UK defence issues and the odd container or two

About The Author

Think Defence hopes to start sensible conversations about UK defence issues, no agenda or no campaign but there might be one or two posts on containers, bridges and mexeflotes!

16 Comments

  1. Red Trousers

    Clearly, not recce Cavalrymen, but I’ve got a very welcoming place in my heart for England’s line infantry. Not the prima donnas of the Paras or Marines (who think themselves rather better than they are, and whinge and whine), they just get on with the job with great and unheralded professionalism, and all of our line infantry can go toe to toe with any infantry force in the world.

    I once had a company of the Cheshires under my control in Bosnia as the Divisional Reserve. They were absolutely mustard.

  2. Red Trousers

    APATS, in my experience, they are. Worked with both in Belfast, South Armagh, and Newry when I ran 39 Brigade COP operations, and then with the Paras in 16 AA Bde in Kosovo, and both 42 and 45 Cdo in Norway, albeit it split between the mid 80s and late 90s. Nothing greatly special. Normal light infantry, with chips on shoulders. It’s only the manner of their traditional arrival on theatre that is any different, once on the ground the normal laws of physics apply to them. And we all shit in the same manner.

  3. All Politicians are the Same

    @RT so you witnessed them being tasked on the sort of tasks any infantry could accomplish, then comment upon the fact they did.I take it you are MWC qualified?

  4. Challenger

    @X

    ‘Shame they lost a battalion’

    Their should have been a comprehensive structural review mandated in the 2010 SDSR to at least try and put a curb on the lingering cap-badge mentality instead of the pathetic and short-sighted salami slicing of battalions and regiments we are seeing now.

  5. Obsvr

    I’m with RT, there is a lot of smoke, mirrors and PR around the two regiments with supposedly ‘special delivery’ techniques, the pink imps have a case, parachuting is undoubtedly a bit specialised, it’s also very unusual, 1956 was the last outing IIRC. Traditionally the most highly regarded infantry were the RB and KRRC, now part of the Rifles and in WW2 they got the mounted role in armoured formations. The bottom line is that there are no infantry battalions or regiments that are notably and consistently better than the rest at being infantry. Obviously war readiness depends on where a unit is in the training cycle.

  6. Red Trousers

    APATS,

    The best COP platoon I ever saw was from the 3rd Battalion of the Queen’s Regiment. Christ, I wanted to offer some of them a free transfer to my Regiment, and a spiffing uniform to boot. ;)

    More importantly, it’s the CO and officers who make a real difference, and the RM and Paras have no monopoly in competence there. I’ve got no prejudices, one of my closest muckers was a Para, but let’s not get all elitist about this.

  7. Martin

    With such a small and professional army surely we should expect all our infantry battalions to operate at the same kind of level as the Marines and Paras.

    The distinction should come in theatre entry and equipment to carry out there tasks.

    looking at the performance if the guards regiments vs the paras and marines in 1982 I don’t think you can see a great difference. All performed very well especially considering the guards regiments had been on ceremonials just before and not properly worked up.

    The other main difference I would expect is readiness. we should have smaller forces like the RM and paras where soldiers should be expected to be on a higher tempo of readiness than other sections of the army.

    that being said only having 2 parachute battalions in 16AAb seems like a push to maintain a high readiness battalion.

  8. WiseApe

    “With such a small and professional army surely we should expect all our infantry battalions to operate at the same kind of level as the Marines and Paras. ” – Isn’t that what RT is saying is actually the case?

  9. Martin

    @ wise ape

    Yes, I was agreeing with RT for once :-)

    Both the RM Commandos and Paras trace their rites back to a conscript army where more professional Volunteer forces made sense for selected special mission.

    Now their tags are about as useful as rifleman, dragons and fusiliers but its a military tradition that we should not throw away.

  10. The Other Chris

    There’s a reason why some people are ordered to sit for weeks really close to the enemy in a lightly protected vehicle…

    ;p

  11. Slightly Agricultural

    @Challenger
    Totally agree. The salami-slicing of battalions to maintain cap-badges is harmful to the force structure as a whole, in my opinion. Heck, rumour was even some of the CO’s had recognised this and were agitating for the Queen’s Div to become “Queens Reg” or similar. Frankly I think the Rifles are a good example of doing this properly – enough critical mass in the regiment that people can move around internally for career progression and you could run your own cadres for specialist skills (FSG, Mortars etc.) as you can generate good numbers.

    1 Battalion + Reserves gives you bugger all oportunity to move around within the Regimental family. We’re about to move to a garrison footing, so this kind of thing is going to be more important than ever in the absence of much else to do. Cap-badges and history are important, but not at the expense of effectiveness. Mergers and consolidations have always been a fact of life, but if done semi-competently people get over it and crack on. Scrapping healthy battalions for political reasons is when people start to get miffed.

    And on the subject of the hackle; “Evil to him who evil thinks”. Or as the lads say these days “Don’t tackle the hackle”.

  12. Kent

    Just finished re-reading “Band of Brothers” by Stephen Ambrose, the story of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. I recommend it.

    One of the commanders of Easy Company married a “war widow” in England and had a son by her. At the end of the war, her “deceased” husband reappeared from a POW camp, and she picked him over the American paratrooper. The son became an infantry major in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

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