DEAR PM, I'M A TERRITORIAL, GET ME OUT OF HERE

The biggest buzz around our TAC, when the balloon went up, was WHEN are we going, not IF, WHEN. We had all quietly made arrangements, looked at insurance policies, spoke to partners, spoken to our oppos, and quietly decided, every man jack in my unit, that when the brown envelope arrived, we'd be ready. After all, we trained together, we knew each other socially, and we'd go to war together. On a more serious unspoken note, if we had to die in some sh1thole far from home, at least we'd be doing it with our friends.

Except the MOD had other ideas. We want to deploy as a formed unit, that's why we're called a COMPANY, not X Coy, the umpteenth battalion of Back Fillers and Trickle posters.

The on the bus, off the bus bollix that has gone on, yes we appreciate is the Army way of life, but FFS . The MOD will tell us how important we are, and then give us rock all , in the way of budget, and equipment to train on. As much as it hurts, in this current atmosphere, I can see the end looming for TA teeth units, SDR revisited. After all, we don't need infantry, when we have all these wizzy tanks and aircraft do we? What are we training for? Most of the specialists being called up, come from units where their day job is also their green job. So what's the role for a Part Time Bayonet? CCRF? They wouldn't even mobilise us, when we all thought the terrorist threat was real. The National Guard were on their local streets, being a visible prescence, the TA? I can assure you, the piss taking from friends and others started quite quickly on that one. "What did you do in the war Daddy? Fcuk all son"  :mad: . How do you explain to civvies, when you're from a teeth unit why you haven't been mobilised? They wonder what the use of the sodding TA INF is too.

You can always volunteer. Absolutely. Except you're not even guaranteed to be placed with your parent regiment. So, you have to overcome Regular prejeduice as well as the age old cap badge one. That's another reason you don't see floods of TA Inf volunteers. The current buzz is, if I get the brown envelope I go, but I'm screwed if I'll voluntarily shove my job down the toilet , for something like the last lot of cobblers.If you're self-employed, you're buggered. Even then, for the right to protect Britians interests and citizens, you'd still go.

We supplement the regular army already, on FTRS engagements. These are TA soldiers, who want to do a bit operationally, and have the time, or the emplyers that will let them do so. As MG gunner remarked once - "Yep, you can all rip the pi55 out of the STabs, but do you want to debus on the position with 4 blokes?"

Give us the training, give us the budget, give us A ROLE.

You're getting enthusiasm and expertise on the cheap, it will stand more money being thrown at it. It will be interesting to see the figures if they exist, of what a formed up units figures are like, as opposed to the Wheel o 'dicking approach the Morale Countermeasures Div have used so far. If you don't want to do it, or can't, then be honest, disband the TAPBI and re-muster us as loggies, electricians, mechanics, medics,engineers, whatever you think will be useful, but don't hold on to us, because you think TA Infantry might have a use maybe , sometime never.
It affects morale. I know it does, because mine is in the latrine pit right now, and I feel like me, and others in my unit and equivalent are getting shafted deliberately, real and imagined.
 
Tiff Biff

I think the quality of your posts  have shown yourself in your true light - not very edifying at that.  If you d@mn the whole TA on the basis off one quick post, your powers of reason & judgement are a bit weak.

Quite frankly, I have not got time to read every bit of "witticism" at the bottom of people's post.
 
Having current first hand experience of the TA I have to say that there are a lot of great guys. However, I believe that sadly a few comments that have appeared on this subject are not far from the truth. Yes there are good and bad in all walks of life. A shake up would be best for all. This would allow the good guys to carry on with their excellent work and get rid of the less popular bounty hunters.
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
Snatch_block -

I hope you're right about the great guys - we've got a large Pl of Recy Mechs on the way out very shortly!  Anything not nailed down in Basra is ours - and if it is nailed down, we just use more Fodens - and, of course, ask you guys to help with the CRARRV ;D

From the Chilwell feedback thus far, it's pretty clear that, during the mob process, they give you plenty of opportunity to back out 'gracefully' for unspec medical reasons.  Frankly, if that's what they want, we're better off without them.

As to how often to deploy - US Nat Guard reckon on once every 10 years being the most they can sustain.  And that's from an org that gives Pensions, PX privileges, etc., etc.
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
Having just read all three pages of this, you are all correct, some a little more extreme than others but essentially everyone is saying the same thing, the TA cannot continue to exist in its current form because either they don't have the skills of they can't be mobilised.  I even caught a glimmer off tiff-biff-boff admitting that they might have a role....

1.      Defined role, not this civ protection force racket that they are trying to set up.

2.      PBI must do all their training with regular counterparts (e.g. their cmd structure fits into a reg units cmd structure so that all training etc is actually done with regular counterparts where possible.  28 blokes added to a regular company as if BCR trickle element rather than on it's own, this means more time can be spent on skills than promotions etc at the TAC.  More PSI's per unit taking over the training rather than having TA JNCO's doing it.  Similar for the corps would help too.

3.      Legislative change to mean that employers can't ask if potential employee is a Reserve anything.  Wont ask, Dont tell type thing.

4.      Financial change to mean that less people can get out of mobilisation (or want to) - this will involve a wake up call for the treasury.

5.      pensions, other tangible benefits.

6.      Public perception away from weekend warrior to "join this lot, fight for country - we are not just fcking about in the woods at the weekend"

7.      Prevent the establishment of deadwood through real bounty tests.  We all know the problem with bounty tests is that generally good attendees etc that happen to be too fat for a BFT but are chef's get signed off anyway, also SNCO's (too cool to try) etc but in reality fatboy may cost lives on mobilisation.  Therefore there needs to be a step made to prevent this from happening, that'll stop a lot of the crap giving STABs a bad name.

It's all IMHO but feel free to pick holes and throw abuse at me.. :-[
 
Why not get a Platoon from each Company to become the "High readiness Platoon?"

These are the guys, who can be mobilised and want to be mobilised at the drop of a hat. This platoon will do all the gucci training, will train regularly with their regular counterparts (extra MTD's required), and will be up to speed with current doctrine and practice. Yes they will have to give up more time, possibly one major exercise per year + Annual camp, but they are the guys who can go. In addition to this platoon, there are ready reserves who can supplement the HRP, who won't train at quite the same level of intensity but can slot in to the lead platoon.

I think we also need to look at the length of mobilisations. I know this has been done to death on the TA baord, but why can't we have some shorter mobilisations? The last round of mobilisations at Chilwell showed, that working up can be done in theatre, judging by the processing time from call up to deployment. So let's have some 3 month mobilisations. We can get more bods to have some operational experience and sort out the( I use extremes here) "Parade ground - good attenders -SPSI arrse kissers-no intention of mobilising" individuals from the "job makes it hard to attend-but I  do what I can-Brown envelope arrives and I'm there" bods

Broad brush there, but I think you know what I mean.

With 3 month deployments end to end, a LOT more TA personnel would be willing to mobilise on a regular basis. A lot more TA personnel would get operational experience, I think a 3 month tour should be mandatory in a 3 year TA tour. If we need beat up training, add it to our MTD's or make annual camp a specific beat up-relevant to operational deployment exercise.

Just thinking out loud, comments or flames?  ;)
 

msr

LE
PtP,

I remain unconvinced about 3 month tours. Given all the paperwork etc that has to be done.  

A better use of the time would be to give us a realistic mobilisation notice period (perhaps the readiness status of the unit), rather than just a few days days. That way we can sharpen our skills and deploy fully ready.

Anyway isn't there supposed to be a 'bureaucracy-lite' option  called ADC (?) which could be used so that people can do attachments for a limited period of time (e.g. big exercises).

Cheers,
msr
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
I like the 3 month tour idea.  And the high readiness plt is fine but I deliberately chose the BCR route for three reasons:

1.  What if (more than a few) members of the HRP cant go because of some excuse/s?

2.  With nobody about to train with as much kit the HRP back at the TAC as much as the other regular guys they would be the weak link in a Coy.  

3.  To avoid the weak link/us and them argument.  I like the high readiness concept and the requirement to train with the unit.

I would suggest the BCR route as:

a)  Guys can be slotted in and out as required.

b)  Training is 'us together' rather than A Coy and their STAB pl.

c)  Reflection of the realities of current mobilisation issues.  If all my suggestions were taken up then this could be modified further.  

d)  HRP may not be able to train with their parent Bn as parent Bn is i) on Op's not needing two week annual camp STABs around or ii)  Too far far away to make it worthwhile.  Obviously extended training would work well with sorting this out but in it's absence how about BCR's fitting into an suitable exercise/courses run be similar unit to parent Bn.  

Radical comment, what about withdrawing TA soldiers regiments and having only cap badges or some new STAB beret (I DO REALISE HOW UNPOPULAR THIS IS, IM ONLY THROWING IT OUT THERE :-X ) which can be swapped for the new units beret on deployment.  Remember there were plenty of units formed in WW2 with new 'women army' headgear exactly for this sort of thing.   ::)

YOU DON"T HAVE TO BELONG TO A REGT YOU KNOW..
 
I remain unconvinced about 3 month tours. Given all the paperwork etc that has to be done.  
Msr, before the last bunfight I'd have agreed, but Chilwell showed how quickly they could become a well oiled machine. As for paperwork, how much do you really need? How much would you need, to send a guy or girl on a 12 week exercise, which is really what this is? I can see a lot of benefit in a 3 month deployment. Think of all that experience, enchancing the TA unit.
Perhaps someone like Ramillies could comment on whether this could be at all workable?

I take your point on mobilisation lead times. A 3 month lead would be excellent, even a 4 week one would be good. In my case, I'd have to find someone to run the business, and make sure all my clients were aware I was away, as well as sorting out the bank for signatories, closing contracts etc. In my case, I have a major council about to use my software, I should be here to supervise that, but if I'm called, I go - end of. A months notice would help no end, a week to 10 days is really stretching it , especially if you're applying for Sabre assistance.

Happy- Members of the HRP would have to be "vetted" as in availability and personal circumstances. Really, you're trying to define who in the Coy, could go with minimal dramas. More PSI's would be required , certainly more weekends. The HRP should be seen as the unit "elite" , other members of the Coy, should aspire to be in the HRP. The HRP should also include the Coy CP, enabling the HRP to slot in as "self-contained" as possible (thinking out loud) I think the HRP would also restore a "sense of purpose" missing at the moment.

Training is 'us together' rather than A Coy and their STAB pl.
Unfortunately, it will always be Regs and Stabs , but at least going this route, it will be A Coy and OUR Stab platoon

HRP may not be able to train with their parent Bn as parent Bn is i) on Op's not needing two week annual camp STABs around or ii)  Too far far away to make it worthwhile.  Obviously extended training would work well with sorting this out but in it's absence how about BCR's fitting into an suitable exercise/courses run be similar unit to parent Bn.  
i)We don't always need the Parent Bn around, just their facilities and the PSI
ii) In the case of the ARRRRRRRGH amalgamted cap badges, we can always train with the nearest Regiment, not just our own cap badge. Extended training would work well. I can see Regular Army going for it, as it gives them a chance to 1. Get us up to speed the way they want things done. 2. A platoon is a manageable size for a smaller cadre of regular instructors. 3. It gives them a chance to poach the stars ;D

As per your last statement highlighted - Noooooooo we're Infantry, of course we need a cap badge.
This dangerous talk of a "Royal Corps of Infantry" where we get one cap badge *Shudder* no no no no (Crosses self)
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
Agreed all points on 3 month tours (we could go for less to cover R&R in tours etc) but not much probably.

Understand your method of HRP vs BCR - but I like my idea more.. because someone has too! 8)

i)We don't always need the Parent Bn around, just their facilities and the PSI
Nice to have but if they take their warriors with them you are back to getting in and out of that truck again.

As per your last statement highlighted - Noooooooo we're Infantry, of course we need a cap badge.
This dangerous talk of a "Royal Corps of Infantry" where we get one cap badge *Shudder* no no no no (Crosses self)
HA AHA AHAHAHA, we shall see PTP, we shall seee  :p  
 

msr

LE
PtP.

There already is a High Readiness Reserve option available, perhaps the members of the HRP would be on this and move into and out of the platoon as circumstances evolved. E.g. in your case, you could move into another Pl until the software is implemented and then move back in.

Cheers,
msr
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
The prob with the CURRENT HRR is that it is still not actually trained any better - Ptp's suggestion of having a ready formed force within a force has merits.  The current HRR is just a bunch of guys who are more eager to give two fingers to their employers, partners or landlord than the others!   ;D  Sorry, couldnt resist.  ::)
 

msr

LE
..and the chance of getting extra funding for this is.....  :'(
 
Happy- My quotes on the ungodly suggestion you made, from the RCI thread in Infantry

All Infantry TA centres rebadged as RCI. All training that takes place, will be in basic Infantry skills, and after passing out from Depot, you can then choose a role specialisation, Paras, Armoured, Recce, Int etc , based on a Tick-test score or other exam.

Courses will be lengthened, and will also depend, on what Regular Army battalions need.

Annual camps will depend on your role specialisation, but there might be further training opportunities etc.
But those don't reflect my views, it's just an observation  ;D

Msr - There is a HRR option, that puts guys on 14 days to go I think? It isn't the same, as expresssed, certain peoples circumstances will change. We stuck our names down on the HRR list before SDR, but afterwards, I think Morale CM Div scrapped it, and my circumstances personally had changed.. As regards the HRP, yep, right now I'd be in 2 Platoon, i.e. Ok to mobilise subject to tying up the loose ends, but looking to move into 1 platoon or F/T Coy CP as soon as they were

The HRP by default, would be the HRR Platoon, and yes they could interchange with members of 2 Platoon, with 3 Platoon being the "Notes from matron, in dire emergency break glass and mobilise , or CCRF platoon" 3 platoon (CCRF) would also be supplemented by 2 platoon, therefore creating enough Bods across the regiment, to deal with civil contingencies. 3 platoon, as the lead CCRF platoon, would train exclusively for this role

At the moment HRR only signals a willingness to be deployed, it doesn't come with extra MTD's etc. The HRP will get the extra days, even if we're practicing with heli-bedfords..

I believe it's worthy of consideration, especially if our Reg battalions need a platoon of trained Inf in a hurry. The FTRS candidates would also be members of 1 Platoon, on 3 month mobilisations, and members of 2 platoon moving up to fill the gaps. Not sure about how difficult the organisation of this would be, it needs the input from someone way over my pay scale, but maybe we can trash out a suggestive plan in this discussion?
 

Paoli

Old-Salt
Perhaps the problem is that we always tend to look at this as "How do we make the TA better / more responsive" or "How do we make the Regular Army better / more responsive" rather than "How do we make THE ARMY better and more responsive".

I think we need to look at the problem as a whole, to see how THE ARMY can be improved.  The TA has increasingly been integrated into the regular army orbat at sub unit level, but has rarely achieved the success of Units like 1 Wessex, who were NATO roled and equipped and deployed as a unit within the divisional orbat.  In those days of course anything less than a Division was not deployable and operationally irrellevant.

Now a Brigade can be deployed independently (with a few Div Assets) or even (as in Bosnia) a Battlegroup.  Currently we fill spaces in these orbats by add-hoc gap plugging from any capbadge at the right stage of their readiness cycle and congratulate ourslves on how the regimental system doesn't prevent Poachers working alongside King'os as part of the 1 RGBW Battlegroup.  However, lets face it, only a genuine enemy enables anyone to tolerate the Kings, so wouldn't it be better for units to be reinforced by a dedicated RESERVE, who train with them at least once a year (the capbadge issue is slightly seperate to this but obviously sharing the same dress and cultural heritage across the two groups is attractive).

The reality now is that many TA soldiers see the THE ARMY (rather than the TA) as a genuine second job, and many of the best attenders view it as their principle job and adjust their their civilian lives around it.  These are the people who volunteer for FTRS and when they are back home work at their job because they want to be good at it.  These people are not wannabees, they are contract soldiers.  

Of course many TA soldiers have, at any given moment, genuine reasons for not wanting to abandon their families at the drop of a hat - particularly to be thrown into the mobilisation lottery with no expectation that they will serve alongside people they know.  The whole basis on which we build an army is designed to create the feeling of belonging so that soldiers will risk their lives for their mates and their sub-unit, if not for their regiment.  We then ignore this for the TA and expect them to put up with being randomly mobilised and posted to an alien environment.  To be honest, I'm impressed that none of them refused to go.  

Contrast this with the proposition of "Right Lads, Tony's off again and the Parachute Regiment are busy on a photo call, [The Battalion you support] are mobilising, grab your kit, you're on".  No shilly-shallying, no schimfing, this is what you signed up for and it's their mates (or at least their countymen) that they are supporting.

This seems to have turned into a rant and I'm not sure if I'm agreeing or disagreeing with anyone else.  My conclusions also seem to be dangerouly close to the old First battalion overseas on ops, Second Battalion in the UK as home defence and reinforcement model.  Whatever.  I feel, however, that there is a big picture here and the TA (could we get rid of that bloody "Dad's Army" name!) is an undervalued resouse that is suffering not just because of its own lack of direction and funding, but because we have not grasped the nettle on a whole range of issues across THE ARMY.

Bah! ;)
 
One big issue I think is that the TA soldier tends  to think of him/herself as being there to help out the regs when the poop hits the aircon, and not during peacetime (unless they volunteer to).  

This may be a hangover from the Cold War  - but probably not, after all if I wanted a full time military career in peacetime I'd join the regs.  

This means that impacts to job, family and money arising from mobilisation against a threat to the UK would not be resented.  However, we haven't done this yet.  

The same impacts arising from a deployment to reduce the price of petrol in the USA or to compensate for the fact that no-one in the MoD has the stones to tell the PM that he needs to pay for some more regs to fulfil his peacetime commitments are resented.  

The MoD are well aware of this, hence their willingness to let soldiers drop out if their personal lives will be really messed up.  It would be very different if we had a war against a real threat to the UK- then I think we'd all go regardless of whining.  I also think that there would be a lot less whining as we'd believe in what we were doing.  
 

msr

LE
what is the direct threat to the UK  ???
 
......and make safe.

Play nice  ;)
 

Lurks

Swinger
Paoli - one of the most coherent posts I've read on here; not a rant - makes a lot of sense to me an not a bad reflection to what strikes me is reality these days.
 
How about a freelance style set up where you are expected to work 6 months of the year at high intensity, the group would be used to bring units up to war strength for exercises and fill in gaps on operations and deployed as individuals.
 

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