Realigning the British Army after Ukraine

I think some of the suggestions above could actually cause more problems than enough. Increasing our capacity and plonking brigades in former Soviet countries could be seen as an offensive gesture by both Russia and China. Personally, I feel we should reinstate the old cold war brigades. We faced down the Shock Armies of the Soviet Union then and Europe felt more secure.
Western Europe felt more secure, perhaps, but the EU and NATO have moved east since the Cold War.
 
Which, almost inevitably, will be wrong. Witness the panic bouncing from Russian, to Serbo-Croat, to Arabic, back to Russian. And unless you can roulement within a unit that speaks the language, you can also practically guarantee that the one you need is at the bottom of the FORM cycle (or whatever the current phrase is).

I’m sorry, but the UK just doesn’t have the mass to apply the regional logic.
It's not beyond the wit of man to open British forces recruitment to EU citizens as well as Commonwealth ones.
 

HE117

LE
My biggest concern is the loss of the Ordnance manufacturing capacity and the deep damage done to our defence capability by the unfettered application of H&S bollocks in the hands of the civil service.

We have, since the 1990s::
No propellent manufacture capability (closure of ROF Bishopton)
No bulk explosive manufacture capability (closure of ROF Bridgewater)
Limited shell forging capability (closure of ROF Patricroft)
Reduced filling capability (Closure of ROF Chorley)
Reduced fuze manufacturing capability (Closure of ROF Blackburn, the National Fuze Factory)

Whilst I agree that these facilites were getting old, and some needed significant upgrading, others like Bishopton, had a lot of money spent on them and were abandoned almost overnight.

What is left is now in the hands of BAE systems, which I will grant you has refurbished Radway Green and Birtley, however we are a fraction of the capablity we once had, and even RG is dependent on foreign sourcing of primers and jacket cups.

I am also frankly uneasy at the depth of civil service control of military logistics. I simply do not trust their competency and motivation which has been clearly demonstrated as inadequate and misplaced at best, and bordering on treason at worst!
 
Thank you for starting this thread. I think it is something that is needed away from the Ukrainian thread and one that I'm sure will provoke some sensible ARRSE discussion. However, although I am looking forward to discussing "strategy and necessary equipment" I think it may be useful to agree first on what we want the army to do.
  1. Defend the UK mainland and infrastructure from external threat
  2. Defend UK overseas territory and infrastructure from external threat
  3. Support and work with the other services
  4. Support UK and allied agencies in peace supporting/enforcing roles
  5. Support UK and allied agencies in humanitarian relief
  6. Support UK and alied agencies in "democratisation" (is that a word?) projects.
  7. Provide support to UK policing agencies/national government and local authorities (the old MACP, MACA and MACC)
  8. Maintain a viable "reserve" of trained personnel to react to upsurge in any of the above areas.
That's just me thinking quickly off the top of my head. I'm sure there's more.

Obviously some of these tasks will take more of a priority at various points in time and will of necessity detract from others. But somehow all of these very different tasks need to be rolled into an specific, viable and achievable strategy.
1: to fight and kill enemies of the UK, both external and internal.
2: to provide a public relations unit in London.

The rest is unnecessary faff and covered by the Home and Foreign offices. If either of those announce an enemy, then 1 above applies.
 
The manpower issue could be solved by looking at what Prussia did after 1806 when it's army was restricted to only 42,000 men.

Various systems were introduced such as the Krümpersystem where a certain number of enlisted men per company/sqn were sent home every month to carry on their civvy jobs for up to 6-12 months and replaced by new short contract soldiers who themselves were replaced after 6 months with recalled furloughed soldiers and new recruits, rinse and repeat ad infinitum.

It created a properly trained reserve so when Prussia joined the 6th Coalition in 1813 its army went from the prescribed 42,000 to 180,000 trained soldiers without introducing conscription (which came in in 1814) in less than a month much to Napoleon's surprise.

The landwehr units that the additional manpower were formed into were very quickly up to the job and by August 1813 there was no practical difference in fighting qualities between them and the regular army units.
 
An attempt to stop thread derailment elsewhere…

Our most recent defence review emphasised Light, cyber, Rangers and so on.

Then along comes Ukraine and Light starts to look rather wrong. Certain VSOs might have predicted the right threats but I contend that their solutions were wrong.

James Heappey has recently nailed his colours to the Light philosophy but, hey, ex-Rifles.

I strongly disagree with him - and others who say we got it right; I think the driving criteria were money and real change being ‘too difficult’.

But we need to change.

There is already a ‘Changing the army - how?’ thread. That’s about ethos. I intend this thread to be about strategy and the necessary equipment.

What do we do from here?

I've outlined my plans before, around equipment, but I'll trot it out again. I realise that this is going to cost, and thus will never ever ever got implemented. I would hope that some elements of this would be though. If I was defence secretary for the next 25 years:

Short term:
Monday morning, at 0800 we're reforming FVRDE and reversing the decision on WCSP!

Controversial choice: Complete Ajax

Interim:
Buy in Boxers, get them formed into Carrier Regiments/Brigades so that in pre-deployment training the Light inf gigged with deployment gets to familiarise itself with mounted operations, and deploys as mechanised. That way you can sort of have the dreaded light inf formation, but it's not as crap in heavy warfare. As more Boxer's arrive, they get passed out to the light inf regiments converting them from light. I'd aim for total conversion of the army. If we need extra light inf (past existing Para's and such forth), the chosen formations just leave their Boxers at home.

At the same time get a Boxer module with palletised reloading for a bank of many Brimstones. Troop of these to each regiment.

Aim to cooperate with the Navy over lasers, mounted on AFV's for anti-drone defence. I would also look at a passive sensor pack that can be issued to troops for drone watch.

Significantly increase training facilities, including life fire. That way if a massive war of national survival (Eg WWII) heaves into view we can rapidly expand the forces.

Sort the Arty out, at this point I'd think ANYTHING would be an improvement. Again the Navy may have an interest in a chunky cannon for in direct fire. Maybe a common gun/ammo could save us some cash (If we remain with Arty and can't do better with rockets?). Just like a common stand-off ATGM in Brimstone splits the costs between both the Army, the RAF (and possibly the Navy). Equally, increased buy of items means lower unit cost.

Long term:
Common chassis for AFV, MBT and at least shared components to other roles such as AA and Arty, if not the same chassis without the big expensive armour packs. This needs to be 100% British produced.
 

Dubb_al_Ibn

War Hero
Good list

Item 2 - highlighted has been traditionally why we have Royal Marines - who are trained and ready to serve on, off, around and if necessary under these things:
View attachment 664458
HMS Bulwark (L15) - Wikipedia

View attachment 664460 HMS Albion (L14) - Wikipedia

View attachment 664461
Royal Marines launch raid from submarine in Cold Response 2022 - Naval News

...just sayin'....pint of 1664 please.

Fair point, but if we allocated defence of UK overseas territory solely to RM (or RM-type force) then we'd have to increase their numbers considerably...ah, I see where you're going.
 
I've outlined my plans before, around equipment, but I'll trot it out again. I realise that this is going to cost, and thus will never ever ever got implemented. I would hope that some elements of this would be though. If I was defence secretary for the next 25 years:

Short term:
Monday morning, at 0800 we're reforming FVRDE and reversing the decision on WCSP!

Controversial choice: Complete Ajax

Interim:
Buy in Boxers, get them formed into Carrier Regiments/Brigades so that in pre-deployment training the Light inf gigged with deployment gets to familiarise itself with mounted operations, and deploys as mechanised. That way you can sort of have the dreaded light inf formation, but it's not as crap in heavy warfare. As more Boxer's arrive, they get passed out to the light inf regiments converting them from light. I'd aim for total conversion of the army. If we need extra light inf (past existing Para's and such forth), the chosen formations just leave their Boxers at home.

At the same time get a Boxer module with palletised reloading for a bank of many Brimstones. Troop of these to each regiment.

Aim to cooperate with the Navy over lasers, mounted on AFV's for anti-drone defence. I would also look at a passive sensor pack that can be issued to troops for drone watch.

Significantly increase training facilities, including life fire. That way if a massive war of national survival (Eg WWII) heaves into view we can rapidly expand the forces.

Sort the Arty out, at this point I'd think ANYTHING would be an improvement. Again the Navy may have an interest in a chunky cannon for in direct fire. Maybe a common gun/ammo could save us some cash (If we remain with Arty and can't do better with rockets?). Just like a common stand-off ATGM in Brimstone splits the costs between both the Army, the RAF (and possibly the Navy). Equally, increased buy of items means lower unit cost.

Long term:
Common chassis for AFV, MBT and at least shared components to other roles such as AA and Arty, if not the same chassis without the big expensive armour packs. This needs to be 100% British produced.
Put vehicles where they belong, in units, not in storage.
That will include REME as sub units of armour, artillery, engineers, signals, infantry units, while keeping a REME battalion per brigade for second line repairs.
RLC would need organising into brigade support units, both transport and spares.
But please, no more HQs.
 
D

Deleted 139028

Guest
In pure financial terms, the country could easily afford that defence spend; it simply chooses to budget its wealth on other things - predominantly forms of welfare.

Either there is a will to have credible defence forces, or there is not. Currently there is not.
The biggest of which is the NHS, cut funding for the NHS in preference of the military and see how long you stay in power, then watch as your military are unfunded in response.

Nothing more assured than a left wing government that's been out of power for so long than decimating everything the previous government rescued or built up.

We have the level of military our government believes we need to meet our threats, whether they are right or wrong we have no clue but if wrong they would not be forgiven in a very long time.
 
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4(T)

LE
The biggest of which is the NHS, cut funding for the NHS in preference of the military and see how long you stay in power, then watch as your military are unfunded in response.

Nothing more assured than a left wing government that's been out of power for so long than decimating everything the previous government rescued or built up.

We have the level of military our government believes we need to meet our threats, whether they are right or wrong we have no clue bit if wrong they would not be forgiven in a very long time.



Well, the thread is about realigning the British Army, which by definition will include many (or only) scenarios of increased defence spending, however wishful or unlikely.

Its by definition because there is no other government policy other than progressive scrapping of the armed forces in order to free up cash to buy welfare votes.
 
One thing that has really surprised me is that a lot of fighting - and probably winning - has been done by infantry who appear neither particularly fit, or youthful.
The timely arrival of simple to use, highly effective, anti-armour and air weapons has made a massive impact.
So have the wonderful, cheap drones.
And so has some cough - real-time Int assistance allegedly.
And so has the morale, guts and defiance of the Ukrainian territorial Units.

The point relevant to this new Thread being - is it now time to restart issuing IPK's to all teeth arms and have them digging 2 man fighting trenches with overhead cover all over Salisbury Plain etc etc every time they go out on Ex.
 

TheSockPuppet

On ROPS
On ROPs
I think long-range kill is important. But army? Air force? Navy? A missile corps?
Long range in both the Army and Navy, based mostly around missiles. Air Transport and AH owned by the Army. Missile based National AD owned by RN. Strategic nuclear and non-nuclear in RN. No requirement for manned aircraft other than AT and AH. RAF personnel are given the opportunity to be selected for transfer to Army or RN, or else transfer to the Job Centre.
 
An attempt to stop thread derailment elsewhere…

Our most recent defence review emphasised Light, cyber, Rangers and so on.

Then along comes Ukraine and Light starts to look rather wrong. Certain VSOs might have predicted the right threats but I contend that their solutions were wrong.

That depends on what the Army is expected to be called upon to do rather than perhaps the worst case threats need to do.

1) Worst case Commit a Division to peer warfare - but thats a 1 shot and not intended to be sustained as a roulement - that said ability to regenerate and replace losses seems a logical addition
2) Intervention / peace keeping
3) Engagement

Of the 3 - 2 and 3 are the only ones enduring and needing rapid responses. Which then begs the Question how much of 1 needs to be regular Army.


I suggest 3 - Inf Division - Independent brigades Division being administrative

Para Brigade 4x Inf

North Flank Brigade - Built around 3 cdo brigade -2 x line infantry battalions - + RM + cdo Force support - ( reduce support cdo qualified personell as its no longer to be a CDO brigade

3 Mech Brigades
1 Wheeled Cav
3 Infantry mounted on Boxer and/or MRVP depending on task - eg Mali type ops 1 Boxer 2 MRVP,


If AD is needed its taken from 1st Division (unless they need it)
This gives The intervention - peacekeeping Force

4 Rangers for engagement -


1st Armoured Division Most Elements are cadres

2 Square Brigades Cadre (2 rifle coys / Battalion + 2 coys reserve)

2 cadre 1 reserve SPG
Cadre MLRS
Regular AD

+ 1 Armoured Inf Brigade (reserve

Then theres the public duties + Belize etc

Regular force of

20 Line Inf 4 ranger 4 cadre AI

3 wheeled cav, 2 Tracked Cav, 4 (cadre) MBT (

2LG, 3SPG (W) 2 SPG cadre

Will probably require a reduction in the planned cuts

Also an acknowledgement that the full armoured Divison isnt happenning until Challenger is replaced
 
Not trying to sound daft, seeing the experience and success the Ukrainians are having. It seems logical to reform at least a couple of Anti- tank Regts armed with Nlaw, Javelin and Brimstone. And I know their being retired but use the Warriors as stopgap transport.
 
Put vehicles where they belong, in units, not in storage.
That will include REME as sub units of armour, artillery, engineers, signals, infantry units, while keeping a REME battalion per brigade for second line repairs.
RLC would need organising into brigade support units, both transport and spares.
But please, no more HQs.

You mean scrapping WFM? Each crew gets its own vehicle?
 
If there is one thing that really stands out from the Ukraine conflict is the absolute difference between the morale (and public relations value), of a nation fighting an existential war of survival versus a plundering, raping and frankly criminal expeditionary force.

The equipment and training gap is important, but so far only one side is using deliberate atrocity as a military strategy, and it is shown to be failing, despite having the alleged numerical and equipment advantage.

It very much shows that the old argument of "the moral is to the physical" is still valid.

I think that the one take away from the ghastly army that Putin built in his own image is that it is completely lacking in the boring "Values and Standards" that we have accepted as normal for us.

So, when we recast our Army, do we continue muddling on, or do we take that fact on board, and build on it?
 

Yokel

LE
You reckon? Wayne and Waynetta going to forgo their prosperity and cushy state provided life for defence? I think not.

Wayne and Waynetta be soon be paying more for gas and a loaf of bread, which might have been avoided if we had spent just a little bit on defence.

The biggest of which is the NHS, cut funding for the NHS in preference of the military and see how long you stay in power, then watch as your military are unfunded in response.

Nothing more assured than a left wing government that's been out of power for so long than decimating everything the previous government rescued or built up.

We have the level of military our government believes we need to meet our threats, whether they are right or wrong we have no clue bit if wrong they would not be forgiven in a very long time.

We also need to put more focus on preventative medicine - keeping fit, healthy eating, stress control, early interventions for obesity, and so on. However, preventative medicine is a very hard sell, not unlike deterrence! Spending more on rehabilitation would not just have humanitarian benefits but it would reduce social care needs, and allow injured/disabled people to return to the workforce and to allow there carers to return to the workforce or work full rime.

I am not sure society is ready to accept that the old model of 100% healthy > illness or injury > inpatient or at home treatment > discharge > 100% heathy is not accurate or helpful.
 
D

Deleted 139028

Guest
Well, the thread is about realigning the British Army, which by definition will include many (or only) scenarios of increased defence spending, however wishful or unlikely.

Its by definition because there is no other government policy other than progressive scrapping of the armed forces in order to free up cash to buy welfare votes.
There's a world of difference between re-aligning the British Army and discussing spending at levels we can't maintain or reach without crippling our economy and institutions. If you seriously believe in what you are proposing may I suggest you preface future posts with e.g. "In a perfect world what I'd like to see is ....", because we are very far from a perfect world and, currently, there are no real or credible threats to the UK or its interests.

There very obviously is government policy, in fact there are numerous, if you care to do a bit of research, and it wasn't this government that started the drawdown of BFG which had been in the planning from my early days.

This Conservative government would never be able to buy welfare votes because, well, tories Grrr and of course Boris Grrr.
 

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