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Alleged SAS War Crimes Report

QRK2

LE
What was it? c 200 British and Imperial General Officers (including Brigadier-Generals) killed on operations in World War I...and that's before we look at field rank and junior officers.

Worth a watch:

 
Photo reveals Australian soldier drinking beer out of dead Taliban fighter's prosthetic leg

Commanders who ignored Australian soldiers drinking from Taliban fighter's prosthetic leg must be held accountable

I don't think SASR will have a leg to stand on, as far as these latest allegations are concerned. At least they didn't get legless during their sessions in the Fat Ladies Arms.
That's it. I'm sending my medals back. Shooting prisoners I can accept* but this? This is a step too far.

* actually I can't.
 

nice guy

Old-Salt
It seems our own MOD is being silent about this considering our boys have been mention in passing by the Aussies, do we know if this was just an aussie thing or could 22 be in the same shit?
 

Nige

LE
It seems our own MOD is being silent about this considering our boys have been mention in passing by the Aussies, do we know if this was just an aussie thing or could 22 be in the same shit?
I have not found mention of British Forces involved in the alleged incidents covered in the report - "British" appears 66 times - all in relation to historical war crimes, not the SASR ones.
Happy to be shown otherwise.
 
An interesting analysis of today's SASR by a former Australian Army Intelligence type. He describes it as a one battalion army, which may be the cause of its problems.

 
An interesting analysis of today's SASR by a former Australian Army Intelligence type. He describes it as a one battalion army, which may be the cause of its problems.

Sounds a very biased one sided story with the intent on shifting the blame from officers.
It doesn't say when he served or how much experience he has of the SAS.

Edit reading his bio he left the Aussie army sometime between 1993 and 1996 and that he was a cold War operative (also says he served in Northern Ireland).
 
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An interesting analysis of today's SASR by a former Australian Army Intelligence type. He describes it as a one battalion army, which may be the cause of its problems.

He was briefly my boss in 1993 at a time when my unit was without a boss. He did it as a 'second hat' and after a few days was good enough to pretty much leave me to it as the WO2 and come in once a week from his other job to sign stuff. A pleasure to work for.

FWIW I agree with what he says about what has become of SASR.
 

nice guy

Old-Salt
An interesting analysis of today's SASR by a former Australian Army Intelligence type. He describes it as a one battalion army, which may be the cause of its problems.



That was a fundemental part of the British SAS in that it was run in all but name by NCO's, the Brit SAS officers do three years and then go back to their unit of origin, they was/is no certainty they'd be back. It was an issue of trust and it was hard won one.

The SASR behaved like kids in sweet shop and the senior officers clearly allowed it, without proper command and control an army is just a mercenary rabble or a mickey mouse outfit. This is why what has happen with the SASR is a kind of insult to the ethos of the SAS.

Also the real exercise of power is the restraint in its use and the SASR actions must have got allied soldiers killed by vendetta. What a f.ucking national embarrasment.
 
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Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
An interesting analysis of today's SASR by a former Australian Army Intelligence type. He describes it as a one battalion army, which may be the cause of its problems.

That includes an interesting observation about using the SASR because of a perception at the political level that only its personnel had/have the ability to carry out any number of tasks with any competency - that is, without inordinate (or any) casualties.

At first sight, that calls into question the rest of the army. If it's not fit for purpose, then what is it there for?

It's a ridiculous premise, of course, but it was allowed to gain a hold.

For contrast, Andy McNab observed of the British Army guys in Iraq that they were doing method of entry stuff that would have been the exclusive preserve of SF a decade or two back. Small-unit tactics, arguably, were refined to a peak during the period extending into operations in Afghanistan.

Perhaps another question to ask is who promulgated that perception within/about the ADF?
 

nice guy

Old-Salt
That includes an interesting observation about using the SASR because of a perception at the political level that only its personnel had/have the ability to carry out any number of tasks with any competency - that is, without inordinate (or any) casualties.

At first sight, that calls into question the rest of the army. If it's not fit for purpose, then what is it there for?

It's a ridiculous premise, of course, but it was allowed to gain a hold.

For contrast, Andy McNab observed of the British Army guys in Iraq that they were doing method of entry stuff that would have been the exclusive preserve of SF a decade or two back. Small-unit tactics, arguably, were refined to a peak during the period extending into operations in Afghanistan.

Perhaps another question to ask is who promulgated that perception within/about the ADF?


The Tail wagged the dog. Tony Geraghty said in his book 40 years ago that the SASR was essentially used like the British Parachute Regiment, seems not much has changed.

on another point i thought that SASR TV show was a bad idea.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
The Tail wagged the dog. Tony Geraghty said in his book 40 years ago that the SASR was essentially used like the British Parachute Regiment, seems not much has changed.

on another point i thought that SASR TV show was a bad idea.
The ‘Recondo’ thing, no?

Any such TV show is a bad idea. Cultism, and all that.
 
That includes an interesting observation about using the SASR because of a perception at the political level that only its personnel had/have the ability to carry out any number of tasks with any competency - that is, without inordinate (or any) casualties.

At first sight, that calls into question the rest of the army. If it's not fit for purpose, then what is it there for?

It's a ridiculous premise, of course, but it was allowed to gain a hold.

For contrast, Andy McNab observed of the British Army guys in Iraq that they were doing method of entry stuff that would have been the exclusive preserve of SF a decade or two back. Small-unit tactics, arguably, were refined to a peak during the period extending into operations in Afghanistan.

Perhaps another question to ask is who promulgated that perception within/about the ADF?
Re what I have bolded in your post: I've been on the verge of a post on this aspect so I'll throw a few words down now and maybe add to them later. In summary I think it comes down to Corps/Regiment lobbying in Canberra in order to raise certain units' involvement and benefit mid-ranking officers' careers on the way to getting 'their men' into the top jobs. First some background to explain, hopefully, my perspective.

I left the British Army in 1983 as a SSgt and joined the Australian Army as a Cpl in 1983. I won't crap on about reasons, but when the CSM of the first unit I joined (RIP Acko) took one look at my (small) accumulation of medals and declared "you're going nowhere, get to the back of the queue" I was not unhappy. And going nowhere outside Australia was easy because no one in the '80s was going anywhere bar the odd captain to UNTSO/UNDOF.

The Australian Army was (and still is) very small. Officers at least mostly know each other. WOs and SNCOs know many of their peers in other Corps and Regiments. As I got posted around in the '80s I became aware of corps rivalries in the corridors of power. Also discussed, even amongst NCOs, was VSO careers, who got promoted and why. It was generally agreed that this was due to contenders' Corps of origin, Vietnam service, whether decorated in Vietnam, whether SASR in Vietnam and so on.

Then in 1989 we did start deploying. We had for years been on the proposed ORBAT for UNTAG, the UN force tasked to oversee the transition in SWA/Namibia. Our contribution was to be an RAE construction squadron. I went with the second contingent as the CE's Int analyst. It was probably at that time that I started to learn about how the contingents for deployments are created, specifically how cap-badge rivalry is involved. As I said, in Namibia we were a construction squadron which comprised two construction troops and a field engineer troop (also a workshops and national HQ well to the rear). Such was the lobbying by RAInf back in Australia that if there had been another rotation the FE troop would have been replaced by an infantry assault pioneer platoon. Such was the bitter determination of RAInf to get even the smallest element deployed no matter the loss to capability of the deployed force.

As we moved further into the 90s deployments increased: Cambodia (large RASigs force with no attached Int/CI), Somalia (Inf bn with every individual Int attachment scrutinised to see if it couldn't be replaced by a 'bayonet') and finally East Timor which saw everybody and their dog get a guernsey. And that's when things started to change again.

Pardon the chronology above, but anyone still with me will have noticed someone missing; it wasn't until East Timor that SASR got a gig. They made sure that they kept their foot in the door and then got a serious part in Iraq 2003 including, IIRC, successfully seizing al-Assad airbase, which sounds like a commando or air-lifted infantry task to me, but as I said, the foot was in the door and then just as Iraq calmed down (lull before the storm obvs) Afghanistan took off. It appears that SASR pressed the right buttons to get the gig when a large part of what they ended up doing could/should have been done by Cdo or 'ordinary' infantry. But by jealously guarding the deployment, SASR dominated the honours and awards lists and cemented their position as 'blue eyed boys'. There was grumbling 'around the traps' as we say about this from a very early stage, perhaps 2004 or '05.

In the new century the SO world expanded with the unlinking of 2 and 4 RAR and 4 RAR being designated 'Cdo'. IIRC 4 RAR Cdo then became 2 Cdo Regt with 1 Cdo Regt being the Army Reserve unit. More SO units meant more positions, not just for officers but that's what I'm concentrating on here, and greater prospects of promotion for those officers. This is what perhaps (perhaps) saw the beginning of what we have seen in recent years of ex-SO officers working their way up and filling the very top positions.

Our initial involvement in Iraq was very limited and we were kept away (as far as was possible) from any dangerous places/activities. It was after my time in the ARA, but the eventual deployment of a Battle Group (with, I believe, restrictions on what they could and could not do) was due to RAInf lobbying as was the eventual deployment of a Bn to Afghanistan to conduct ANA mentoring.

I understand limitations being placed on forces for political reasons, but I could never be comfortable with force composition being arrived at by Corps/regiment lobbying.

All of the above is intended to shed some light on how I saw things in the Australian Army. I have tried to exclude bollocks as far as possible, but I might be guilty of rambling.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Re what I have bolded in your post: I've been on the verge of a post on this aspect so I'll throw a few words down now and maybe add to them later. In summary I think it comes down to Corps/Regiment lobbying in Canberra in order to raise certain units' involvement and benefit mid-ranking officers' careers on the way to getting 'their men' into the top jobs. First some background to explain, hopefully, my perspective.

I left the British Army in 1983 as a SSgt and joined the Australian Army as a Cpl in 1983. I won't crap on about reasons, but when the CSM of the first unit I joined (RIP Acko) took one look at my (small) accumulation of medals and declared "you're going nowhere, get to the back of the queue" I was not unhappy. And going nowhere outside Australia was easy because no one in the '80s was going anywhere bar the odd captain to UNTSO/UNDOF.

The Australian Army was (and still is) very small. Officers at least mostly know each other. WOs and SNCOs know many of their peers in other Corps and Regiments. As I got posted around in the '80s I became aware of corps rivalries in the corridors of power. Also discussed, even amongst NCOs, was VSO careers, who got promoted and why. It was generally agreed that this was due to contenders' Corps of origin, Vietnam service, whether decorated in Vietnam, whether SASR in Vietnam and so on.

Then in 1989 we did start deploying. We had for years been on the proposed ORBAT for UNTAG, the UN force tasked to oversee the transition in SWA/Namibia. Our contribution was to be an RAE construction squadron. I went with the second contingent as the CE's Int analyst. It was probably at that time that I started to learn about how the contingents for deployments are created, specifically how cap-badge rivalry is involved. As I said, in Namibia we were a construction squadron which comprised two construction troops and a field engineer troop (also a workshops and national HQ well to the rear). Such was the lobbying by RAInf back in Australia that if there had been another rotation the FE troop would have been replaced by an infantry assault pioneer platoon. Such was the bitter determination of RAInf to get even the smallest element deployed no matter the loss to capability of the deployed force.

As we moved further into the 90s deployments increased: Cambodia (large RASigs force with no attached Int/CI), Somalia (Inf bn with every individual Int attachment scrutinised to see if it couldn't be replaced by a 'bayonet') and finally East Timor which saw everybody and their dog get a guernsey. And that's when things started to change again.

Pardon the chronology above, but anyone still with me will have noticed someone missing; it wasn't until East Timor that SASR got a gig. They made sure that they kept their foot in the door and then got a serious part in Iraq 2003 including, IIRC, successfully seizing al-Assad airbase, which sounds like a commando or air-lifted infantry task to me, but as I said, the foot was in the door and then just as Iraq calmed down (lull before the storm obvs) Afghanistan took off. It appears that SASR pressed the right buttons to get the gig when a large part of what they ended up doing could/should have been done by Cdo or 'ordinary' infantry. But by jealously guarding the deployment, SASR dominated the honours and awards lists and cemented their position as 'blue eyed boys'. There was grumbling 'around the traps' as we say about this from a very early stage, perhaps 2004 or '05.

In the new century the SO world expanded with the unlinking of 2 and 4 RAR and 4 RAR being designated 'Cdo'. IIRC 4 RAR Cdo then became 2 Cdo Regt with 1 Cdo Regt being the Army Reserve unit. More SO units meant more positions, not just for officers but that's what I'm concentrating on here, and greater prospects of promotion for those officers. This is what perhaps (perhaps) saw the beginning of what we have seen in recent years of ex-SO officers working their way up and filling the very top positions.

Our initial involvement in Iraq was very limited and we were kept away (as far as was possible) from any dangerous places/activities. It was after my time in the ARA, but the eventual deployment of a Battle Group (with, I believe, restrictions on what they could and could not do) was due to RAInf lobbying as was the eventual deployment of a Bn to Afghanistan to conduct ANA mentoring.

I understand limitations being placed on forces for political reasons, but I could never be comfortable with force composition being arrived at by Corps/regiment lobbying.

All of the above is intended to shed some light on how I saw things in the Australian Army. I have tried to exclude bollocks as far as possible, but I might be guilty of rambling.
Thanks for that. The Geraghty book was mentioned above and I pulled out the Recondo bit. That was because when the book was written the ADF didn’t have designated commando units. The SASR back then was dual-role, effectively, by comparison with Hereford. You’ve added the chronology for me, and a lot besides.

C_C
 
Today's The Weekend Australian (paywalled) has an article quoting the retired Maj Gen Jeff Sengelman. It is drawn from a podcast on the Bleinheim Partners website but is not linked up on that site yet.


Pending it being linked, I'll copy some of the key paras:

The former commander who became the driving force behind the establishment of the Brereton war crimes inquiry says leadership accountability is an “unwritten contract” in which senior officers are responsible “for all that their command does or fails to do”.

As Defence grapples with fallout from the four-year probe that found 25 Australian soldiers committed up to 39 murders in Afghanistan, retired Major General Jeff Sengelman has revealed he feels “like a parent who’s had to take their loved son or daughter down to the police station”.

But, in his first public comments on the inquiry, the former special operations commander said the nation should not forget that special forces soldiers “called themselves out”, and understanding what went wrong is the first step towards redemption for the elite fighting unit.

“When we found out about it, it was people from within special operations who told the stories, not outsiders,” he told the No Limitations podcast.

“People inside, our own people came forward and shared those stories, the details of who shared what with who, at what time, will come out later.”

In 2015, General Sengelman alerted Defence to “serious endemic problems” in special operations command, setting in train a series of investigations that led to the Brereton inquiry for the Inspector General of the Australian Defence Force.

In the podcast by Blenheim Partners, an executive search and recruitment firm, General Sengelman said alcohol abuse, misdemeanours and administrative problems were the first signs that something was wrong in the elite Special Air Service Regiment.

General Sengelman set off the process by asking SASR soldiers to tell him, confidentiality, about their own failures and those of the unit. He received 209 responses.
 
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The use of special forces by Australia in Afghanistan came about because of the increasing death and injury toll by regular soldiers so the politicians decided the active stuff should be done by special forces. This was to the disgust of many within the regular forces. The following was carried on the ABC web site but was a reprint of an article in the Australian Army Journal.

"We Were Soldiers Once..."

This is nothing new. Special forces around the world have been getting their nuts in a knot due to their perceived super trooper status. I have long held the opinion that the worst thing to happen for the SAS was Princess Gate; for the SASR it was Tampa. The publicity goes to their head and suddenly they are kings of the dung heap. Maggie T fell in love with the SAS after Princess Gate and gave them straight comms that bypassed normal channels. That worked really well in South Georgia and cost the fleet two extremely valuable assets due to an insane decision to show how tough the SAS was. The head sheds of the SASR should now pay the price for riding on the coat tails of glory without taking the responsibility for what was happening.
 
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Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Notwithstanding the fact that keeping the line infantry out of the line denudes them - Them - of experienced feedstock.

You end up with burn-out/cultism at one end of the scale and under-employment/disillusionment at the other.

Brillant.
 

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