Army 2020 Refine

I asked this before but leaving aside the light infantry tasked to 16 AA Bde, PD, SIBs, Cyprus, Brunei.

How many (other) light infantry battalions are required?

If any (should the priority be to fully man the combat formations)?

And how should they be organised? A regional Bde type structure (as is) or a number of all arms light inf Bdes (possibly with much of that capability coming from the reserves)?
"Required " to do what, specifically?

Shouldn't those specifics be established first, otherwise how can anyone know?

... and since when were light infantry not "combat" units?

Looking at inf combat ops over the last seventy years (Palestine, Malayan Emergency, Mau-Mau, Cyprus, Suez, Brunei, Dhofar, Malayan Confrontation, Aden, Northern Ireland, Falklands, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc), all except for Korea and the Gulf (the latter, twice) have been primarily light inf combat ops.
 
"Required " to do what, specifically?

Shouldn't those specifics be establiahed first, otherwise how can anyone know?
exactly..... are they being retained for cap badges or to actually do a military role?

... and since when were light infantry not "combat" units?
i said combat formations! With the exception of 16 Air Aslt (and 3 Cdo) there are no light inf Bns in combat formations (ie Divs and Bdes).

Looking at inf combat ops over the last seventy years (Palestine, Malayan Emergency, Mau-Mau, Cyprus, Suez, Brunei, Dhofar, Malayan Confrontation, Aden, Northern Ireland, Falklands, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc), all except for Korea and the Gulf (the latter, twice) have been primarily light inf combat ops.
Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq (plus arguably Afghanistan) a very high percentage of armoured vehicle mounted inf.

Aren’t you supposed to oppose the current and future threat/risk?
 
are they being retained for cap badges or to actually do a military role?
Unless you establish the threat you don't know what roles, military or otherwise, you need to do!
i said combat formations! With the exception of 16 Air Aslt (and 3 Cdo) there are no light inf Bns in combat formations (ie Divs and Bdes).
But, again, unless you know the threat you don't know what sort of formations you'll need - look at the list of combat ops for examples. Looking at those its largely only armd formations that were pre-formed rather than formed for task, on tasking.
Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq (plus arguably Afghanistan) a very high percentage of armoured vehicle mounted inf.
It all depends what you call an "armoured vehicle", and what role the vehicles had and how and how ofyen they were used - and what you consider a "very high percentage", which would normally suggest a majority.

Edit: and SIBns aren't light inf bns in any known / recognised sense of the word; in their case the 'bn' is little more than an administrative formation from which to deploy OMLTs (or just MLTs / BMATTs).
 
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Unless you establish the threat you don't know what roles, military or otherwise, you need to do!
But, again, unless you know the threat you don't know what sort of formations you'll need
i don’t disagree but lack of cap badges isn’t exactly a threat


It all depends what you call an "armoured vehicle", and what role the vehicles had and how and how ofyen they were used - and what you consider a "very high percentage", which would normally suggest a majority.
a vehicle with armour funnily enough (eg Warrior, Saxon, MIV, Foxhound, Masstif, etc etc) as once infantry have an armoured vehicle they aren’t light infantry.
 
i don’t disagree but lack of cap badges isn’t exactly a threat.
It is to some people!
...
a vehicle with armour funnily enough (eg Warrior, Saxon, MIV, Foxhound, Masstif, etc etc) as once infantry have an armoured vehicle they aren’t light infantry.
It's far from that simple - they could be mech / armd in a lt inf role, or they could be light inf being transported in someone else's vehs with someone else's dvrs (eg RM).
 
Unless you establish the threat you don't know what roles, military or otherwise, you....

...But, again, unless you know the threat you don't know what sort of formations you'll need - look at the list of combat ops for examples. Looking at those its largely only armd formations that were pre-formed rather than formed for task, on tasking.
).
John

At the risk of being a pain, I think you're in a false syllogism here.

Whist it would be doubtless easier to define a response if the threat was established, the absence of such a defined threat does not make it impossible to settle for a 'BATNEEC*' solution.

Especially given the delay in establishing one from a cold start.

*Best available technology not entailing excessive cost


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John

At the risk of being a pain, I think you're in a false syllogism here.

Whist it would be doubtless easier to define a response if the threat was established, the absence of such a defined threat does not make it impossible to settle for a 'BATNEEC*' solution.

Especially given the delay in establishing one from a cold start.

*Best available technology not entailing excessive cost


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Had to look that one up!

I don't see how that can possibly apply when there are other identified, clear and present threats that aren't being adequately addressed and, in comparative terms, costs are excessive - although exactly the same could be said across defence and security given the amount spent on other equally unjustified / unjustifiable areas such as the QE and POW.

Everyone's playing games to defend their own toys and there's no identifiable effective and co-ordinated central defence and national security policy, so why should the Army be any different?

If anything, the Army's only guilty of putting up the least effective defence of its toys for its boys, while the rest have got their acts together in using BS to baffle any sort of logic.
 
If the light inf Bns (without any all arms capability), then yes keep them.

I’d personally argue that there would be merit in generating at least 1 light inf all arms Bde. Possibly encompassing the SIBs (I’d get rid of them and use these Bde(s) to match that capability).

Each Bde could include 3 light inf Bns, a Light Cav Regt (or at least a Sqn) and a light gun Regt. They conduct be used in peace support, engagement etc in addition to a combat role.

It may be a good idea to give them some armour capability though so maybe have 1 Coy per Bn with Mastiff and/or Foxhound.
 
If the light inf Bns (without any all arms capability), then yes keep them.

I’d personally argue that there would be merit in generating at least 1 light inf all arms Bde. Possibly encompassing the SIBs (I’d get rid of them and use these Bde(s) to match that capability).

Each Bde could include 3 light inf Bns, a Light Cav Regt (or at least a Sqn) and a light gun Regt. They conduct be used in peace support, engagement etc in addition to a combat role.

It may be a good idea to give them some armour capability though so maybe have 1 Coy per Bn with Mastiff and/or Foxhound.
Why?

All you're doing is creating even more HQs and penny-packeting vehicles and tps for a logistics, maintenance and administrative nightmare!

... and the SIBn role could never be manned in the numbers planned from within just one bde; it's bad enough as planned, taking inf wide, but from the earlier discussion even its most ardent supporters realise this isn't possible from one bde ... and how would the bns doing it operate without their NCOs and offrs but still with their full complement of ptes?
 
Why?

All you're doing is creating even more HQs and penny-packeting vehicles and tps for a logistics, maintenance and administrative nightmare!
to create additional all arms capability.

Why some armour?
Well they don’t have any so are vulnerable, as you said yourself look at the situations they have been deployed in (fair few peace support operations with an IED risk).


... and the SIBn role could never be manned in the numbers planned from within just one bde; it's bad enough as planned, taking inf wide, but from the earlier discussion even its most ardent supporters realise this isn't possible from one bde ...
so change the plan. A inf Bn could train at least a inf Bn sized force. Not every SIB deployment will require all the specialists that are proposed, where they are required that capability can be found within the Bde. Also, if you just want to deploy an Engr training team that would be possible too. It would also have integral support weapons to support combat ops if necessary (or conduct training on same).

I did say 1 or more Bdes.

and how would the bns doing it operate without their NCOs and offrs but still with their full complement of ptes?
In fairness that is an issue.

You might have up to a Coy for force protection if the Bn is spread out over a wide area.

A small number would be useful for demonstrations, assisting in drills/rehearsals etc. But it will leave a lot of spares.

Why would I do this? The SIB will offer zero combat capability should it be required (at least a light inf Bde can do both)
 
to create additional all arms capability.

Why some armour?
Well they don’t have any so are vulnerable, as you said yourself look at the situations they have been deployed in (fair few peace support operations with an IED risk)
There is no "additional all arms capability" - just an extra bde HQ per bde formed, that if ops over the last 70 years are anything to go by is highly unlikely to be deployed as a Bde HQ plus an enormous amount of units and sub-units penny-packeted creating an admin, logistics and maintenance nightmare and ever more admin and support staff needed for each sub-unit. A massive waste of personnel we don't have.

... and if they have armoured vehs they cease to be light inf but become armd or mech - you're simply advocating forming a badly equipped armd or mech bde (or, heaven forbid, bdes) with left over / hand-me-down vehs.

. A inf Bn could train at least a inf Bn sized force.
No they can't - only a fraction of NCOs and offrs are capable of instructing at Brecon / Sch Inf / SWW / JWS etc, and only a fraction of those are capable of doing the same effectively for foreign troops. There's a world of difference between unit / continuation trg, even for Brit tps, and trg / re-trg from scratch across the ranks.

"Good enough" isn't good enough, as those who've been on the receiving end have discovered to their cost. This is where even the SIBns proposal fails and yours doesn't even get to the starting gate.

In fairness that is an issue.

You might have up to a Coy for force protection if the Bn is spread out over a wide area.
Just a trifle of an issue ... even a coy doing FP needs NCOs and offrs, and yours won't have any.
But it will leave a lot of spares.
Which is probably not a very bright idea in an Army where everywhere else is short of manpower and those in your proposed bns frequently won't even have the NCOs and offrs to conduct routine trg or MATTs, so all they'll be capable of doing is being a large, unsupervised, semi-trained general fatigue party.
Why would I do this?
I can only imagine it's because you have no idea what a BMATT does or what's required of LS personnel and you haven't thought through the consequences of stripping a bn of its NCOs and offrs for extended periods.
The SIB will offer zero combat capability should it be required (at least a light inf Bde can do both)
Rather like DS at trg establishments from RMAS to TTB and BMATTs and LS worldwide which offer "zero combat capability" as units - that isn't their job; a light inf bde can't do both, and your proposal would mean units that could do neither.
 
There is no "additional all arms capability" - just an extra bde HQ per bde formed, that if ops over the last 70 years are anything to go by is highly unlikely to be deployed as a Bde HQ plus an enormous amount of units and sub-units penny-packeted creating an admin, logistics and maintenance nightmare and ever more admin and support staff needed for each sub-unit. A massive waste of personnel we don't have.
because there is currently no light inf based all arms capability!

Well there are currently 2 Inf Bde HQs with only 2 regular light inf Bns and a 3rd Bde HQ with only 1 regular light inf Bn! I’m not talking about additional Bde HQs I’m talking about less! It would require an uplift in CSS of formed units.

... and if they have armoured vehs they cease to be light inf but become armd or mech - you're simply advocating forming a badly equipped armd or mech bde (or, heaven forbid, bdes) with left over / hand-me-down vehs
or it could be done like RM did - but it doesn’t necessarily have to be

No they can't - only a fraction of NCOs and offrs are capable of instructing at Brecon / Sch Inf / SWW / JWS etc, and only a fraction of those are capable of doing the same effectively for foreign troops. There's a world of difference between unit / continuation trg, even for Brit tps, and trg / re-trg from scratch across the ranks.
well then waddy the SIB idea completely and use those 6 Bns to man combat units shortbof personnel.

Just a trifle of an issue ... even a coy doing FP needs NCOs and offrs, and yours won't have any. Which is probably not a very bright idea in an Army where everywhere else is short of manpower and those in your proposed bns frequently won't even have the NCOs and offrs to conduct routine trg or MATTs, so all they'll be capable of doing is being a large, unsupervised, semi-trained general fatigue party.
i didn’t say they wouldn’t

"zero combat capability" as units - that isn't their job;
no their job is cap badge preservation!
 
because there is currently no light inf based all arms capability!
Absolute rot - of course there is. It's simply not penny-packeted into a totally unnecessary set of Bdes which would only serve a completely unnecessary admin function.
Well there are currently 2 Inf Bde HQs with only 2 regular light inf Bns and a 3rd Bde HQ with only 1 regular light inf Bn! I’m not talking about additional Bde HQs I’m talking about less! It would require an uplift in CSS of formed units.
Exactly why others have said, repeatedly, that there are too many Bde HQs serving little purpose. ... and what you're talking about is penny-packeting armr, arty, engrs, etc, into arbitrary orbats that in all probability will have no relation to their organisation on deployment - something everyone from those cap badges who's replied has explained is counter-productive, but you still insist you know best despite never having said why.
or it could be done like RM did - but it doesn’t necessarily have to be
I get the feeling you don't know the example I'm talking about at all ...
...so how, pray, could it be done any other way if these are not to be poorly equipped armd / mech units?

well then waddy the SIB idea completely and use those 6 Bns to man combat units shortbof personnel.
Not an option. Firstly you don't have 6 bns worth of personnel, even if at full strength - each is some 250 short of a light inf bn. Secondly, their role as SIBns is their sole raison d'etre - they don't have an alternative role.
no their job is cap badge preservation!
There we're agreed.

But anyway johng, what force structure do you think the British Army needs to meet the threats it faces?
As I've said repeatedly, I DON'T KNOW the threat the Army faces which is why I can't say what's needed - only what, in the absence of any threat, isn't needed and that happens to be most of the Army as it currently stands.

There's no shortage of identified and valid threats but the Army isn't the answer to them and the Army needs to realise and admit that - and I think, if you read his address to RUSI, Carter has. Unfortunately he seems to lack the guts to say so directly.
 
..so how, pray, could it be done any other way if these are not to be poorly equipped armd / mech units?
You could have a mech coy within the light inf Bn or have a separate mech Coy within the Bde/orbat (no troops, just vehicles and crews)

Secondly, their role as SIBns is their sole raison d'etre - they don't have an alternative role.
There we're agreed.
As we agree... no other role...apart from cap badge preservation but that’s part of the problem - 1 trick pony

As I've said repeatedly, I DON'T KNOW the threat the Army faces which is why I can't say what's needed - only what, in the absence of any threat, isn't needed and that happens to be most of the Army as it currently stands.

There's no shortage of identified and valid threats but the Army isn't the answer to them and the Army needs to realise and admit that - and I think, if you read his address to RUSI, Carter has. Unfortunately he seems to lack the guts to say so directly.
So you be belittle others opinions?

What in the current orbat isn’t needed?
 
... a mech coy within the light inf Bn or have a separate mech Coy within the Bde/orbat (no troops, just vehicles and crews)
If it has no tps it isn't a mech coy - just an addition to the MT with associated logistics and support requirements and veh commanders with no tps (and, elsewhere in your planned units, bns of tps with no commanders!) with vehicles that may well need to be tasked elsewhere. Pointless penny-packeting and commanders with no tps and tps with no commanders.
As we agree... no other role...apart from cap badge preservation but that’s part of the problem - 1 trick pony
No we don't agree it's a "1 trick pony" with all that implies. Their role is to replace BMATTs and CMATTs as well as some LS - a role the UK's previously done very well (according to those on the receiving end) until it decided that it could be done by unselected and arbitrarily nominated units and individuals since when it's been done with rather less success. Those who don't agree have only to look at the COTK and whose model and schools (cav, inf, arty, etc) they're now following in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Cap badge preservation is one aspect and how it's being done, but the issues (and the arrogance) go far deeper than that - we're no longer seen as being good or even competitive at something we previously excelled at, however good we may think we are, so we're building a capability that isn't wanted.
So you be belittle others opinions?
If they keep prattling on about what we need without saying why we need it, I'd suggest any 'belittling' is well deserved.
What in the current orbat isn’t needed?
Without identifying the threat any more than it has been (and I've readily admitted ignorance): any and all county cap badges, most (2 out of 3+) PD bns, all SIBns, all bar one (of each) armd and mech bdes, and any and all inf AR under current AR commitment legislation.
 
If it has no tps it isn't a mech coy - just an addition to the MT with associated logistics and support requirements and veh commanders with no tps (and, elsewhere in your planned units, bns of tps with no commanders!) with vehicles that may well need to be tasked elsewhere. Pointless penny-packeting and commanders with no tps and tps with no commanders.
If it was down the road of an APC Coy per Light Inf Bn - then you still have the troops in the Coy plus the crews and techs (we used to have this in Ireland).

If you to go down APC Coy per Bde, then yes no troops, that doesn’t mean all the crew are Ptes, the commander of one vehicle would be a Capt/Maj (others with NCOs and ptes). It’s basically a Zulu muster. You can call it an APC Coy, MT Pln or whatever.

I’m not saying it should be done I’m just saying it’s an option, it you find the light inf need some light armour on occasion.

No we don't agree it's a "1 trick pony" with all that implies. Their role is to replace BMATTs and CMATTs as well as some LS - a role the UK's previously done very well (according to those on the receiving end) until it decided that it could be done by unselected and arbitrarily nominated units and individuals since when it's been done with rather less success. Those who don't agree have only to look at the COTK and whose model and schools (cav, inf, arty, etc) they're now following in Iraq and Afghanistan.
so it can do other roles then (without troops)?!

Cap badge preservation is one aspect and how it's being done, but the issues (and the arrogance) go far deeper than that - we're no longer seen as being good or even competitive at something we previously excelled at, however good we may think we are, so we're building a capability that isn't wanted.
agreed

Personally I think the idea of permanent OMLT type units (building foreign forces capability so large numbers of British troops don’t have to be deployed) is a good one.

It’s how it’s being implemented that is the problem.

If they keep prattling on about what we need without saying why we need it, I'd suggest any 'belittling' is well deserved.
Without identifying the threat any more than it has been (and I've readily admitted ignorance): any and all county cap badges, most (2 out of 3+) PD bns, all SIBns, all bar one (of each) armd and mech bdes, and any and all inf AR under current AR commitment legislation.
You’d also need to be able to tell what all future threats will be in the next 10+ years in other maintain/acquire the necessary capabilities.
 
If it was down the road of an APC Coy per Light Inf Bn - then you still have the troops in the Coy plus the crews and techs (we used to have this in Ireland).
Absurd penny-packeting; acceptable (and maybe unavoidable) in an Army of 7,000 and only two bdes but not in an Army that's any larger.
If you to go down APC Coy per Bde, then yes no troops, that doesn’t mean all the crew are Ptes, the commander of one vehicle would be a Capt/Maj (others with NCOs and ptes). It’s basically a Zulu muster. You can call it an APC Coy, MT Pln or whatever.
Correct, it doesn't mean all the crew are Ptes, it just means that all above pte (NCOs and offrs) have virtually no tps to command. Incredibly wasteful and totally unacceptable in today's economic climate.

The example I was using with RM was RM providing Volvo BVs and dvrs in Afghanistan - a short term expedient solution, nothing more.
so it can do other roles then (without troops)?!
WTF does it have to do "other roles"?

Like RMAS and your DFTC, that's it's job. BMATTs and LS have given Britain a lot of lasting influence overseas in the past, although arguably they're not nearly so sought after or highly regarded now. Making the job / role 'specialised' again should go some way to remedying that, although I'm unaware of anyone outside the Army board / CGS who thinks that SIBns are in any way the answer.
Personally I think the idea of permanent OMLT type units (building foreign forces capability so large numbers of British troops don’t have to be deployed) is a good one.
Agreed, but the issue is how you do it and in what numbers. The numbers and scale proposed with SIBns is simply impossible as the talent just isn't there on that scale - you only have to look at the ignorance in some of the barely credible posts here by some who were supposed to be 'cultural advisers' to see that
You’d also need to be able to tell what all future threats will be in the next 10+ years in other maintain/acquire the necessary capabilities.
Not "tell", but just put forward enough of a credible threat assessment to justify the expenditure. At the moment that's something the military have notably failed to do (at least publicly), while threats to national security from int and cyber are growing exponentially all the time.

As long as there are only limited funds, spending them on cap-badges and aircraft carriers is just taking those funds away from those who need them (int, cyber, police, etc) in order to provide toys for the boys.

.
 
Absurd penny-packeting; acceptable (and maybe unavoidable) in an Army of 7,000 and only two bdes but not in an Army that's any larger.

Correct, it doesn't mean all the crew are Ptes, it just means that all above pte (NCOs and offrs) have virtually no tps to command. Incredibly wasteful and totally unacceptable in today's economic climate.

The example I was using with RM was RM providing Volvo BVs and dvrs in Afghanistan - a short term expedient solution, nothing more.
or a lesson forgotten but sure....

WTF does it have to do "other roles"?

Like RMAS and your DFTC, that's it's job. BMATTs and LS have given Britain a lot of lasting influence overseas in the past, although arguably they're not nearly so sought after or highly regarded now. Making the job / role 'specialised' again should go some way to remedying that, although I'm unaware of anyone outside the Army board / CGS who thinks that SIBns are in any way the answer.
grand well don’t count them as inf

Agreed, but the issue is how you do it and in what numbers. The numbers and scale proposed with SIBns is simply impossible as the talent just isn't there on that scale - you only have to look at the ignorance in some of the barely credible posts here by some who were supposed to be 'cultural advisers' to see that
so maybe waddy the idea and as a training task comes up, taskorg/trickle post into OMLT Somalia (or whatever).
Not "tell", but just put forward enough of a credible threat assessment to justify the expenditure. At the moment that's something the military have notably failed to do (at least publicly), while threats to national security from int and cyber are growing exponentially all the time.

As long as there are only limited funds, spending them on cap-badges and aircraft carriers is just taking those funds away from those who need them (int, cyber, police, etc) in order to provide toys for the boys.

.[/QUOTE]
It does however create a balanced force with the capability to respond to a wide range of threats.

Room for improvement absolutely
 

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