British Frontier Corps veteran ....

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by TwentyBandH, Jan 2, 2009.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. British Frontier Corps veteran recalls fighting Pashtun tribesmen.

    The North West Frontier veteran Major John Girling, advises today's Nato officers on the Pakistani-Afghan border to learn Pashtu, listen to Pashtun officers and 'don't interfere with the tribal customs'

  2. Anybody who goes to Afghanistan without John Masters' 'Bugles and a Tiger' on their e-reader is also missing out on some very valuable past experience.
  3. How valid are this old boys thoughts and does the way the war was fought then compare well to now ?
  4. The way the war is being fought is different, the tactics and technology are different, but the 'enemy' and culture is still the same.

    I'd also recommend Home From The Hill too.
  5. I think Buckfelize has hit the nail on the head. Whilst the mechanics, dynamics and hardware of warfare have changed capabilities. However methods of dealing with the local population should always be the same; learn the language and the customs or the people and respect both. Treat any deviation from the acceptable with swift but fair and firm response. Gaining hearts and minds is equally about gaining respect and trust. Show the locals that you are strong enough to protect them and fair enough to police them and you have won 3/4 of the battle.
    The modern tribesmen will know that the present-day Taliban are made up of foreigners who have no more claim over Afghanistan than any other foreigner. We have to show them that we are the benign foreigners who'll protect them from the incursive 'foreign' Taliban and the excesses and the disrepect of the locals and their customs that they bring.
  6. All officers had to learn Pashtu "as soon as possible"
    'Kinell! Our modern officers struggle with English! Maybe if they spent less time Drilling and more time learning useful stuff at Sandhurst?

    On a pedantic note, the men who won our Empire's wars in the 60's are still around. Especially the men who worked for the Sultan of Oman.
  7. The Sultan of Oman ex-forces have a reunion in Hull every year at the Pearson Park Hotel (01482 343043)
  8. Thanks Markintime.
    It's a bit before my time, but I hope the lessons of a successful war can be learned and disseminated, before it's too late.
  9. This guy must be knocking on. I think the last British military action on the NW Frontier was in Feb 1940 in the Bannu area of Waziristan (3rd (Jhelum) Bde with 1/16 Punjabis, 1/3 Gurkhas, 1/10 Baluch supported by RA including a bty of 6-inch Hows = minimum force).

    I'd also suggest that Pushto speaking offrs were very thin on the ground, India Army officers had to speak either Gurkhali or Urdu, which was the language of their units (Urdu being the lingua franca of the Indian Army). The Pushto speakers were the guys in the role of 'political agents', etc, stationed in the tribal areas or perhaps in regts recruited from the Pushto speaking tribes.
  10. untallguy

    untallguy Old-Salt Reviewer Book Reviewer

    You're talking about Indian Army officers commanding Indian Army soldiers and units. Frontier Corps units fought throughout the 1940s and beyond (ending up as part of the Pakistan Armed Forces).

    Frontier Corps officers were Pushtu speaking. Indian Army officers in charge of Pathan tribesman formed into tribal militias (eg South Wazirisran Scouts, Zochi Scouts). These were irregular units, not regular Indian Army ones. A good book about this is 'The Frontier Scouts' by Charles Trench.
  11. Sisyphean eh?
  12. Christ! I hadn't heard that term in ages. For those without the 'benefits' of a classical education, Sisyphus was a naughty Greek who ended up I'm Hell. His punishment was to push a large boulder to the top of a hill, however everytime he approached the top he would slip or trip and the stone would break free and end up at the bottom of the hill, forcing him to start again.

    The real punishment was that he knew that no matter how hard he tried, he would never succeed in his task.

    Why he never jacked in and just sloped off for a quiet pint eludes me.
  13. He was training for P Coy
  14. Bugger, you beat me to it, was about to recommend this amazing book too! Incredible stories indeed and you've got to admire those young officers who were sent to command the various units of "Scouts" along the NW frontier. Alone with their men for 18months at a time, with no higher authority to refer to and responsible for huge areas of the frontier which had to be patrolled on foot. They were astonishingly fit, well up to SAS standards today. Weren't these long patrols called "Ghashts" or something like that ?
  15. Dread, nicely recounted and another word in the lexicon.

    I look forward to using this. "You have a bad case of Sisyphus Sir".