UK reservists "undermined"

#1
A report published today by the all-party parliamentary reserve forces group, featuring 51 MPs, draws attention to the strains placed on today's Territorial Army (TA).

This "valuable asset" was, at its peak in 2004, making up one-fifth of UK forces in Iraq and one-eighth of the Afghanistan deployment in 2004.

Today the organisation has around 1,200 reserve forces overseas. These are being used excessively, the report argues.

Rather than being called out "only very occasionally and then in large numbers", it warns that "in reality the TA has an extremely demanding role to support enduring operations".

"One effect of this dislocation has been the heavy use of reservists as individual replacements within regular units (rather than as formed units or sub-units)… If this approach goes further it will deny TA officers the opportunity to command on active service, removing one of the prime motivations for joining in the first place."

Blending TA units with regular army units prevents Britain's reserve forces from acting as a link between civilians and the military, the report says.

"Trying to integrate with the regular army must never be done at the expense of integration with the civilian world," it concludes.

The Ministry of Defence was not immediately available for comment on the report's publication.
http://www.inthenews.co.uk/news/crime/politics/uk-reservists-undermined-$1087307.htm
 
#2
Makes a couple of good points.
1) TA should not be used to patch up Regular units for enduring ops
2) Probability of formed unit deployments would put a useful incentive for all members of the unit to attain the highest standards of Mil skills possible, not just the fittests, most available who are willing to be mobilised.
 
#3
Agreed, but I also think that going on tour as part of a Regular unit is also a good thing.
It closes the STAB/ARAB gap, is excellent experience to work alongside regular counterparts and, to be honest, its doing the job you signed up to do.
At the end of it, the way I see it is that the TA are now being used in the way that they were meant to be used origonally, those that dont like it know what they should do.
Doing tours as a formed unit? good idea in theory, but a unit of 10 blokes wont have much of an impact :D
 
#4
suits_U said:
.
At the end of it, the way I see it is that the TA are now being used in the way that they were meant to be used origonally
What, defending Great Britain from invasion? Apart from Polish workers, when did we get invaded? Was I asleep when it happened?
 
#6
suits_U said:
Agreed, but I also think that going on tour as part of a Regular unit is also a good thing.It closes the STAB/ARAB gap, is excellent experience to work alongside regular counterparts and, to be honest, its doing the job you signed up to do.
At the end of it, the way I see it is that the TA are now being used in the way that they were meant to be used origonally, those that dont like it know what they should do.
Doing tours as a formed unit? good idea in theory, but a unit of 10 blokes wont have much of an impact :D
Agreed, its good to have the opportunity to go as an IR. I think the issue is more that if that is all that is happening then the non deployed rump who don't volunteer for ops will eventually Foxtrot Oscar .... and then what?

Personally I would have much preferred to mobilise with my comrades I spent years training with than some pimply sprogs from the Regs with the attitude.
 
#7
I can see your point Pluvia, and yes It would be great to be mobilised like you say, with people you know and have worked with for years, however it is something that is not really possible with all units. Those that have a good amount of troops in them and can operate effectively at platoon/company level then great, but as we are all aware, that is not the case everywhere.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#8
Those that wont or cant deploy should either be trained up (in the case of new starters) or be used for training up the new starters. When the unit returns (and we've seen composite companies attched) the returning soldiers should form a cadre to pass on their experience either through lectures or training teams. Not hard to envisage is it?
Eventually composite companies may well become composite Bns and the old and bold stay behinds will effectively become depot staff!
That or stop using the TA for something it wasnt invented for or change the role and put a deployment clause in the contract!
Typical British cheese paring and half baked compromise.
 
#9
Being a OAP....think I will join the "Home Guard"....looking at a picture of Lord Kitchener!
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#10
boris7 said:
Being a OAP....think I will join the "Home Guard"....looking at a picture of Lord Kitchener!
Sadly the HSF has gone although I would be too knackered for KP guards nowadays!
 
#11
I don't think the individual is being undermined by the way they're currently being used, indeed in most cases they get a goo deal of benefit from it. The organisation is a completely different kettle of fish.

Lack of opportunity to command your troops when they are mobilised is a massive disincentive to join as a YO, or even to stay in - certainly the kind of leader we want and are specifically recruiting will not be terribly impressed at organising an endless series of going away parties from the outside. I can only speculate as to how corrosive to their morale it would be.

Unless formed sub-units and (eventually) units start deploying in their entirety a la National Guard, I'm convinced the organisation is going to wither from the head down as we fail to attract at leadership level the rigt sort of people. There's certainly an argument to say the TA CoC will lack the operational experience of their Regular counterparts, but how are they to get that experience unless they deploy in role? In any case, I've yet to hear it suggested that a young Rupert fresh from RegCC was unsuitable for operational command due to a lack of experience.
 
#12
It strikes me that certainly Infantry units are now so scattered - a platoon here, another platoon 40 miles away, that there's little prospect of developing deployable units.

Just look at this:
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#13
It's simply a question of cost and utility. Using the TA as we have been doing for the past few years is the most economical way of delivering what the regular army needs: IRs who can be integrated reasonably effectively into regular units and sub-units. It would be nice for the TA to provide formed sub-units and units like the National Guard do, but with the way we're organised now - and with the costs that this will involve - it is never going to happen. It would perhaps be better for the regular army to raise their standards, recruit fewer 'regular' officers, and make more use of the available TA manpower in sub-unit commands at Subaltern/Captain/Major level on operations, leaving a much leaner regular officer cadre to concentrate on back-stabbing and career advancement.
 
#14
Ex_Stab, I'm sure that the above Bn could form a platoon, or even two, to be attached to their regular Bn counterparts when mobilised. They might not all be best mates at the start, but two weeks in the sausage factory and then two months build up training will forge bonds. Bonds that will tei the Bn together on their return.

I know blokes how went as a platoons worth or IR's and guys who worked in their own platoon and they both have good points, I just think more comes from keeping them together.
 
#15
bobath said:
Ex_Stab, I'm sure that the above Bn could form a platoon, or even two, to be attached to their regular Bn counterparts when mobilised. They might not all be best mates at the start, but two weeks in the sausage factory and then two months build up training will forge bonds. Bonds that will tei the Bn together on their return.

I know blokes how went as a platoons worth or IR's and guys who worked in their own platoon and they both have good points, I just think more comes from keeping them together.
Naturally I'm not intending any slur on the units shown on the map, I just think it indicates how dispersed they are. It does make me wonder how much training you can do on a Tuesday night if your full strength is a platoon and you get 1/3 or a 1/4 turn up. Perhaps they get a full turnout every week but unless things have changed immensely I find it unlikely.

Certainly a Bn should be able to mobilise two platoons or even a company, the question is could it moblise 5 platoon or C company? Could it do it given three months notice?
I'm pretty certain that back in the late 80's early 90's we could have mobilised individual companies. We trained at company level most of the time. and at Bn level 3-4 times a year.

Perhaps the memory plays tricks.....
 
#16
Fair enough, but we train at Bn level every exercise. Coy level training, and specialist training is off the menu at the moment for us. Money troubles aperently.
By doing things as a Bn you can form relationships, from phase one right through.

I mobilised with a platoon from my Bn and it worked well. Alright we had some Javlin, some mortors and some patrols but so what, we are all rifle men first.

I wasn't having ago at that unit, they are just the example. We are all spread out, but you can still think as a Bn, not a section.
 
#17
When you say you train at Bn level every exercise do you mean in the sense that the Bn operates as a Bn against perhaps another Bn or do you mean the whole Bn trains together with perhaps one company playing OPFOR for the others?

An important distinction you'll agree.

We seemed to do a lot of Company level training especially in patrolling. We were always big on patrolling. I think we did more of that than anything else! Patrols would generally be about section sized but we'd have plenty of them. Quite a lot of skills training was done in the field rather than at the TAC. Nice in the summer!
 
#18
agree with some of what has been said. my unit couldnt deploy any more than a section at best. recall one working weekend when i was the only junior to turn up and the rest were staffie and above. the only gripe i have is the fact that willing volunteers to deploy anywhere are not supported when they do step up, and then the powers that be complain when they ask for volunteers and they get told to go and interfere with themselves.

rant over for the day..time to go back to sleep
 
#19
lemonsuckas said:
agree with some of what has been said. my unit couldnt deploy any more than a section at best. recall one working weekend when i was the only junior to turn up and the rest were staffie and above. the only gripe i have is the fact that willing volunteers to deploy anywhere are not supported when they do step up, and then the powers that be complain when they ask for volunteers and they get told to go and interfere with themselves.

rant over for the day..time to go back to sleep
I think that's always been a problem. The ones who turn up a lot get promoted. It would in fact be odd if it were otherwise. I recall that we often (on Tuesdays) seemed to have all the Sgts and above in but perhaps 4 Lcpls, one Cpl and perhaps 25 other bods. Most of the Officers were usually there for Tuesdays.
 
#20
Just to make a point. The TA, and the older Territorial Force, was never intended to fill gaps in the regular army. Over 70 Battalions of the TF voluntered for service in 1914 when asked to do so. The TF numbered 14 infantry Divisions, and 14 mounted yeomanry Brigades in 1908. The TA numbered 20 Divisions in 1920 when reformed. After WWII the TA was reformed into 8 Divisons. Both the TF and TA were ALWAYS intended to provide whole units.

The current, desperate, stop gap, ad hoc use of the TA is damaging the TA.
 

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