Gents: Which is the best infantry battalion in the British Army....? ...OK, joke question over. We all know it is (ARRSE members insert their battalion/former battalion HERE) More seriously: In the US Army, the Ranger battalions are the top-skilled battalions, as they (a) are a cadre for high-level infantry skills that are used by the entire Army; and (b) during the aforementioned training process, can cherry-pick the top recruits for their regiment. This is different from the UK Army. The general perception (for the record, I have no personal stake in this) is that parachute and commando battalions are our top boys. If so, what are they doing - beyond the basic training/entry level programs for entrants - that line battalions or not? More pertinently, is this perception - that paras/marines are the best - actually backed up by reality? If so, how do we know? Here is the big question. Is is feasible to assess the effectiness of infantry battalions? If so, how does - or should - the Army assess the effectiveness of its infantry units? And can learnings therefrom be applied to the rest of the army? I ask as we have in recent years seen widly different tactics used in Helmand, to varying effect or lack thereof. Given the overall lack of strategic direction in this campaign, I suspect much of this is due to the COs'/battalions' personal initiative. So is there a way to assess battalion effectivness? Some possible metrics: Number of wins in intra-army skills competitions...? (indicative of high standards of basic skills) Number of officers entering staff college...? (indicative of smart leadership) Number of NCOs going into prestige positions in training institutes...? (indicative of mid-level leadership quality) Number of soldiers extending their tours in the army...? (indicative of high unit morale) The above, of course, are peace-time metrics. How to assess effectivneness in combat operations? Enemy body count? (Widely dissed since Vietnam, but indicative of skill-at-arms) Ground captured and/held? (The classic metric for infantry warfare) Number of unit casualites? (If on the high side, could indicate aggressive, effective command. If on the low size, could indicate high quality fieldcraft) Of course, there are lots of "but ifs" about all these metrics ("Well, Battalion A always wins at Bisley, but that is because their prioritize musketry more than others. Their fitness/tactics are weaker as a result..." etc, etc) but I am not aware of any empirical or objective bases for judging combat unit effectiveness that are widely used by western armies. Putting aside the tabloid belief that special forces are the be-all and end-all of moder militaries, high-quality infantry are and always have been the Holy Grail of any army. Given this, should there not be more resources devoted to quality control and quality assessment? Interested to read replies.