Currently serving at a CR2 LAD and have really noticed a big change in the service we are being able to provide to our parent unit. I have been at a number of first line armoured postings and remember my first posting where we had 1 Tiff, 3 Sgt's, 3 Cpl's, 3 LCpls' and 3 Cfn (accross all trades) for 14 CR2's a plentiful supply of spares and real estate in which to work. Now fast forward 15 years and I'm in a 5 man fitter section of which only 2 people have Challenger experience, a massive burden of extra work (JAMES etc) on computers which are forever freezing and a training programme which is 100 miles an hour. We have no fitter section vehicles to lift out packs on the tank park and our workshop is shared therefore acquiring vehicle bays is by no means an easy task which presents problems when many of our spares our now revived through the DRS programme (leaving tanks sat on the shopfloor taking up vital space). The thing that shines through however is the overwhelming quality of tradesman that we are still getting through our system, the newer guys are faced with a far harder upbringing than I had but this is by no means something we should just take for granted. Why are we so UNDERMANNED at first line now? It makes very little sense to me to have large amounts of manpower at second line where (from what people tell me- ie friends in leadership roles there) there seems to be such a low workload in comparison. I understand that second line has an important function, that is beyond doubt, however I do think the balance of manpower has tipped far too much in that direction to the detriment of first line and where a large amount of our Corps reputation is generated. I want to animate a real debate here, and not come over as a winer going on about the old days. I admit that we were spoilt in the past (all trades and perhaps generous manning) but I have seen and experienced the changes over the last decade and I really believe we are now at a critical point. Guys who I work with will continue to 'graft their balls out' to the best of their ability but it is feeling that our hands are tied now and we are fighting a losing battle, let's hope in time the balance tips back towards first line somewhat so that we can give the units we support what they expect.