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Army Manning Levels 1960-2020

Mölders 1

Old-Salt
With all the current talk of Recruiting being at a very high level due to Covd-19 and also the perennial argument over Retainment, It has made me think was the Army ever at full strength in any one year from 1960 when National Service was abolished through to 2020?

No two years over the past 60 years were exactly the same as regards Recruiting/Outflow as they both vary each year every year.

Thoughts/experiences please.
 

chimera

LE
Moderator
Yes - the Army went overmanned around 2010/11 when the bow wave of training output following a recruiting surge in 2008 met a reduction in voluntary outflow caused by the economic downturn in 2009. Some of the good things that fell out of that time were the start of the PAP10 cull of the fablon biff chit brigade, and the opportuntiy to move the recruit selection entry bar much higher.
 
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Mölders 1

Old-Salt
Yes - the Army went overmanned around 2011/12 when the bow wave of training outflow following a recruiting surge in 2008 met a reduction in outflow caused by the economic downturn in 2009.

Did that recruiting surge result in all units being fully manned?
 

chimera

LE
Moderator
Did that recruiting surge result in all units being fully manned?

True "Full Manning" is almost impossible to achieve because recruiting clearly only feeds people into the bottom of the pyramid, and cannot fill gaps in specific age/rank/trade groups. So the "headline" figure may show full manning but the structure will almost certainly be wrong.
 

Mölders 1

Old-Salt
True "Full Manning" is almost impossible to achieve because recruiting clearly only feeds people into the bottom of the pyramid, and cannot fill gaps in specific age/rank/trade groups. So the "headline" figure may show full manning but the structure will almost certainly be wrong.

So l thought.

I really appreciate your feed back.

Thank you so much.
 

anglo

LE
With all the current talk of Recruiting being at a very high level due to Covd-19 and also the perennial argument over Retainment, It has made me think was the Army ever at full strength in any one year from 1960 when National Service was abolished through to 2020?

No two years over the past 60 years were exactly the same as regards Recruiting/Outflow as they both vary each year every year.

Thoughts/experiences please.
I joined up in 1960 with the last of the national service, there were 450 000 people in the armed services
This gives some idea of the thinking by defence staff in 1960

 
Yes - the Army went overmanned around 2011/12 when the bow wave of training output following a recruiting surge in 2008 met a reduction in voluntary outflow caused by the economic downturn in 2009. Some of the good things that fell out of that time were the start of the PAP10 cull of the fablon biff chit brigade, and the opportuntiy to move the recruit selection entry bar much higher.

Have you got a link to that? I cant remember a single year where the Army was overmanned, I can remember when recruiting was slightly up and signing off slightly down but not enough to make the overall numbers overmanned.
Even when they made 20000 people redundant, they also changed the manning level (by 20k) and still didnt hit the target.

Edit it looks like in 2010 they were overmanned

MMR DECEMBER 2011.xls (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Edit again, although I cant tell if they added the untrained soldiers to those numbers.
 
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Regrading Army manpower strength I was a Recruit Selection Officer from 1989 to '91, initially at Sutton Coldfield, then when it closed to a District.
While at Sutton Coldfield the emphasis was on MARILYN,- Manning and Recruitment In the Lean Years of the Nineties.
It was estimated that the demographic of people in the age group we recruited from would not be big enough to meet our needs. This would be added to losing 30% of recruits in training.
A lot of emphasis was placed on getting out selection decisions right to reduce wastage during training.
Then that nice Mr Gorbachev declared peace throughout the world and the Government used it to reduce the size of the Army to get the "peace dividend ". Panic over and MARILYN disappeared into File 13.
My Corps reduced from 13,000 down to 9,000.
 
With all the current talk of Recruiting being at a very high level due to Covd-19 and also the perennial argument over Retainment, It has made me think was the Army ever at full strength in any one year from 1960 when National Service was abolished through to 2020?

No two years over the past 60 years were exactly the same as regards Recruiting/Outflow as they both vary each year every year.

Thoughts/experiences please.
For more recent years this will be useful https://assets.publishing.service.g...20160823-FOI07470_77522_Personnel_Stats-O.pdf
 

chimera

LE
Moderator
Have you got a link to that? I cant remember a single year where the Army was overmanned, I can remember when recruiting was slightly up and signing off slightly down but not enough to make the overall numbers overmanned.
Even when they made 20000 people redundant, they also changed the manning level (by 20k) and still didnt hit the target.

Edit it looks like in 2010 they were overmanned

MMR DECEMBER 2011.xls (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Edit again, although I cant tell if they added the untrained soldiers to those numbers.
No link as Army Manning figures used to be published monthly by DASA on the old DII system, but I don't think are available online. Whilst I hear what you say from your own perspective, I was very closely involved in manpower and structural issues in my own Corps at that time, and so also had sight of the overall Army situation, but believe me I am right. But see also my second response to the OP above: whilst the headline figure might have shown full/overmanning, that may well not have been seen in every capbadge, unit, and every trade group etc. Some areas, e.g. Gurkhas, were massively overmanned (they have always been masters at hiding people), some Corps still well short.
 
With all the current talk of Recruiting being at a very high level due to Covd-19 and also the perennial argument over Retainment, It has made me think was the Army ever at full strength in any one year from 1960 when National Service was abolished through to 2020?

No two years over the past 60 years were exactly the same as regards Recruiting/Outflow as they both vary each year every year.

Thoughts/experiences please.
I know that in the early eighties up until about 1985 the army was up to strengh including all 50 British Infantry battalions. The Army strengh in 1985 was 156, 000. This was in the early Thatcher years with heavy industry and the mines being closed. By the late eighties significant gaps were appearing again.
 

Mölders 1

Old-Salt
I know that in the early eighties up until about 1985 the army was up to strengh including all 50 British Infantry battalions. The Army strengh in 1985 was 156, 000. This was in the early Thatcher years with heavy industry and the mines being closed. By the late eighties significant gaps were appearing again.

We were living in Bicester back in the late 1980's and as l remember it loads of blokes were signing off then.

My old man wanted to leave a few years early rather than stay stuck there working in the Stores until he completed his 22 years service.

Thank you for your input.
 
We were living in Bicester back in the late 1980's and as l remember it loads of blokes were signing off then.

My old man wanted to leave a few years early rather than stay stuck there working in the Stores until he completed his 22 years service.

Thank you for your input.

Bicester was a sleepy little place in the late 80s for the RAOC, it was alright if you wanted a rest.
 

Mölders 1

Old-Salt
You are perfectly right about that Stacker 1, however my old man was posted there from Münster in 1984 and before that we were in Aldershot (he was in 6th Field Force at that time).

He went from constantly going away on Training Exercises to working in the stores with blokes who in his own words were "Sick, Lame and Lazy".

He just wasn't suited to working in the Stores so he volunteered for Q.R.F. instead to see out his remains years.
 
You are perfectly right about that Stacker 1, however my old man was posted there from Münster in 1984 and before that we were in Aldershot (he was in 6th Field Force at that time).

He went from constantly going away on Training Exercises to working in the stores with blokes who in his own words were "Sick, Lame and Lazy".

He just wasn't suited to working in the Stores so he volunteered for Q.R.F. instead to see out his remains years.

Some people funded their new home from those stores. God bless the shit accountability, slack security and Finmere market.
 

Mölders 1

Old-Salt
Some people funded their new home from those stores. God bless the shit accountability, slack security and Finmere market.
Oh Yes!

Finmere Market was raided many times by the Police l heard.

I should have added he was at St Davids Barracks, Graven Hill, not St Georges Barracks Arncott.
 
We could do a decent job of invading, wouldn't cost much either as we'd only need one ferry, maybe two if we sent some hangers on like REME.
 
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