Discussion in 'RLC' started by pombsen-armchair-warrior, Mar 9, 2007.

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  1. Whilst sitting here, in the depths of the infrastructure swamp, and pondering yet another failed plan, I harked back to those happy days I spent both in DLO and at E1. This set me thinking.

    The RLC forms a significant slice of the E2E logistics piece. It is starting to punch a little harder, and currently fills two quality 2* posts in DLO and ACDS, and until recently another slot commanding 4xx. It also has quality 1* officers commanding operational manouevre formations, albeit Log Bdes.

    The top logistic job is, arguably, CDM, a 4* appointment. My question is this: "Is it a realistic aspiration that a professional RLC logistician heads up this organisation in the future, and in order to get there how is the gap between 2* and 4* to be bridged?

  2. I think it will require a long term plan and a collection of exceptional individuals, from whom one can be selected for this job. However, I suspect that the 4* CDL post is not viewed as being a job for a logistician. It is a job for a 4*, if you see what I mean. This is why people like a rotary wing mate can fill it (Pledger), in the judgement of the other 4* officers and ministers who select to that level. The stepping stone to 4* is surely to have a track record of having 3* officers selected from the Corps.

    The short answer is to do what the Prussians did after being defeated by Napolean. They instituted a General Staff Corps which eventually institutionalised excellence. If the RLC were to achieve a cutting edge level of excellence then eventually a 4* would be selected. This would probably take a generation and assumes a level(ish) playing field, which may be an assumption too far.

    By the way, in your listing of recent starred posts you didn't mention Comds of 143 and 160 Bdes. Having two regional Bde Comds so close together (chronologically) is a pretty good sign for the Corps.
  3. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    Mr Logic,

    The Prooshians did set the scene for staff work - however which wars did they win?

    I realise this comment is a bit shallow; I shall make it nonetheless:

    The Prussian staff work was excellent WW1, WW2 and probably still is effective in the HEER. However, to generalise in WW1 all the staff work did was to put troops in the front line. OK, broke though ours in 1918, but they did not have the resources to follow all the way through.

    WWII - again excellent staff work, but who won?

    My point is while the staff work may be spot on, if the resources are not there then no amount of staff work will bring supplies to where they are needed.

    On a 1-2-1 situation (e.g. equal-ish)staff work may, and I do mean may, decide the outcome. In a 1-2-1 similar situation without staff work ------ you are fecked.
  4. Sixty

    Sixty LE Moderator Book Reviewer
    1. ARRSE Cyclists and Triathletes

    [pedantry] Franco-Prussian War, Austro-Prussian War [/pedantry]
  5. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    Battles really - you pedant you! What was won by the Prooshians, a bit of Saarland, hardly a war winning scenario. Just a slow down of the move towards the world wors of the 20th Century. IMHO.

    Also, it only succeeded 'cos of the introduction of rail travel - war crime IMHO but used by both sides and only in one direction (each). (Why do gubments try to get soldiers into combat at the fastest possible rate?)
  6. Sixty

    Sixty LE Moderator Book Reviewer
    1. ARRSE Cyclists and Triathletes

    Well, given Liepzig and Waterloo one could argue they won (eventually) the Napoleonic Wars ;)
  7. Auld Yin

    I had no intention of taking this thread down a rabbit hole away from the original question of how the RLC could bridge the gap between 2* and 4*.

    The key phrase for me was that of institutionalising excellence. My thrust was that the intellectual leadership and command of the Prussian/German General Staff had a positive impact on all levels from Field Marshal through to the initiative allowed and required of junior officers and NCOs. While they were beating the Austrians, Danish and French in 1864/66/70, the Haldane Reforms of 1870 finally stopped the British practice of purchasing commissions. Their demanding and meritocratic selection processes led to high achievers rising to the top. The rigour and honesty of their analysis led to greater efficiency on the battlefield. I know that they did not win either world war but that does not mean that their generals were worse than ours. It is rather a comment on their political leaders having misplaced confidence and poor analysis.

    So back to the question. The RLC would probably need to generate some brilliant leaders to bridge the gap. This would probably require the right processes and mindset. Hence the reference to the Prussian/German General Staff, who are considered by historians to have done exactly that.

    Mr Logic
  8. Sixty

    Sixty LE Moderator Book Reviewer
    1. ARRSE Cyclists and Triathletes

    Mr L, probably my fault. I apologise. AY (a friend of mine) went off at a slight tangent and I encouraged him.

    I am however RLC (V) and interested in how the thread will pan out.
  9. Bridge too far, one step beyond, call it what you will but don’t you need to be a 3* before you fill a 4* appointment? Now I don’t know what rank the head of the DLO is or indeed if there are other 3* appointment that a prospective candidate would fill; but trust me its not going to be Comd Land. I completely agree with Mr Logic in that at those dizzying heights cap badge is irrelevant save for excluding people.

    You are quite right in saying that any prospective 4* appointment should serve as an aspiration, but there is no way it would ever be cap badge tied (isn’t Comd 102 Bde REME?) Best thing from a Corps perspective would be to bring back the QMG at a 2* level so that HQ DRLC could have some real weight.

    P.S lets not forget that the 1864 Schleswig-Holstein War of Succession demonstrated the effects of the modernisation of the Prussian Army, if memory serves from school the effective use of railways and modern repeating rifles were a large deciding factor. Rabbit hole over, I’ll take the red pill from now on.
  10. FP,

    As stated previously 1* late-RLC officers are currently commanding RF Bdes, and until recently the 2* 4xx RF slot; we get a slice of the op action through command of the Log Bdes; and are getting decent exposure in DLO and ACDS (Log).

    This gives us a broad spread of experience across the piece. What we really need is for somebody to progress through at least 3 of these appts, thereby setting the conditions for a shot at 3*. I assess CRF as one such opportunity but stand ready to be corrected.

    Quite understand that 3/4* appts can never be cap-badge tied. What I am trying to elicit is perhaps opinion and consensus on whether or not professional late RLC officers have the stretch to go beyond 2*.