Army 2020 Refine

3 Public Duties?

Buck Palace
Windsor
Scotland

maybe? Just trying to work out why 3.
How many are there now ? I know Wellington Bks (for Bucks Place) and Windsor but is Hounslow still used for PD ?
Weren't the three incremental Coys each attached to a PD Bn ?
It’s my understanding there is 3, I could be wrong



Up the number of Light inf bns.
16AA will be out of the loop as the dedicated "smash and grab" airborne capability.
For anything else, rule of 3 should kick in if there is any chance of an enduring deployment: 1 on, 1 just off, 1 preparing to go on, though that is dependent on some one not radically deviating to the 6 month emergency tour mentality.

Smaller numbers could be more manageable if deployment lengths were increased to maybe a year, however I'm sure it would somehow get complicated by the deployment not tying up neatly withh the designated training year, which is offset from the financial year as it is.

We don't make things easy for ourselves do we?
Will need light infantry to cover the SBA battalions, unless you're wanting to rotate armoured or mech INF every 3 years.

UNFICYP doesn't have to be a infantry BN.
Where I’m going with this is you need to figure out how many light infantry battalions you need on location/deployed, before you figure how many many total you need to allow for rotation.

The light infantry is probably the only part of the infantry who possibly need to retain arms plotting (to some degree).
 
I have worked in Battle Groupes the BG means nothing to the soldier, its you the cog in the machine your Platoon Company i.e. 1 MERCIAN Coy in a KRH BG that works, that MERCIAN Coy will not let itself down because of its identity.
Not because they are well led, well trained, well equipped?????

Not because they don’t want to let the guy beside them down or kill before being killed???
 
Seen. So from that post for Regulars it looks like:

For Regulars the total strength of the Infantry as at 1 December was 19,420
compared to a total Infantry Liability of 20,164.
Of this, 4,380 Infantry Personnel are serving outwith their Regiments' units

So we should have an Infantry manned at 20,164, but we actually have 15,040

That's.... quite the shortfall of 5,124 personnel.

And that will be counting those in Phase 2 training as 'trained Infantry' after they changed the definitions.....
 
But anyway,

How many regular infantry battalions does the British Army now need?
As an aside, given that Bn's invariably deploy as Battle Groups have we got enough odds and sods to form BG's for the Infantry Bn's we have? If so, why don't they stay permanently attached to that Bn to form a better working relationship?
I suspect I know the answer......
 
I’m not suggesting that.

But if a regiment consistently can’t recruit the troops it needs..... should regiments only be allowed recruit people from specific areas?

And should the “need” to retain a regiment that cannot recruit sufficiently be an overarching issue in the combat efficiency of the British Army?

I understand the desire to retain history but if it potentially is costing lives.....
Fair one irisgt, I dont actually know if Bns are struggaling, there are big rumours about some not doing well so good point, which is a good reason to have 1-32, some one in the know will make that decision. My gold fish bowl world did not see a major problem with way it was being ran.
 
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Most don't "choose" at all - it's all that's on offer for many, apart from the Pioneers (who, I hasten to add, I've only ever been impressed with).
I agree with you, @Taffd, but by changing the focus of identity to 'role' you're killing two birds with one stone, as those for whom tradition, ceremonial and mess functions are important are catered to as well without any detriment to the professional / recruiting / retention side. It's a win/win situation if only someone had the courage to do it.
John G

I want to get exactly what you are suggesting to make a more efficient Infantry, I am not going to put down your idea but would like to understand it, chatted today at work about it and there are definite different schools of thought. I put out my re balance of the Infantry about eight pages back believing we were better just being kept as we are not another massive change. Lots of points by you and CAARPS and a couple of others as to why I am wrong to believe that, the thoughts that I believe in county regimental recruting ground being wrong and outdated.

So whats the idea, go all out all Infantry are simply known as 1st Battalion too 32nd Battalion, allocating tasks to Battalions Armoured Infantry, Strike, Para, Abn, Light roll, SIB with a US Army style of uniform all the same just a badge ID to show what you are in. You come from anywhere in Great Britain it does not matter just like Parachute Regiment.

Or was that not it, were you thinking Kings Div MERCIAN YORKS LANCS to become 1 KINGS to 6 KINGS and Queens Div to become 1 QUEENS to 5 QUEENS not sure how it would work for the new Scotish Irish and Welsh Div? I take it RIFLES just stay as they are? and I take it Foot Guards just become known as 1 GUARDS to 5 GUARDS, I am all ears.
 
John G

I want to get exactly what you are suggesting to make a more efficient Infantry, I am not going to put down your idea but would like to understand it, chatted today at work about it and there are definite different schools of thought. I put out my re balance of the Infantry about eight pages back believing we were better just being kept as we are not another massive change. Lots of points by you and CAARPS and a couple of others as to why I am wrong to believe that, the thoughts that I believe in county regimental recruting ground being wrong and outdated.

So whats the idea, go all out all Infantry are simply known as 1st Battalion too 32nd Battalion, allocating tasks to Battalions Armoured Infantry, Strike, Para, Abn, Light roll, SIB with a US Army style of uniform all the same just a badge ID to show what you are in. You come from anywhere in Great Britain it does not matter just like Parachute Regiment.

Or was that not it, were you thinking Kings Div MERCIAN YORKS LANCS to become 1 KINGS to 6 KINGS and Queens Div to become 1 QUEENS to 5 QUEENS not sure how it would work for the new Scotish Irish and Welsh Div? I take it RIFLES just stay as they are? and I take it Foot Guards just become known as 1 GUARDS to 5 GUARDS, I am all ears.
I'm afraid you'll have to wait a bit for my imagined pearls as I also have a life (contrary to popular opinion!). As soon as I can I'll reply, in five bits as they're separate but all inter-dependent: i) structure of the infantry; ii)strength of the infantry; iii) infantry (and cav) reserves; iv) officer manning; v) OR manning.

Sounds off-topic but its not as you can't adress any one individually - as has been done with band-aid after band-aid for half a centurywhich is why we're in the position we are now - and that's what A2020 needs to do.

Edit: bear in mind that if @Commentator's deduction is correct (and I believe it is) the infantry is 25% undermanned PLUS another 20% not fully deployable PLUS at least 5 to 10% on career courses or short term injured / compassionate leave, so add those together and no more than half of each inf bn are deployable.

How can that not be a problem?

What's the point in making your plan around tps that don't exist, so overstretching the ones that do that the downward spiral continues?
 
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Unsurprisingly, @CAARPS, @AndreThe Queen's Regt recruited from the Home Counties (Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Middlesex) and the Isle of Wight - there are usually half a dozen or so "islanders" in each bn, plus a smattering from the Channel Islands.
I’m being slightly pedantic John, but the Queen’s Regt never recruited from the County of Middlesex. Middlesex was abolished as a County in 1965 a year before the four Regiments of the Home Counties Brigade merged to form the Queens Regiment.

My pedantry does have a point through; to illustrate just how significantly the UK has changed geo-politically and demographically over the last 50 or so years and how little the Army has really changed. It thus seems to me to be crazy to limit infantry recruiting in the highly populated South East to a single cap badge.

I’m not sure how much Andre’s somewhat bucolic view would motivate today’s connected youth to join. More likely the opposite. It will be a hard balance to retain the core ethos and make the undoubtedly necessary changes needed to make the infantry attractive to enough young people.
 
I’m being slightly pedantic John, but the Queen’s Regt never recruited from the County of Middlesex. Middlesex was abolished as a County in 1965 a year before the four Regiments of the Home Counties Brigade merged to form the Queens Regiment.

My pedantry does have a point through; to illustrate just how significantly the UK has changed geo-politically and demographically over the last 50 or so years and how little the Army has really changed. It thus seems to me to be crazy to limit infantry recruiting in the highly populated South East to a single cap badge.

I’m not sure how much Andre’s somewhat bucolic view would motivate today’s connected youth to join. More likely the opposite. It will be a hard balance to retain the core ethos and make the undoubtedly necessary changes needed to make the infantry attractive to enough young people.
Agreed, Bob (on all counts!)
 
Great thread for illustrating the Army's total intransigence with regard to it's future or necessary organisational evolution. A sort of Golden Thread from Haldane via Jackson to Carter, "nothing fundamentally must change and we must form an Army from what we have".

The Army 2020 proposal and subsequent 'Refine' illustrate with utter clarity; two Divisions without task, equipment, capability, support or role, but lots and lots of HQs, Directorates, Schools and Regimental Associations.
 
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OK, here goes with the first of five essays - Infantry Regimental Structure.

In my view infantry regiments need to be centred primarily around ROLE - what they do. It makes them readily and immediately identifiable to anyone, including and most importantly those in them regardless of where they’re from (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland, the Channel Islands, Fiji, Tonga, India or anywhere else), where they were trained or what sort of training they had (adult, junior or reservist transferee), or their background (ethnicity, religion, etc).

To that end you simply have regiments cap badged by role, nothing else:

Airborne: Parachute Regiment (1 Para, 2 Para, etc)
Light Infantry / Air Portable: Light Infantry (1 LI, 2 LI, etc)
Mechanised: Grenadiers* (1 Gren, 2 Gren, etc)
Armoured: Fusiliers* (1 Fus, 2 Fus, etc)
Specialised (BMATT): Rangers* (1 Rangers, 2 Rangers, etc)
Ceremonial: Guards (1 Gds)

There’s some room for retention of geographical identity on an informal / semi-formal basis within each regiment, like the Scottish Gunners, with subtitles such as ‘1 Fus (Scots)’ or ‘1 LI (Irish)’, although this would only be intended as a transitional phase if required. Separate geographical identities could be retained across the Guards, however, with individual Companies retaining separate geographical identities (Scots, Welsh, Irish and English) with pipes, kilts and trews as appropriate.

What I see no point in is a gradual reduction in the number of divisions and commensurate increase in the size of each division’s recruiting area, whether they’re Celts, Scots, English or Commonwealth, which is that’s happening at the moment.

That’s it - nothing complicated, just purely professional, maximising talent and ability across the infantry and across the ranks, with equal misery for all regardless of current cap badge or region / national identity.


* just suggestions, to utilise names we already have and keep some happy.
 
John G I think you need to shake off the traditional Infantry centric view if the Army and play a little more towards 'smash the capbadge'

The infantry in it's current form should be done away with and the Army restructured into modular fighting organisations (you could do worse than look at the structure of 16 AA or 3 Cdo). Face it the Bdes are expected to field 1 BG at a time and it would be interesting to see if any Inf Bn size BG could actually muster the Armd Recce, Logistic, Artillery, Engineer, Medical, Aviation, Communication and other support units required.

Following your model I would suggest for example 1 & 2 Light Infantry Bdes with all of the support elements above integral to and capbadged to the relevant BG. This would require RAC, RA, RE. RAMC, AGC etc losing all of their CS elements, which would become part of the Infantry.
 
... and Number two, Infantry Regimental Strengths.

I won't even pretend to have any idea of threat assessments and current deployments, but suffice to say that whatever we have next needs to be based not just on what we've got but what we've got that can do it's job.

No point, therefore, in saying that we need 32 inf bns made up of x number of airborne, y of light / airportable, z of armoured, etc, etc, when we can't actually man them but we're going to keep on tasking them as if we can and as if they are. If the infantry's 25% under strength and on top of that it's 20% undeployable then we need to admit that, get rid of the dross (sorry, @Bobtheb, but if they're not capable of doing the job long term that's what I'm going to call them) and stop pretending that we've got the strength for 32 bns when we can only actually man 16 (for the sake of argument).

Someone far better at it than me can work out what we need, balance that against what we can man fully and effectively, and come up with an orbat with maybe half of it fully and effectively manned and active, and up to half of it dormant. The dormant bns are left that way until the active bns go sufficiently over strength for each dormant bn to be manned and activated as manpower permits, moved from the then over-strength active bns.

At the moment one of the biggest issues with retention (and consequently recruiting) is that people are getting beggared about because their bns are under strength and those who are capable of deploying in them are having to stand in for those who aren't, so as soon as they've completed one task in the own unit they're moved to support and fill in the empty spaces in another, so the never ending downward spiral of beggaring about continues so they leave - and those leaving are all too often the ones who are most needed. By admitting the problem there would be no excuse for that not stopping as you can only task 16 bns to do the work of 16 bns, rather than continuing to task 32 half-effective bns to do the work of 32 properly manned and effective bns.

Which leads on to recruiting and retention .....
 
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... and number three, head down, ploughing on, Other Ranks Recruiting and Retention.

It's only partially on-topic, but one of the biggest obstacles to retention and consequently recruiting, is over-stretch. You can't just keep on pretending that units are fully manned and deployable when they're not and task them as if they are without people having enough and leaving, and passing that message on to potential recruits. The only way to make for a better Army is to get rid of the dross, and that means smaller. Cut your suit according to your available cloth, and if there's not enough cloth available make the waistcoat and overcoat later when there is - don't use a cheap thread so that it all falls apart.

Do that and at least there's a possibility that the biggest gripe (not pay, not pensions, etc, but being beggared about) doesn't have an exeuse any more.
 
So to the penultimate, Officer Recruiting.

The Army's still bluffing it's way that it's widened the recruiting pool when all that's happened is that the traditional pool of public schools and red brick unis has dried up so it's had no option but to look elsewhere, and that simply hasn't worked. Non grads have had a 50% pay rise on starting salaries, with accelerated promotion for the first ten years (on a par with grads) but it still hasn't made any difference - no more are applying than were two decades ago, and there was a 27% drop in grad numbers in the decade from 2005 to 2015, with the overall number of officer applicants dropping by an incredible 40% in the last two decades.

Instead the Army needs to look at its outstanding young soldiers who could fill all those vacancies and more, selecting and commissioning them at the start of their careers, not near the end when there's no chance of them getting anywhere. One third of all officers are from the ranks, but all but a tiny number are LE. The Potential Officers Development Course is being touted as a resounding success in putting ex-rankers through RMAS but it's only 500 in just over ten years so the numbers of ex-rankers (not including 'O' types) appears to have barely changed at all and is still around 10% just as it was four decades ago. Wine and cheese tasting, art history classes, visits to the Tate modern and West End shows (Spamalot, Swan Lake and Madam Butterfly were early favourites) and how to recognise a fish knife and fork really don't add much to an officer's ability.
 
... and finally on to Infantry Reservists.

I'm all for reservists as the Regular Army can't get by without them and it doesn't just want the specialists (medics, techies, loggies, etc) but it simply has to have them.

Does it need them in the infantry (and cavalry), though? I'm far from convinced, and far from sure that they're even financially justifiable.

Maybe I should just leave that one alone for now ...
 
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John G I think you need to shake off the traditional Infantry centric view if the Army and play a little more towards 'smash the capbadge'

The infantry in it's current form should be done away with and the Army restructured into modular fighting organisations (you could do worse than look at the structure of 16 AA or 3 Cdo). Face it the Bdes are expected to field 1 BG at a time and it would be interesting to see if any Inf Bn size BG could actually muster the Armd Recce, Logistic, Artillery, Engineer, Medical, Aviation, Communication and other support units required.

Following your model I would suggest for example 1 & 2 Light Infantry Bdes with all of the support elements above integral to and capbadged to the relevant BG. This would require RAC, RA, RE. RAMC, AGC etc losing all of their CS elements, which would become part of the Infantry.
I'm far from sure that I agree with the idea of "modular fighting organisations" being the way ahead as in my limited experience every op needs a different sort of module so every time you deployed you'd be having to reform units that weren't designed to be inter-operable or even integrated, so you'd be trawling for individuals rather than units which may not be the best idea.

I do agree with you, though, that it isn't just an infantry problem and I'm sure that all (or at least most) of "the Armd Recce, Logistic, Artillery, Engineer, Medical, Aviation, Communication and other support units required" are little or no better off manpower, recruiting and retention-wise than the inf units they're needed to support. To that end, while they don't have the cap-badge issues the inf (and cav) have, reducing the number of units they are required to support would allow them to similarly get rid of their own dross (sorry again, @Bobtheb), similarly have no excuse for the over-stretch, and similarly have active and dormant units until they can also make them all fully and effectively manned and all fully active.

Is anyone at the top brave enough to openly admit the issues and address them, though, or is A2020 just going to be another band-aid ..... ?
 

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