Light role vs Recce regiment

Discussion in 'Join the Army - Regular Officer Recruiting' started by 0lauded, Sep 14, 2012.

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  1. Can anyone give me some more detail on the pros and cons of either joining a light role infantry battalion or an armoured recce regiment? I gather you travel and get out more as a light role infanteer whereas armour doesn't lend itself to worldwide travel as well and you tend to spend more time looking after 30 tonnes of tank. Is this so? I'm facing a career post-afghanistan so i'm keen to keep myself occupied if there isn't another middle eastern conflict to run to.
  2. Whilst you will probably get imminently beasted by the regulars, contact your sponsor and ask to visit the RAC at Bovington, and go on a POIC at Warminster. That will give you all the answer you'll need or want.
  3. A light role infantryman will tell you that his job is the most glamorous in the army and that he is far more likely to deploy anywhere than anybody else. During the days of the Afghanistan operation, this certainly had an element of truth to it. Prior to Afghanistan, light role infantry was seen as being a bit second tier, by and large in that it was the armoured, armoured recce, AI and Mech regiments and battalions which did the lion's share of tours of the Balkans and of course were the ones responsible for defending Europe from the Russian hordes, while the light role Bns tended to spend their time in the UK and Northern Ireland focusing on home defence (a simplification, I'll admit).

    Post Afghanistan, it is far from clear who (if anybody) will be deploying anywhere. The (almost) stated aim of the government is to reduce the capability of the army to a level where it cannot be meaningfully deployed anywhere, in order to prevent us from becoming embroiled in another Iraq/Afghanistan again. Clearly reality will emerge and will require the UK government to deploy some sort of a military force to somewhere, sometime post 2014, your question is essentially what be most likely to be in this force, armoured recce or light role infantry? My suggestion would be that while any deployed force would include infantry, this would not necessarily be light role infantry (it could be armoured or mech infantry, depending on the theatre and the threat); in the same vein it would almost certainly include some form of formation recce (assuming a brigade sized deployment). This recce might be wheeled/foot based, provided by a BRF like capability from one of the new light cavalry regiments or armoured/foot based, from one of the new armoured recce regiments.

    I would say that on balance, post Afghanistan a recce regiment would probably provide better opportunity than a light role infantry battalion, but this rather depends on one's interpretation of the crystal ball.

    Two things, I would correct though in your original post. Firstly, with whole fleet management, armoured recce soldiers should be spending remarkably little time "looking after" their vehicles in barracks (clearly they will maintain them when deployed on them, as any soldiers would with their equipment). Secondly, a tank is circa 70 tonnes and equips an armoured regiment. Recce vehicles of 12-30 tonnes (CVR(T) to FRES SV) equip armorued recce regiments; I only mention this so as you can avoid embarrassment/ridicule in the future.
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  4. Very helpful reply, thanks. Comments noted!
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  5. It depends what you want to do...answering your immediate question, as an impartial observer, you could go Light Infantry and expect to deploy anywhere at a moment's notice. Or, go Armd recce (in CVR(T) OR CR2, although the Recce Regts tend to be the former) and also expect to be fairly close behind any "light" depolyment, as they will need "beefing up" at some point and Recce pave the way.

    As B-C points out, contingency will bring doubt as to whether anyone is going anywhere, but there will doubtless be tasks to fill in the next few years and I wouldn't think they'll be limited.

    As a non-impartial advisor, why not look at the RA - aim to be a FOO (or FST Commmander if you like) and you could even be Recce FOO. RA motto, Ubique, given as they go everywhere the other arms do. Often reckoned to be the best job in the Army, you could find that being in the RA (soldier first, Gunner second), would see you deploy in the Infantry role, BRF, as a FOO/FST etc.

    As a crazy man, what about RE? They have Engr Recce, use similar vehicles to the Recce units and their motto is also Ubique, but in their case, it's for "All Over The Place", not "Everywhere" as with us fine RA types... ;-)
  6. Not having a dig, but I'm always slightly wary when the gunners market themselves on the basis of the opportunity to be a FOO. While this may well be "the best job in the gunners" (I would contend that it is no better than being an infantry Pl Comd or RAC Tp Ldr, aside from the Capt's pay), I would point out that it is likely to be a post held for just two years out of a career of five years or more. Also given that FOOs and FACs are both now also drawn from outside the RA, I would suggest that joining the RA just to become a FOO might be an odd choice, particularly as you could spend your whole (RD) career in the F echelon by going to the infantry or RAC.

    Having said that, as you rightly point out, the RA and RE in particular will deploy to anywhere the army goes. The problem with this is that like with the RAC and infantry, what element goes (light, medium or heavy) depends on the theatre of operations, so you are somewhat back to square one asking whether you should head towards the lighter or heavier ends of the army.

    I would suggest that although perhaps not the sexiest role, the RE types who build FOBs and provide all that good life supports stuff on operations will inevitably go more or less everywhere the army will, regardless of theatre.
  7. Ah well B-C, if the individual were to join now, they might see themselves at RD for 2 years, before being accelerated onto the FOO course, due to the paucity of FST Commanders to provide the task lines needed for Th. That is why we accept a few in from other cap badges.

    FACs are different and FOOs are now FAC trained to become FST commanders.

    Once there, early, at the 2 year point, they would then do up to a 3 year FST/FOO tour. In keeping with the RA Officer career profile, they would do another FST tour, as there isn't much else to do (which is why some leave, but we won't go there).

    Yes, in barracks, same as any other Troop Commader job, but in role, I would argue more interesting. Smaller team (immediately), but potentially responsible for much more (guns, air, avn, mors, EW etc). And let's not forget it's the FOO who assumes command of the Inf Coy or Tank Sqn when the OC buys the farm... (as if!).

    Of course, the RA is much more than a feeder for FOO/FST slots, with Air Defence, UAS, Field guns, STA etc etc. And yes, they will deploy with their supported Brigade.

    Other cap badges offer as much in some areas, more in others. Horses for courses and entirely dependent on personal preference.
  8. Sorry old chap FOO's/FST commanders are not FAC trained, one of two may have been FAC's however with the exception of one officer , they will not keep current therefore not be able to control aircraft.I would say that if the OP didnt manage to get into the regiment of his choice in either Armd Inf or FR he then may consider RA as his 3rd choice, they take anyone you know.
  9. Almost anyone...true enough (although relatively popular, so always disappointed souls).

    The point of FST party is to incorporate a FAC into what used to be a FOO party and yes, currency is the hardest part, but I think you'll find that most FST parties are doing per-deployment training in Arizona etc (or where until recently), then getting plenty of controls in Th. unless I've gone completely bonkers.

    As I said though there are plenty of options beyond the OP's first choices, if he hadn't considered or known about them.
  10. I know where they train , I'm there. No FACs with the FST until MST, CCA rubbish in Arizona, but I digress. OP go Formation Recce/ Light recce, stay classy and all that
  11. Roger (or should that be Roget?)! I stand corrected. It's been a while since I was fully in the loop, more's the pity.