There are no front lines bollox

#1
Reading another thread has got me thinking. Many on here say there are no 'front lines' in Helmand. I think this is bollox and usually spouted by REMFs, those who have never been on the front line or those who may travel from FOB to FOB and want to believe that they're in the thick of it along that route. I think it's bollox. There are areas in Helmand where in the past we wouldn't dream of going in and have had to conduct large operations to push into there such as 'Panthers Claw' and the likes. As well as that you have enemy controlled areas which may be 200m from a patrol base or 2k's away. These are the front lines where the enemy rule the ground and where if we push into those areas we're going to end up in contact without a doubt. Of course there are IED's littered everywhere but the enemy have their safe areas which is behind their front line. Discuss.
 
#2
Reading another thread has got me thinking. Many on here say there are no 'front lines' in Helmand. I think this is bollox and usually spouted by REMFs, those who have never been on the front line or those who may travel from FOB to FOB and want to believe that they're in the thick of it along that route. I think it's bollox. There are areas in Helmand where in the past we wouldn't dream of going in and have had to conduct large operations to push into there such as 'Panthers Claw' and the likes. As well as that you have enemy controlled areas which may be 200m from a patrol base or 2k's away. These are the front lines where the enemy rule the ground and where if we push into those areas we're going to end up in contact without a doubt. Of course there are IED's littered everywhere but the enemy have their safe areas which is behind their front line. Discuss.
Totally agree,

In my experience(just my view)the same was happening in Iraq. You knew(most the time) that if you were in certain areas things were going to go wrong for you. If you were based down in Umm Qusar or Safwan hill things were quiet(Apart from Cpl Pritchard SCOTS DG). But the way REMF's on camp went on about it you would have thought when they drove to a U.S base for some scoff that they had run down a trench system at the Somme.

Again with Al Amarrah, not sure what most in Basrah thought of it up there, but we classed that as a front line. That and Route 6 that led up there.
 
#3
who may travel from FOB to FOB and want to believe that they're in the thick of it along that route. .
Surely though if you are in the RLC and you have patrolled from FOB to FOB that allows you to look down on absolutely everybody else? After all you have done probably the most nails job in theatre?
 
#5
Reading another thread has got me thinking. Many on here say there are no 'front lines' in Helmand. I think this is bollox and usually spouted by REMFs, those who have never been on the front line or those who may travel from FOB to FOB and want to believe that they're in the thick of it along that route. I think it's bollox. There are areas in Helmand where in the past we wouldn't dream of going in and have had to conduct large operations to push into there such as 'Panthers Claw' and the likes. As well as that you have enemy controlled areas which may be 200m from a patrol base or 2k's away. These are the front lines where the enemy rule the ground and where if we push into those areas we're going to end up in contact without a doubt. Of course there are IED's littered everywhere but the enemy have their safe areas which is behind their front line. Discuss.
Can't speak for Afghanistan, but everything you say would have been equally applicable to Iraq. There's nothing inherently wrong with being a REMF (I speak as someone who was one on TELIC) but there is something very wrong with trying to bask in the reflected glory of those who were out on the streets day after day.

Although there was an element of risk at SLB and the airport, the odd mortar attack and VBIED does not a front-line make. I daresay the same is true for Afghanistan.
 
R

really?_fascinating

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#6
Fally, I would agree, but I would also say that the lazy way we were all brought up to draw red and blue lines on maps and thus determine if where we were was 'safe' or 'dodgy' made us fixated on front and rear. It also created two armies, one of which expected to be in dodgy places and had the doctrine, training, equipment and mindset to prevail there and the other one (that was bought shite kit, given little training and told not to worry about it). I hope that gap is closing and current equipment and training would suggest we are getting better.

Perhaps there are now dozens of front lines, none of them necessarily linked by safe areas and all of them changing at the whim of the enemy and as a result of friendly actions. This new picture has resulted in some of the 'safer' corps, including mine, being sent further forwards than doctrine, kit or training allowed. Having done this for a bit in Iraq and Afghanistan we now see the result - we went from unarmoured DROPS, to DROPS with bags of body armour plates hung off them, to the new MAN EPLS with clever electricals and guns on the top, have RSigs in Coy locations, have int corps and RMP out on the ground with pls etc etc.

There is no doubt there are lots of very safe areas, both for us and the enemy and the realities of the conflict mean that getting at the enemy safe area is very challenging.
 

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#7
I think they mean there are no frontlines in the sense that it was meant in WW2 or Korea. There are no FLOTs, FEBAs, FEETs etc.

The 'frontline' is where ever the En choose to attack or wherever we can find and engage them.

It is probably true that in many previous conflicts if you were behind the frontline you could probably have wandered about in relative safety.




Sent from my iPhone using ARRSE so please excuse fat fingers and slips of the keyboard.
 
#8
I think they mean there are no frontlines in the sense that it was meant in WW2 or Korea. There are no FLOTs, FEBAs, FEETs etc.
I don't think I quite agree, there are FLETs.

Granted, it's American, but if you watch 'Restrepo' it is a prime example. They knew if they patrolled past a certain Northing they would get contacted. If that's not a frontline, what is?
 
#10
Rear area / FOB generally where we control the ground with a bit of IDF, not as safe as it used to be. Tbh it would be a bit daft to put a Ammo Depot in the middle of unheld ground.

Driving from point a to b is a bit dodgy but in no way the front line. If contact was expected it would be teeth arms carrying out the force protection like Op OQAB TSUKA (Kajaki turbine).

Outside the wire gives more stories than inside though, so gives us REMFS a story for the bar. No front lines, bit of bollox if you ask me. I would think there are maps about that show where the front line is, and its certainly not in Timmy Hortons or the EFI.
 
#11
The front line is wherever you are in contact with the enemy. In years gone by the front line was an area clearly defined by a no-mans land with the opposing forces facing each other across it. From WW1 back to the first millennia this had more or less been the case where organised warfare was concerned. "All is quiet on the western front" and all that! During WW2 things were a lot more fluid with the enemy being fought on many fronts and with elements of asymmetrical warfare (resistance forces etc) starting to become evident. Nowadays we are increasing fighting a fluid enemy, where the battleground is very often of the enemy's choosing. In days gone by the army with the most trained men and advantageous ground usually won (disregarding the vagaries of luck). Nowadays well trained and well equipped forces with superior fire power can carry the day even under adverse conditions, where the battle is where the enemy chooses.

And of course, as far as the security of UK is concerned, Afghanistan is a front line.

Another Black Label? Yes please.
 
#12
The confusion is arising due, a mentioned above and in the other thread, through a confusion of what 'front line' and 'combat' actually is.

Fally, to use one example, is quite correct in saying that the non 'teeth arms' are not 'closing with and engaging the enemy in order to bring about his defeat'. Which is of course the mission of the Infantry.

That said, there are (like it or lump it) occaisions when REMFs are indeed 'engaging' if not 'closing with' the enemy. The difference is that the last part would undeniably state 'in order to disengage and evade' or something similar.

No, the REMFs (including CLPs and other activity) are not there to smash up the enemy but nor are they quite executing these roles in the style of eras gone by.

To put this in to perspective. During previous Ops, REMFs were supplied 1 mag of ammo (maybe not even full). Does ANYONE here think that would be a good idea for Herrick?

And if we must keep this two tier system of REMFs and Stealy Eyed Dealers of Death then the Inf are going to get pretty busy escorting and protecting the REMFs as they were going to during the Cold War.

I beleive 3 Cheshire were assigned to defend the Trunk Communications Network during the '80s... this would be absolutly splendid, as the Gin Palace's would return to their pre-SDR splendor.
 
#14
Await the bite all you like, the only people I look down on are ******** officers who allege I spend all my time in a storehouse so their view is automatically right.
Then they go quiet when several people point out they are talking bollocks.
 
#15
I'm deploying there soon. Do you get families living around the 'front line areas'? Even children? How much interactin do you get with them?
Yes you do nowadays because we don't drop 500 pounders all over the place now and indiscriminately kill them. You'll sometimes know when the enemy are going to contact you as you'll see the families leaving. Some will talk to you (or your terp) some won't.
 
#16
Rear area / FOB generally where we control the ground with a bit of IDF, not as safe as it used to be. Tbh it would be a bit daft to put a Ammo Depot in the middle of unheld ground.

Driving from point a to b is a bit dodgy but in no way the front line. If contact was expected it would be teeth arms carrying out the force protection like Op OQAB TSUKA (Kajaki turbine).

Outside the wire gives more stories than inside though, so gives us REMFS a story for the bar. No front lines, bit of bollox if you ask me. I would think there are maps about that show where the front line is, and its certainly not in Timmy Hortons or the EFI.
Force protection for the turbine was not teeth arms, it was RLC, as it was for all the CLP's on Herrick 8. We took over from infantry & handed over to boot necks & RGR.
 
#18
Totally agree. In theory there are no front lines, as in a 49th Parallel type affair, but there are certainly "Forward Areas" or "Front Areas" that the troops in the vicinity know that they will get hit in if they venture further. Driving along a cleared route, with PB's covering it, isn't the same as penetrating into one of these areas.

However, no two tours are the same, and those that were there will know what they individually did or did not do.
 
#19
I think a lot of the time it's peoples career choices come back to bite them in the ass. They see the nice hi-res pics of the Inf et all looking all ally out on the ground smashing terry, and wish they had joined them. But (with the exception of the med chain) are too far removed from the reality of it to actually understand how physically and mentally draining it is. They get all macho when they see these guys around BSN etc, and get sand in their vagina because of their own self induced inferiority.

I'm a REMF, I sit in BSN or KAF and fly out to FOBs and PBs whenever needed, but I get to fly back at the end of task, have a hot shower, shave and put on some fresh threads. Just because I leave the wire I don't think i'm some stealy eyed dealer of death, cut around BSN trying to look all warry, and nor do I try and make any Inf blokes life difficult. My job is to support the lads at the pointy end, as is the job of all the blokes at BSN, maybe if some of the chods that cut around BSN giving it billy big balls remembered that then maybe things would run a bit smoother.
 
#20
Fally, you saw my post earlier ref conventional lines vs. influence bubbles so i won't repeat again. Bottom line is i don't think that there is a cohort of REMFs larging it (edited to add see post above).

CLPs are risky business and similar to WW2 ASC convoys, equally vulnerable, challenging C2, there to keep the stuff moving forward whilst getting smashed up not to directly engage with the en; similar again to the convoys on TELIC.

The difference between WW2 & the COE is the challenging human terrain. In WW2 the en were known, lines were clear, attack was from conventional forces - in the COE attack is likely, the en is not known and lines are not clear. There is no front line (in the Maginot sense)...there are lots of front lines which are transitional, movable with the human terrain and dissolve beyond the LOE of the effect & influence bubble.
 

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