Pentagon: "The British are now down to cutting into muscle."

Found a great article by Time magazine - published 30 years ago this month.

A Troubled Watch on the Rhine

The very names evoke heroic themes. The British Army of the Rhine, guardian of the North German Plain. The Royal Navy, charged with sealing off the North Atlantic. But where in 1941 there was the mighty H.M.S. Ark Royal, there is now H.M.S. Tiger, an antiquated hybrid frigate, and only a river of esprit is holding together the Army of the Rhine. Because of their strategic positioning, today's British forces serve as one of the most important links in the NATO chain of defense. But the enduring strength of this link is now in doubt.

[Full text: Time Magazine, 13 December 1976]

There is a limit, however, to how long an army can march on high spirits or make a virtue of poverty. Observes one Pentagon official: "The British are now down to cutting into muscle." If the minibudget requires substantive defense cuts, the first muscle to go may be about 5,000 men from the Army of the Rhine; London will apparently try to keep the Royal Navy's Atlantic patrols at current levels.

Remind anyone of today?


Yes except now Britain's defence budget is pledged to BAe and its unions................and the manpower budget is cut to pay for cost overruns..................exactly the model the PFI funding of Education and Health will cause with delayering of staff to pay fixed costs for capital assets


merkator said:
Remind anyone of today?

Sadly not - today is much worse! Just imagine having all those troops there nowadays to help out with the current overstretch. The figure below is Army alone, I believe the current number in Germany is 22,500 serving for all of BFG.

"The army, which so far has not suffered as much budget cutting as the navy, technically has been able to maintain the strength of the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) at about 55,000 men"

Good article though, cheers
Could the Ruskies bother to go Westwards I'm sure the Krautes could hold their own. With the amount of gas that is supplied to Western Europe I don't think the Russian government would risk upsetting their customers with a grand invasion plan, even so the article raises important points.
I remember several exercises that were cancelled in the mid-70s because we had run out of fuel - so we had to sit tight before being allowed to return to camp.

Things have improved immensely. Now they cancel exercises after we have completed all the planning but before we leave camp - which, presumably, saves the cost of the fuel for the drive to the training area.

Keeps LAND and the DLO very happy though!



Damned interesting - thanks for posting the link. Whereas Jim Callaghan's government never pretended to be particularly pro-Forces, Mr Blair on the other hand would beg to differ......shame that the results appear to be the same.

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