Kit Fiasco

See extract from Sunday Telegraph article about the lack of correct kit for frontline troops, the report it refers to is an MOD Internal Post Operational Report:

"One section of the report, under the headline "Lessons identified", is understood to be highly critical of the time it took to issue vital equipment and clothing to troops sent to fight in the Gulf. It adds that in many cases those in most need of equipment were the last to receive it.

Such deficiencies have also been admitted by senior officers at the Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) at Northwood, Middlesex, from where the British contribution to the Iraq war effort was planned. They have been forced into making a public response after a non-commissioned officer wrote to the Army's in-house magazine, Soldier, to highlight the failings of the military planners.

Colour Sgt S Baillie, a company quartermaster sergeant with the 1st battalion of the Light Infantry, revealed that his troops went into battle without adequate body armour, grenade launchers, rifle grenades, night-vision devices, desert boots, hats, socks and uniforms.

Writing from the Gulf, he said: "Before leaving Germany we received an admin instruction which highlighted the kit we would receive as part of a task issue.

"After being deployed for eight weeks, out of an infantry company of 164 men we still have only one set of desert combats a man, most of them unserviceable. The men are wearing a mixture of desert and combat 95 [the standard Army camouflage uniform designed for fighting in a European theatre]. I am still waiting for 79 pairs of desert boots and 50 desert hats. We still have no socks or T-shirts.

"The issue of body armour and plates was slow, with personnel being sent into battle without plates. The issue of ammunition and weapons was also slow. We received our RGGS [rifle grenades] the day after we attacked Basra - six weeks after arriving in-theatre.

"I am writing to highlight these problems because we had been promised that, when needed, necessary kit would be issued. I laughed to myself while writing out 1033s [equipment issue forms] under the sound of gunfire in Basra. Colleagues in other battle groups were in the same boat - peacetime accounting in war. Hopefully, we, the borrowers, can get it right next time, in about 10 years from now?"

In response to the letter, Brig Seamus Kerr, an assistant chief of staff at the PJHQ, admitted that mistakes had been made. He replied: "It is worrying to hear about any examples of important equipment not getting through to those that needed it and in this instance we got it wrong and for that I apologise."

Brig Kerr goes on to invite CSgt Baillie to visit PJHQ to discuss each issue in detail."

Well done CSgt Baillie, I wonder if he ever poped up to PJHQ for his interview without coffee.  It proves that Soldier Magazine is worthwhile if this is a spin off.  What puzzled me was you always saw RAF guys in immaculate desert combats, mooching around bases, propbably like most things, they are more efficient, the Amry is just too ready to say we will make do or improvise.


War Hero
Ministers have to state when money can be spent in readiness for a forthcoming operation.

In the case of Iraq, the MOD received it far too late. Consequently industry did not have the lead time necessary to produce sufficient desert combats et al.
Then maybe the MOD meeds to establish an "Emergency recall of equipment" protocol, with some of the bigger surplus distibutors?

Certainly in the run up to GW2 , grade 1/2 desert combat clothing was available from some of the bigger entities. Institute a provision to buy stock back that hasn't been de-militarised , at a price that will give the surplus boys some return on their investment, but is cheaper, and quicker than going to the original manufacturers.


Its always the way, the first deployments on any Op will see the PBI getting a rough deal will all the loafers like myself get the good kit.

In GW1 my unit crossed the "Breach" in Green DPM and didnt get the Desert DPM until we were about to come home. Luckily our rear party CO had a set on when he met us at Hannover Luftplatz!

I've just finished at RMTC and have been given all the Gucchi kit , I should have joined the TA years ago!

Nice one CQ of the LI, hope you  haven't got whiplash with your career grinding to an abrupt halt!


Well done that man...we need more of his ilk - prepared to challenge

Totally agree, unfortunately those who speak up are a"voice in the wilderness"! The silent ones are after their next rank and are too busy lapping their boss's arsse!


I doubt if the CO of the LI Bn concerned will be very happy with his CQMS.    Everyone in the unit will have been just as concerned at the lack of vital equipment and that message will have been conveyed up the chain of command, which is what it is there for.
It doesn't help to wash our dirty linen in public, especially at a time when we seem to be under attack from all sides, from Bloody Sunday enquiries, to the Deepcut enquiry to Kenya.
Ramillies is right about the amount of lead time from government, it was totally inadequate, but that does not excuse us from having proper reserves of equipment, or from having a system capable of tracking it at all times (the RAF system, though I hate to say it, is much better than ours.)
As a general point, I think the old prohibition on serving soldiers writing to the Press should be enforced more rigorously, for the simple reason that any one of us only get a part of the picture, and if we cannot trust the chain of command, then we really are in trouble.



Presumably one of the reasons that he went to the press was because he had lost faith in the chain of command.....


An interesting point about serving soldiers writing to the press.  However, does this mean that whenever someone writes a quick ditty to soldier (a magazine that is sponsored and paid for in part by the MOD) we must seek permission.  Somehow I don't think thats going to happen.  The CQMS in the LI was probably p**sed off having heard baffoon tell the world how the kit did get to theatre and there were no shortages.  As the SofS is the top of the chain of command and is blantently being economical with the truth, then it is small wonder that he wrote to Soldier.  He could have written to the Sun and earnt himself £500 but he didn't.

I can sympathise, my experience on telic was 10 rnds of 9mm until 2 weeks in.  1 set of deserts that I proffed  a week into the war and then gave away to my brother who was serving in a front line unit and had none (I was in Div HQ) and I never received dessie boots.  We did however, get body armour with plates which is bizarre.  In my opinion the DLO and Loggies managed to create "just too late, not enough" logistics, but undoubtadly there will be medals for all when the Op TELIC Honours and Awards come round. :-[
I'm not a loggie but I was at DSG when the nasties were being hurled about. I saw the efforts made by the DSG Loggies (and the pressure put upon them) to get the right kit to the right people at the right time. The Army is an insurance policy - and if the people who are paying don't pay the premiums (Anthony Charles Lynton Blair and his chums) them what do we expect.

El Gringo

Prof, I couldn't disagree more strongly.

As stated by other contributions, if the Govt of the day produce the goods, or admitted (at the very least) that there were 'some problems in theatre',  the LI CQMS would never have had cause to write to Soldier mag.  If some high ranking rodney has egg on his face because of this I actually do feel for him - it should be those incompetent f&*ckwits Tony B Liar and Geof Buff Hoon who shou8ld look like the asses they undoubtedly are.  

As an aside Prof, what point the letters page in Soldier mag to help highlight problems in the Army, in order to solve them and increase retention, if no f&*cker is allowed to write to it in the first place?!!  (And what century are you from Prof - late 19th I would guess!)  Not to mention the good old European Charter for Human Rights which Uncle Tone foisted on us?  I'm pretty sure that sooner or later some soldier with a gripe and an axe to grind will get round to trying the ECHR out to see if he is being 'opressed'or denied his rights.

As for the loggies, I agree with Mushroom. I was down at Camp Fox after the 'war'.  It was awash with kit, as you would expect.  The problem was that so much of it had arrived either days before the conflict began, or a couple of days into, (and then continued to arrive) the poor sods didn't have a hope of getting it all to the intended destination.  

This all comes back to the same source though - the government.  If they had listened to their military advisers, they would have had us moving before Xmas.  But they chose, for whatever reason (surely not to save money??!!), to wait until late Jan.  Thus, the PBI, as ever, suffered, as did many others.  Of course, it won't happen again.  All the Post Op Reports will be made, read and absorbed(???).  I am sure the PM and his merry band of men will go much earlier next time.......


War Hero
I am all for writing to Soldier Mag because it is an house journal (or this web site !) but not the press because as Prof says, writers may well not be aware of all the facts.

As has been said before the problems were contracts let to late and poor asset tracking of eqpt in theatre.

We can ill afford to keep stock piles of eqpt just in case.

Lessons for the future.
Prof, I agree that soldiers should not communicate to the press directly.  As already pointed out the CSgt's letter was to soldier magazine.

Secondly I have no doubt that everyone in the log chain from QMG downwards did their best to get the kit to the troops in plenty of time but budget cuts and peace time logistic processes and stocking levels made it impossible for the kit to be procurred, processed and delivered in time.

The Armed Forces pulled the cat out of the bag, albeit a very threadbare bag, once again.  I draw you back to the last paragraph of my original point.  We keep on managing to make silk purses from the sows' ears given to us by government, defence is not sexy, only sexed up when required.  Soldiers should not speak out but the chain of command, including the man will balls the size of space hoppers, Adm Boyce (who put Geoff Hoon in the Rembrandt in front of the press) couldn't change things.  I am afraid to say the only thing to change the govt attitude of "pay Fcuk all for the best armed forces in the world" is an unmittigated diaster, but I don't want that to happen because good people will get killed, and I have never been a fan of slamming the stable door after the horse has bolted.  Something T Blair et al done to PhD standard.


well there are those of us still in the gulf who didn't get deert kit till telic 2 started. we didn't get morphine,atropine, jabs, antibiotics and only just scrounged naps.
we were also not issued with plates for body armour or in fact any body armour at all.
And finally we wern't issued any weapons or ammo.
yet the TA augmentees to our units had most of the above. And we were in one of the principle logistic units.

BTW this isn't my user name its one left logged on one of the pc's


I think my point was less about this specific issue, and more about the vital importance of the chain of command.
The mutual trust that exists, by and large, among all ranks in the Army is almost unique amongst large organisations, most of which have an 'us and them' mentality which tends to isolate those in charge, who have virtually no contact with their subordinates.  In the Army we rely totally on the hierarchy to represent our interests, and even fulfill many of the functions which in other organisations are undertaken by Trades Unions.
Of course we will always criticise those above us, its healthy and normal, but our views are communicated to them, and more importantly, they put themselves about, talking to all ranks within the time constraints that they have.  Soldiers have never been slow in coming forward to express their views to senior officers whenever given a chance, though they sometimes are a little off topic.  The following is a genuine conversation between a soldier in my Regiment and a former CGS.

'Sir, do you want to know how to do something kinky?'

Gen: 'Er, well'.

'Right sir, what you do is, you get a fly, tear its wings off, and let it run around on your bell end'.

Gen:  'Ah, I see'.

'Yeah sir, and if you want to be really kinky, do it with a wasp'.

What other organisations' bosses are exposed to the shop floor like that?

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