The Value of the Gurkha

#1
Inf/MP said:
If they start to get too expensive they will be in danger of the axe next time round.

They may have an unlimited supply of recruits, but if they cost the same as UK soldiers and the choice has to be made of who to sacrifice the next time efficiency is increased (cuts are to be made), which do you think likes of Scum Blair and co will pick?

A UK battalion which will lead to complaints in the press about job losses and possibly votes.

or

A Gurkha battalion which will lead to complaints in the press, but can be ignored as the mutterings of old duffers who still think the Empire exists and are obviously racists who thinks that Gurkhas should be our servants - have thy no idea that the old days are gone?

Remeber the objective will be to make the cuts as painless as possible for the Government of the day (not to be confused with the Army).
Sorry accidentally moved this....
 
#2
Xenophon said:
Inf/MP said:
If they start to get too expensive they will be in danger of the axe next time round.

They may have an unlimited supply of recruits, but if they cost the same as UK soldiers and the choice has to be made of who to sacrifice the next time efficiency is increased (cuts are to be made), which do you think likes of Scum Blair and co will pick?

A UK battalion which will lead to complaints in the press about job losses and possibly votes.

or

A Gurkha battalion which will lead to complaints in the press, but can be ignored as the mutterings of old duffers who still think the Empire exists and are obviously racists who thinks that Gurkhas should be our servants - have thy no idea that the old days are gone?

Remeber the objective will be to make the cuts as painless as possible for the Government of the day (not to be confused with the Army).
Let's face it - it's a disgrace that there are 2 Gurkha Infantry battalions still in existence when so many British battalions were cut. HOWEVER, would you want to spend a 2 year tour in Brunei as a single bloke (although you could make it a 6 monther for British units - a great training opportunity). They provide demo companies at Brecon and Sandhurst plus, and this is the cruncher, they have the equivalent of regimental strength in the Sappers, the Signals and the RLC. I'm told that to make that viable you need the Infantry units. I am not so sure probably more Gurkha propaganda.
And this one...
 
#3
Xenophon said:
Let's face it - it's a disgrace that there are 2 Gurkha Infantry battalions still in existence when so many British battalions were cut. HOWEVER, would you want to spend a 2 year tour in Brunei as a single bloke (although you could make it a 6 monther for British units - a great training opportunity). They provide demo companies at Brecon and Sandhurst plus, and this is the cruncher, they have the equivalent of regimental strength in the Sappers, the Signals and the RLC. I'm told that to make that viable you need the Infantry units. I am not so sure probably more Gurkha propaganda.
Xenophon should we just look at this from a slightly impartial view. Why would the government possibly want to disband 2 fully recruited Infantry Battalions that wear the same clothes, cost as much as any other Battalion to run, have very few discipline problems, are committed to go (without question) anywhere in the world to fight for the Queen without a massive AWOL problem, can maintain equipment (including themselves) to a very high standard when on the flip side it can merge two Battalions that are 50% manned, cannot recruit sufficient soldiers to provide capability, Keeps the Adjt in a job 36 hours a day dealing with discipline issues and can barely keep their kit off Ebay let alone maintain it?

Just a thought....
 
#4
rickshaw said:
Oh Outstanding - and others,
The "why Gurkhas at the expence of a UK-recruited battalion" is as old as Defence Reviews themselves. In defence of the Gurungs, they are a fantastic resource at a time when the infantry is struggling to recruit to even their much-reduced levels. In addition, to get your annual crop of some 200 or so recruits, there will have been some 8000 aspirants: we really do get the cream of the crop and those that we do get feel as though they have won the lottery - which in Nepali terms they have. If we had a horde of supremely motivated and equally dedicated volunteers for the infantry kicking in the doors of the local ACIOs, I'd be willing to look at the subject in a different light, but until then, I feel that we are incredibly fortunate to have our long alliance with the "bravest of the brave".
Sorry just moved this too...
 
#6
amazing__lobster said:
Whats happened here???
If you're on about the moving of posts, I had slipped the one above into a separate Ghurka thread - Johny is canny at the move as my post, strangely, backs up the defence in this thread.
 
#8
John_Gurkha said:
Xenophon said:
Let's face it - it's a disgrace that there are 2 Gurkha Infantry battalions still in existence when so many British battalions were cut. HOWEVER, would you want to spend a 2 year tour in Brunei as a single bloke (although you could make it a 6 monther for British units - a great training opportunity). They provide demo companies at Brecon and Sandhurst plus, and this is the cruncher, they have the equivalent of regimental strength in the Sappers, the Signals and the RLC. I'm told that to make that viable you need the Infantry units. I am not so sure probably more Gurkha propaganda.
Xenophon should we just look at this from a slightly impartial view. Why would the government possibly want to disband 2 fully recruited Infantry Battalions that wear the same clothes, cost as much as any other Battalion to run, have very few discipline problems, are committed to go (without question) anywhere in the world to fight for the Queen without a massive AWOL problem, can maintain equipment (including themselves) to a very high standard when on the flip side it can merge two Battalions that are 50% manned, cannot recruit sufficient soldiers to provide capability, Keeps the Adjt in a job 36 hours a day dealing with discipline issues and can barely keep their kit off Ebay let alone maintain it?

Just a thought....
Here's another - take off your rose tinted specs.

Having worked with and commanded Gurkhas they are human beings the same as the rest of us with the same foibles and frailties. I like and admire the soldiers. However there exists an organisation (HQBG) which seeks to portray them as something they are not. It tries to prevent any image other than the one they, and you, are trying to peddle from being presented. They are no better than any British Infantry battalion although God knows why, but they think they are. The officers have very limited perception of their profession because most of them bounce between the UK and Brunei and occasionally go to Afghanistan and Sierra Leone. Good at PSO but we all are. When was the last time they were involved in real warfighting. Don't say the Falklands.

Don't bother playing the discipline card either. I was around when a bunch of them beat up an RMP SSgt who stopped them because he believed the driver of the car they were in was pissed. I don't recall anything happening about it except the SSgt was banned from their camp because of his 'provacative' attitude. I seem to remember a fragging in Hong Kong and a mutiny in Hawaii. Not recent maybe but irrefutable nonetheless.

Most of the soldiers do a good job. But if you were a lad from Glasgow or Newcastle or London or anywhere in the UK who could join the Army and be paid a wage that would make the money earned by his mates at home look like loose change to you. Then you retire on a pension after 16 years service and never have to work again when you got back to Glasgow or Newcastle or London or anywhere else in the UK I doubt if we would have the problems you describe either.

Just a thought.
 
#9
Namaste John Ghurka

Having worked with and commanded Gurkhas
My only complaint about the Ghurkas is some of the "jumped up" Company Commanders that still think they are in the days of the RAJ.

Had 2 good 6 month Belize tours with Jonny and several UK attachments and Brunei courses and was made to feel part of the Battalion, unlike some of the county regiments who couldnt give to shakes of a snakes tale when it comes to supporting there at's and det's.

The culture that they have is totally different and can be a little confusing to UK soldiers (Marooni?) and Im sure they have there admin problems and cases but these are dealt with within the Btn.

Although not comfortable in the cold i.e "Rotterburn" they can still perform and are master's in the Jungle wether it be Belize or Brunei.

When was the last time they were involved in real warfighting. Don't say the Falklands.
That statement is lame and irrelavant , pre Telic it was the war cry of anyone not involved in the Falklands, as you have stated they keep the training establishments "producing" which frees up other Units and manpower, Im sure if given the option the Ghurkas would choose to deploy.

Don't bother playing the discipline card either. I was around when a bunch of them beat up an RMP SSgt who stopped them because he believed the driver of the car they were in was pissed
Good drills I say a show of camarade, did they get a long weekend? Im sure if there was any substance to this tale the RMP would have "Followed through" because there good at that.

Im sure that if the ghurkas were really as hopeless as you make out then they wouldnt have any involvement with 16 AA Bde (C Ghurka Coy)

or even the Pathfinders? and what of there involment with UKSF? proof that with the right leadership Jonny really can cut the Kynee.

Maybe its commanders like you Xenophon (Bungaree!) that really do need to start leading correctly and not dribbling......

Egg dan tic cha, honahuncha ,ram ru cha

Theres more about the Bde of ghurkas history here

http://www.army.mod.uk/linked_files/gurkhas/The_World_Wars_and_the_subsequent_hisory.doc

We also had a good arangement in Aldershot with Church Crookham that did our guards and duties over Xmas/New Year, In return we did theres over D/shera and D/wali.
 

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#10
Harry_Webster said:
Although not comfortable in the cold i.e "Rotterburn" they can still perform and are master's in the Jungle wether it be Belize or Brunei. .
I have worked alongside JG and found them excellent soldiers and very proud of themselves and what they do. You are correct about them not being comfortable in the cold as observed by me at Brecon, but my query is why FFS? They come from the highest mountains in the world - surely it is feckin cold up there? The explanation I got at the time is they don't like the wet cold so why keep a Bn in a temperate European climate?
 
#11
Ram ram Johnny dhai,

I have worked with GURTAM for a while and value them higher than some of the dross that graces our ranks these days, they still recruit the cream of their youth, while we take what we get. Yes they are more suited to warmer climes, but perform well in the cold, as many tours as FI RIC prove. To serve my last tour with BG would be the cream on my cake.

Jai Gurkha!
 
#12
They come from the highest mountains in the world - surely it is feckin cold up there? The explanation I got at the time is they don't like the wet cold so why keep a Bn in a temperate European climate?
I have asked this a few times and the best answer was that not all Ghurkas are from the mountains they also recruit from the "Lower" lands, Just like Scotland, not all scots are alki's.... most are :wink:
 
#13
Harry_Webster said:
They come from the highest mountains in the world - surely it is feckin cold up there? The explanation I got at the time is they don't like the wet cold so why keep a Bn in a temperate European climate?
I have asked this a few times and the best answer was that not all Ghurkas are from the mountains they also recruit from the "Lower" lands, Just like Scotland, not all scots are alki's.... most are :wink:
To be fair we recruit very few from the himals (mountains) most come from the hills (the bit between the mountains and the plains .... its a bit like Wales but with more steep bits....)............
 
#14
Xenophon said:
Here's another - take off your rose tinted specs.

Having worked with and commanded Gurkhas they are human beings the same as the rest of us with the same foibles and frailties. I like and admire the soldiers. However there exists an organisation (HQBG) which seeks to portray them as something they are not. It tries to prevent any image other than the one they, and you, are trying to peddle from being presented. They are no better than any British Infantry battalion although God knows why, but they think they are. The officers have very limited perception of their profession because most of them bounce between the UK and Brunei and occasionally go to Afghanistan and Sierra Leone. Good at PSO but we all are. When was the last time they were involved in real warfighting. Don't say the Falklands.

Don't bother playing the discipline card either. I was around when a bunch of them beat up an RMP SSgt who stopped them because he believed the driver of the car they were in was pissed. I don't recall anything happening about it except the SSgt was banned from their camp because of his 'provacative' attitude. I seem to remember a fragging in Hong Kong and a mutiny in Hawaii. Not recent maybe but irrefutable nonetheless.

Most of the soldiers do a good job. But if you were a lad from Glasgow or Newcastle or London or anywhere in the UK who could join the Army and be paid a wage that would make the money earned by his mates at home look like loose change to you. Then you retire on a pension after 16 years service and never have to work again when you got back to Glasgow or Newcastle or London or anywhere else in the UK I doubt if we would have the problems you describe either.

Just a thought.
I personally find this almost laughableable. I agree (and thank you very much for bringing to the attention of all) that Gurkhas have the same foilables and frailties as the rest of us.... the discipline thing is such a joke its funny. Your examples (which may well be true) are at best a laugh and at worst a travesty...
 
#15
John_Gurkha said:
Xenophon said:
Inf/MP said:
If they start to get too expensive they will be in danger of the axe next time round.

They may have an unlimited supply of recruits, but if they cost the same as UK soldiers and the choice has to be made of who to sacrifice the next time efficiency is increased (cuts are to be made), which do you think likes of Scum Blair and co will pick?

A UK battalion which will lead to complaints in the press about job losses and possibly votes.

or

A Gurkha battalion which will lead to complaints in the press, but can be ignored as the mutterings of old duffers who still think the Empire exists and are obviously racists who thinks that Gurkhas should be our servants - have thy no idea that the old days are gone?

Remeber the objective will be to make the cuts as painless as possible for the Government of the day (not to be confused with the Army).
Let's face it - it's a disgrace that there are 2 Gurkha Infantry battalions still in existence when so many British battalions were cut. HOWEVER, would you want to spend a 2 year tour in Brunei as a single bloke (although you could make it a 6 monther for British units - a great training opportunity). They provide demo companies at Brecon and Sandhurst plus, and this is the cruncher, they have the equivalent of regimental strength in the Sappers, the Signals and the RLC. I'm told that to make that viable you need the Infantry units. I am not so sure probably more Gurkha propaganda.
And this one...
maybe that should be xenophobe.

IIRC there have been only 2 units expanded in the british army in the last couple of years; QGS and QOGTR by a squadron each.

In options for change(93-94), while the brit battalions took a 16% hit, the brigade took a 66% cut - The mutterings of old duffers has protected brit battalions a lot longer - campaign for saving undermanned scottish units anyone?

The cut of the third RGR battalion in 1996 happened, but the excess men went to 1 RS, 1 PWRR and 2 PARA to help boost under manned Bns. the life of these gurkha reinforcement companies were repeatedly extended, as Bn numbers didn't come up.

The gurkhas are cost efficient (at the moment, new TACOS permitting - future as well). In brit units where the average retention is about 8 years and a departure at sgt rank, having gurkha HGV drivers still there at a 16 year point, makes the investment in them last twice as long as a brit. Think about the savings on mechanised qualifications.

HQBG is not perfect and yes on occasion the odd t*t gets through the officer selection process. It isn't something confined to gurkha units though. I'm sure many people could name an officer or 2 who believe that their soldiers are there to ensure the next CR is glowing and their position up the next shade list is rising.

Replacing the demo companies at RMAS and ITC wales with brit troops on a 2 year tour could be interesting. don't think it would do wonders for retention, never mind the groundhog day of demonstrations, acting as enemy, etc etc at a continual high standard.

Discipline and cultural sensitivity of the troops in brunei is also the reason why they still exist. Rumour has it during options for change, a british government representative approached the sultan of brunei and asked him how he would feel about the gurkhas being withdrawn and replaced by a brit Bn. The sultan paused, and then asked how the british government would feel about him taking all his money out of UK plc and not replacing it. The interest off his money is such that brunei never has to pump a barrel of oil again

The discipline points raised are petty and equivalent to judging all greenjackets by the spadework of 2.

I'm not holding my breath for any positive reply from xenophon, as gurkhas seem to be a bit like marmite (please excuse analogy :oops: ) you either love them or hate them, not much in between. They aren't perfect, who is, but without them army life would be that little bit sh*tter. When they go, and go they will as HMG finds colonial hangovers embarassing, it will be sad as we will lose a little bit more of the diversity that makes this army tick in more ways than one
 
#16
Here's my last word because, to be honest, no matter what views I hold most people who hook up to this board don't agree with me and that's fine. I am not xenophobic just because I disagree with a system. (Funnily enough a friend of mine who held similar views was accused of being a racist by a (white) Gurkha officer but I don't recall seeing Gurkha children playing with his children after school when they were never out of my friend's house but maybe I just didn't notice.) The Gurkha soldiers as I have said already, are good at what they do. What they can do is limited, the Gurkha Infantry and my experience of Gurkhas is limited to the Infantry battalions, do not have the employabilty of a British line battalion. If nothing else the inability to deploy a significant proportion (about 10% up until 1993-4) of our Infantry battalions to Northern Ireland for nearly 30 years should tell you that. (Before anyone screams about anti-illegal immigration operations in Hong Kong that job could be and was done by British units. More of which, I'm sure because I speak from personal experience, would have welcomed a break doing those operations rather than go back to NI for another tour.)

OK times are changing the FIS probably do not require the line battalions to have flexibility they once did. All I was trying to say here was that I thought that John_Gurkha's view of British Infantry was unreasonably bleak and his take of the Gurkha is unrealistically positive and that, in my view, I would rather have more British battalions even if it meant no Gurkha battalions. I'd be interested to know how many Infantrymen, non-Gurkha of course, are among those above who responded to my post.

BTW, smallbrownprivates, see my post in the Gurkha leave thread and you will see that I agree with you on a couple of issues.

Harry_Webster - I'm perfectly content with my reputation as a leader - you don't know me well enough to make comments like that:)

I'll finish with a few questions then I'm done with this thread.

If we are all in the same Army why should not every soldier in it be on the same TACOS? John_Gurkha seems to think the inferior status afforded to Gurkhas in this respect is OK - I don't.

Ask yourself this Gurkhas were so keen on a military career why not join the RNA? It would be nice to think it wasn't for the money but it is really. What they are paid by us compared to what they would earn at home buys a hell of a lot and maybe accounts for why even riflemen are happy to serve for 16 years. The question I have is why shouldn't they be allowed to serve for 22 years?

Finally what happens when in 2008 or 2013 the Sultan of Brunei decides he can no longer afford or need a British garrison?
 
#17
Can't comment on all Gurkha's, only on the ones I've personally worked with. I found the 'legend' that is quite happily portrayed by the Gurkhas themselves doesn't live up to the reality but then I've heard plenty of other regimental legions that are also boll*cks. You are only as good as your current batch of young men.

My rifle Coy took over from a Gurkha Coy on the Hong Kong/Sino border and I found that particular Coy lazy and poorly led. They clearly had some major discipline problems. But I can say the same for other units I have seen over 24 years service. On the discipline issue I think the reason Xenophon raised some examples of major disciplinary incidents (which are entirely true) was in response to John_Gurkhas rather grand generalisation that Gurkhas have very few disciplinary problems. That is plain silly and I think it is a little too convenient to dismiss out of hand Xenophon's comments seeing that he has actual experience of commanding Gurkhas.

I also worked with Gurkhas in Malaysia and Borneo and they are good, skilled soldiers. Where they have limitations compared to UK soldiers, IMHO is that they have to be directed in just about every task. I rarely saw any initiative.

The original question may seem challenging to you however as many of us have to stand by and watch the upheaval to our English, Welsh and Scottish regiments it is not an unreasonable one.
 
#18
Smallbrownprivates said

Discipline and cultural sensitivity of the troops in brunei is also the reason why they still exist. Rumour has it during options for change, a british government representative approached the sultan of brunei and asked him how he would feel about the gurkhas being withdrawn and replaced by a brit Bn. The sultan paused, and then asked how the british government would feel about him taking all his money out of UK plc and not replacing it. The interest off his money is such that brunei never has to pump a barrel of oil again
Can we cut the crap here and stick to fact and first hand experience. Either that or state your sources.
 
#19
Whilst not a Gurkha, I have done several ex's which they have been involved in.

Very professional, very fit, very motivated and just got on with the job! Regardless of what they were asked to do.

I think they should replace half of the wasters in the Army with more of these sorts from Nepal!

Got my vote anytime!!!!!!!!!
 
#20
I worked with a Gurka some years ago, He was no better/worse than anybody else I've worked with. personally, Get rid and save 2 British Bns. Have the gurkas ever been Armd Inf? or even Mech Inf? Ulster tours?.
 

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