Gunner trades for women...

Discussion in 'Gunners' started by The Joy, Nov 22, 2012.

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  1. I know the title and maybe even this thread itself is leaving this open for some jokes or remarks. Fire away lol... but seriously. I'm aware that all RA trades are legally open to women, but I'm just wondering if there's any unofficial, de facto restrictions on what females can do in the Gunners?

    The reason I'm asking is because I'm a 20 Yr Old female who is interested in enlisting in the RA 4/73 Battery as a SGO.

    There's not a lot of information about it on the internet, and I've read a few threads on here about them, the gist I get is that their work is secret and close-to-SF or something and the selection process is ardous and no woman has passed it yet. I've also read that you apparently can't enlist into 4/73 Bty and you have to be serving already and get selected to do the Patrols Course, can someone with knowledge clarify?

    In any case, the other job I'm particularly interested in is Artillery Observer. I think I read about a female FOO once, so it would be safe to presume there's at least a small number of female Arty Observers, despite it being a frontline-orientated job? Women are banned from doing the equivalent job in the US Army because it's classed as a combat job, that's why I'm asking I think.

    p.s. Just to clarify I am not yet in the application process of joining the Army although I've been to see an AFCO who didn't seem to know much about the Artillery so don't tell me to do that, I'm working on my fitness first before applying and slogging in a boring job for the mean while lol.
  2. 4/73 (Sphinx) Special Observation Post Battery RA - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Current role
    4/73 Battery is now regarded as an specialised unit to provide commanders with crucial battlefield intelligence on enemy positions. They are also referred to as the Artillery Special Forces and regularly conduct operations with other British Special Forces units on top secret missions around the world. [1] Members of this battery are volunteers who have passed a 20 week Special Observer Patrols Course.[2]
    During Operation Herrick in December 2007 members of 4/73 Battery mounted the British Army's longest recorded desert patrol since World War II.[3] During that tour two soldiers serving in the battery were killed: Tpr Jack Sadler HAC and Cpl Daz Gardiner REME.

    Thats all I could find, so looks like you would have to join the RA then volunteer & pass the 20 week course.

    I'm sure someone learned will be along soon with details. & perhaps a particular trade within the RA that would up your chances / benefit you more.
  3. How disappointing - I thought this was going to be some kind of Royal Artillery Wife Swapping forum.
    • Like Like x 3
  4. I am surprised nobody has asked for photos yet. Of course I would never do such a thing I am a complete gentleman.
  5. 4/73 Battery is open to tri-services, with the option t rebadge. So no need to initially join arty.

    Posted from the ARRSE Mobile app (iOS or Android)
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  6. It's not twenty weeks anymore, but you have effectively no chance of passing - especially as an officer. The FOO thing is a bit of a funny one; yes you can do the course but you will probably end up in an Ops Room regardless. There are plenty of excellent jobs available to lizards like your self in the RA, you just seem to be picking the wrong ones. Furthermore; 148 and 4/73 have an unclear future.

    Posted from the ARRSE Mobile app (iOS or Android)
  7. Oh. I seee.

    Is that because of how difficult it is? I can't find any solid information about what's involved in the course but somewhere I read that it's as hard as P Coy or All Arms Commando, whether that's true or not I dunno..

    What do you recommend, anyway? I want to join the Arty and do something that's active, more front-line based on ops and things like that. I don't want to end up in some command room or shuffling paper 90% of the time. If not the 4/73 Bty then how about being an Artillery Observer? Another job I'm interested in is Light Gunner.

    Sorry. I don't have one to swap.

    Is that the done thing here or something?

    I'm trying to get fitter, hoping to build a little muscle.
  8. Have you thought about the Air Defence discipline?
  9. I'd take the pic down 'The Joy'.

    This sites indicates that you could go for the course as a female, although I must admit that is surprising to me (at least) given their role. But then it also seems to suggest that you can join as a SFO and go straight to the unit... which again is surprising.

    Concentrate on getting in first, and then look around for the specialisms. If your AFCO doesn't know much about RA you could always see if there is a Arty Recruiting cell/team near by. Google them or ask the AFCO.

    You need to know you want the job you go for.
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  10. When at Phase 1 as DS, I had guys listed as going to them, direct from Ph2.

    My advice though, would be to join the "Regular" Gunners and apply for a transfer to 4/73 later. I say this because it is an arduous course - you're right, no female has passed it yet, nor P-coy or AACC (all open to Gunners, whatever discipline or sex).

    I personally never commanded females in the OPs, but we had female FOOs in the Regiment and one in particular was as robust and professional as any of us. I recommended a JNCO for the OPs in the past (in the days when not all COs were willing to let them transfer), when I was her CPO - she later went SRR.

    There is no reason why they shouldn't be on the OPs, IF they can take the pace, carry the load and do the job - as per any trade in the RA. I think the reality is, as per when I was at Sandhurst, not many females wish to go that route - we had no girls in our Coy that wanted to go Infantry, even if it had been available. Female FOOs have done the job and don't routinely sit in Ops Rooms, but it may be the Company Commmander you support's call.

    Be aware that the HERRICK stuff is winding down, so less chance of FST activity on ops (although I heard from a fairly senior chap recently that there is no doubt in his mind that we - British Army - will not be going completely dormant) and 4/73's role is in doubt, in as much as the "special" element may be toned down and the Tac Gp/FST role remains relevant. 148 Bty remain as Cdo Tac Gp Bty, not specifically designated as Naval Gunfire Support.

    My advice - join the RA, ask for OPs - if you're fit (sub-10minute PFT, distance running and can carry a heavy bergan a long way) and commited, then there shouldn't be a reason to say no. Once you have OP experience under your belt, you'd have a better argument to go on 4/73 selection - there always has to be a first.
    • Like Like x 2
  11. This has got to be a Wah.....

    If its not Django is giving good advice. 4/73s role is not only in doubt - it is pointless. Even if you are up to passing the course there is not much point as you wont do anything that any normal FST wont do.
  12. CanteenCowboy

    CanteenCowboy LE Book Reviewer

    I believe there is always openings for lesbians in the RA, 26 Regt seemed to have hundreds of them.....................
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Seems like sound advice. Cheers!
    FST it is then. Hopefully that is, anyway.

    Not a lez myself, but I can't say I'm surprised. Arty is where the big guns are. :)

    Oh and no I'm not a "wah" (had to look that one up), I read that 4/73 was involved with the SFSG? Sorry that I phrased my OP like as if I was some call of duty-playing spotty teenager. I'm def. not!
  14. CanteenCowboy

    CanteenCowboy LE Book Reviewer

    I thought a 'big gun' would be the last thing a lesbian would be interested in, then as you are not one (a lesbian, that is) you are no expert either.

    Maybe 26 had some other attraction?
  15. Predatory Queen Bees will always "turn" unsuspecting females, especially in Germany, where there is a limited target audience. Saw it in Hohne too - many of the girls "experimented" and went back to fellas.

    I digress.

    The joy, 4/73 were originally Special Observers, trained to insert deep behind enemy lines and call in targets for mass destruction by nuclear strike/MLRS and other nasty stuff, out of range of "normal" guns. Essentially, a cold war tactic, that would see the red hordes advance over their position and allow them to call it in, hopefully then extracting back through the smoldering enemy ... nice idea.

    When we stopped basing all of our tactics on cold war stuff (and this is simplifiying things a bit), 4/73 touted their business, as receiving training from SF instructors for the Special Observer's course, to people like Brigade Recce Force on Ops. I am guessing it would be a natural area for SFSG to approach and say we need FSTs just a bit better trained than the regular FST, 4/73 might be those blokes.

    Reality is though, that 4/73 have essentially predominantly provided FST parties, just like every other FST, occassionally a bit more "special", but the demand for FSTs in theatre would mean that even a dedicated Tac Group Battery (4/73) would run out of FSTs before it ran out of tasks, so FSTs were pulled in from all over the place.

    As I said, I would recommend focusing on training, with the aim to be arriving at your first Regiment and moving onto the OPs. Some Regiments allow that from Ph2, some prefer to bed you in first (no pun intended, for the more ARRSE-like contributors), get some experience in comms etc and then send you OP. As I said though, if youu can do the distance and carry the weight, in the times required, then why prevent you from doing it? A dedicated FST/OP crew should have no issue getting around the logistic headaches prolonged deployments/exercises with mixed crews can present.
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