TA of the early 90s vrs todays post SDR version

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by polar, Apr 10, 2005.

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  1. Far more fun, far harder. Lets go back to the 90s

  2. Post SDR TA

    0 vote(s)
  3. Combo of the two

  1. Well I thought I'd never say this but the TA of yester year seems more capable of filling todays role. For example (as inf sigs) I worked in HQ's (pln->Bn) on Bde ex's understanding what staff expected, experienced how the different corps inreacted (RLC providing fuel, how the medics worked, arty providing support, how the cav provided recce's etc etc). This doesn't apply to just Inf Sigs - its everyone - nobody experiences the big picture anymore.

    Now we all work in isolation until we get mobilised, my siggies have to be taught roles of other corps, roles of staff officers and don't understand why the staff officer wants X, Y and Z.

    A saying I heard early in my training was train hard, fight easy we now seem to train easy, fight out of your depth (I don't mean that to sound that badly).

    I think we should train a few times each year on TA Bde/Div exercises, it scales down to the CCRF role easily and gives us some experience of the real world.
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  2. Too true. Personally I don't feel that the planners of SDR could really have foreseen the world stage post 9/11, but those responsible i.e. the government, ought to have done.

    I don't think that 'train easy, fight out of your depth' is a totally fair assessment of the current state, but I know what you mean. I don't think the training cycles have yet caught up with the new training requirements, and having so many soldiers away makes conducting meaningful training difficult anyway.

    I am confident that when all the soldiers come back, the experience they will have gained will be hugely beneficial to all our units. What WE need to be doing is to ensure that we retain our returning soldeirs, and to make sure we make best use of their experience.
  3. There were various reasons why the post SDR inf regts adopted the 'many companies/small HQ' format:

    - to preserve footprint
    - to reduce administration costs
    - to recognise the 'reality' that only sub-units and below were likely to be deployed

    But it's been, if not a failure, a disappointment. Polar concentrates on training so I'll ignore the other aspects. Polar's right. Even within inf regts we have coys working in isolation to each other. Add the 'turn-out' factor and you've actually got platoons working independently. Many coys co-locate their training, unofficially, and run a weekend each, to get around this. But should we be 'getting round it'? Shouldn't the structure and doctrine of the inf Bn/regt facilitate traiing and efectiveness of its soldiers and hierarchy, not hinder it? What was it Montgomery said? 'I don't train my soldiers, I train my generals. If they know how to fight they'll train their men'. But how can we train platoon commanders to be effective warfighting coy commanders and Bn staff? Courses are fine, but here's a better example - Vogelsang in 1990: 3 x Bns of Yorks Vols on ex as a Bde in its own right. I missed that, and had I been there, I would have been Pte stabtastic, but I haven't missed the training opportunity that it must have been for commanders.

    Here's something very telling: I remember an officers' seminar when the guest speaker was a Para Brigadier of Kosovo fame (you know who). He had a very frosty reception from those present, including those in the maroon machine (who normally stick to each other like glue) who put it to him that the new structures smacked of lack of respect for the TA chain of command and showed the reg determination to deploy people in dribs and drabs. He made it quite clear that he would welcome TA bricks of 4 under a TA L/Cpl, although probably Cpl, who'd 'step down, of course', but he seemed baffled by the suggestion that it made our role as officers somewhat superfluous. It was as though he'd not realised the TA had its own officers, or something. 'Is our role therefore to train these bricks and not deploy ourselves?...as that's what the new structure suggests' was the question that followed. He didn't have an answer. It made many of us wonder why we didn't just do some sort of G1 course, with an intensive 'how to run a BE' course, instead of fitting ourselves for command of our own men through JDSC, CATAC and the various School of I (and other arms - there were about 100 of us present) courses.

    Of course, we are now seeing coy level deployments on ops (well, gates), but we're seeing the last tranche of people now who remember intensive and realistic collective training. Soon there won't be any left. And then what does the army do? Post in a reg to run a TA coy because none of it's officers have got experience of anything apart from commanding a platoon, administrating a paper-coy and a diploma from the cunning school of getting the boys in on Tues nights?

    And, before anyone says it, yes, woopy-do, we've had an Ops and Int Offrs re-established for CCRF, but when do they get to practice their art? Occasionally and momentarily for CCRF, but let's face it, in the world of coy level training, their role is more likely to be something else - RRTT, making the Training Major cups of tea and typing his letters.. etc. And where's the rest of HQ coy? The sigs platoon? The whole structure is against us. And it is, unfortunately, a complete and utter f~cking joke. keep the peace if you will, but you know as well as I do, in your heart of hearts, that the emperor has no clothes.
  4. Stabtastic,

    The intensive "how to run a BE course" exists, and always has done.

    It's the LFTT course at Brecon (the field firing qualification). Seniors and officers are taught how to plan and conduct a BE and then conduct a similar BE as a BSE. See Pam 21.

    Not enough TA Infantry officers attend. Attendance from other arms is almost non existant. Officers prefer to attend career courses rather than courses that make them more effective trainers of their blokes (which seems to be the mission these days).
  5. msr

    msr LE

    TA Officer - do the paperwork, become a teacher.


  6. I think you're missing the point mate. Yes there are the bread and butter courses such as LFTT, but the formative years at RD plus the career courses are also meant to prepare offrs for future command. That's not self-interest, as you seem to be implying. If better preparation for command means your soldiers don't die through your own incompetence, then that's a pretty good reason in my book.
  7. Was there - as part of 8(Y)LI, 15 Bde also included 6RRF, 7(D) LI, 1 Yorks, 2 Yorks and associated corps. I think the other Yorks Bns were then in 49 Bde (polarbears).

    Was a very hard camp.

    Anyone go on 2 Divs final exercise (year just before SDR), also quite hard
  8. Stabtastic, not missing the point, mate, just an observation on your comments regarding training.

    Regular Inf officers and SNCOs get their training quals at the same time as their junior command quals. TA Officers and Seniors do not have the time to achieve this.

    Rightly or wrongly, the corporation wants (needs) TA blokes at the moment not their commanders. In this context might it not be more appropriate for TA leaders to concentrate on their training abilities rather than those of command and leadership.

    Recent (excellent) performance of TA Inf sub units on TELIC would suggest that training was a much more significant factor in their performance than their leadership.
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  9. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    Oh dear, more from our Regular Chums. It was plain to us on various TELICs that the only Officers wanted were either Watchkeepers, or at most a few PCs or their equivelent in the Trades - workshop Officers, etc. In most cases, LEs were preferred to 'blue bloods' as they had more relevant experience. Say what you will, but the Regular Officer structure do not want, and do not trust, most TA Officers as a "Group".

    This is, of course, rather upsetting for current TA Officers, but doesn't seem to have been reflected in a massive reduction in YOs wanting to join - after all, most YOs join for the fun, and to be a PC. Beyond that is life in their '30s, and they probably aren't too worried about that yet!

    In the '90s, there was still a possibility, albeit small, that the TA would be mobilised in big lumps - Bns - and this is no longer the case. The make-do approach of having various amounts of Coys in a Bn, with BHQ there as an Admin function has roughly worked. Do we really need TA COs any longer? Wouldn't it be more honest to say that the TA Officer structure stops at Major, for Command pusposes, and is Staff-oriented beyond that?

    If it weren't for the CCRF consept, do you really think we would be getting increased posts in Inf Bn HQs?
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  10. Sorry but have to jump in. Enough Officer Bashing onthe web for one day!!!!!!

    Anyone who believes that Leadership and Command are a secondary requirement of an officer is talking rubbish.

    If our officers are required to be subject matter experts then should all the instructors in Brecon not be officers. Pass the reality biscuits!!!

    Do these troops of ours only need leading on ops? Can a company commander train and administer 100+ soldier and his regular staff with an intricate knowlege of LFTT but no concept of leadership and command?

    We are luck that this bunfight we are in is not big enough to require ourt underfunded and illequipped army to deploy formed TA units - when it does all our TA leaders need to be good.

    Many of the deployed units are composite TA units commanded by TA officers and SNCO's (such as the one deployed by my Bn). Their huge success was attributed to the quality and effort of the soldiers and the skill and leadership of their OC (not gained on his LFTT I think).

    Just to finish my rant ------- TA LFTT only qualifies you to conduct stage 4-5 live firing, you still need your regular SPSI to plan and facilitate the event -- but he cant command your company in Basra for you?

    Stick to what you know about!!
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Sandyboots

    OK, I take the point of what you're saying. As you say, it's often time pressure - with RMAS, PCBC, RMQ, LFTT and a couple of camps to actually deliver what a YO has been trained on, something has to give. Since 'fit for role' means PCBC, then LFTT is the one that normally slips. This sometimes means that LFTT becomes further more unattractive as those who have the qual will invariably find themselves taken out of their job and 'bunged' into a permanent range team, for camps on end. You know this happens.

    What I'm saying is that there is another duty there which runs alongside the training the blokes. Often it co-incides - there is a close correlation between CATAC/Bn level TEWTS and suchlike and training your platoons and, more importantly, platoon commanders/sgts (as the, rightfully, hands on trainers of the blokes).

    "Recent (excellent) performance of TA Inf sub units on TELIC would suggest that training was a much more significant factor in their performance than their leadership."

    I'm not sure that's relevant in the way you suggest. If you're following on from the 'career course' angle, 'leadership' is just an expected skill to be taken with you; the courses themselves are very much 'skills and drills' - whether PCBC, Combined Arms Tactics, or SCBC, for that matter. Only the JNCO cadre and RMAS are pure leadership. Everyone who deployed on Telic was trained, in many cases to a very high standard, over many years. But... in pure warfighting. The blokes were great at the section attack, the ambush, made a tasty patrol harbour, knew routine in defence, great patrolling drills. The skills gap most coys found for Telic was the low intensity/peace enforcement skills - the VCPs, the searches, urban multiple patrolling, convoy drills. You won't find these skills on LFTT - or even the career courses you question.

    I think we're on the same side here. Any officer worth his salt will train his blokes to the best of his ability, but will always think 'what if... I have to command these guys and step up to be my own OC. What if..... I have to run Main when the 2ic is out. Could I cope.... don't know...best sort it out then'. You fit your blokes but you fit yourself too. And that's the same whether youre a L/Cpl or a Major. I'm sure you wouldn't have it any other way either. If I may say, I'm pretty damn sure my blokes wouldn't. In fact, I know that for a 100% certainty.
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  12. And there it is, in a nutshell.
  13. Obviously the old TA was much better - the old one always is! However how many TA officers mobilised in the last ten years have been met with complete shock and something along the lines of "You're TA? Yet you seem competent!!" when surfacing and running up the Jolly Roger? These are the TA officers who are a)officer-like in terms of OLQs et cetera and b)professionally adept in terms of MK.
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  14. Unfortunately, none in my mobilisation (well, not above 2 pips anyway.)

    Just when I was thinking that 'if this was the way the British army works and we win wars, what's the rest of the world like?' the look on the face of the regular captain commanding my multiple as he came back from the (TA) squadron O Groups made me realise that it was just our little part of the world that was run by people seemingly with neither man management competence nor any soldiering skills.

    Still, they all got promoted or honours out of it so that's ok. :roll:
  15. Purple Emp'

    That seems strangely familiar, how far up the rank ladder were you in the sandpit?