Fury as famous regiments go into Hoon's melting pot

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Mr_C_Hinecap, Jul 16, 2004.

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  1. Well....ladies & gentlemen.......from the Telegraph today.....

    The Army is to undergo its most radical reform since the 1870s with all 19 famous-name infantry units amalgamated into multi-battalion regional regiments, it was disclosed yesterday.

    The move is likely to cause outrage among supporters of the single-battalion regiments, in particular those such as the Green Howards, the Highlanders and the Black Watch, which face the axe.

    Many believe that the generals have caved in to Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, who has advocated similar plans since shortly after his appointment.

    But Gen Sir Mike Jackson, the Chief of the General Staff, is championing the reforms and is determined to get rid of the historical single-battalion regiments with the Scots first in line.

    There are eight multi-battalion regiments, the results of previous widespread amalgamations. Only 19 famous names, most of them also heavily merged, survive.

    They claim that their names and traditions inspire more espirit de corps than in the big multi-battalion regiments and assist in recruitment.

    But Gen Jackson, who is from the Parachute Regiment, one of the multi-battalion regiments, regards such suggestions as nonsense and points to the recruitment difficulties of the famous Scottish names.

    The general will outline his plans next Wednesday with the six Scottish line infantry regiments expected to amalgamate into two regiments, a Lowland and a Highland, each with two battalions.

    That means the almost certain loss of two of the four highland regiments, with the Highlanders and the Black Watch regarded as the most likely victims.

    Four of the so-called famous names are likely to disappear altogether but the remaining regiments will keep their names while becoming subordinate battalions of a larger regiment.

    Some Army commanders have expressed confidence that they have kept any losses in the forthcoming defence cuts, the first of which will be announced next week, to one or two battalions at most.

    Senior officers realise that the plans will provoke widespread hostility. But they say that multi-battalion regiments are the only way forward. "We have been revisiting what have previously been regarded as sacred cows," said one. "It will make a massive row but the present system is hugely wasteful."

    Gen Jackson sees the reforms as the climax of his Army career and wants them replicated across the country with the 19 single-battalion regiments merged into seven regiments of two or three-battalions.

    That would give the Army a total of 15 multi-battalion regiments, a move that senior commanders believe will make it far more efficient and improve recruitment.

    Now....does anyone feel strongly?? 8O
  2. And so it begins..................... :cry: :evil:

    Yes what a quality tool for retention and recruitment!! Destroy the very fabric of the Army, remove some of its most famous names. So no more family ties to one regiment. I am sure people will be flocking to join an organisation whose leaders assist in destruction of its traditions. :(
  3. Greatcoats on, Greatcoats off?

    Just yesterday I read in the BW forums that this plan had been scrapped.
  4. It will not be long before we're like the septics with one fekkin hat - the Army 8O

    As a Corps man it doesn't affect me - but I have served along side quite a few Inf Bn's and you can see the pride many of them have in their Bn - all soon to be blown away.

    Fekkin despicable - Shame on you Jackson.
  5. Too many Generals caring about their honours than the men under their command.

    And they wonder why they have a recruiting and retention problem? Spineless goons comes to mind :evil:
  6. yeah what happens to these people once they get the top job, jacko has definetley got one eye on the door now methinks , f*ck the troops , i'm gonna get me a big fat company directorship by proving my ability to "downsize rationally"............... f*cking judas. :roll:

    if this is true obviously , if not ...... er sorry mick. :wink:
  7. X-Inf

    X-Inf War Hero Book Reviewer

    What are they going to call this 'Division of Infantry'? The 1001st US Inf Div?

    We have had non-Inf top dogs before who have never even considered this, now we have an Inf bod who is hell-benmt on destroying the esprit de corps of the Infantry as a whole. I just don't understand where he is coming from.

    I hope the cuts, if they come, include the useless parts of the Infantry such as ceremonial duties battalions and units trained to jump out of planes, knowing full well that they will never have to do so, except maybe at the FA Cup Final to please the masses.
  8. X-Inf

    X-Inf War Hero Book Reviewer

    Following on from my last post, I just hope the Telegrope are as accurate as the Mirror, but unfortuneately I don't think so.
  9. Perhaps they could transfer the Guards to the Department of Culture...

    That'll remove the four/five rumoured battalions deemed "necessary"
  10. From today's Glasgow Herald:

    The Army is left to fight its own battles

    Ian Bruce July 16 2004

    THE British Army's regimental system has been the unequalled envy of the world for centuries. It is a tribal bond underwritten by history and shared experience and powered by pride and peer pressure. Soldiers do not fight for esoteric concepts like "Queen and Country". They fight for their mates in a rifle section of seven men. They fight for the name and status of their regimental identity.
    Nor do they merely enlist in "The Army". They join the King's Own Scottish Borderers or the Argylls or the Guards or the Parachute Regiment because their fathers or grandfathers served in that unit or because it recruits in their home area and reinforces their sense of belonging to something familiar.
    Man is a tribal animal. We need look no further than football clubs for a parallel in civilian life. Motherwell supporters would never give their allegiance to Rangers or Celtic. Hearts fans would laugh at any suggestion of backing Hibs. This was recognised two decades ago by Field Marshal Sir Peter Inge, then commander of British Army of the Rhine in Germany.
    Inge, a clinical, ruthless, down-to-earth warrior and very definitely non-sentimental in nature, was under pressure to abolish the regimental system and introduce a Corps of Infantry to save on administrative costs. He analysed, dissected and rejected the proposal. His conclusion was that it would be madness to scrap something which had functioned so well for 400 years.
    More recent problems in recruiting have been caused by one major factor – under-funding. Successive defence reviews such as Options for Change and the Strategic Defence Review were transparent exercises in cost-saving at the expense of capability.
    Britain was not alone in this as few foresaw that the post-Cold War world would be even more dangerous and that the military would face challenges which stretched its abilities and dwindling resources to breaking-point. Now the government is preparing another assault on the overstretched and under-resourced armed forces. Defence is not perceived as a vote-winner except in times of national crisis.
    The military can be its own worst enemy. The self-same tradition which holds the entire structure together and allows small numbers to achieve remarkable things against the odds is based on a "can do" approach. That leaves it open to abuse by politicians who either do not understand the ethos or do not care as long as it produces results.
    Defence spending is an easy target, especially for a government whose front bench lacks even one ex-serviceman. Eric Joyce, the token military presence in New Labour's ranks, was in the education corps and not a front-line soldier.
    The mismanagement of procurement contracts for a range of high-priced items such as Typhoon fighters, Astute nuclear submarines and Nimrod surveillance aircraft has put the MoD £3.1bn in the red while soldiers on the front line in Iraq lacked body-armour and ammunition.
    There is scope for a shake-up in the way the MoD does business. It is not a commercial company, yet the Treasury treats it as if it were, making it account for "transferable stock" such as tanks and armoured personnel carriers which patently do not fit into that category. By their individualistic nature, units find it difficult to present a united front in the face of political attack.
    The suggestion being floated is for Scotland's six infantry battalions – or five of them – to be brought under the administrative control of a single parent regiment. It is not a new concept. When the Army was large and the imperial commitments many, regiments consisted of a number of battalions. One was stationed at a permanent base. The others rotated through to far-flung corners of a pink-tinted map.
    The current arrangement hinges on a system called the arms' plot. This is a schedule which requires battalions and their families to up sticks and decamp every two to five years on a rolling programme of training, operational deployment and garrison duty.
    There are shiny new, hi-tech toys on the horizon to allow the forces to fight in the 21st century. These drawing-board-stage carrots are dangled as a justification for cuts. But technology cannot take or hold ground. Nor can it carry out hearts-and-minds peacekeeping roles. That takes boots on the ground, expensive as it may be.
    Penny-pinching has removed the military "footprint" from most of Scotland. Territorial Army drill halls have been sold off and the surviving TA has become a temping agency to plug gaps in the regulars.
    There are simply too few soldiers for too many tasks. Creating a new admin structure will not square the circle. It is merely rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, however much it might help to balance the Chancellor's books.
    It is also time that senior officers spoke up publicly about the overstretch and rundown of the armed services. Many appear to be complacent or more concerned with their prospective knighthoods than with the welfare of their troops.
    Defence is an insurance policy, pure and simple, and the first duty of any government. This administration would be foolish to forget it.
  11. Nah the 102 "Screamin' Seagulls"

    This all sucks...i remember in 1991 when they were binning regiments all over the place...the public were not ammused then. but i think appethy stikes again this time.

    Good old labour - want a smaller cheaper army to do more than we ever did at the height of the cold war with a fraction of the manpower.

    As an example (poor one i know) my Sister in Law (RAF Chef) is being posted to RAF "Remote Island in the north sea" but due to low staffing (opperational commitment) she has had to forgo her disembarkation leave. and we have ships in Dock with too few matelots to crew them. Recruitment is innefective as the youth of today have it too easy, now we are this huge "Nanny State" kids want to play XBOX and eat chips, not get shouted at by blokes in "cant see me suits"

    I am waiting for Korea to kick off or China to flex its muscles and we will be back to a cold war and then there will be panic amongst the top tier. wonder how they will get round that one?

    If they carry on with these stupid defence cuts you guys will find yourself permanently seconded to opps.

  12. X-Inf

    X-Inf War Hero Book Reviewer

    Claymore, that is absolutely spot on. Well done to Ian Bruce, who I presume is 'Ex'. However I don't think it will cut much ice with the 'Powers' that be in Whitehall. I am getting the feeling that one of 2 options may be out there:

    1. The decision has been taken already, who is to go/stay already known but details being held until politically useful.
    2. We are geting the worst case scenario so they can come across with a plan to cut 2 or 3 Regts and say look, we have saved the Regimental system, and this is supposed to make everyone feel so good and safe.

    This death by a thousand cuts can't be doing any good to morale, regardless where the person is serving.
  13. Yeah well done Claymore. it was a good read.

  14. House of parliment are about to shut for their 3 month summer holiday, they always do the cutting of anything just about this time of year, then hope everyone forgets about it by the time they return.

    We have no saviours in Politics, every government has chopped the army since the 2nd world war, we are a tool for PM's to remain in the history books.
  15. Wasn't this tried before, grouping Regiments into brigades.

    Staffs, Sherwood foresters, Lincs and Leics were in the Foresters Bde. Then Lincs and Leics left to join the Anglian Bde which became the R Anglians, the Staffs & Sherwood Foresters joined Mercian Bde.

    Will they reintroduce the old Mercian cap badge ? (but why mercia as only one part of the regiment traces its history back to Mercia - the Worcestershire part of theWFRs)