British Army EW in the 1980s - just what did 14 Sigs do?

I have been reading Hackett's "The Third World War" again, mostly for a bit of nostalgia value when the world was simpler... :)

Some of the bits in the book had me thinking about EW and how it would have affected ops back in the 80's. We all knew the Sovs had a massive EW capability and as an infantry signaller we regularly practiced anti-jamming drills, radio silence (land lines etc) and comms security. One of the main aims was to avoid being DF'd.

We knew that 14 Sigs often played as Exercise enemy, recording our Tx's (my Bn 2ic featured prominently in one post ex debrief for his total lack of VP skills which allowed 14 sigs to find Bn HQ) and generally trying to DF us.

It occured to me however that one Signals Regt might be a bit thin on the ground when it came to dealing with 3 Shock Army.

My question is this - did we actually have any offensive EW capability such as jamming Soviet nets, RDF to locate HQs etc, or were we limited to just listening and gathering information for the Int chaps?
 
I have been reading Hackett's "The Third World War" again, mostly for a bit of nostalgia value when the world was simpler... :)

Some of the bits in the book had me thinking about EW and how it would have affected ops back in the 80's. We all knew the Sovs had a massive EW capability and as an infantry signaller we regularly practiced anti-jamming drills, radio silence (land lines etc) and comms security. One of the main aims was to avoid being DF'd.

We knew that 14 Sigs often played as Exercise enemy, recording our Tx's (my Bn 2ic featured prominently in one post ex debrief for his total lack of VP skills which allowed 14 sigs to find Bn HQ) and generally trying to DF us.

It occured to me however that one Signals Regt might be a bit thin on the ground when it came to dealing with 3 Shock Army.

My question is this - did we actually have any offensive EW capability such as jamming Soviet nets, RDF to locate HQs etc, or were we limited to just listening and gathering information for the Int chaps?

I suspect any of the info you seek, is still subject to the OSA.
 
My own time with 14 started as the wall came down. I'd suggest @Glad_its_all_over would be best placed to answer your questions, given the amount of time he spent there (some of which he may have been sober enough to remember).
 
I can't help the OP but I recall being spooked hearing my own voice on playback from Ivan a good 6 months after I had sent the messages they were transmitting.
 

Just_plain_you

War Hero
Pointlessly polishing things that were never designed to be polished. Pointlessly painting things in Corps colours that didn't need to be painted at all. Waiting for the inevitable RSIT failure on a issue so mundane no-one thought they would bother to pick it up. Probably.
 
Pointlessly polishing things that were never designed to be polished. Pointlessly painting things in Corps colours that didn't need to be painted at all. Waiting for the inevitable RSIT failure on a issue so mundane no-one thought they would bother to pick it up. Probably.
So you painted kerb stones and cut grass with scissors as well!
 
I don't know what 14Sigs(EW) did in the 80's, I don't even know what they did when I served in that unit in the Noughties.

I'm not sure anyone knew :?
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
I have been reading Hackett's "The Third World War" again, mostly for a bit of nostalgia value when the world was simpler... :)

Some of the bits in the book had me thinking about EW and how it would have affected ops back in the 80's. We all knew the Sovs had a massive EW capability and as an infantry signaller we regularly practiced anti-jamming drills, radio silence (land lines etc) and comms security. One of the main aims was to avoid being DF'd.

We knew that 14 Sigs often played as Exercise enemy, recording our Tx's (my Bn 2ic featured prominently in one post ex debrief for his total lack of VP skills which allowed 14 sigs to find Bn HQ) and generally trying to DF us.

It occured to me however that one Signals Regt might be a bit thin on the ground when it came to dealing with 3 Shock Army.

My question is this - did we actually have any offensive EW capability such as jamming Soviet nets, RDF to locate HQs etc, or were we limited to just listening and gathering information for the Int chaps?
Answering the specific questions posed:

Yes.
Yes.
No,

Hope this helps.

Note also that the UK capability was part of a much larger NATO capability, the national elements of which had good mutual relations and exercised in concert often enough to be able to work together very efficiently
 
Answering the specific questions posed:

Yes.
Yes.
No,

Hope this helps.

Note also that the UK capability was part of a much larger NATO capability, the national elements of which had good mutual relations and exercised in concert often enough to be able to work together very efficiently
Thanks for that - the yes and no answers are fine - I wasn't after specifics.

I was just wondering if NATO and us in particular actually had an offensive EW capability, as opposed to just defensive EW technques.
 
Pointlessly polishing things that were never designed to be polished. Pointlessly painting things in Corps colours that didn't need to be painted at all. Waiting for the inevitable RSIT failure on a issue so mundane no-one thought they would bother to pick it up. Probably.
Did you paint the Land Rover wheel nuts red?

...or is that still classified... :)
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
Thanks for that - the yes and no answers are fine - I wasn't after specifics.

I was just wondering if NATO and us in particular actually had an offensive EW capability, as opposed to just defensive EW technques.
No probs, not being James Bond-y and much of the info is in the public domain, if you are interested, then check out, for example, Bromure or the German Hummel vehicle on the TPz Fuchs platform.
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
...and, as you'd expect and this being at heart a Signal Regiment, despite the bracing and stimulating presence of may other cap badges, service in the Regiment involved a great deal of standing around the Trailer of Knowledge, dealig with mulish, ruler-writing, failed tradesman Royal SIgnals RD type, area cleaning and preparing for the endless round of inspections and Active Edge alerts, dets to NI as well as some depravity, drunkenness and debauchery - but with a constant drum beat of real-world, real-life operations also going on to maintain skill levels and play a role in national operations.

When bored, as a prone-to-capture unit, mandatory annual SERE training involving E&E and not answering awkward questions posed under stress provided a bit of light relief.
 
Pointlessly polishing things that were never designed to be polished. Pointlessly painting things in Corps colours that didn't need to be painted at all. Waiting for the inevitable RSIT failure on a issue so mundane no-one thought they would bother to pick it up. Probably.
I've given you a funny but sadly looking back all your points are pretty close to the truth.
 
I believe 14 had an SDS unit in support of the MRF (Belfast branch) in late 71.
Different 14 Sigs. It wasn't EW then and didn't become so until 1977 when it subsumed some of the independent Squadrons. It didn't become a NATO asset until 1982.

Thanks for that - the yes and no answers are fine - I wasn't after specifics.

I was just wondering if NATO and us in particular actually had an offensive EW capability, as opposed to just defensive EW technques.
It wasn't just us. Germans, Dutch and others all had their own EW Regiments or equivalents and we would exercise alongside them plus, of course, the Americans who outnumbered the rest of us put together. Look at the 14 Sigs history website and it'll tell you a bit more including the strategic and tactical uses of EW so both offensive and defensive.

Plus, in a changing world of comms, 14 Sigs (EW) has changed what it does many times. Like others, I didn't go there until the wall was coming down but I have a grandson who is now serving there and, although he keeps it a bit schtum, is definitely different to what the Regiment did in the 80s.
 
Need to know!
Oh, we knew how to pointlessly polish things that were never designed to be polished. Pointlessly paint things in Corps colours that didn't need to be painted at all, painted kerb stones and cut grass with scissors and even painted the Land Rover wheel nuts red.

We needed to know how to do that #RoyalSignals #LifeInTheCorps
 

UpInThemGuts

Swinger
I have been reading Hackett's "The Third World War" again, mostly for a bit of nostalgia value when the world was simpler... :)

Some of the bits in the book had me thinking about EW and how it would have affected ops back in the 80's. We all knew the Sovs had a massive EW capability and as an infantry signaller we regularly practiced anti-jamming drills, radio silence (land lines etc) and comms security. One of the main aims was to avoid being DF'd.

We knew that 14 Sigs often played as Exercise enemy, recording our Tx's (my Bn 2ic featured prominently in one post ex debrief for his total lack of VP skills which allowed 14 sigs to find Bn HQ) and generally trying to DF us.

It occured to me however that one Signals Regt might be a bit thin on the ground when it came to dealing with 3 Shock Army.

My question is this - did we actually have any offensive EW capability such as jamming Soviet nets, RDF to locate HQs etc, or were we limited to just listening and gathering information for the Int chaps?
Infantry Signals... D10. I asked a guy one time if he knew what a REBRO was. I think we called the kit used an EBRU? can´t remember but he said, "yeah we join two radios with some D10... :)
 

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