirement in Brunei.

The current Regular and Reserve structure for the Army Medical Services will remain largely unchanged with three Regular and ten Reserve field hospitals.

The Intelligence Corps will retain three Regular military intelligence battalions.

Sustaining cap badges

Addressing questions about specific unit reductions, Chief of the General Staff (CGS) General Sir Peter Wall KCB CBE ADC Gen, said the units to be lost from the Royal Armoured Corps were selected on the basis of armoured corps principles and to sustain as many cap badges as possible.

“We will still have three heavy armoured regiments equipped with an upgrade of Challenger 2, which will satisfy our requirements for the future. This is based on analysis that sees tanks being used less in a mass armoured role but still playing a very important role in terms of supporting the infantry.”

The five Infantry Battalions were selected based on a number of factors including their ability to recruit over the last ten years, and the demographic projections about the population in their recruitment areas over the next ten years.

The six RLC units to be disbanded were selected based on future projections for logistic requirements, and were also those that provided a role that could be fulfilled by the Army Reserves and contractors.

“The RLC will still remain a critical part of the Army and one of considerable size. But we needed to find places where we can employ Reserves and contractors to alleviate some of the high costs of military manpower, and the RLC is an area where that works well,” he said.

Fair distribution of resources

On the subject of the Reserves, CGS confirmed there were very few adjustments being made but until the laydown of the Regular Army is confirmed there would be no further announcements on how the Reserves would be recast to partner and complement Regular units in their areas.

“I appreciate that it is a difficult day for those people who have heard that the Regiments they have fought in are going to be amalgamated or disbanded, but in the round it is a good day for the Army as it gives us the clarity and springboard to shape the Army to confront the challenges of the future.

“This is fair to the country as it delivers the very best capabilities that we can with the resources that we have been given. It rebalances the Army to the demands of the future with a fair distribution of resources and manpower across all of the cap badges. And it it is fair at the soldier level where we shall we doing our utmost to make sure that everybody gets the best chance of being re-employed in the Army.

Re-employment possibilities

CGS was keen to stress to soldiers serving with the units to be disbanded or merged that they were no more or less likely to be selected for redundancy that others with similar skills and service record.

“Your prospects of redundancy are no greater by dint of being in a Regiment that has been selected to be removed from the order of battle,” he said.

When units are withdrawn, their personnel will be reassigned to other units – where possible, within the same regiment or corps.

Although the majority of the changes are due to be made between 2014 and 2016, there may be some unit reductions before 2014, dependent on force levels in Afghanistan.

Optimistic for the future

“Overall I am optimistic that this will work well and has used the best of the resources that have been afforded to us by the country.

“Army 2020 is an ambitious vision for unprecedented times. It will demand resilience, flexibility and genuine adaptability from talented and committed officers and soldiers. In return it will provide challenge and opportunity in abundance. Soldiering in this Army will continue to be an exacting and rewarding vocation,” CGS concluded.

 

QUICK THOUGHTS

  • Given the crap hand it was dealt, I think we need to show some humility and congratulate the Army on coming up with a sensible proposal
  • Hammond needs a good shoeing for using the term warfighting in his speech
  • I don’t for one second think the Army’s hand wasn’t forced on Gurkhas, ceremonial, Guards and Scottish units which made the outcome less coherant than it might have been. craven political cowardice on the part of the Government
  • Concentrating on cap badges and regiments, listening to vested interests but lacerating those units with one cap badge i.e. the CS/CSS shows a distinct lack of moral courage on the part of the Government
  • Lots of work to do in the future, especially with the Reserves and contractors, the outcome of which is uncertain in the extreme i.e., this is a calculated gamble

 

UPDATE

More information from the MoD

Army 2020 sets out plans for transformation of the Force

The Army of 2020 will be an adaptable and integrated structure that is broken into two forces: a Reaction Force and an Adaptive Force that are both supported by Force Troops.

The Reaction Force will provide the lead Armoured Infantry Battle Group and the lead Airborne or Air Assault Force to provide a rapid reaction war fighting/deterrent capability.

It will consist of three Armoured Infantry Brigades and 16 Air Assault Brigade under the command of a divisional headquarters. Each Armoured Infantry Brigade will have three manoeuvre units: a type 56 tank regiment and two armoured infantry battalions. They will also have a heavily protected mobility infantry battalion, and an armoured cavalry regiment which will be able to task organise with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

The Reaction Forces will also have 101 Logistic Brigade under their command for logistic support.

The Adaptable Force will be a pool of Regular and Reserve forces held at lower readiness. They will provide further capacity when required and be able to generate additional brigade-sized forces for enduring operations. However, more routinely these soldiers will carry out wider engagement overseas to help to build capacity in friendly nations’ armies, and fulfil the UK’s standing garrison tasks in Brunei, Cyprus and the Falkland Islands. In addition, these troops will be responsible for public duties and state ceremonial tasks.

Adaptable Forces will encompass seven Regular infantry brigades, paired with a Reserve unit, reporting to a divisional headquarters. How these paired forces will be deployed will depend on the operational requirement, but the Reserves could make up as much as 30 per cent of a deployed unit in an enduring operation, whereas simple operations could have the Reserves deployed as a complete battalion.

Like the Reaction Force, the Adaptable Force will have its own logistic support provided by 102 Logistic Brigade, which will be predominantly made up of Reserve troops.

Force Troops will support both of these forces. They will consist of an Artillery brigade with supplementary Fire Support Teams, and an Engineer Brigade that will integrate the Explosive Ordinance Disposal squadron in response to the improvised explosive device threat of the modern battlefield. It will also include the Medical Brigade, and 104 Logistic Support Brigade, which might take on the Joint Force Logistic Support role.

In addition, there will be two Signals brigades, one of which will include five multi-role signals regiments providing Information Communication Support, together with a newly created non-deployable Surveillance Brigade under a 1-star headquarters. Furthermore, there will be a newly created Security Assistance Group pulling together the soft effect capabilities of the Military Stabilisation Support Group, 15 Psychological Operations Group and potentially Media Operations Group.

“This is not something that will be delivered overnight, and indeed it is going to take till 2020 for it to be fully implemented,” said Lieutenant General Nick Carter, “but the capabilities of the structure we have created is one that we have measured against the hardest threat we could have to fight in the future.”

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223 thoughts on “Army 2020 – The Morning After Edition #Army2020

  1. twecky

    Interesting post:

    When is the leaking culture going to stop? It’s not. it’s part of the new politics. get used to it.

    Apart from the sacred cows I think we might be surprised by how well thought out this will be …. I am standing by to be surprised !

    Any thoughts about the CS and CSS cuts ? Apart from the usual wishful thinking on reserves….

    NB anyone seen the grauniad today – nice advert for a new Comms Director for the MOD … 120k pa cant be bad ! http://jobs.guardian.co.uk/job/4475784/director-of-media-communications/

  2. John Hartley

    Given the huge number of non-jobs that riddle the public sector, we should have sacked many of those rather than cut the army below 100,000. Or cut the RN below 30 escorts. Or this slow motion cut of over half our helicopters.
    Need to save more money? Then cut DfID, EU contributions & stop paying fines to ECHR. Then jail for life anyone who missuses a public sector credit card.

  3. Phil

    Trouble is old boy the non jobs hang on like rabid dogs and even worse a lot of them aren’t recognised as non jobs but vital posts which only by the grace of God humanity has done without before.

  4. Desk Jockey

    Someone reads the Daily Fail! There are not that many non jobs in the MOD. They learnt a long time ago that putting the military in charge of the contracts was a bad idea, they get fleeced all over the shop. Now the move is to just hand it over to the private sector, something that great bastion of socialism, the USA, is now moving back from due to the horrendous waste and corruption that results! The RN now has 19 escorts (13 frigates, 6 destroyers) so it is already well below 30 (pay attention here otherwise the TD community will flog you!). Not going to bother discussing the EU with you, but in regards to the government credit cards, read the excellent post by Thethinpinstriped line on this issue. Credit card abuse in the public sector really isn’t endemic.

    TD is fully right, our strategic aspirations have to match our resources. They don’t and so everything is a fudge. Trying to organise the armed forces as if we are still an empire is not practical and so the goal has to be to focus on keeping and enhancing the things we are good at.

  5. x

    Phil said “Trouble is old boy the non jobs hang on like rabid dogs and even worse a lot of them aren’t recognised as non jobs but vital posts which only by the grace of God humanity has done without before.”

    You used that g word with a capital G. Could you rewrite it to be a bit more inclusive of atheists and those from other faiths please?

    At least you said humanity and not mankind.

    Peace out.

    PS: Old boy? You are being ageist and too gender specific….. sorry….peace out again.

  6. Simon

    TD,

    What so wrong with the term “homeland”? I didn’t realise it was American – I actually thought it was more German or Russian?

    What phrase should I use to indicate defence of the British Isle and its overseas territories rather than defending the sea lanes and projecting foreign policy to unstable states.

    I’m not ranting, I just want something shorter than the above.

    Cheers.

  7. Phil

    Our strategic aspirations have never met our means since the Hundred Years War. People think this is something new. Alliances exist for this reason. There’s one nation on this planet that has the mass to go it alone and even then it probably doesn’t if too many things kick off at once. Really the aim is to have autonomy at the lower end of the operational spectrum and have influence in an alliance at the higher end. We will never do anything alone except fight bush wars if we had any colonies left or do lower level battlegroup operations. The peat bog islands are a vague exception but even last time our alliances assisted us and we didn’t really go if alone completely.

    Nothing has changed!

  8. paul g

    to be fair to john he stated non-jobs in the public sector, i know a council (no names no pack drill) that employs a lot of people with good wages, that quite frankly do the minimum. How many of us get the quartly “info magazines” that are full of non important shite that are written by public sector staff, and printed in glossy colour.

    i’m not even going to go down the diversity route, it’s been well documented, i would say out all the public sector departments the MOD get quite good value out of theirs.

    Maybe just maybe and i’m clutching at the rim of the half full glass here, it will be easier to increase the size of logistics regiments in the future if the reservists experiment goes tits up. Has anyone seen screaming headlines about a REME battalion being disbanded? No didn’t think so.

    As a footnote bob stewart has summed the cuts up in one sentence, “an army of less than 100,000 should be classed as a home defence force not an army”

  9. Simon

    If the 175,000 members of the police force carried guns I’d be a little happier.

    80,000 is only about 1 for every 800 people in the UK.

    This must be one of the lowest in the western world?

  10. Jim

    Home Islands – you mean Great Britain. We don’t defend the whole British Isles of course. That large blob to the left have been responsible for their own defence for the last ninety years.

  11. Mike

    “When is the leaking culture going to stop? It’s not. it’s part of the new politics”

    Not new either, back in 1887 The sinking of the Victoria with the causes and blame game that followed led to deliberate leaks to the Media by certain personell to promote change in policy; sorta kicked off the whole game.

    We’ll never see it end, and it can be a double edged sword.

    These cuts/changes, I understand, are to occur in a 5-10 year period…so at least it wont be as swift acting as the junior and senior services experienced. Still, I aint happy :c

  12. Simon

    Jim,

    My error. I meant Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    Perhaps Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the British Overseas Territories should be called “Greater Britain” – it worked for London ;-)

  13. Brian Black

    Simon @ 09:10

    Thou shalt use the term “defence of the realm”, not “homeland security and resilience”.

  14. Red Trousers

    There are tens of thousands of non-jobs still in existence in the MoD, and if that is the case, a million or more across the national public sector.

    Those MoD non-jobs:

    About 50% of Abbey Wood, allowing for those remaining to work twice as hard and therefore put in a proper day’s work, and 75% to be sacked or whatever the correct HR term is.

    RAF Regiment

    RAF Movers

    Anyone involved in public duties

    90% of Retired Officer (RO) posts

    MoD Plod

    About 50% of the staff of the “Directorates” in the Army (i.e. DRAC, DRA, D Inf, etc). Pretty sure the Andrew and the Kevins are equally guilty of hosting similar parasite organisations.

    About 95% of the Joint Doctrine community. Honestly, how many high priced staff officers do you need to churn out bullshit that on one reads?

    About 75% of the civvy clerical staff of any single HQ.

    After that, there are some fundamental questions about the harmony guidelines and why 3:1 tour intervals is not some law written in stone but appears to be regarded as such, and why on earth we always need to buy 3 ships or even 4 submarines to guarantee one being available.

  15. Gareth Jones

    No cap badges or regiment names to go – battalions to go from multi-battalion regiments; one Scots battslion to be reduced to a company

  16. Red Trousers

    There’s some missing info and puzzlement here.

    Unless I’m completely out of date, there are currently 5 armoured Regiments, which are to reduce to 3. The current 5 are SCOTS DG, RDG, QRH, KRH and 2 RTR. 2 RTR disappears, leaving 4, so presumably one of the four re-roles to something else.

    There are currently 5 recce Regiments (HCR, QDG, 9/12L, LD and QRL). 9/12L and QRL to amalgamate, leaving 4. This is the first time in history (I think) that the light cavalry have outnumbered the heavies. No comment on that – it’s the way of the world. ISTAR over punch.

    I see the Brigade of Guards got away with it, yet again.

  17. Wibble

    Red Trousers,

    Your list of non-jobs is a complete load of tosh and shows a complete lack of understanding of the military in general let alone the areas you highlight as non-jobs. Are you in the service? If so which one and at what level? MPGS?

  18. martin

    No cap badges or regiment names to go – battalions to go from multi-battalion regiments; one Scots battslion to be reduced to a company

    Could some one just get rid of the Argyle & Souther Highlander’s. My TA company was attatched to them. It is a great old regiment that in battalion size was fair enough but reducing it to a company is just adding insult to injury. Just get rid of it. I recon in force 2040 we will be having the Royal Scots platoon part of the Guards company with an attached section know as the Argyle and Southern Highlander’s all inside the POW regiment.

    Maybe we should just give all the colours to the OTC and let the students polish them.

    Am I right in thinking they have reduced the Gurkhas by one battalion?

  19. Phil

    Like every other eagerly anticipated army announcement it’s half a story and lacking in detail. Does my head in. And the fact that the reserve integration is saved for another announcement farther down the line. Bah!! Nobody said TA. I guess Army Reserve is its new name. Good.

  20. Red Trousers

    Bugger off Wibble.

    I spent 21 years serving at a variety of levels from Trooper to running the C4ISTAR Branch at HQ LAND, including 4 years in total working alongside the DPA in Abbey Wood, 18 months at DRAC, having operational control within 1st Armd Div of an RAF Regiment Squadron, working alongside Retired Officers, as the Field Army’s interface to the Joint Doctrine community, and a year on JSCSC 3. I’m pretty sure of my ground.

    And you?

  21. paul g

    now, this could be interesting, time to pull up chair. Over to you red trousers, sir (the sir bit is a hint to wibble)

  22. Desk Jockey

    Don’t feed the troll Wibble!

    @ Red Trousers: Some of us know how the MOD works (not perfectly, no one knows that) and I personally have seen a wider breadth of the organisation than you, including a large number of teams in MOD centre, various Army stations, Navy Command and Abbey Wood. (not going into details for good reasons) You might personally think senior management a waste of space (don’t we all sometimes), but your pro-green everything else is crap prejudicies are showing! Only someone who knows nothing about what a political mess defence is or the stupidly complicated complexities of defence business would suggest the cuts that you have suggested.

    The smart people on this site front up ideas on how to fix things, not make sweaping generalisations that would cause a shedload of other problems. Of course, if you say trim the MOD by 50% and accept that the UK should become a puny self defence force, go right ahead. Just don’t pretend a 200,000+ Armed Forces is going to achieve much without suited movers and shakers backing them up.

  23. Jed

    So James our resident Cavalryman is now using the handle Red Trousers ???? Confused, CV sounds the same ! James, is it you……

  24. Colin

    “I spent 21 years serving at a variety of levels from Trooper to running the C4ISTAR Branch at HQ LAND, including 4 years in total working alongside the DPA in Abbey Wood, 18 months at DRAC, having operational control within 1st Armd Div of an RAF Regiment Squadron, working alongside Retired Officers, as the Field Army’s interface to the Joint Doctrine community, and a year on JSCSC 3. I’m pretty sure of my ground.”

    If MOD let you anywhere near that lot, no wonder they’re fucked…

  25. East_Anglian

    Have also hated the term “Homland Defence”. We had a perfect name for it back in the Cold War -”Home Defence”

  26. Mike

    “The smart people on this site front up ideas on how to fix things, not make sweaping generalisations that would cause a shedload of other problems”

    Amen.

    Not sure about the changes, no-one screaming blue murder yet?
    With the TA/AR(?) integration being delayed for another announcement…kinda sounds like that part hasn’t yet been thought out.

  27. Chris.B.

    Hmm, not sure the Royal Welsh are gonna be too pleased. Part of the last shuffle that saw them become the “small” regiment to the Mercian’s “large” was the tacit understanding that in the event of future cuts all the “large” regiments would take a hit and the small would generally be left alone, but the Guards and the Rifles get away without being touched? Must be a recruitment issue.

  28. x

    Why 24 Commando RE? Why? WHY? How do 9 Para escape?

    Forget the Guards what about the 2300 RAF Reg bods? Why? WHY?

    I thought 2RRF was up to strength and nearly all UK nationals?

    Crackers.

  29. Brown Trousers

    Of course Red Trousers is no doubt aware that the “Directorates” as he calls them, Arms and Service Directors (A&SDs) to everyone else, have already been amalgamated and replaced by Capability Directors.

  30. Gareth Jones

    @ Martin – I believe the two Gurkha battalions have been retained due to the Brunei commitment.

  31. Chris.B.

    “@ Martin – I believe the two Gurkha battalions have been retained due to the Brunei commitment”

    Yeah, they both escaped.

  32. ArmChairCivvy

    My take, over and above leaks & speculation ahead of time:
    1. Clear signal that the three Armoured formations would have new/ refurbed wagons (the speculated contracted numbers for them are not far off, so this has been in the works for at least the last two years?)
    2. On a 6 month rota, called up reserves might be 10% to begin with, rising to 30% of the fielded force in round 4 or 5
    - interesting difference in delivering this message:
    –to the politicians and the population at large, a division level commitment would be best effort (implying not for long)
    – if a force is still in the field after 24-30 months and reserves make up a third of it, even a formed brigade is hinted at, that is not very short term (and different from an enduring brigade-level commitment)

  33. x

    @ TD

    Thank you for that small crumb of comfort.

    Still I want to know why my county regiment and 2RRF are for the chop and the RAF Reg remains in tact. One supposes they are sacrificial lambs next time HMG wants to trim something from the RAF proper.

    @ Gareth J

    You are too young, you can be Short Trousers.

    I think that makes TD, Cargo Pants……

  34. martin

    Red Trouser is obviously James with all his talk of the Andrew and the floatty boats. Its that or some one has cloned James, scary thought. Seriously though we all know you have a massive amount of experience in the Army but it does not mean you are right in your opinion’s. If the people in charge of the Army knew what they were doing we would not have had all the cluster f**ks we have had in the past several hundred year’s. We can blame politicians however even with today’s weak assed breed I suspect it’s the brass that are more concerned with the cap badges and sacred cows. Dose Dave the rave even know what a Mercian is.

    On the face of it there seems to be a decent amount of thought put in to Force 2020 but as with everything from this government we are light on detail. None of it means s**t until we are given an understanding of the Reserve role and exactly how civilian contractors will be brought in. Much of it seems to echo many of the comments from this site so maybe Whitehall do read Think Defence. Maybe TD could take over the role of the Telegraph in determining British defence policy from now on ;-)

  35. Phil

    And as predicted the seven brigades are nothing more than the regional brigades from which forces will be plucked, hopefully there will be some logic to it all. I hate it when they don’t just say how the Army will be organised they just give you selected snippets. It will be months before we know how they plan this to all be organised.

  36. ArmChairCivvy

    TD, sure is (as you say), but one phrase keeps repeating: “given time”

    Do you think the Ready Force can be supported by the “tail” that remains with the regulars?

    RE “Lots of work to do in the future, especially with the Reserves and contractors, the outcome of which is uncertain in the extreme i.e., this is a calculated gamble”

  37. jim30

    My own thoughts are that I agree with much of what TD has said.

    I think the move back to ‘homeland resilience’ will immediately undo much of the good work done by CCA2004 in encouraging local authorities to take charge of their crisis planning. While ‘call in the Army’ always remained an option, at least stepping back from being the 4th emergency service helped get realism in their planning. It remains to be seen what will occur next.

    Secondly, I see the emergence of a two tier army, and much like the civil service Faststream has specific ‘plum posts’ I predict the movers & thrusters of each Corps / Regt will be posted to ‘chunky’ Response force jobs. We’ve essentially turned a large chunk of the Army into a bigger version of the Regional Force HQ.

    Finally, I think there is a very dangerous planning assumption that we can hit 30K TA, and that they will be at the right rank, with the right training and willing to deploy in the right timeframe. My instinct tells me that we’ll do brilliantly at getting Privates in, and not generating WOs in due course.

    I’ll do a blog update on this later today or tomorrow.

  38. The Wrong Trousers

    Well everyone else is getting leg ware fixated thought I would Join in!

    Interestingly the Scottish reg’s seem to be going down to 450 man battalions- does that not make the weak viz current doctrine? how will they fit in with everyone else?

    IXION

  39. Jim

    Could be worse soon the government of Nepal, are making noises about stopping its nationals joining foreign army’s. So take away another two battalions in the immediate future.

    If the RAC are going down to nine regiments, three will be in the Armoured Infantry Brigades on CH2. One other CH2 regiment spare and five Recce regiments and do they still do the NBC Regiment role ?

  40. Chris.B.

    @ Phil,

    “… hopefully there will be some logic to it all. I hate it when they don’t just say how the Army will be organised they just give you selected snippets. It will be months before we know how they plan this to all be organised.”

    Seconded.

    Given that we’ll have armoured infantry regiments attached to the armoured “reaction” brigades, what size are these 7 adaptable brigades going to be and just where are they going to derive their man power from?

    What happens to 16 Air Assault now that the A&S Highlanders (really just 5th Scots) are gone and the Irish are being moved to the PoW division? Will they still serve in 16AA along with the Gurkha’s?

    Details!!

  41. Fedaykin

    Frankly I have little sympathy for the boys in green with this rapidly developing cap badge bun fight! As far as I am concerned it is their turn to suck it up and take a turn with cuts!!!

    I didn’t see many complaints from the Generals when another frigate was retired or a fighter squadron disbanded! The RAF and RN have been through crushing equipment and personnel cuts already…its the turn of the Army now. Many perfectly good ships and historic squadrons have been retired and not a peep of complaint came out of the army…now some sacred cap badges of the army are under threat and its civil war for which survives.

  42. Red Trousers

    @ All,

    good grief, I make a post and clear off for a meeting, and seem to have stirred up all sorts of stuff.

    1. Sorry all, not trying to be ridiculous with chopping the Army down to ridiculous levels, merely an observation made in my over-sarcastic style (apologies), that actually, being serious (this is difficult for me, but please bear with me), there are still lots of not really very defensible roles in the MoD, if you take a proper and grown up look at it. In my personal experience, individuals and whole elements of the organisations I mention really do not contribute to defence capability or outputs, and if it is savings that are desired, best to start by looking at them. Of course, I am aware that the MoD Civil Service is also facing big cuts, so the MoD already know what I’ve said, but they don’t get their 4 hour debate in Parliament.

    2. There was a published change of call sign from James to Red Trousers a week or so ago, because another James came onto the site and made a very sensible post about something to do with the Andrew, and it was just too confusing for both myself and the other James, whoever he may be, to post under the same name. Plus, reputationally damaging for me to be seen writing sensible stuff about the Andrew and floaty little boats.

    3. Anyone who really wants to track me down can probably pretty easily find my Linked In profile and CV. It’s not really a secret. If you can’t find it, you are not trying very hard. Like everyone, I’ll keep my proper name off the public domain because then I’ll appear on all sorts of Google searches, and I’ll be tapping the boards in front of the boss worrying about company reputation, etc. Best not to.

    4. I only speak seriously about UAVs, Recce, Airships and sex. Anything else is probably best to be interpreted as me letting prejudices unwind or just blowing off steam. Carriers are still however a shite idea.

    5. Any post with floaty little boats, the Andrew or Kevins referenced is pretty likely to be me, unless I attract my own personal sock puppet which I suppose would be flattering, if irritating.

    6. @ Colin, at 1320. Yes, they did, Yes, they are.

  43. Empire Builders

    These civilian contractors. The US DoD has Blackwater, I bet the MoD ends up with Thames Water…..

    Yours,

    X

  44. Jim

    Red Trousers “having operational control within 1st Armd Div of an RAF Regiment Squadron”

    What the hell was an RAF Regt Squadron doing in 1st Armd Div?

  45. Chris.B.

    @ Fedaykin,

    Over the last 20 years the army has suffered some pretty bloody hefty cuts mate. If memory serves more than the other two services.

  46. Red Trousers

    Jim,

    Bosnia, MND(SW), summer / autumn 1996. 1 Div needed an infantry company for local defence of the Metal Factory plus a small AO surrounding. RAF wanted a role for the RAF Regiment, so 2 and 2 were put together, and we got No 1 Squadron from Honington. They were – for the RAF Regt – very good, but let’s not anyone try to pretend the were a replacement in competence for an infantry company. They did however come tooled up with every piece of Goretex and weapon system known to man.

    I gave them their daily, weekly and mission tasking, and then spent a lot of time trying to stop the GOC and COS from looking too closely into what on earth they did from day to day, because both of them had short tempers and used to ring me up from their offices, normally starting with “Ops! What the F*** is going on with….” – this normally being after flying back in to the Metal Factory in a Lynx from some visit elsewhere, and looking down and seen some gross affront such as bunching or patrolling in a slack and ill-disciplined manner somewhere just outside the wire.

  47. Ed Zeppelin

    ‘No cap badges to go.’ Well, one actually. The QRL and 9/12 amalgamation means that someone loses out. Lying gits.

  48. Jim

    The 9th/12th Lancers have been on borrowed time since the early 80s, remember visiting them in Germany and they could only provide two recce squadrons being unable to recruit.

  49. Phil

    Reading about the reserves. I cannot tell if language is being used (a) lazily (b) to pull wool over our eyes (c) very specifically or what. The bit on reserves on the MoD page says this:

    “Reservists will be expected to commit to specific amounts of training time”

    So – does this mean compulsory training? Or does it mean they are expected to commit to 28 days a year as and when they see fit or what? Or considering the next bit says:

    “for the Army in most cases, to accept a liability for up to six months’ deployed service, plus pre-deployment training, in a five-year period, dependent on operational demand.”

    Do they mean that there might be graduated commitment levels.

    If so I would like to smugly direct people to my TA post some months ago that predicted 1 in 5 year TA deployment and a graduated commitment level depending on position in the readiness cycle.

  50. Red Trousers

    @ Ed Zeppelin,

    technically you are probably right, because who the hell is going to get rid of the best known cap badge in the Army, possibly even the world? Would be stupid. However, there’ll probably be some fudge. We old Scarlet Lancers (16/5L) want to keep the bicycle wheels collar dogs, but that still leaves buttons, belt badges or something similar for 9/12L if they’ve got something special they want to keep, plus if I recall correctly they all prance about in a unique green sweater which neither 16/5L or the Boneheads ever did.

  51. Phil

    http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/Templates/LargeImageTemplate.aspx?img=/NR/rdonlyres/29DE6907-780E-48AC-A287-AB3720ECC8EF/0/2divE2010083111_9809.jpg&alt=Territorial%20soldiers

    Christ, the Army is doomed if we get more of these fierce, Goretex glad warfighters. Only suitable for Homeland Defence.

    The front warfighter has clearly padded out his ammunition pouches with no ammo, there is barely a bigger sin in the Army. At least the Goretex chap on the left realises the absurdity of it all.

    Perhaps one of them spotted a spider in their harbour area.

  52. Ed Zeppelin

    @Red Trousers

    Correct, but the point remains that the government failed to deliver on its one promise relating to these cuts. Or perhaps they were being clever: No cap badges lost, but mottos can go!

  53. plus fours

    i reckon the guy back right is having a shovel recce and a compo one at that judging by the anquished look of pain on his face!!!

    (plus fours = paul g)

  54. Chris.B.

    “Anyone checked if there is a link between those being disbanded and those in BFG?”

    According to the ever relaible wiki (stop laughing) 9th/12th were part of 7th armoured, as were 3rd Mercians and 2nd Fusiliers, 2nd Logistic Support Regiment. 1st Logistic was attached to 1st(UK) Armoured. 5 regiment RMP was there mixed about. It is Wikipedia though so treat with caution.

    Worthy of note that you added to the article is the message from the Colonel of the Yorkshire Regiment, specifically this section;

    “After the merger, we will have two fully manned regular battalions of The Yorkshire Regiment supported by a reserve battalion. These battalions will not be PWO, Dukes or Green Howards. They will be YORKS”

    This was what was supposed to happen with the Scots when they became the Royal Regiment of Scotland. The Regiment subsumes the titles and the battalions become merely part of the wider Scots, as one, to forge a new identity for themselves, as the Colonel above sees his sub units as being all “Yorks”.

    Allowing the Scots to retain names, pipes and drums for the individual battalions has only led to more pain and political machinations down the road.

  55. Fedaykin

    Chris.B

    My memory serves differently, the RAF and RN have been through huge pain. The fleet is a fraction of its size and the RAF is below what we regarded as a safe minimum in prior defence reviews. The personnel axe in the last decade has hit the light and dark blue before the green. 2010 SSDR mandated cuts hit the RAF and RN first. I didn’t see many complaints from the green when whole aircraft types or frigates with many years of service life on them were scrapped. Yet when a sacred cap badge in the army is under threat its a full on melt down and calls of “get rid of the Gurkhas” or “save our badge in over some other”.

    We need versatile, deployable units like the Para’s or Gurkhas not the prima donnas of certain older parts of the army. Why should the army be excepted the real pain the other services have gone through just to keep various cap badges happy.

    It is the turn of the army as far as I am concerned.

  56. Red Trousers

    @ Ed Z,

    mottoes, schmottoes. I’d actually forgotten about how sensitive the Boneheads were about that distinction and it not being a cap badge. It’s a badge, it’s on your sodding cap, so why is it not a cap badge? It’s like the Grenadiers who refer to their “capstar”. But they are quite precious about it, so best leave them be.

  57. Phil

    “It is the turn of the army as far as I am concerned.”

    I love how you berate the Army for cap badge bun fights but a service bun fight, which you clearly advocate, is fine? You don’t think its a petty, narrow minded, myopic or anthropomorphic thing to do?

  58. Chris.B.

    Also of note was the Fusiliers bosses letter to the CDS. In it he mentioned having had discussions and even agreed in principle by the sound of it, a merging of units in the Queens Division to form a large regiment? Wonder what they’d come up with.

    @ Fedaykin,
    The Army has suffered a 31% cut in manpower since options for change. Now that’s less than the RAF (51%) and Navy (50%), but two things are of importance; the first is that the armies main tool is its manpower, boots on the ground as it were. Secondly, both the RAF and Navy have taken steps forward in the efficient manning of their systems, as demonstrated by RN vessels that will now take less men to operate a similar type of vessel.

    Relatively speaking they’ve all taken some significant punishment, the Army no really less so than the others.

  59. Fedaykin

    No I don’t advocate an inter service bun and I don’t see how you think that is my opinion.

    I despise inter service rivalry and the damage it has done. I am simply observing that the RAF and RN have been through significant pain and it is the turn of the army. I am also observing that there are elements within the army (and the same argument can be levelled at the other services) that seem to think that their element is somehow a sacred cow.

  60. Fedaykin

    @ Chris.B

    “The Army has suffered a 31% cut in manpower since options for change. Now that’s less than the RAF (51%) and Navy (50%), but two things are of importance; the first is that the armies main tool is its manpower, boots on the ground as it were. Secondly, both the RAF and Navy have taken steps forward in the efficient manning of their systems, as demonstrated by RN vessels that will now take less men to operate a similar type of vessel.”

    So you agree that the RAF and RN have suffered far heavier cuts in personnel then the Army.

    Efficient manning is fantastic but that doesn’t make up for the cut in platforms. The fact is the fleet and squadrons have been cut to the bone. The RAF have barely enough Typhoon to man UK and Falklands QRA whilst meeting the types OSD and the Navy have been using RFA vessels in patrol tasking. A frigate can’t be in two places at once however lean manned it is.

  61. ArmChairCivvy

    The normal refresh does not go through, RE
    “TBH I have had trouble reaching this site.”
    - have to take the link in the (Chrome) failure not, and get in by using that (so two rounds, every time today)

  62. Red Trousers

    @ Fedaykin,

    surely the correct way of thinking is that whichever of the 3 services is least valuable going forward should take a bigger proportion of the cuts? I’m in no position to know whether that is the Kevins, the Andrew or the Army, but I do know that historic cuts in the last 20 years should not influence what goes on in the future. You’d have to hope that the MoD has in fact been looking at this.

    Pro rata cuts and trying to even things out based on historic sentiment are hardly the way forward. And I say this as someone whose beloved Scarlet Lancers are today facing their second amalgamation in 20 years, and whose equally beloved SCOTS DG may have avoided the selector’s eye, but only because the Tories know they can throw the whole problem at Alec Salmond if he gains Scottish independence, or if not, salami slice them into a TA unit equipped with Landrovers. Believe me, this is not a happy day.

    Nevertheless, you’ve got to be grown up, turn to the right, salute, and get on with it. (Actually, no one is asking me personally to do that, being old bold and retired. But the boys will, because that’s the ethos).

  63. Short Trousers

    Fmr Admiral West was just on BBC 24 news – he did say he personaly thought the defence budget should be more but essentially this was the army’s share of the 2010
    SDSR; Also had a go at Dannat, who apparently has been going around the news studios saying these cuts to the army were to pay for Navy projects…

  64. Chris.B.

    @ Fedaykin,

    “So you agree that the RAF and RN have suffered far heavier cuts in personnel then the Army”

    If you really want to be pedantic then yes. But we’re not comparing apples to apples are we.

    If you cut the manpower of an Infantry battalion in half then you’re left with a rifle company and a manoeuvre support company. Conversely if you convert an RAF squadron from Tornado to Typhoon then you effectively halve the number of flying officers, yet retain a similar capability (eventually it should be superior). We’re talking about replacing specialised fighters and ground attack aircraft with multi-role platforms that can do both.

    Similar with the navy. You can reduce the number of personnel on a destroyer, but thanks to the wonders of modern gizmos you can achieve a comparable and in many regards superior capability.

    Every service has taken heavy hits to its capability. The army just as much as the RAF and Navy. Welcome the peace dividend followed up the arse by the financial crisis.

    P.S. What’s wrong with a RFA vessel doing something like counter-drug operations and disaster respone in the Carribean? Arguably it’s a more suitable vessel for that role than a Type 45 Air Defence Destroyer.

  65. Fedaykin

    @ Red Trousers

    That is entirely my sentiment they need to get on with it and suck it up. This is as Short Trousers points out the army’s share of 2010 SDSR.

    Cuts should be made as you point out on whichever is least valuable in each service but my sentiment is that no service should be excused the pain. All three services have elements that our vital to our defence.

  66. SomewhatInvolved

    From a dark blue perspective and knowing little of the land side, these cuts, against the background of the last twenty years of operations, do not seem overly outrageous. In that period the last, truly worthwhile commitment undertaken by the Army, IMHO, were operations in Bosnia and the Former Yugoslavia, Gulf War 1, and Northern Ireland. Iraq and Afghanistan are huge, expensive and bloody aberrations that cost too many lives and should not have happened at all, but the end of these operations are in sight, thank God.

    Even to an uneducated matelot like me, it seems clear that many elements of the Army were not involved in the Afghan campaign. The focus should now be on maximising the gains made in training and operational experience from these theatres, but reducing in accordance with the strategic direction and changing the posture of the Service to shed the Cold War legacy structures that still remain. The loss of regiments is of course saddening, but by Christ we have lost far too many ship’s tallies and that is an equivalent pain for us.

    The other Services have been cut hard as well, but I can assure all of you that the RN can cut no more. The Service is in a dangerous position and can suffer no more cuts without major commitments collapsing and ships breaking badly. I have no wish to inflict pain on the others for the sake of it, but we must change to meet the strategic objective and, if there is no money, make reductions accordingly.

    Some have said the Army has made a pretty decent effort to shrink within the limitations imposed upon it. If so, then BZ. It’s a pain, but remains necessary.

  67. Chris.B.

    “but I can assure all of you that the RN can cut no more,”

    No offence, but all three services have used that line repeatedly for the last 60 odd years. Yet they all get cut further regardless and all continue to function without collapsing.

  68. Challenger

    Wow, I shouldn’t really been surprised by the amount of comments this has already got.

    I’m still working my way through today’s decisions, making sense of things and forming opinion’s.

    The two things that have struck me so far are 1. the unbalanced nature of where cuts are to be made, and 2. a lack of courage and decisiveness that seems prevalent with the powers that be.

    Once again the Guards have been spared any pain, they seem untouchable! The Gurkha’s are being retained at the expense of British personnel, and yes the fifth Scot’s are being reduced to a company, but I still think it’s disproportionate suffering when one considers their problems with recruitment and the bloated size of the regiment to begin with.

    This review was a chance to implement some really dynamic, sweeping change. I liked the MRB idea before that went down the drain. It may seem extreme, but this could have been the best chance on offer for a very long time to actually tackle cap badges head on, id have completely renamed and reshaped the regimental structure in order to make a decisive break from the past and end this frustrating squabbling over legacy, lineage and history.

    I think remembering the past is an important thing, but the best place for it is in a museum and the mess hall, it shouldn’t effect front-line, here and now decisions.

    Once again the government has salami sliced it way through a treasury driven, cost cutting exercise. I know they had difficult choices to make, but I’m still quite disappointed by the outcome.

  69. All Politicians are the Same

    Firstly my heart goes out to those affected by today’s announcement. The Army seem to have handled it well and cut their cloth in line with some clear objectives. Some staying power may have been lost but the sharp end has never been pointier.
    Hopefully we will not see any Govt stupid enough to commit us to simultaneous Iraq and Afghanistan style Ops not without a genuine threat to UK national security.
    In peacetime the Army have relatively few operational commitments and things such as the Cyprus Battalions whilst being Operational in theory simply allow a Battalion with families to live in the sun for a few years.
    The platforms the RAF and RN have now are far more capable than the ones we had in 1990 but the cull in numbers is frightening and bears little resemblance to any cuts in commitments.
    The Rn has 65% less FF/DD/SSN/SSK as a group than it did in 1990. yes that is right, 2 thirds of Frigates, destroyers and Attack submarines have been cut.
    Given that lots of commitments require a 24/7 presence and we cannot simply deploy a Battalion to live there for a couple of years the hulls inability to be in 2 places at once(no matter how capable they be) begins to bite.
    Hence the reason why Argus is replacing another RFA as APT(N) and Fort Victoria has spent time doing counter piracy.
    The army looks at using 30k reserves to make up numbers on ops, the RN is currently having to utilse the RFA simply to meet day to day commitments.
    I sincerely hope that we do not see more cuts (to any service) in 2015 or it could well blow up in our faces, quite literally.

  70. Challenger

    I should point out that my previous views at 18:44 were rather negative, but that their are some elements I should praise to give a fair and balanced opinion.

    As APATS pointed out the sharp end of the Army is staying that way, 4 Battalions isn’t too much of a painful reduction, especially when at 1 point figures of around 11 were being rumoured!

    They will have less staying power, but I think it was right to protect front line infantry at the expense of some of the support elements.

    I also quite like the proposal of grouping artillery, engineers, signals etc into brigade structures. I can accept the idea of these support units becoming more homogeneous and coordinated, detaching squadrons and regiments to other formations as and when it’s required.

    So on the whole I don’t have that many problems with the amounts that are to be cut, I just feel a little exasperated by where these savings are to be found and the lack of comprehensive reorganisation that could have been achieved.

  71. x

    Can anybody clarify if 2RRF was up to strength and its personnel were nearly all UK nationals?

  72. Phil

    “the unbalanced nature of where cuts are to be made”

    It’s not unbalanced though. The “Army Reserve” will take on a lot of the slots missing in the regular ORBAT. Let’s not forget that the TA has been an entirely separate organisation for its entire existence. It got marginally more integrated in the 1960s but most of its strength was used to field entirely separate formations. Even now a lot of its units are based on fleshing out the ARRC as a traditional Corps operational grouping and a Cold War style Home Defence. This realignment should have been done in 1994 and it is a model the US Army follows and has followed since at least the 1970s – in fact as we know the US integration of reservists was a very deliberate policy choice.

    “a lack of courage and decisiveness that seems prevalent with the powers that be.”

    We expect our politicians to be decisive and onjective, yet know they can never be, and yet they pretend they can be, and so we despise them.

    “Once again the Guards have been spared any pain, they seem untouchable!”

    That’s because Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. The Guards ARE the establishment and the establishment makes the rules! I think that they realise even they have pushed their luck this time. It would not have been such a crying shame to have formed a Regiment of Foot Guards – the identity is there in embryonic form.

    “This review was a chance to implement some really dynamic, sweeping change. I liked the MRB idea before that went down the drain. ”

    Really? MRBs were a very conservative, very traditional, very safe idea. This is far more radical and far more interesting frankly and it finally represents the end of the Cold War Army.

    “id have completely renamed and reshaped the regimental structure in order to make a decisive break from the past and end this frustrating squabbling over legacy, lineage and history.”

    Well that’s because you’re not in a position to do so. If you were, you’d have had exactly the same forces to content with.

  73. Phil

    @x

    April 2012

    2 Royal Regiment of Fusiliers

    532 (est)
    523 (strength)
    65 (Commonwealth soldiers)

  74. John Hartley

    To clarify
    I said it was a mistake to cut the RN escort force below 30. I am painfully aware we only have 13 T23 & 6 T45.
    Non jobs. If we did not need them before 1997, then we do not need them now. We could sack ten times more than we have to cut from the army. If not more.
    Public sector credit cards. The High St is dying, but John Lewis, darling of the public sector classes, is bucking the trend. Coincidence?
    I keep going on that the 1998 SDR is the minimum the UK needs. My back of envelope calculation points to an extra £11 billion for RAF & another £11 billion for RN. Not got round to the army yet. £22 billion over ten years is £2.2 billion a year. Cannot afford it you say, but we are finding an extra £4 billion a year for DfID, even though most of that money is wasted/stolen.

  75. Chris.B.

    “Can anybody clarify if 2RRF was up to strength and its personnel were nearly all UK nationals?”

    Their Colonel, in his letter to CDS, seemed to think so. He sounded bloody unconvinced by the arguments given him. Somehow the Telegraph got a copy of it;

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/9371255/In-full-Brigadier-David-Patersons-letter-to-the-Chief-of-Defence-Staff.html

    He mentioned in it about proposals for a large regiment involving the Queens division and there was something on the local news as well about a proposed “East of England” Regiment. Wonder what that might (may still?) have looked like?

  76. Justbeef Trousers

    Glad to see the details out last, but still want to see the breakdown into brigades/battalions/companies.

    The honourable regiment of mcguiggens arbusqiers really does mean nothing to my civvy brain.

  77. x

    @ Phil

    65? So when the Scottish regiments reduce to 450 per battalion will Commonwealth soldiers make a higher percentage?

  78. Sir_Humphrey

    Dont forget that in the 2004 cuts, the RAF lost Jaguar and a lot of personnel, and the RN sacrificed 6 frigates (down to 25, but essentially 23) to ensure the Army would be kept at strength for TELIC and HERRICK.
    Its not unreasonable to say that as the wars draw to an end, it is time for the Army to take its fair share of cuts which the RAF and RN have borne on its behalf since SDR1998.

  79. Opinion3

    Is the TA able to expand and function well enough to make up for the loss of regulars?

    In the States there is often an expectation that you are a reservist, here it is the opposite. It good to try but appears to be a fairly short period to change employers perceptions.

  80. Phil

    @x

    I suppose so. I’m really not very bothered about the battalions being cut. It is a pity to see a battalion of the Royal Welsh go though I must admit. Maybe they will get a TA battalion extra!

    The Hansard answer those figures come from also says that some establishments for some units were lowered because they just could never reach their normal establishment, I wonder if 2 RRF originally had a much higher establishment.

    Anyway, war is a young mans game and the young men won’t mind too much really, they never really do. It’s the old men and civilians who tend to lament the passing of regiments.

    I myself still cannot get over the disbandment of the 9th Legion.

  81. Phil

    “Is the TA able to expand and function well enough to make up for the loss of regulars?”

    The question of reserves is completely central to this re-organisation.

    Which is why there’s next to no information on them whatsoever. I am wondering if they don’t want to pre-empt the consultation on new TA terms of service and piss off employers before they get a chance to have a look (not that any of them will) because it seems that they are going to take a step I didn’t think they had the guts to take and introduce a new regime in the reserves.

  82. Phil

    “RAF lost Jaguar”

    Dumb decision, should have binned Harrier.

    Yeah, I said it, binned Harrier.

    The Jaguar would have taken to Afghan like a pig in shit. Perfect airframe for it. And better looking than the pointless Harrier.

  83. Red Trousers

    The whole reservists and the employment law issue seems to be unclear (never a good start in politics, as things tend to obscurity as they go on when politics is concerned). It’s really not my area of knowledge at all. I’ve been the regular Adjutant of a TA Regiment and am myself a reservist so all I know is that there is some law in existence, but in practice it doesn’t seem to work very well.

    Pulling up a level, in the States they’ve got 200 odd years of the concept of some form of state militia or Guard, plus a whole concept of citizen service and more importantly community support for volunteering or voluntary temporary service that appears to be completely missing in the UK. This allows a National Guardsman to volunteer or be drafted for one year in Afghanistan, and what happens is that his (or her) community shoves up the yellow ribbons, bunting and flags, closes off the street, has a barbie and his employer guarantees that his job is safe while he’s away. We don’t really do that in the UK (even though there is some law about not being made redundant while on active service).

    So, if this 30,000 man reserve / TA element is going to be made to work, we need both properly enforceable employment law from the Tories, and a whole mindset change from the communities. I confess, I am deeply sceptical on both.

  84. Phil

    Yeah somehow even though we have a very long and deep tradition of the militia and yeomanry the civilian world on the whole, gives only the thinnest shit about reservists and employers thinner still. I basically have a four year blackhole in my ‘career’ as far as most employers are concerned. I was placed in suspended animation in March 2007 and defrosted in July 2011.

  85. Red Trousers

    Phil,

    similar recollections of a group of NCOs in DLOY post GW1 – most of them ex-14/20H who’d volunteered to go over to Kuwait to help out with the first post-war roulement which I think from memory included 14/20H (might be remiss on that – memory getting faint). I got posted in as the new regular Adjt and half of the in-tray was full of correspondence between the NCOs, employers, North West TAVRA and some spectacularly useless part of the MoD who wanted to have nothing at all to do with employers making employees redundant while they were doing a six month tour. Worst thing was there was bugger all any of us could do about it – it needed either new law set out in Westminster, or employers to man up, neither of which was going to happen.

  86. Challenger

    @Phil 20.29

    “the unbalanced nature of where cuts are to be made”

    I have no problem with a new ratio of regular and reserve along American lines, and as part of this having territorial’s slot more effectively in-to deployments and planning, I think it’s a great idea! My comments about lack of balance were more about the protection of some regiments (Guards especially, Scot’s to a point) whilst others are sacrificed.

    “a lack of courage and decisiveness that seems prevalent with the powers that be.”

    “Once again the Guards have been spared any pain, they seem untouchable!”

    Your’e correct on those points. I don’t really expect anything different to be honest, it’s all been fairly predictable, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be disappointed/angry at the results.

    “This review was a chance to implement some really dynamic, sweeping change. I liked the MRB idea before that went down the drain. ”

    Perhaps I am still struggling to get my head round the new set-up. Whether the MRB concept was conservative or not I liked the idea of maximising the use of assets and bringing some standardisation to the force structure, but hey we can agree to disagree!

    “id have completely renamed and reshaped the regimental structure in order to make a decisive break from the past and end this frustrating squabbling over legacy, lineage and history.”

    Yeah I am sure it would be near impossible for a person to instigate that kind of radical change, but it would be good to see someone of strength at least give it a go. Once again I can lament and be angry at the results, even if I’m well aware it won’t change anything. I just needed to vent!

  87. Challenger

    @Phil

    ‘The Jaguar would have taken to Afghan like a pig in shit. Perfect airframe for it. And better looking than the pointless Harrier’

    Wasn’t the Jaguar binned because of it’s age and a lack of investment in life extension/upgrades?

  88. Challenger

    @Sir Humphrey

    I agree with you on the Army cuts being a long time coming. I’m sure most of us don’t want to see any of the forces shrink but yes, with Telic over and Herrick winding down it is time they took their share of the pain.

    The RAF and RN have been cut to the bone, you want to make more savings it has to be the Army.

  89. Phil

    I thought, and I admit my techno knowledge is thin, that Jaguar went through a couple of upgrade programmes in the late nineties. I suspect Jaguar went because Tornado was never going to and we were still pretending we had a carrier strike ability so Harrier stayed. Shame as Jaguar could have been our A10, simple reliable bomb truck capable of massive amounts of sorties and already proven in a hot environment in 1991.

  90. Chris.B.

    @ Phil,

    “I was placed in suspended animation in March 2007 and defrosted in July 2011.”

    – I knew there was something odd about you…

    Yeah, the Jaguars were updated with quite a nifty package. Then the treasury decided it wanted more money from the Defence budget to spend of PFI hospitals, so Jaguar was offered up as a sacrifice, essentially on the thinking that Typhoon would slot into that role.

    Oh dear.

    You would never have been able to can the Harrier without Naval approval. Jesus, just look what happened when they finally did can it. Can you imagine trying to do that with Jaguar hanging around as well as Tornado?

  91. jed

    All in all it don’t look to bad to me to be honest.

    Now all we need to do is rob enough money of DfID to replace the two existing LPH with a Maersk Afloat Forward Support Base (AFSB) S class conversion, which could carry 16 AAB’s high readiness battle group, plus it’s Apaches, plus Crab Air Chinook……….. :-)

    Apologies for always dragging it back to kit, but the Adaptable Force has, in “the Brochure” some of it’s Infantry Battalions labelled as “protected mobility” and slated as being equipped with Foxhound.

    So what do we think of that ? Do we really think it means enough Foxhounds to carry a whole battalion ? (Say 500 / 6 = 84 Foxhounds!) Or just that the battalion will have some number of Foxhouns available to it? A 6 x 6 APC version perhaps?

  92. Challenger

    @Phil

    I am not expert either, perhaps the Jaguar did have some upgrades. You’re right that it could have been a real asset in Afghanistan, as you say a simple and reliable workhorse already proven in hot environments.

    However if I think back to 2003-2004 I can see the logic behind the decision. Jaguar was the oldest airframe still in service. Tornado was just finishing up the GR4 programme, even if Jaguar did get some upgrades in the 90s I doubt it was anywhere near as comprehensive. Plus the Sea Harrier had just been given the axe which meant that the GR7/9 was probably resolutely defended as being the last vestige of carrier capability remaining.

    Combine those factors with a really tight budget and an overwhelming desire to drop down to 3 fast jet airframes and what do you get?

    It was a shame, but bye bye Jag!

  93. martin

    @ Red Trouser –
    “surely the correct way of thinking is that whichever of the 3 services is least valuable going forward should take a bigger proportion of the cuts? I’m in no position to know whether that is the Kevins, the Andrew or the Army”
    In an uncertain world we cannot forsee which of the three services we will require in the future. Surely this means we need to keep as much as possible of all three to provide the most flexible force possible.
    There can be justification for salami slicing some time’s
    This review really is just SDSR part 2 with the cuts that would have been announced in the Army held back to detract from more negative news at the time.

  94. martin

    @ Jed -”Now all we need to do is rob enough money of DfID to replace the two existing LPH with a Maersk Afloat Forward Support Base (AFSB) S class conversion, which could carry 16 AAB’s high readiness battle group, plus it’s Apaches,”

    Is that really you or have you been replaced by Fat Bloke on Tour?

  95. Ed Zeppelin

    Fedaykin. ‘they need to get on with it and and suck it up’. These are people’s lives you are talking about…people deploying on tour on H17 in 2 months whose only thanks is amalgamation. You are the worst kind of human being. How you sleep at night is beyond me. Civvies who know the square root of F All and are unaffected by this should pipe down.

  96. michael

    Well the English Infantry take he brunt of the cuts again there is too much tip toeing around these scottish battalions due to the independance question why is it the RSDG are always spared the amalgamations and cuts I suffered amalgamation in 1992 when we (14th/20th Kings Hussars) mereged with the Royal Hussars and its like part of the fabric of the regiment is torn away so I have sympathy for the 4 regiments involved good luck lads.
    Then there is the case of 39 regiment RA who are being taken out of the ORBAT well if this is the case who will be the MLRS regiment or are the TA getting that too ?
    A sad day for the British Army we are reducing our capabilities while N. African and Middle Eastern countries are buying surplus Leopard Tanks by the hundreds are we just ignoring the fact that the rest of the globe bar the EU are upgrading there military due to reduction of surplus equipement by EU countries we need to wake up before we become an irrelevant continent

  97. Jim

    The North East didn’t do to well, lost 2 RRF, the Green Howards (2nd YORKS) and 39 Royal Artillery based just outside Newcastle.

  98. martin

    @ Michael
    “while N. African and Middle Eastern countries are buying surplus Leopard Tanks by the hundreds are we just ignoring the fact that the rest of the globe bar the EU are upgrading there military due to reduction of surplus equipement by EU countries we need to wake up before we become an irrelevant continent”

    I suppose that the point they are all relatively far away from the EU and un likely to drive over the boarder. Given it sheer size and spending power I just don’t for see a military threat to us or the EU, Its difficult in a democracy to justify spending when there is no threat. We can talk about failing nation’s and blah blah blah but there has alway’s been failing nations and it was never used in the past as a justification for army number’s. If we have learned anything from the stan its that an Army is not going to fix a failing nation and just ends up costing $trillion’s

  99. Brian Black

    There’s been a couple of comments towards cutting the RAF Regiment, but putting aside the two CBRN squadrons and the Aldergrove squadron leaves only about two regular battalions (wings?) worth of soldiers (security guards?) readily available for deployment – is that excessive? Could they manage with six regular squadrons, including the CBRN and NI squadrons, and lose a battalion to the reserves themselves? I’m not sure if they’ve deployed more than one squadron at a time to Afghanistan, and that would seem about as large an operation as they could expect to see.

  100. ArmChairCivvy

    I quite agree with the angle Sir H is taking to this:

    “to ensure the Army would be kept at strength for TELIC and HERRICK.
    Its not unreasonable to say that as the wars draw to an end, it is time for the Army to take its fair share of cuts”
    - leaving the Treasury contingency fund aside for covering “operations”
    -it would not be unfair (?) to characterise the announced cuts as “two brigades worth”
    + planning assumption:no more Iraqs or Stans

    - whether you take the peak year 2008 for campaign concurrency or the campaign averages calculated backwards for Iraq and forward for A-stan, you get around 8.000 deployed for the former (post-invasion) and about a thousand more for the latter
    - in my books that sort of number is a brigade when deployed at a distance that provides support challenges

    Now we get back to the transparency of the famous Black Hole
    + further, the investments in new kit were seen as essential (even if quantities were to be cut, the forever-delaying tactic has been eliminated by NAO scrutiny)
    - going back to Parliamentary answers [assuming the Defence Budget remained flat in real terms, Dr Fox explained that] “of the £38 billion gap, roughly £20.5 billion of overspending was due to equipment/procurement with a further £17.7 billion funding gap on other resources, including personnel.”
    - 2 brigades, a bn a year (this has never been validated as an estimate) taken over ten years secures the above procurement, Whether the earlier cuts cover the rest, only Hammond knows (but he told us so)

  101. twecky

    Interesting which sacred cows continue to soldier/sailor/airperson on…

    Obviously Rifles, Paras, Foot Guards (Household Div), Scots Div

    Less obviously Ghurkas (including loggies !!) RAF Regt, 12 Arty regiments (plus Kings Tp) , Bootnecks

    Good to see mexeflotes survive !

  102. Red Trousers

    @ Brian Black,

    my own view is that the RAF Regt should take on full time the SBA (Cyprus) and MPA (FI) guard duties full time. They are airfields, they need guarding, the RAF Regt exists to guard airfields. Perhaps I am guilty of being too simplistic, but I don’t see the point in a force existing if other forces then do their job. The roulement plan should not be too complex to work out, and no one is going to pretend Cyprus is a hardship posting.

    However, that would not be to argue for the Army to withdraw from Cyprus or the FI. One of the aspects missing from this 2020 study / reductions is climate. We as a nation are not too sure as to where we are going to be fighting next. Might be desert, or urban, or arctic, or rolling temperate zone, or the jungle. It would be useful to have a battalion trained up in each environment. I don’t keep tabs on the details of ongoing training and exercises, but I think we’ve got them mostly covered, except perhaps for arctic. We ought to be thinking more broadly than we currently are. What would be wrong with asking the Norwegians if we can permanently base a battalion – or more likely a Commando – in north Norway? Full basing, as in barracks, families, service school for the kids? Pay the Norwegians properly, put lots of money into the local economy, etc. Even include the Commando in the Norwegian Brigade for training purposes, and it gives our Amphibious Andrew people all sorts of training opportunities with fjords and so on. After a couple of years, you’ve then got a serious arctic capability that is vastly better than an annual 3 week exercise. I’ll bet it would also be a pretty popular posting for Royal – everyone likes being abroad, and there’s all sorts of fringe benefits – skiing holidays and so on, as well as integrating yourself into a pretty Norwegian girl if unmarried.

    (Yes, fully aware we did all of this minus the full time barracks, with AMF(L) and the other Cold War exercises. But we don’t now, not seriously anyway).

  103. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi Martin, I quite agree with “This review really is just SDSR part 2 with the cuts that would have been announced in the Army held back to detract from more negative news at the time.”
    - as I pointed out earlier (forget now on which thread, these move so quickly), the quantities of AFVs negotiated (whether first – and last! – batch of new, or to be refurbed)over the last two+ years were inconsistent with the force structure then held as the target to get to… but what a surprise, fit in perfectly with the one now announced
    - though I am still wondering, like Jed, about troop carriers with four infantrymen in the back of each

  104. ArmChairCivvy

    James, yeah “The roulement plan should not be too complex to work out”
    - when you swap, you can get two summers in a row!

  105. martin

    @ Red Trousers
    “my own view is that the RAF Regt should take on full time the SBA (Cyprus) and MPA (FI) guard duties full time”.
    I agree about Cyprus, I never understood why we still have Army force there it being an EU nation and all. I understand the need for the air field it can be very useful but if it needs guarded then it is a job for the RAF.
    If we were going to base a artic training battalion somewhere would FI not be better, kill two birds with one stone so to speak. I would imagine S Georgia and the FI between them could provide an incredible opportunity for training in the harshest conditions.

  106. Think Defence Post author

    Some more snippets hot off the MoD press

    #####

    Army 2020 sets out plans for transformation of the Force

    The Army of 2020 will be an adaptable and integrated structure that is broken into two forces: a Reaction Force and an Adaptive Force that are both supported by Force Troops.

    The Reaction Force will provide the lead Armoured Infantry Battle Group and the lead Airborne or Air Assault Force to provide a rapid reaction war fighting/deterrent capability.

    It will consist of three Armoured Infantry Brigades and 16 Air Assault Brigade under the command of a divisional headquarters. Each Armoured Infantry Brigade will have three manoeuvre units: a type 56 tank regiment and two armoured infantry battalions. They will also have a heavily protected mobility infantry battalion, and an armoured cavalry regiment which will be able to task organise with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

    The Reaction Forces will also have 101 Logistic Brigade under their command for logistic support.

    The Adaptable Force will be a pool of Regular and Reserve forces held at lower readiness. They will provide further capacity when required and be able to generate additional brigade-sized forces for enduring operations. However, more routinely these soldiers will carry out wider engagement overseas to help to build capacity in friendly nations’ armies, and fulfil the UK’s standing garrison tasks in Brunei, Cyprus and the Falkland Islands. In addition, these troops will be responsible for public duties and state ceremonial tasks.

    Adaptable Forces will encompass seven Regular infantry brigades, paired with a Reserve unit, reporting to a divisional headquarters. How these paired forces will be deployed will depend on the operational requirement, but the Reserves could make up as much as 30 per cent of a deployed unit in an enduring operation, whereas simple operations could have the Reserves deployed as a complete battalion.

    Like the Reaction Force, the Adaptable Force will have its own logistic support provided by 102 Logistic Brigade, which will be predominantly made up of Reserve troops.

    Force Troops will support both of these forces. They will consist of an Artillery brigade with supplementary Fire Support Teams, and an Engineer Brigade that will integrate the Explosive Ordinance Disposal squadron in response to the improvised explosive device threat of the modern battlefield. It will also include the Medical Brigade, and 104 Logistic Support Brigade, which might take on the Joint Force Logistic Support role.

    In addition, there will be two Signals brigades, one of which will include five multi-role signals regiments providing Information Communication Support, together with a newly created non-deployable Surveillance Brigade under a 1-star headquarters. Furthermore, there will be a newly created Security Assistance Group pulling together the soft effect capabilities of the Military Stabilisation Support Group, 15 Psychological Operations Group and potentially Media Operations Group.

    “This is not something that will be delivered overnight, and indeed it is going to take till 2020 for it to be fully implemented,” said Lieutenant General Nick Carter, “but the capabilities of the structure we have created is one that we have measured against the hardest threat we could have to fight in the future.”

    #####

  107. Red Trousers

    @ ACC and Martin,

    The roulement plan should be easy enough – a couple of RAF Ragt Sqns in Cyprus on 2 year tours, with the families etc soaking up the sun and doing the skiing in the Troodos in the morning, sailing the Hobie Cats off the beach in the afternoon routine. That’s the whole point of Cyprus. There’s still the need for a forward deployed proper infantry battalion also in Cyprus to act as Theatre Reserve (or in future years being acclimatised to hot and sandy conditions, and probably exercising frequently in Oman or similar – that covers off the desert training need).

    Then the FI. Of the 5 remaining RAF Regt Sqns living in the UK, send one unaccompanied to the FI to guard MPA on 3-6 month rotations (Kevins don’t like doing 6 month tours which everyone else does, never understood why). Let the Spearhead battalion do wet ‘n windy shite weather training as part of their workup for Spearhead, with 2-3 forward deployed 4 week exercises a year, and using MPA as an admin base. Also keeps Carlos Fandango a bit puzzled as force levels go up and down, and he also knows that we can get a battalion into MPA in 24 hours if the RAF Movers behave themselves.

    A permanent battalion on the FI is not going to impress the Wives Club, shopping opportunities in Stanley being limited, and these days most of the girls have proper jobs anyway which I don’t think the FI could replicate. For the boys, there’s only sheep to look at, so that’s going to be pretty glum for a full 4 year tour.

  108. Jim

    Would the lead Armoured Infantry Battle Group fit in the Albion/Bay class ships.
    About three Warrier company’s, a CH2 squadron and and AS90 battery?

  109. JustBeef Trousers

    @ Admin – “Each Armoured Infantry Brigade will have three manoeuvre units: a type 56 tank regiment and two armoured infantry battalions. They will also have a heavily protected mobility infantry battalion, and an armoured cavalry regiment which will be able to task organise with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.”

    technical question from a military illiterate – why isn’t the armoured cavalry regiment considered a manoeuvre unit?

    “Furthermore, there will be a newly created Security Assistance Group pulling together the soft effect capabilities of the Military Stabilisation Support Group, 15 Psychological Operations Group and potentially Media Operations Group.”

    What exactly does the Military Stabilisation Support Group consist of?

  110. ArmChairCivvy

    Is this the pointer to the max envisaged fielded force?
    “two Signals brigades, one of which will include five multi-role signals regiments providing Information Communication Support”
    - 4 of the ready force
    + 1 out of the adaptable force
    + the RM have their own
    = 6 bde-equivalents can be supported with this capability (and 1 in 8 mobilised out of 30.000 would be 30% of a fielded bde and 30% of another, preparing and training)

  111. twecky

    Would the lead Armoured Infantry Battle Group fit in the Albion/Bay class ships.
    About three Warrier company’s, a CH2 squadron and and AS90 battery?

    from elsewhere on this Blog – Bay class approx 1200 lane metres or 24 x CR2 or 150 light trucks. My rough estimate would therefore be that 1 x Bay would fall well short of the LAIBG lift requirement (at least 50 x APC plus 12-14 CR2 plus guns)

  112. Challenger

    A battalion on a short tour of the FI to do some winter training sounds like a good idea. Keeping one at Cyprus to do some summer/sand training is also a bit of a given. These territories need a manpower presence anyway, so yeah might as well kill two birds with one stone. Add a jungle training battalion in Brunei and you have a nice mix of skills being retained.

    I do have a couple of questions though. First why do we need to keep a second jungle school in Belize? Seems like a bit of a doubling up of resources. Second is the training school in Kenya still used? Haven’t heard much about it in a while.

  113. Fedaykin

    @ Ed Zeppelin

    I have an opinion that you don’t agree with and that makes me the worse kind of person.

    I know fully well that the people being cut have served our country in the toughest of circumstances. I could be insulted by your bone headed assumption that somehow I have no problem with that…then again you are clearly an armchair army bore who is happy to leap to the attack when somebody dares say anything critical of the boys in green.

    If you had bothered to carefully read what I was saying my ire is particularly directed on those who seem to think that their cap is some form of sacred cow. Here is some news buddy: SDSR 2010 has happened and the army portion is now being acted out! The army was spared the initial tranche due to Iraq and A-Stan, with draw down from those commitments the army now has to go through the same pain that the RAF and RN have been through. I don’t think any service personnel who have served our country should suffer enforced redundancy but that is the reality we are in now and when I see high ups in various regiments arguing over which cap should survive rather then take it with a bit of dignity I think I have every right to say they should suck it up.

    Finally you rather make my point when you say this:

    “people deploying on tour on H17 in 2 months whose only thanks is amalgamation.”

    You are bothered about them suffering the indignity of AMALGAMATION! If you are amalgamated into another regiment you might have a good chance of keeping your job…so for you sacred cap badge politics is the priority is it?! Suck it up!

    Oh P.S. don’t presume my background or knowledge for all you know I could of served our nation and for all I know you could be some reserve WALT officer in the Army Cadets.

  114. twecky

    sorry. We have 3 bays, agreed. But at readiness to meet LAIBG timelines. otheriwse what is the point ?

    Maybe 1 x LPD plus 1 x Bay plus a Point class Ro-Ro

  115. All Politicians are the Same

    What is the LAIBG timeline? Also what is the make up of an LAIBG? Is it expected to have a true Amphibous entry capability? I severely doubt it is in which case the Point Class is ideal. It is hard to support something without detail.

  116. Phil

    The LAIBG is at Very High Readiness. Can’t remember what level of notice that is and it’s likely to have sub units at even higher readiness.

    The Lead Commando Group will be the sea delivered force. I guess the battlegroup can be moved in the same manner they have been depending on the mission

  117. All Politicians are the Same

    Phil, they hit their readiness targets when they leave their barracks though and are we talking less than 24 hours for mech or armour?

  118. Simon

    Wouldn’t we have 1 LPD and a couple of Bay available at short notice? Also isn’t there already 4 (of the 6) Point Class currently “active” with the MoD – they were supposed to be “on call” rather than continually “active”? I’d guess two of these could be ready at short notice too?

    Isn’t this enough for a few armoured battlegroups (four or five) – depending their actual makeup of course???

  119. twecky

    sorry again. the Q was whether LAIBG could “fit” in Bay class. I tried to answer that. ( I think NO). Yes in theory if all three Bays are parked up ready and waiting it might be possible etc etc

    It’s the usual bootneck rowlocks to assume that the Lead Cdo BG will be “the sea delivered force” Of course LAIBG is not intended to have a true amphib capability. But at the end of the day 50+ APCs and 14 CR2s are not all going to fly into theatre. They will be the “sea delivered force” Last time I looked the Bay ships didn’t belong to the Cdo bde and are quite capable of delivering 1st loamshires or elements of LAIBG as required.

  120. All Politicians are the Same

    Twecky, Of course the Bay vessels are capable of delivering anyone and the actual shipping used would be that most suitable and available to meet the requirement within the time scale required.
    It would obviously be preferable to use the point class to do a port offload and keep the Albions and Bays in case of requiring an Amphibous landing at some point. Or even an Amphib faint or distraction.
    The fact we are deploying an LAIBG in the first place means that a situation is developing.
    My point is that without specifics on the LAIBG, how many lane metres do they require, what notice are they at. Where would they want to embark and what is the preferred means of disembarkation then it becomes very difficult for planners to look at readiness cycles, maintenance and even deployment patterns. This may change as the on call force cycles.
    For instance if a certain LAIBG requires X lane metres but the next one only Y then maybe we could use a Bay as APT(N) next year and keep the 23 as Duty TAPS. Could the LAIBG be tailored so that it fits A or B ships profiles rather than requiring a third hull for the 6 or 7 vehicles that dont fit in the first two.
    It is a big and complicated jig saw.

  121. ArmChairCivvy

    twecky,

    Just looking at the stats, two Bays would take the AIBG
    - very slow ship to shore process, no facilities other than to land and refuel helicopters

    If not sailing to a port, your Albion could take the amphibious element (about 2 Coy +vehicles, even hovercraft)to go in first, rather more quickly and secure the rest of the process

    That would be in the spirit of BGS = a core formation, enhanced with other units as the task at hand dictates

  122. Anixtu

    Bay readiness is linked to moving the high readiness Commando group as part of RFTG.

    One Bay is kept near the UK for RFTG, usually Mounts Bay. One is permanently in the Persian Gulf on the MCM support task. The remaining one is refit/relief/other tasking/RFTG.

    Without significant notice, only 1 or 2 Bays can be counted on to be available. With sufficient notice other arrangements could be made for MCM support. Diligence used to do it, but a Bay is better, and there are other calls on Diligence.

  123. Simon

    ArmChairCivvy,

    Wouldn’t 2 x Bay do it with slow ship-t-shore and Albion + Bay do it about three times faster? I think there’s enough space on the two of them.

  124. ArmChairCivvy

    RE “Without significant notice, only 1 or 2 Bays can be counted on to be available”
    - I wonder how long would it be to get the other Albion going?

    It is cost effective to keep a Bay in readiness, but with sufficient notice I guess it would be the Ocean taking the first unit (offers more support after the landing)
    - that would then leave 1-2 Albions and 3 Bays, before using the Points and apportioning in resupply

  125. ArmChairCivvy

    RE “I think there’s enough space on the two of them” by Simon

    Going back to the original, just the Challies (24) would use up one.
    50 IFVs plus some AS90s will hardly fit in (though troop lift as such would be sufficient)?
    - how many days supplies on the same ships?

  126. Simon

    ACC,

    There aren’t usually 24 MBT in a battlegroup. I think 14 is the normal number? So assuming Bay can fit 24 I’d guess that could be 14 MBT + 10 AS90 before putting all the other assets in Albion (some more can be carried in the LCUs too).

  127. Anixtu

    Albion/Bay/Ocean are not interchangeable, they perform different tasks. Bays have a much smaller personnel lift capability than LPD/LPH but a much greater vehicle capacity. Remember, they are intended as second line logistics ships, not first line assault ships. Any amphibious action can be expected to be LPD AND/OR LPH AND LSD, not LSD on their own. Cardigan’s adventures off Somalia being rather atypical.

    LPD/LPH readiness is also linked to RFTG amongst other things, as are other units. See APATS planning and readiness post.

  128. Simon

    Anixtu,

    Agreed. Albion + Ocean do horiz + vert assault respectively with a couple of Bays offloaded when the beachhead has been secured.

    Doesn’t mean you can’t halve the force if necessary and do the assault with Albion and use a single Bay for the “big guns”.

  129. Anixtu

    ACC,

    “1) Going back to the original, just the Challies (24) would use up one.
    2) 50 IFVs plus some AS90s will hardly fit in (though troop lift as such would be sufficient)?
    3) – how many days supplies on the same ships?”

    1) Not entirely. Might fill the vehicle deck, but there is space and (probably) weight for light vehicles and trailers on the upper deck (light <12t).
    2) How many bodies in LAIBG and how far are you taking them? Bay: 356 EMF normal or 500 EMF overload. Overload is not nice and only meant for days, not weeks.
    3) Provisions, fuel, etc. for sustainment come from other RFAs which are also allotted to RFTG.

    Just a thought, can Army vehicles run on F-76 or F-44?

  130. Simon

    Anixtu,

    You’re the man so put me right if necessary but I thought that 24 MBT were weight limiting (1500t) rather than space limiting on Bay?

  131. ArmChairCivvy

    Anixtu, good point “but there is space and (probably) weight for light vehicles and trailers on the upper deck (light <12t)"
    - easily forgotten without a cross-section to hand

    (Simon: agreed, 24 would be tank-heavy; was just going by the question posed)

  132. Red Trousers

    @ JDBTx,

    (what is it with everyone suddenly giving themselves Trouser names?!)

    Armoured Cavalry is going to be a contentious topic! Technically, only those units that operate in the face of the enemy AND have their own integral mobility are called manoeuvre units – so that’s tanks and armoured infantry. It’s also a good way of envisioning how they operate, fire and movement at the same time, one leg always fixed, the other moving. Formation Recce doesn’t always do that – quite often Squadrons move independently of each other. However, it would be a foolish recce commander who didn’t consider using F&M when in close proximity to the enemy, so the real life distinction is pretty hard to make.

    Going forward, it will be interesting to see whether new wagons (FRES Scout) with lots of on board firepower in comparison with CVR(T) changes how recce works. Culturally, there’s always been a preference in the British Army for recce by stealth, but that goes back to several factors that may no longer hold true in the future. Firstly, recce grew out of Napoleonic era scouting performed by pairs, small sections or troops of the light cavalry riding forward, and the other tasks that recce also do from those regiments other roles – screening flanks, rearguard, etc. Latterly, we’ve had some pretty shit wagons without much firepower, so the need was always to try to not be seen and get yourself into a fight in which you were outgunned. Plus, no sense in warning off OPFOR that you’ve got your beady eye on him.

    The Americans took a different route, equipping their Armored Cavalry units with tanks, Bradleys and even Attack Helicopters. They had the firepower to go and find out what was happening on the other side of the hill and kick in the door if they needed to. It’s just a different approach, actually not one I favour, but fits the American psyche quite well I suppose.

    You see variations on either of these two extremes in other nations: the Canadians, Belgians, Danes, Italians and Soviets are more like us, the Germans, Spanish and French more like the Americans. I don’t know about the Aussies, but we had an Australian officer come on an exchange and he fitted right in to the stealth mode.

    As for the future, who knows. If FRES SCOUT is fully armoured and packs a sizeable punch, then it would offer possibilities for non-covert use that CVR(T) just does not. Equally, if we continually deploy to deserts, well there’s not much hiding you can do apart from using the lie of the land, so perhaps armour protection is what you need. However, it will take quite some time for the old culture of moving about sneakily and trying not to have to fight for your information to die off!

  133. jedibeeftrix

    Many thanks James, you made that thoroughly understandable for someone with zero institutional knowledge.

    p.s. you only have yourself to blame.

    Oh, further question on the BRR/cavalry for FF2020

    We appear to have five BRR/cavalry regiments after the new reforms, three ASCOD heavy regiments/battalions (?) with the three heavy RF brigades…………. and two other more nebulous creations lurking in the aether.

    What are these two extra going to be made up of (CVR(t)/jackal)?
    Will CVR(t)/jackal be a transitional business, or will it remain permanent?
    Where will they be found (AF?)?
    Does CVR(t) 2.0 based on the BAE CV21 make any sense for these two RAC orphans on the notion that they can provide light armoured fire support for 16AAB/3Cdo?

  134. Anixtu

    Simon,

    “I thought that 24 MBT were weight limiting (1500t) rather than space limiting on Bay?”

    How many LIMS per Challenger 2? I don’t have actual figures to hand, but I’m sure the available deadweight with full fuel, fresh water and other stores is well in excess of 1500t. What I’m less sure of is the ship stability effects of 1500t on the vehicle deck and whether that allows for more on the container/flight deck. The other issue is deck loading (i.e. weight per unit area), which again I don’t have data on.

  135. Phil

    “Phil, they hit their readiness targets when they leave their barracks though and are we talking less than 24 hours for mech or armour?”

    Well I can’t see how you can work readiness any other way. The crisis could be 8,000 miles away in a landlocked country, or be an island that requires a week of steaming to get to. It also depends on the nature of the task, it’s going to take longer to get together a joint task force of air, sea and ground assets than it will to get one battlegroup into a Sierre Leone scenario. The Readiness standards are obviously just one part of the equation.

    Very High Readiness is from 2 to 10 days notice to move.

  136. Phil

    “Going forward”

    James, you’ve said this several times today now.

    This needs to be nipped in the bud. I suggest a step change in your vocabulary to create the correct blend.

  137. Sir_Humphrey

    At the risk of linking to a new topic, I’ve put a fairly long take on events over at ‘pinstripedline’. My key judgements are that the Army isnt as badly effected as some may think, but that there is a lot of risk running on the TA. Add to this the perception that the Army is pricing itself out of the market, in part due to a reluctance to take casualties, and the fact that some think the RAF and RN are quietely rather satisfied with what has gone on, seeing these cuts are long overdue.

    http://thinpinstripedline.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/revolutionary-reactionary-or-just-plain.html

  138. All Politicians are the Same

    Phil, I was not criticisng, merely seeking clarification as their readiness figures could have been at embarkation point. I was simply wondering at what notice the Ships would have to be at to receive and sail.

  139. Chris.B.

    @ Ed Zeppelin,
    I know Fedaykin didn’t put his idea across in the most tactful of manners and didn’t do a lot to advance or help civilian/military relations, but telling civvies (such as I) to shut the F up on a site that is more open to civvies than somewhere like ARRSE is also not really on in my opinion.

    @ Red Trousers,
    “my own view is that the RAF Regt should take on full time the SBA (Cyprus) and MPA (FI) guard duties full time,”
    – Sounds like a plan. Would allow FI to be relieved somewhat from the armies rotation, with perhaps “excercises” by regular infantry during the southern hemisphere’s better weather months?

    One thing I’ve never understood, and perhaps people could fill me in here, why does Cyprus have to be treated as a 2 year tour? Could it not be done on a more short duration/rotation basis?

    Like the sound of more training opportunities around the world for Jungle/arctic/mountain/desert. There’s a lot of the “forward presence”, capacity building, security building, whatever the current buzzword is to be achieved through that.

  140. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi Phil,

    After 10 years of ‘ad hoc’ – make do – deferred procurement…
    “going forward” can’t get inflated very easily, in this context

  141. Topman

    @ Chris B

    It could be just a shorter tour/exercises to Cyprus, but if no other reason it’s a nice carrot to have, that you can have a 2 year tour there. Extra cash, take the nice weather and so on, things like that are less and less know. Although Akrotiri is less sought after in the RAF these days.

    That isn’t the only or largest (or close)reason, but it plays a part.

  142. All Politicians are the Same

    Chris B, Hopefully one of the army guys will correct or confirm but my reasoning is that if it became a 6 month unaccompanied deployment then it would count on the Deployment cycle. By sending a battalion for x years with wives and sprogs does that effectively make it their home base from which they could be activated?

  143. x

    @ Sir Humph

    Just read you blog. I think getting rid off the Arms Plot was silly. But I still stand by my idea that concentrating armour into one brigade with regiments assigned for 4 to 5 years is a sound idea. What is 4 to 5 years for a career soldier? And those only joining for 3 years should be glad of the employment! And if they want to see the world on HMG’s shilling sign up for another 3 years.

  144. Jed

    @RT 061425z July 12

    Nice characterisation of the different “recce” styles.

    The dichotomy with the Yanks though is the concept of the “Cavalry Scout” – the recce trooper who can be Bradley crew (= FRES Scout) or HMMWV crew (= Jackal) OR can de-buss and become the stealthiest of recce kit – the heavily cammed up squaddie creeping through the underbrush ! Nice to know if your creeping around stealithy and get discovered there are M1 Abrams, M3 Bradley CSV and OH58 Kiowa Warriors or Apaches ready to pounce and provide cover / rescue :-)

    Cavalry Scout job description is even up on wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavalry_scout

    Specialist training seems to be only 6 weeks long – not sure how that compares to any specalist training given to Infantry Recce Platoon bods ?

  145. Nick

    Not radical enough by far, with a Gunner CGS and a Sapper CGS why haven’t they grasped the nettle with a Corps of Infantry and a Corps of Armour – numbered companies/squadrons and battalions/regiments.

    The loss of the so-called golden thread would be offset by the career opportunities for the able that single rosters for Officers SNCO’s and WO’s across the Corps would provide. There could be some residual link in the company or battalion names as with RA batteries and minor idiosyncrasies of dress in regard to embellishments on the uniform. Specialist units (i.e. PARA) could select from the wider Corps, after all CDS was a Commando Gunner and CGS a Para Engineer.

    This way every bed space would be filled in units at high readiness or scheduled to deploy, and units that trained together would deploy together, without the need to trawl for numbers to make up the unit’s shortfall before deployment.

    Therefore individual reservists would not be needed to make up numbers in teeth arms and the reserves could concentrate on producing units and individuals with a limited but highly developed skill set. Complimenting their regular counterparts rather than trying to emulate them.

  146. Phil

    “why haven’t they grasped the nettle with a Corps of Infantry and a Corps of Armour”

    They tried the Corps of Infantry thing in the 50s. Didn’t work then because everyone just got tribal and even more reactionary.

    I don’t know why people are getting their knickers in a twist about regiments. We needed 31 battalions of infantry in the regular force, we have 31 battalions of infantry in the plan, they just have particular names. Anyone who thinks recruiting areas won’t be subtly changed, without fuss is kidding themselves. Really, they are just names.

    I’d be very ashamed of an Army review if merely re-naming was considered radical.

  147. Anixtu

    Simon,

    “Is the 24 Chally simply the physical loading force and the structural design of the ship?”

    Maybe. That’s what I mean by deck loading. Where does the number of 24 Challengers originate anyway? I think you are getting a bit bogged down on it, it could just be bollocks someone invented.

    “How much of the length is vehicle deck? Just looking at the following…”

    From about frame 230/240 to frame 75. Vehicle deck goes almost to the bow, but is constrained by the dock aft. You can park vehicles in the dock if you don’t want to work landing craft. The vehicle lift footprint takes out some of the area too, but again if you don’t want to use the lift you could park there. All depends on how much flexibility you want in your stow.

  148. Chris.B.

    @ APATS,

    “Hopefully one of the army guys will correct or confirm but my reasoning is that if it became a 6 month unaccompanied deployment then it would count on the Deployment cycle”

    – Of course, didn’t think of that.

  149. Simon

    Anixtu,

    24 x Challenger II is mentioned on nearly every site I’ve visited (Naval Tech, Navy Matters, Wiki, etc… even the Royal Navy site). The only other figure I have is 36 (in Charles Heyman – Armed Forces of the United Kingdom 2010-2011) – which, to be honest, I’ve had to discount because the evidence is against him.

  150. Anixtu

    Simon,

    It might be correct, I don’t know. But it only takes one site or source to publish the wrong info and it replicates everywhere. Another aspect of the same ships is a good example. The original planned crew complement was 59, but early on, long before entering service, that was increased to 69. Still, nearly every website, Royal Navy’s own, Navy Matters, Wikipedia, etc. says 59, or 60 since the RN website rounded it up in their ugly revamp.

    In fact I just checked the RN website again and it says that Cardigan Bay has a two-spot flight deck and four 30mm guns, neither of which is correct.

    It may be that part of the original spec was “ship to be capable of transporting 24 CR2″, and this was duly published as amongst the capabilities of the class. What they can actually carry in reality is irrelevant, the original published figure was 24 and that is the figure that is out there.

  151. Simon

    Anixtu,

    I guess the MoD would rather have the wrong figures in the public domain that the correct ones ;-)

    Fair enough.

  152. Red Trousers

    Anixtu / Simon,

    no idea on the 24 CR figure – as far as I’m concerned it is not driven by the Army’s needs, if it is true, it sounds like a loading / design limit of the ship. 24 CR does not compute as being between one Sqn (14) and 2 Sqns (28). No one sensible wants to split their forces in odd sized chunks unless necessary.

    Jed,

    don’t believe there’s any real dichotomy in training going on there, having read the link. That could pretty easily translate into a British recce soldier’s training and role. What is different is the American’s approach to recce by fire – they like it because it works for them, we don’t because it does not work for us.

    6 weeks on a recce course seems a bit anaemic to me: the US basic plus specialist training for new recruits is 21 weeks, ours is 28 weeks. To be fair, no one is considered properly trained until they’ve done a whole year with the Regiment anyway, from sprog Troop Leaders down to new Troopers. I know the Kevins do the same but more formally with “combat ready” status only achieved after a spell on the front line Squadron, and I’d be amazed if the Andrew or indeed anyone else’s military force think any differently.

    What that US job spec for Cavalry Scout does not include is the most important attribute of all: get out there and bust your balls finding out quality information in time for the Commander to act upon it, and report it accurately without embellishing it. Try not to be killed, but that is secondary to the quality and timeliness of information you report.

  153. Jed

    Hi RT

    No I did not mean a dichotomy in the training, especially not between “us and them” – I actually meant considering your characterisation of their desire to rush in and fight for info in a “Recce by fire” style, the dichotomy is that all those M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicles can carry 2 or 3 “Cavalry Scouts” in the back, who can be dropped well short of any bad guys and crawl forward on their bellies for some serious sneaky beaky recce.

    Did the old FRR / or will the new FRES Scout equipped regiments have anything equivalent, or was it down to you to climb out to the turret of your Scimitar and shin up a tree with a pair of binos ? Or did you occasionaly operate in a battle group with attached infantry recce platoon ?

  154. Anixtu

    James,

    “as far as I’m concerned it is not driven by the Army’s needs”

    There is room to stable a regiment of horses, fodder for three weeks and an efficient effluent removal system. How more tailored for the Army’s needs could it be?

  155. Red Trousers

    …got cut off my last above.

    Curiosity (part of your character) and observation skills (can be trained in) are also vital. Do you remember that Kim’s game? Recce training does lots of that, but with things like putting pairs of items into hedgerows at odd intervals, partly obscured, and getting the boys to patrol along the hedge (no notebook allowed) and then deliver a verbal or written report as to what they saw and where it was from memory. Also thinking and discussing how OPFOR moves and in what groupings, so a partial glance at some OPFOR activity can allow an intelligently interpolated assessment to be created – always noting what is empirical observation and what assessment. Also, you’ve got to learn to like lying in a ditch for hours on end eating the odd piece of cheese or biscuit only. And then be ready to jump out and make like Zorro in an instant if you are rumbled.

  156. Red Trousers

    Anixtu,

    hush. You have stumbled upon the most secret of the Special Islands recovery plans. The internet is available in Buenos Aires, you know? But only if Carlos Fandango can pay the phone bill without defaulting the Exchequer.

    We are going to send the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment by slow civilian steamer, they will swim ashore (horses quite good at that actually, given they are land animals and if you push them into the sea 100 yards out their natural instinct kicks in). They are then going to quickly cover terrain (because they’re horses and are quicker than Paras tabbing) and sabre Carlos to death with an early morning charge, then get into Stanley and wow the girls by throwing some shapes on the dance floor. Many pregnancies are predicted, but the boys and the horses are back to London in good enough time for Trooping in mid June.

    The Kevins of the RAF Regiment will then be posted to MPA (all seven squadrons, permanently), as it gives them something to do, and gets them out of everyone else’s hair. It may also make sense to extend this permanent posting to the entire RAF, on the same basis.

  157. Red Trousers

    Jed,

    Formation Recce used to have in each Squadron a troop of Spartan – officially entitled “Assault Troop”, but always known as “Boot Troop” – you could get 4 dismounts into the back of each wagon, but they were wartime establishment only.

    I was a Boot Troop Leader for my second Tp Ldr tour. Once I borrowed 4 sniper pairs from the Hampshires for an exercise, and it was a revelation combining the 2, once we’d got over the terror the Hampshires felt at bouncing around in the back of a Spartan and moving at more than 0.05 mph (honestly, those snipers take all bloody day to cover 100 yards, even if you can’t see them doing it until they tie your boot laces together while you’re still looking at vegetation and trying to decide if it is a juniper bush or Kyle from Basingstoke).

  158. Red Trousers

    X,

    GAAAAAH!!! at the flared trews. I’ve got a photo of the old man in the very early 70s wearing those. Not a good look. You need something handmade to your own measurements, designed to – cough – let the girls know what’s on offer. Anyone without enough in the trouser department had better be seeking a commission in the Gunners, and resign themselves to a loveless marriage with an ex Norland nanny.

    Recall a mate of mine – quite a bit of a wild boy in his time, now settled down as some incredibly senior director of a London property company, got the full mansion in Wiltshire, etc – getting himself a pair of bespoke leather spray-ons in deep purple from some gay Swiss tailor who had a design house in Berlin. Apparently the fittings were uncomfortable with too much invasion of personal space, but the end result was spectacular – Simon’s hit rate at the Go-Parc in Herford went off the scale, and these were some seriously good-looking girls. I felt myself lucky one evening to tap off with the less attractive friend of Simon’s squeeze, but even so, mine was a hell of a looker as well. Her old man was a Professor of English at Osnabruck University and an anglophile, which was a bonus, and we made it last six months until Saddam gave the God-sent opportunity to go out sandy side and put it all into practice.

  159. x

    “bespoke leather spray-ons in deep purple from some gay Swiss tailor who had a design house in Berlin”

    That could be a lyric from an early 70s pop song……

  160. Red Trousers

    X,

    we’ve all gone through those drunken conversations at an all ranks thrash where you are “reassured” by a drunken soldier that “you’re the best Troop Leader that I’ve ever – hic! – had”, and it’s all enjoyable bollocks.

    What really matters is when the boys follow you out of some sense of “I can’t believe it!”, and curiosity that if they follow you to the end of the world, they’ll still be wondering what you’ll do when you get there. Keep ‘em guessing. My Troop used to run a sweepstake on how many extras I’d get a month, and once an argument as to whether the latest squeeze was blonde or brunette (this even involved my two Troop Corporals wives). So you have to then turn up with both a blonde and a brunette in tow, just to keep a step ahead in the game.

    You’ve also got to have one completely mustard skill that genuinely puts you ahead. Mine was navigation, and it was the Andrew that taught me that when I found a special course in the Training Handbook. A couple of months at HMS Dryad operating sextants (pre GPS days).

  161. Alan

    “.@red trousers; did you never side step the argument
    with a red head…they’re hot you know!

  162. martin

    @ Challenger – The Jungle schools in Belize and Brunei are far more about having an excuse for military basing than actually training anyone in jungle warfare. When the RM came to the far east on Taurus 09 they did there jungle training in Malaysia which seemed weird to me given that Brunei is next door. Belize training school is really there as a deterrent to Honduras while the Sultan of Brunei pays for a battalion to keep his own people in check so having a “training school” there makes it easier for us to justify.

  163. Challenger

    @Martin

    Thanks for the info. I was aware of the deterrent to Honduras and the Sultan paying for the Brunei base, I was just wondering how useful and how much justification their is for them beyond that.

    Surely a Gurkha battalion in an environment like Brunei picks up a degree of acclimatisation and skills with or without a rigorous jungle training programme? It may come in handy one day.

    What about Kenya, still a training school there?

  164. Observer

    “Sultan of Brunei pays for a battalion to keep his own people in check”

    I wasn’t aware of any civil unrest in Brunei, they got so much free stuff most of them are well fed and happy. (1L of petrol goes for US ~$0.35). Might be a slight problem with profligrate royals, but that is hardly something you need a military batallion for. And how are you going to plan a raid to confiscate credit cards is a very interesting question.

    My guess is that there was a need for security with respect to Malaya when they funded and fed rebel soldiers into the country in the 60s, but it’s been 60 years since the last unrest. It’s more likely that the batallion was there since time began and it was more trouble to change it than to let it be. Most of the time, you’re just there hiding from the heat and the suicidal cicadas. And watch out for the crocodiles in the rivers.

    And what is with this “Army Reorg by PR”?? If they want to restructure, just DO IT, not put up a press release on it. Imagine how much trouble you could have avoided by slapping a media blackout on something that frankly, does not even concern the general public?

  165. Red Trousers

    Alan,

    I’m struggling to conceive of how one redhead could possibly be a better option than both a blonde and a brunette. Possible, but she’d have to be enormously talented.

    Those two were – I confess – on the outer edge of my social circle, and let us say “very friendly indeed” with each other. It was a bit of a set up to make a point, but nevertheless we found that we were all able to squeeze into the suite in Herford’s best hotel after the all ranks thrash. Sadly, they didn’t stick together for more than a couple of years – one of them came to my wedding and cried on my shoulder about her life at the pre-wedding dinner for my mates. (Christ on a bike, that was an expensive evening – cost me more than our honeymoon).

  166. white lancer

    Gents, u all forget 1 thing, we shouldt need cuts, just sack about 60000
    white hall warriors, scrap 2 aircraft carriers we have no planes for, and mothball the odd nuclear submarine. The Other thing, give scotland,
    back to the clans, stopgiving them money, let them look after their own
    defence.

    Ex Bonehead

  167. martin

    The more I read of the plans for these reforms the more I like them. However I am very much in doubt of the Army’s ability to execute them. Everything in these reforms is dependent on the Army Reserve and if we are being honest our army that has always had a professional ethos has a s**t doctrine when it comes to reservists.
    If we try and do this on the cheap (which we will) then it is going to leave the Army without some of its most basic requirements.
    What we really need to do is follow a US route offering to pay for apprenticeships and university for civilians in return for membership of the reserve units. With so many young lads out of work it should be relatively easy to attract large numbers of youngsters keen for electrical and mechanical apprenticeships and with the prospect of tuition fees it should also be able to attract large numbers of Nurses, Doctors and Engineers as well. Even certain things like HGV driver’s fork lift operators etc etc should all be easy to attract from civy street if we offer free high quality training. As these Civis will spend their non-military time practicing these skill’s and in a conflict will be rear echelon they should be relatively easy to call up. We can then let the weekend warriors focus on more military tasks such as intelligence, signals etc.
    However the prospect of having to pay civilian reservists to train will be too much for the Army especially if they have to slaughter a sacred cow or two. No doubt instead they will farm these roles out to contractors that will charge a fortune because they know the Army will have no other option but pay and at any rate the Treasury will foot the bill from the contingency fund.

  168. Chris.B.

    The question for me, regarding reserves, is what tasks do we most need them for? What positions are normally the most short staffed and could to with the extra help? And for combat roles such as the Infantry, what are the maximum sizes of units that we can realistically hope to raise from the TA when needed for a)enduring and b)one off, 3 month notice type actions?

  169. ArmChairCivvy

    Hi Chris B, I hope we’ll get a feature (in due course) to address your question.

    On the brochure thread Obsvr pointed out that augmenting RA rgmnts from reserves can happen by slotting in a troop here and a troop there
    - for infantry I would look to bn level, to get cohesive units that train together normally and after being mobilised

  170. Phil

    @Chris B

    From what I have read there is going to be a broad split between Combat and CS / CSS. CS and CSS are much more likely to be mobilised as formed units and we see this now with the TA transport regiments and field hospitals.

    The model for the TA combat units is going to be dependent on the mission. I think it is conceivable although unlikely that a TA battalion (-) could be mobilised for a non-complex simple operation, like doing a 6 month Cyprus tour or something like that. A company could certainly be sent out for something like that.

    For complex warfighting / Afghan style environments you won’t see anything larger than a TA company or squadron mobilised to uplift a regular unit.

    You’ll never see an independent TA battalion combat unit or probably CS unit mobilised for operations in a complex environment. The less complex the more likely you are to see it happen.

  171. ArmChairCivvy

    Phil, as I tend to agree with you, does that make the 7 bdes “into paper tigers”
    - or will it just mean that deployable bdes will be put together in the same mish-mash fashion as has been the case for Afghan rotations?

  172. Phil

    I’ve written a post which I hope TD will put up but the brigades aren’t paper tigers, they are latent Task Force operational HQs in a manner of speaking.

    What I see happenning is if the AF needs to generate a brigade it will be a process akin to the 52X and 11X HERRICK rotations where a brigade is assembled from a variety of units and sent out to wherever it is needed.

    You might call that a mish-mash method but as my post argues it is an approach born of the necessity to overcome uncertainty.

  173. ArmChairCivvy

    Looking forward; your piece on the Danish army, them mixing conscript and (short) contract formations was very informative

  174. Chris.B.

    Cheers Phil/ACC,

    Just trying to wrap my head around this problem. If we’re going to lean on the TA heavily then it probably needs reform. I’m sure this has been asked before but what is the deployment cycle like for a TA infantryman for example? Does he get a call up, spend 6 months working on pre-deployment training with his unit, then deploy for six months to theatre? Does his employer still have to pay him his normal expected salary, and what compensation do they get while he is gone?

    Cheers for anyone that can pitch in.

  175. Phil

    Well at the moment there are some drama’s with mobilised service. When I mobilised I spent 14 months with the colours as it were. But, apparently we weren’t supposed to have gone over 12 months under the RFA 1996 call up provision they used. So the blokes after us came from a couple of weeks earlier than their regular regiment and it was going to be something like 6 weeks earlier.

    The trouble has been PDT, plus tour, plus POTL has been taking guys over their limits.

    But anyway, your average TA individual reinforcement has been doing 3 months or so pre deployment training, about a 7 month tour and then 2.5 months POTL. Employers release you entirely and the Army takes you on strength and pays you and you become a regular.

    The pathways for different trades have been different and have changed a lot. For example the infantry have some sort of training regime they have to do pre and post mobilisation before they spend some time with their regular unit. PDT for regular units has been about 12 months with 6 months normal combat training and then 6 months HERRICK specific packages and the TA blokes simply cannot be with their regular unit until that unit has done almost all, or all of its PDT. The learning curve for some has been steep.

  176. Red Trousers

    Here’s one problem for Reservists: it does not pay (literally) to volunteer. Employers can claim back £110 a day for employing a stand-in to cover you while you are away, which includes elements that the employer can’t pay the replacement. I pay the painter who decorated the children’s bedrooms £150 a day plus the cost of paint – £110 a day is bollocks.

    I’d not wish to appear arrogant, but unless the Army is willing to top up the balance between the salary of a 7 year seniority Major and what I currently earn, AND pay my employer my internal capitation rate plus various agency fees for the costs of replacing me for the time I’m away, AND top up pension contributions, etc, I cannot afford to volunteer, nor my employers afford for me to volunteer.

    Volunteering as a reservist only makes sense if you are unemployed or paid considerably less than your soldier rank. Otherwise, it’s a nonsense, and that is very sad. I wouldn’t mind one more run around the racetrack in Afghanistan, just for old times’ sake and because it grieves me what has happened to the Army since I left, and I’d like to show some solidarity.

    Snippet below from the MOD website giving current rules ‘n regs.

    Employers
    A Reservist’s call-out for mobilisation may result in additional costs for his or her employer.
    Under the Reserve Forces (Call-out and Recall) (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/859), employers can claim the following:
    ongoing costs of replacing the Reservist (up to a limit of £110 a day) including pay and overtime to existing employees
    one-off costs (agency fees and advertising costs)
    necessary training expenses for the Reservist on his or her return to employment
    employer pension payments (provided that the Reservist continues to pay their contributions)

  177. Phil

    To be fair most folk in the TA, HAC accepted aren’t quite in your remuneration band. The statistics show I believe that most mobilised reservists tend to get paid more when mobilised. But yes for certain people mobilising isn’t an option, which is why it’s distressing to see such people taking up ranks and slots others could fill.

    The real cost of volunteering though is the big black hole in your career. Reservists with any kind of career aspirations will have a shelf life and that shelf life is one or two tours. Then they realise, hang on, my civilian colleagues are now way ahead and I’ve missed lots of opportunities.

    No legislation can change that unfortunately. But there are a great many people such things wouldn’t affect because they either dont care or don’t really think of themselves as having a linear career.

  178. wf

    @Red Trousers, @Phil: according to SABRE, you can claim for quite a bit

    http://www.sabre.mod.uk/Reservists/Mobilisation-and-Demobilisation/Financial-support.aspx

    Financial support for loss of earnings and benefits

    If your civilian pay is higher than your Service pay, you can claim the difference (calculated as a daily amount). You’ll also be able to claim for the daily cost of replacing certain benefits in kind that your employer suspends while you are mobilised. These include:

    health insurance or medical care;
    life insurance paid by your employer;
    educational fees for dependent children;
    accommodation provided by your employer;
    other benefits provided by your employer.
    The overall amount you can claim for in both earnings and benefits is completely unrelated to your Service rank. There is, however, a cap of £548 per day (equivalent to around £200,000 a year).

    I think that covers most stuff :-)

  179. wf

    Frankly, if employers are given 110 quid a day, that puts them in a better position than those dealing with maternity leave. You get a contractor in, don’t pay the wages of the mobilised, and you know, hopefully (cross fingers), that the reservist will be back in 1 year. Maternity leave in considerably more, ahem, variable. They can come back whenever they want effectively so it’s hard to hire a contractor to cover, and it’s entirely possible they won’t come back at all, or declare another is on the way shortly….

  180. Red Trousers

    Phil, you are correct on the career black hole, but that’s yet another disincentive. Little the Army can do about that one, but it does not make it any less real.

    Reservists are also expensive to the Army, even if the person filling the slot fits into the category you describe (being paid more). Take a Private soldier, paid in the Army about £20,000, so costing the Army about £30,000. A reservist will also cost the Army that £30,000 for a nominal year of service, but there’s potentially another £40,000 in fees to his employer at £110 a day. So, from the Army’s perspective, £70,000 a year for a Private soldier reservist, and then on top all of the pain for the soldier in terms of career black hole, and the aggro and admin costs of some MoD organisation dealing with the employer, plus any enhanced retraining costs to get the soldier up to speed on the latest equipment and tactics.

    The Reservists and the TA only make sense as a numbers game, if you discount the costs of actually employing them 24/7 and not on a part time basis. There’s no point to the TA and Reserves unless you can mobilise them even if they don’t cost the same as a regular in normal peacetime, and once mobilised, they are bastard expensive unless previously unemployed.

    I am also deeply – no, cataclysmically sceptical of the TAs abilities as proper fighting soldiers, but hugely impressed with some of their specialist skills e.g. medics, logisticians, etc. I was Adjutant of a TA Regiment for a couple of years. All jolly good fun for the Yeomen to be dashing about in the woods at the weekend, but let’s not anyone pretend they were militarily competent or actually useful as recce soldiers, and the officers were spectacularly useless as well, mostly having joined for social reasons.

    I could have put that last paragraph far more briefly – lets max out on TA medics and other specialists, and FFS remove the TA from any semblance of pretending to be proper fighting soldiers, which they are not. Unfortunately the Army seems to have gone the opposite way.

  181. All Politicians are the Same

    RT. maybe i am being really thick or in a red wine haze, office on Sundays ,damm those Syrians but if your employer gets 110 pond a day to replace you they surely only pay the difference if required. MOD pay your wage surely?

  182. x

    I have just noticed that I posted my last post here in the wrong thread. Too many Force2020 threads……

    I don’t think money is the sole problem. There has got to be another incentive. The Norwegian home guard has 6,200 members whose status roughly equates to TA. Norway has a population of 5 million. If the TA was proportionately the same size it would have a strength 74,000 or so. What is the difference between a Norwegian and Brit? As said elsewhere here until we need to look beyond the easily measured such as pay, training, and commitment and start to look at other factors.

  183. Chris.B.

    Those terms do seem quite favourable (dare I say too favourable?) for the majority of employers.

  184. wf

    @x: 74k is the strength of the TA until 22 years ago. Well, close enough.

    During much of the 80′s, it’s permitted establishment was 86k, but it never quite reached that

  185. x

    @ Red Trousers re Painting Kid’s Bedroom

    Did the painter work in oils or water colours? :)

    Sometimes I think this place needs to be separated into senior rates’ mess and Wardroom. ;)

  186. ArmChairCivvy

    RE “What is the difference between a Norwegian and Brit? ”
    - the former has already gone through the concript training (even though consription is effectively voluntary), 1. there is no real pay during that period, 2.volunteering continues later (Home Guard) and 3. under the compensate-employers arrangement you only need specialist training and regular manoeuvres, so a manageable number of days, and hence cost, per year

  187. x

    @ wf

    Yes. The total strength of the Norwegian home guard is 53,000 or so. I just picked on the tip of the spear. There was of course a tangible threat to the UK at the time. Good point. Is the UK place the same place is what 20 odd years ago?

    If the TA was manned to the same level as the US National Guard it would have a strength of 93,500.

  188. All Politicians are the Same

    X, fair point, i am a dab hand with a roller and brush obviously in the wrong job! If Rt’S painter worked a standard 40 hour week with 7 weeks holidays he would be on 280k a year.

  189. x

    @ ACC

    Thank you. I should have spelt it out myself shouldn’t I? I didn’t because as you pointed out,

    (even though consription is effectively voluntary)

    The important word is in bold and italics (if the codes work! :) )

    So I ask again, what is the difference between a Norwegian and a Brit?

  190. Red Trousers

    X,

    the kid’s had special requirements for different colour walls, plus the skirting boards and window-sills needed tarting up. £150 / day seemed pretty OK. He also did the skirting boards in the Dining Hall and some tarting up around some light switches I’d changed over from placcy to proper brass, but the baseplates were smaller so needed some remedial plastering. Maybe I was ripped off, but he did a good job.

    If you are going to try to divide us into two, I’m going to demand the right (by personal invitation of the senior WO, of course) to sometimes drop into the Senior Rates’ Mess, because, let’s face it, an Andrew Wardroom is normally populated by a proper gent who got dropped on his head as a child and therefore wants to crash into something solid in one of her Majesty’s Ships, some sub-astronaut called the Navigator who’d like to tell you all about mensuration, an Engineer in a white suit with dirt under his fingernails, who cares little about what you are trying to achieve but can give you 105% of rated power, various spotty youths without a bicep between them, and a couple of weather and admin girls who at least offer some possibilities. In comparison with that, a senior rates Messroom is going to be a complete giggle, with lots of non-PC chat.

  191. All Politicians are the Same

    RT, sometimes oil and water do mix I was the liaison for my FF and the Household Cavalry mounted division many years ago and we had a whale of a time. They used to enjoy taking me to bars where the bar maids would exclaim on having a jock in the bar and insist upon paying. I simply ordered more and more alcohol, drank them under the table and took the star prize back to a hotel they had paid for. Priceless.

  192. Phil

    RT.

    No the Army is going the other way, focusing on specialists in the TA and not expecting combat units to deploy as such in warfighting roles.

    Also to be fair the TA has changed a fair bit since your day. There are a lot of TA blokes with an awful lot of experience on operations under their belts. Grant you there are too many old and bold still around but a clause saying 6 months mobilised service in 5 years is to be expected might clear them all out.

    And TA are far cheaper than Regs. We aren’t paid most of the time and dont qualify for housing, most benefits and indeed a pension.

    One way of attracting more folk to the TA would be to offer them qualifications like HVG etc. of course the terms of service would need to change to ensure they didn’t do the course and then piss off.

  193. Red Trousers

    APATS,

    but you were dealing with the Household Cavalry… what else did you expect? Even the Andrew could take sweets off those children? FFS, it’s the paramilitary wing of the London Tourist Board.

    I’m quite pleased that all 3 lady officers posted to Bristol managed to overnight in my temporary cabin (mostly known as “the chart room”, because I declined the offer of any underwater accommodation, and the boat had recently been upgraded to some WECDIS system) during our autumn 90 cruise around the Baltic. Didn’t care about the ghastly whores the Britannia cadets wanted to pick up in various ports. I’ve still got somewhere (can’t think where) a little locket of hair one of them clipped off from between her legs – and then insisted on me doing the same, but easy come, easy go, it grows back.

    Tell you what, you’ve got in the RN a really good goer. She’s not yet at the top ranks, but bifocal, she knows how to put the squeeze on.

  194. x

    @ RT

    I have been in Bristol’s chartroom. I now sort of wish I hadn’t…..

    Couldn’t they find you a cabin?

    I once had the Bristol’s old middies’ cabin all to myself. But unlike a certain ex-cavalry man I won’t divulge what I did with the CCF female officer who had the cabin directly across from mine, but we weren’t short of space.

    Women at sea is corrosive to good order. Sorry but that is the way I see it.

  195. Red Trousers

    X,

    the chartroom in Bristol is now probably reconfigured (I think Bristol is now a museum boat? Or at least, permanently docked). Back in 1990, it had this vast table for spreading the charts upon, and lots of slots on some wall cabinet for the rolled up charts. It was not too difficult to create a bed underneath the table, with some privacy curtains. It was only just off the back of the bridge, but with the WECDIS, a bolt on the door, and some stern imprecations to the Wardroom, it was not too difficult to remain uninterrupted, whether kipping or doing something else.

    They had offered me somewhere, but it was about 15 million fathoms below the waterline, and that did not compute with my sense of survival. Plus I had a window (I thought it was called a porthole, but apparently in the Andrew there’s another term), so God gave me the morning wake up call with dawn each day.

  196. Anixtu

    Regarding the “WECDIS” on Bristol that we’ve discussed before, it was probably CANE (too early for SNAPS?), I don’t think there were even raster chart display systems available in 1990 and not even the progressive and forward thinking Royal Navy would have considered navigating solely on an electronic raster chart display, had one been available.

    Does CANE ring any bells? It was a plotting system that automated some functions but still had a paper chart on top. Big glass table with a 70s vintage computery console attached.

  197. Red Trousers

    Anixtu,

    it was a old style VDU monitor installed in the bridge and displayed digital information on lat long, speed and bearing, from what I remember. It could also display a digital chart in grey scales, but not in a “live” sense of the chart moving and having your position plotted in real time. Presumably it was GPS-powered (we used early handheld Magellans and Trimpacks in GW1 only a year later, so GPS was on stream in 1990). They had not dispensed with charts entirely, but the need to use one permanently seemed to have greatly diminished. I’m afraid I can’t recall its’ name – but doing a Google I can easily see that it was not a WECDIS (I must have heard of that name much more recently).

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