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British defence planning and Britain's NATO commitment 1979 - 1985

Truxx

LE
You never did a dumping programme? Even in your example, behind your knocker were 40 odd other knockers and behind them a DSA and behind that a CSA, all with pallets of 175....
But it was all predicated on pushing just enough forward just in time to keep guns firing. Don't confuse the outload bit and the setting out of the stocks in the various supply areas (as opposed to it all sitting in depots) with the resupply bit.

A good example would be how Martin Whyte organised GW resupply.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
But it was all predicated on pushing just enough forward just in time to keep guns firing. Don't confuse the outload bit and the setting out of the stocks in the various supply areas (as opposed to it all sitting in depots) with the resupply bit.

A good example would be how Martin Whyte organised GW resupply.
If it was JiT there would have been minimal stocks held anywhere and factories churning out shells ‘just in time’.

SWIDT?
 

Truxx

LE
If it was JiT there would have been minimal stocks held anywhere and factories churning out shells ‘just in time’.

SWIDT?
In fairness that's pretty much how I remember it. Although after BAS/RARS it might have been better described as "nowhere near enough and probably arriving too late"
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
In fairness that's pretty much how I remember it. Although after BAS/RARS it might have been better described as "nowhere near enough and probably arriving too late"
Now I'm not saying there was 'enough' especially after BAS/RARS etc, but I seem to recall Pombsen, Depot 90, Bracht etc and all those Forward Storage Sites being rammed with ammo in the 1980s?
 

Truxx

LE
Now I'm not saying there was 'enough' especially after BAS/RARS etc, but I seem to recall Pombsen, Depot 90, Bracht etc and all those Forward Storage Sites being rammed with ammo in the 1980s?
No point in dancing on the head of a pin, my hypothesis, worth nowt in the great scheme of things , particularly now is that military logistics, particularly in manoeuvre type conflict rather than positional, has always been about "just in time".
 
Can you expand on the ‘system’ you mention? And precisely who ‘blew it apart’?
The Equipment Support System. Before I go into a long diatribe, do you know how the Equipment Supply and Management system operated during the period in question? Do you know how various Reorder Levels were arrived at for Mt and Tech Spares? It was blown apart by continual funding reductions to maintain the stock levels required to do the tasks in hand. And piss poor Equipment Management and Procurement.

Par example, 14 Sig Regt get their shiny new EW gear circa 1986. And no vehicles to put it in. Because the procurers had assumed that 1 Tonne trucks would be used and the electronic fits were geared up to that end. The 1 tonne truck was obsolescent by then so we ended up with the equivalent of Starship systems being fitted to an old Land Rover.

There was damn site more to logistics than wagons full of Combat Supplies. And we could only carry 3.5 days of arty on wheels as opposed to the planned for 5.
 
Now I'm not saying there was 'enough' especially after BAS/RARS etc, but I seem to recall Pombsen, Depot 90, Bracht etc and all those Forward Storage Sites being rammed with ammo in the 1980s?
Oh and the rammed with ammo in these sites was about 5 days NATO SPG rates for General War. Pombsen was LANCE. Conventional warheads need not apply.

Edited to add; The Forward Storage Sites were no a logical logistic requirement. They were a sop to the Federal German Government policy of Vordererverteidigung (Forward Defence). NATO - News: "Forward Defence" : A NATO Archives seminar on NATO's Early Military Planning for Central Europe, 09-Dec.-2013

In detail "
  • Germany's role grew during the 1950s (Planning for forward strategy, pdf /197KB). It joined NATO in 1954 and was permitted to form an army in 1955. The German General Johan Graf Von Kielmansegg was appointed CINCENT in 1966 and became his country's security spokesman. The line of defence (initially on the Rhine) was moved to the centre of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in 1958, then to the Iron Curtain itself in 1963 at the request of the FRG and spurred on by the United States. The idea was to defend the entirety of the member nations (including the FRG and the Netherlands) and to be as close as possible to Berlin to give assistance if necessary."
 
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Please do.

Regarding your point about logistics and support, I once heard someone describe making things urgently for the task group as it steamed South in 1982. A new facility was also opened to increase the production of chaff rockets. Sailors were found to form naval parties aboard ships taken up from trade, some of which had quickly fabricated flight decks added.

Where would we get the personnel from now? Or the industrial capacity?



Of course defence of the realm includes contributing to NATO collective defence and perfecting sea lines of communication.
I think the stupendous scientific and industrial response to the pandemic answers your concerns.
 
A good example would be how Martin Whyte organised GW resupply.
Knowing nothing of GE reapply and Martin Whyte, could you elaborate please?

I always found it amazing, yet never understood how thing you needed magically appeared in theatre.....unless it was toner cartridges for the photocopier.
 

Ayatollah

Old-Salt
Another question for those who were serving at the time - what sort of warning was expected of an impending crisis? The diplomats and intelligence services, and our own forces kept a sharp eye on them.

Was it likely that there would be enough time to redeploy forces from out of area exercises and deployments?

Is there any similarity with NATO's current plan that within thirty days, they could deploy thirty mechanised infantry battalions, thirty major warships, and thirty squadrons of combat aircraft?
How many of you remember quick trains?
And to my recollection, every exercise fought was against the soviet block, So were we prepared? As nothing happened it is a question left to the individual to answer although the games were conducted whereby NATO/ UK Forces always lost.
Also in 79 Seato and Cento were disbanded and became part of NATO,. But then the UK was committed to all three organizations so it didn't matter unless you count the shekels.
 
Knowing nothing of GE reapply and Martin Whyte, could you elaborate please?

I always found it amazing, yet never understood how thing you needed magically appeared in theatre.....unless it was toner cartridges for the photocopier.
They didn't magically appear. A lot of people worked 18 hour days for weeks at a time to essentially turn a BAOR Combat Supply and Stockage Support system into one for GRANBY. Equipment's were used in support roles which were not originally envisaged e.g. 8" HOW being used on gun raids so HE ammo required and not too much available cue help from the Yank supplies in Caerwent and not from our glorious Belgian allies. E&MA for CR2 and WARRIOR were stripped from UK and BAOR equipment's not deployed. Th BAOR Stockage Support System was switched of by my boss so stock could be directed to the GRANBY stockpile being assembled. He was a Lt Col and he did ot because nobody else would.

Our EU partners were les than helpful
Why Belgium didn't send the bullets | HeraldScotland

Thee big joke at the time was

What is the difference between a Belgian and a slice of toast?

You can make soldiers from toast.
 
They didn't magically appear. A lot of people worked 18 hour days for weeks at a time to essentially turn a BAOR Combat Supply and Stockage Support system into one for GRANBY. Equipment's were used in support roles which were not originally envisaged e.g. 8" HOW being used on gun raids so HE ammo required and not too much available cue help from the Yank supplies in Caerwent and not from our glorious Belgian allies. E&MA for CR2 and WARRIOR were stripped from UK and BAOR equipment's not deployed. Th BAOR Stockage Support System was switched of by my boss so stock could be directed to the GRANBY stockpile being assembled. He was a Lt Col and he did ot because nobody else would.

Our EU partners were les than helpful
Why Belgium didn't send the bullets | HeraldScotland

Thee big joke at the time was

What is the difference between a Belgian and a slice of toast?

You can make soldiers from toast.
I understand they don’t magically appear. Not being a loggie though, the science behind it escaped me.

I was aware of the Belgian ammunition issue. And then rather than make it ourselves we decided to buy it from Pakistan. And then we realised that having ammo that jams every few rounds wasn’t too good, so we’ve decided to make it again.
 
Now I'm not saying there was 'enough' especially after BAS/RARS etc, but I seem to recall Pombsen, Depot 90, Bracht etc and all those Forward Storage Sites being rammed with ammo in the 1980s?
My understanding is that there was only enough pre-positioned ammo for around 7 days of full-scale operations. This without taking into account destruction of storage facilities and degradation of supply lines (even before NBC conditions).

The Chiefs of Staff advised the Government in 1981 that, “… BAOR did not have the capability to sustain conventional warfare in the Central Region for more than four days …”[lxv] The indications were that vital stock such as anti-tank missiles and tank rounds would be used up within three days.

It seems I may have been ovewrlty optimistic

“Among the most serious shortfalls are Army air defence and anti-tank missiles (Blowpipe, Rapier, Swingfire, Milan, Tow) and [RAF] air-to-air missiles (Sidewinder, Sparrow, MRAAM). [Based on the latest plans] stocks of Blowpipe by 1980 will be sufficient for less than 5 days at intensive rates and stocks of Rapier, only 2 days. [Similarly] 5 days’ stocks of Milan will not be accumulated until 1987/88 and of Swingfire until 1984/85. Heavy ammunition is also in short supply, for example Chieftain APDS (3 days’ stocks by 1980) [Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot], 155mm shells for FM70 [Artillery piece] (2½ days’ in 1980) and 51mm Mortar ammunition (3½ days by 1980).”[lxiv]



I would also assume that if NATO did not achieve air superiority quickly then the WP would take full advantage of having shorter supply lines to, literally, outgun us.
 
They didn't magically appear. A lot of people worked 18 hour days for weeks at a time to essentially turn a BAOR Combat Supply and Stockage Support system into one for GRANBY. Equipment's were used in support roles which were not originally envisaged e.g. 8" HOW being used on gun raids so HE ammo required and not too much available cue help from the Yank supplies in Caerwent and not from our glorious Belgian allies. E&MA for CR2 and WARRIOR were stripped from UK and BAOR equipment's not deployed. Th BAOR Stockage Support System was switched of by my boss so stock could be directed to the GRANBY stockpile being assembled. He was a Lt Col and he did ot because nobody else would.

Our EU partners were les than helpful
Why Belgium didn't send the bullets | HeraldScotland

Thee big joke at the time was

What is the difference between a Belgian and a slice of toast?

You can make soldiers from toast.
Was Belgium against GW1?
 
I understand they don’t magically appear. Not being a loggie though, the science behind it escaped me.

I was aware of the Belgian ammunition issue. And then rather than make it ourselves we decided to buy it from Pakistan. And then we realised that having ammo that jams every few rounds wasn’t too good, so we’ve decided to make it again.
The Indian Army issue with 9mm SAA dates back to the '70's.
Was Belgium against GW1?
Political problems at home with (another) coalition Government.
 
My understanding is that there was only enough pre-positioned ammo for around 7 days of full-scale operations. This without taking into account destruction of storage facilities and degradation of supply lines (even before NBC conditions).

The Chiefs of Staff advised the Government in 1981 that, “… BAOR did not have the capability to sustain conventional warfare in the Central Region for more than four days …”[lxv] The indications were that vital stock such as anti-tank missiles and tank rounds would be used up within three days.

It seems I may have been ovewrlty optimistic

“Among the most serious shortfalls are Army air defence and anti-tank missiles (Blowpipe, Rapier, Swingfire, Milan, Tow) and [RAF] air-to-air missiles (Sidewinder, Sparrow, MRAAM). [Based on the latest plans] stocks of Blowpipe by 1980 will be sufficient for less than 5 days at intensive rates and stocks of Rapier, only 2 days. [Similarly] 5 days’ stocks of Milan will not be accumulated until 1987/88 and of Swingfire until 1984/85. Heavy ammunition is also in short supply, for example Chieftain APDS (3 days’ stocks by 1980) [Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot], 155mm shells for FM70 [Artillery piece] (2½ days’ in 1980) and 51mm Mortar ammunition (3½ days by 1980).”[lxiv]



I would also assume that if NATO did not achieve air superiority quickly then the WP would take full advantage of having shorter supply lines to, literally, outgun us.
ISTR reading somewhere that I don’t know if it was the Falklands/ gW1 or 2 or even AFG that ammunition usage calculations were found to have been ridiculously optimistic and found wanting.

Whether or not that was down to troops deciding to fire off things that they didn’t normally get to fire was an issue.

I definitely remember reading that 5 brigade on it’s pre deployment training in 82 before they were sent south managed to use up something like 2 years worth of 2 divisions ammunition earmarked for training in 2 weeks.


His knows we were quite liberal in the use of MILAN in Helmand . But I think that was more to do with the QM saying he didn’t want them back as they were slated for disposal very soon and it was more cost effective to use them than ship them back for disposal.
 
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Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and Iran are in NATO?
No, but in the case of Australia and NZ they are strategic partners of NATO (I can't recall the specific term) and work to NATO STANAGs etc, and have worked alongside NATO in the Balkans and Afghanistan.
 
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@Yokel
I seem to remember reading somewhere that one of the things the Intelligence Services would look at is if the Soviets would release the troops that were coming to the end of their draft period....if they kept them across the board AND brought in a new draftees, people would start to get nervous.

You may want to check out this website,


Netherlands focused, but since the owner also generously hosts my BAOR document and has a wealth of information not only on Dutch Forces and deployments but NATO in general. He just added a section on the NATO Alert System...

Wasn't September a key date, as that was when one draft / conscript intake was due to finish, and the new one due to start? Delaying the exit would have been an indicator.
 

Truxx

LE
The Equipment Support System. Before I go into a long diatribe, do you know how the Equipment Supply and Management system operated during the period in question? Do you know how various Reorder Levels were arrived at for Mt and Tech Spares? It was blown apart by continual funding reductions to maintain the stock levels required to do the tasks in hand. And piss poor Equipment Management and Procurement.

Par example, 14 Sig Regt get their shiny new EW gear circa 1986. And no vehicles to put it in. Because the procurers had assumed that 1 Tonne trucks would be used and the electronic fits were geared up to that end. The 1 tonne truck was obsolescent by then so we ended up with the equivalent of Starship systems being fitted to an old Land Rover.

There was damn site more to logistics than wagons full of Combat Supplies. And we could only carry 3.5 days of arty on wheels as opposed to the planned for 5.
I still go cold whenever I hear the phrase "double earmarking"

As for your comments regarding logistics vs resupply I fear that you might be over using the hindsight-o-scope.

In any event there was and is nothing finer than trucks full of combat supplies.
 

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