QRH and Maysan


Book Reviewer
Excuse the intrusion charioteers,

If there are any serving/retired QRH types who have a moment to spare please take a look at the thread here and READ the article linked in the first post.

Notwithstanding the usual journalistic ignorance on display, to a distant observer it appears the character of the QRH has been, um, sullied.

A letter from the Regimental Sec to the Editor, Baltimore Chronicle may be in order..... Or is the usual lofty disdain preferred :) ?

quoted (and slightly edited) from the QRH website:

We have had to say farewell to Big A*dy c*sy vaced out to infected insect bites, S*an Ch*ncy who was injured during a contact just outside of Al Amarah and D**e K who broke his hand after his tank was engaged by RPG. We all send you are best wishes and hope to see you all soon.

The battle group was given 2 weeks to pack up CAN which has been in place for over three years, the amount of work that need to be done was unbeleivable. Both RQMS had numerous fatiques that need to be done in between normal work. The insurgents didn't help with hurling 120mm mortars and 107mm rockets at us every day. I think the count over the past 4 months is near on 300 projectiles fired at camp. Amazingly no deaths and only minor injuries. On the 24th the big move south took place with a convoy that streached over 7km and the majority of the Bdes troops picketing our move. Tornados from the RAF flanked us as did Lynx and Merlins. With our tanks on the back of transporters and the crews in the cabs we felt a wee bit at a loose end. But this was only a third of the Sqn. The remainder had reroled from heavy armour to light role. Back into cut down rovers and WMIKs to patrol the endless deserts of Maysan on the look for smugglers.

At SLB we bid farewell to our trusty beast that had served us so well in many a difficult spot in Al Amarah and handed them over to B Sqn. They seemed a little bit shabby and worn compared to the B Sqn panzers but at least we knew they had served their perpose. With the limited manpower that was south the RQMS's worked their tricks again emptying all the crap that had to be brought south. Well we are almost compleat and the 1st troop has rotated out to and fro from the desert patrol so onwards we go in our new task.
24 hours? try two weeks
Just spotted this so apologies for the late reply.

Why do you think we have been sullied Goatman?

The post has been reproduced from our regimental website and details the withdrawal of the regiment from CAN. It was common knowledge (amongst QRH) that the lads were going to do so in order to take the fight directly to the insurgents rather than sitting in CAN waiting for incoming.

We have a new formation called the Border Battle Group which we have been calling the Light Cavalry Battle Group in the planning stages.

I won't post details of that formation here or where they are because of OPSEC but the BBG has been reported in the press over the last few days as a result of large 'finds' by QRH, so I'm giving nothing away by telling you what it's called.


Book Reviewer
Gdav, you have neatly illustrated the perils of expecting people to read material which is simply hyperlinked.

My post refers to the text below, NOT the cut and paste from the QRH website.....the left hand knoweth not what doth the right !

A British Harbinger of American Defeat
by Chris Floyd

Don Rumsfeld is fond of historical analogies when pontificating about Iraq; he particularly favors comparisons to the Nazi era and the Allied occupation of Germany after World War II. Unfortunately, any historian will tell you that Rummy's parallels are invariably false, even ludicrous. So we thought we'd give the beleaguered Pentagon warlord a more accurate and telling analogy to chew on.

Try this one, Don. Imagine that British occupation troops in, say, Hanover, had been forced to abandon a major base, under fire, and retreat into guerrilla operations in the Black Forest – in 1948, three years after the fall of the Nazi regime. And that as soon as the Brits made their undignified bug-out, the base had been devoured by looters while the local, Allies-backed authorities simply melted away and an extremist, virulently anti-Western militia moved into the power vacuum.

What would they have called that, Don? "Measurable progress on the road to democracy?" "Another achieved metric of our highly successful post-war plan?" Or would they have said, back in those more plain-spoken, Harry Truman days, that it was "a major defeat, a humiliating strategic reversal, foreshadowing a far greater disaster?"

You'd have to wait a long time – perhaps to the end of the "Long War" – to get a straight answer from Rumsfeld on that one, but this precise scenario, transposed from Lower Saxony to Maysan province, unfolded in Iraq last week, when British forces abandoned their base at Abu Naji and disappeared into the desert wastes and marshes along the Iranian border. The move was largely ignored by the American media, but the implications are enormous. The UK contingent of the invading coalition has always been the proverbial canary in the mine shaft: if they can't make a go of things in what we've long been told is the "secure south," where friendly Shiites hold absolute sway, then the entire misbegotten Bush-Blair enterprise is well and truly FUBAR.

The Queen's Royal Hussars, 1,200-strong, abruptly decamped from the three-year-old base last Thursday after taking constant mortar and missile fire for months from those same friendly Shiites. The move was touted as part of a long-planned, eventual turnover of security in the region to the Coalition-backed Iraqi central government, but there was just one problem: the Brits forgot to tell the Iraqis they were checking out early – and in a hurry.

[Paveway - who was there 2 weeks before - assures me this is the purest banana oil ]

"British forces evacuated the military headquarters without coordination with the Iraqi forces," Dhaffar Jabbar, spokesman for the Maysan governor, told Reuters on Thursday, as looters began moving into the camp in the wake of the British withdrawal. A unit of Iraqi government troops mutinied when told to keep order at the base – and instead attacked a military post of their own army. By Friday, the locals had torn the place to pieces, carting away more than $500,000 worth of equipment and fixtures that the British had left behind. After that initial, ineffectual show of force, the Iraqi "authorities" stepped aside and watched helplessly as the looters taunted them and cheered the "great victory" over the Western invaders.

The largely notional – if not fictional – power of the Baghdad central government simply vanished while the forces of hardline cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, which already controls the local government, stepped forward to proclaim its triumph and guide the victory celebrations in the nearby provincial capital, Amarah. "This is the first city that has kicked out the occupier!" blared Sadr-supplied loudspeakers to streets filled with revelers, as the Washington Post noted in a solid – but deeply buried – story on the retreat.

British officials were understandably a bit sniffy about the humiliation. First, they denied there was any problem with the handover at all: the Iraqis had been notified (a whole 24 hours in advance, apparently), the exchange of authority was brisk and efficient, and the Iraqis had "secured the base," military spokesman Major Charlie Burbridge insisted to AP. But when reports of the looting at Abu Naji began pouring in, British officers simply washed their hands of the nasty business. The camp was now "the property of the Maysan authorities and Iraqi Forces [are] in attendance," said Burbridge; therefore, Her Majesty's military would have no more comment on the matter. In this casual – not to mention callous – dismissal of the chaos spawned in wake of the Hussars' departure, we can see in miniature the philosophy now being writ large across the country in the Bush administration's "Iraqization" policy: "We broke it; you fix it."And where are Her Majesty's Hussars now? Six hundred of them have dispersed into guerrilla bands in the wilderness, where they will survive on helicopter drops of supplies while they patrol the Iranian border. The ostensible reason behind this extraordinary operation is two-fold, said the doughty Burbridge: first, to find out if the Bush administration is up to its usual mendacious hijinks in claiming that the evildoers in Iran are fuelling the insurgency among the happily liberated Iraqi people; and second, to do a little more of that Iraqization window dressing before finally getting the hell out of Dodge completely, beginning sometime next year, according to reports across the UK media spectrum.

Of course, the good major didn't put it quite like that. "The Americans believe there is an inflow of IEDs and weapons across the border with Iran," he told the Post. "Our first objective is to go and find out if that is the case. If that is true, we'll be able to disrupt the flow." The second aim is training Iraqi border guards, he added.

Yes, a few hundred men wandering through the wasteland, dependent on air-dropped rations, will certainly be able to seal off an almost 300-mile border riddled with centuries-old smuggling routes. And modern-day Desert Rats rolling up in bristling Land Rovers to isolated villages where Shiite clans span both borders will no doubt be gathering a lot of actionable intelligence from the locals. And of course it is much easier to "train Iraqi border guards" on the fly in the wild than at a long-established base with full amenities and, er, training facilities.

In other words, the British move makes no sense – if you accept the official spin at face value, i.e., that it's an act of careful deliberation aimed at furthering the Coalition's stated goals of a free, secure, democratic Iraq. But those in the reality-based community will see it for what it is: a panicky, patchwork reaction to events and forces far beyond the Coalition's intentions or control.

The other six hundred Hussars driven out of Abu Naji have retreated to the main British camp at Basra – another "safe" city that has now degenerated into a level of violence approaching the hellish chaos of Baghdad, the Independent reports. British troops who once walked the streets freely, lightly armed, wearing red berets instead of helmets, are now largely confined to the base, except for excursions to help Iraqi government forces in pitched battles against the Shiite militias that control the city. Harsh religious rule has long descended on the once freewheeling port city, again presaging the sectarian darkness now settling heavily across Baghdad.

Just a few months ago, the UK's Ministry of Defence was churning out "good news" PR stories about life at Abu Naji – such as the whimsical tale of the troop's pet goat, Ben, a lovable rogue always getting into scrapes with the regiment's crusty sergeant major, even though the soldiers "knew he had a soft spot for Ben." The goat, we were told, had enjoyed visits from such distinguished guests as the Iraqi prime minister and the Duke of Kent. Now this supposed oasis of British power has been destroyed, with the Coalition-trained Iraqi troops meant to secure it either fading into the shadows or actively joining in with the rampaging crowds and extremist militias. Meanwhile, the Hussars are reducing to roaming the countryside on vague, pointless, impossible missions, killing time, killing people – and being killed – until the inevitable collapse of the whole shebang.
The goat is gone. The canary is dying. The surrender and sack of Abu Naji is a preview of what's to come, on a much larger scale of death and chaos, as the bloodsoaked folly of Bush and Blair's war howls toward its miserable end. September 2, 2006
< sigh >....see what I mean GDav ?

Water under the bridge by now....but it would have been appropriate in my view if someone could have got off their ARRSE last week long enough to ping a rejoinder to the egregious Mister Floyd and indeed the << Baltimore Chronicle >> on behalf of a regiment which, to my knowledge, has never run away from a fight.

As my daughter would say....whatEVER ....... :roll:

Le Chevre
Goatman, sorry I gave you the impression I didn't read Chris Floyd's blog - I did, and I e-mailed him.

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