BBC4 -A Company of Soldiers

#1
Anyone see this last night on BBC4 -great bit of reporting by the BBC.
If anyone wonders why the Yanks are having such a hard time in Iraq just watch this hour and half documentary.

What a bunch of cowboys !

Talk about no fire discipline !
 
#2
Feel free to deploy from the sedate south to the Sunni triangle anytime. The BW spent only a month or so in the area and found the difference between Basra and the Triangle stark.
 
#3
Bondi-Babe-Magnet said:
Anyone see this last night on BBC4 -great bit of reporting by the BBC.
If anyone wonders why the Yanks are having such a hard time in Iraq just watch this hour and half documentary.

What a bunch of cowboys !

Talk about no fire discipline !
I wonder what our fire discipline would be like if we had been patrolling Sunni areas for the last few years?
 
#4
However, they've never had good fire discipline, and this has caused a lot of the resentment.

ISTR the 82nd Airborne Division went in far too heavy handed, kicked the anthill over, and completely destabilised the region.
 
#5
Further, a good example of the British Army doing the same is Londonderry. Contrast before and after Bloody Sunday....
 
#6
tomahawk6 said:
Feel free to deploy from the sedate south to the Sunni triangle anytime. The BW spent only a month or so in the area and found the difference between Basra and the Triangle stark.
Sedate South my fukcing arrse... icehole
 
#7
Camp Freddie said:
tomahawk6 said:
Feel free to deploy from the sedate south to the Sunni triangle anytime. The BW spent only a month or so in the area and found the difference between Basra and the Triangle stark.
Sedate South my fukcing arrse... icehole
I think the point being that compared to the Sunni triangle, the south is considered to be a bit sedate by US forces.
 
#8
tomahawk6 said:
Feel free to deploy from the sedate south to the Sunni triangle anytime. The BW spent only a month or so in the area and found the difference between Basra and the Triangle stark.
The usual ill-informed American comment. I doubt whether the British soldiers in Al-Amarah, who are mortared almost daily, would agree that the South is 'sedate'. It is also worth remembering that it was the Americans, in insisting on being in overall charge, who allocated the TAORs.

In my own recent experience the Americans generally do themselves no favours with the locals; certainly the Iraqis I spoke to found them arrogant, unfriendly and untrustworthy. Whilst as individualsthey seem to be perfectly pleasant people doing a difficult job, they seem not to have understood the importance of how they are perceived by the locals. And they're still shooting at Coalition troops in broad daylight.
 
#9
ViroBono you are spot on with your views, last night on the programme we saw Americans running Iraqi vechiles off the road when they didn't move quick enough, warning shots being fired with .50 cals, troops shooting dead a locals pet dog and general contempt for the local population.
During the course of the 30 day documentary they were shot at daily -up to around six times a day. Two of their number were killed and several wounded.
But you couldn't help think that they brought it all on themselves.
Some of them were standup guys but others were just out for a cabbie !
 
#10
tomahawk6 said:
Feel free to deploy from the sedate south to the Sunni triangle anytime. The BW spent only a month or so in the area and found the difference between Basra and the Triangle stark.
Tomahawk, the argument about the us getting a more sedate region notwithstanding (and you have to ask yourself is the reason the area is so much quieter just due to the local ethnic make-up), it is slightly offensive for you to think the majority of people here can't recognise poor fire discipline (amongst other skills) when we see it. Some of the old and bold on ARRSE have seen much hairier situations. You also seem to forget that a lot of British soldiers have first-hand experience of working with septics.

Not intended as an inflammatory remark or having a go at US soldiers, just making a point.
 
#11
Sapukay said:
Further, a good example of the British Army doing the same is Londonderry. Contrast before and after Bloody Sunday....
Re Bloody Sunday. Check what Frank Kitson said in contrasting 8 Bde with 39 Bde. Derry was quiet before BS because boyos were allowed to do as they wished.
 
#12
Feel free to slate me for this, no doubt storm of abuse follows etc but here I go.

In addition to my status as a fairly long serving former British Soldier I am also part "Towel Head" as I have had put to me on occasion :)

Spent a vast amount of time in the Arab world. Invariably politeness, tolerance and understanding goes a long way. Yes we are frustrating people to deal with, yes we sometimes seem to be making life difficult but its just the way of things.

I was very moved last night watching this programme - seeing the distress of those who lost colleaques brought back a lot of memories and I do truly sympathise.

This said I can tell you that within the Arab world most Americans (whether this is justified or not) do not in fact have a reputation for taking a softly-softly or even vaguely tolerant approach at times. All of this said I thought the Major in the programme was clearly trying his best to be respectful and helpful.

I have to say that in my (no doubt biased) opinion British troops seem to have slightly more of a handle on that approach.

The Arab mind set, in the humble opinion of this Sunni Muslim gal is utterly different to that of the Western world.

I do understand the difficulty of being in a very hostile environment. Been there, done that, very long term. Not nice, stressful etc.

Once sat in a Restaurant in Tangiers listening to a tour party of Americans express their opinions about what they thought of us A-Rabs. Interesting stuff. The staff charged them 4 times the going rate at the end of the meal and just smiled politely.

Again all this said I have worked with US Troops on Ex etc in the past - nicer guys I could not wish to meet.

All about understanding and viewpoint I suppose.
 
#13
I also saw the programme last night and 'poor fire discipline' was my view too. The yanks showed themselves to be arrogant, ill-disciplined and completely unaware of the cultural differences between Arab and Westerner.

The US colonel shouting at the local leader because rockets were fired at his base probably did more for the insurgency than Sadr ever did.

Shooting at cars on a busy highway because they were in the way is crass stupidity and arrogance beyond contempt. Again, a good recruiting tool for the local insurgent leader.

Before any septic whinges about the 'sedate' south, compare deaths as a percentage based on force size. I did this a few months ago and the figures were pretty much the same.

Plus of course, we learned our lessons in NI, the Yanks have singularly failed to learn anything from Vietnam, Panama, Grenada and any other conflict they have been involved in.
 
#14
It was an interesting programme - I only saw the first 50 minutes or so.

The rules of engagement appear to be appalling and owe more to the Israeli Defence Force's experiences with the Palestinians than to the British Army's experiences in Northern Ireland. One soldier was aiming rapid shots (the best part of half a magazine) at a car that appeared to be nearly half a mile away. The treatment of the locals could only be inflammatory, as pointed out earlier on this thread, and in my opinion is not helped by the insistence on the troops wearing sunglasses, and avoiding eye contact and personal rapport with the locals.

These are armchair criticisms and I have every sympathy for the troops that risk their lives (and lose them) daily and who displayed a clear attitude of courageous professional determination. My criticisms are levelled firmly at the political leaders, commanders and doctrinal and training staffs who have clearly learned nothing since the Vietnam era, despite the existence of plenty of learning material in the world at large!

I sadly predict that the situation will get worse. Media rumours indicate that the US are looking to establish four super-bases from which they will operate. This will increase the status of the US as an occupying power and will hasten their exit from Iraq in a parallel with the failed Vietnamisation of the 70s.

The deaths that the unit suffered are tragic and the injuries are sorrowing and the troops are clearly doing the best they can within the bounds of the training and direction they receive.
 
#15
Nige said:
Before any septic whinges about the 'sedate' south, compare deaths as a percentage based on force size. I did this a few months ago and the figures were pretty much the same.
IIRC it's 0.8 for the south, with Baghdad and the Sunni triangle around 1.0
 
#16
MrPVRd said:
One soldier was aiming rapid shots (the best part of half a magazine) at a car that appeared to be nearly half a mile away.
I'm glad you said this, as I was gob smacked when this soldier started firing at a car coming of the freeway slip road maybe around 3-400+ metres away, and then the others just joined in. Even with a camera, the journalist couldn't see the occupants. Car could have been filled with a family. The other one was the mass shooting in the dark, and they hit what appeared to be a taxi, complete with civilian on the back seat with a .50 cal back wound, filmed sucking his last breaths in. He died within minutes.

I know it's difficult enough out there, but a bit of discipline in regards to firearms and rules of engagement would go a long way in bringing the civpop on side. My mate returned last year from a six-month tour a lot of which was driving civilianised vehicles in Central Baghdad, and he said the biggest thing that scared him wasn't the threat of IEDs or snipers, it was coming upon an American patrol. Scary.......
 
#17
When i was at the palace last year on the front gate it became obvious
with the vbied threat .Either we shot up every vechicle we thought was
suspicious which we would have killed countless iraqs,some brits ,A few yanks
and on one occasion a mirror journlist .Or we hoped the bad guys would make
themselves obvious .I guess the yanks have a diffrent roe . Dosent make it right.
 
#18
ive had a mate come back from iraq and apparently when the americans first went into iraq they apparently refused to give out aid in some of the cities they occupied...(apparently) fearing what happend in somalia...that on top of their fire discipline doesnt seem to have payed to well for them...british troops have had experience of peacekeeping in n irland maybe this has helped them to operate more effectively in iraq..i know it is hard out there but refusiing to give out supplies to civiliands in my mind isn't the best way to get the civilian population on your side maybe this is why the americans seem to be suffering more at the moment. My view (maybe a bit of biased) is that british soldiers treat civilians as could be friends (if that makes sense) whereas the americans seem to treat civilians with contempt and make no effort top get them on their side except with big rerward posters ( a bit generalised i know!!)
 
#19
ok guys, my 0.02cents worth. I served with the British Army down in Basrah on OP Telic 2, and i got to go to Al Amarah and Nasiriyah we traveled in soft skin vehicles, transported huge sums of cash about with relitively no protection, 2 sometimes 3 vehicles with a couple people in each. I now work out of Baghdad traveling all over the region, including frequent trips into and throught the Sunni triangle, and i can say that yes it may appear that the Americans have poor fire discipline, but having been in both areas, i can say that if I carried on acting the 'British' way, myself and probably some of my team mates would be dead now. This area is deadly!

It is a lot more dangerous up here, and we have lost men and had many more injured due to VBIED's, and if the vehicles on the road do not adhere to the numerous warnings that we give them then we too use force to stop them. It is a cold hard reality that sometimes innocents get injured or killed in situations like this, it isnt nice but it is unavoidable.

I have to ask since i havent seen the story, how was it put across? from what viewpoint was it reported? What was the reporters agenda. it is so easy to change a story to suit your needs. it just depends on some careful editing.


dunno what the opsec rules are about posting the Yank ROE which we use by the way, so i cant put everything in here, so if you want to ask me anything, PM me.
 
#20
I would suggest that you talk to some of the BW/QDG boys who were up in Dogwood before Xmas.

Three points:

1. Our ROE can be used in such areas, just a lot more robustly. You can always use a burst of 3-5 rather than half a mag.

2. Locals were far more responsive to a little more politeness from the average tom on the street - still didn't stop BG from being aggressively targeted and engaged by the local fun police.

3. I wonder how the situation would have been different if the BW BG had been up there for a full 6 months.

Yanks have got a hard job up there, don't think things would have been much different if we were there. What ballsed the whole thing up was the acute lack of plan post invasion - we should have got security infrastructure back up and running asp. Not our fault - try the politicians....again.
 

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