Infantry Undermanning - Sunday Times

#1
This article appears in the Sunday Times today:

Inf Undermanning - Sunday Times

If it is true then it is another indictment of the way soldiers are paid and treated. It seems clear to me that if you pay soldiers well, treat them well and offer a career with more certainty and stability then they will stay.

When pay is appalling, living conditions in barracks are frequently primitive and there is a perception that personnel are not supported in eqpt terms, legal terms and politically then men will look for better terms and conditions in civilian life.

The Army offers such superb opportunities for talented men - and it recruits them; the politicians and generals waste that talent pool by penny pinching and failing to treat men with the respect they deserve.
 

Auld-Yin

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#2
Very depressing reading, but I suppose, not surprising. What is not mentioned of course is the continuing similar saga for the TA which is, I believe, encountering the same recruitment and retention problems.

If this government would back up its worldwide military commitments with the appropriate level of cash then a lot of these problems would not exist IMHO. Despite all the problems surrounding the armed forces manning problems, I bet that Gordon 'Tightwad' Broon is still trying to cut the amount of money given to MoD for operations.

As an ex infantryman, my heart goes out to the guys who are having to put up with this situation and just get on with the job. No wonder retention is a problem.
 
#3
Is a shame that the army's in this state, I like the way that the redundancies were cancelled due to the level of blokes, surely that's a sign there's no finger on the pulse?
With retention and recruiting surely being up there on teh list of things to keep an eye on, you would have thought that he would have noticed a large chunk of his soldiers being due to leave the forces? Rather than look at redundancies then have to cancel them!

Added to that with the blokes being overworked he still thinks redundancies are the way ahead! Does feel like everything is stuck in a sh!tty rut just now and the government just ignores most facts and ploughs on saying what it wants. Do wonder where everything will end up.
 
#4
The whole forces need a serious cash injection. Maybe we'll be able to look back on this period in 10 years and think how the hell did we manage?
 
#5
The MoD said: “The current scale of deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq, Northern Ireland and elsewhere are currently judged by the chiefs of staff to be manageable, not least because of the quality of our people. The armed forces also remain ready to take on any future operations.”
Hahahahah, that has just made my day.

Well, I'm glad I left, and I can say that overwork, not being treated well and having a bedspace that would be illegal for a pig to live in (under EU law) did have a slight contribution to me leaving.
 
#6
trick400 said:
The whole forces need a serious cash injection. Maybe we'll be able to look back on this period in 10 years and think how the hell did we manage?
More like the 2 blokes left in the forces (one to guard Buck Palace and the other to fly all over the world to create the image that we have an army left) will look back and laugh!
 
#7
ditto..... "The armed forces also remain ready to take on any future operations.”
What on earth are they on?
Sopke to two serving members of my former Reg't last week and the words stag on, stay on spring to mind.
Ranks being swelled by anyone spare is very common.
Not to mention the phantom platoon (er COY) of AWOL chav's and previously over pampered XBOX generation.
Ready to take on future opps, my arrse!
 

Auld-Yin

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#8
pomps said:
ditto..... "The armed forces also remain ready to take on any future operations.”
What on earth are they on?
Sopke to two serving members of my former Reg't last week and the words stag on, stay on spring to mind.
Ranks being swelled by anyone spare is very common.
Not to mention the phantom platoon (er COY) of AWOL chav's and previously over pampered XBOX generation.
Ready to take on future opps, my arrse!
Pomps - I agree with your sentiments but with regards to your last sentence I feel that while they may not be 'ready' to take on future ops, their ethos is such that they will. This is. IMOH, one of the reasons that the gobment feel they can cut resources while increasing commitment. :cry:

edit due to alcohol :cry:
 
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In_my_day

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#9
Auld-Yin said:
pomps said:
ditto..... "The armed forces also remain ready to take on any future operations.”
What on earth are they on?
Sopke to two serving members of my former Reg't last week and the words stag on, stay on spring to mind.
Ranks being swelled by anyone spare is very common.
Not to mention the phantom platoon (er COY) of AWOL chav's and previously over pampered XBOX generation.
Ready to take on future opps, my arrse!
Pomps - I agree with your sentiments but with regards to your last sentence I feel that while they may not be 'ready' to take on future ops, their ethos is such that they will. This is. IMOH, one of the reasons that the gobment feel they can cut resources while increasing commitment. :cry:

edit due to alcohol :cry:
I also agree but goodwill will eventually run out (as will the physical number of men/women available). It would be interesting to see Bliar's reaction if CLF Afghanistan asked for an extra Bde, after all troop and equipment levels will be dictated by the operational commanders...right they will!

IMD
 
#12
Sadly the Sunday Times article is right on the money in a number of areas. But it is about more than money.

Money is vital. Our soldiers are (often but not always) living in squalor. Some of the new barracks are fantastic, but many are a disgrace and soldiers rightly believe that they deserve better. Out personal kit is (generally) excellent. SA80 A2 is top class and bergans are good - no need to buy your own as everyone did in the '80s. But we now have the vast majority of troops wearing COP-vests - why does the Govt not produce them if that is what 80% are using. On a wider note, though, we are drastically short of cash. Budgeteers go on about the 'funded line', which does not even 'fund' 100% manning, and most Regts are capped in the numbers of recruits that they can take each year. When nearly every Regt is understarength this does not make sense!!!! More money is required for recruiting eqpt, adverts etc. More manpower won't work since that will have to come from the 'x Platoon', thus resulting in less men available in the Battalion. More money also reqd for large scale eqpt projects. Availability of things like Snatch LRs in UK for training is a disgrace and could lead to lives being lost in deployment. Eqpt needs to come into service more quickly, with a training pool.

But we need more:

Support from the politicians. They need to show that they understand rather than mouthing off soundbites. In my last 2-yr stint with my Bn we did not have a single visit from a politician, and one of my blokes wounded on TELIC 1 (lung shot - nearly died), never heard a thing from any MP including his own.

Support from the Public: US websites are full of banner adverts to 'supprt our boys'. There are often letters in the press from civvies backing us up but they are the vocal minority. We need more civvies to start shouting on our behalf saying how good we are.

Infantry Battalions. The latest cuts (irrespective of saying that stopping the Arms Plot process will mean more tps are available) are absolutely barking when you look at the pace of ops at the moment. I personally think that some senior Brig/ Gen deserves to resign over this abomination. It is not working.

Proactive Media: Our Media Ops guys need to stop focussing on rebutting bad news stories (although of course that needs to be done as well), but rather their main effort should be in getting good news stories out into the public domain.

Better Internet sites: The Army Internet site is not modern enough and is too generic. It needs to be more interactive and Regts MUST be forced to keep their web pages up to date.

Good Man Management: Something that we can all affect. Look after your blokes and they will look after you. This does not mean more time off: no-one minds hard work as long as it is necessary and appreciated. Treat your blokes as you would expect to be treated, whatever rank you are. We need to make sure that the career of every soldier is managed well, that their welfare is looked after, that their families are supported, that people get the opportunity for sport and adventure trg.

A long rant, but there is no short solution. Politicians need to get real.

PS. If a NEO is reqd for the Lebanon, who will do it? 3 Cdo Bde - trg for ops. 16 Bde - on ops. 20 Armd, 7 Armd & 4 Armd - on ops and being armd are hardly best suited to amphib ops. 19 Lt Bde - trg for ops. 12 Mech & 1 Mech?? You get my point anyway - we are pretty overstretched.
 
#13
Auld-Yin said:
Pomps - I agree with your sentiments but with regards to your last sentence I feel that while they may not be 'ready' to take on future ops, their ethos is such that they will.
Exactly, our can do attitude is going to make a rod for our own backs!!
 
#14
Totally agree on army.mod.uk there. The site is, in my opinion, very difficult to navigate. It isn't a patch on the RAF site. I've been trying to find specifics as regards applications, and all I can find is information available in common leaflets. There is no in depth information.
 
#15
Keep it all going - and write to your MPs. They do respond to stimulus, and the Govt reacts to critiicism only.

They certainly won't do the right thing of their own bat! Not with being socialists with no ideas, and all! Oh no. Better employed as a soft covering of ash floating across the polish countryside....
 
#16
I do not know about other MP's but my Labour MP operates on the principle that if I write to him, he will acknowledge my letter, then pass it with a covering letter to the appropriate Government Department, receive from that department an anodyne response of the type normally given to Parliament to mislead it, fail to address the substantive points in my letter that letter is then sent as a reply to my MP who then passes the letter from the Government Department back to me, his constituent with a covering letter which merely states that the appropriate department has acknowledge my inquity which he sees as a full and complete answer!

He is, in short, little more than a forwarding agent for the relevant department of state!

I have written to this overpaid, pension-protected, well-expensed Cretin on a wide variety of subjects ranging from various Defence issues, Criminal Justice issues, Health Service initiatives, Education initiatives ad nausium and the approach is always the same.

Tight party discipline and the whip system means that he, as a Labour MP and limp-wristed sycophant will not make waves or forcefully represent you in any way whatsover?

Get rid of him?

We live in an area where the population of semi-literate inadequaltely- state-educated Mongs have voted Labour because their fathers and grandfathers voted Labour and they would vote for Caligula's horse it it wore a red rosette!

"Cos their there for yer working classes mate innit?!"

Having been returned to Parliament three times so far on this basis and voted for the Government on just about every single Bill it has introduced, and if, on the rare occasion he disagrees with anything, he will abstain rather than vote against the Government! he is a loyal Blairite rubber stamp!

I have come to the conclusion that he exercises little more influence over policy than I do, has no more power than I do, and has no more say than I do and that ultimately writing to your MP who is little more than government voting-fodder on anthing important at all is an exercise in futility!

I have given up writing to him now on just about anything!

Any letter that I write on the subject matter of this thread, no matter how well researched or cogently argued will simply be passed to the MOD who will give the same proforma response it gives to everyone else which will eventually be returned to me through the chain of inactive indifference without further comment!

Does anyone else have this experience with their MP?

Regards and best wishes
 

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