Armour and A More Deployable Army

Discussion in 'NOW That's What I Call ARRSE 1' started by Ramillies, Apr 10, 2003.

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  1. Interesting to note that in Army circles that there has been much debate about a more deployable Army - light lean and lethal. More use of helicopters in asymetric warfare, deep fires et al et al.

    And yet in the Iraq conflict it appears from  media reports . . . . .

    - Heavy armour was essential in the leading elements for the clearing of major Iraqi towns. A major force multipier. (Do we have the right balance at present ? Is there a case now for more heavy rather than medium forces than was originally thought ?)

    - Light forces (ie. on foot) could not be moved quickly around the battlefield safely and there was a shortage of sp hels to move them when they were really needed. (Light Bns - are there days numbered. If no tpt then useless ?)

    - Parachute forces - not used in role again. (Do we really need to retain this ability I wonder ?)

    - 16AA. Do they have enough protection, firepower and ground mobility once deployed ? Are we using them to best affect ?

    Views ?
  2. Interesting topic - especialy with what is being bandied about on the BBC ( - The Invasion of Iraq was won by air power!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I personally believe that the recent events highlight the fact that there is a greater need for more infantry and armour to fulfill the types of conflict and police actions that the British Armed forces are going to find themselves involved in - air craft cannot take or hold - you need the PBI for that  ;D
  3. Assuming there was an expansion in inf and armour, how would this be achieved? Would this be done by re-activation of 2nd Bns or by new formations (new cav reg's or an extra RTR)?
  4. I don't think there would be an expansion of inf and arm but we would not see a reduction, and in the case of the inf, we must make them more deployable on the battlefield.

    The problem as we all know with light inf or 16AA is that once deployed; that is it. Fine for holding ground, air heads et al but not for flicking around the battlefield fast and safely. We lack the air assets and so I would argue for a vehicle such as the LAV (ie PIRANHA) that the USA have. It is sufficiently well protected and armed to move troops quickly and safely around a battlefield whilst packing a punch at the same time.

    Lets scrap a couple of fighter aricraft and that would pay for mechanising all our Lt Inf Bns. Remember you heard it here first !  :)
  5. At the risk of sounding a bit naive, could you ever see a time where there could be an expansion or is it generally the rule that the Govt's like to or feel obligated to contract the Reg army?
  6. No I am afraid not. It is too much to hope for.  ;)

    Slightly off topic, but we could perhaps be more cost effective by stopping arms plotting. This would enable Inf Bns to be highly skilled in a particular role.

    We need to do something urgently to fund the improvements to our Lt Roled Bns; greater mobility and firepower.
  7. woopert

    woopert LE Moderator

    One thought that has been doing the rounds (and which is heresy amongst some) is that we could quite easily slim down our Log compliment to concentrate on more effective Close Support and General Support operations. Consider:

    1. Improved heavy lift STOL capability of the RAF with more C5 Galaxy, FHLA/C130J, and Merlin.

    2. Hand over the P&M role of 17 Regt and Marchwood SMC to the RFA and RMR and re-role 17Rgt to CS

    3. Re-role 23 Pnr Regt to GS and hand over tasks to RE

    4. Re-role part of 24 Regt handing over MC to the RAF and DLO with arrivals in-theatre being looked after jointly by RAF/DLO/RMP

    5. Amalgamate the roles of 5 and 25 Trg Rgts into a single Regt structure.

    The manpower which is released from the Pnr and P&M roles can be re-roled as CS in support of armd inf which is highly mobile. No changes would be necessary for the units directly supporting either Armd Bde, or 16AA. An improved lift capability with the RAF will enable stored to be moved more effectively to the FMA, and the RFA can take over port operations with the DLO when kit arrives in-theatre. We could easily loose the Pnr function in favour of more direct logistics ops and devote more resources to GS to the rest of the army.
  8. Woopert,

    I had heard mutterings about this but to be frank because it requires an investment (ie.STOL) then the cynic in me says it will not happen.

    We certainly need to improve our logistical chain similar to the USA and accept that we have to invest properly and devote dedicated resources to it. However that said, with so many other priorities and a shortage of cash we will do as we always do - and make do !

    Whilst talking logistics, I anticipate more and more contracted support from our defence companies. Some say we do not want civilians in our rear areas providing technical support. In my view, if it saves soldiers doing it, then why not. With BOWMAN (especially 2 - 3rd line system support issues) and a more technical Army, then we must accept it.
  9. woopert

    woopert LE Moderator

    If we accept the concept of civilian involvement in the rear for kit maintenance and log tasks then we have to look at the issue of PFI. The issue there becomes one of transference of risk from the risk of manpower to the risk of operating an unworkable solution.

    Take for example the issue of the "intelligent client" or a KPI related service credit scheme. If, as any institutional investor would require, a system for penality relief for failure to deliver a service against the specification in operational environments, then the intelligent client looses all power to manage the behaviour of the contractor. If they then down-tools because they feel that they at personal risk then we are stuck. Any investor will wish to protect his financial investment and will not wish to loose either staff (compensation issues as well as bad PR for recruiting purposes) or income (suspension of the service credit scheme which PFI hinges on), and so it will be the investors who call the shots on the way the contract is structured, and we may not get what we set out to achieve.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not against the principle of contracting out certain maintenance functions, but it is the financial and contractual mechanism for doing this when you can't use the Armed Forces Act to compell a contractor to stay in theatre in the same way you can with a soldier which I think is the issue to be overcome.
  10. Yes, but I am sceptical about all this spin on leaner this, leaner that, small & efficient etc etc, it just stinks of accountant speak which invariably means cutback.  Cynical sod I know!
  11. Yes I am with you on this one. I too am a sceptic. However perhaps the way around is to put something into the contract that gives them a very harsh finciancial penalty if they withdraw their services. Furthermore, if the man on site leaves, they have to find a replacement.

    The devil is always in the detail and provided the contract is correctly written and is let to large blue chip size defence company, then there shouldn't be a problem. A large blue chip company would not want the reputation of not being dependable as they would lose any future defence contracts.

    I have to say from my own experience, most of the technical support is provided by ex military personnel anyway, who are just doing it for more money.
  12. HLS

    HLS Old-Salt

    Surely we must expand 16AA BDE, a unit which allows rapid deployment around the world with the capability to Parachute / airland into theatre. One of its jobs is to enable access or create a bridgehead for conventional forces is it not?

    We live in a very uncertain world and do we really want to be in a position where we have lost the ability to get 2,000 plus troops in place at short notice i.e 72 hrs.

    I know all the old arguments regards 'when was the last operational jump' etc. But we spend millions sending blokes to train in the artic but haven't fought a war there since WWII, the point is you must have the capability to do so if the need arises.

    This is not the start of a inter-unit pissing contest just one former Paratroopers views.

  13. Couldn't agree more, just because the last 2 conflicts have required the need for heavy armour doesn't necessarily mean that we should scale down the need for a QRF with Para/Airlift capabilities. I agree the need to make the army as a whole more mobile and effective is a concern, especially the fire power/protection of Light/16 AA.
  14. Still doesn't detract from the fact that a serious Armoured capability is required for current and future conflicts.  Agree that there is still a definite requirement for 16AAB et al.  

    I just don't want to see the government do "more with less" and get soldiers killed because some bean counter has found a way to save 50p for the next 3 years....... :mad:
  15. Everyone agrees that we need more... but with no change to the defence budget, what we can we cut to fund the improvements ?