41 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
July 28, 2014 8:53 pm

That’s no way to talk about your loyal followers, Boss! :-)

GNB

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 28, 2014 9:27 pm

Babies’ Heads.

20 minutes in the BV, you can just spoon them in as you go round the Hohne ranges ring road.

1923 metres to the Hitlerhof from the right hand side of 9C. 1842 from the left.

And Cheese Possessed is Ambrosia.

Cold War memories rising.

Jackstaff
Jackstaff
July 28, 2014 10:00 pm

Always love the “200g nom” designation. Nom nom nom indeed. And the first I heard of Cheese Possessed back in childhood was actually from my late American uncle, who since his old unit was assigned to AMF(L), cadged some on joint maneouvres at the dawn of the Seventies or thereabouts (maybe a little later but he always preferred anecdote over data.)

I would hope various of my comment during periods of greater attendance in yesteryear colour me deeply unsurprised by these news articles.

And thinking also about the brilliant FRES series (another e-book waiting to happen same as ship to shore) once FRES turned out to be a hot mess by 2010 or so, it strikes me as a damnfool thing not to have roped together with the Poles and Swedes to develop something comprehensive out of the Anders project. IFV, cavalry “tank” with a Belgian xc-8 105mm and room for four dismounts, a tank about Leclerc size with next-gen active protection, and of course the support variants. Keep Foxhound and also keep Jackal 2 for the sneaky sort of recce, and buy something cheap as chips like RG-35 MIV as the new Saxon in due course. With Polish, British, pan-Scandinavian (replace CV90 and maybe Leo2A6 in time with a Swedish work share) and possibly Dutch or Lithuanian orders that’s a real customer base. And more R&D inputs with the British and Swedish “ends” driving tech adaptation and the Polish “end” helping to drive cost efficiency and getting a product delivered. Ah well — it’s almost quitting time and with a nip of Heering for a summer evening a man can daydream.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 28, 2014 10:02 pm

It was only 27 kms from Effing B to Hohne, and nobody ever explained how a young Sue Lawley of the BBC became known as Jiggledy Tits when driving the distance over the cobbles.

Kent
Kent
July 28, 2014 10:36 pm

http://www.mcb53.com/pagevietnam/vietnamwarphotos/crationphotos/cratcontents.jpg

C-Rations were miles better than the first iterations of MREs (Meals Rejected by Ethiopians). These were what we were getting when I started out in the US Army in 1975. We saw B-1 units rarely. (Scrambled Eggs and Ham or Ham Slices only. Never saw Turkey Loaf.) B-2 units were plentiful. (Beans and Wieners were favorites followed by Beefsteak, Potatoes and Gravy [Beef and Shrapnel] then by Meatballs and Beans. If you got Ham and Lima Beans, you were screwed.) Only saw a B-3 unit once, and got Spiced Beef. (It came with a little canned loaf of white bread which was wonderful. The Spiced Beef, not so much.) The cigarettes in the Accessory packs were so old that they were a light brown. You had to steam them over your canteen cup to make them smokeable.

Martin
Editor
July 29, 2014 2:07 am

Given that Putin seems to have gone mad and even the threat of harsh sanctions does not seem to phase him I think we will be thankful to have some of those cold war rellics like Typhoon, Challenger 2 and Astute around.

I think its also high time to take a look at the defence assumptions and the budget.

We certainly need an urgent MPA ASW capability. We could do with retaining Tranche 1 Typhoon and forming 7 squadrons. Possibly also looking at retaining more Challenger 2’s in active condition with possibly 2 more type 56 armoured battalions in the reserves so we would have 6 armoured battalions in total.

We possibly also need to look at speeding up the T26 program and keeping the T23’s for longer. We could also do with a fixed wing naval strike capability on Typhoon.

I don’t think our current posture is right if we are going to have a belligerent Russia operating in Eastern Europe and the North Atlantic and it is going to take us at least five years to generate a force to deal with them so we better start now.

Hopefully the current crisis is the beginning of the end for Putin but we need to prepare for the case that it is not and he is embarking on an entirely new level of rebuilding the Russian empire.

Gewyne
Gewyne
July 29, 2014 5:41 am

How is Putin rebuilding the Russian empire – The Crimea voted to become part of the Russian Federation and not join the coup in the Ukraine.

The Eastern Regions of Ukraine also decided that their future lies within the Russian Federation. It is unlikely that Putin will accept this in the current climate. In all probability the rising in Donbas Eastern Ukraine will be put down and the people forced to remain as part of the Ukraine at gun point whether they want it or not, just storing up problems for the future.

We should just accept that some borders are artificial and let peoples right to self determination sort out as much of the current mess as possible – if we had followed a similar plan after WW2 then we could have avoided the Yugoslavia problems, and the Middle East wouldn’t be such a mess as it is now – but we so love drawing lines on map that bear no relation to the people living within them.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 29, 2014 6:34 am

A short history of Russia since 1991:
“as the product of a highly secretive institution, the KGB, Putin has been able to control the details of his life, and shape his own mythology, more than almost any other modern politician – certainly any Western one.

Putin, she writes, was ‘a faceless man’ promoted by people who wanted to ‘invent’ a president. But that plan was subverted by the man himself and the secret-police apparatus that formed him and continues to sustain him. Rather than being the safeholder of a new era of democracy, as his sponsors had hoped, Putin has turned Russia into ‘a supersize model of the KGB’, where there can be no room for dissent or even independent action. ”

The Telegraph have been reviewing a new book from a writer who has been in the country since the break-up of the Soviet union, and has seen it “close-up”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/vladimir-putin/9100388/Vladimir-Putin-the-godfather-of-a-mafia-clan.html

Rocket Banana
July 29, 2014 8:21 am

Perhaps Putin remembers the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and how there was somewhat of a back-stabbing by Nazi Germany. Perhaps he fancies re-carving Eastern Europe up before he pushes up the daisies.

Poland is therefore an interesting “front” for a show of force. Perhaps a little too much red rag to a bull :-(

Mickp
Mickp
July 29, 2014 8:26 am

, I totally agree.

This would not necessitate a complete change to our acquisition programme just a refocus.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
July 29, 2014 8:36 am

@ Gweyne

Because if we allow people to change borders at will any time they don’t like an election result or trade deal, just look at the SNP’s latest war cry ‘we didn’t elect the Torys’, so should they become independent, or when Labour was in power should Conservative areas have left the UK.
Now if you take it back to Russia, all they have do to grow their borders is to influence regions on the border and bribe them to vote to join Russia, then move on to the next area. Don’t forget Russia has just introduced a law that makes it illegal to promote separatism within the Russian Federation, with a five year jail term. So now they can send any Crimean, who says they want to re-join Ukraine, to jail.

Basically it is a slippery slope no one wants to go down.

Obsvr
Obsvr
July 29, 2014 8:47 am

There was a graphic in the Economist about 3 months ago showing the linguistic breakdown of each of the oblasts(?) in Ukraine. The notion that Russians are the majority in the East or even in Crimea is a king sized porky. Most Russians in Crimea didn’t bother to participate in the hastily organised vote, they knew a good old fashioned Russian stitch-up when it was offered.

The only way to handle C rations is in a 50/50ish combination with something more edible, and I speak from months of experience. Mark you given time and resources, something not generally available to proper light infantry (and their friendly gunners and sappers) on sustained footborne operations taking re-sup every 5th or 6th day, the ‘Charlie Ration Cookbook’ had some good recipes.

Martin
Editor
July 29, 2014 9:32 am

@ gewyne

I am amazed at the lengths the FSB go to to troll western media and websites trying to offer a false an misleading view that Russia is the oppressed one and the neo nazi’s of the Ukrainian coup were out to gas all the Russian speakers of Ukraine. How much is is misinformation campaign you are involved in costing the Russian government? Could the money not be better spent else where in Russia. I have been to your country on many occasions and quite frankly its a bit s**t. You should spend the money on roads instead of misinformation.

tell your bosses at the Kremlin from me to f**k off and stop invading their neighbours? it’s not the fist time and I am sure it won’t be the last. I am just waiting for the day when you Russians start trying to protect the Russian speaking majority regions of west london form the evil Nazi regime of the UK.

Ace Rimmer
July 29, 2014 9:43 am

I think one of the major problems we have at the moment is that we still apply ourselves to historical nation states. With the turmoil in the Middle East, previously held borders imposed by imperial overlords are collapsing to reflect the tribal, religious and the ethnicity of the majority groups. I would also apply this rule to Scotland. I believe we should apply a more fluid approach to nationhood and start looking at breaking up large, disparate states to avoid unnecessary bloodshed in unnecessary civil wars.

Martin
Editor
July 29, 2014 10:29 am

@ Ace rimmer

We had a fairly fluid system of borders before 1945. Unfortunately it resulted in a large number of wars and a lot of people died.

since 1945 we have had very few wars and boarders have been pretty fixed.

In an ideal world countries would be grown up enough to allow the democratic process to the care if the issue but other than the UK and Canada I can’t think of another country that is grown up enough to allow such a democratic grown up policy.

The USA barley let their own citizens give up their passports and the last time a state tried to leave it was a pretty messy affair.

Jeremy M H
July 29, 2014 2:31 pm

I honestly hope you don’t hurt yourself with all the back patting you are doing there…

To frame the idea of democratic succession as simply an issue of being “grown up enough” to allow it is simplistic in the extreme and really quite silly. There are a huge variety of issues and questions that any nation would have to deal with and it goes well beyond being “grown up”.

First what may be a legal and acceptable process in the UK with regards to Scotland may or may not apply elsewhere. While I know you love to see the US as a collection of bumbling hicks you might want to acknowledge that the US Constitution guarantees to its citizens certain rights in both the state in which they live and in the states in which they don’t that would not be protected if a state were simply allowed to leave. This is not a matter of maturity or anything of the sort but has been the subject of lengthy debate and legal rulings over well more than 100 years. Essentially the view of Andrew Jackson was later upheld by the Supreme Court.

“But each State having expressly parted with so many powers as to constitute jointly with the other States a single nation, cannot from that period possess any right to secede, because such secession does not break a league, but destroys the unity of a nation, and any injury to that unity is not only a breach which would result from the contravention of a compact, but it is an offense against the whole Union. To say that any State may at pleasure secede from the Union, is to say that the United States are not a nation because it would be a solecism to contend that any part of a nation might dissolve its connection with the other parts, to their injury or ruin, without committing any offense. Secession, like any other revolutionary act, may be morally justified by the extremity of oppression; but to call it a constitutional right, is confounding the meaning of terms, and can only be done through gross error, or to deceive those who are willing to assert a right, but would pause before they made a revolution, or incur the penalties consequent upon a failure.”

Like many issues reasonable people have looked upon these issues and reached different conclusions. It is the height of arrogance and intellectually lazy to stand and declare ones own point of view as being the “grown up” policy.

TAS
TAS
July 29, 2014 2:55 pm

I can think of a few commenters who ought to be incorporated into this thread…

The Other Chris
July 29, 2014 4:21 pm

Is this an accurate portrayal?

mike
mike
July 29, 2014 4:22 pm

TD, all this from a picture of 4 tins!

Personally, I am glad I came in after those were phased out, the only tin I had to lug around with me was that god awful pate’… only useful for throwing at annoying people. The Belgian chocolate in the red and white wrapper though… lovely.

Then again, as a crab, I wouldn’t be lugging them much anyway :P but my times with pongos and jarheads makes me appreciate the importance of good compo, and how survivable it is when packing it.

I think Poland has the chance here to become NATO’s next great frontier…. RAFP! >;D

paul g
July 29, 2014 6:03 pm

All callsigns; bacongrill, yum that is all. out!

Gewyne
Gewyne
July 29, 2014 6:26 pm

Quite the tirade you had there, you calmed down yet ?

Assuming that those that don’t agree with you are some sort of paid shill – or Russian because they don’t agree with your points is like people accusing you of being a Ukrainian Right Sector member because of your unblinkered support of Kiev.

The simple case is that when you have populations of people cut of from their perceived homeland and ruled by people they feel do not represent them they have a right to respond. In Ukraine the democratically elected government was overthrown, and large parts of the country wanted nothing to do with the regime that filled the void, most of the region did not vote in the following elections and want nothing to do with the Westerly looking Ukraine regime.

Sometimes it’s just easier to accept the differences in populations and let people go their own way, instead of forcing them to be subjected to borders that do not reflect reality….. if this had been done more in the past then the world would be a much better place.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 29, 2014 6:45 pm

Where is Derek?

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 29, 2014 6:55 pm

Belgian bloody chocolate? Belgian? Jesus wept, I knew it was cushty in the Crabs, but not that cushty.

There was a VC winner in the Argyll and Bolton Wanderers who repelled several dozen Chinese in Korea by throwing tins of compo at them after he ran out of both grenades and bullets. Hats off to him, but I’d have been concerned to see that much Cheese Possessed being chucked away. The steak and Sidney not so much.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 29, 2014 7:01 pm

…. KOSBies, sorry. Here we go:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Speakman

Wiki says beer bottles. I heard it was tins of cheese from someone who was in the same Brigade.

dave haine
dave haine
July 29, 2014 8:06 pm

Fellow villager (ex-gloucesters) reckons It would only have been empty beer bottles… He claims that the jocks were famous for the amount of empty beer bottles in their dug-outs.

What about the canned bread?

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 29, 2014 8:16 pm

Canned bread? That’s a new one to me. Bread came from the SQMS, normally at Endex, where my role (helpfully explained by Mick Bode, my first and utterly brilliant Troop Sergeant) was to “sort yourself away somewhere quiet Boss and make egg banjos for the lads while they sort the wagons out”. I can knock out egg banjos pretty reasonably even to this day.

I did once take about 20 kilos of Victoria plums on an exercise once. A bit of a liberty, I had an assignation arranged with the glamourous Nette who was the daughter of a Classics Professor at the University of Hanover, and asked my Troop to make a detour to pick me up en route to the exercise area. They were about an hour late so I picked fruit from her parents’ garden while waiting from them. For the next fortnight the fruit was doled out, inevitably becoming known as Professor Plums. ;)

TED
TED
July 29, 2014 8:56 pm

Long live the cold war!

Rations aren’t bad these days from what I’ve experienced. But mushroom omelet, oh my god like leather but with an awful taste. How can you ruin egg, milk and mushrooms?!

The chicken balti tough, very much appreciated :)

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
July 29, 2014 9:28 pm

@RT & DH – just picked up an old copy of “The edge of the sword” – when I’ve read it I’ll let you know if it was rations or beer bottles…

GNB

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 29, 2014 9:38 pm

I think there’s an often unacknowledged side of the Cold War. Language.

I have a facility to keep 2 foreign languages in my head, currently French and Spanish. I had Italian for a while, but have lost it in favour of Spanish. German was for ten years my number One, with Dutch second, but I never had enough use to really make it stick. I’m not talking about the getting from A to B type of language skills, but quite serious translator levels.

I think the UK Armed Forces need more of that, and especially varieties of Arabic. I’m old Cold War type, entirely useless now. But language is (or should be) a core skill.

Observer
Observer
July 29, 2014 10:06 pm

RT, there was a newspaper article from the US recently lamenting the loss of the old Kremlinologists whose job during the Cold War was to try psychoanalysing what the Russians were trying to do and planned to do next. Spook stuff. After the Cold War, they got mass retrenched, so now when Russia is acting up again, they are having a severe lack of Russian reading/speaking staff.

Guess hindsight is always 20/20.

mike
mike
July 29, 2014 10:25 pm

@ RT

That was standard MoD issue ration packs ;)
They’ve changed now to a rather silly Yorkie bar… with “its not for civvies” specially printed on it…

Post 1991 I presume, so naturally, the softer “we have it easy” HM armed forces.

The packed lunches the RAF provides are beyond shite. A whole new level of @ss, Russian roulette with how bad they can be, I’d prefer ration pack compo. Especially some screetch.

Chuck
Chuck
July 29, 2014 10:31 pm

Because the largest nation on Earth(the size of Pluto btw), whose name roughly translates as “Viking Land”, a nation built on hundreds of years of conquest with whom we still had huge political differences, compete with directly in ways beyond counting and generations of built up animosity toward us and our friends was never going to be a problem again. That’s not a matter of hindsight but hubris.

Case and point; the term “End of history”.

TED
TED
July 29, 2014 10:32 pm

The fruit cake isn’t bad mike

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 29, 2014 10:34 pm

Observer,

I did learn Russian once, quite seriously, to the point where I was about to do an oral exam for admission to a University. It was when I was trying to get a role in BRIXMIS, but the ruddy Cold War came to an end and the job disappeared. Obblocks.

I find the Romance languages easier, I can speak them fluently. I can speak Germanic languages quite OK, but only typically in present and past tenses. Pluperfects and past conditionals are a real challenge, I don’t know why that it is. I think it is that I don’t like being dictated to, which Germanic languages do in their grammar construction.

My wife thinks me weird: she says that she can’t understand how I can speak foreign languages so well, but totally fail to understand foreign mentalities. I say that she is Spanish, and so woefully adrift of what other nations think is normal.

Chuck
Chuck
July 29, 2014 10:39 pm

Red trousers and a Spanish wife… there’s a joke in there somewhere. ;)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 29, 2014 10:46 pm

Chuck,

Not if you don’t want to be flayed alive. Nobody jokes about Mrs RT.

Martin
Editor
July 30, 2014 5:11 am

@ Gewyne aka FSB officer

To say the democratically elected government of Ukraine was overthrown is a bare faced lie. The president was removed by parliament which is within the Ukrainian constitution. even the presidents own party voted him out.

Its like saying Nixon was replaced by a coup in America.

Its worth noting that every region in Ukraine voted to leave the USSR including Crimea in a proper and fully recognised electoral process.

Just because people speak Russian in certain areas of Ukraine it gives Moscow no right to interfere in their affairs.

By the same definition the UK could annex almost half the world on the basis of people speaking English.

You Russians keep trying to play on our sense of fairness and giving the benefit of the doubt. The reality is that what Russia is doing is wrong and certainly not for the benefit of anyone living in Ukraine.

I don’t work for the Ukrainian government and I have been commenting here for years. But I have noticed a lot of people suddenly showing up on western media websites that have no track record trying to push the Kremlins point of view about the evil Nazi storm troopers from Kiev trying to exterminate the poor native Russians of Eastern Ukraine and quite frankly I am sick of hearing these lies.

So there in lines my suspicion of you comrade.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 30, 2014 5:19 am

James Bond films will get better again when you can tell the baddies by their accent

tweckyspat
July 30, 2014 5:48 am

To get back on to the serious topic of BAOR in the 80s rather than Ukraine…..

of course the real indicator of intent to return to “serious” land manoeuvre v a peer competitor nation will be the proper reformation of the field bakeries and laundry units…

canned bread my arse, what you need is a greaseproof wrapped white loaf marked “Tuesday” (but rarely the precise date) and a can of compo marge for the definitive egg banjo

TAS
TAS
July 30, 2014 7:14 am

Makes me glad I joined a service where you go to war with a bar and a duvet. None of this living in holes b###ocks.