Incident at Castle Martin 14-06-2017

Caecilius

LE
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Different people make different decisions, it’s not down to rationality.
It is when the question is 'would you deviate from a drill if it would definitely result in an increased chance of survival?'. No rational person would answer no to that.

Just accept that your attempts to justify a cowboy attitude have been met with the derision it deserves. It’s simple, stick to the drills and you can’t go far wrong.
No, I've has derision from people who refused to engage honestly with the argument. There isn't a single post from either you or stonker answering the point I'm actually making. In your case you have to make comments about 'cowboys' and people 'not bothering' to dismiss the argument, when we're actually discussing a deliberate decision to step away from a drill due to operational circumstances so neither term is appropriate. Only incendiarycutlery and revmodes have engaged honestly with the point being made.

As I said, you clearly aren't willing to address the point and you aren't about to change my mind by ignoring it and arguing a different point, so shall we leave it there?
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
He should be exercising proper C2 to ensure such things don’t happen. It’s a simple concept.
Sure, but that's quite easy to say and it's a common line that people trot out. How should he have exercised C2 in this instance if he didn't know it was happening?
 
He will keep going until he has shifted his position to that of everybody else then claim that was his assertion in the first place.

Not forgetting the subject of this thread

"A senior coroner has already heard RTR soldiers giving evidence stating the charge-bags, which propel shells out the barrel, were habitually stored outside special protective containers, called charge bins, in the turret. "

"Lt Col Ridgway said the practice “had become normalised in a way I had not appreciated”.

He said: “I have to admit I sort of felt physically sick when I heard people were stowing them out of the bins.

“If for one moment I suspected they were storing them incorrectly, I would have been furious.”

No licence whatsoever for the practice. Lt Col Ridgeway sound a perfectly decent man not the kind of cowboy who would suggest breaking the quite clear and necessary rules.

He is an officer in a CR2 Regiment who understands these things not some amateur from the Light Cav.
So Caecilius thinks the CO 1 RTR is dumb. in the words of a well known TV presenter, that is breathtaking arrogance.

I wonder if he is man enough to tell him to his face though?
 
Sure, but that's quite easy to say and it's a common line that people trot out. How should he have exercised C2 in this instance if he didn't know it was happening?
Quite simply by making sure his RCO and other range staff are aware of applying the correct drills. Adequate range briefings and formal control on the firing point. Just like any other range.
You seem to have taken some unhealthy lessons from John G.
 
Maj Poole, who joined the Army in 1986, was asked by the coroner about his knowledge of "incorrect stowed baggage charges" in tank turrets, and whether he knew if it went on.

He said "as a young corporal" he had stowed the explosive breach-loaded bags incorrectly, outside storage boxes, but things were now more "strict" and much more safety-conscious.

But in a statement to the MoD team, he had said: "To think those boys stowed those bag charges incorrectly is a little disappointing to be honest I would have thought they'd have known better.

Preston soldier died in explosion in tank while on training exercise
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
It is when the question is 'would you deviate from a drill if it would definitely result in an increased chance of survival?'. No rational person would answer no to that.
Is there any evidence that deviating from the drill increases the chance of survival? Or is this - back to the battlecruisers at Rosyth - rooted in a pious hope that if we can't achieve accuracy, we can at least deliver a "smothering fire" to "unsteady and blind" the foe, and circumventing all those tedious drills about flash protection will lead us to victory?

Has anyone actually confirmed either the improvement in survivability, or the increase in risk, that this change produces?

Phrase the question as "would you deviate from a drill if doing so could get you and your crew killed for no provable advantage?" and see what the answer is then...

 
Is there any evidence that deviating from the drill increases the chance of survival?
Don't be silly we have a poster on here who's opinion trumps all other facts. Trouble is I don't think he has ever commanded a Challenger, commanded one on ops, commanded one in a 'tank battle' but has listened to someone bigging it up in the bar at Bovington.

British tanks tend not to have been involved in much tank on tank action since 1945.
 
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I'm certain they will have known that the drill isn't authorised and those doing it will have known that it's a shortcut. In those circumstances it's entirely possible that the CO would be unaware of it happening.
I must have missed some thing then! He is paid to be aware or to have a regimental staff who are switched on and in a position to make him aware, so it would seem to me that the management of the unit has been allowed to become complacent.
 
Is investigation into this CR2 incident now complete and public?

I used to work with the partner of one of the dead crew, so I have a special interest.
Yes it is, fully in the public domain the debates will drag on of course, but at the end of the day we have lost two of our own.

Mathew was originally a member of QRH my former regiment on amalgamation, he transferred to RTR for whatever reason.

Speaking to current members he was a very well thought of guy, RIP.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
So Caecilius thinks the CO 1 RTR is dumb. in the words of a well known TV presenter, that is breathtaking arrogance.

I wonder if he is man enough to tell him to his face though?
Eh?

British tanks tend not to have been involved in much tank on tank action since 1945.
There were two gulf wars with tank on tank engagements rather more recently...

Its fascinating that you have to dismiss it all as people 'bigging it up in the bar'. It says a lot that you find it easier to dismiss operational experience as false tales rather than discuss the issue. Again for the hard of thinking: this isn't jusy my opinion of how things should be. This happened on operations and will happen again.
 
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Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Is there any evidence that deviating from the drill increases the chance of survival? Or is this - back to the battlecruisers at Rosyth - rooted in a pious hope that if we can't achieve accuracy, we can at least deliver a "smothering fire" to "unsteady and blind" the foe, and circumventing all those tedious drills about flash protection will lead us to victory?

Has anyone actually confirmed either the improvement in survivability, or the increase in risk, that this change produces?
That is roughly the question I'm trying to ask, but am being ridiculed for doing so. Given that people will obviously deviate from a drill if it will definitely increase chances of survival, what do we do about them deviating from it if they believe that it will increase their chances of survival but there is no hard data to support that belief?

It's always going to be a judgement call on operations to a certain extent and there are always going to be scenarios where it is overwhelmingly likely that deviating from the drill would lead to greater chances of survival, but what do we do in situations other than that? How do we govern this? People aren't going to do something they believe makes them more likely to die just because people say that not doing a drill is 'cowboy'.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Quite simply by making sure his RCO and other range staff are aware of applying the correct drills. Adequate range briefings and formal control on the firing point. Just like any other range.
You seem to have taken some unhealthy lessons from John G.
All of that will have been done. How does that stop people doing a drill they know to be incorrect inside the tank?
 
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There were two gulf wars with tank on tank engagements rather more recently...
Its fascinating that you have to dismiss it all as people 'bigging it up in the bar'
One lasted 100 hours and the other a day over two weeks during which SCOTS DG engaged and destroyed, with the assistance of Arty and Air, 14 T55s.

Just because someone claims to have done something:

1. Doesn't mean they actually did
2. If they did do it it does not mean it was justified.

What came out in the Coroners Court was "RTR soldiers giving evidence stating the charge-bags, which propel shells out the barrel, were habitually stored outside special protective containers, called charge bins, in the turret. "

"Lt Col Ridgway said the practice “had become normalised in a way I had not appreciated”. " He continued

That indicates to me that it goes on all the time in RTR and quite possibly in the two other (soon to be one) Armoured Regiments

Lt Col Ridgway continued "“If for one moment I suspected they were storing them incorrectly, I would have been furious.” "

Why would he have been furious? Could it be it is unacceptably dangerous? Of course it is

So your operational experience commanding a Chieftain in a tank on tank engagement is exactly?
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
One lasted 100 hours and the other a day over two weeks during which SCOTS DG engaged and destroyed, with the assistance of Arty and Air, 14 T55s.

Just because someone claims to have done something:

1. Doesn't mean they actually did
2. If they did do it it does not mean it was justified.
You've missed a lot of engagements there.

If multiple people have corroborating stories about what they did, many of which were partially reported in the press, I think that's good evidence that it probably happened.

And yes, the point about whether it was justified is what I'm trying to discuss. Take a step back, calm down and read my posts again.

Why would he have been furious? Could it be it is unacceptably dangerous? Of course it is
Yes. On ranges for certain. I'm trying to discuss if it's acceptable on operations if you believe it increases your chances of survival. Again, calm down and read my posts. I'm still not clear where I called him dumb though...

So your operational experience commanding a Chieftain in a tank on tank engagement is exactly?
None, obviously. My (former) blokes, plenty although on CR1/2 rather than cheiftain. Why is that relevant?
 
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That is roughly the question I'm trying to ask, but am being ridiculed for doing so. Given that people will obviously deviate from a drill if it will definitely increase chances of survival, what do we do about them deviating from it if they believe that it will increase their chances of survival but there is no hard data to support that belief?

It's always going to be a judgement call on operations to a certain extent and there are always going to be scenarios where it is overwhelmingly likely that deviating from the drill would lead to greater chances of survival, but what do we do in situations other than that? How do we govern this? People aren't going to do something they believe makes them more likely to die just because people say that not doing a drill is 'cowboy'.

Shades of Sherman crews in the desert in 1942 being worried about running out of ammunition and sticking dozens of extra rounds loose on their turret basket floors - then being terribly upset when the war came in and set off all those improperly stowed rounds rather catastrophically?
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
That is roughly the question I'm trying to ask, but am being ridiculed for doing so.
From my viewpoint, the issue is that you appear to be defending the decision to circumvent drills because it "improves the chance of survival" without actually having any evidence that it "improves the chance of survival".

My concern is that myths become accepted as true, and sometimes have consequences: for example, the belief among some that "you should run your rifle bone-dry in the desert because oil attracts dust and makes it into grinding paste that gums it up", leading to lots of problems and stoppages: follow the drills, oil your weapon, and - lo and behold! - it works much better. (Cf. Op NERINE...) But, the problem there wasn't initially seen as "soldiers not following the drills", it was blamed on "the rifle's unreliable...".

Given that people will obviously deviate from a drill if it will definitely increase chances of survival, what do we do about them deviating from it if they believe that it will increase their chances of survival but there is no hard data to support that belief?
The reason we do drills is so they become instinctive reactions, that we can successfully complete even when under severe stress: fear of imminent death or life-altering injury, or even of failing a key course, has a dramatic (and negative) effect on your ability to make careful, considered judgments on risk versus opportunity.

If soldiers are chinning off the drills in favour of a "local procedure" for a higher rate of fire in training, they'll do the same thing in action, whether or not there's a threat that might merit it.

(There's also the wider question of "what other aspects are being ignored or modified?" to worry about... but that's a different story)

To take it to an extreme, what happens when some soldiers modify the drill for "advance to contact" to be "actually, let's withdraw discreetly" in order to improve their chances of survival? Is that less acceptable?
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
From my viewpoint, the issue is that you appear to be defending the decision to circumvent drills because it "improves the chance of survival" without actually having any evidence that it "improves the chance of survival".
There is no hard data available other than that an increased rate of fire (if accurate) will obviously increase lethality and improve your chances of survival. Whether you can reliably test that on ranges is an interesting question.

The reason we do drills is so they become instinctive reactions, that we can successfully complete even when under severe stress: fear of imminent death or life-altering injury, or even of failing a key course, has a dramatic (and negative) effect on your ability to make careful, considered judgments on risk versus opportunity.
That's certainly true, but I'd argue that for something like charge stowage it isn't really the case of instinctive reactions kicking in. Storing your charges is very much a conscious process that won't become truly automatic on operations. The action of loading and firing absolutely will be, but whether you pick your charge up from the floor or from one of the many locations round the turret makes little difference to muscle memory. Again, there are (albeit extremely rare) circumstances where stepping away from almost any safety drill will result in increased survival chances so how do we address that on operations noting your point that people make poor risk decisions. Simply saying 'do the drill, cowboy' isn't going to stop people doing something they believe is saving their life.

If soldiers are chinning off the drills in favour of a "local procedure" for a higher rate of fire in training, they'll do the same thing in action, whether or not there's a threat that might merit it.

(There's also the wider question of "what other aspects are being ignored or modified?" to worry about... but that's a different story)
But they shouldn't be doing it in training as there's definitely no survival justification to offset the risk. The question is about doing it on operations, which I think is the origin of this drill that has now seeped back into training with fatal consequences.
 
Why is that relevant?
Brain stagger on my part my brain went Challenger but my digits decided otherwise. .

OK getting to the point if you recall way back when in the thread I suggested that if this was acceptable decision on Operations then it should be written into procedures and trained for.

What I strongly disagree with is any old Tom, Dick or Harry willfully disobeying the procedure simply because they think they know better than the Army.
 
There's no evidence to show bad practice seeped back into training because it was done on ops.

I know two people have died and it's a tragedy. and I'm not in the business of deliberately trying to deflame the reputation of people who are dead. That said experienced gunnery instructors were employing cowboy drills, which sadly ended in tragedy.

Lessons will be learned I'm sure and changes will be made, but it is what it is. Bad practice. That needs to be recognised and discussed. Drills on ops is discussion for another thread in my opinion. It has detracted from the OT here and will do so elsewhere, unless separated out. It's a worth while discussion though in the right place.
Actually one of my gripes while serving was the lack of ability to question anything. The pamphlet rules ok.

Something else to be considered is why a MBT was handed over with a crucial part of the main gun missing and nobody noticed. It's always sad when it takes lives being lost before something changes.
 
There's no evidence to show bad practice seeped back into training because it was done on ops.

I know two people have died and it's a tragedy. and I'm not in the business of deliberately trying to deflame the reputation of people who are dead. That said experienced gunnery instructors were employing cowboy drills, which sadly ended in tragedy.

Lessons will be learned I'm sure and changes will be made, but it is what it is. Bad practice. That needs to be recognised and discussed. Drills on ops is discussion for another thread in my opinion. It has detracted from the OT here and will do so elsewhere, unless separated out. It's a worth while discussion though in the right place.
Actually one of my gripes while serving was the lack of ability to question anything. The pamphlet rules ok.

Something else to be considered is why a MBT was handed over with a crucial part of the main gun missing and nobody noticed. It's always sad when it takes lives being lost before something changes.
It was handed over as per SOP.

The BVA was not missing it was correctly stowed in the brew bin, nobody noticed because the crew(gunnery instructors) did not carry out the drills for action.

Now we really are into dangerous territory deviating from the SOP for pre firing goes way beyond any "survival" tactic , once the rot sets in the downward spiral accelerates.

Thank god that none of this was going on when I was my regiments gunnery SNCO, crew commanders have the responsibility for the lives of their crews, playing fast and loose with established drills for a supposed increase in rate of fire is a nonsense.
 

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