American tours longer than British tours?

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by duckiciao, Jun 20, 2007.

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  1. Does anyone know the reason behind the Americans having tours of duty in Iraq/Afghan that are at least twice as long as ours? Surely, with a bigger army, they would be having shorter tours as the troops can be rotated faster? Or is there some glaringly obvious reason that I am missing?
  2. No, it's just the way it has always been, dating back to Post-WWII reconstruction in Germany, Japan, Korea, etc.
  3. Actually it's quite different to the way things were done in Korea, Vietnam etc, as the the US Army now has a unit rotation policy rather than individual tours. Some units have ended up doing 15-month tours in Iraq. US Marine Corps units do 7-month tours.
  4. I would be very fooked off if we did 15 month tours in the sandpit or elsewhere to be honest. 6 months is bad enough.
  5. That's true, but it was still generally "I did my year over there". When my Grandpa was sent to Korea in 1945 (yes, 1945, this is not a typo, he was there with Allied troops overseeing the withdrawal of IJA forces), I'm pretty sure it was for a year.

    It is certainly different now, and has become even longer now of course
  6. The tours are longer because the ops tempo demands so many troops at one time, esp with the surge. Not to mention look at the number of British troops in Iraq and the Stan vs the number of American troops in both places. We may have a bigger military but our troop levels in both countries are a wee bit higher.
  7. Also consider the fact that the USA is a considerable distance from, er, everywhere really. To rotate everyone in and out of theatre every 6 months would add considerable strain to the already immense logistic costs.
  8. LJONESY, fair point, but at the same time, I would look at the percentage of total troop numbers the US have in the sandy places, compared with the percentage of total troop numbers the UK have commited.

    You'll notcie the US has a rather larger amount of troops that it is able to put in theatre compared to the UK (Currently, US levels in Iraq are higher than the total size of the UK Army (Including Chefs, Medics, Lawyers, etc.))
  9. 15 Mth tour is now becoming a bit of a norm, USMC still look at 7mths. I am currently working with a unit that will deploy fm home base for training four months before they actually go to theatre. They know they are doing 15mth tour, so will actually deploy fm families etc for 19mths.

    In my time with the US Army so far, I have noticed the tours get longer, but they are no different to Squaddies the world over - after an initial FFS and a few teddies they just crack on. As I suspect we would if it were to happen to the British Army.

    Worth questioning though that when your are fighting a war in which the enemy is playing the long game, is 6mths really the optimum time to have an effect?

  10. Indeed however I think I can say that the sand box is becoming a huge drain on both armies. Although I do admire how you Brits cope with all of this. You guys get the shaft from your government. The other prob is that most people have no idea how long it takes to defeat an insurgency, Joe public expects results now, and it just doesn't work like that.
  11. "The it has been" has nothing to do with Army tours in Iraq/Afghanistan. Units versus individuals as another poster chimed, plus the USMC units do only 7 month vs 15 month tours for Army.

    The Army 15 month tours are a result of manpower/logistical issues coupled with a sense by many commanders that long-term postings make units familiar with the AO.

    Early--Army--tours in theater didn't usually last as long.
  12. It is unrealistic to make a comparison between the British and US tour lengths.

    The British have found that 6 months is the optimum and this probably dates back to the Northern Ireland troubles. Due to the intensity in the 70s 80s and 90s 6 months was the optimum a unit could be considered to function effectively for. Beyond this fatigue sets in and complacency becomes commonplace which provides the terrorist greater opportunities to identify weaknesses and patterns in drills.

    This 6 month rotation is now set in a British Soldiers psyche, to change it to a longer period would be be more trouble than its worth.

    The current rotation for the average British Infantry Soldier is 21 months between Op tours.

    What is the current rotation for US units?
  13. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    Didn't units also pull 6 month tours in Borneo and Aden back in the 1960's? I think in the case of Borneo, they were deployed from and back to the 'Malay Peninsular' rather than jetting back to UK after tour.
  14. In Aden at least it was normally at least a year-long tour for units coming from the UK or BAOR. Some units and sub-units already in the Middle East (Trucial States or Bahrain) did shorter tours in Aden proper or the Radfan.
  15. One point has already been made: Rotating 150,000 people every tour is a hell of a logistical strain. Longer tours also allows for a longer reset period in between tours.

    Another point is that every time you rotate, you have to 'learn' your local area. The two-week hand-off just doesn't compensate for the knowledge you get from living in your AO for six months, knowing people's faces, local terrain quirks, and so on.