Engineering or Infantry?

Discussion in 'Sappers' started by ARRSEY94, Sep 8, 2010.

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  1. Ok, so before I start, let me just say that I have used the search tool found on these forums and I have also read the thread supplied by Wedge35: Royal Engineers

    Right now that I've got that out of way, I can say why I am posting. Im 16, just starting Year 11 at school and I've been thinking about college and a life in the army for a while. Currently, the Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College seems like a great prospect to me for two reasons:

    • I want to go to both college and university and Im dead set on a career as an officer.
    • The opportunities Welbeck can provide are second to none.

    However, the problem is that I'm just not one hundred percent sure if I want a career in engineering as opposed to being in the infantry - namely the para's. But I have been doing a bit of research and been trying to find out more on 23 Engineer Regiment who I have learned are attached to the Para's. But what exactly does that mean? Are they on the frontline alongside the Para's or do they undertake a much more supporting role? Also, I realise that both engineering and combat tasks are involved but which one of these would I mostly be doing if I was to go down the Welbeck and RE route?

    If you guys could give me a few opinions that would be great as I realise that most of you know a hell of alot more about the Infantry and Engineering than me. One final thing, apart from getting my head down for my GCSE's, are there any preparations I could be making for army life now? I run 3-4 times a week and do my 1.5 mile run regularly along with the normal press ups, sit ups etc but is there anything else I could be doing?

    Many thanks.
  2. Well you won't get into Welbeck if you want to go into the Infantry, it's for technical Corps only.
  3. Yes I know, thats why im posting :)
  4. Having spent 17 years with the infantry then my last 6 years attached to the Royal Engineers I would say go RE and if you have an infantry fetish get that out of your system by going to 59 Cdo Sqn RE. There is much more scope for different jobs and units/locations than with the Infantry.

    Whatever you decide good luck and go for it 100%
  5. X59

    X59 LE

    As an ex Sapper I can only give a limited view of the engineer / infantry question.

    I was a combat engineer and have to say it's the most ball bursting work I've ever done.

    The incentive for me to apply for, and not jack the AACC was the prospect of going back to Germany and doing 'bridge gallops' and recovering class 60 trackway that the tankies had driven over and pushed so far into the mud that we could hardly find it.
    It's probably why the Sappers work hard and play harder.

    I would rather, without doubt, run a 30 miler than ramp and deck an MGB, any day.

    Since then I've always viewed infantry work as a piece of piss and quite enjoyable.

    No doubt it's a different story for officers who aren't getting their fingers trapped between BFO bridge parts, and using their noggin more.
  6. come on X59 .... just a quick double storey with pier & link mate. :thanks:

  7. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't sappers in 59/24cdo still be doing them same daily combat engineering tasks such as bridging etc, just with a higher standard of phys and infantry skills having passed the AACC?

    To be honest the combat engineering side of things doesn't particularly interest me as much as the infantry part does, I've been told applying to 24cdo would be the thing to do to work in an infantry environment but seeing as 24 provide engineering capability for the Royal Marines wouldn't combat engineering be the only primary tasks they undertake down at Chivenor?

    Apologies if I'm talking out my arse.
  8. X59

    X59 LE

    Unless things have changed massively in the 22 years since I got out you've been well informed.
    Commando Sappers routinely undertake combat engineer tasks, but given that they're normally supporting 3 Bde , the scale of the mobility / counter mobility is smaller than if it was in support of heavy armour formations, which requires the kind of gear that Knocker has mentioned ( and taken the edge off my day ! Cheers bud. )

    The normal scale of engineer support for Royal would be a section of Sappers for a company, equipped to breach minefields etc, but patrolling as infantry bods.
    Royal would often cache their bergans to be lifted forward, but as we were always drafted from the coy going firm, to the coy advancing, we just humped our bergans knowing the alternative was to wave your kit goodbye.
  9. My knowledge may be somewhat dated now, commisioned in 1983 and departed for civilian life in 1999, but the first question I would ask is what you are after; five or six years of fun and hard work in the army followed by a civilian career or a full career in the army.

    If you are after a full career the Engineers will offer far more variety than the infantry and reasonably good promotion (as current Chief of the General Staff proves), plus the opportunity to pick up more qualifications along the way if you are technically inclined. The infantry would be great fun (and a little more dangerous) in the early years but some people then find Regimental life a little restricting, saying that a friend of mine declined a transfer to the Royal Engineers from his infantry regiment and as a very clever fish in a small pond did very well in the promotion stakes before he left.

    My simple advice would be carry on with your chosen route into the Army via Welbeck (I hope that it is as much fun now as in my day) and then whilst at University visit as many units of different types as you can manage. Whilst Welbeck is intended for potential technical officers a small percentage do commision directly into the Infantry and I also know a handful of ex-Sapper Officers now in Infantry Regiments.
  10. From speaking to someone who knows someone who works in MOD recruitment ;-P I gather that this may not be the case for much longer. As you all know Welbeck DSFC is run under a 30 year PFI contract. The Army (and Navy and RAF and DESG) have contracted to take a set number of places each year - I think the army number is around 110 - 120. However, these have not been filled in any of the past three years so there is pressure for other potential officers to be admitted (as the places are being paid for anyway). I don't think any firm decision has been reached but in the meantime the PFI are filling up the places with private students, much to the disgust of the forces students who say discipline is slipping because of them.

    Edit: Just to add that I think Hungwe's post above is very sound advice if you are set on a career in the Army. If you can get the Army to pay for a top class 6th form and part of your University costs plus all the support you get then you'd be crazy not to apply to Welbeck.
  11. As an "Ex-RE" I would like to any my pennyworth, You have to look at the big picture, you may enjoy the military and end up staying in for 37 thats a lifetime when you are 16, on the other hand, you may enjoy it a great deal, but come out after 22 as most (who last that time ) do. Your circumstances on the other hand may change after a few years (getting married springs to mind) and you may get presured by your other half to get out and you do say only 9 years. I knew Welbeck when it was at worksop..(I was a works manager there for a while) and the lads and lasses then seems to enjoy it, now that its moved I cant say. What I can say is that there are not that many jobs suited to infantry when you retire ..well not that pay a good wage anyway - yes there are some before all the ex infantry start sledging, but nowhere near as many for ex corps - ie RE, signals, REME etc.

    So look at the big picture - when you are 16 the idea of leaping tall buildings looks good, when you are 36 the buildings look a damn site bigger, when 46, forget it and go round. My advice, Do Welbeck if you can get in, go to Uni and earn a wage while you are doing so and let the mil pay the fees. then do some time learning about life while in the RE, you can always apply for the RE Booties or Paras once in..but when you come out, that is when the big difference will come, do you want to earn £25-35K or £50 - 100K, lot to think about.
  12. retired Taz speaks sense... engineering wages in civvie street are way, way higher than those available for someone who has just been an infantry officer. There are plenty of threads on here to back that up.
  13. we have an ex inf officer within our engineering company, not good is all i will say.
  14. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    It all depends re eng quals outside. If you are chartered (will the RE support this?) then a post as CRE (contractors responsible engineer) beckons but most senior project managers/programme managers are chartered civils anyway. In fact most Civil Engineers become PMs.
    Either way you will need to follow the money to live well. There are so many C Eng out there that something like electrical eng/chem/process eng may be of more use!
  15. Real engineers of any form are like hens teeth, but yes we do manage to get Civils easier than M&E. A well rounded experienced M&E engineer is harder to find than rocking horse poop at the moment, consequently their salaries are commensurate. As to C.Eng/ Inc.Eng, I am Incorprated only, but that has not stopped me from earning a good living since becoming a civilian. Something I would not have been able to do had I been ex infantry - think that says it all.