SAS chief quits over negligence that killed his troops

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Mr_C_Hinecap, Nov 1, 2008.

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  1. Telegraph Article

    Major Sebastian Morley claims that Whitehall officials and military commanders repeatedly ignored his warnings that people would be killed if they continued to allow troops to be transported in the vulnerable Snatch Land Rovers.

    As a result, he says Cpl Sarah Bryant – the first female soldier to die in Afghanistan – and three male colleagues, the SAS soldiers, Cpl Sean Reeve, L/Cpl Richard Larkin and Paul Stout were killed needlessly.

    All four died when their lightly armoured Snatch Land Rover split apart after hitting a landmine in Helmand province in June.

    In his resignation letter, Major Morley, the commander of D Squadron, 23 SAS, said "chronic underinvestment" in equipment by the Ministry of Defence was to blame for their deaths.

    The Old Etonian officer, a cousin to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, is understood to have described the MoD's failure to buy better equipment as "cavalier at best, criminal at worst". The resignation of Major Morley, the grandson of the newspaper tycoon Lord Beaverbrook, follows those of Col Stuart Tootal, Brig Ed Butler and a commanding officer of 22 SAS.

    "We highlighted this issue saying people are going to die and now they have died," said a soldier who served with Major Morley. "Our commanding officer and RSM (Regimental Sergeant Major) tried everything in their power to stop us using Snatch. The point of failure here lies squarely with the MoD.

    "The boys nicknamed Snatch the mobile coffin."

    The resignation of Major Morley will reignite the debate on the standard of equipment for troops, with many front line soldiers believing that their lives are being put at risk.

    In recent weeks the MoD has been criticised by coroners who said the right equipment could have saved lives.

    The frailties of Snatch Land Rovers have been responsible for 34 British fatalities – or one in eight of the total killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are only now being replaced.

    The reservists of 23 SAS were first asked to send a squadron of about 100 men to Helmand in Afghanistan because the regular soldiers of 22 SAS were severely stretched in Iraq. Their mission was to supervise elite elements of the Afghan police.

    But the men were aghast when they were told during pre-deployment training that only Snatch Land Rovers – designed to withstand rioters in Northern Ireland – were available.

    Emails were sent to Whitehall planners in the MoD, but they were told to "get on with it".

    "We said this was dangerous and unacceptable," an SAS trooper said. "Snatch was highlighted as lethal and useless for two reasons – the armour does not work as rounds go through it like butter and it has no cross-country capability, denying us the element of surprise."

    The soldiers also arrived in Afghanistan with a "desperate shortage" of night vision sights despite a coroner castigating the MoD over the lack of night-time goggles blamed for the death of the first British soldier to die in Helmand, Capt Jim Phillipson.

    One in 10 of the SAS soldiers had to go without night sights despite many operations in the dark. The Special Forces troops are understood to have resorted to hitching lifts with the infantry in the bombproof Mastiff vehicles or march to missions.

    Politicians and senior officers, were told of the SAS fears over the lack of equipment but still nothing was done, officers allege. When the SAS squadron learnt of the deaths of Cpl Bryant and her three colleagues on June 17 there was immense anger. "We thought we could muddle through and that luck was with us," one officer said. "It happened because we could not drive across country."

    In a statement the MoD said: "Equipping our personnel is a clear priority and we are absolutely focused on providing them with a range of vehicles that will protect them from the ever-shifting threats posed by the enemy."
  2. G'DAY

    I am a Viet Nam era Veteran and keep an eye on our efforts in Afghanistan etc, there is an easy answer to this terrible story; get a hold of the Aussie BUSHMASTER.

    They have been hit a number of times in Iraq and Afghanistan yet no deaths reported from the contacts. One SAS soldiers experince and training would be worth a lot more than 1 Bushmaster and they can carry 8/9 fully tooled up troopers.

    oink, tony
    7 Battalion RAR
  3. There have been loads of people resigning over the sh*t state of equipment - shame that it takes the SAS tag for the media to become properly interested. However, at least it has got them interested. The MOD is still having its "we must have the carriers" debate and so there is no money available of the level that we would need to fix these kit issues. Good on Seb Morley for speaking out and also leaking his letter to the Telegraph.
  4. Just to confirm Ozgrunts post, this is a potted account of how the Aussie Govt responded to the threat to its own servicemen. Once again the Aussies have totally embarassed the MoD's lamentable efforts. Gross negligence indeed.

    The Bushmaster 4x4 armoured vehicle is currently deployed in southern Iraq with the Australian Army's Al Muthanna Task Group. The Bushmaster armoured vehicle, developed by Thales Australia (formerly ADI Limited) in Australia is in full production at Thales's engineering and manufacturing facility at Bendigo, Victoria.

    The Australian Army has tested the vehicle over thousands of kilometres in the extreme climatic conditions and terrain from sub-zero mountain areas to desert and tropical conditions in north Australia. In July 2002, the Australian Army awarded a contract to ADI Limited for 300 Bushmaster infantry mobility vehicles in six variants: troop transport, ambulance, direct fire, mortar, engineer and command.
    Article Continues

    The first of 300 Bushmaster vehicles was delivered to the Australian Army in August 2004 and the vehicle was operationally deployed to Iraq in April 2005 and Afghanistan in September 2005. Deliveries are scheduled to complete in 2008.

    In June 2006, the first batch of 152 troop transport variants completed delivery. Delivery of the command variant is underway.

    In February 2006, ADI signed a licensing agreement with Oshkosh Truck Corporation of USA to market, manufacture and support the Bushmaster for North American customers and countries eligible for foreign military sales. In January 2007, Oshkosh was awarded a contract by the US Marine Corps for two category II Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles, to be based on the Bushmaster, which will then undergo testing at the Aberdeen Proving Ground.
    "The Australian Army have tested the Bushmaster armoured
    vehicle over thousands of kilometres in extreme climatic conditions."

    In August 2006, the Royal Netherlands Army placed a contract for 25 Bushmaster vehicles, for operations in Afghanistan. For speed of deployment, the vehicles are being supplied from those already delivered to the Australian Army. 12 vehicles are being fitted with Thales SWARM remote-controlled weapon system and all vehicles have the Thales SOTAS M2 multimedia communication system and Thales Claire thermal imager. The vehicles were deployed to Afghanistan in October 2006. In November 2007, the Netherlands Army ordered an additional five vehicles to replace vehicles damaged in Afghanistan.

    In September 2006, it was announced that Australian Army Bushmaster vehicles would be fitted with a Remote Weapon Station (RWS), for added troop protection. 44 Raven R-400 weapon stations, from Recon Optical of the USA and Electro Optic Systems (EOS) of Australia, have been ordered and upgraded vehicles are to enter service in 2008.

    In December 2006, the Australian Army ordered a further 143 vehicles. The additional vehicles are to be delivered by 2009. In August 2007, the procurement of another 250 vehicles was announced.

    In May 2008, under an urgent operational requirement, the UK placed an order for 24 Bushmaster vehicles for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.
  5. spike7451

    spike7451 RIP

    'Feature' on BBC Breakfast News in the next hour (0900-1000Hrs Sat morning)
  6. I think I'll open a book on what some talking head will say, my guess;

    Fine a priority...deserve the best...that's why we (re?)announced £700 million worth of new(!) armoured equipment.

    It's a bit late for the poor bastards pushing up the daisys isn't it?

    Useless shower of cnuts.

  7. But the truth is we must have the carriers, our navy has carriers that are over 30 years old and they're not what's required for the new breed of aircraft.

    There is going to be £700 million worth of vehicles hitting the frontline by next year with the government green lighting the Tactical Support Vehicles and other projects, so money is being spent but it's a worry to think where that money is being removed from, what is required is a couple of billion given for new kit without it coming from the Defence budget, so it's not a case of 'carriers or vehicles', it's a case of both are needed and the government need to get funds from elsewhere.
  8. 'But the truth is we must have the carriers, our navy has carriers that are over 30 years old and they're not what's required for the new breed of aircraft.'

    Recent reports suggest that Hutton will cancel the JSF. What 'new breed of aircraft' will they be flying?

  9. They're talking about cancelling one type of the JSF, the reason behind that was partly to do with the new carriers being capable of conventional take off and landing.

    If the navy don't get the carriers then it'll reduce their capability even more, they've given up a lot for these and in 10 years time when something else comes up that requires us to have a navy what happens then?

    As i said, the government need to stop getting the MoD to shift funds around, they need to increase funds, that would show they're at least thinking about doing something, not just decimating other areas.

  10. That may well be the case, quick solution would be to stop funding to places like Kosovo, or trying to bring sub Sahara Africa into the 21st century.
    Protection of the troops on the ground should be a number one priority, if you are going to take part in conflicts around the world, that's where your attention should be focused on, not some wooly headed idea of creating utopia for people who neither understand or want it, or just want something for very little effort.
  11. Can I just add, paying the equivalent of half the Indian space program, to that. Thanks.
  12. the_boy_syrup

    the_boy_syrup LE Book Reviewer

  13. Yeah, i'd look closer to home and the money being thrown at banks and finance companies just now.

    Over a year ago the government and bank of england threw a fair few billion into the banks with the instructions that it was to start the credit moving again between banks and work its way to the public through approved loans, after this happened nothing happened, that money seemingly just disappeared into the finance sector, since then we've had the Northern Rock bailout, HBOS and RBS bail outs, tens of billions being thrown into the market and still nothing to show except reductions in loans being approved.

    So if the government can thrown about 3 years worth of Defence budget and get next to nothing back then what's a couple of billion to get real equipment and results, i guess those CEOs and Market traders are worth more, even though they've caused this country more trouble than anyone else.
  14. Can we 'navalise' the disputed tranche of Typhoon II?
  15. the_boy_syrup

    the_boy_syrup LE Book Reviewer

    Don't forget mate the money thrown to the banks was really needed and totally justified
    Alsitair and Gordon will shortly be (hopefully) leaving parliment and where else will two financial geniuses be looking for a nice new jobs and possibily calling in favours ...from the banks

    You, me and every other bloke who ever stepped in a snatch means nothing to Gordon don't forget Mandy once described the Guards as 'chinless wonders' they couldn't give a flying fuck if you have to walk 200 hundreds yards to pick me and bits of Landrover up they have to find a way of claiming their Sky package and lightbulbs back off the tax payer

    MP's claim £38 million each year in expenses how many new bits of kit could that buy ?
    If you round it down say to a respectable £33 milion per year since 2001 they have claimed £231 million not including wages and pensions since the war on terror started
    That could have bought a few new wagons