Fighting falls to a minority of Regiments

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Maj_Boothroyd, May 8, 2006.

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  1. From today's (8 May 06) Daily Telegraph...

    minority of regiments is conducting the majority of military operations, according to figure obtained by The Daily Telegraph, exposing serious flaws in Army operational planning.

    Almost half of the 40 infantry battalions and most light cavalry regiments have taken on the burden of tours to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans, while others have hardly been abroad.

    In particular, the five Guards regiments, which perform ceremonial duties at Buckingham Palace, have barely fought abroad in the past five years, while other regiments have been in near constant action.

    The figures also show that the Ministry of Defence has severely breached its guidelines on giving battalions enough rest between operations.

    Military chiefs are worried that, as some infantry regiments go into conflict zones at least once a year, experienced troops are not spending enough time with their families and that some are leaving the Army as a result.

    The Tories have accused the ministry of "fudging" its figures and misleading the public into believing that there has been enough rest between operations.

    On average, infantry troops have been on operations every 15 months and some units have had only four months rest between expeditions, all in breach of the military's "harmony guideline" of 24 months.

    The SAS, logistics regiments, Royal Engineers and medics have all been on almost continuous operations since the September 11 terrorist attacks, leading to worries of burn-out.

    By contrast, the Coldstream Guards have made one tour of Iraq. The Grenadiers made a short tour of Northern Ireland, followed by three years off then a four-month tour of Bosnia early last year - although some are deploying to Iraq this month.

    Liam Fox, the shadow defence minister, said the figures revealed "the alarming pressures" being put on front-line troops and criticised the Government for breaking the guidelines.

    "With some units spending barely a few months out of theatre, the strain upon them and their families must be having a detrimental effect," Dr Fox said.

    "It is vital that they have a proper amount of time to rest, re-train and see their families before embarking on further operations. This is further evidence of overstretch in the Armed Forces."

    A senior Whitehall official admitted that the "point was recognised" that the "spread of the burden" fell on some regiments and said the matter would be addressed under the Future Infantry Structure programme.

    But the Tories have described the figures as "dire" for some units. For example, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, now 5 Bn the Royal Regiment of Scotland, served in Northern Ireland until late 2003, had a four-month rest then went to Iraq for six months in 2004.

    Eight months later they were in Bosnia for a six-month tour. They are now on standby to deploy to Northern Ireland if an emergency occurs or could be dispatched to Afghanistan late in the summer.

    The Royal Regiment of Wales has barely paused for breath, serving on seven deployments in as many years.

    For some cavalry units the figures are worse, including the Household Cavalry, which Prince Harry will join this year as a troop commander. Elements of the Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment have had a total of only six months off between serving in Bosnia in October 2001 and Iraq at the end of 2004.

    Last month's annual Army Continuous Attitude Survey, which questions troops about their views of the military, found that two thirds of soldiers were dissatisfied with the large amount of time they were having to spend away from home.

    "Certainly quite a few battalions are doing more of the workload than others and we are nowhere near the harmony guidelines," a senior officer said yesterday.

    "We are getting to the point now where, if another medium-scale deployment - say to Darfur, in Sudan - was needed, it is highly unlikely that we could fulfil it."

    The Ministry of Defence admitted that it had broken its own rules. But it said it hoped that, with the "draw-down" of troops in Northern Ireland over the next year, possibly followed by a recall of some soldiers from Iraq and the Balkans, the pressure would be eased.

    A spokesman said: "The current scale of deployments is judged by the Chiefs of Staff to be manageable and the Armed Forces remain ready to take on any future operations that may arise."

    Signs of overstretch
    (Filed: 08/05/2006)

    Break between deployments since Sept, 2001:

    Worst: 2 Bn the Parachute Rgt: Afghanistan Jan to Mar 02. Break six months.
    N Ireland Sept 02 to Mar 03. Break eight months. Iraq Dec 03 to Mar 04. Break 19 months.
    Iraq Nov to April 05. 9th/12th Royal Lancers: Kosovo Mar to June 01. Break 21 months.
    Bosnia April to Oct 03. Break one month. Iraq Nov 03 to April 04. Break 18 months.
    Iraq Nov 05 to April 06. Black Watch: Kosovo July to Nov 01. Break 15 months. Iraq Feb to June 03. Break 12 months.
    Iraq July to Dec 04

    Best: Grenadier Guards: Iraq, Mar to Oct 05

    Coldstream Guards: N Ireland Nov 2001 to May 2002. Break 29 months.
    Bosnia Oct 04 to Mar 05

    It's not difficult to see how this happens; a Bn posted to the AI role is going to go on every tour that the Bde does, since we only have 6 Bdes with AI it's obvious who's going to get hammered. The rub comes when 3 Cdo go off to Iraq justify their existence and need some armour; they don't have any of their own so have to borrow from the Army. But it's never that simple as well as the Armour, there's the infrastructure to go with it, extra REME and RLC tank transporters. This happened to 1Bn REME in Kosovo 2001 and who's picking up the tab next time 3 Cdo Bde do TELIC?
  2. This over stretch could be easily rectified , shoot Bliar and only use the military in the role for which they are paid by the British tax payer , namely to counter any threat to this country . We have been invaded by hundred of thousands of foreigners and nothing has been done about it .
    The vast majority of the British population do support the troops but do not support Bliar and how he is misusing our forces
  3. NI was the same - some regiments were kept out for years and years until things calmed down then came surging across to get their GSM medals....others seemed to do almost back to back.

    1 QO HLDRS for example 78 79 83-85(2 years) 90-91 91-92 95-97(2.5 years)

    The poor old RGJ and LI seemed to be in NI almost permanently!
  4. I'll give you that one, light role infantry (LI, RGJ, Para Regt) got hammered for NI where as Cav units sat in BAOR and played polo with only the odd Maze PGF to keep them entertained. The gunners always picked up there fair share of deployments, my first tour being to South Armagh with the RA.

  5. What the hell do you want the army to do about that GPMGs on the white cliff perhaps?
  6. "The Ministry of Defence admitted that it had broken its own rules. But it said it hoped that, with the "draw-down" of troops in Northern Ireland over the next year, possibly followed by a recall of some soldiers from Iraq and the Balkans, the pressure would be eased."

    Er! I thought the 'draw down' in NI wuz what had allowed the almagimation/reduction in the Infantry.
    So troops will be withdrawn from Iraq for sure shouldn't Parliment have been told first ?
    'Pressure eased' does this mean Blur has no new adventures planned, or has King George not informed him.
  7. But I thought all the foreign tourist came to see Horse Guards, Changing the Guard and all that. That was the reason for keeping them. If we stop the public duties I am sure this invasion will drop. May be we should have a “be rude to tourists” day, that may stop some also. But we do get a lot of money from the invasion every year. Canterbury has changed a lot since I was there in the early 80s, cannot park and foreigners all over the place. We could put a checkpoint on the Folkestone road and turn them back but the Dean of the cathedral may get upset.
  8. So why not turn the cerremonial duties over to NRPS (Not Really Proper Soldiers apparently :lol: ) guardsmen - think MPGS in Red instead of black...

    Would be cheaper and frees up 4 Bn worth of gap fillers!
  9. I occasionally wonder what the MoD said to the beancounters when they came up with that idea, as I can't believe it's never come up for discussion previously.
  10. feckin moron
  11. Yes, I was just about to say that.
  12. At what point in recent history (eg, past 300 years or so) has the role of the British military been just limited to England and Wales, then Great Britain and then the UK? Eg when they werent busy annoying the Spanish, French, Dutch, Portugese, American natives, Americans, Indians, Turks, Arabs, Russians, Africans, Chinese, Malaysians, Thai's, Australian and New Zealand maori's and aboriginals.

    Actually come to think of it, is there a nation the UK has not fought at some point? other than the colonies (with the exception of the US).

    Which lot? legal immigrants? so what .. as long as they obey the law and dont cause trouble which most do and dont

    Illegal immigrants? Thats the military's job? surely that role falls to the police and immigration services or do you want armed squaddies kicking in some door's in London and dragging out suspected illegal immigrants, Army Air Corp Apaches launching raiding on Birmingham, RAF strikes on Leeds.... The War on Illegal Immigrants, how twee.

    Tourists? Damned right, fleece them for every penny they have then shoot 'em .. just the ticket to get the tourist industry rolling in with cash! (sarcasm).
  13. This is hopefully not too far off-topic but is just another example of overstretch and something which is never factored into the Harmony Guidelines:

    Two days away from the Main Body of the Welsh Guards recovering from a tour of Bosnia in '02 they were informed that Post Op Tour Leave was cancelled as they were now required to commence fire fighting training for FRESCO and to then provide cover for the "go on strike for every little thing because I only work 4 days a week and have a second job anyway" firefighters. Not sure how long the cover was for but when it was over they went straight into pre-tour training for NI. I'm so glad I was not a fly-on-the-wall for those 20 minute (and no more!) phone calls home.

    I know the reasoning - GW2 was in the offing but in my experience, FRESCO cover just happened to be required for every weekend, Bank Holiday, big sporting event et al which also had an effect on soldier's (all soldiers including the singlies because they have a life as well) and family life.

    But then again we do have the x-factor - the panacea of all excuses.
  14. I wonder what the tour gaps among some specilast units are? In Logistics, Medics, Sigs, Int etc there are many who have done far longer than 2 Para. Admittedly, not in the fighting, but as a measure of overstreatch it is far more shocking. 6 on, 6 off for the past 6 years would not be uncommon.
  15. i met some sigs guys on an antivirus training course who since 2001 have been on continual deployment with just 4-6 weeks RnR in between and one who was on his 3rd tour of Iraq back to back with just 4 weeks off in between then straight back and this was last year.

    Its getting stupid. TA guys in my local TA unit (engineers) are volunteering for Top cover - one bloke just finished his 3rd tour in 2 years.

    Plain silly.

    Its a numbers game - the more times you are in a clash - the more likely you are to get slotted surely?