Field Force

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by stameen_s, Oct 26, 2006.

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  1. This topic came up in a Current Affairs thread on the SDR and is pretty much the first I've heard of it, where brigades were replaced by the "Field Force" concept. Can anyone explain it more fully and where theres any info on it online? Why did the change take place? What were its perceived benefits? What were its failings? etc
  2. It happened in the 1970s and was an attempt to remove the Brigade level from the armed forces to speed up command and control and cut cost. It has to be viewed within the concept of the Nuclear battlefield developed in the 1960s. Reduce the number of units within a Divisions span of comamnd and strip out brigade staffs and the BAA. You then have a lean and mean organisation fo 5-6 units capabile of operatong on a nuclear battlefield.

    Divisions would be made of "Task forces" supposedly commandedby a Colonel. So 11 Armd Bde = TF C and 12 Armd Bde = TF D of 4 Armd Div made up of five Regular units. The non dividional Brigades became "Field Forces"


    1. Downgrading Brigade commander jobs to Colonel was never accepted and the TFs ended up as one star Brigade commands. Similarly there was never really the downsizing of staff or signals support. A TF staff had as many staff with higher ranks than a Ww2 Brigade.

    2. The army was a mix of TA and Regular units and the TA did not have any formation HQs. In peacetime 7 Field Farce was three Regular Battalions + a gunner Regiment + a recce Regiment. On mobilisation ift gained a further 2-3 TA Battalions making it as large as some WW2 Divisions! 6 (?) Field Force (the bunch who were supposed to go to Denmark) were even larger. Each Division ended up with 12+ units. 5-6 regiular units + a similar number of TA Battalions.

    ExCrusader 1980 demonstrated the silliness of the command structure with amobilised army. Perhaps the Falklands killed it off. After the Falklands no one could argue that the Brigade level of command was pointless. It also demonstrated that a Formatiuon HQ couldnl't command 5 major units AND manage relationships upwards. Within a year we were back to Brigades and Divisions.

    Some of the differences were superficail -but of symbolic significance. The TF concept symbolised the era when the army ignored its traditions. When I was in TF D then 7 Field Force we didn't have any formation badges etc. We didn't study military history before 1945 and we didn;t do battlefield tours. History was bunk. The Army's traditions were an anachronism with no real connection to the nuclear era. TFs were as modern as an S6 Respirator and NIAD. Who needs history and tradition if your strategy is based on a nuclear threshold?

    Once we renamed everything back to brigades we had puking panther badges etc. TF D had no history but 4th Armd Bde combined the traditions of the 4th Guards Bde with the 4th Armd Bde and continutity with commanders like Alexander and Carver and men who fought from Tobruk to Berlin. Not long after the return to Brigades the Army rediscovered Military history before 1945and started paying people to look at the battlefields of the past.
  3. Good post Pte, very informative.