Question on Role of 2(NC) Bde during wartime - 1967- 1984

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by jim30, Sep 27, 2009.

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  1. Hi guys,
    (Cross posted to Mil History and TA Thread)

    This is a bit of an odd request, but I’m looking for some information on the role of 2(NC) Bde during the 1980s. I’m doing a lot of part time research into Machinery of Govt in War (MGW) planning, and while a lot has been declassified, there are still some areas that remain a mystery.

    My current area is looking into the so-called PYTHON groups, which would have dispersed around the UK with senior officials at the helm, and then link up at a post strike accretion point about 4 weeks after any strike. There appears to have been plans for a military signals contingent to operate the communications equipment, and I’d be particularly interested in knowing the following:

    During the very early 1980s, did any new communications equipment enter service that changed the way that 2(NC) Bde planned on conducting wartime operations?

    I appreciate it’s a vague question, but I don’t want to post a leading question. If anyone happens to know the answer, or could shed some light on the role of 2(NC) during the period 1967 – 1984, then could you either post here or PM me. It may help with some ongoing research.
    Also to reassure you all, this is all now unclassified, and information is available on the PYTHON groups. I’m seeking to fill in some gaps.

  2. Didn't they get NCRS. I remember working with them on Home Defence exercises, I believe they support the home defence brigades and regions
  3. Provision of NCRS (National Communication Radio System), a communications redundancy system which would still function for both, voice, data and fax after that radiosphere had been truely fcuked by detonation of nuclear weapons. NCRS was deployed with all Regiments within 2 (NC) Sig Bde i.e. 31,32,36,37,38, 39, 40 and 71, providing complete coverage of the UK.

    Each Regt was intended to support a particular Regional Seat of Governance (I think there were 11 or so) with Central Government functioning out of Basil Hill/Corsham from the huge bunker there. The NCRS dets were apparently resistant to radiological and chemical fallout, though frankly we were pretty dubious about well they would work but the heaters did work well :-D

    The network once setup, was quite sophisticated for the time and during engineering updates once every 12 hrs I think, would be able to adapt to the loss of a det due to comms failure, enemy action etc. The network was HF and each det (which resembled a horse box and was basically useless for off road work, but could be under slung beneath a Chinook), had two antenna arrays, the traffic mast which was an absolute pain to deploy and needed more or a less a football field worth of real estate and the monitor antenna, which was basically a 12m HF mast.

    I personally liked the kit. It was a lot more fun than the stuff we have now to support UK Ops :-(
  4. Not forgetting MOULD which was infamously turned off around 9/11
  5. Thanks very much for this - its really useful. What is interesting is that Govt plans changed in about 1965 to stop using the central bunker in Corsham as an HQ. I have a whole raft of documents from the time showing that the site (known as Site 3) was a decoy site, and that in reality, the plan was for 8 groups of senior staff to disperse, escorted by military personnel. The idea was that each would function as a PM in order of seniority, and that if one was lost, then the next one down would take over and could exercise control over nuclear release.

    What is interesting is that no plans appear to have been made for the TA to support these Dets - so we have the situation where the RSGs would have had comms support, but the people that would be doing the national piece were on their own, outside of the comms set up.

    This is getting an increasingly odd puzzle to understand - why have C2 groups, and not support them with proper comms?
  6. Almost right except those of us in 36 and 40 would have been vapourised along with the Commz (low countries) we were supporting with Euromux under Commplan 89
  7. IIRC 36 (and probably 40) only recieved NCRS in time for a bit of training and the odd exercise or two, before it was backloaded (although the horesboxes seemed to hang around for a long time). The whole post strike misson sort of vanished around that time anyway.

    > @Jim30 - I'll PM you
  8. Jim,

    I think you'll find many TA SSig of this period didn't really understand their roles, working with staff or in role was a complete rarity (I think I know the Sqn designated for the Corsham task - if I remember I'll PM you). They tended to view using the equipment was to support regimental staff, a view which was reinforced by many a Regt/Bde exercise. If you can find the PXR for Ex Griffin Focus 08, this highlights the problems in more details (and we have in theory moved on considerably from the 80's)
  9. See my bold.

    As I recall, NCRS didn't filter down to TA units in 2 Bde until the very early 90's. But that could be my memory...... though I do definitely recall being envious about the heated horseboxes though as my unit only had clansman(HF) FFR's.
  10. My info is probably wrong, FFR's were luxury for me then, my det tended to use BCH
  11. with 320 somehow strapped onto 58 webbing
  12. scaryspice

    scaryspice LE Moderator

    You're right. NCRS wasn't fully issued to 2 Sig Bde until the early 90s. I recall standing on a square in a camp somewhere in the north of England waiting to take delivery of my Sqn's share of green horseboxes which arrived on low loaders and had to be driven miles back to TACs at the end of camp, with the back of the LR full of jerrycans of water to give it sufficient weight to cope with the horsebox on corners.....

    In its previous incarnation it was called HDRS and various trial versions came out, got played with a bit and went away again. I never got to play with it at this stage of its evolution though...

    You want someone who remembers the old triple receivers and D11 transmitters for the 1980s.
  13. ncrs was called hdrs in 85-85 and prior to that conrad2
    check this site out for mould info and other stuff theres alot of stuff on the net about home defence and the units involved