"May questions UK’s top tier military status.."

Your grandad presumably thought Czechoslovakia was disposable did he.
No idea to be honest, both my grandfathers were in reserved occupations.
My father volunteered fo Korea but they put him on the wrong boat and he ended up in Hong Kong instead

Besides, 80 odd years have passed since then and I am more than content with the idea of not going to war in europe ever again. Europe (east and west) can fend for itself as far as I am concerned.

History proves that there will be a war in europe at some point, I just don't see why we should interfere.
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
Yes, IMO we need MBT as part of our commitment to NATO.

Perhaps the real question should be more about our continuing commitment to NATO, or possibly some serious questioning of other's commitment - especially those closer to the main potential threat (can you hear me Germany...?)
We commit a lot of assets and capability to NATO, it doesn't have to be everything and increasingly we can't afford everything. Choices may well have to be made.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
You do realize that the Europeans are decaying and the Russians are strengthening their forces. The future is a great thing to plan for, but if you can’t fight tonight a five year plan ain’t worth a damn.
First, yes I do, and I've said so on here and elsewhere long before it became fashionable.

Second, that's a nice quote but it's militarily illiterate. That might apply if you are talking about you, an individual, in a house invasion, or perhaps even a section position in some kind of existential trench fight. It doesn't apply if you are talking about a whole country, much less a loosely affiliated group of countries. The cold war strategy that everyone is praising here was completely a 5 year plan: everyone in Europe died until the US could mount more forces and slowly retake the lost ground, because when you have mass of any kind, you can afford (actually, need to) lose some chunks to win elsewhere.

Wars aren't won in a night, and even when people think they are, they turn out to be wrong: if this generation haven't learned that lesson from Iraq and Afghanistan, then they never will. After the immediate war is over, the victor (assuming there is one) has to then manage or hold the resulting settlement. That still requires troops and resources, and often means winning a different kind of war. If those troops and resources aren't enough, you have a problem.

So the idea that Russia or anyone can just strike while we are weak and it's all over is absurd. Whether it be a Baltic state, Germany, Taiwan, South Korea - any military action that anyone takes against a sizeable country or group of countries is a 5 year plan at least, and most likely a 20+ year plan. Putin, the Chinese understand this very well, because they have been personally doing it for going on 20 years now, and they have a power system that necessitates and supports that. The "it's all over tonight" mentality is a Western one, quite possibly because our political and military systems are mostly devoid of strategic thinkers and don't encourage developing them with our 4-year terms, and every military action for 30 years has been planned in the shadow of limited public will for a long term engagement.

Russia's next steps in Europe are all about finding the sweet spot of action where they can take a big enough step to advance their goals, but judge that is small enough to avoid solidifying support against them in NATO, the EU and US. Poisoning expats is a big misstep, because it has little real effect, and solidified a lot of action against them. You can bet that some strong direction has been given to the FSB about changing old tactics following it. Invading Georgia was a big win, because it barely registered in the NATO / EU / US of the time and provided a very clear effect in Russian satellite states. Ukraine is about a tie: achieved a big territory grab, but also properly woke up NATO. Whatever they do next will be all about the five-year plan of what response they think it will create in NATO / the EU, and relatively less to do with what immediate gain they think the actual action itself will bring them: it's moving chess pieces into place, not just taking the closest one. That's what the old Cold war was about, and it's what the new one will quickly become.

The point of the NATO / EU / US alliance is that together, with time, they can still bring overwhelming resources to bear. Most of those are economic, but those can theoretically be converted to be military within that 5 year time period. The Russian game is to split that group so that they cannot bring overwhelming resources to bear, and are not willing to convert economic to military power in the event of a big Russian grab. Therefore, for us, any solution which results in that group solidifying and building real, actionable ties is good - which is what the Mattis's of this world have been aiming for. Any solution which involves voluntarily or involuntarily splitting that group, like you seem to be suggesting and like Bolton and others in the Trump orbit seem to want, and potentially Trump himself (if he has coherent thoughts that last for more than the span of a tantrum) is not a solution: it is being played like a violin by the Russians. I'm sure it's fun for you to be stroked, and it makes nice mood music...but it isn't going to go the way you think it is going to go.
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
Exactly! Apparently it’s only things that sail, dive and fly that deter. @A2_Matelot is displaying cognitive dissonance at its most obvious.
You're simply being purposely obtuse and my thoughts are far from inconsistent - the logic is far easier; in times of very hard fiscal choices, keep things in sheds that we don't use, depreciate/cost to re-generate; or focus on the capabilities and equipments that are used each day.

I can make it even easier for you, the argument is solely between MoD and HMT, they look each other in the eye and HMT asks why do you keep those in sheds, when are you going to use them, how would they be used, what is the likelihood based on current assessment. The MoD can't answer that to satisfy HMT.

I work with the Army and Air Force a lot and have many friends in both, all would agree with my assessment because daily thats the world we live in and in all the internal debates about funding at the moment it's all about a coherent argument that can assure funding, Armour I don't see making that leap. Maybe I'm wrong - we'll see when a new Armoured Brigade is established and manned.

Ultimately because RTR and the components Regiments of the RAC (is it still called that) have strong pull I suspect we'll keep CR2, upgrade them, roll them out to the odd exercise, but I just can't see us increasing them and as funding squeezes continue, will CGS reduce numbers of AJAX, CEMA Regiments or CR2?
 
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You're simply being purposely obtuse and my thoughts are far from inconsistent - the logic is far easier; in times of very hard fiscal choices, keep things in sheds that we don't use, depreciate/cost to re-generate; or focus on the capabilities and equipments that are used each day.

I can make it even easier for you, the argument is solely between MoD and HMT, they look each other in the eye and HMT asks why do you keep those in sheds, when are you going to use them, how would they be used, what is the likelihood based on current assessment. The MoD can't answer that to satisfy HMT.

I work with the Army and Air Force a lot and have many friends in both, all would agree with my assessment because daily thats the world we live in and in all the internal debates about funding at the moment it's all about a coherent argument that can assure funding, Armour I don't see making that leap. Maybe I'm wrong - we'll see when a new Armoured Brigade is established and manned.

Ultimately because RTR and the components Regiments of the RAC (is it still called that) have strong pull I suspect we'll keep CR2, upgrade them, roll them out to the odd exercise, but I just can't see us increasing them and as funding squeezes continue, will CGS reduce numbers of AJAX, CEMA Regiments or CR2?

How come I can only see your first two paragraphs above, but when I quote it I can see the whole lot?
 
Which historical boundaries, those of 1945.
My careless bad - I was thinking more about the geographical boundaries that have defined Russia over the years.

russia.jpg



Russia, particularly while it is run by a secret policeman, intends to exert control over Europe by threat. This has been the Russian way since c1700.
Certainly Imperial Russia used to (self-)regard itself as Europe's policemen.

Governments will trade with Russia on a Russia first basis and to Russia's profit, dissolve their military so that if upset Russia could execute a Crimea style take over. Like Mr Hitler before him Vlad will cheerfully take these things in small mouthfuls if we are daft enough.
You make that sound like Mr. Trump's America First strategy.

Has Russia the power to actually cause that to become true ? This is where I'm sceptical.

The consequences for an EU country not controlled are the same as for the rat the python didn't swallow this time.
The consequences once you're swallowed, lower living standards, no freedom of speech, lots of minorities labelled subversive and given a good bashing, Jews, Muslims, anyone with coloured skin, the sexually unusual, trade unionists.
The consequences for the US are no support at all against China, no markets in Europe to further weaken the economy.
So making Russia into our latest enemy is a bad move ? I still don't see Russia wanting to invade Europe let alone being capable of doing so.
 
I don't think the problem's with expeditionary warfare, conceptually, it's specifically with cluster fucks like Telic and Herrick, where we ended up, after initial enthusiasm and success (certainly in Iraq), gradually scaling back, courtesy of piss-poor civilian direction, zero strategic aims and - it has to be said - an excess of testosterone on the part of short-tour senior commanders, alternating Jolly Good Ideas For Winning The War This Tour, to slow-moving, risk-averse force protection exercises (note, here, no insult intended to the men and women who were out there slogging through the cuds, they did all they were asked to and more).

Somehow maintaining 10k or so deployed troops at a time was far beyond the ability of the Army to sustain without major pain and disruption and somehow the steady drip-drip-drip of casualties (and the frankly distasteful circus of Wootton Bassett) persuaded the Great British Public that our sons and daughters were being slaughtered somewhere far away and alien to no good purpose and that's what killed any enthusiasm there might ever have been for piling into someone else's real estate without a clear idea why, how long for and to do what.

That's not to day that in-and-out exercises like Sierra Leone can't or won't happen again; in fact, I rather fancy they're the shape of the future. Send a battlegroup or even a brigade, in, kick the place around, break some stuff, kill some people, install a new government and home for tea and medals, fine. Long-term commitments to a losing war? Thanks, but no.
So, the British defence policy is going to be a return to the "Butcher and Bolt" colonial policing model where we intend to go 'wog bashing' against vastly inferior non State powers, and hope that our foreign allies will do the heavy lifting, fighting and dying in conventional ground combat.

It is traditional, I suppose.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Genuine question - which you think are ?
Don't know, Russia and Putinology isn't my area. If there's a secret answer, I'm the wrong person to ask. My guess is probably the same as anything you can read in the papers.

I can recognise the difference between a coherent strategy and a goat rodeo though. If confused about the first, a good rule of thumb is to look at whatever Putin is doing. If confused about the second, a good rule of thumb is to look at whatever we are doing.
 
My careless bad - I was thinking more about the geographical boundaries that have defined Russia over the years.

View attachment 339293
Back to the Soviet borders. Couple of minor hiccups including A5 and A42(7), let alone the will of those people
So making Russia into our latest enemy is a bad move ?
I’m pretty sure until Georgia we couldn’t care less. Those were the briefs I had. Bit of a wake up call. Crimea and E Ukraine were ‘we need to spend 2%’ and now, we are where we are with all that is going on.

My briefs move from ‘concentrating on CT’ to ‘peer or near peer’ adversary and I don’t believe ‘we’ made Russia our ‘latest enemy’, more the other way round.
I still don't see Russia wanting to invade Europe let alone being capable of doing so.
More ‘little green men’ than an Airborne Divn parked up in Riga.
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
If we had a map, showing all the maritime choke points, and considered the planning ranges of those vessels available to assign to each, how effectively are we protecting the SLOCs against likely opposition?
It's temporal and depends on threats and who else is out operating. The threats can/could be all over the SLOC, the current one that remains quite well contained is a threat as perceived by the maritime industry and is being treated, currently.

Moreover maritime choke points alone aren't what you're interested in. You patrol, deter, collect against a vast number of requirements and that's done in a number of ways daily.

But remember the point I responded to was that Armour couldn't be deleted because if it were everything else could be. My point as above remains that some assets work all the time in a multitude of roles, so that premise doesn't hold. I absolutely appreciate there are some issue with some platforms availability at the moment - in the timeline of the RN since 1660 it's a blip, it's recognised and being addressed. Stuff happens as they say.
 
Back to the Soviet borders. Couple of minor hiccups including A5 and A42(7), let alone the will of those people.
I'm not Russian and I'm not, I hope, a troll but I do think we've caused a lot of Russian paranoia by our post-Soviet actions; have we driven them into China's arms?

And do you see them having any European ambitions left once the Soviet/Imperial Russian borders are (semi-)restored?
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I can make it even easier for you, the argument is solely between MoD and HMT, they look each other in the eye and HMT asks why do you keep those in sheds, when are you going to use them, how would they be used, what is the likelihood based on current assessment. The MoD can't answer that to satisfy HMT.
And while it's tempting to assume that means HMT are just being arrogant or fools and not taking advice; and while I totally think that we shouldn't get rid of Armour per se and it is clearly still a key component of ground power; I also know that, if you poke them, the message from most tankies is that with armour you either go big or you go home, and we don't have either the manpower or money to go big.

The smart question isn't whether Armour per se is important, but whether it is worth having too little armour just to say that we have it, or whether it would be more cost effective to admit that we no longer have a real armoured force and focus on other things. It's a different calculation for ships and planes, because there are many situations where an individual ship or a flight of planes is not only enough, but adds a huge amount of value. There are few situations where a tank or tank platoon singular is much use, many of them could easily be performed by something else (or lighter), and many of those where singular tanks are useful (urban), we have real problems actually providing and using them, whether for logistic reasons or just because we're shyer about reducing tower blocks to rubble than others are.

But mostly the problem with the armour debate is the sheer bandwidth it occupies in the Army and MoD, and the levels of mendacity it produces in senior officers to support that ("medium tank", "Armoured Division"). If the 2010 SDSR had kicked all armour into storage and instead focused all that money and energy into the career and manpower system, I wager the current Army would be in a much better state now, and ironically probably much closer to producing an actual armoured force.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
So, the British defence policy is going to be a return to the "Butcher and Bolt" colonial policing model where we intend to go 'wog bashing' against vastly inferior non State powers, and hope that our foreign allies will do the heavy lifting, fighting and dying in conventional ground combat.

It is traditional, I suppose.
The oft-touted trope of "punching above our weight" has largely been subsumed by the rather more veracious "drunken tramp shadow-boxing".
 
I'm not Russian and I'm not, I hope, a troll but I do think we've caused a lot of Russian paranoia by our post-Soviet actions; have we driven them into China's arms?
Their rhetoric is to play the victim. It’s been discussed many times on many threads. We probably shouldn’t have accepted the Baltic States into NATO, but we are where we are. Plus they’re in the EU and for a while at least 42(7) applies to us as well.

They agreed not to have ‘areas of influence’ but the leadership from 2000 onwards appears to believe that shouldn’t matter.

As for ‘driving them into China’s arms’, they historically, (on and off of course with a little bit of ‘Sino Soviet war’), have been allies. Helped not least by the return of some territory. A ‘constructive partnership’ in ‘92 became a ‘strategic partnership’ in ‘96 to a treaty of ‘friendship and cooperation’ in ‘01.
And do you see them having any European ambitions left once the Soviet/Imperial Russian borders are (semi-)restored?
Territorial, if they can get away with it. Depends on money and of course ‘policing’ these ‘new states’. Their GDP as PPP is often quoted rather than nominal GDP.

Influence, definitely. I can imagine Vlad being happy with the restoration of Soviet borders as he called it a ‘tragedy’ and will put him up there with the other Czars.

The old maxim of ‘divide and rule’ comes to mind.
 

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