Iran Hostages - lessons learned

#1
Amongst all the Christmas festivities, the House of Commons Defence Committee published a report on the lessons learned as a result of the Iran Hostages affair.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmselect/cmdfence/181/181.pdf

Although they do not make specific comments, they do note the following:
- There were weaknesses in intelligence, in communications, in doctrine and in training. There was a lapse in operational focus in the front line, and a widespread failure of situational awareness.
- We are concerned to ensure that the MoD’s current budgetary uncertainty does not impede the implementation of the action plan [post Fulton Report].
- It is clear that the decision to allow the Service personnel to sell their stories was a serious mistake and deeply damaging to the reputation of the
Royal Navy. The Secretary of State for Defence has accepted responsibility and apologised. This should not absolve others from blame.
- Whilst it was decided that there were insufficient grounds for courts martial, formal administration action has been taken against a number of Service personnel across a wide spectrum of ranks.
 
#2
I am really sorry to say this - but ritual sackings for all the officers involved should follow. Beginning with the RM guy in charge. Plus a Court Martial for dereliction of duty.
 
#3
There were weaknesses in intelligence, in communications, in doctrine and in training. There was a lapse in operational focus in the front line, and a widespread failure of situational awareness.
- We are concerned to ensure that the MoD’s current budgetary uncertainty does not impede the implementation of the action plan [post Fulton Report].
- It is clear that the decision to allow the Service personnel to sell their stories was a serious mistake and deeply damaging to the reputation of the
Royal Navy. The Secretary of State for Defence has accepted responsibility and apologised. This should not absolve others from blame.
- Whilst it was decided that there were insufficient grounds for courts martial, formal administration action has been taken against a number of Service personnel across a wide spectrum of ranks.
Blimey what a kerfuffle!!!
So an Ipod went missing? It happens. Its time this government got over it, moved on and got on with the rest of its life.
 
#4
duffdike said:
I am really sorry to say this - but ritual sackings for all the officers involved should follow. Beginning with the RM guy in charge. Plus a Court Martial for dereliction of duty.
Despite the fact it was a RN Lt. in charge?

And was it the two officers' fault the helicopter was busy ferrying journalists?
 
#5
Evidently there have been administrative actions taken against some of these sailors/marines which will end their careers. Unfortunately nothing in the report mentioned ROE as a cause for the snatch in the first place.
 
#6
An act of war against us, our sovreign nation and we do fork all. What message is given to the rest of the world.
A few months after we are kicked out of Basra, by Iranian sponsored insurgents.
Every action we carry out against the taleban, they move out for a bit then return.
How does the rest of the world see us?
Not very good is it?
 
#8
The Royal Navy has not surrendered a vessel without a shot being fired at any time in it's history of over 500 years before. That is the magnitude of the failure.
 
#9
duffdike said:
The Royal Navy has not surrendered a vessel without a shot being fired at any time in it's history of over 500 years before. That is the magnitude of the failure.
Do you think the RN boarding party in the rubber boat should have opened fire on the Iranians?
 
#10
duffdike said:
The Royal Navy has not surrendered a vessel without a shot being fired at any time in it's history of over 500 years before. That is the magnitude of the failure.
No but it did surrender Gibraltar without a shot being fired in the 1700s but then again, Admiral Bing was shot for that one.
 
#11
From the Committee report,
There was a lapse in operational focus in the front line, and a widespread failure of situational awareness.
There have been a number of contradictory official statements on exactly where the 'capture' took place. Is the line above a belated, and cryptic, admission that the Cornish 15 had strayed into non-Iraqi waters - if not fully-recognised Iranian waters, at least disputed waters?

You may have noticed that the 'background' information has not followed previous HMG statements and emphasized the oft-stated location of the event.
Background
1. On 23 March 2007, 15 Royal Navy personnel (eight Royal Navy sailors and seven Royal Marines) from HMS Cornwall — a Royal Navy Frigate, deployed with the Coalition Task Force in the Northern Gulf — were captured by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard while conducting a boarding operation on a merchant vessel in shallow waters near the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab waterway, between Iraq and Iran. They were taken to Iran, paraded before the international media and detained until their release and return home on 5 April. On their return, the Royal Navy staged a press conference for some of the detainees: two of them subsequently sold their stories to the media.

western said:
duffdike said:
The Royal Navy has not surrendered a vessel without a shot being fired at any time in it's history of over 500 years before. That is the magnitude of the failure.
No but it did surrender Gibraltar without a shot being fired in the 1700s but then again, Admiral Bing was shot for that one.
And rather co-incidentally, it is the current Governor of Gibralter who was asked to lead the enquiry into the embarrasing event...
 
#12
western said:
duffdike said:
The Royal Navy has not surrendered a vessel without a shot being fired at any time in it's history of over 500 years before. That is the magnitude of the failure.
No but it did surrender Gibraltar without a shot being fired in the 1700s but then again, Admiral Bing was shot for that one.
Byng was courtmartialed and executed for his 'failure to do his utmost' at the Battle of Minorca.

Not the first British sailor to become involved in battles at Minorca, nor the last, I'd guess....
 
#13
Ancient_Mariner said:
duffdike said:
The Royal Navy has not surrendered a vessel without a shot being fired at any time in it's history of over 500 years before. That is the magnitude of the failure.
Do you think the RN boarding party in the rubber boat should have opened fire on the Iranians?
I think that they should have done what the Australians did a bit later. Told them to feck off.
And made it clear they would not surrender without a fight. Yes I do think that.
 
#14
duffdike said:
Ancient_Mariner said:
duffdike said:
The Royal Navy has not surrendered a vessel without a shot being fired at any time in it's history of over 500 years before. That is the magnitude of the failure.
Do you think the RN boarding party in the rubber boat should have opened fire on the Iranians?
I think that they should have done what the Australians did a bit later. Told them to feck off.
And made it clear they would not surrender without a fight. Yes I do think that.
Do you have any idea what you are wibbling about?
 
#15
duffdike said:
Ancient_Mariner said:
duffdike said:
The Royal Navy has not surrendered a vessel without a shot being fired at any time in it's history of over 500 years before. That is the magnitude of the failure.
Do you think the RN boarding party in the rubber boat should have opened fire on the Iranians?
I think that they should have done what the Australians did a bit later. Told them to feck off.
And made it clear they would not surrender without a fight. Yes I do think that.
there were you fella?

the cock-up IMHO was to remove their top-cover to go and collect some journos. That was unforgivable!
to have opened fire, or refused to cooperate would have been suicide. The Iranians came out with a very clear intent. There was no misunderstanding as to the location of the boarding party and to have resisted in any way would have resulted in the entire boarding party being wiped out. Not a very clever move IMHO!

The decision to hold a press conference and allow 2 individuals to sell their stories was a massive mistake, but nothing to do with the individuals captured.
 
#16
duffdike said:
Ancient_Mariner said:
duffdike said:
The Royal Navy has not surrendered a vessel without a shot being fired at any time in it's history of over 500 years before. That is the magnitude of the failure.
Do you think the RN boarding party in the rubber boat should have opened fire on the Iranians?
I think that they should have done what the Australians did a bit later. Told them to feck off.
And made it clear they would not surrender without a fight. Yes I do think that.
IIRC, the Australians were still aboard the large, metal cargo ship they had boarded and so were in a position to tell the smaller, Iranian craft to foxtrot oscar.

The RN boarding party were in an open, inflatable boat, unarmed apart from rifles and pistols. Their parent ship was 5 miles away and their air cover had been withdrawn. They were confronted by faster, heavily armed Iranian coastal partol craft.

If the officer in charge had ordered his party to open fire, the Iranians would have happily killed every single one of them. The entire boarding party woud have been sacrificed for nothing.

I always thought that officers pi$$ing the lives of their troops away for reasons of 'honour' went out of fashion after the first world war.
 
#17
ottar said:
duffdike said:
Ancient_Mariner said:
duffdike said:
The Royal Navy has not surrendered a vessel without a shot being fired at any time in it's history of over 500 years before. That is the magnitude of the failure.
Do you think the RN boarding party in the rubber boat should have opened fire on the Iranians?
I think that they should have done what the Australians did a bit later. Told them to feck off.
And made it clear they would not surrender without a fight. Yes I do think that.
Do you have any idea what you are wibbling about?
Err yes I do. Actually.
 
#18
duffdike said:
ottar said:
duffdike said:
Ancient_Mariner said:
duffdike said:
The Royal Navy has not surrendered a vessel without a shot being fired at any time in it's history of over 500 years before. That is the magnitude of the failure.
Do you think the RN boarding party in the rubber boat should have opened fire on the Iranians?
I think that they should have done what the Australians did a bit later. Told them to feck off.
And made it clear they would not surrender without a fight. Yes I do think that.
Do you have any idea what you are wibbling about?
Err yes I do. Actually.
No you don't. You've said the 'RM guy in charge' should be sacked. It was the RN Lt. in charge, not the RM Capt. and neither of them are responsible for the supply or tasking of helicopters.
The RN still hasn't surrendered a vessel without a shot being fired unless RIBs have been upgraded to vessels.
The Australian incident was earlier, not later and completely different. They didn't tell the Iranians to feck off, they hid on the ship they boarded. The booties and matelots, however, were surrounded in their little rubber boats by six heavily armed fast patrol craft.
If an infantry patrol in a couple of pinkies, armed with nothing other that SA80s was surrounded by six BMP3s, should they tell them to feck off and that they'll not surrender without a fight or should they surrender and live to fight another day?
Are you under the impression that the threat of a bit of 5.56 pinging of the hull and possibly scratching the paint was worrying to the Iranians?
If you want to blame someone, blame the government for not supplying enough helicopters or better craft for boardings.

Some people give the impression that 15 dead British service personnel and starting WW3 would have been a better outcome. Do the RIP threads give you a warm feeling inside?
 
#19
Well unfortunately this type of thread can easily disintegrate into the *you were not there* kind of thing. Add a bit of RIP and everyone takes note. But the RN has a tradition of *fighting their ships* which goes back hundreds of years. We did not build an Empire by surrendering at Trafalgar. Plus all you nay sayers are cheating. You are speaking from hindsight. It so happens that our guys are back safe and sound (minus their ipods). But at the time the commanders did not know that would be the result did they? The international precedents are not encouraging eg: USS Pueblo. If I was sitting in a cell in Tehran with electrodes up my arrse thinking I had surrendered my men(and women) unnecessarily - then I would be worried. So lets not trivialise this. Combat operations are very rough. For everybody. Can you imagine what our friends from sssssshhhhhhhhh would have done?
In fact there was a lack of moral fibre all round. I certainly blame everyone involved in the tasking. But the Navy / RM commanders must bear some responsibility.
 
#20
Unsworth said:
western said:
duffdike said:
The Royal Navy has not surrendered a vessel without a shot being fired at any time in it's history of over 500 years before. That is the magnitude of the failure.
No but it did surrender Gibraltar without a shot being fired in the 1700s but then again, Admiral Bing was shot for that one.
Byng was courtmartialed and executed for his 'failure to do his utmost' at the Battle of Minorca.

Not the first British sailor to become involved in battles at Minorca, nor the last, I'd guess....
I stand corrected, in fact you have correct a 35 year wrong belief, Ta.
 

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