Infantry on the Cheap???

Discussion in 'Infantry' started by Devil_may_care, Aug 30, 2005.

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  1. Excuse this post if a) its blindingly obvious or b) completely absurd and c) it offends anyone!! Its isn't meant to ...BUT...

    At a time when the infantry is overstreatched and undermanned cutting 4 Bns. seems a weird thing to do. As previosuly mentioned why have these Bns. if you can't move them or sustain them and finishing the Arms Plot (in general) i agree will allow for better deployability. But I can't help thinking that

    1. The Army Board have decided that they can get Infantry on the 'cheap' by rerolling artillery units (for example) as infantry. Whilst in the immediate aftermath of a warfighting phase i can understand this, but deploying an Artillery unit in Inf role from start to finish say on a current Op TELIC tour surely isn't the best plan?

    2. That there is no real belief that the Regimental system will stay. It has long been argued as to whether it is the strongest or weakest aspect of the Army but it certainly isn't broke so don't fix it. I am suprised that considering the flak that the Top Brass are getting for the FAS and FIS one of the ways that they could deflect some heat would be to stand behind the fundermental aspects of the Regimental System. But they don't seem to want to do that. Is there little faith in one of the the pillars of the Army?

    just my humble opinion and probably way way above my pay grade but hey?

  2. We've been down this road before. What is often missed is the fact that this is not infanteering (if thats a word) its IS duties, something the RA have a long tradition of, anyone remember NI ? Its strange that it seems that this arguement has been raging over Iraq, i'm not sure if its becuase of that 1 RHA program or the fact that you can whinge about it to a mass auidence via the internet.

    Although it may seem absurd to cut infantry and then send the arty boys out into the field, think about the job that they do out in Iraq. Is that role extensivley covered in junior or senior Brecon, or any other Infantry courses ? Or is it covered in pre-deployment training ? Don't get me wrong, the role seems more than suited for the infantry, its just not a sole infantry role, its something that any trained individual can do.

    Now I can't speak for Iraq but I can speak for Bosnia and there the role of the RA was an Artillery one, it was to man the guns, but of course the fighting had finished and the guns were not being used but they werre still there and some one still has to be on hand in case the fighting kicked off again. Question is what the f**k do you do with a regt of arty boys with no-one to shoot at ? Simple, give them a gatt and a patrol route and off they pop.
  3. i am sure that the RA can bring a 'lot to the party' and infact it seems a selling point for the Artillery that they do an infantry job whereas the Infantry don't do an Artilllery job. I am certainly not suggesting that the RA go out underprepared for deployment and i have full faith in both the skills of the RA and the process of pre-deployment training.

    With the government trying to increase recruitment in the Infantry it seems less likely to succeed given that it is easy to see job variety in the Gunners or REME / RE / RLC then the Infantry?

    I wasn't really infering anything - just making an observation
  4. As Devil_may_care points out The RA along with the RE, RCT, RAOC & REME carried out I.S. Tours in Northern Ireland as well as tours 'In Trade' (Not the RA I have to add as taking the guns may have been a little OTT in Belfast!) Yes the Infantry are the sharp end so to speck, but it is nothing new to use 'Corps' for I.S. duties.
  5. One thing I despise is the term "We do the infantry job, can you do ours ?"

    The answer is simply yes, with training

    I am, or were RA, and I have never claimed that I could do the the Infantry role, truth is I did in fact do the infantry role for a short while and it was fecking hard. Just becuase you did some infantry stuff whist at a corps depot and did your "Infantry" skills one week ex once a year does NOT an Infanteer make. The first thing I discovered was how f**king heavy a platoons worth of ammo actually was and the heartbreak of having to leave my doss bag behind becuase my bergan was too heavy was a real shock, but unless you have actually done it you will never know. I was also amazed in the technical aspect of unit attacks up to Bn level, at depot or regt training you never really progress beyond the good old section attack (which, while we are at it, is WELL out of date at many units, mainly because it is done by old farts who don't keep up to date and try and remember what they were taught in training). Being told to slow down and think your way through rather then go hell for leather was a refreshing change, especially considering that you may have to do section attacks all day and not a quick 15 mins before Katies Kitchen rocks up.

    I did 12 years in the RA which included 4 tours of NI and one of Bosnia and I NEVER did the job I was paid for.
  6. Rumour had it that the end of Arms Plotting & the NI drawdown would effectively liberate 10 Inf Bns, leaving a net gain of 6.

    As to Gunners being Inf on the cheap, I can't really see it. It's fcuking expensive to train a Gunner, esp an AD one. I grant you one rocket per career (perhaps I exagerate, but not by much) doesn't sound much, but those rockets aren't cheap. One of those would pay my wages for a while :D

    I think partly the IS tours non-Inf units have been doing for ages relates to the thought of all those soldiers sitting around in peacetime, or what passes for peace these days, not actually blowing stuff up, or building bridges, or whatever it is that REME do. The bean counters don't like that sort of thing, so they get deployed as Inf Lite.

    Not a grumble, just an observation.
  7. Wellyhead.

    Just like to congratulate you on possibly the most honest, forthright and sensible post by a non-Inf member on this board since the inception of this fine site!

    Nice one.
  8. Absolutely dogmonkey.

    Wellyhead makes a very valid point. There is a CO of an AS90 Regt in Germany who has just recently handed over and in his 2.5 yrs in command never fired his guns once. He did a tour of Cyprus and Iraq in the IS role, but think of the skill fade of an AS90 REgt not firing guns .

    At least we in the Infantry are not having to do other tasks.....that is apart from fire fighting and support to foot and mouth disease erradication.
  9. msr

    msr LE

    Follow the Australians and give them a second role as a CIMIC battalion.

  10. A very honest post. Wellyhead. Thankyou for that.
  11. Top post if i may say welly head . I challenge any non-inf type who slags them off to have a crack at section 2i/c during a section attack with a grenade that needs posting , ******* hard as **** . I did pre-junoir brecon training with the RGJ at Manjaca in bos in 2001 , a have a lot of respect for the inf .

  12. Hmm interesting.

    Being an RA Soldier, I agree in most parts and disagree in some areas of the above.

    1. RA units whilst deployed certainly do not think that they are Infanteers, even if placed in that role say as in N/ Ireland. Most of the shop floor JNCO's and SNCO's have barely come to terms with re-roleing before they are thrust into an environment that is so much more than Return Fire, Take Cover, Return Appropiate Fire. It is simply the role that is thrust upon a unit, said unit then has to pick its self up and go at it as best it can.

    2. I believe the RA gets a lot of bad press for taking on these sorts of roles and i do believe they are often missunderstood by the wider Army community. I have done a few years, and i have been on 6 tours, out of those 6 tours i have only been in the RA Role twice. The reason for this is as follows.
    a. There aint much call for Artillery within N/I but there was a requirement for Foot soldiers. You need to do the math, most Army units were already engaged doing there bit in N/I AGC,RLC,INF,MEDICS,ENGRS etc. Really there was probably only the CAV and RA that could be called on to re role and ASSIST in most parts the INF out there. I certainly did not think patrolling Belfast was no mean feat and im sure most other Gnrs would agree but in some respects it freed up INF units at that particular time to concentrate elsewhere. I am only discussing at this point my units tour of N/I i am also aware of other locations that the RA have served in)

    b. BOSNIA. After the initial hostilites and it settled down, most Gnr Units were heavily engaged in Fire power demos, Weapon site checks etc. As ever though, units have there own base locations and therefore must send out there own security patrols and hearts and minds patrols.

    c. KOSOVO again as above with the added advantage of looking a bit more in depth of weapons checking LIght and Heavy and the added bonus of training the UCK/KPC in most areas.

    D. Iraq the biggest bug bear.

    As we are all aware once hostilities stopped the coalition forces began to rebuild Iraq and its security forces. As far as i am aware RA units roles were to assist the reconstruction of Iraqs security forces, a role that i undertook for 7 months.

    Where people get undone is that they assume because RA units are in the INf role they are actually doing an INF job out there. As far as i am aware that is not the case. They simply have there own locations that they work out of and must provide there own intimate support to that environment. Most GNR Units worked within INF Battle Gp AO's every day and transitted through on there way to a meeting or project. Along with this because they were working in such close proximatey to the Iraqi security forces and had GNR Sub units actually attached to Iraqi police units they were sometimes ahead of the game in incidents i.e getting there first and dealing with it, then letting the resident Inf BG take over.

    I personally do not think we are cheap infantry but with the amount of Inf type tours we now have under our belt i would say a little credit is due.

    We are simply units that the powers that be are able to call upon to fill a gap or assist the INF, sometimes at short notice. Having worked with many INF Units in a variety of different guises i would say most units are glad we are there.

    The FAS structure is indeed strange and as with all new changes will in some respects be resisted.

    I am some what amazed that people actually think that Inf is being substituted by RA on OPs. Wellyhead hit the nail on the head. I dont have enough room in my head or time on my side for the years of training it takes to become a fully fledge Plt Sgt, and anybody who thinks i do is WRONG.

    On the other hand though with the amount of time we spend out of role can we be blamed for acting or thinking that way?
  13. Valid points well put...

    Reading my initial post 'Infantry on the Cheap' in hindsight certainly isn't the way to describe the Royal Artillery in the Infantry role. The context of roling non inf units in inf role was supposed to highlight the cost benefits for the Treasurary financially rather then passing any judgement on the quality of the RA in the Inf role. I've got no personal experience of it but from friends of mine in the Artillery they enjoy the challenge and are very proud of the contribution that they make to inf. work, and the inf value their contribution too.

    hope that clears up any misunderstanding...

  14. Recently in Iraq, 1RHA were employed in the Inf role. There was a notable contact where the Sadr militia were able to capture a snatch vehicle. Now whilst I don’t proclaim to know what actually happened in that situation I do know that as a direct consequence of the decisions made by that patrol the bad guys got a good understanding of our kit (that which fcuks with your EDITED BY MOD,) got our spot maps and the PWRR needed to bail them out. As a Corps man myself, I question how twelve weeks basic drill at Pirbright and phase two Gunner training in any way prepared those Soldiers for that situation. A gunner or a cavalry trooper has no more infantry training than a clerk or a RLC driver, yet the idea of deploying said Soldiers in an infantry role would seem somehow abhorrent to a Theatre commander; so why deploy 1RHA? As stated I do not know the ins and outs of that contact and I may stand corrected, all I know is that overnight the Sadr militia moved to command detonated IEDs and as a direct result the Theatre got a lot more dangerous; I don’t think any number of benign tours of NI or the Balkans could provide the corporate knowledge to deal with a situations like that.
  15. DMC,
    I fear you are trying once again to reinvent the wheel, and like many others before you, the design you have on paper is square!!!!

    When are people going to wake up and realise (wellyhead has got mighty close!!!) that RA, RAC etc. etc. are NOT being reroled as infantry - they are being reroled as beefed up rozzers, or as I like to call them, Blair's Power Rangers! In that sense, the infanteer is also being asked to rerole just as much as your gunner and tankie.

    Your question should be: Police on the Cheap???

    In another thread, somebody made the point that the Bos deployment was now a case of hunting down petty criminals, supposed war criminals and so on... In my book, this is an abundant waste of infantry skills just as much as it it is a waste of cavalry or artillery skills. The same can be said of most of the other jolly japes that Blair has taken us on over the past 8 years. Not so?

    I once had this discussion with a senior MOD civil servant (oops! MOD 'Blair' servant), who went banging on about how important it was to have forces in the region to maintain and stabilise the peace blah blah wet fish blah. I then asked if it would be ok then, to rotate a complete battle group through BiH every 6 months, but have them on the Manjaca or Glamoc training grounds throughout - honing their warfighting skills! I pointed out this means the troops are in place to 'maintain and stabilise the peace' and be far better trained to deal with a return to war if diplomacy failed! I also pointed out that it would be cheaper all round to have them training in BiH than BATUS or some other far off places etc. etc. The argument was strong. Said MOD official scurried away muttering under his breath something about not wanting 'soldiers' anymore and that I was a 'cold war dinosaur who hadn't realised that the world has now changed and in need of a different kind of army'. Nuff said?