And a lot the Armoured Infantry battalions who wern't going on GW1 were stripped of men to bring the 3 in 1 Armoured Division up to full war establishment. As an example I think 3RRF had a company group of the Black Watch attached to it. It was probably the same in the other two battalions and other units of the Division.And what is forgotten these days is that iot deploy 1 (UK) Armd Div (a 'short' division of 2 bdes) on Op GRANBY, 3 and 4 Armd Divs were denuded of equipment and virtually stripped of spares; CR1 power packs springs to mind.
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Already doing that with Armour, two or three tanks simulating a Regt. A sqn simulates a Div these days and I thought things were bad back in the day when tank parks in BAOR were full of packless and turretless hulks because of GW1.Yes with the deduction of spending 40, 42 & 45 will be down each to a company soon.
Each one will get their turn playing in the med with the 1 rib & a gemini.
I'll say it again: the elephant in the room is that we know what the real answer is, it's just that no-one is prepared to pony up for what's needed.The problem remains, that the plan to equip a solid brigade-plus for a decent-size war - at least, with effective fires - was underway in 2002ish (indeed, I got offered a job on the early phase of IFPA...) with maturity expected to take 10-15 years. That's the sort of timescale and focus that the funding available, and in some cases the technological ask, required.
The Army abjectly failed to hold focus on that long term: it wasn't about equipping a full division with the latest bestest kit within three years, it was managing the lifecycle of the existing capability (by replacing and updating equipment to keep up with technology and manage obsolescence), but it would take time, some funding and a modicum of attention to sustain it to fruition, and it got none of the three.
At a point where the Army had claimed to be able to meet the SDR'98 requirements (particularly that of two concurrent medium-scale - i.e. brigade-level) deployments, it proved severely unable to do so. So, it conducted a slash-and-burn clearance to free up funding for things it had claimed to be able to achieve, and sustain operations well below what it had said was well within its capability, as well as driving raids on the other Services (for instance, the RN lost three frigates in 2004 to free up funding for 'contingent operations in Iraq' - I was there in Millenium Hall hearing the briefing from, IIRC, Fleet Commander - and another four plus a LSL in 2010).
All thinking of "...and what happens after HERRICK winds down?" seemed to have been abandoned, even to the point of a distinct pull from Andover of "...and this is how we'd go back and do HERRICK better" in 2015. This turned into a mad scramble of "there's something called a Strike Brigade and that's the future of warfighting!" which lasted until Russia rediscovered its near abroad and a Strike Brigade was wargamed in a "peer-vs-peer warfighting" scenario and died like baby mice under a lawnmower, whereupon a Pauline conversion back to the merits of tanks, IFVs and even Land Fires was made.
And now, six years after HERRICK ended, there's still no coherent plan and no actual progress being made to address the issues identified with Fires in 2002 and still live - and much nearer their deadlines - today, though very large sums have been spent on studies, prototypes, UORs and cancellations. And this is only the area I know directly, it sounds like it's pretty much just as bad in lots of other capabilities.
As Caspar Weinberger used to say, "A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you're talking real money".
Absolutely.I think this is the big failure of army leadership* over the last few decades, as touched on by @alfred_the_great earlier. We appear to have fallen into the classic military trap of doing the best we can with what we've been given rather than having an honest chat with the politicians, explaining that the army is using a lot of smoke and mirrors to 'meet' it's commitments, and decisions need to be made about what the army is being asked to do. I believe the Navy did this a few years back when they were in danger of serious overcommitment.
For too long we've seemingly told the government that they can have warfighting, COIN, and everything in between without any increase in funding. The phrase 'do more with less' gets trotted out but that really should be seen as a failure of moral courage.
*And maybe the STRIKE concept, but I think that was probably a mistake rather than a leadership failure.
Yes, that worked just fine when we had a Territorial Army of many regiments, not just battalions, the average infantryman's kit-out was not much more than boots, uniform, helmet, rifle and water bottle, and a large industrial base that could churn out tanks and artillery that were basically clockwork.Mind you history teach's us that real democracies do not have massive standing Armies. But when push comes to shove we ramp up well. In future, instead of "pals battalions" I will recommend "firms".
Not sure how Brenda will take to....."The 1st Battalion,...The intercity Firm...Sadiq's own".
yes, but the Brass have their eyes obsessively fixed on a ‘big mission’.
fighting the Russians in the Baltics? Not going to happen. Swanning around the Sahel with their stillborn Strike Brigade? not going to happen.
After two ignominious defeats in protracted land entanglements, the Government has gone back to the future, no more occupations, the future is smash and grab - delivered with ultra violence if needed - from the sea.
The Navy's got that, the RAFs got that, The Army is still chasing squirrels.
The first is unlikely unless you end up with a force that's grossly incompetent. We won't end up in a fight that we eventually lose. Instead, we'll look at a fight we should have been able to win and decide that we don't have the capability to do anything about it so we avoid it altogether.I don't relish the first solution and I don't see mutiny happening.
We've already seen situations where our competence has been heavily influenced, if I might put it like that - and not even by so-called peers or near-peers. We're on the way to being irrelevant.The first is unlikely unless you end up with a force that's grossly incompetent. We won't end up in a fight that we eventually lose. Instead, we'll look at a fight we should have been able to win and decide that we don't have the capability to do anything about it so we avoid it altogether.
Again, we're on the way to being irrelevant.A weak but fundamentally competent army, which I'd argue is what we have, doesn't result in losing unless someone makes a serious miscalculation. It just results in a depressing loss of influence.
It's arguable that if the force you project ends up entirely in self defence mode, then you're already irrelevant.We've already seen situations where our competence has been heavily influenced, if I might put it like that - and not even by so-called peers or near-peers. We're on the way to being irrelevant.
Again, we're on the way to being irrelevant.
But at least we'll have preserved some cap badges. Phew.
Aye, but we're a bit fùcked on quality too.Quantity has a quality all of its own, said Napoleon, and the British Army is the smallest its been since then.
No mention of defence spending in Boris's speech today, he could have doubled the order for Type 31's at the very minimum IMHO. Plenty of jobs for the boys in that!
I'll say it again: the elephant in the room is that we know what the real answer is, it's just that no-one is prepared to pony up for what's needed.
Roughly, it's a competent/contemporary MBT, a similar MICV (or whatever the popular term is for one this week...), an SPG/artillery and the supporting engineering/logistics vehicles.
All of the above have to have performance that matches or (much preferably) overmatches the potential opposition - and be capable of doing so into the future. The MBT should be able to shoot and kill at ranges that its opposition can't; its armour/active protection should be able to cope at realistic ranges with what will be thrown at it; its mobility should make it viable on the modern battlefield and so on.
The MICV should be contemporaneous, with a viable gun and (preferably) an under-armour anti-armour capability (turret-mounted Javelin or Brimstone, for instance), and an armour fit that is relevant to the modern battlefield. There perhaps shouldn't be an over-obsession with surviving 500lb IEDs but cognisance should be taken of the mine threat. Its various sub-variants should be able to support the roles that Warrior currently does, and probably a few that we were promised that Warrior would about 30 years ago (one could argue that some of these are even more important now than they were then; 120mm mortars and a '21st century Swingfire' spring to mind).
Both of these should be equipped with with sights, comms and situational awareness systems (I'll come back to that) which allow it them to see, fight and win in 24-hour, all-weather conditions to a degree that is, again, relevant and capable in terms of peers/likely opposition.
The SPG should have a bloody big gun with adequate range (realistically 155mm/52cal) and an array of conventional (let's call them 'still dumb but relevant') munitions combined with smart rounds for specific tasks where these are needed. Adequate protection (armour plus whatever else is deemed necessary) and the comms/awareness bits that it needs to work with the MBTs/MICVs/anyone else relevant (from fellows crouching in holes up to drones, etc.).
MLRS, or its equivalent, should once again be able to remove grid squares as well as do numerous other things. Oh, and do it at ranges that make the opposition swear, not just sweat.
(Remember that objective studies aways back identified a clear need for both tube and rocket artillery - that was why MLRS was developed in the first place. That need hasn't gone away.)
The engineering vehicles, again, should offer the battlefield capabilities needed (bridging, digging, recovery, etc.) with adequate power to grow with increases in weight etc. of the above, as well as adequate protection and comms.
We could throw in a few other bits and pieces. Something to follow Exactor might be useful - indeed, essential - and perhaps something like the Brimstone offerings that the Poles have looked at should be on the books.
...all that before you start buggering about with Ajax, MIV and Archer. Oh, and all the electronic spectrum stuff. Oh, and the logistics fleet. Oh, and adequate (for which read 'plentiful') spares such that everything isn't constantly knackered.
Back to situational awareness: perhaps my point being that the solution is not 'network-centric' in exclusivity. Network-centricity should be an essential add-on to all of the above, not a substitute for it.
You know, an army.
Um, isn't that just what I've just said?