11 Signal Bde - pass the crack pipe

Discussion in 'Royal Signals' started by so5jiffjobs, May 7, 2004.

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  1. Seems like 11 Sig Bde are trying their damnest to shelve the one army concept with their plans to seperate the STAB elements of the Bde into 12 Signal Gp, with different SOPS to the rest iof us. Gonna be fun when the STABs try and join us on ex/ops.

  2. Soz some of us STABS have seen this coming. 11 Bde lost comms with the rest of the corps several years ago (inc both TA and regs)
  3. DangerMouse

    DangerMouse Old-Salt Moderator

    Since when has the 'One Army' concept been anything other than a soundbite to boost the TA's recruitment? We'll be one Army when the TA has the same recruitment, selection, training, weeding-out, employment, on-the-job-training, and continuing professional development.

    When have the TA ever deployed as formed units? (other than AMS - which if anything is over-used, and overly relied upon). I am only aware of TA inf sub-units used as Force Protection on later TELIC, and of the composite TA Sig Sqns used in Banja Luka (97 and 98 Sig Sqn (V)). The TA's main utility so far has been in the provision of individual reinforcements, supplementing regular Army units. This is a valuable role, but not one that requires the same training as Regular Army units.

    My experience of the TA before doing regular RMAS included the TA commissioning course and a mobilised tour as a Tp Comd on Op PALATINE. I was very fortunate to be in a benign environment, with an excellent Sqn Comd, Sqn 2IC, SSM and Tp SSgt (all regular Army). The conclusion that I drew from that was that the use of TA formed units in a High Intensity conflict would be a decision taken hugely 'at risk', as the level of selection, training, experience and thus competence is incomparably lower in the TA.

    On a specifically R SIGNALS note, I had the interesting experience of participating in the same 'integrated' TA/Regular Army exercises, once as a TA officer in 1998, and again as a regular officer in 2002 (Ex ARRCADE FALCON in 1998, previously named FLYING FALCON, as I recall). My overwhelming impression from the later exercise was the immense lack of self awareness within the TA. People who I had known as a junior TA officer were joking about 'ARABs' (Arrogant Regular Army Ba$tards) and how the Regular Army thought itself so much better than the TA, and yet visiting a number of different TA comms sites I needed to almost physically restraint myself from gripping people for slack drills, unsafe practices, lack of awareness, inability to perform key tasks, and many basic skills. When we had the misfortune to have a TA Tp move to our Sqn location to conduct a relief-in place the lack of competence was frightening. Expecting TA soldiers, many of whom I knew from my time in the TA at university, to be anywhere near the standard of those in my Regular Army Sqn, would be unrealistic; What was of more concern was that the TA had no perception just how lacking in competence they were. It wasn't that they []i"didn't know stuff",[/i] they "didn't know that they didn't know stuff".

    Having done in-barracks work, exercises and operations as both a TA officer and a Regular officer I can categorically say that I would be extremely reluctant to ever serve under, or with, TA officers on operations, and would vet any TA SNCOs extremely carefully before taking their rank at face value.

    If 11 Sig Bde intend to train their TA units differently that probably reflects the fact that the personnel in the respective units will, in all likelihood, have vastly different tasks on operations. I seem to recall reading somewhere - it may have been literature for the new Junior Officers' Tactical Awareness Course - that TA officers and soldiers will increasingly be trained to be watchkeepers on mobilisation, and that the emphasis for individual reinforcements will rest at the Pte soldier/LCpl level. This, I submit, would make considerable sense, and reflects the roles that these individuals are called upon to undertake in reality.

    In summary therefore, I suspect that the 11 Sig Bde is probably based upon the wildly different desired End States for the Regular and the TA elements of the Bde, and that there are compelling reasons for training between the two elements to differ.



    5 DECEMBER 2002


    Time allowed: 3 hours (Nearly ½ day’s pay earned!) (If you want to turn up at all, that’s if you haven’t got anything else better to do; We understand.)

    Candidates are required to spell their names correctly and that’s about it. But please feel free to attempt some questions.



    Answer Question 1 (all of it) and any others you can be bothered to. Crayon and felt-tips are allowed. Candidates are entitled to play one ‘joker’ which will entitle them to double points for that question.

    Question 1: COMPULSORY (80 marks)

    a. What does the acronym STAB mean? (40 marks)

    b. Did you know that you may have to fight in a war at some point? (10 marks)

    c. Do you expect to be taken seriously? (10 marks)

    d. Can you pass a BFT / APWT? (10 marks)

    e. Which of the following is incorrect: (10 marks)
    (a) A Bounty is a chocolate confection made by Mars.
    (b) A Bounty is a gross waste of tax-payers’ money.
    (c) Bounty, the name of a ship on which there was a mutiny.
    (d) Bounty. Hard earned, an indication of diligence, devotion and of a desire to achieve military excellence.


    A minimum STANDARD is required.

    Question 2

    Justify your being paid at the rate you are. Using the principles of war explain the general utility of the TA officer in the Field Army. (70 marks)

    Question 3

    Outline the chances of you turning up if there was a general mobilisation. You should consider whether this would involve volunteering or arrest by civilian / Royal Military Police in order to get you to the mobilisation centre when outlining your answer. (70 marks)

    Question 4

    Recognising the true worth of the TA, the present government has slashed manning levels. Was this fair or what?



    Answer Question 5 and anything else that takes your fancy.

    Question 5

    ‘Keenness, the killer instinct and tactical proficiency of a Boots sales manager’, a winning combination and substitute for years of training everyday with soldiers? Discuss in relation to making up some better components of fighting power. (70 marks)

    Question 6

    Resigning from the Regular Army because you are incapable of passing regular JCSC, joining the TA, doing TA JCSC, getting promoted to major, then re-enlisting. Justify your audacity. In particular you should consider why any Regular Officer (or soldier for that matter) should ever listen to a word you say ever again. (70 marks)

    Question 7

    “You must respect my authority, I’m a major and have passed TA JCSC”. Analyse how realistic a viewpoint this is. (70 marks)

    Question 8

    “Yes, but we got no days off on our course whilst you got three weeks and a shed-load of long weekends”. Discuss the inherent benefits of ten intensive days on TA JCSC as opposed to five months monging at RMCS and RMAS. (70 marks)
  4. msr

    msr LE

    Presumably you are including the TA SNCO reponsible for managing Central coverage during TELIC 2 in this assessment?

  5. dm,

    Very good critic of the TA with which I agree applies to the TA element of 11 Sig Bde, but would it not be more useful to look at solutions/causes rather going on (yet another) STAB bashing thread.

    Obviously working part time is the main cause of problems with the TA, but I also believe their are core flaws with the structure and training TA 11 Sig Bde. These being:

    1. Maintenance - The TA soldiers spend between 20-40% of their time doing maintenance. I'm sure every TA's Sqn FoS/Tech PSI will say it needs done to meet the inspections and keep the kit serviceable. Ok the kits clean but the soldiers can't use it cause they are spending their time cleaning it. All the maintenance does is ensure the batterys are topped up and its clean, its a very poor way of finding faults which will only surface when the equipment goes on exercise.

    2. Mil Skills - We all enjoy these but we concentrate our precious time to much on the fun stuff. FIBUA(/OBUA?), Northern Ireland, Section Attacks but what is their relevance to our role. Surely patrol harbours, routine in the field, defence of a comms site and patrolling are more valid.

    3. PSI's - I think the relationship between the TA and regulars is not as effective as the one the Infantry uses. The infantry PSI concentrates far more time into developing the TA SNCO's abilities, the TA SNCO would then pass this onto the OR's.

    4. Trade skills - TA tend to view Radio Relay as gods trade, hence it gets the better ops, most officers also come thro this trade. The end result is exercises focusing on this trade and other trades suffering. Not having a YoS of any type didn't help at all.
  6. msr

    msr LE


    Rather than beefing about it, what are you proposing as a solution?

  7. Solution?

    RSigs should have done the same as the Medics and sent a TA Signal Regiment out on Telic 1. Then all the problems with the TA would come out into the open so they could be fixed.

    The biggest difference between 1, 2 and 11 Sig Bdes, is the TA part of 11 Bde never fully exercises its mobilised role - It needs to exercise with proper ARRC staff users or find a viable alternative (Regional Bde HQ's on CCRF Exercises).
  8. DangerMouse

    DangerMouse Old-Salt Moderator

    Apologies - you're right: I was generalising inappropriately. All I meant was that I know how clueless I was when I went to Bosnia as a TA 2Lt, and I was fortunate enough to be in an environment which was benign, with an extremely supportive OC, 2IC, SSM and Tp SSgt, so I did reasonably well. That can't be guaranteed though, and TA officers and SNCOs in 'mainstream' jobs, commanding soldiers is fraught with problems. My understanding is that plans are afoot to train TA officers with more 'generalist' skills, such as watchkeeping, as they are more likely to be employed as such on operations.

    The above notwithstanding, I agree that there are some excellent individuals in the TA, some better than their regular counterparts.
  9. msr

    msr LE

  10. DangerMouse

    DangerMouse Old-Salt Moderator

    Msr, further to your personal message, I want to elaborate on the remarks I have made:

    I agree that the TA are essential. Furthermore, it doesn't seem to be appreciated by many in the regular Army that if the TA didn't exist then a considerably larger number of regulars would have extended tours and shorter gaps between tours. For example, had 97 and 98 BRITFOR Sig Sqn (V) not been formed, two composite regular Sqns would have had to have been deployed, imposing yet another Balkans tour on regular soldiers who have, in many cases, done multiple tours there already, at the expense of the personal and family life.

    Apart from the most arrogant and out-of-touch, I would hope that the value of the TA, and the fact that they are volunteers, most of whom hold down permanent jobs too, is not missed by the regulars. A debt of gratitude, and degree of recognition is entirely deserved.

    My quibbles though, remain with those who genuinely believe the Cold War 'One Army' myth. The comments about the 11 Sig Bde change of emphasis for TA training implicitly refused to countenance the chasm that exists between the TA and the Regular Army in terms of selection, promotion, experience, training, exercises and operations. The Corps dinner night remarks also failed to identify the fundamental fact that people want to see their mates, and that most of them are in the same organisation - either the regular Corps or the TA. Knee jerk 'we're all the same' reactions are unhelpful, and invite unfair criticism of the TA which ignores their real strengths (value for money, and specialist civilian skills being the two key ones, I suggest). I intended to post constructively critical remarks. Were the balance of postings the other way - equally mindless anti-TA remarks, then I would have posted in the TA's favour. As I say, I hope though that the benefits of the TA are obvious for all to see. Nonetheless, apologies for any offence that I may have caused.
  11. Might not have to worry anymore :twisted:

    The TA Signals commitment to ARRC has been greatly reduced (look on ArmyNet) - once the the new systems in ........ MAG to GRID - RID ???
  12. Please give a link
  13. Sorry, its in the Army briefing notes (no url).

    I get the impression that TA are eventually just going to be used as Home Defence units or IR's (Individual Reinforcements).
  14. Having read Dangermouses remarks, I have to say being a regular who has served in the Benign environment of Bosnia with a mostly TA Sqn that the capability of the TA soldier is based on 3 things

    1. The experience of the soldier (same for reg and TA).
    2. The soldiers willingness to get the job done (same for reg and TA).
    3. The envirionment in which they are serving (same for reg and TA).

    However I do concede that the reg soldier does have more experience (point 1) than most of their TA counterparts, therefore they tend to be more aware of the environment around them. Although everyone adapts in their own way.

    The TA soldier is in most cases is a very willing volunteer, the environment does change that initially as they may take longer to adjust to new role, job, demands placed on them.

    All three points are wrapped together. I do agree however that the TA soldier is better placed as an augmentee as they can adapt and learn from those around them, as well as bring their own skills to the job (as most do).

    I agree that to deploy a whole Sqn/Coy into a hot op theatre could be depremental to the mission and the Commander in the intitial stages. The only way to test any theory is to try it. Nobody likes bodybags (Reg or TA) especially Mr Blair.
  15. Can't really argue with most of what you say. It just amazes me how many TA Sigs don't understand their part in the big picture (or even the corps role), but thats down to them never working within a HQ or supporting a HQ (on Ex).

    The TA Infantry are deploying formed Coys for Telic and I haven't heard of any problems with them doing it. If TA Sigs can't do that - is something wrong with the way we are trained.