After Afghanistan

A story marking the end of the combat operations in Helmand from the MoD…

[browser-shot width=”700″ url=”https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-ends-combat-operations-in-helmand”]

And the imagery that went with the story

Bridadier Rob Thomson, Deputy Commander Regional Command Southwest (RC (SW)) greets Brigadier General Zaman Hassan of the Afghan National Security Forces.
Bridadier Rob Thomson, Deputy Commander Regional Command Southwest (RC (SW)) greets Brigadier General Zaman Hassan of the Afghan National Security Forces.
UK Armed Forces have ended combat operations in Helmand Province, paving the way for the final transfer of security to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). As they have on the battlefield, British troops stood shoulder-to-shoulder with colleagues from the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to witness the Union Flag and Stars and Stripes at the Bastion-Leatherneck complex lowered for the last time. The ceremony marks the end of operations for Regional Command (Southwest), a UK and US coalition command under the umbrella of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Other contributing nations have included Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Tonga, Jordan and Bosnia.
UK Armed Forces have ended combat operations in Helmand Province, paving the way for the final transfer of security to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). As they have on the battlefield, British troops stood shoulder-to-shoulder with colleagues from the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to witness the Union Flag and Stars and Stripes at the Bastion-Leatherneck complex lowered for the last time. The ceremony marks the end of operations for Regional Command (Southwest), a UK and US coalition command under the umbrella of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Other contributing nations have included Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Tonga, Jordan and Bosnia.
POIGNANT CEREMONY MARKS END OF UK COMBAT OPERATIONS IN HELMAND PROVINCE
UK Armed Forces have ended combat operations in Helmand Province
UK Armed Forces have ended combat operations in Helmand Province, paving the way for the final transfer of security to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
UK Armed Forces have ended combat operations in Helmand Province, paving the way for the final transfer of security to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
Captain (RN) Matthew Clark, Deputy Commander of Joint Force Support, folds the lowered Union Flag with Camp Bastion's final Garrison Sergeant Major (GSM) Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1) John Lilley. UK Armed Forces have ended combat operations in Helmand Province, paving the way for the final transfer of security to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
Captain (RN) Matthew Clark, Deputy Commander of Joint Force Support, folds the lowered Union Flag with Camp Bastion’s final Garrison Sergeant Major (GSM) Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1) John Lilley. UK Armed Forces have ended combat operations in Helmand Province, paving the way for the final transfer of security to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

Am I the only one that finds the term ‘UK armed forces’ a bit strange, what happened to ‘British Armed Forces’

When did that change then?

In all the rush to talk about the end of the UK’s deployment in I think it important to recognise there are personnel still there, personnel who will be there for a while yet, and, personnel that aren’t there now who will be there in the future.

Let’s not forget them.

And, lets not forget the 453 personnel that lost their lives, the several thousand that were injured and the many more that played their part.

Whatever your opinion of the conflict, it behooves us all to give quiet thanks and with the Poppy campaign now in full swing, an extra couple of quid in the collection tin.

Anyway, as a bit of fun, how about an after Afghanistan bingo card :)

The Post Afghanistan Bingo Card

 

 

UPDATE

Additional imagery

British military personnel are pictured leaving Camp Bastion for the final time in the back of a RAF Hercules transporter aircraft.
British military personnel are pictured leaving Camp Bastion for the final time in the back of a RAF Hercules transporter aircraft.

FINAL UK TROOPS LEAVE HELMAND PROVINCE FINAL UK TROOPS LEAVE HELMAND PROVINCE FINAL UK TROOPS LEAVE HELMAND PROVINCE FINAL UK TROOPS LEAVE HELMAND PROVINCE FINAL UK TROOPS LEAVE HELMAND PROVINCE FINAL UK TROOPS LEAVE HELMAND PROVINCE FINAL UK TROOPS LEAVE HELMAND PROVINCE FINAL UK TROOPS LEAVE HELMAND PROVINCE FINAL UK TROOPS LEAVE HELMAND PROVINCE FINAL UK TROOPS LEAVE HELMAND PROVINCE FINAL UK TROOPS LEAVE HELMAND PROVINCE FINAL UK TROOPS LEAVE HELMAND PROVINCE

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Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 26, 2014 5:28 pm

Did any of our largely useless politicians make the journey to Bastion to mark this day, or indeed somebody senior from the MoD? They bloody well should have done.

Instead, the current non-entity Secretary of State is today making claims about immigration to make himself look like a Kipper. Cunt.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
October 26, 2014 6:08 pm

@TD – Or indeed Her Majesties Armed Forces…extremely pertinent in light of our friend @RT’s contribution, with which I must concur…although I must deplore his use of “Cunt”…which for my money goes nowhere near the level of loathing and contempt that all decent people should feel for the whole of our political class, the particular fetid reptile he identifies in particular…

Good luck to the Lads and Lasses yet to go; God rest those who did not return.

GNB

IXION
October 26, 2014 6:36 pm

RT

Believe it or not ‘I would like to be associated with the remarks of the last speaker.’

There I bet you thought that would not happen!

GNB

Yes a term of abuse worse than cunt realy does need to be invented for the ‘scum sucking slimy twelve faced utterly useless arseholes’

However cunts will have to do untill one is invented…..

And again I would like to remember the service of those who came home and the lives of those who did not. I expect in my innocent way that their dependants will be well looked after…

Observer
Observer
October 26, 2014 7:37 pm

IXION, there already is a word for that. It’s “Politician”.

monkey
monkey
October 26, 2014 7:42 pm

@All
I have found c**nt’s useful in my time :-)

Neil
Neil
October 26, 2014 7:52 pm

Observer, Hear, hear! (sic) ;-)

Mark
Mark
October 26, 2014 8:59 pm

In all

453 servicemen and women killed

306 very seriously injured

310 seriously injured

Admitted to a field hospital

2188 wounded in action

5248 for non battle injuries

In total 7367 aeromedically evacuated.

And an as yet unknown number of the 140k british service personnel who will suffer mental issues as a result of there service. Countless families wrecked.

We have had the nimrod scandal the landrover scandal the scandal of having to set up help for heroes funded by those worried at the treatment of injured servicemen by the state as well as other charities.

And lastly a financial cost to UK of more than 20 billion pounds.

Was it worth the sacrifice?

When decision makers consider committing british forces in future to protracted ground wars especially they should read the stories behind the numbers from Afghanistan and then ask themselves is it really in our interest to go ahead and is the equipment there for the job. But perhaps thats wishful thinking!

defac tourist
defac tourist
October 27, 2014 12:05 am

no civvies allowed in BSN now and that includes “useless politicians”

Jules
Jules
October 27, 2014 4:31 am

Slightly ironic TD that we remember the great war with poppies and went to “The Stan” to stop people producing them?
And yes I know that ws not the whole reason but none the less I had to comment on that irony…
@Mark, that is a long list, very sobering indeed!

Nick
Nick
October 27, 2014 7:05 am

Jules

The real irony is that we prefer to have a “war on” the symptoms (terror, drugs use, poverty, obesity) rather than fight for solutions. Solutions are harder, require us to do more, make fundamental changes to the way the world works and of course may fail anyway.

Obsvr
Obsvr
October 27, 2014 7:34 am

One should never describe a useless polly as some as useful and pleasurable as a C.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
October 27, 2014 9:00 am

I know it’s great bashing the pollies for the shortcomings of the campaign, but let’s not forget that the senior ranks within the MOD are just as culpable.

@Nick

I agree with a lot of what is said in that piece, especially the last line.

‘Wars have a nasty habit of choosing us, rather than us choosing them.’

Acknowledging the limits of our military power is useful for not getting into situations like Afghan again but turning pacifist is dangerous.

Rocket Banana
October 27, 2014 9:15 am

Nick,

“Was this the British Army’s last hurrah?”

Was there any “hurrah”? There shouldn’t have been however hard the individuals tried it was doomed from the outset.

We seem to have this uncanny knack of being underequipped with things we know full well are required.

The trouble is that the biggest asset we are missing is money :-(

Jules
Jules
October 27, 2014 9:30 am

All the talk of needing extra cash for the NHS and us pulling out of “the stan” and going into training mode over there, at the same time worries me intensely, the “Pollies” are short sighted enough to start wondering how big our army needs to be, they will inevitably look at the german army now down to 65000? They will conclude that there are savings to be made because we don’t need an army as big as the biggest euro economy, forgettting completely that we sometimes actually use ours, I can only see in fighting ahead between the services as to who gets cut the hardest but I hope I am wrong, I hate seeing us fighting amongst ourselves to justify this that or the other at the expense of something else that when the time comes for it to be needed is simply no longer there, costing our Soldiers/Airmen and Seafarers lives needlessly! Starting to sound like GNB but then I am from further north than he is!

Gloomiest…

tweckyspat
October 27, 2014 9:57 am

The trouble is that the biggest asset we are missing is money

B0llox

The biggest asset we are missing is good leadership- political and military. Unaffordable policy is poor policy, end of.

monkey
monkey
October 27, 2014 10:18 am

On Nicks link to the Telegraphs article was this the British Army’s last Hurrah, it amongst all the other detail mentions the withdrawal of the BAOR as a cost saving measure and as that they are located 1000km away from were they are needed on the Eastern Polish border or the in Baltic States or Rumania for that matter (my preferred location sun, sea, skiing etc good for retention and recruitment and all that) they might as well come home.
I believe we have some kind of agreement with the Russians that we wont station troops near where they might be useful or something but that’s politics :-) In October last year there were 15,000 personnel in the BOAR plus their dependants and we were paying for a huge number of local civilian staff in many roles(4k+). The difference in basing in Germany to the same personnel in the UK was estimated at £900m per year.It seems we owe the Germans some money for withdrawing Under the NATO status of Forces Supplementary Agreement but as they supplied us with 13,000 properties and access to many services for free for the last 60 years I guess we can eat that. We plan to reduce numbers to 12,480 by December 2014 and 6,800 by December 2015.With 20 Armoured Brigade withdrawn by 2020 as the last. It will cost £1bn for the move but overall a tidy sum per year saved long term bring that service personnel and civilian support staff spending back to the UK economy, 15,000 personnel spending estimates will benefit the UK economy by £650m alone let alone all the civilian back up for the bases themselves and the increase in the bases surrounding local economies. Allowing for the UK based savings and increased UK tax returns this move looks like a good idea on paper but come a need to move the tanks to NATO’s Eastern European border we have just added 1000km to that. I would be crazy to think that we are not forwarded deploying most the Heavy Armour C2/Warriors and associated vehicles in long term quick/use storage in the East and if not I would say some of the money saved needs to be spent on more tank transporters ,we have virtually none compared to our heavy tracked armour or dedicated rail cars and lots of them.

Rocket Banana
October 27, 2014 10:36 am

tweckyspat,

Okay the second biggest asset we’re missing is money…

So that’s 1) politicians and then 2) bankers that are to blame ;-)

DGOS
DGOS
October 27, 2014 10:42 am

If i remember correctly the answer to ‘when is a politician lying, is ‘when his / her lips are moving’

mickp
mickp
October 27, 2014 11:01 am

@Jules – I share your concerns. We should not be benchmarking ourselves against the German Army but equally it does not mean we should necessarily gear up to any enduring overseas deployment

I think the sizing of the regular army is about right, maybe curtail ambition to have 30k reserves though. I think the adaptable brigade concept need redrafting to put some constraints on how adaptable it should be. Perhaps we should even drop the terminology. I think medium formations should be steered clear of – its just the sort of units that could be eyed up for long term dusty deployments.

Thinking about were we perhaps should be, I may end up with switching a couple of adaptable brigades for an extra heavy armoured brigade (even if part TA) and one truly light mobile brigade to support RM / Para. I’m thinking conventional heavy deterrent force and light force for short, sharp intervention, kick the door in type stuff

Nick
Nick
October 27, 2014 11:04 am

If the commentary that the Army brass wanted into Helmand/Afghanistan to avoid Army Cuts has even a slightest grain of truth to it (the “expecting the best, planning for the best” quote smacks of this attitude) then I’m afraid that the entire leadership of the Army should be indicted.

A different Torygraph article along similar lines:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/11180774/Brave-as-lions-but-poorly-led-the-British-heroes-of-Helmand.html

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
October 27, 2014 11:08 am

@Jules – welcome to Gloomyville – not so much a place, more a state of mind… :-) or is that :-(

GNB

Jules
Jules
October 27, 2014 12:52 pm

It would appear that the Germans are discussing higher defence spending, good…

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
October 27, 2014 9:59 pm

@Monkey (10:18am): Exactly. Carrying out “exercises” in Poland and Latvia is all well and good, but they only last a month. Given that any attack from Russia (as unlikely as it seems), will hit the NATO border at Poland, Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia (sorry Monkey – but Romania, Moldova, Hungary and Slovakia have borders with Ukraine – not exactly the same thing). Then that’s where they need to be, or they’d arrive too late for a “sudden thrust” (and it will be a sudden thrust, why would the Russians spend months sabre rattling and building up forces that we could gradually counter?).

As I’ve said before, we didn’t defend West Germany from our bases in Belgium and The Netherlands, did we?

Oh, and Sopot and Gdynia are very good alternatives to Constanta in Romania for a spot of R&R!

Obsvr
Obsvr
October 28, 2014 9:28 am

I think its worth pointing out that it is most unlikely that anyone posting on this list has the slightest clue about the discussions between politicians, MoD senior officers and swenior civil servants. There does seem to be a lot of conjecture, perhaps based on under-informed journalists.

The first reality is that the UK commitment was a political decision and the need to support the US, not forgetting as one moderately senior US officer once said to me in the privacy of his office “Obsvr, the US treats its allies abysmally”. The second one is that there are practical limits, notably financial, on what UK can be do on an enduring basis, NI was cheap, not much ammo used, simple logistics, Afg was not like that. In this situation the best the senior officers can do is to go with it and do the best to ensure that the forces on the ground can do the best possible job in the situation. And of course since there are a least two parties in any war there is always uncertainty as to how it will pan out.

That said, it’s also fairly clear that UK wanted to go to Kandahar, but when the south was divvied up among nations Canada got Kandahar and UK accepted Helmand, not that there was much choice.

I for one am getting very bored by assorted twats, with clearly limited politico-military understanding and bugger all relevant military experience, on this list blethering on about senior officers getting it wrong, etc, etc.

The reality is they have to play the cards they are dealt, and the way they play them is not solely a military judgement, there are always wider issues. They can talk to politicians but if the latter decide the risks are acceptable then the soldiers salute and carry on. You can always criticise the detail of some operational and tactical decisions. War is a funny old business and no one gets it right 100% of the time.

The other point to remember is that planet UK is a small place, and while the UK contingent was second in size there were many other nations involved and doing much the same.

tweckyspat
October 28, 2014 10:32 am

I for one am getting very bored by assorted twats, with clearly limited politico-military understanding and bugger all relevant military experience, on this list blethering on about senior officers getting it wrong, etc, etc.

By contrast Obsvr I am interested in the range of views as they also reflect the kind of military contaxt in which UK ops in AFG took place. I also think it is more useful than not for a military to be self-critical, or how else does it learn ?

The right approach is not either/or. Sure we don’t know precisely who said what to whom at the time. What we do see bizarrely is several senior officers at that time now happy to come forward and say we got it wrong. it’s a fair question IMO to ask why this happened.

btw completely agree thjat many other countries as well as UK had the same questions. I recommend again the ‘Fighting Together, Fighting Alone’ book on NATO mentioned above for a comparative analysis http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10149.html

John Hartley
John Hartley
October 28, 2014 11:45 am

Well this limited twat, is very worried as to what will happen between now & 2020. Will the UK military/senior civil service be allowed to learn the lessons of Afghanistan, or will that all be swept away by political & financial turmoil? Lets face it, next Mays general election is wide open. Are the two Eds great strategic thinkers? Are we on the verge of another global financial crisis? Will that b*gger up credible equipment/force level plans for the UK and its allies?

Observer
Observer
October 28, 2014 11:47 am

The problem tweaky is sometimes the complaints really don’t have a solution to them. For example, the shortage of men. So what happens if HMG decided “we don’t have enough, we need another 10,000 men!” Where is this extra men going to come from? Cloning? Shanghai someone off the street to Afghanistan? Conscript, arm and toss in with 2 weeks training? The logistics to support them? etc. Sometimes, there are no answers, just playing the hand that was dealt.

The Other Chris
October 28, 2014 11:49 am

twecky was quoting Obsvr in the first paragraph.

Observer
Observer
October 28, 2014 12:01 pm

ToC I know, was just pointing out that some people just love self-flagellation, especially if it is a team sport, so you have to take some comments with a bit of salt.

monkey
monkey
October 28, 2014 12:04 pm


“War is a funny old business and no one gets it right 100% of the time.”
Has anyone ? , Ever ?

Chris
Chris
October 28, 2014 12:21 pm

monkey – oh yes, lots. According to the history books. But that might have something to do with history being written by the winners?

Observer
Observer
October 28, 2014 12:36 pm

Chris, until version 2 which will be written by the people who were not there and working with 20/20 hindsight telling the people who fought that they should have done it better by developing psychic powers and read the minds of their enemies. Hey, with 20/20 hindsight, I can even walk through machine gun fire without being hurt. Just don’t be where the bullets are. :)

Ace Rimmer
October 28, 2014 12:53 pm

Obsvr: re ” There does seem to be a lot of conjecture, perhaps based on under-informed journalists.”

Unfortunately, there will always be conjecture as those in power, namely Mr Blair et al, seem to be very reluctant to come forward to tell their story openly and truthfully. Until then, there can only be conjecture. That said, on this site especially, a lot of the commentators seem to hit the nail right on the head and often!

Nick
Nick
October 28, 2014 1:12 pm

I for one am getting very bored by assorted twats, with clearly limited politico-military understanding and bugger all relevant military experience, on this list blethering on about senior officers getting it wrong, etc, etc.

Yip, that’s me. However, I have not said that senior officers got it wrong (although it seems clear that in GW2 aftermath and Afghanistan something was very wrong). The senior officers themselves, now retired with their generous pensions, are saying they got it wrong and some of the hints and explanations they are dropping regarding what they admit they got wrong suggest that at least part of the underlying reason doesn’t paint them in a creditable light at all. Please remember, the primary politician involved in decision making (Blair) no longer has any reputation to speak off, something which the Chilcot report seems likely to shred further still.

IXION
October 28, 2014 1:52 pm

Obsvr

Assorted twat reporting for duty…

No I wasn’t there
No I do not haver any information about who said what to whom about was was going to do what.

However Totally apart from the point Nick makes, about the fact that in this case ‘Assorted Twats includes the Generals themselves coming forward and saying ‘We not only screwed up- we had a pretty good idea we were going to screw up’: There is the small point that it is patently obvious that we failed on pretty much every point to achieve our stated aims, and that we in effect left the enemy in control of the field of battle. That by the way is an oldy but goody when it comes to deciding who won.

The Army cannot wrap itself in the flag an declare all criticism invalid if it does not come from a 3 star General. if it does it cannot be surprised if it is not lampooned for doing so

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
October 28, 2014 3:30 pm

That piece in the Torygrapgh with the quote “Wars have a nasty habit of choosing us, rather than us choosing them”, I’m sure I’ve seen a line like that somewhere before…

http://defencewithac.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/the-end-of-coin-wars.html (Paragrapgh 6)

;)

El Sid
El Sid
October 28, 2014 4:21 pm
Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 28, 2014 4:26 pm

Post-Afghanistan, how many “live” operations will be going on? Apart from Standing Tasks such as the various maritime commitments, I can’t think of that many.

John Hartley
John Hartley
October 28, 2014 6:34 pm

RT Well those trainers & spotters out with the Kurds.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
October 28, 2014 6:43 pm

@ El Sid,

Hence the smiley face. That whistling noise was the sound of it going over your head.

Dunservin
Dunservin
October 29, 2014 5:36 am

First in. Last out.

Did no one else notice that the senior officer furling the flag at Camp Bastion was a Royal Navy Captain? Fair enough. At least he escaped the usual anti-RN vitriol from TD, RT & DN.

comment image

(Apologies for the originating website.)

Obsvr
Obsvr
October 29, 2014 8:04 am

Which invites the question which generals saying what was wrong and more importantly how much was 20/20 hindsight? And most importantly were they in a position to know (the first question in assessing information in the intelligence cycle) and ‘are they right?’

There’s also a point on numbers. Some seem to think rustling up more boots on the ground is easy because the army has n-thou. However, it’s not so much a matter of boots as units, and here there are two factors, the total number of units of a particular needed type available, not forgetting the need to have extra in some units (eg the arty regt in Helmand didn’t have a full set of guns but had almost 4 regts’ worth of FSTs) and the length of tour. On the latter a bit of history for the under-informed twats.

Up until the end of NS in the very early 60’s emergency tour length doesn’t seem to have been a major issue, however, 12 months seems to have been the norm. This lasted until c.1970 (ie in the mid-60s UK based units on emergency tours east of Suez did 12 months). However, NI changed that and initially tours there were 4 months (don’t know why, I was in another jungle at the time), gradually creeping up to 6 which is where they have been ever since. Note that other countries, eg US and Aust still do 12 months.

The UK problem is that 6 month tours and 24 months between means you need 5 units to maintain a sustained rotation. If you do 12 month tours its only 3 units. Of course 12 month tours where you are taking casualties means you also need a Battle Casualty Replacement system, which is not the easiest thing to arrange in a regular army with the regimental system (shades of the Salerno mutiny).

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
October 29, 2014 8:37 am

I agree listen to these blokes it makes you want cry with the BBC giving air time to these so called experts …………….. uninformed twats!

Going in was a political decision, the force package was a military one. I can just imagine the conversation

“It looks like Helmand is going to be a bit of a slog, can we deploy a few of those units we ear marked for reserve if it went tit’s up?”

” er what earmarked reserve units?”

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
October 29, 2014 8:50 am

Sorry skip forward to 36 min mark, in the above vid.

Nick
Nick
October 29, 2014 9:10 am

Obsvr

The recent documentary has unearthed some revealing quotes and it seems we (the public) are now probably more aware of the internal noise around the 2005/6 decision than we were then. However, its not as though there weren’t doubts expressed publically regarding the policy at the time.

Take these comment pieces by Simon Jenkins (who you may or may not like) made in the Guardian (likewise):

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2006/jan/04/military.afghanistan
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2006/jun/07/comment.usa
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2007/dec/12/comment.military

They are attacks on the stupidity of the political policy as expressed at the time. But, and its a big but, did you believe that any hindsight is needed wrt the military decisions taken to implement the political policy ?

tweckyspat
October 29, 2014 9:22 am

Sorry, I am an out of UK twat so had not seen the docko before being posted here. isn’t the most damning quote the Buff Hoon comments at around 29min talking about the MOD seniors failing to express any concerns to the PM when expressly asked.

IXION
October 29, 2014 10:03 am

Obsvr

The armies difficulties in ‘just finding more men’ are well understood.

They are understood by me a fat Cumbria hedge lawyer. They were understood by me at the time. It appears it was the Snr Army officers it came as a surprise too.

I am sorry, but the Khaki types on this site are going to have to ‘take a big bite of the shit sandwich’ that was the Afghan debacle. Along with many others..

‘A big boy made me do it’ won’t wash.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
October 29, 2014 10:29 am


‘At least he escaped the usual anti-RN vitriol from TD, RT & DN’

Civilian visiting a RN Warship.

Civvie “what’s that mate?”

Matelot “This is a machine that allows us to overcome the physical limitations of manpower. By means of highly complicated modern technology we are able to overcome the forces of gravity and friction by means of mechanical advantage and materials science through the use of complicated gearing and electricity production, are you still following me? we can manipulate large objects of unimaginable mass, sorry it sort of means weight in layman’s terms. It takes two technicians to reliably service and repair this machine, after completing a highly specialised training regime which some say is equal to that of a NASA astronaut”

Civvie “Who’d have thought, it looks just like a winch my granddad had on his Landrover only bigger”

Do the Navy do a good job? Yes.

Are they up their own rectum? Yes.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
October 29, 2014 1:43 pm

Err, hate to burst your bubble Dunservin but the last man out of Helmand was Wing Commander Matt Radnall… of the RAF Regiment. I wonder if Arrse has gone into meltdown yet?

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
October 29, 2014 1:56 pm

Dunservin’

I did notice that the RN officer had another cracking RN beret. After the example set by the Admiral commanding at Northwood a month or so ago, is it compulsory in the Andrew to wear something the size of a large tent on your head? ;)

a
a
October 29, 2014 2:24 pm

Post-Afghanistan, how many “live” operations will be going on? Apart from Standing Tasks such as the various maritime commitments, I can’t think of that many.

Op ELGIN in Bosnia, Op GRITROCK in Sierra Leone, Op TOSCA in Cyprus, the garrisons in Cyprus and the Falklands, the Baltic Air Patrol commitment. And all the maritime stuff too. I am sure there are others.

mike
mike
October 29, 2014 3:13 pm

If anyone thinks after that nice lil show, we dont have any personnel in Helmend, they’re misled – to put it politely.

lol ANTI RN BIAS PLZ NERF

I rather liked the documentary, though a lot of 20/20 hindsight ‘we told you so’ feel though…. I can’t shake the feeling the people they have come on the show had a agenda alla-arse-covering :/ cynical as I am.

But I am looking forward to the next episode. How the US didn’t understand how we couldn’t do both ops was rather interesting, I always felt they knew how ‘one at a time’ kinda deal we do… even back then, and the preaching we did to them and our allies at the start re COIN style ops stuff, makes me ashamed.

monkey
monkey
October 29, 2014 4:30 pm

BBC commentator on our previous campaigns in Afghanistan “it left a legacy of hatred” No! Wrong! They hate everyone who is not from their village and they still would shoot their neighbours given half a chance if they look at their goat funny. That was the mistake we made, thinking we could get them to cooperate with each other. The problem is they never have had the chance to watch Sesame Street :-)

Obsvr
Obsvr
October 30, 2014 9:22 am

COIN is simple but there is no one size fits all and the political circumstances are in many ways more important than the military ones. Of course UK’s undoubted COIN expertise has be been in circumstances where they had good control of the politics. Tactically, the COIN problem in Afg (and Iraq) has been the inability to have adequate control of the interface (using that term very broadly) between the local population and the insurgents. Once you get that sorted you can apply various proven tactics and techniques and it comes down to skilled lowish (ie coy down) level infantry soldiering, at which the Brit army is far better that most including the US (Aust is also pretty competent). There isn’t a lot of generalship needed in COIN.

Of course there isn’t a lot of generalship needed in most wars apart from leadership to inspire and motivate.