Army smallest since before Napoleonic war.

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by hansvonhealing, May 25, 2007.

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  1. ThisIsLondon
    Army shrinks to its smallest since before the Napoleonic Wars

    The Army has shrunk to its smallest size for more than 200 years, official figures have revealed.

    The number of soldiers has slipped below 100,000 for the first time since the start of the Napoleonic Wars. Some 2,500 posts are unfilled.

    Critics, who say units fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are stretched to breaking point, are demanding the Government rethink its policy of scaling back the Army.

    Manpower targets have fallen by 5,000 over the last five years.

    The number of trained soldiers stands at 99,280, the figures from the Ministry of Defence showed.

    In comparison the Greek army currently boasts around 109,000 troops, and the Italians 112,000.

    The combined manpower of the Army, Royal Navy and the RAF stands at 177,760.

    This is nearly 6,000 below the target of 183,610 which military planners believe is needed for the Forces to fulfil their roles properly.

    The Navy has 34,940 personnel - 1,860 below its target - while the RAF has 43,550 personnel and 1,470 unfilled posts.

    Overall, the shortfall has grown from 1.5 of trained strength to 3.2 per cent in the past year.

    Conservative MP Patrick Mercer, a former infantry commander, said: "I have never known the Army's manning to be in such a desperate state.

    "Units are desperately short of men and this is imposing a disproportionate burden on regiments who are constantly looking for manpower to fight a war on two fronts.

    "The figure of 100,000 makes no sense. The Army is far too small for the tasks it is having to undertake."

    Major Charles Heyman, editor of the British Army Guide, said: "As well as the fighting, the strain on units returning from operationsis enormous.

    "Huge amounts of maintenance and routine work needs doing, and instead of the ten men needed for the job there are only seven.

    "Instead of knocking off at 5pm it's 7pm. It gradually chips away at morale."

    There are more than 25,000 personnel serving overseas.

    Some 7,000 of them are in Iraq, almost 6,000 in Afghanistan, 8,000 in Northern Ireland and around 1,100 in the Balkans.

    The Government claims fewer troops are needed thanks to efficiency gains from restructuring.

    A Ministry of Defence spokesman said recruitment is also improving, with 12 per cent more trainees joining than last year.

    From a low point of 40,000 soldiers in 1790, the Army grew to a peak of 250,000 before the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

    It was wound down during peacetime to little more than 100,000 but grew again rapidly from the 1840s onwards.

    You'll notr the MOD spokesman didn't say they were increasing the size of the Army, so why point out that recruitment is increasing?
  2. In modern history it is also worth noting that at the start of the 1st and 2nd World Wars the Army was also at around 100,000 strong. And in each case we had to massively recruit and train personnel just to keep up with the enemy.
  3. Because it sounds good, and maakes the public think everything will soon be fine.

    Is the comparison with pre Napoleonic times all that valid? At least then we had the world's most powerful navy, which we relied on heavily.. Comparing only the Army's situation now & then doesn't reflect the real decline in defence.
  4. Another thing he didn't mention is by how much is recuitment above/below the number required to replace those leaving?

    The first quote ?
  5. Are we surprised ? Fewer soldiers saves the 'soon to be annointed one' money. The politicians and the faceless bureaucrats see the 'job' being done and say to themselves - 'why have more soldiers ?'.
  6. The BEF sent to France in 1940 was bigger than the British Army today. And we still had enough troops left over to garrison the biggest Empire the world has ever seen.
  7. Shows how much grasp of the real world these numbnuts actually have.

    If the troops can't do the job without an increase in numbers it means (at least in todays world) that we will end up with even less soldiers :(

    As has been mentioned a few times on here the only way that this might change is if those out on the ground have a really nasty public loss in a pitched battle with the bad guys and I wouldn't wish that on any one.

    So as far as numbers are concerned you are fcuked basically.
  8. Looking at those figures the RAF has the biggest shortfall. 7 Sqn Cdrs ( Lt Col equiv) have PVR'd in recent weeks. There aren't enough pilots or engineers and measures are being taken to provide incentive pay. I doubt it will work. There have been several cases recently of officers refusing promotion and electing to leave. You know the situation is bad when that happens. As long as Ingram refuses to acknowledge overstretch 'cos he defines it as purely as an inability to achieve the task, (regardless of time spent away or hours worked) UK Armed Forces are heading for crisis. My estimate 12 to 18 months.
  9. I thought morale plummetted in the wake of Options for Change especially as those who were left were running around closing units. But there was a view that we were running down the Services because we had achieved our task and "won" the Cold War.

    This time round, I sense desperation as the organisation struggles to achieve the latest target or comes to term with the latest reorganisation (which always involves cuts in the number of posts). This isn't a happy organisation and there is a strong feeling of impending doom seeping down from on high. But it might just be that I haven't yet had my morning coffee and worked out how I can achieve the Boss's intent with 30% fewer staff than I had a year ago.... "by COP today, Litotes, old chap".

  10. To answer steven: I think that the ratio for recruiting and leaving is 2 to 1, 2 soldiers leave for every recruit brought in. These are figures for the year ending Dec 06.
  11. Can't any of you poeple read.

    The Government claims fewer troops are needed thanks to efficiency gains from restructuring.

    I might not know what this actully means to the blokes doing two jobs, but if the Government said it, it must be true.
  12. Recruiting figures down across the board, all the news from Iraq and Afghanistan coupled with lack of investment in housing, medical care etc has had a real effect.
    Why join up to serve your country when you live in sub standard accommodation and should you be injured you dont receive the due care that you are owed. Myself injured knee 18 months ago op in July this year, posted no accom for family either DHE or Rented, bought my own house so family now 200 miles away from my work place, counting down the days til pension day!!
  13. Ah yes. One of the previous reductions in troop numbers went to pay for the 'more deployable army'. So they are correct. the extra helicopters and transport aircraft pruchased mean that soldiers can now cover more ground. I see two issues with this, the government didn't buy the extra transport aircraft, they just used the money to pay for some of the ongoing operations, thus hiding more of the cost of the wars from the tax payer. The second issue, unless I am mistaken, a soldier cannot be in two or more places at once.

    It is also unfortunately not just in numbers of soldiers. there are long lead time items which are being dramatically reduced in numbers. subs, surface vessels, nimrod patrol aircraft, transport planes, helicopters ... are also being reduced. We will keep reducing until we have a tragic event, or some world power feels that there is no longer anyone to oppose them and decides to go on a rampage. (shades of the run-up to WWII)

  14. This is a very cynical way of reducing the Armed Forces further still. Keep morale low by various means.......more Servicemen leave.....bin/combine units because they arnt up to strength. Load of old tosh about more efficiency and so on justifies them to the great unwashed who doesnt give a poo about Tommy A
  15. Army shrinks to its smallest since before the Napoleonic Wars?

    And this time it would be touch and go whether we could actually reach mainland Europe and beat the French.