• ARRSE have partnered with Armadillo Merino to bring you an ARRSE exclusive, generous discount offer on their full price range.
    To keep you warm with the best of Merino gear, visit www.armadillomerino.co.uk and use the code: NEWARRSE40 at the checkout to get 40% off!
    This superb deal has been generously offered to us by Armadillo Merino and is valid until midnight on the the 28th of February.

Ammo Tech duty rumours

The thread about 8 Regt and Geordie Gardner outrageous claims made me think of some of the rumours concerning Ammo Techs over the years.

Some of my favourites:

Years ago, before payslash 2000, ATs were better paid than Pioneers and Storemen, to wind up them up ATs took to burning money in the NAAFI.

One summer BBQs were built outside the respective blocks, the storemen produced the old half oil drum mounted on crossed angle iron, the pioneers did a little brick built affair, the ATs pooled together and paid a builder to come in and produce a very grand structure.

I've plenty more but will add them later.
Neggers Cheggers! That's the Def EOD Op Course not AT sgts! Which will be the death of the AT trade as we know it. There are a few rumours flying round at the moment that next Friday will be an interesting day for the trade.

AT 2020? Might not need to worry that far ahead.
I'd say an EOD course is certainly not one where you want to be dropping standards. We have a similar thing with our RESA/REST courses, the instructors will not pass people if they won't cut it on ops because if they **** up there is a good chance somebody will die or become a casualty.


Any death of the AT trade is not because of the Def EOD Course, but rather because of the inability of the trade to state what it does anymore. If AT = EOD then you will go out of business. Lots of other people can do EOD and as a unified approach to training develops (and more non ATs come through) the unique selling point of the AT IEDD guru will be lost.

If we are moving to a model where contractors can do storage on operations, where all of our ammo is held in DSDA/ JCS/ whatever it called next week and where lots of different people can do EOD where is the operational NEED for ATs?

I know all the arguments, but it does not appear that the AT trade is pushing it's wide skill base very hard at present, preffering to fight a battle that is already lost over EOD. The world has changed, any capbadge can now 'give it a whirl' - I suspect selling ATs as the ammunition experts who happen to be good at EOD (therefore two for one) is a better argument than 'the wedge can't do high threat, that's our game' which is where many of the arguments seem to be based.

The Army (and defence) has no particular interest in capbadges or trades, but wants the job done. Because the AT trade said it would take eight years to produce any extra high threat operators defence had to cast it's net more widely. It looks like the rest of defence has some high quality people with good soldiering experience who can 'get' EOD and will produce HT operators faster than the nay sayers in the AT ivory tower expected - the 'only we can do high threat' line has proven to be a significant own goal.

Don't reinforce failure, find a 21st century proposal - or watch the trade wither and die.
And there was me thinking that we did the damage to the trade by allowing some fuckwits to argue that EOD wasn't an important part of the trade. For half a decade, all our masters kept saying was that individuals failing to do a significant PART of the business - EOD shouldn't be seen as some sort of failure. Consequently we kept rewarding and encouraging people who couldn't or wouldn't do EOD. Failing to qualify in EOD never affected promotion, limited eligibility for attractive posts or resulted in adverse comment. What other trade would allow officers and soldiers to effectively opt out - "I'm sorry I'm a first class leader of men but I don't want to do that staff officer stuff , it's just not my bag!".

I don't remember any AT/ATOs wanting to only do EOD - it is difficult, stressfull and needs you to have a break occassionally. The problem is that too many were allowed to duck EOD and those that could/would do it ended up doing all their time at the sharp end.

The AT/ATO trade could easily meet the operational requirement if there was a determination to train, prepare and get people through the training. The will has just not been there; too many commanders have accepted failure at the apppropriate courses thereby encouraging failure. The result has been too great a burden on those that make the effort (by those- I mean not just the individuals but also the units and leaders who train, encourage and prepare their people properly).

High threat EOD is a skillset which AT/ATOs need, it is not an optional extra; indeed, without it our skills base does become narrower and we would be more vulnerable to civilianisation/contractorisation. As an ATO I do not believe that "only we can do high threat", I do however believe we are the best qualified, as a rule, to do it - there is a subtle difference, one I think our chain of command have missed.


Herumph, I agree absolutely - there are enough ATOs/ ATs (if we take drastic measures) to meet the need but the issue is the willingness of the AT trade to acknowledge that that particular battle is lost. The RE, RAF, RN and all other capbadges are provding people to do EOD - the AT trade created the conditions where IN SPITE of there being 'enough', a historical low pass rate was seen as a badge of honour and there was a blind refusal to accept that other people WOULD get involved if the AT trade COULD NOT meet the defence imperative. That has come to pass - the trade now needs to see what role it should have in the future.

I accept EOD is important, but it's pre eminence is harming the trade. Does a bloke working in Def Int REALLY have to be a high threat operator? Really? I think that person being an ATO is vital and an EOD operator desirable. But what is the need ATO or HT? Because in the future they are not axiomatic. I say this as an ATO who was a first time pass at all three levels of EOD operator. I am not sure that only picking gurus serves the trade as well as picking someone who is not an EOD God but who may be a very bright, capable technician or a very good staff officer. Do we REALLY need HT experienced Captains to lead our WIS sections? The role is to lead the troops, get them up to speed technically and look after them when deployed. As a result of not contemplating anything other than a 100% HT solution we end up with massive numbers of gaps. And the owner of the establishment will, at some point, post non ATOs into posts so the soldiers get looked after. WIS and Def Int are not EOD - they contribue, but there is merit in seeing if a non Guru could do a job!

The binary aproach the trade has taken has caused massive harm. HT qualed WOII = good, JS WOII = bad is not a credible position when you have more jobs then candidates. The approach leads to thrashing of the 'good' on ops and in the school while the 'bad' go off and do unglamorous AT jobs without much recognition. This wrecks morale in both halves, leads to mutual resentment and creates a two tier trade. Given that the former 'top tier' is open to all, it is probably time to think what you want from the trade. Because if you cannot tell them, defence will knock the trade on the head.

Look at the sums - if takes eight years to turn AT recruit into HT ops, or it takes two years to turn all arms SNCO into HT op, where does the money go? If you cannot explain WHY defence NEEDS ATs for the eight years prior to HT qual, they will go. We need to accept the world has changed and what worked before is no longer relevant.
As far as I am concerned, I am all up for learning the foundation knowledge of the technician side of things. But the sooner I am in 11, the better. I know what I will be pushing for once I am past what hurdles I have left after ATCAB. Hopefully by the time I have this opportunity, not much more will have changed!

Latest Threads