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para01
12-13-2014, 01:23 AM
In America most people believe in a strong defence, and we believe that the bigger the better, when it comes to military. Just wondering that if people in the UK believe the same, are you disappointed with the size of your military, and the cuts that are happening?

leccy
12-13-2014, 06:40 AM
Should probably be in a different section, post war than in the British WW2 section but ---

The British public until really recently have not been particularly bothered about the military - we were the underdogs to do the various governments wishes with inadequate and very often obsolete equipment.

Most wars since WW2 Britain has fought in are little heard of and were done with minimum of manpower and equipment, often winning against the odds using hearts and minds campaigns.

Cuts are nothing recent - in the late 1970's to reduce costs the Government slashed the size of the army and equipment (same having been done in the 1940's, 50's and 60's to greater or lesser extents with cancellations of huge numbers of projects).

During gulf War 1 50,000 soldiers (Naval and Airforce personnel were separate from this) received redundancy notices - giving them 1 year left (many were on operations). this reduced the Army to 120,000.

Since then their has been a steady decline with all governments decreasing military strength and relying on the British Forces attitude - we have a job to do so lets do it - beg borrow or steal to improvise has been the British Army way for time immemorial to make up for deficiencies.

The last Labour Government promised to cut Civil Servants by half in the MoD (80,000 strong) but they have a good union so they stayed and the army is now being cut by the coalition (to help pay for the huge debt the UK is in) to just over 80,000.

This about sums up the British relationship with its military

TOMMY by Rudyard Kipling in 1892


I WENT into a public 'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, " We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' " Tommy, go away " ;
But it's " Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's " Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' " Tommy, wait outside ";
But it's " Special train for Atkins " when the trooper's on the tide
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's " Special train for Atkins " when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap.
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, 'ow's yer soul? "
But it's " Thin red line of 'eroes " when the drums begin to roll
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's " Thin red line of 'eroes, " when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, fall be'ind,"
But it's " Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's " Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Chuck him out, the brute! "
But it's " Saviour of 'is country " when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An 'Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!

tankgeezer
12-13-2014, 09:38 AM
Thread moved to Off topic military.

JR*
12-16-2014, 09:07 AM
leccy - does the MoD really have 80,000 civil servants ? This is more than the War Office had at the height of WW1. I am sure they are all very busy - but what do they all find to do ? Military pensions, perhaps ? Terribly complex procurement procedures ? Trips to Saudi Arabia and Qatar ? I think that you Brits should be told ... Yours from the Cannonballs for the Navy Unit, JR.

leccy
12-16-2014, 11:39 AM
leccy - does the MoD really have 80,000 civil servants ? This is more than the War Office had at the height of WW1. I am sure they are all very busy - but what do they all find to do ? Military pensions, perhaps ? Terribly complex procurement procedures ? Trips to Saudi Arabia and Qatar ? I think that you Brits should be told ... Yours from the Cannonballs for the Navy Unit, JR.

Page 2 of this report by the MoD

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/341413/20140807-MOD-quarterly-civilian-personnel-July-2014.pdf

At its height in 1990's it was 88,000, in 2010 (10 years after their promise to cut the MoD civil service numbers by half) it was 85,850 (was scaled for 83,000 so over manned by 2,850) in that time the Army alone had lost 50,000 troops.

Most cuts in the MoD Civil Service were to LEC (locally employed civilians) who ran the canteens, gardening, property maintenance (directly employed or by the various departments) which have been outsourced so the actual numbers of traditionally thought of Civil Servants are still there.

It was interesting to note that this particular government doubled the numbers of the civil service in total to around a million employed to fiddle the unemployment figures (one of my friends was employed as a part time IT teacher under it for adults - received a full Civil service pension after three years working).

Frankly Dude Really
03-09-2015, 10:04 AM
It was interesting to note that this particular government doubled the numbers of the civil service in total to around a million employed to fiddle the unemployment figures (one of my friends was employed as a part time IT teacher under it for adults - received a full Civil service pension after three years working).

Ooooh MyyyGoddd!
I believe the same thing happens here in Holland, and probably in France too. Countries where a labour party has such awful big influence and where the cost of Civil Service in all its forms rises each year, and yet cival servants are (supposed to get) reduced here and there (and external "specialists" are rented in for increased rates..), and yet taxes go up year after year.

JR*
03-11-2015, 09:49 AM
The idea of laying off "peripheral" staff is familiar. I recall the outcome of a long-standing Civil Service embargo here in Ireland. The idea was that "one in every three" Civil Servants would be shed as retirements occurred. It was subsequently shown that the pattern of retirements was manipulated to secure the result that the vast majority of shed "posts" were at the lowest level, while recruitment and promotion to higher level posts went on. It was, perhaps, fortunate that the shedding of posts such as Clerk/Typist and Messenger was, coincidentally, facilitated to some extent by the advance of technology. Nonetheless, the instinct involved, common to bureaucracies in general, is evident ... JR.

JR*
03-20-2015, 11:04 AM
In recent days, there have been rumors (strenuously denied by the British Ministry of Defence) that the latest round of defence cuts will involve the dissolution of what remains of the Gurkha complement in the British Army - a bit surprising in a way, since the fact that it has survived so long is often put down to the fact that employment of these soldiers is relatively inexpensive. The way things are going, the MoD itself will soon have more civil servants than the Army has soldiers. If, indeed, the intention is to eliminate the Gurkha complement, it would appear sad, stupid and ... ungrateful. While they can reasonably be described as mercenaries, the Gurkhas have provided Britain with exceptional service over the last century and a half. They have more than their share of Victoria Crosses (often posthumous), and their veterans have been treated disgracefully by successive British governments, having to fight hard for very basic entitlements. Plaudits to actress Johanna Lumley for promoting their cause - her father was an officer in the Gurkha Rifles. Maybe they were mercenaries. However, mercenaries often have their honor - and the little men from Nepal surely had. Best of fortune to all of them.

I know that some In Here will disagree with me - but it does appear that Britain has effectively abandoned any idea of "strong defence", at least as delivered by its own forces. Much easier to pare away at the Forces than to cut other areas of expenditure. And yet - Britain still masquerades as a "great power". Don't mind, really; but it would be nice if they were honest ... Yours from MoD, Decommissioning Division (not understaffed), JR.

32Bravo
03-30-2015, 05:14 PM
Britain is a small nation and has traditionally paired down its land forces after a conflict. The RN was always Britain's strongest defence resource as it had the communications of an empire to protect. To some extent the global role of the navy remains as Britain remains the largest trading nation per capita. With the withdrawal from empire and the recent withdrawal from Europe, it is difficult to define, and plan for, the future role of ground forces: how many regular armoured divisions are required; where will they be based; how will they be manned with falling recruiting numbers? The RN are to have two large carrier task forces which are somewhat costly, not to mention the cost of the aircraft which will eventually be allocated to them. Of course it would be easier to maintain a larger conventional force if the nuclear deterrent was abandoned. I believe the cost of renewal of the Trident submarine deterrent is somewhere in the region 100,000 million pounds stirling. It's a big ask on the tax payer to maintain large forces for unpopular small wars. However, Mr Putin's recent behaviour may have gone some way to make the public a little more sympathetic to the needs of the armed forces.

JR*
04-13-2015, 09:13 AM
Hello, 32Bravo. I am sure you are following the emerging debate in Britain's debate (in connection with the imminent General Election) on the subject of defence. One wholly unsurprising element of the behind-the-scenes debate is the division between land forces and Navy commanders as to the proper emphasis for allocation of resources. The land forces people advance an understandable argument that the future of the British Armed Forces is in a small, professional army, well-equipped, capable of intervening in "hot spots" the world over. The counter-argument of the admirals is that continued British capability depends on an integrated force capable of executing and supporting tactical intervention (destroyers, aircraft carriers), and that Britain's "independent" strategic deterrent (Trident and/or post-Trident) needs to be maintained. It is somewhat amusing that, while the Conservative Party advocates the maintenance of three "strategic" nuclear submarines (capable of nuking a large part of "enemy" population) while the Labour Party now advocates a fleet of four super-nuke submarines, to ensure that the RN has the capacity to operate continuous patrols on a three-submarine basis. Actually, they are probably right - but it is a somewhat odd situation.

Boiling all this down - given that Britain cannot hope to keep up in a race of strategic resources with the real powers of the world - the US, China and (arguably) Russia, it needs to make choices. The most likely choice on the table at the moment seems to be to continue to plough huge sums of money into strategic nuclear submarines, while continuing to "slim down" its conventional capability. Is this a good idea ? How would I know - only an ignorant Paddy, me. To be fair, there is the matter of the fragile "special relationship" between the USA and the UK; from a US point of view, this seems connected with the willingness and ability of the UK to maintain its position in the Western defensive structure, including its long-debated nuclear capacity. We only have to give them a bowl of shamrock on St Patrick's Day. Sometimes, pretending to be "strong" has its disadvantages ... Yours from the bridge of Red October, JR.

32Bravo
04-19-2015, 08:50 AM
Not sure why you would describe yourself as an ignorant Paddy. I've never met such a creature. A bit of an oxymoron, methinks.

It appears to me that the problems are strategic in that future requirements cannot be reliably predicted as future threats become more and more unpredictable. Who would have predicted the rise of ISIS a year or so ago?

Naturally, each of the armed services will fight its corner. However, the planners have to consider the demands of higher strategy.

That being the integrated functions of diplomacy (foreign policy) and the three branches of the armed forces.

Higher strategy having a relationship with, say, army strategy, as army strategy as with tactics. Army strategy is, arguably, concerned with the area of the campaign (this is minor strategy), while tactics are concerned with the area of battle.

Higher strategy is concerned with the whole arena of the international struggle. What will that be in the future?

Difficult to plan for given a limited budget.

No, I'm not following the debate regarding defence in the election campaign. Simply because I haven't come across any defence debate or any other election debate for that matter, worth following. If I were Scottish I'd go SNP.

32Bravo
04-20-2015, 12:27 PM
This I find interesting.

82nd Airborne and 3 PARA Lead the Way for Interoperability

By Staff Sgt. Jason Hull - August 14, 2014

Falcon FTX
Paratroopers from the British Army’s B Company, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, 16th Air Assault Brigade and the 2nd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, prepare to engage opposing forces during an air assault mission on Freedom Village on Fort Bragg, N.C., Aug. 11. Both 2-501 PIR and 3 PARA were attached as maneuver elements of Task Force Falcon for the duration of 2BCT’s weeklong field training exercise. 82nd Airborne Division photo by Sgt. Eliverto V. Larios





Sections: Military & Security News

Topics: Land Forces

Labels: International Militaries, Training and Education, U.S. Army




Capitalizing on more than a decade of combined-U.S. and U.K. operations experience gained throughout the War on Terror, the 82nd Airborne Division is now taking the next step to achieve interoperability with coalition partners in the future.
Interoperability is the division’s multinational partnership program intended to foster trust and build closer relationships with key international crisis response force partners, an effort expected to ultimately pay off with an increased military capability to meet myriad complex threats around the world.
The 82nd Abn. Div., the Joint Forcible Entry component of the Global Response Force, is seeking to integrate the British quick response unit, the 16th Air Assault Brigade, into combined training in preparation for a multinational crisis response force.


“I’ve been in the army for 14 years and never been on an independent operation at all; they’ve all been … coalition in some sort of way. Unilateral action is not really the way of the future and it certainly hasn’t been the way of the immediate past either.”

“It’s absolutely critical,” said Maj. Haydn Gaukroger, the commander of B Company, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, 16th Air Asslt. Bde. “I’ve been in the army for 14 years and never been on an independent operation at all; they’ve all been … coalition in some sort of way. Unilateral action is not really the way of the future and it certainly hasn’t been the way of the immediate past either.”
For both nations, years of counterinsurgency-focused operations have caused some capabilities to atrophy. Limited resources and tightened budgets loom. An ever-changing geopolitical environment means the challenges to America’s Guard of Honor and its allies are becoming more complex every day. The Interoperability Program seeks to counter those challenges by strengthening the readiness of U.S. and coalition partners
through side-by-side training to meld tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) and provide opportunities to employ the best of both military’s assets.

Falcon FTX comms
Paratroopers from the British Army’s B Company, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, 16th Air Assault Brigade and the 2nd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division communicate during an air assault mission on Freedom Village on Fort Bragg, N.C., Aug. 11 during 2BCT’s weeklong field training exercise. 82nd Airborne Division photo by Sgt. Eliverto V. Larios

For the last month, the division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team has integrated a company from the British army’s 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, into their day-to-day operations. The brigade’s field training exercise from August 5-12 served as the culminating event for the combined team of 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment plus the 3 PARA’s B Coy., setting the stage for interoperable company teams ready to respond to global contingencies as part of a combined battalion task force. The FTX was one of the first milestones in the effort to make the 82nd Abn. Div. and the 16th Air Asslt. Bde. the national response forces of choice.
“The GRF is sort of one level up, one size bigger, than what we provide with our own version of the GRF (the U.K.’s Air Assault Task Force),” said Gaukroger. “If we could nest the two within each other, our capabilities would be far more than they are individually. We’ve got lots of complimenting sort of activity and the Soldiers could work together really well.”


“Training exercises like this and that are going to happen next year are exactly the kind of things we need to do in order to be prepared completely as a GRF, or quick reaction force, to an increasingly dynamic world.”

At this time, a combined 82nd and 16th planning effort is underway to include an entire battalion from the British Air Assault Brigade in the spring of 2015 Joint Operational Access Exercise. The JOAX is the joint training exercise held regularly on Fort Bragg that validates the crisis response and forcible entry capabilities of the U.S. Army and Air Force. That combined, joint training exercise will help set the conditions to integrate a 16th Air Asslt. Bde. task force into the GRF.
“The relationships that are built on operational tours take some time and what we’re trying to do is speed up the rate in which we learn to work together to maximum effect,” said Lt. Tom Whittle, the executive officer of B Coy., 3 PARA. “Training exercises like this and that are going to happen next year are exactly the kind of things we need to do in order to be prepared completely as a GRF, or quick reaction force, to an increasingly dynamic world.”

http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/82nd-airborne-and-3-para-lead-the-way-for-interoperability/

leccy
04-21-2015, 04:28 AM
Always amazed at this when it gets in the press seemingly as a new thing -

I did interoperability exchanges with US and Italian Engineers in the early to mid 1980's even though their roles were quite different to ours (we were combat engineers and covered every aspect of military and civilian engineering - while both units I did exchanges with were solely bridging units in their respective armies).

We did attachments to Infantry and Tank units to show our capabilities and what we lacked the ability to do (do not use us as an infantry platoon as we were poor in support weapons - 1 x Charlie G 84mm MAW, 4 x LMG, 3 x GPMG), not just our own nation - I was attached to Danish, Dutch and German units (much later to Malaysian, Czech, Russian, Norwegian, Spanish, Pakistani, French on operations) - to provide capabilities they lacked.

Individual attachments were and still are common to US, Australian and Canadian units with post swapping.

The British Forces have regularly exercised as part of another nations forces (quite common for TA and Regular units from section/platoon strength to go to the US and be part of a larger US unit).

All this is without the regular NATO, Euro Corp or Coalition/allied/friendly nation joint force exercises with each unit operating as a larger self contained national unit in a mix of nations.

It has been going on for such a long time it seems to be forgotten about then dragged back into the news - although I suppose that is a good thing to show nations are working closely together and forging close ties and trust.

32Bravo
04-21-2015, 05:52 AM
Well, it's getting a lot of publicity on Forces TV. It seems that this most recent collaboration between 3 Para and 82nd Airborne has been ongoing over the past year.

It will be wound up on the 22nd April with a boxing tournament.

http://supportourparas.org/3-para-vs-82nd-airborne-boxing-night-2/

JR*
04-21-2015, 05:56 AM
Kipling was, arguably, a bit off the mark in referring to "Brown Bess" at Blenheim and Ramillies. Designed around 1714 in an attempt (initially frustrated) to standardize British military muskets, the first were only assembled and issued in 1739/'40 (as the Long Land Pattern musket) - a bit late for those battles, at any rate. On the other hand, in truth, military flintlocks (albeit not standardized) had been the dominant battlefield firearm from about 1670, and a soldier of the Napoleonic Wars would have had little difficulty in getting to grips with the flintlocks used by his ancestors of the late-17th century. A case of being right in spirit, perhaps ? Best regards, JR.

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leccy
04-21-2015, 07:04 AM
The poem is worded quite well for me - some liberty with the occasions

IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise –
An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes –
At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

Though her sight was not long and her weight was not small,
Yet her actions were winning, her language was clear;
And everyone bowed as she opened the ball
On the arm of some high-gaitered, grim grenadier.
Half Europe admitted the striking success
Of the dances and routs that were given by Brown Bess.

When ruffles were turned into stiff leather stocks,
And people wore pigtails instead of perukes,
Brown Bess never altered her iron-grey locks.
She knew she was valued for more than her looks.
"Oh, powder and patches was always my dress,
And I think am killing enough," said Brown Bess.

So she followed her red-coats, whatever they did,
From the heights of Quebec to the plains of Assaye,
From Gibraltar to Acre, Cape Town and Madrid,
And nothing about her was changed on the way;
(But most of the Empire which now we possess
Was won through those years by old-fashioned Brown Bess.)

In stubborn retreat or in stately advance,
From the Portugal coast to the cork-woods of Spain,
She had puzzled some excellent Marshals of France
Till none of them wanted to meet her again:
But later, near Brussels, Napoleon - no less –
Arranged for a Waterloo ball with Brown Bess.

She had danced till the dawn of that terrible day –
She danced till the dusk of more terrible night,
And before her linked squares his battalions gave way,
And her long fierce quadrilles put his lancers to flight:
And when his gilt carriage drove off in the press,
"I have danced my last dance for the world!" said Brown Bess.

If you go to Museums – there's one in Whitehall –
Where old weapons are shown with their names writ beneath,
You will find her, upstanding, her back to the wall,
As stiff as a ramrod, the flint in her teeth.
And if ever we English had reason to bless
Any arm save our mothers', that arm is Brown Bess!

JR*
04-21-2015, 08:34 AM
Don't disagree, leccy - Kipling was no Spenser, but he did have a great way with words and, as here, hit a nail on the head. The final verse, regarding museums, is interesting. I have not managed to visit the French Museum of the Army for a long time (HERSELF tends to object to spending the day in the company of Napoleon's horse, or mangled, blood-spattered uniforms of French generals killed in WW1), and the museum was undergoing major "upgrading" when last I saw it. I hope that this "upgrading" has not affected my favourite room, at the entrance to the "Napoleonic" wing. This contained a series of glass cases containing a sequence of French musketry from about 1660 up to near-present day. A very striking feature is the lack of any substantial change or innovation (as distinct from minor upgrading and standardization) from the beginning of the series up to about 1840, at which point percussion lock muskets were adopted. It really is true that one of Napoleon's Grenadiers would have had had little difficulty in mastering a late-17th century musket, and vice versa for the musketeer of Louis XIV. It is equally striking that, following 1840, technological advance in musketry advanced (at least relatively speaking) at breakneck pace, a fact with which the generals of the period were seldom fully up to speed.

To be fair, this is partly from the absence, not of course of wars, but of "suitable" wars to demonstrate the point. For example, the emergence of practical muzzle-loading military rifles was, indeed, very influential in the conduct of the Crimea War; but muzzle-loading rifles, in that war, were present only on the British/French side. Only one great war in which muzzle-loading rifles dominated on both sides was the American Civil War and, for European generals, that was a little war far away. To be fair, it is not clear that even American commanders entirely appreciated the effects of the muzzle-loading rifle on combat, although their troops usually did, for obvious reasons. Likewise, the move through the early single-shot breechloaders, through the tube magazine single shot rifle, to the single-shot magazine-fed rifle, took place in a relatively short period in which "major" wars were relatively thin on the ground, at least in Europe. There was one sharp warning - in the early phase of the Second Anglo-Boer War, in which early Lee-Enfields faced Gewehr 88 Mausers - indicated the effects on the conduct of battlefield operations of rapid-fire modern rifles. This was taken on board to some extent by the British (who adopted heavy training in rapid fire in their small professional army) but other initiatives (such as the run-dive-run tactics developed by the British towards the end of the "conventional" stage of the Boer War) seem to have passed over the heads of most European generals - even British generals. Only the butchery of the early actions on the WW1 Western Front - when the modern magazine-loading rifle, along with its "ally", the Maxim gun - inflicted slaughter all round - seems finally to have convinced the military establishment of how completely the battlefield world had changed. Not that they had any immediate answer to this huge shift of advantage to the defence - hence the following four-odd years of mud and blood. Best regards, JR.

French "Charleville" musket, about 1760 - the French "Brown Bess", first standardized about 1720.

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