All 19 Single names to merge...

Discussion in 'Infantry' started by dogmonkey, Jul 16, 2004.

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  1. See Telegraph today (can someone put the link on, mine refers back to my account and discloses name etc).

    What does everyone think? (If it is true, but with the most recent articles hitting the spot everytime, I suspect that someone is not being quite as tight OPSEC wise as they ought).
  2. Lifted from other thread...

    The Army is to undergo its most radical reform since the 1870s with all 19 famous-name infantry units amalgamated into multi-battalion regional regiments, it was disclosed yesterday.

    The move is likely to cause outrage among supporters of the single-battalion regiments, in particular those such as the Green Howards, the Highlanders and the Black Watch, which face the axe.

    Many believe that the generals have caved in to Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, who has advocated similar plans since shortly after his appointment.

    But Gen Sir Mike Jackson, the Chief of the General Staff, is championing the reforms and is determined to get rid of the historical single-battalion regiments with the Scots first in line.

    There are eight multi-battalion regiments, the results of previous widespread amalgamations. Only 19 famous names, most of them also heavily merged, survive.

    They claim that their names and traditions inspire more espirit de corps than in the big multi-battalion regiments and assist in recruitment.

    But Gen Jackson, who is from the Parachute Regiment, one of the multi-battalion regiments, regards such suggestions as nonsense and points to the recruitment difficulties of the famous Scottish names.

    The general will outline his plans next Wednesday with the six Scottish line infantry regiments expected to amalgamate into two regiments, a Lowland and a Highland, each with two battalions.

    That means the almost certain loss of two of the four highland regiments, with the Highlanders and the Black Watch regarded as the most likely victims.

    Four of the so-called famous names are likely to disappear altogether but the remaining regiments will keep their names while becoming subordinate battalions of a larger regiment.

    Some Army commanders have expressed confidence that they have kept any losses in the forthcoming defence cuts, the first of which will be announced next week, to one or two battalions at most.

    Senior officers realise that the plans will provoke widespread hostility. But they say that multi-battalion regiments are the only way forward. "We have been revisiting what have previously been regarded as sacred cows," said one. "It will make a massive row but the present system is hugely wasteful."

    Gen Jackson sees the reforms as the climax of his Army career and wants them replicated across the country with the 19 single-battalion regiments merged into seven regiments of two or three-battalions.

    That would give the Army a total of 15 multi-battalion regiments, a move that senior commanders believe will make it far more efficient and improve recruitment.

    There is also another article on p4 of the Telegraph which outlines how the new 7 regional regiments could work. Anybody out there who comes from the north-east recognise a gap (and by north-east, I mean the real north-east).

    Speaking as a member of a large regiment, as long as the new larger regiments do maintain their cap-badges (albeit in a subordinate role) then this could be the way ahead. Arms plotting is for the chop, it is too expensive. My reasons for saying this? Both battalions in my regminent have their distinct identities, especially within the messes. Maintaining subordinate cap-badges may not therefore be as cataclysmic as it may apear. Further, in the long run, it is likely that the new strucutre will be more robust, and potentialy harder for subsequent generations of bean counters to tinker with. We are possibly looking at a short sharp pain, for some stability in the longer-term.

    On the other hand, this could just be a slide towards the Royal Corps, on which hand it's time to go.
  3. X-Inf

    X-Inf War Hero Book Reviewer

    How many battalions did your big Regiment start with - only 2? If not where are the others and their traditions, which the 2 remaining Bns seem to have disposed of - if I have read your post correctly.
  4. AFAIK, which is very little, only the R ANGLIAN kept some tribal items, dog collars, lanyards etc, to distinguish between Bns. QUEENS (dates me), RRF and LI in my experience did not. There seems(ed) to be more of a push within the TA elements of large regiments to link to previous regs/areas in, for example, PWRR and LI.

    I would guess the reality is that the *corporate* management would want to have as few differences betwwen Bns as possible.

    Watch this space.

    It's all so bluddy sad.
  5. Hence the necessity to maintain the subordinate capbadge. We went from 3 to 2 a while back. We had lost our county / regional affiliations a while back, in name only, we still remember them with pride, and each is represented in our present guise. Personally, I joined my county regiment, although it no longer bears the name thereof. I am fairly sure that most soldiers who belong to my gang identify to some extent with the old areas.
  6. X-Inf

    X-Inf War Hero Book Reviewer

    Thanks for that DM. Sorry if it sounded like I was criticising you - I wasn't. There is obviously little that can be done by serving bods when the master calls. It is very difficult to maintain links, even if that is where the heart is, it is not where the job takes you.

    My fervent hope is that this is all just a flash in the pan and the cuts will not be as bad as is being made out.

    I live in hope.
  7. I can’t see what all the fuss is about, worries about our career advancement should not fudge the issue – young men simply no longer want to serve in the Army and this is simply recognizing the effect that this has on the Regimental system. It has to change.

    For instance, if you total the personnel in the Scottish Division (ignoring rank) are still not have enough to fill FIVE Battalions….so why do we need more ? The Battalions who cannot achieve full manning, not only by recruitment but also by retention often have only themselves to blame. Many of the most undermanned Battalions are not renowned for the motivation/development of their soldiers ? They are always fully manned from CO to WO2…it’s the Pl Comd to Toms who are doing the tours/attachments to other units to make up their numbers to disguise the situation.

    But are our potential recruits right to not want a career in the Infantry ? We need the throughput of fit, aggressive, young men lots of adventure, travel, lager, mates but after that …25, married living in a crappy quarter, 2 kids who rarely see you because you are in Iraq/Afgh/NI/Balkans at Xmas, birthdays, school hols etc, LCpl trying hard to get to Brecon, not enough money to buy a house, hopefully make it to the 12 year point & get the lump sum, now a Sgt, try to hang on to be discharged at 40 with no transferable skills to speak of…..let's be honest, try & sell that to a lad or parent.

    Time for fresh thinking at all levels, anyway all these different Mess Kits only keep Gieves & Thieves rich !
  8. Good post mate.
  9. The idea of a two-battalion regiment with regional ties definitely has merit. Now, if only it could be implemented without back-door cutbacks or trashing long-held regimental traditions. That is the challenge!

    I've seen this work in the TA with different companies drawing on different regiments within the same battalion. Whether it works in the wider world is another matter!
  10. The problem with "regional ties" is that there are 3 regions (using the 12 defined by the government) that would have no regiment. The North East of England, East Midlands and London.

    There are 3 existing large regiments that have no natural single regional home. The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers are the successors to regiments from Northumberland, London, Warwickshire and Lancashire. The Light Infantry are sucessors to regiments from Somerset, Cornwall, Yorkshire, Shropshire and Durham. The RGJ have Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Greater London.

    Other large regiments also overlap more than one region, and the likely new ones such as "Mercian" would also not be exact fits.

    So unless the shake up is even bigger than expected it won't provide a one line regiment per region solution. The present "regional brigades" don't match the geographic regions either, they tend to follow one of the 14 RFCA (ex TAVRA) areas or one of the old 10 military districts that existed before 1992.

    I suspect one reason for this change is to draw attention away from the cuts. Everyone will be arguing over lost cap badges and not the smaller/leaner/meaner/weaker army that will emerge.
  11. Even though they've bastardised us , into a multicapbadge thingy , certain of us still remember where our origins are, and we do make sure, each recruit knows too.

    Surprisingly enough , locals in certain towns also recognise our capbadge as "Their" Regiment.

    It also helps to have a vocal and well-connected Regimental Association

    Can we have our 2nd Coy now please :D
  12. A little bird tells me that to allow for the 5 guards Reg/Bns to continue unamalgamated a Public Duties Bn is on the cards, covering London and Windsor, 3 Bands, 2 Corps of Drums.....