How did you get promoted?

I just think it’s really sad that those attitudes are held by some to be at all relevant outside of the infantry.

There’s other kinds of pressure. In Bosnia, my regiment rotated into Sarajevo and took over the equipment of another regiment. They had accumulated 6x SCRA Centrals that were U/S. We only had a couple that were working. SCRA Centrals were basically mobile phone base stations on the back of a Bedford. Provided coverage for SCRA Terminals (“Mobile phones”) in other vehicles. The system provided secure direct dialing from your vehicle to pretty much anywhere in the world. In Sarajevo in 1995, it was really fvcking important that we had coverage. My regiment was failing in that part of its mission because of the lack of SCRA coverage.

At that time in the Corps, we had two kinds of technician, systems techs and radio techs. I was a radio tech. Systems techs trained on Ptarmigan, which SCRA was part of. Radio techs did a one-week familiarisation module on the entire Ptarmigan system, which involved many different components in the system so that by the end of it, we could recognise them, and operate desk phones and SCRA(T)s. Not fix it.

The Regimental Foreman of Signals, a WO1, had overall responsibility for the serviceability of the comms kit in the Regt. It was on his watch that we’re 6x Centrals down. Not his fault, but his situation to deal with. He’s got the CO, Ops Offr, Regt YofS on his back to get this shit sorted in the face of pressure from higher up. I was a bit surprised when he dicked me to look at them. At that stage, I’d rarely even been in the back of a Central. I had no reason to. I was armed with a stack of microfiches and a reader containing the documentation, and given an electrician to help me with the genes. I’d never even seen the DC diesel genes on the wagons. All the other wagon-mounted genes were completely different. Just to get the wagons to power up was a bit of a feat, given they’d sat there for weeks.

Well anyway, the upshot is that by swapping cables and boards to see if the fault moved, with a bit/lot of intuition as to which cables and boards to move, I got 4 of the 6 working without needing to demand spares. 300% improvement in SCRA coverage. In Sarajevo. In winter. No equipment training, no paper documentation, no experience of the kit. With a 3* General on my back by proxy. COMARRC > Comd Comms (1*) > CO 7 SR > Regt FofS > Cpl Roadster.

It wasn’t the pressure of expectation that I fix this shit that motivated me. It was not letting my Foreman down. He’d asked me because he thought I could do it, and I wasn’t going to let him down. No amount of trench-digging, quick change parades, red-faced little men on the square or a run would have made any difference whatsoever. I performed under pressure because that’s what was expected of me, and I fully understood that.

The embuggerance factors were:

Wagons frozen
Dead batteries
Unusual power system
Knackered cables
Knackered circuit boards
Lack of knowledge/training/experience

The pressure factors were all to do with loyalty and the consequence of failure, and nothing at all to do with quick change parades, sleep deprivation or other artificial nonsense.
230? Who had you taken over from? And finally class 2?
 
230? Who had you taken over from? And finally class 2?

232 seconded to M Tp. 2 Sigs. And yes.

Edited to add - I ended up working for all the sqns in 7 in Krefeld/Bos.

Initially posted to 16/230. 16 moved out, leaving 230 to come under command of 7. 7 roll into camp and realise I was a radio tech in a squadron with like 3xFFRs and maybe one radio per det. I get moved to 231, at that time we had radio tps in 231 and 232. A while later, Radio Tp 231 was moved to 232, me with it.

Bosnia comes around, and the early deployment was to be 229 with UN berets. For whatever reason, even 229 and 230 had establishment for radio techs, even if they were predominantly TN sqns. So I get earmarked to deploy with 229 and started working for them for a couple of weeks before deployment. However, one of the 232 lads had some paperwork issue and couldn't deploy, so was called back to 232 to do a job in Kiseljak Brick Factory, and went straight into Sarajevo. After a couple of weeks, it was off to the Dalmacija, and then to Zetra. At Zetra, I was loaned to M Tp (or was it TM Tp, can't remember). Anyway, because the regiment was doing 3 on/3 off, there was a dearth of T1s in M Tp and I was a fairly senior Cpl in comparison with the majority of the T2s. So I got the Central job.

After Bosnia, it was back to 232, and then when 230 moved to 16/JHQ, I went with them for a few months before my T1.
 
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232 seconded to M Tp. 2 Sigs. And yes.
Rgr, I always felt that the Radio Tech course was limited when it came to data comms. The class 1 being basically the systems tech class 3, made a very useful tech indeed. Who was the Regt FofS? Back on topic, my wife is responsible for every promotion from Sgt onwards one way or another.
 
Rgr, I always felt that the Radio Tech course was limited when it came to data comms. The class 1 being basically the systems tech class 3, made a very useful tech indeed. Who was the Regt FofS? Back on topic, my wife is responsible for every promotion from Sgt onwards one way or another.

Limited as in "next to zero" in my time :) It was only the ATR/teleprinter/other bit that could remotely be called data. Well, maybe the DMU/other other bit, if you're really pushing it.

Regt FofS was CS. Top bloke, if a little dry.
 
MOULD dets were to get to their hill-top site, get comms set up, and stay there.
. . . . and sometimes you would find dets from 3 Divs and a Corps sitting around making a lovely target, there were so few darned hills!
 
I think Radio Relay dets only had a survivability estimate of about 4 minutes. The idea would be that they would be powered up and then left while the crew camped out at the SAS/MC 500m away
There was a table top exercise in about 1984, working out resilience of comms in NATO given WP capabilities including weapon range, accuracy, quantity of targets and own tactics. I managed the slides for my own CO who had been nominated to give one of the presentations (He was ex-SF and had been given the Devil's Advocate role in that regard). The conclusion was that there were altogether too many targets for the WP to hit in one go (Even if they only selected the key points), their weapons did not have the range or accuracy to hit anything or everything beyond the immediate tactical environment and selected theatre targets, they would never achieve air sovereignty to the extent required to obliterate all targets anyway and own tactics would mitigate the attack cycle. When you consider that they would have been faced with 8x fighting Corps in the AFCENT area alone, with depth all the way back to the North Sea and Atlantic, you can see the argument. The message was, be careful, take your chances, be aware of the risks, take protective measures and you will probably be fine. HQ 1 (BR) Corps was probably not a good place to be though.

Nowadays, I'm confident that peer forces can sufficiently disrupt each others' C2 toute suite. You no longer even have to kill them to make them operationally ineffective.
 
There was a table top exercise in about 1984, working out resilience of comms in NATO given WP capabilities including weapon range, accuracy, quantity of targets and own tactics. I managed the slides for my own CO who had been nominated to give one of the presentations (He was ex-SF and had been given the Devil's Advocate role in that regard). The conclusion was that there were altogether too many targets for the WP to hit in one go (Even if they only selected the key points), their weapons did not have the range or accuracy to hit anything or everything beyond the immediate tactical environment and selected theatre targets, they would never achieve air sovereignty to the extent required to obliterate all targets anyway and own tactics would mitigate the attack cycle. When you consider that they would have been faced with 8x fighting Corps in the AFCENT area alone, with depth all the way back to the North Sea and Atlantic, you can see the argument. The message was, be careful, take your chances, be aware of the risks, take protective measures and you will probably be fine. HQ 1 (BR) Corps was probably not a good place to be though.

Nowadays, I'm confident that peer forces can sufficiently disrupt each others' C2 toute suite. You no longer even have to kill them to make them operationally ineffective.

As a bleep on the ground, may I call b0lloX on the conclusion. Their EW capability would have swamped our nets never mind their arty. But as you said, you don't have to kill all the sets however weren't their Spetsnatz the size of the whole Brit Army of the time?
 
Being Inf, both my battalion Lcpl and Junior Brecon courses were totally concerned with tactics and fighting skills. A regimental Drill and Duties course covered the other bits. No BS whatsoever, just knackering foot slogging which is part of life for grunt.

Later when I went to AAC I was DS on a JNCO cadre and was amazed at how much emphasis was placed on purely getting the lads as physically fücked as possible. Not one lesson was aircraft oriented.

When I challenged the pointy heads I was told that the requirement to defend an AAC HLS was the main aim of the course. The efficient running of the operation didn’t seem to matter.
sounds like the AAC could have done with a force trained to defend airfields and heli sites just saying.
 
As a bleep on the ground, may I call b0lloX on the conclusion. Their EW capability would have swamped our nets never mind their arty. But as you said, you don't have to kill all the sets however weren't their Spetsnatz the size of the whole Brit Army of the time?
I'm not really going to argue the case, but there are some other considerations. EW (Even WP RECS) was not quite as good as you may have been given to believe. You couldn't monitor and DF/ID/Analyse everything, so targets would be carefully selected and were limited. There really weren't enough Spetnaz for all the comms targets as they had many other tasks too, such as log, transport hubs, harbours, infrastructure and so on.

Countermeasures, whether electronic, kinetic, SF or TESS were always a real risk, but not an absolute bar to operations.
 
As a bleep on the ground, may I call b0lloX on the conclusion. Their EW capability would have swamped our nets never mind their arty. But as you said, you don't have to kill all the sets however weren't their Spetsnatz the size of the whole Brit Army of the time?
My OC ( i was his driver) casually mentioned that if we went head to head with the Russians, we would be lucky to last 48 hours, and in all probability 50-70% of the British army on the battle ground would be either KIA or POW's, this was back in 1980, when we had an army 3 times the size it is now. :salut:
 

TamH70

MIA
As a bleep on the ground, may I call b0lloX on the conclusion. Their EW capability would have swamped our nets never mind their arty. But as you said, you don't have to kill all the sets however weren't their Spetsnatz the size of the whole Brit Army of the time?

Yep.

Our briefing for an ex once went along the lines of "if you were doing this for real, you'd have to have your eyes on swivels for the Spetsnaz team in their Hind who'd want to pay you a visit." Apparently, Siggy-types were prime interrogation fodder. Even MOULDIES. The joke would have been on them unless all they wanted was dits on how to steal stuff, paint it blue, and add it to one's Rover's stores.
 
Blind-sided and informed I would be made Lt Col in the In & Out. I was genuinely expecting to get a coffee interview without biscuits for aggressive farts courtesy of the Alpen Muesli I'd been eating the last 4 months to lose weight, that or being told I was a bit too old to go anywhere. Turns out I'd also saved a subbie offing herself too (drinking with me will do that.!!!!).
 
How was I promoted? First time: called into the CO’s office after morning muster parade to be told I was incorrectly dressed. My punishment was to buy champagne in the Mess at lunchtime, which I duly did. Sadly it then took several months to pay off the resultant mess bill, and as the afternoon collapsed into chaos, one of our number hurt his ankle jumping off a balcony to avoid something or other - a wound that still niggles him to this day, around 40 years later.
 
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My OC ( i was his driver) casually mentioned that if we went head to head with the Russians, we would be lucky to last 48 hours, and in all probability 50-70% of the British army on the battle ground would be either KIA or POW's, this was back in 1980, when we had an army 3 times the size it is now. :salut:
But Ivan would have paid dearly.
Once the NAAFI was drained.
 
How was I promoted? First time: called into the CO’s office after morning muster parade and to be told I was incorrectly dressed. My punishment was to buy champagne in the Mess at lunchtime, which I duly did. Sadly it then took several months to pay off the resultant mess bill, and as the afternoon collapsed into chaos, one of our number hurt his ankle jumping off a balcony to avoid something or other - a wound that still niggles him to this day, around 40 years later.
Good man.
You were not my regiment, but may the gods of the track pad bless all you officer types who kept us troopers/privates in nice booze and scran for all the time you put us through tough times when we sorted your shit out.
Present company excepted, @Queensman
Wish I had done a Sobraon day, mind.
 
Good man.
You were not my regiment, but may the gods of the track pad bless all you officer types who kept us troopers/privates in nice booze and scran for all the time you put us through tough times when we sorted your shit out.
Present company excepted, @Queensman
Wish I had done a Sobraon day, mind.
You’re too kind!
Liking the Maid of Warsaw…..
the rather unkindly named Queers on Horseback were in Fallingbostal when I was a padbrat in the early ‘70s.
 
You’re too kind!
Liking the Maid of Warsaw…..
the rather unkindly named Queers on Horseback were in Fallingbostal when I was a padbrat in the early ‘70s.
Continuing the love in…my dad (REME) did a tour (maybe two) with the Queens in the early 1970s. He loved it, and them.
 

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