Infantry Cut Decision to be delayed?

#2
I have argued long and hard against the logic (or lack of) behind the cuts but if they are to happen then there had better be more balanced judgements than just "mummy mustn't lose her Black Watch". I'm glad Betty is sticking her oar in but this would be a disaster if it came down to favourites.
 
#3
As this topic drags on, I find myself somewhat confused. I first thought they were planning to get rid of regtlt title and the personnel in the unit. Now I seem to be of opinion that the name will go and the personnel will be redeployed to bring the others up to full strength. Are we due to lose regiments (by name) or regts + asociated personnel? I'm getting a bit old and thick in trying to get the facts behind the furore.
 
#4
The Torygraph ran a similar story with a leaked Confidential-Management ECAB briefing paper. There will be many more deployments to the sandbox over the next couple of years - the longer these cuts are delayed, the less damage they will do as the "line" that Iraq is shortly to become "stable democracy" becomes untenable.

Bits in bold are my emphasis.

Secret report urges Army to defy Hoon over cuts to fighting forces
By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent
(Filed: 05/12/2004)

A secret report on the future of the Army commissioned by senior generals is recommending that defence chiefs defy the Government and delay further cuts to the infantry because of "growing uncertainty over future commitments", The Telegraph can reveal.

The 150-page "confidential" report, which will be presented to defence chiefs tomorrow, also discloses the extent of the bitter fighting within the military about which regiments should survive.

One senior officer said last night: "The generals are fighting like rats in a sack."

The document, titled "A Future Infantry Structure", reveals widespread concern that the cuts are coming when the infantry has heavy commitments and is "bearing the brunt of operational risks and casualties, with the latter at levels unprecedented since the early 1970s".

The Army's most senior generals will scrutinise the report's recommendations at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Army Board, which is chaired by Gen Sir Mike Jackson, and its findings will be announced by the Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon to the House of Commons on December 13. The report, a copy of which has been seen by The Telegraph, also reveals the full extent of ministerial interference in decision-making.

It questions the truthfulness of Tony Blair's claim to the Commons last month that "it is important that the Army be allowed to make its decision in the right way".

Defence chiefs have decided that the Army must reduce the size of the infantry from 40 to 36 battalions and merge all 19 single-battalion infantry units into so-called "super-regiments".

Three out of the four battalions have been agreed upon, but the decision on the fourth is causing the most difficulty.

Many in the military believe that the cuts should come from the Scottish regiments because they have the worst recent recruiting record in the entire infantry, but defence chiefs have decided that Scotland should lose only one regiment while England should lose up to three.

The report also recommends that, rather than cut or amalgamate a fourth infantry battalion, the Army Board should delay the decision until after April 2006 "to allow further work on the future trends in recruiting". But crucially it adds that "the inherent benefits of this option must be balanced against the Secretary of State's declared intent that he would not welcome delaying the decision".

It adds that if the Army board decides not to take up the recommendation, then the fourth battalion which still remains to be cut could come from removing a second battalion from the King's Division or a battalion from the Queen's Division.

The report reveals that one of the battalions could be saved if a new role was created for a unit to provide permanent direct support for the Special Forces.

This move had the full support of the Army but, according to the report, "did not meet with ministerial approval". One Army officer told The Telegraph that this "smacks of gross ministerial interference".

"The reorganisation of the infantry is long overdue and is necessary if the Army is going to be able to deal with future military threats.

"But while the restructuring has the support of most of the infantry, the cutting of four battalions just doesn't make sense when we are in the middle of a war and is causing a lot of pain."

Another officer said: "This is an issue that is quite simply tearing the Army apart. The generals are fighting like rats in a sack. The ones that come out alive will survive. The gloves are off."

The quarrels over the proposed reorganisations were further inflamed by the decision to make English regiments bear a larger share of the cuts than was originally proposed. The extent of the infighting is made clear in letters from senior officers contained in an annex to the report. Among those who raised concerns is Lt Gen Sir Richard Dannatt, the commander of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corp and the Colonel Commandant of the King's Division, who has been told that his division will lose one battalion and faces the prospect of losing a second.

In a letter to Brigadier Jamie Balfour, the director of infantry, dated October 5 2004, the general writes: "Last week I met with the Colonels of the Regiments of the King's Division to agree our recommendations on the future infantry structure.

"As you would expect, the colonels, while understanding the rationale for the necessary restructuring, still have very strong views about the timing of the cuts to the Infantry and particularly about the proportion of those cuts allocated to English regiments."

At the end of his two-page typed letter, he writes in his own hand: "As you know I can't stress too strongly the enormous strength of feeling associated with the 4th battalion to be cut - this is the issue that can spoil the whole initiative".

In a strongly-worded letter, Gen Kevin O'Donoghue, the Colonel of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire - one of the regiments to be disbanded - tells the chief of the general staff of his disappointment at how the debate is being conducted. He said: "I am disheartened by the lack of generosity of spirit shown by many of those involved in the debate over the future of the RGBW.

"In particular, I am deeply disappointed that this lack of compassion has led the executive committee to consider, in effect, disbanding the RGBW...I cannot believe that it is the committee's intention to reduce the combat power of the infantry by breaking up such an operationally effective regiment."

In another letter, Gen O'Donoghue launches a blistering attack on Maj Gen Christopher Elliot, the Colonel Commandant of the Prince of Wales's Division, over suggestions that his regiment is not fully manned. Both officers are members of the same division of infantry.

He writes to the director of infantry: "Christopher Elliott has written to you with his views on the future structure of the Prince Of Wales Division, which although loosely based on the discussions at our Colonels of Regiments meeting on October 4, give a very negative and far from unanimous set of options...

"Christopher's letter misses the point in three areas. First he persists in referring to the poor manning record of the RGBW. This is a fallacy."

The annex contains letters in a similar vein from the colonels commandant of the Prince of Wales's Division, the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment and the Light Division.
[/b][/quote]
 
#5
Lot of smoke and mirrors here. Why can't the politicians and the General Staff just admit they were wrong and that there is a need to keep all of the existing Bns.

The trend in the Scottish Division prior to all this nausea indicated. recruiting was picking up. Indeed the KOSB and Black Watch had achieved their recruiting goals for 2003-2004, with the others, Royal Scots excepted, not too far behind. There are indications that a determined and imaginative recruiting drive across Scotland would have produced the desired results, but of course a recruiting 'freeze' was initiated.

The entire debacle is driven by Hoon's desire to save money at the expense of Britain's security not because of poor recruiting.
 
#6
I've waited a long time for my first post but now it seems appropriate to comment on the 'General Spat' that's hitting the headlines on the eve of the ECAB meeting. Given how much the Generals have been hacking lumps out of each other (and I thought they were mates) is now in the open it has been a real eye opener to see the sort of skulduggery that has been the order of the day at DInf and elsewhere in the run up to this latest tiff.

It is clear (don't leave stuff in the photocopier) that Kings Div initially tried to warp the proposed reductions by arguing that Queens Div should also take a cut, getting the Kings Div element of DInf's staff to put the Fusiliers in the frame so Kings Div could take over their recruiting areas given that at a recent recruiting conference in Warbore it was noted how Kings Div recruiting in Lancashire in particular was on the floor. But what really raised the blood pressure was the apparent inference (notified by a B2 source) that by having large (though now reducing) numbers of F&C this should be a good reason for Queens Div to get the chop as well because Kings Div had less F&C. (The Lt Div has just as many if not more but they've only 2 regiments and offer little local competition except in Durham.) If anyone would play the race card at a time when we need all the infantry we can get to do the tasks set then this is a strange (and malicious) way to fight a corner. It's quite clear from the recent PWRR Magazine and the Fusiliers' war experience that their F&C can do the business - any comment from the BW?

There's also the little matter of 'Ruperts'. According to my source in the Factory, people don't exactly fight to get into the Kings Div regiments, either before they arrive or while they are there. A good charismatic member of staff can work wonders but if the profile isn't hot he's got an uphill struggle. A dodgy one can seriously damage a regiment's health…

Anyway, those who remember 'Options' will hardly be holding their breath. At a time when we need everyone we've got don't expect too much 'wisdom' riding in on the back of stopping the Arms Plot. Oh and don't expect anything 'neutral, impartial' and/or 'carefully considered' from DInf and his staff either. :wink:

Radio 4, post 0700 hrs, Mon 6 Dec. Be there.


'When you have lost everything all you have left is experience.'
 
#7
Only this government with its collection of fools, adulterers and bluffers could decide to cut the Armed Forces to save money in the middle of a war. It's enough to make you weep.
 
#8
Busterdog said:
Lot of smoke and mirrors here. Why can't the politicians and the General Staff just admit they were wrong and that there is a need to keep all of the existing Bns.

The trend in the Scottish Division prior to all this nausea indicated. recruiting was picking up. Indeed the KOSB and Black Watch had achieved their recruiting goals for 2003-2004, with the others, Royal Scots excepted, not too far behind. There are indications that a determined and imaginative recruiting drive across Scotland would have produced the desired results, but of course a recruiting 'freeze' was initiated.

The entire debacle is driven by Hoon's desire to save money at the expense of Britain's security not because of poor recruiting.
Exactly, they say it is "modernising"!
Just how so? They never do tell.

You are correct, there should be no cuts, and a review of recruiting and what is wrong with recruiting presently. They need to start using their brains to fix that, not complain about numbers while sitting on their hands.
 
#9
At about 7.00 this morning, I watched Dan Snow , described as a Military Historian, on the sofa with the trout Kerpinski.

Yes, I have gone off her. The entire 5 minutes, and the bits beyond, were nothing but Neue Arbeit Propaganda of the very worst sort.

The discussion was whether or not the Army would be affected by the cuts.

The Trout Kerpinski kept banging on as many times as she could get it in, that the cuts would improve Army efficiency , and Dan Snow was there to add "gravitas" to the view.

My question is this.

Does Dan Snow have ANY Military experience. Yes I know he writes a few books, and presents "History for chavs and those who ain't got the Hitler channel on cable" but has he ever served?

Because his comments were laughable, but exactly what the Government wants put out there.

"Northern Ireland Peace Dividend"????

Dan, What the F*ck are you banging on about?

The IRA has NOT stopped it's racketeering, drugs and booze and fags smuggling operations. Now why do you suppose they are still raising money as fast as they can? Has NORAID closed down? No?

We are going to lose a Battalion with the most experience in the Province. There is something wrong, and sinister with this picture Mr. Snow, no?

Lots of talk of "More efficient" "Streamlined" "Cap badges will still exist" "more deployable" etc, all delivered by a man who as far as I'm aware, hasn't done a day in uniform, and seemed to have not a clue for Regimental pride, and why this is important to us.

I can only presume that Mark Urban was unavailable. :evil:
 
#10
Saw the later bit, where they wheeled on a retired admiral, who gave the party line...

and more worryingly kept going on about finding a "new way"...securing the middle ground... having a medium solution that could cater to all environments" - it started to sound like one of B liars speaches from 1997 when he was talking about the "3rd (turd) way".

Basically this is all about the treasury clawing in as much money as it can to balance the books and ensure that MP's and their hangers on can continue to get large salaries and pay rises at the expense of the countries defence.

It in no way takes into account the lessons learned from Iraq or Afghanistan, or for that matter any conflict the British Armed Forces have been involved in...

This review does not address the need for improved investment in training and equipment, as all it promises is either kit that has been due for many a long year or stuff that won't see the light of day for 10 - 15 years (FRES!).

The review fundamentally damages the armed forces, their recruitment, retention and capabilities to conduct their current tempo of operations. The large regiment concept whilst fine for single capbadge regiments or corps will be unwealdy and divisive for multibadge abominations - just look at what happened to the TA inf units after the last set of cuts - hardly an example I would want to recreate.
 
#11
Protest threat over merger of regiments

http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1397732004

Scots veterans vow to target parliament and Forth bridge

GARETH EDWARDS


ARMY veterans and campaigners have threatened to close down major roads and buildings across Scotland in protest at plans to merge the country’s six historic infantry regiments into one "super-regiment".

Eighty-year-old former members of the threatened regiments, including the Edinburgh-based Royal Scots and the Black Watch, are preparing to target high profile sites, such as the Forth Road Bridge and the Scottish Parliament, if the Government presses ahead with the controversial move.

The campaign of civil disobedience, which could involve hundreds of protesters, would see traffic brought to a standstill on major roads, motorways and bridges.

Other plans include the protestors chaining themselves to the Scottish Parliament building, as well as deliberately jamming the switchboards at No 10 Downing Street and the Ministry of Defence.

One of the protesters, who did not want to be named, said: "This will be a series of short sharp shocks for the government."

Jeff Duncan, organiser of the Save the Scottish Regiments campaign, said he was aware some veterans were hatching plans for a civil disobedience campaign.

"These are men who fought for their country, who watched friends die to defend our freedom, and I think they want to show this government what they think of being sidelined while their old regiments are scrapped," he said.

The news comes on the day army chiefs were expected to confirm the fate of Scotland’s six infantry regiments.

The executive committee of the Army Board was expected to rubber stamp the plan to restructure the British Army at a meeting today.

It is expected Scotland’s six single-battalion infantry regiments could be cut to five, creating a single "super regiment".

The famous Royal Scots, the oldest infantry regiment in the British Army, would be forced to merge with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers to form one of the new battalions.

Campaign group Save the Scottish Regiments today warned its supporters would accept nothing less than the retention of six regiments.

Mr Duncan added that a major rally was to be held in Edinburgh on Saturday, December 18th. The day of protest is expected to see army pipe bands from Holland joining thousands of campaigners and representatives of all six Scottish regiments in a march down Princes Street, with a huge rally planned in Princes Street Gardens the same day.

The Army Board recommendations will have to be agreed by government, with Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon expected to announce the cuts in the House of Commons on December 16 - after the Black Watch troops serving just south of Baghdad have returned to the UK.

The civil disobedience campaign would likely start in the New Year of the plans are given the go-ahead by the government.

The Government has been keen to avoid the embarrassment of having to announce that the Black Watch will cease to be an independent regiment at a time when its soldiers are placing their lives on the line.

The Queen is understood to have expressed concern about the threat to end the regiment, as its colonel-in-chief for many years was the Queen Mother. Her Majesty is reported to have said her mother would "never let this happen."

The Black Watch, which returned to Basra at the weekend after a month-long tour backing up US troops in Iraq’s Sunni Triangle.

The plans have sparked vigorous opposition from campaigners concerned the regiments will lose their traditions and links with communities.

Last week Tony Blair argued regiments would not lose their proud identities under the plan, saying there was "a real misunderstanding" about what the Army wants to achieve with the moves.

During his visit to Scotland, he said: "They don’t want to get rid of the history or the traditions of the regiment or the local connections, far from it, all they want to do is make sure they can transfer people easily across regiments and deploy them more flexibly."

Families of soldiers in the Black Watch, the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, the Royal Scots, the Royal Highland Fusiliers, the Highlanders and the Argyll and Southern Highlanders have vowed to take revenge on Labour at the next General Election.

The Black Watch was formed in 1739 to police the Highlands, and recruits from Dundee, Angus, Perth and Kinross and Fife.

Five Black Watch troops died during the controversial deployment at Camp Dogwood in the hazardous area of central Iraq known as the Triangle of Death while US troops rooted out insurgents in the stronghold of Fallujah.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman confirmed that the board was meeting today.
 
#12
Line_Grunt said:
Basically this is all about the treasury clawing in as much money as it can to balance the books and ensure that MP's and their hangers on can continue to get large salaries and pay rises at the expense of the countries defence.
You forgot to add the bit about paying for Grasping Gordon's recent '£25 for every chav' announcement, which is no more than a cynical Neue Arbeit ploy to buy the votes of the hard of thinking.
 
#13
This'll go down like a ton of hot snot!


Blair has 'stepped in to save his local regiment'
By Michael Smith, Defence Correspondent
(Filed: 06/12/2004)

Army chiefs will decide today which four historic infantry regiments are to be scrapped amid suggestions that Tony Blair has stepped in to save the unit that recruits in his constituency.

The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers fears that it will be axed because intense lobbying by "Labour MPs concerned about the effect on their seats" has saved the Green Howards, which recruits in Sedgefield, Mr Blair's constituency, and Darlington, that of Alan Milburn, his election supremo.

The Fusiliers, one of the large multi-battalion regiments the major reorganisation of the army is designed to create, would then lose one of its two battalions and be merged with another regiment.

The decision on how to cut three of the four infantry battalions has effectively already been made. The Executive Committee of the Army Board will decide today on the fourth battalion.

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph today, Lt-Col Andrew Larpent, who commanded 3 Bn, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers during the 1991 Gulf War blames "emotion and political pressure" for the decision that only one Scottish regiment should be axed.
 
#14
I mentioned this in another thread, but I still believe that the real issue is the ending of the arms plot moves. i.e. once the music stops you are where you are - for good!

The main effect is that we have to go to the large regiments to make the infantry sustainable. If the Black Watch are in Edinburgh at that point for example that is where they stay.

Who would want to join them then? STSR can shout and scream all they like, but if the regiment is saved and ends up in a duff posting, it will just get diluted as trickle posting takes effect and all the compassionate cases and long term sick get posted there from the higher readiness battalions.

OK, the hackle will remain and all the history will be preserved, great, but what sort of future?

So the cry has to be to justify the arms plot moves that give soldiers the variation of role and that keeps the concept of the single battalion regiment possible.

Ah, but that takes cash...
 
#15
Good point about how many Infantry per capital head - England 54 million population, therefore able to supply more than Scotlands 3 million population.
 
#16
Tommy said:
The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers fears that it will be axed because intense lobbying by "Labour MPs concerned about the effect on their seats" has saved the Green Howards, which recruits in Sedgefield, Mr Blair's constituency, and Darlington, that of Alan Milburn, his election supremo.
Last time I looked it was the LI who recruit from Sedgefield not GH!
 
#17
Yorkie said:
Good point about how many Infantry per capital head - England 54 million population, therefore able to supply more than Scotlands 3 million population.
Yorkie, there IS a case to be made that based on population Scotland has more than its share of infantry regiments. I think Scotland also still provides "more than its share" of total Service personnel.

However, both figures which you quote are totally out. You say "good point about..." so I am intrigued to know where you got these figures?
 
#18
Scotland has a population of 5m, or about 9% of the UK's total. It supplies 13% of the army's soldiers and 10% of the manpower of the three armed services. Those are MoD figures.
 
E

error_unknown

Guest
#20
Cyberhacker said:
More (un)informed speculation in today's Times

Suggests that the Scottish, Queens and Light divisions will each form a single regiment of 5 battalions, whilst the Kings and PoW will form two regiments each.
Well blow me down wiv a feather :wink:
 

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