TA Infantry

Discussion in 'Infantry' started by Gmonster, Oct 8, 2005.

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  1. This is in no means a slagging so dont take it the wrong way...

    Had the pleasure of assisting OPTAG with training a TA Infantry unit prior to deployment on TELIC.

    FCUK me fellas total hard work.

    A question id like to pose is why are thease units not directly affiliated to Regular Infantry units. And why is there such a differing standard in Infantry skills between TA and Regular

    I appreaciate they are TA but some of the skills this particular unit were displaying were pre cold war.

    Questions and debate are invited...
  2. Failed to spot you there gmonster, were you in the village? (I predict a riot!)

    I agree that are trining is dated (cold war and before) most of our weekend ftxs tend towards rolling across the plains.
    correct me if I am wrong but I believe it is partly because of training budgets and mostly time avaliable. But still not acceptable.
  3. Gmonster,

    Good observation and no doubt you are correct - it would be useful if you would provide a few examples to get the ball rolling.

    TA inf. has limited training time and what they spend this time on and the standards they achieve is partly determined by serving reg PSIs some of whom may be a little out of date themselves.

    I am sure that you will have found the average TA soldier to be enthusiastic and ready to be trained/retrained. However, they are obviously not in a position to know whether what they have previously received is the latest or dated training.
  4. Apart from the obvious (and I take it that's a given) you can blame starvation of resources. Time and time again, when the training budget is under assault I'm afraid it's the old TA MTDs which suffer first. If you can't afford to train all you will ever have turning up are well meaning amateurs. I am a big fan of the TA - but even they aren't going to pull it out of the hat with one hand tied behind their back.

    You get what you pay for. :cry:
  5. Please don't take this as the return shot of a slagging match either, but you have asked an important question that deserves an answer. Part of the answer is, inevitably, that the TA have less time to spend on training, so will always have a lower training baseline than regulars.

    But that doesn't explain why their skills and tactics are out of date, just why they might not be as slick as they could be. The reason for their drills being rubbish is because that is what the regular army taught them.

    There is no special course the TA are sent on to lean how to be "TA soldiers", all training (except some Phase 1 recruit training) is delivered by regular instructors at the same centres of excellence that regulars attend. However, they only get them for 2 weeks, so continuation training at units is crucial. Unit training is delivered by a regular Training Major, supported by regular Warrant Officers and SNCOs, usually under a regular CO. If the soldiers you saw did not realise that they were out of date, then 90% of the problem is likely to be a failure by these regular personnel to deliver up to date training or support the training and ethos delivered by the centres of excellence.

    Many of the regular staff attached to TA units are superb. A lot are OK but nothing special. A destructively significant proportion are atrocious: welfare and discipline cases or unqualified personnel in their last 2 years with no interest in putting in the hard and often thankless work needed to deliver good training. You sound like an up and coming sort of chap – do you see a tour as an instructor with the TA as being a key part of your career progression, or would you rather instruct at Brecon or Warminster? The latter, I suspect, which means you’ll get 2 weeks to reverse the attitudes and "knowledge" passed down to a TA soldier over several years if he’s had a bad PSI or 2.

    Obviously, because I'm trying to make a point, I'm skating over the fact that many TA officers and SNCOs are not up to scratch either and good PSIs can have an uphill battle. But who promoted and appointed these TA leaders? The regular chain of command, in most cases.

    Most TA soldiers don’t want to be crap, but they are part timers and someone has to show them the way. The pairing idea you mention is a good one, and is included in the TA FAS (although I suspect there will be practical problems in implementing it). But the TA has been neglected for years. Like the cheap insurance policy it is, we are finding it doesn’t quite cover the loss we want it to… :oops:
  6. I don't disagree with all of the above, but I'd put the fault with the Army attending so many different environments. TA training historically has been biased toward the Cold War. In a sense, this is convenient because those conditions can be duplicated easily in UK. For the reasons previously mentioned, it would be impractical for the TA to train for every (or even more than one) theatre. Better to train for one, then use OPTAG to develop skills needed for a specific environment.

    So, thanks for your assistance Gmonster, I'm sure those that received your help were grateful. Speaking personally, I deployed with very little theatre-specific training and had to learn quickly.
  7. Sir,
    I cannot help but agree about the TA often being poorly trained, but also would stress that those who have worked with the TA usually find them highly motivated and willing to go the extra mile. The most significant problem with the TA is that no-one has ever really thought what they want the TA to be. Are we battlefield replacements (Cold war ethos) are we part of a standing army, to be deployed with the regs (current practice) or are we something else entirely (often perceived to be the case by both TA and Regs). If we are to be a part of a standing army, just with civilian jobs as our main source of income, then there need to be a few structural changes.
    If we were set as the TA unit of a Regular regiment / battalion, with the training we received set by that unit, run by that unit and exercises run together (including the two week annual camp) then people from the TA could easily be posted together with that unit when it went on significant oppps, with a relatively streamlined integration process immediately prior to deployment.
    Unfortunately, to make this work, the commitment of the TA would need to be more formal than it is now, with a defined diary of weekends through the year at which attendance would have to be compulsory (possibly with the caveat that, say, 75% would have to be compulsory to allow for necessary civilian job flexibility). There would also need to be a few extra basic benefits available. I understand that this would require a more formalised TA commitment, but this is being headed towards already, and would help address the question of not being up to date. It would also have the advantage of removing those from the TA who annoy the dedicated among us by treating it as a drinking club.
  8. Also there is far too many Officers & SNCO in the TA still think they are fighting the Cold war or second world war that led the training being outdate. Also quality of regluar staff instructors can be various.
  9. The TA Infantry have several roles, traditionally they only had one and only trained for that. So in my early years (Home Defence unit) all I did was patrol, do wood clearances and VCPs, when I was in a NATO unit mostly we did was attacks and defence.
    Now the TA inf has many roles such as providing IRs, Bde HQ Protection Sqns and a CCRF units, these are all going to have very different training requirements. Maybe thats the cause of problems you seen (which were?)
    I've always thought the TA Infantry to be probably the best type of TA units around, its worrying that you mention some failings. Whats more worrying I've taken what I did learn in the infantry and will now tend to lean on that, at times ignoring whats said to me by regulars from my current corps.
  10. Assuming thats a problem, how does it get fixed? How do you get that information to SNCO's, officers will probably be exposed to the current thinking by a wide variety of means.
  11. I suppose on the whole at the time of posting this thread i was quite up to speed on the inner workings of the TA. As far as i am aware there are PSI's who are subject matter experts tagged on to Units in order i would imagine to help run and keep members current.

    I am thinking though, why are TA Units not run from Regular Army Barracks. You could blame recruiting areas and some units are out in the sticks, but would it not keep costs down and enable TA soldiers access to the latest kit and equipment?

    As an example and i believe it has been stated on this thread there are differing standards in the levels of training. All this can be put down to time spent in role, budgets, PSI's etc.

    Why not tag a TA Unit on to a Regular Unit. This would allow training to be kept current and more importantly uptodate. Cost would be kept down due to use of the same facilities abelt there would be a need for some seperate facilities. The latest kit could be shared within reason if not only for training purposes etc. Units would be able to far better intergrate a TA Augmentee in this manner.

    In the current climate for deployments especially on TELIC TA Units play a vital parts, whether it be escort duties force protection etc. The call for TA augmentees to regular units will not go away.
  12. Once upon a time, we were the 4th battery of a Regular regiment, and it was great.

    Plenty of kit & resource, a CO (2 in fact) who wanted us there, motivated PSIs (not always the norm I'm afraid before then) and our skills improved to a great extent.

    The benefit to the regs was that they could send us kit knowing it would be well cared for, and there was a pool of posts for "bringing on" promising Sgts and the like. They also got extra troops when they needed them (including the rugby team, but also deployed on Ops long before it became the norm)

    However, in its infinite wisdom, the MoD changed the plan and we became WER cloudpunchers.

    Worst thing they could have done. Knocked the enthusiasm right out of us.

    The way forward would be to make all TA units part of Reg units, although probably best to leave them in their TACs.
  13. This is what used to happen in an unofficial kind of way, prior to the carve up in 1999 the PSI's would use their contacts back in battalion to help with training, manpower, kit ect. After 1999 with the multi cap badged shite and change in TA Inf Bns ORBATS this adhoc training fell out of favour.
    TA FIS should help bring it back and under a more official mandate....
  14. Gmonster,

    The reason TA infantry units are not run out of regular barracks is because there are so few regular infantry barracks. Birmingham, for example, is a huge recruiting pool with no regular infantry unit within 1 hours drive. To keep the TA a genuinely part time force (i.e. you are expected to have a proper job as well to actually pay your mortgage so you don't cost the army a third of what a regular costs) you have to enable people to parade near their homes or jobs. You have to accept that this has certain limitations.

    To achieve regular army standards the TA would need to train as much as the regular army. Be glad the TA doesn't show up the regulars, otherwise the next defence budget will be based on the logic that we can have the best army in the world by paying soldiers for 27 days training a year and then leaving them to fend for themselves the rest of the time. 8O
  15. That's nothing to do with the 1999 multi-cap-badge TA Inf battalions. Those TA Inf units that had multiple regimental affiliations from the 1960s got their PSIs from their respective Regiments, and things went well or badly for your second reason.

    The difference was that without your "official mandate", if your affiliated Regiment's CO didn't see the link to the TA as important, then the quality of the PSI could suffer*. If they did see the TA as important, the PSIs were good, and the Battalion "reached out" to its affiliated TA Company.

    Before TELIC, the "reserve of first choice" was the Regular Reserve, Britain had an disproportionately-sized infantry because of NI, and there was no imperative to foster closer links between Regular and TA infantry units - especially if the Regular battalion was meeting its recruiting targets.

    I don't think that some of the Regular Army quite appreciate the amount of influence that a PSI has on a TA sub-unit, or the difficulties that the PSI faces in having to cope with the TA :)

    We used to see consistently good PSIs from one Regiment going to one of our Companies, and had the sneaking suspicion that another Regiment at the time used the TA as a parking spot for those SNCOs who "didn't quite fit". This didn't mean that they weren't good soldiers - it might mean that (just for arguments' sake) said outstanding SNCO might have punched out his Pl Comd, and while everyone understood and applauded (the 2Lt was a real muppet who eventually got fired during his first NITAT package), it couldn't really be er, condoned. Or an SNCO who was strongly suspected of having shagged a fellow SNCOs wife. But we also saw one or two real oxygen thieves (idle, thieving, backstabbing sh*ts) including one who we reckoned robbed over £1000 out of a Platoon TAC. B**tard. The news that he was last seen in a wheelchair was received as righteous karma.

    Don't get me wrong - I've given two examples of oxygen thieves, but I've known more stars. The majority of PSIs I've known have worked hard and looked out for the blokes.