• ARRSE have partnered with Armadillo Merino to bring you an ARRSE exclusive, generous discount offer on their full price range.
    To keep you warm with the best of Merino gear, visit www.armadillomerino.co.uk and use the code: NEWARRSE40 at the checkout to get 40% off!
    This superb deal has been generously offered to us by Armadillo Merino and is valid until midnight on the the 28th of February.

The Value of the Gurkha - Part 2

#1
BBC News - Gurkhas 'too expensive to retain' says Oxford professor

Some interesting points.

In terms of value, it would be useful to see what retention figures are now under the new TACOS.
If more are resttling here, doesn't that mean less of a drain on the UK economy/more pension value returned?

Then there is of course the Brunei question. Should a brigade of troops be ringfenced to maintain a strategic relationship with an increasingly marginalised partner in an area of rising global importance (Spratleys/Paracells - depart Seria, steam due north)


There hasn't been a good regimental handbag session for a while, so seconds out etc etc
 
#2
Argggh....

Simple answer is : Nil Value.

They are now more expensive then homegrown soldiery:
1. Maintaining the Depots in Nepal
2. Travelling expenses
3. Language Training (it's not even a real sodding language!)
4. Pay parity with the British Army.
5. Pensions.
6. Housing the little buggers when they retire and the social costs of upkeeping their families.
7. and so on and so on......

They are a sentimental anachronism that should now be consigned to history. All this soppy talk of 'loyalty to the Crown' is simply bollocks - they are foreign mercenaries; they 'fight' for the shilling they earn and to get themselves out of the shit-hole that is their country. Their Anglo officers are a dangerous breed - brought up in the 'days of the Raj' surroundings of a Gurkha Battalion, when and if they ever have to join the real Army, they largely haven't got a clue about leadership or management because they are untested in these fields; the Gurka Major and his mafia sort all that out. A life of 'Yesh Sharb, no sharb' is not a sensible base for a Military career. They were fun whilst they lasted, whizzing around in fancy dress murdering the bagpipes but NOW is the time for them to to be thanked and paid off. If the Sultan of Brunai is again used as an excuse for keeping them, let him have the bloody lot of them and he, I'm quite sure, can pay for the whole shebang, lock stock and barrel.
 
#3
Off the fence there Queensman. I'm not a Gurkha, but:

They don't get subsidiesed long leave any more - they have to pay their own travel expenses.
Retention rate far beyond Brits.
There aren't too many Depots left.
They're still fun!

Someone once said that we (the Brits) had become the Gurkhas of the American Army - quite entertaining to have around and do a bloody good curry. Be careful what you wish for!
 
#4
Queensman, your cap badge is that of a foreign power (the House of Braganza) and of a regiment originally raised to police a dismal hole far from home rather than as infantry of the line. It begins to sound rather like the Gurkhas.


/images/smilies/icon_biggrin.gif
 
#6
If they went you'd have to train Brit wives up to make the momos for Regimental Open Days. And to look gorgeous in saris rather than like a fat chav mess in too tight leggings.
 
#7
Queensman, i agree with what you say, and i can say that having spent a good deal of my time serving with Gurkhas.
The Gurkha Major does indeed have the say on who gets this and that. But it depends on how strong the UKTAP CO is. But its all personality led. the biggest danger is a CO who loves the old Raj days and enjoys the "yes sahb" fawning that the Gurkhas naturally do. This hides underlying weaknesses of Gurkhas in a modern Regt. Strong/weak GM or CO can make the difference. And dont forget without touching on anything racist, you are in a minority when serving with Gurkhas and unless you learn the language who the **** knows what they are saying about you. I find a lot of SNCO's etc become lazy and some holding Regtl appointments should never have got them and this goes back to the GM influence. But on the flipside if you get them onside, they can be very good. And as touched upon, they very rarely are undermanned and for some bizzare reason high ranking Officers seem to think they look good so use them for such things as demo troops a lot of the time.
 
#8
Im out in Brunei at the moment. Ive worked with the RA, RE, RGR, Cheshires, Lancs,1 Scots, Signals and a mish mash of attatched types in my time. Gurkhas are frikkin nails in the trees.
The encumbent Regiment out here at the moment has got the highest fitness and deployability levels of any mob I've worked with.
Theyre exellent at what they do. Their ethos and Regimental nuances may be unusual-even antiquated-but I doubt anyone could beat them at jungle warfare.
If you can operate in the jungle to the level that they can, then any other theatre is also within their remit.
But hey, what do I know (as I'm sat in work, in Brunei with 2RGR....).
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
Im out in Brunei at the moment. Ive worked with the RA, RE, RGR, Cheshires, Lancs,1 Scots, Signals and a mish mash of attatched types in my time. Gurkhas are frikkin nails in the trees.
The encumbent Regiment out here at the moment has got the highest fitness and deployability levels of any mob I've worked with.
Theyre exellent at what they do. Their ethos and Regimental nuances may be unusual-even antiquated-but I doubt anyone could beat them at jungle warfare.
If you can operate in the jungle to the level that they can, then any other theatre is also within their remit.
But hey, what do I know (as I'm sat in work, in Brunei with 2RGR....).
(My bold) That doesn't follow at all. They couldn't be used in Northern Ireland and weren't used in our last two heavy metal encounters.

They have an excellent record but they are an anachronism and their time is done. It's increasingly hard to watch British units with excellent records go to the wall in order to protect the foreign mercenary remnant of an army which no longer exists and which is retained at a time of savage cuts because of great PR and mis-placed nostalgia on the part of the Great British Public.
 
#10
It's increasingly hard to watch British units with excellent records go to the wall in order to protect the foreign mercenary remnant of an army which no longer exists and which is retained at a time of savage cuts because of great PR and mis-placed nostalgia on the part of the Great British Public.
How many of the battalions cut in SDSR were self-financing?
 
#11
I take your point Fyrdman, but you cannot avoid the absolute that man for man they're cheaper than a Brit because their retention is so good. Perhaps we should be concentrating on our retention?
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#12
I take your point Fyrdman, but you cannot avoid the absolute that man for man they're cheaper than a Brit because their retention is so good. Perhaps we should be concentrating on our retention?
I'd be interested to see the figures but, given all the accompanying social and pension paraphernalia, I wonder whether they are that cheap on a lifecycle basis and based on their utility.

The fact remains that while the Gurkhas exist in their current form, the UK Government is institutionally off-shoring UK jobs and in a way that drives the Regular Army even further away from its citizen base, which is not healthy either. I don't believe that's the way forward. Given the history, there is perhaps an argument to recruit as individuals as per Commonwealth citizens but the days of formed foreign units with special requirements within the British Army should be over.
 
#14
If you're going down the foreign mercenary route should we stop recruiting Commonwealth soldiers? Similar principles apply.

The Gurkhas will never go, purely because of their historical value let alone any economic argument.
 

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
#15
If the Gurkhas do go, then what is the betting that within 9-12 months of them going our illustrious Phillies will send in the troops to a jungle conflict! :(
 
#16
I do believe that the battalion in Brunei costs the UK nothing as it is paid for by the Sultan.

I lived in Brunei as a kid and then went back out to Seria to work with the G's and spent a lot of time in the jungle with them. They are indeed highly skilled and extremely fit, far fitter than your average British squaddie.

I also know a fair few that have worked with them in Iraq and 'Stan and have had nothing but praise...and I guess the fact they were used to "guard" Harry suggests that those on high think highly of them too.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#17
If you're going down the foreign mercenary route should we stop recruiting Commonwealth soldiers? Similar principles apply.

The Gurkhas will never go, purely because of their historical value let alone any economic argument.
Personally I think recruiting so heavily from the Commonwealth is unwise since soldiering is a quality job and life opportunity which I'd like to see UK citizens take advantage of first. Clearly, the powers that be have opted for the easy life when it comes to filling the ranks.

As far as the use of Commonwealth soldiers is concerned, I agree it's similar but I don't agree that it's exactly the same since the Commonwealth individual has to adapt to a British unit whereas Gurkha culture and language predominate in those units and it's the Brits who have to conform, thus presenting very different command and integration problems.

If we want to keep the Gurkhas, we should rape the foreign aid budget to pay for them.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#19
I do believe that the battalion in Brunei costs the UK nothing as it is paid for by the Sultan.

I lived in Brunei as a kid and then went back out to Seria to work with the G's and spent a lot of time in the jungle with them. They are indeed highly skilled and extremely fit, far fitter than your average British squaddie.

I also know a fair few that have worked with them in Iraq and 'Stan and have had nothing but praise...and I guess the fact they were used to "guard" Harry suggests that those on high think highly of them too.
No-one's saying they should go because they're no good, certainly I'm not, but we're now having to make hard choices and nostalgia can't be part of the process - unless you're arguing that all the units cut to date all deserved it.
 
#20
Im out in Brunei at the moment. Ive worked with the RA, RE, RGR, Cheshires, Lancs,1 Scots, Signals and a mish mash of attatched types in my time. Gurkhas are frikkin nails in the trees.
The encumbent Regiment out here at the moment has got the highest fitness and deployability levels of any mob I've worked with.
Theyre exellent at what they do. Their ethos and Regimental nuances may be unusual-even antiquated-but I doubt anyone could beat them at jungle warfare.
If you can operate in the jungle to the level that they can, then any other theatre is also within their remit.
But hey, what do I know (as I'm sat in work, in Brunei with 2RGR....).
Things must have changed in the few months since I left there then. We held a PFT where for a change the old and knackered started first, followed at 30 second intervals by the various age groups so that we could all finish at the same time at the camp gates. Whereupon they would be closed and those outside would have failed. For a Bn that had boasted of a 99% pass rate in the weeks leading up to this, it certainly was an eye opener seeing all the knackers pleading with the guard to let them in etc.
Don't let their PR machine fool you, they are very good at hiding small matters such as that, discipline issues (drunkeness, illegal cars, drink driving and spousal abuse are rife). I wont mention where 4 of them pissed as rats were stopped in their car by the RMP SNCO driving between the flats and the Chautari club (lazy feckers), who then proceeded to beat 7 bells out of him and I mean 7 bells. The Bn answer to that small discipline problem was that the RMP SNCO was removed from post as unsuitable for working with Johnny. The Bn could not even give us a straight answer how many soldiers were on their books and where they all were, I found Ghost soldiers in my unit whilst in SL, I never expected to find it in the British Army. Their planning, equipment care and husbandry was also downright shocking, show me another single Inf Bn where they have such a large support element to sweep up after them??

I'm with Queensman and CH5120, they talk a very good ball game but the reality when you have been working alongside them is very different. Some are very, very good, but they are a minority amongst the mediocre and downright useless. The influence of White face Officers believing they are still in the Raj, the power of the GM and QGO's and the fact that the Caste system still plays a massive part in the running of the Bn as to who gets what promotion and job is disappointing to find in the British Army. We are after all supposed to be a meritocracy are we not? I highlighted the text as I think the Bde of Gurkhas still requires reminding that they are in fact a small part of the British Army, not off to one side on the org flow chart.

Expensive to recruit, expensive to train (extra 6 months of language etc), higher social and support costs (more Married therefore more MQ's, more Kids, therefore more schooling and LOA etc). The cynic in me asks why for example are we recruiting Nepalese into the QGE when we have waiting lists to get into my Corps from UK citizens?
 

Latest Threads