Are we as good as we think? If so, why?

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#1
Serious question.

The US for example, spends much more on kit and equipment and seems to take Doctrine very, very seriously.

Are we as good as we think? Is it down to eg. Brecon, RMAS, Larkhill, Gib Barracks etc? Or are we just punchy sods who never give up?
 

cpunk

LE
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#2
We are very good at small unit operations - up to BG - but the US are way ahead of us at formation level and above. This has a lot to do with resources but also because they think a lot bigger than we do.
 
#4
A great topic , for my opinion I think as already stated we are best at Coy/Sqn level.At BG level our commanders are too tied to the plan layed down by our political masters.
 

Schaden

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
As an outsider may I say this - every half decent military thinks they're shit hot.

Are the Brits good - not bad but some of the stuff that people come up with does make one's eye's roll a bit.

MOD is absolute crap. Too much acceptance of perceived wisdom. Refusal to learn from other's experience - I refer here to the mine resistant vehicle fiasco in current theatre of operations. It's not rocket science and it has all been done before - just not by you guys.

Poor support from the Gov of the day.

Too many higher ups with a eye on their pensions and the K rather than their responsibility to the men they lead.

To be "good" an Army needs wars - so I would say that currently the British Army is probably the best it has been in terms of professional ability in the last 25 years.

(edited in bold)
 
#7
Schaden, I did mean to say that input from non British military would be particularly welcome, so thank you.
 
#9
Bravo_Bravo said:
Serious question.

The US for example, spends much more on kit and equipment and seems to take Doctrine very, very seriously.

Are we as good as we think? Is it down to eg. Brecon, RMAS, Larkhill, Gib Barracks etc? Or are we just punchy sods who never give up?
"Punchy sods who never give up"....correct answer!! We always go to War with one boot missing,doesn,t make it right,but strength of character makes the British soldier the best in the world,not kit!
 
#10
Part Briton, part Celt, Part Roman, Part Angle,Part Saxon,Part Jute,Part Norse, Part Norman! we're just an angry bunch of piss head who are always up for a fight. And we inherently know is not just about the kit, its about the soldier on the ground and their ability to suck it up and fight on.
 
#11
Schaden said:
Too many higher ups with a eye on their pensions and the K rather than their responsibility to the men they lead.
...and your evidence to support this. British Army officers, like British Army soldiers, are in it neither for the salary or the pension.
 
#12
Bravo_Bravo said:
Or are we just punchy sods who never give up?

I think many times we win through inspite of ourselves and that comes down to sheer bloody mindedness and wontgiveupedness of your average bloke and blokette at the pointy end.

It would be nice though if our Lords and Masters would occasionally fund us the kit that would allow us to rely more on technical prowess and a bit less on guts and improvisation.
 
#13
Semper_Flexibilis said:
Bravo_Bravo said:
Or are we just punchy sods who never give up?

I think many times we win through inspite of ourselves and that comes down to sheer bloody mindedness and wontgiveupedness of your average bloke and blokette at the pointy end.

It would be nice though if our Lords and Masters would occasionally fund us the kit that would allow us to rely more on technical prowess and a bit less on guts and improvisation.
Yes but then the blokes would have less to snap about. Then they'd only be able to snap at the CoC rather than at shit kit...think about morale man!
 
#14
Bamber(Phil) said:
Bravo_Bravo said:
Serious question.
"Punchy sods who never give up"....correct answer!! We always go to War with one boot missing,doesn,t make it right,but strength of character makes the British soldier the best in the world,not kit!
You are so right 'Bamber', so very right, but...........

I fear that one day the source for 'the best in the world' will dry up. I doubt that the 'raw material' will disappear, but I fear that the 'inclination', the 'force' - whatever that may be (grandfather's efforts; father's efforts), will be dissipated or disappear.

In posts I frequently denigrate 'young people'. I do this as a result of observation and report. These 'young people' are of course, the same 'raw material' victorious at Crecy; at Agincourt; at Blenheim; at Copenhagen; at the Nile; at Trafalgar; at Waterloo; at countless battles the world over.

The 'Iron Duke' summed it up when, so it is reported, that he said of his infantry:

'I do not know what they do to the enemy, but my God they frighten me'.

The British infantryman is peerless and those that support him are not far behind.

Sadly, in a nation run by Brown, whose hatred and disdain for the Army will become part of our history, there are not enough of them; they are still ill-equipped; they are not cared for when hurt; and, they are appallingly badly paid - but they are, everyone of them, IRREPLACEABLE!

The scum; the illiterate; the appalling filth roaming so many of our streets, due to lack of education and parental care or control, would, will, become the best infantry soldiers ever known - given half a chance!

No! I am not a bleeding heart, I am a realist who has observed soldiers for thirty six years and civilians for almost as long.
 
#15
We undoubtedly punch above our weight and as previously mentioned up to Battle group level we are amongst the best. Sadly an army however is the sum of its parts and with only 2 deployable divisions and probably not enough kit for both those we are no where near the top if it came to straight up fight with another army such as the Yanks Chinese etc quantity has a quality all of its own.

There is no shame in this we have no need for a huge standing army and are from a nation traditionally anti large standing armies. With the exception of possibley the new model army under Cronwell and the force that took the field during the last hundred days of 1918 we can never have claimed to truly have been the best army in the world.
 
#16
American kit
German Officer's
British Army
INVINCIBLE 8)
 
#17
From my perspective, we excel at small unit operations, and benefit from first rate junior soldiers and officers. I would suggest that our problem begins at the career development for officers at staff college and beyond. We seem to not be able to collectively view ICSC(L) as a good thing - too many of my army peers viewed it as a years embugarrance / trip back to school. Instead being seen to be keen on doctrine and long term management is often seen as a bad thing - a common complaint on these forums is that the MOD is seen as being collectively useless, yet we seem to forget that the MOD we're complaining about is staffed by our own peers and superiors. Why do our people at this level lose respect of the front line?

Part of this is the age old front line Vs REMFS - something as old as time, no matter where you are, there is shared disdain for someone further back than yourself. But there is possibly a more serious problem that we don't view staff tours -particularly in non 'ally' areas as a good thing - my colleagues have often seen a non Ops MB tour as something to be endured rather than enjoyed. People seem to focus on their forces career as being soldiering first and anything else is a punishment. Thats great in a way - anyone who wants to join the military as a staff officer is probably not who we want, but equally we need to ensure that the majority of people (not just the keen high flyers) get that effective management of an armed force is as important as leadership of an armed forces unit/subunit. Looking at a lot of my peer group, I don't think people really get that being an officer is leadership and management at all levels - not just in their parent unit.

I think we retain a lot of innovation, and we are very good at doing things quickly when needed - UORs are a great example - driven by tactical innovations in theatre for the most part, they represent what we do well - quick thinking, unorthodox solutions and an ability in criss to throw doctrine out the window.

We also do well at identifying lessons that need to be learnt (god knows how many LI reviews I've done over the years) and at changing to meet new priorities. What we don't do well is actually learning these lessons, or understanding the root causes of change, in order to reduce it to a minimum.
 

Schaden

LE
Book Reviewer
#18
pombsen-armchair-warrior said:
Schaden said:
Too many higher ups with a eye on their pensions and the K rather than their responsibility to the men they lead.
...and your evidence to support this. British Army officers, like British Army soldiers, are in it neither for the salary or the pension.
The British Army - specifically the officers are well paid - it is an extremely good career and one that I should have taken 25 years ago rather than running around Angola for 10 years with the old SADF. My father was in the RGJ in the 50's and 60's and I was about to follow him however fate intervened and I thought a couple of years wouldn't make a difference.

It is my opinion - I don't need "evidence" yours may differ however I do notice how many heads of the army once honours and pensions have been handed down become very vocal against the Gov ill use of the the armed forces - perhaps a little more volume while they are in the position to do something about will mean less dead in snatch land rovers, more helicopters, carriers that actually have aircraft attached to them etc etc etc
 
#19
Schaden and Jim30 are dead on the money. My 4p's worth is that the British Armed Forces are spectacularly slow at learning lessons (maybe that relates back to the culture of anti-intellectualism Jim). The Yanks in stark contrast - since Kasserine (!) - have just sucked up their mistakes, learnt the lessons and jogged on. I don't claim for a second that they are "cleverer" than we are, they just seem to be more rigorous in terms of self-analysis.
 
#20
pombsen-armchair-warrior said:
Schaden said:
Too many higher ups with a eye on their pensions and the K rather than their responsibility to the men they lead.
...and your evidence to support this. British Army officers, like British Army soldiers, are in it neither for the salary or the pension.
Basra 2003-2008

Will that do?

There were known problems that needed dealing with hard and nasty. But no one above Battalion level seemed to want to grasp a very nasty nettle hard and rip it out.

Example. OMS HQ was OOB. Yet locals would pin point morter crews attacking various in-city locations as coming from the OMS HQ. Yet no one had the balls to order a raid.

GOC of the day deemed it more important to issue a letter whinging about scruffy troops and drinking from plastic water bottles.
 
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