1. Losing any regiments is bad enough, but the fact remains, we are about to lose some.
2. Whilst this is going to be unpopular with those of you north of the border, no amount of stomping of feet / traditions etc can make up fot the fact that it looks like only 1 will go forever, whilst 2 was the number earmarked at the end of Jacko's (somewhat spurious - see Guards thread) calculation. Instead, to placate those north of the border, and I do not detract from their achievements, or abilities, one has apparently been given a reprieve. This is clearly even more b0llocks than removing Paras and Guards from the 'up for eviction' vote this cut-time. If 2 Jock regts failed to make the cut, get rid. Do not foist this fate on another Regt which made the initial cut.
I would suggest that people should look a little bit further than the campaign slogan - almost all those involved in "stomping their feet" are against any cuts to the Infantry and the Army as a whole - it just happens that the Scottish Regiments are the immediate representation of the Army to them.
It is a shame that it is only the Jocks that seem to be making a noise about this and for having the balls at Regimental HQ level to speak out against TCH and the proposed plans. I seriously doubt whether you will find much dismay at the thought of pulling Scots Div under 1 umbrella amongst most people - so long as the names and traditions of the component parts are left untouched.
What so many find so hard to understand is:
1. why, when a recruiting freeze has been implemented the MoD are still talking about shortfalls in recruiting!!!!!
2. when it is likely that the UK will be involved in Iraq and other humanitarian / peace keeping operations / possible intervention / war fighting operations are the numbers of Infantry soldiers and Units being reduced?
3. Why is so much heavy kit being mothballed when the proposed replacement is not even beyond concept stage on the UK drawing board (and when the US, who have been toying with the FRES concept, are seriously thinking about ditching it and going for something with a bit more survivability!)
4. Why is so much money continuing to be poured into some of the seriously blackhole projects that are currently ongoing - I mean Bowman has been promised for years and it is in no way ready for full roll out - if the horror stories are to be believed then god help the lot of us...
If the time and effort were put in at local levels in the communities that the regiments recruit from it would pay of far better than groovy tv adverts, websites and the frankly idiotic recruitment and HR consultants waffle - but this requires manpower and the delivery of the promises/statements made or infered in the recruiting campaigns...something probably not possible in the current operational climate...
Having lived through one amalgamation i would not wish that upon anyone, but L-G has many good points.
yes it will be a shame if the regiments go, but if we cannot recruit then what's to be done. It is not as if there are not those in Scotland wanting to join the Army, just have a good listen around any Para Reg and you'll be surprised at the number of jocks who are Toms!
The problem is glamour. No young kid wants to join the army and end up in Edinburgh. Its much easier when my mob were in Berlin or Germany (as they are now). Recruitment not a problem then. I realise all regiments have this problem, but with a limited population Scotland cannot sustain 6 Infantry regiments - well 7 actually, when you included the Jock Guards.
I know i'll end up with a claymore in my back but something has to give. Multi Battalion regiments, as we had in the 18/19th C with, home battalions responsible for recruitment and training (preferrably in Scotland) and ops battalions sent abroard is a very sensible idea.
I have the greatest respect for Alex Salmond, even if i don't like his politics, but he is not being honest with the public and no amount of nationalistic pride or parades are going to change the fact that we JUST CANNOT RECRUIT.
With a freeze on recruitment, explain the continued press and other mediums advertising for soldier and officer recruitment?
I know press campaigns are planned months in advance but cancellation of contracts and penalty fees are still cheaper than going ahead with advertising for non existent places. The COI books all forces recruitment from the allocated budgets, again yet annother example of chronic financial mismanagement
I think you have missed the point. There is a FREEZE on recruiting.
There also seems to have been a change in designated recruiting levels, which make it appear Regiments have not met their requirements, when in fact they have under the old levels. With a recruiting Freeze on, they cannot meet the newer quotas.
Seems to be a smoke and mirrors effect.
i just think its ridiculous the jacko was said to be slurring the name of th eserving jocks when he wasn't - he was talking about recruitment and jocks who are not in the army - not those that are in and the work they do - muppets!
It's good to see the BW mobilising their old and bold, and truth be told the Hackle have always been good at this.
maybe the old joke of "well, when the Queen Mum dies...." is no longer a joke.
however, whilst i agree with the above ref. recruitment band, that doesn't excuse the fact that many jock bns were struggling to recruit even before it - i will of course accept that the Watch were doing very well for themselves in Germany and my old colleagues tell me the Hldrs are also getting better numbers, but this is normally at the expense of other regiments.
Truth is, Jackson was not wrong! BRING BACK JUNIOR SOLDIERS!
A number of points keep being mentioned which can be expanded...
1. The recruiting freeze has been imposed because HM Treasury cannot and will not pay for any more soldiers in certain roles. This is not because a lack of committments allows a reduction in expenditure, but because the government is not willing to pay for the services is makes extremely heavy use of.
2. There will probably be very few cuts, as the level that the army is trying to recruit to has just been lowered to where it currently is, roughly.
3. To ensure long-term stability, a Regiment MUST be able to recruit its own. Some, by virtue of their geographical location, are faced with low unemployment, and find it harder to recruit. Others are simply trying to squeeze too many soldiers out of too sparsely populated an area. These facts must be faced up to; they are not about to change. Battalions which are over a company under strength, even with Fijians etc, cannot claim to be a viable prospect for the future. No regiment can justifiably argue that their strength is down because of a recruiting freeze. The freeze is fairly recent, whereas poor recruiting has been the issue for the last 7-10 years.
4. Its not just a Scottish Regiment issue, where the loss of only 1 unit is expected. Spare a thought for the Prince of Wales Division who are likely to lose 2. The Scottish Division has received more coverage because it has been more vocal.
5. When it is eventually decided which regiments will be lost, I suspect that the other scottish regiments still in existence will welcome the extra manpower. No consolation to the losers however.
6. As a final note, poor recruiting is not the only reason for regiments being under strength. Equally important is retention, i.e. preventing soldiers from wanting to leave. With operational tour intervals often being less than 1 year, and there consequently being no time for the fun parts of being in the army (adventure training etc), people have voted with their feet and left. Regiments would find it easier to retain soldiers if they had a bit more space to breathe between tours, or were not working so hard to cover for other units which were deployed.
Quite interesting to see what this thread and the "Wake up and Smell the Coffee" thread are saying..
Last couple of posts here make some interesting points about retention and I'd completely agree with the points made about a Regt having to "recruit its own" if it's to be viable and also the contrast between Scots Div and PW Div's (public) reactions.
That article, posted from the Courier, talks about "communities" losing "their" regiment. Hmmmm. Seems to me that one of the reasons why infantry units are struggling to recruit - yes I know there are a lot of other very very complex long-term sociological and demographic factors - is the complete lack, by and large, of any identification between "communities" and the Infantry bns that parade in their name.
My notional home town local bn is the Kingos (yes, I know... ) - now, I don't remember when I was growing up ever seeing them in the local paper and you can (for obvious security reasons) count on the fingers of one stump the number of times a kid or adult will see someone identifiable as a local Tom walking around their town. In fact, most local news coverage is for TA pax, being mobilised for Ops - this is understandable, given that these people are away for six months or so and then back, remaining part of the "community".
Moreover, I'd say that with the sort of media we have these days, a fit motivated young lad, looking to join the infantry, is much more likely to be swayed by say, the Paras, who he sees on the news and in cheap papaerback fiction all the time, rather than the Blankshires, who might wheel out a recruiting caravan on the high street every 18 months.
The jock bns are certainly more vocal, maybe they have a more 'marketable product' with all the distinctive tartans and such like - I don't honestly know - maybe some of the line Inf have just given-up to the inevitable.
I'm not entirely sure that this problem will be solved by bigger regiments either - I think potentially they just become more woolly and anonymous, with less of a claim on people - although they will obviously have access to a bigger pool of potential recruits. Maybe the solution is to look at garrissoning bns back in their home areas and have them a much more visible presence, MACC tasks etc - the old business of posting bns far from home areas, putting jocks in London and Cockneys in Scotland, in case there was a local uprising and you could rely on them to fire on the mob doesn't seem to be helping. [But then some people will say that doing that destroys an esprit de coprs, coz everyone goes home at night/weekends]. You might also look at the effects of BFG postings - yes, I know Toms, who're already in, often love the tax free cars and NAAFI wives like the school fee support or whatever, but how many people don't join the army because they don't want to spend eight years in some place called Fally-something which they can't even spell and sounds like a s***hole - someone get a clipboard, go down the high street and ask them. It'd be perfectly possible to run the European exercise areas like BATUS and have everyone based in UK.
To be honest, I'm not sure that these really are the solutions, but what I'm trying to say is that we need to look at doing something pretty f***ing radical if there's going to be a future for line infantry/"county" regiments.
The recruiting restrictions were lifted about 6 weeks ago so all regiments are free to recruit what they can again now.
The truth is that the Infantry is unlikely to actually lose many bodies from it's ranks. When you take into account the current shortfall in many battalions (especially single bn county regiments) the numbers will pretty much even themselves out.
Whilst on paper the number of Infantry battalions will be reduced this is unlikely to be the case on the ground. At the present time when some of the single battalion regiments deploy on operations they have to be reinforced by a large number of soldiers from other battalions. The attachment of a company of soldiers to another battalion then renders the 'donating' battalion undeployable.
Battalions with a shortage of manpower have to withdraw their soldiers from career courses to ensure that all posts can be filled. Whilst this might be good for the battalion it's not particulary good for the individual who wants promoting etc.
ALL soldiers from the 'axed' battalions will be offered positions within the new small/large or large/large regiments so will still have a job.
The majority of the drum beating being done about the reductions in the Infantry is by the old & bold or the 'never in my day' mob. I'm sorry but the reality of life in the Infantry is much different now than it was even 10 years ago.
The proposed cuts will certainly improve the quality of life for a lot of soldiers in a lot of battalions.
...and with a large regiment of several battalions, there is far more scope for finding the ideal next job. With greater flexibility for cross posting between battalions, COs can select the best bloke for the job from a wider pool, and this could be coordinated from RHQ level to further enhance career planning for individuals. Of course this is great for the above average individual, but will it disadvantage the below par officer / SNCO? Probably not, because if a person is below par they are unlikely to be selected for the higher profile jobs, irrespective of whether they are in a small or large pool of peers.