Four battalions for the chop?

Discussion in 'Infantry' started by claymore, Jun 21, 2004.

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  1. I've already posted this on Current Affairs, but it's a topic which deserves discussion here, since it's the PBI who appear to be about to take the brunt of cutbacks. From today's Times:

    ARMY chiefs are being forced to consider axeing up to four infantry battalions as part of wholesale defence cuts across the three Armed Services which are due to be announced next month.

    The executive committee of the Army Board is meeting tomorrow to review several proposals for cutbacks drawn up by staff officers. “It looks as if three or four battalions will have to go,” a military source said.

    Cuts have been forced on all the Service chiefs because of a financial crisis at the Ministry of Defence. The Treasury has ordered spending cuts of £1 billion a year over the next two years. Military sources said that the Royal Navy and the RAF were to suffer severe cuts and that the Army was expected to play its part in reducing expenditure, even though troops were in demand for operations around the world.

    The sources said that after a review of manpower requirements in Northern Ireland it was now possible to recommend that “three or four” infantry battalions — about 2,600 troops — could be withdrawn from the province. These battalions would, theoretically, be “surplus”.

    The reducing commitment in Northern Ireland will release an increasing number of infantry battalions for other duties. Although this will help in reducing the overstretch suffered by the Army, the Treasury sees the peace dividend in Ulster as a way of reducing the Army’s wages bill.

    However, manpower cuts in the Army would be politically explosive, particularly because of the major troop commitment in Iraq and the expected decision to deploy up to 3,000 more soldiers to support the interim Iraqi government in the months leading up to the proposed elections next year.

    Even if the Army Board were to recommend axeing three or four infantry battalions, any political decision to cut the size of the Army, already only 103,770-strong, would be bound to be attacked by the Opposition.

    Military sources said that if forced to cut back on the infantry, it was more likely that the Army would focus on regiments that had more than one battalion, rather than axeing individual regiments. The Army currently has 40 regular infantry battalions.
  2. and when will the fukcers ever learn? i see that the black watch are getting sent back out to iraq. nothing like a rest is there. hats off to you guys doing the bidding of the politicis, please try to remember that people, or rather some people do apprieciate your efforts. i guess its the same for you as it is for me if my hometown was to be wiped off the map.
    bew lucky
  3. When will they learn! They will probably spend the savings on employing more f****** civvies in whitehall or paying over the odds for some computer system to track stores worldwide. Either way, you cannot send 400 civil servants to Iraq, Sierra Leone, Afganistan etc... to keep President Blair in the world forum :evil: :evil:
  4. If they're contentrating on regiments with two battalions, it puts the PWRR, the RRF, and the Anglians into the frame. The RGJ, the LI and the Paras probably have too much pull at senior level to be targeted. Then there's the Gurkhas, although even Bliar's mob might hesitate to cut them back again.
  5. This is going to get dirty.

    What do we do... cut Bns from the big Regiments, cut single line Regiments who cannot recruit or bite the bullet now and radically reorganise into one big Corps of Infantry now ?

    We must face the stark facts that the Infantry (and the Army) will continue to reduce in size over the next 30 - 50 yrs. Therefore why do we have to go through all this drama everytime the Infantry have to cut a Bn or 3 ? Combine this with the slow down in Arms Plotting and forecast is grim.

    Provocative comments but we must come up with an enduring solution that provides us with the flexibility we want without all the gnashing of teeth when cuts which will shortly happen occur; now - and regularly in the future.
  6. can see the sense behind one big corp approach, can also see the problems the RLC had happening as well. shed loads of tradition, honours, history going into the melting pot. if it does happen though, bet the guards aren't caught up in it :twisted:
  7. There are only two options....

    1. Pay for the army you want/need.

    2. Only deploy on a scale that your army can manage.

    It seems that cutting any troops while maintaining operational deployments to the Balkans, Afganistan and Iraq and at the same time expecting any chance to give the troops time to train, complete career courses and have any time off for the family between Op tours is absolutly barking. What happened to the promised 24 months between Op tours? Never happened did it? And they wonder why the winging wives complain and married men decide that stability is better than a military career. Retention? It's a joke!

  8. Wouldn't it be possible to cut out all of the non core business, such as guarding palaces, trooping colours and giving people time of to sail, play rugby or be the stage hands at the Horse of the Year show? How many people would that save (I know I have said this before but as a tax payer I find the sight of all the hardwear standing idle on Birdcage Walk annoying)

  9. good point, does bring in the tourist though, however, hows about replacing them with either resting actors, or, bring back yts?????? :p :twisted:
  10. Too right. The Woodentops will pull every string if it comes to pass. So, too will the Black Mafia and the Paras.

    The army has to evolve, but a Corps of Infantry seems a drastic route to take.

    That apart, the "light and deployable" argument has its downside. It's not beyond the bounds of possibility that we will need a "heavy" army for ground action in the Middle East again, or against North Korea.

    Let's face it, no one saw the Falklands on the radar before 1982. With concentration on counter-insurgency against PIRA, GW1 and then GW2 came out of left-field as well to some extent. In between, we had the Balkans and Sierra Leone, plus Afghanistan.

    All of it should teach us one lesson. We need to retain a balance of capabilities. Who knows what's over the horizon?
  11. I have said it before, a Household Div capbadged detachment of AGC guards (or whatever those home engagement people are called) working in London on public duties............

  12. Or why not one single permanent 'public duties' battalion manned by volunteers to provide ceremonial personnel? I've never had to do it myself, but many of my Guards friends find the whole public duties gig a massive pain in the arrse which they would prefer to do without.

  13. Duh! Sorry, Trotsky got there first!
  14. It won't be the two battalion regiments that get hit - it will be the Scots Div and Kings Div. They can't recruit and they have bad reputations - they will be mergers rather than complete chops. Just my educated guess!
  15. It won't be the two battalion regiments that get hit - it will be the Scots Div and Kings Div. They can't recruit and they have bad reputations - they will be mergers rather than complete chops. Just my educated guess!