The TA are as good as the Regulars? - Discuss

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There is the often quoted statement that "the TA is as good as the Regulars".  

At a recent CAST in Warminster with a Bde HQ my fellow TA Watchkeepers and our SO1 discussed the TA/Regular readiness and ability differences.  We concluded that the above statement is bollox and is normally churned out by those individuals who have never worked outside their TA Regimental structure.  Once you work outside the TA unit your gaps in experience and knowledge are made very evident.  

The TA and Regular experience levels are probably closest at Platoon Commander/Section Commander level.  Certainly for officers, above that role there is a major divergence of experience.  The TA officer will remain inside his unit whilst the regular will go outside his Bn to do staff jobs etc.  At all ranks the regular will pick up knowledge, sometimes by osmosis, by dint of everyday soldiering.  

On 30 days a year in the "closed" TA unit environment it is impossible for the TA soldier to match it.  For the TA the 30 days a year should produce a firm foundation upon which to build when the time comes.  The TA may spend about 1/12th the time in uniform as the regulars but hope is that the vast majority are more than 1/12th as effective as the regulars.

For those not in the know:
CAST   Command And Staff Trainer
SO1    Lt Col

For those not in the Know:

No - Used elliptically as a slogan to forbid, reject, or deplore the thing specified.
;D Ma
A fine example of the military argument.  You've obviously been serving Queen and Country a long time for you to have such a succint and to the point argument.

Although I concur, Why don't you humour the poor sap and expound on your views

For those not in the know:

I Concur - express agreement (not to be confused with I concrete which indicates I'm laying a new driveway outside my house)

Mr Happy

Gas Gas Gas
Agreed.  Absolutely.

I was a good TA soldier lost on my S Type in Bos for the first couple of months.  Feet found, experience gained and was a good Reg soldier at the end of my 6 months.

Sadly the learning experience was harsh and unpleasent but at the end of it I now have the ability and keeness to role out to nearly any regular unit and, if given half a chance should quickly come up to speed.  

The training of my STAB colleagues however is so closed that I sometimes feel I'm working with children.  "what's a DROPS?", "Whats a PRC 351" or "Whats a CVRT" could be a familiar cry from my neck of the woods.

On a full mobilisation reg units will be inundated with what they might like to call stupid TA bastards.  I hope that they remember the guys aren't stupid, just uneducated.  Teach us and we will learn.
Dark V did you actually read my post?  My answer was also "No" so there is no humouring required.  My conclusion is that to all insular STABs and ARABs respectively is:
The TA is not as good as some would like to think but not as bad as some might wish.

It is a shame that there is almost willful ignorance of the other party.  Many TA types are cocooned within the TA with very little integration with the Regular Army.  And the Regulars get so hung up with Bounties and civvie salaries that they write off the TA.  

I agree with Mr Happy, "teach us and we will learn".  When the sh1t hits the fan we are all you are going to get.  President Tone has not got a few boxes of spare regulars to open in the case of emergency.  


Book Reviewer
Gas Gas Gas is right as usual.  The TA are different, in oh so many ways, not all of them bad.  Having experienced life on both sides of the fence (and also in the MoD for far too long) I can say that, although we would undoubtedly have a lot of catching up to do, that is why we are at R8 (or occasionally R7) thus giving us time to work up.  

Also, there are many areas where, due to money problems, there just are not many Regulars left.  Look at the AMS, or REME VMs.  Both areas would be hard pressed to operate in a 'real' war without TA backup.

Also, FRY deployments have consistently had TA levels of 10 - 12%, Sierra Leone and elsewhere slightly less.  Over the years that must equate to a good combination of experience for thousands of TA, and a chance to get some leave (and a bit of a life) for an equal number of Regs.

Enough waffle.  Both sides need each other, no matter what anyone says.  Think about the last 2 major conflicts we got involved in (WW1 and 2).  Regular Army starts, fights valiantly against hideous odds, TA join in and help hold the line until the massive 'main' Army - Conscripts - gets ready and wins it.
Your post ends with the descriptor 'Discuss' Ma did not discuss your point, I was asking him to humour you by discussing your point, the question of which you appear to have answered within your own original post, therefore why ask people to discuss it?

are you commisioned?... you obviously like the one sided conversation with no imput from the rest of the world.......Discuss
On a further note.  From the fawning agreement of Mr Happy and Old Snowey I can only assume that the class system is alive and well in your unit, and they are either employed as your batman, or as your stableboy, or possibly you just make multiple entries, under various pen names, on the system in an attempt to make yourself look popular and knowledgeable.
DV - I am open to informed debate.  I provided one opinion to the question and await others, ie the rest of the world can have their say.  

You are quite correct that Ma failed to provide any discussion value.  The "We are brilliant and you are sh1te" format is always a bit disappointing.
DV - Oh dear, have we got a chip on the shoulder or what?  I try to start a grown up debate and it degenerates into name calling and the like.  Your posts do you little credit.

Multiple entries?  Those of us in the real world have not got time to play this game more than once.   Looking knowledgeable?  Could it be possible that actually I am?  I have worn the HM's uniform in a number of guises for some years now and it is called experience.
3G's...multiple entries?......bit guilty of that yourself are you not ?  People in Glass Houses etc?

I based my 'No' response on the fact that I have served both in the TA and the Regular Army, which I believe qualifies me to make such an informed, albeit short opinion.  It required no further expansion.

The only 'chips' I see are on the shoulders of STABs.  This was evidenced both during my service with them and working with them as a regular.  A spiteful and childish bunch.

Personally I couldn't give a monkeys about the TA....but they do seem to be a little pre occupied with what the Regular Army thinks about them.   I doubt beyond this style of forum, that regular soldiers spend any quality time discussing the 'whys and wherefores' of the TA.  I don't disagree with your existence.........everybody needs a hobby......but I consider TA to be akin to Special Constables.......playing at it.    That's my own personal view.  

The TA are dead keen there is no doubting that and regulars can appear somewhat lethargic by comparison, but if I were allowed to be a part time painter and decorator or traffic warden or whatever it is you do, in my weekends.........I'd be keen as well.   It's all about novelty factor.   The TA in the main still see the novelty factor of soldiering, after all they get to go home on Sunday night.    The regulars dont.  They stay with it, so the job will frequently appear a bit mundane to them.  

Despite all of the above and whatever follows, remember......soldiering is the profession of the Regular is no more than the hobby of the TA, no matter how much they like it.   Enjoy your Drill Night!
I think you've picked out a good point here MaSonic.

The TA do care what the regular army think of them and on the whole strive to do a good job when given the chance to do so. The fact that they are never going to get the same experience is a hinderance to this, but the do strive for the ideal.

The regulars don't even bother considering what the TA are capable of doing, as the majority cannot get a thought through their head with out dismissing them with the term STAB. To which the term ARAB is very often well deserved.

The middle management of a TA unit have the advantage of practiced flexibility. After all the regulars make a plan, and if things don't go to plan, things can go to rat very quickly. And we've all seen this. A TA unit can plan all it wants..... but if the expected vital body doesn't turn up on Saturday morning, very rapid, on the spot re-planning has to be, and very often is done. The training isn't just binned as it would be in some regular army units because the time is such a precious commodity.

The other concideration is that yes, it may be a hobby. Many are ex-regular with a wealth of experience but wanting the fun of the job without being treated like a child all the time. But how many squaddies will volunteer to flog their guts out all weekend and then go back to work knackerd on monday morning?

Can you spot a TA soldier on exercise? Of course you can..... he's the one wearing the helmet, wearing webbing and carrying his weapon. Infantry and Armour aside.... most regular support units treat exercises as a form of camping. The TA are by no means perfect but niether are many of the soldiers that just dismiss them as useless hobbyists.

We should be working together..... as that's what is going to have to happen if the crunch comes.
PP-I think you've raised a valid point that many overlook. I think a lot of TA soldiers, especially those who have volunteered for op tours can often be a lot keener and willing to learn than regulars. However you cannot exclude inf and armd from that, just as much as you can't paint most spt units with the slack brush. ALL units have those that are keen as well as those who should be sacked. What a TA soldier lacks in certain areas normally you find them working a lot harder than a reg would to get up to speed. I know a guy who was perfectly happy, and good, as a regular but was offered 50k a year for a civvy job.Of course he's gonna get out for it but he joined the TA, not as a hobby but as a way of keeping in with the military society. Some TA never join up as a reg for similar reasons. It's difficult to say that they are better than regs as we work 24/7 on the job, however, they do play a valued role in our society and shouldn't be discounted by regs. Normally those who are loudest to criticise are those who should look inwards at their own proffesional shortcomings. When I'm out I'll be going straight up to Brum(nearest place)to have a go.
PP.  Good point regarding flexibility.  In my 21 years with the TA the only cancellations I have suffered were for Regular Courses and Bde/Div/ARRC Exercises.  I appreciate that there is a major difference of scale and the knock on effect of real Ops but it sometimes seems the easy way out is to "bin it".
More than welcome Verdi, fancy Inf?

Yes we do it part time, yes we're not regulars, blah-fcuking blah blah.

This arguement has been going on, since Wellington said "Fcuking Militia you say, dam' me, stick them up the front, or on pickets, where they can't contaminate me scum, don't ye know"

We went into action in WW1, my Grandfather and his Brothers joined their TA unit, one died, my grandfather was commissioned on 2nd July 1916 from Corporal, because there was no one left.

Our sister battalion, pre SDR lost 500 soldiers, in one WW1 action, on their first attack. They knew they were going to die, because they didn't have Arty or MG support, but they still went.

My regiment has just returned from a battlefield tour, hence SB's questions on Wormhoudt. the massacred there, included TA soldiers, who held the line, while elements of the regular army were throwing their rifles away, and legging it for the beach. It happened.Don't start me on Singapore.

I have previously posted on this subject, and had SO3 for my pains, remind me I was a STAB.

Fine, I'm STAB and a PTP, but I'll tell you this, I am fcuking proud I am.I am proud to serve in the regiment, my Grandfather and father fought in.

I had the option when I was younger to go regular, I wanted the money instead, my choice. Just as it is the choice of everyone in the regular army. We have a money problem, and an incoming CDS, who is not a friend of the TA, yes i remember 1998, particularly so, because it denied me something I really wanted.

That's the past.

Instead of dissing the TA, why not try working with them. If you're all so keen to rubbish them, why not go and see how they work one weekend? Get in touch with the SPSI , and offer to help TRAIN. I know you've done it all fcuking week, and it's a busmans, but you're input would be appreciated.

We don't have the money, to go gallivanting around in warriors, and turning Milan into Cardboard, but any EXPERIENCE  that can be brought into the unit, from ex-regs, is worth it's weight in gold.

We WANT to be better soldiers. One SPSI we had, told me he had TA slot into the line during "Lionheart". He was hard pressed, after 2 days of continuous fighting,to tell who was a STAB and who was regular.

I have a friend of mine, currently instructing at ITC. He is ex-TA, and he tells me, the competition from Regular instructors, is fierce to teach TA intakes. Why, because they WANT to learn. There is something gratifying he says, when you say "Right" and the entire class has it's notebooks out, and is waiting for your next words.

Now can we stop the fcuking infighting? Like it or not, and as much as certain elements of the Regular army think we are a drain on resources and fcuking parasites,and that view goes all the way to the top, we are not. We believe firmly, that our role is to help and support our regular army bretheren, in their operations worldwide. Now when the fcuk, are we going to get the chance? Give us the tools and we will do the job (Apologies to W. Churchill)

PTP  :mad:

Pre-Coffee rant over
I wasn't reffering to you as the muppet!! Just the oxygen theif you were discussing in one of the other threads. I'm 2 much of a gent 2 slag chicks off. Especially ones that are accurate shots.
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