"War blamed as 6,000 quit Territorial Army" - Sunday Times

#1
An article in today's Sunday Times based on the figures already posted in one of our "Westminster" threads last week. TIMES ONLINE LINK
THE Territorial Army (TA) is suffering a manning crisis with more than 6,000 soldiers quitting in the past year because of the war in Iraq.

A £3m television advertising campaign has flopped, bringing in fewer than 600 recruits, and, at 35,000, the strength of the TA has dropped to its lowest point since it was founded in 1907. This is more than 6,000 below its required strength of 41,610.

Ministers admit the real figures are even worse — only 24,000 troops are fully trained and in practice only 12,000 TA soldiers are now available to back up the regular army on operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans...
This claim is new to me:
...The shortages come as General George Casey, the US commander in Iraq, expressed concern at the lack of troops to patrol the border between the British sector and Iran.

His comments follow the refusal of John Reid, the defence secretary, to allow military commanders to increase the number of British troops in southern Iraq by 25%.

Major-General Rob Fulton, the British commander in the south, asked for the 2,000 extra troops to mount a border surveillance operation, senior defence sources said.

But it was refused for what senior commanders believe were political reasons with Reid willing to sanction only the addition of fewer than 200 extra troops.

The government’s refusal to increase troop numbers amid an increase in insurgent attacks is in stark contrast to the American position...
 
#2
My deepest apologies Prime Minister,
I really should of asked before i got married if it was ok to leave the TA.
nahhhhhh.
Just most of us fed up and being out of work when we get back i reckon.
 
#3
too many of the best soldiers get back from TELIC and then just go straight back to earn some big cash. Also, unsurprisingly they want to see their families and not spend weekends on ex again. Also many see ops as culmination of their TA careers, and are happy to leave after.

I agree that our defence policy is in tatters, that Iraq is a mess and we are chronically under recruited. However, we must also realise that as TA we are not pensionable (unlike the Nat Guard) and even if our employers support us, two years out of our careers is really too much, and so however well the TA could be managed does any govt really think it could get 2 op tours out of most of us?. we don't support our troops here, however highly we are regarded as professionals, and while Kipling is correct the army will be undermanned.
 
#4
Be classed as a "migrant worker" by govt so they can avoid pension rights; get your teeth pulled out on mobilisation because MoD won't pay for dental work; go to war with whatever kit you managed to buy on eBay; work with an Army whose heirarchy is so politicised that its deemed acceptable to fight wars with three men and a spud gun; get no real-world employer compensation; get no real-world employment protection; get no post-Ops support, particularly for individual mobilisees; spend several years personally chasing the trinklet medal that is just about all you have to show for your loyalty; try and get another civvie job when every employer believes the govt will move the mobilisation goalposts again;.......... and now get blamed by the spin doctors because you left the TA........
 
F

fozzy

Guest
#5
4(T) said:
Be classed as a "migrant worker" by govt so they can avoid pension rights; get your teeth pulled out on mobilisation because MoD won't pay for dental work; go to war with whatever kit you managed to buy on eBay; work with an Army whose heirarchy is so politicised that its deemed acceptable to fight wars with three men and a spud gun; get no real-world employer compensation; get no real-world employment protection; get no post-Ops support, particularly for individual mobilisees; spend several years personally chasing the trinklet medal that is just about all you have to show for your loyalty; try and get another civvie job when every employer believes the govt will move the mobilisation goalposts again;.......... and now get blamed by the spin doctors because you left the TA........
Outstanding.
Again the Government is doing it on the cheap and is now suffering the concequences. The "migrant/casual labour" bit really is a kick in the nads. The fund of goodwill has been well and truly cashed over that one.

I certainly agree with an earlier remark that many TA soldiers saw TELIC as the culmination of their careers. We had several excellent soldiers leave, as they said there was nothing they could do that could top what they did on operations, or that they had done what they had joined to do. That's only natural and isn't confined to the TA.

If we're going to maintain a reserve component then it needs to be funded properly, trained properly and given better protection in law. I haven't seen any of this from FAS btw.

And please, no more fat cooks in gliders.
 
#6
The reality is that the TA as an organisation has been raped by the regular army in a desperate attempt to plug gaps in their own manning.

All this guff about the TA changing more in the last two years than in the previous x decades is true. The trouble is that the TA is not driving the change, it is being driven.

That's why the goodwill is drying up and we are having greater and greater difficulty in getting blokes in through the front door and keeping them in, because they are now aware of the fact that the chances of mobilising with their mates, to do the job they trained for is extremely low.

msr
 
#7
I would be interested to know if turn over is any different than it was pre-Telic. Perhaps someone could enlighten us.

At Company level things "feel" different, but I think recruiting is pretty healthy at present. The present tranch of recruits seem willing to mobilise and those of us that have stayed are keen to put over lessons learned. I think it is a certain amount of post tour funk, but a fair amount of my blokes are willing to mobilise again.

Recruiting and retention have always been an issue. Better conditions of employment would certainly improve matters and make a paralell career as a reservist more attractive. The cynic in me says that this is not high on the MOD agenda.
 
#8
Here's a thought, it's because the TA has now become sh1t?

I joined at the end of 1996, TA took up about 2 weekens a month, either prepping for exercise or going on exercise.

I was in a 'home defence' yeomanry unit at first, then got re -roled but still basically had loadsa fun on exercises with a core of good lads and lasses.

Lots of exercises, plenty of pyro, and realistic training too.

We had a squadron compliment of vehicles which we worked hard to look after and kit out to suit our purposes. Often coming in on maintenance weekends spending all of sat and sun sorting out the wagons, and having a spot of 'troop bonding' (getting on the p1ss) in the evenings.

It was great.

Now, Ive been out for 2 years but it was getting sh1t before I left, some of it down to squadron politics but a lot of it from the powers that be.

Now, there is a central pool of vehicles to be requested for an exercise, which you dont have any reason to kit out or take extra care of,that is arrse!

The main ammo for an exercise is the 'TA bang-bang' round.

Not very realistic if a lot of your training is with 'notional' kit, cam poles and mine tape.

A lot of people left for the reasons mentioned previously, but not many of the experienced soldiers are gonna hang around if they give up their precious time, away from family friends and pub, if it's just NOT FUN to do anymore!
 
#9
Hold on let me think about this, do I want to play soldiers every now & then, get paid for having a laugh, then I get to go back to my nice warm office. Or do I want go to a crap ridden country that doesn’t want me there, & at the same time I have no right in being there & get some rag head shooting at me or even worse try to blow the crap out of me & my mates.

Er I’ve a choice, & my choice is up yours TB you go if you think it’s so important.
 
#10
Mr_McKay said:
I would be interested to know if turn over is any different than it was pre-Telic. Perhaps someone could enlighten us.
The strength of the TA has been dropping since at least June 1999 (which is as far back as my quotable stats go).

msr
 
#11
msr said:
Mr_McKay said:
I would be interested to know if turn over is any different than it was pre-Telic. Perhaps someone could enlighten us.
The strength of the TA has been dropping since at least June 1999 (which is as far back as my quotable stats go).

msr
Which is about when it started to get a bit sh1t, SDR looming perhaps?
 
#12
It's too easy to take resources from the TA unfortunately - and the vast majority of people neither know nor care.

'Blue-sky' (ahem) projects that look towards the re-grouping and forces relocation of TA centres - and their people - in order to make really rather pitiful savings are not helping this issue, because in many areas, they are the only visible indicator that we even have Armed Forces!

As to whether the TA is 'getting more sh!t', I really couldn't say, but my next job entails a great deal of work with the TA and OTCs - and it is taken very seriously indeed.

What the hell do I know - I'm part of a regime that is 'raping' the TA. I do apologise! ;)
 
F

fozzy

Guest
#13
Darth_Doctrinus said:
It's too easy to take resources from the TA unfortunately - and the vast majority of people neither know nor care.

'Blue-sky' (ahem) projects that look towards the re-grouping and forces relocation of TA centres - and their people - in order to make really rather pitiful savings are not helping this issue, because in many areas, they are the only visible indicator that we even have Armed Forces!
The constant treasury driven cheese paring will come back and bite the Army. You are quite correct DD, the reduction of the "footprint" across the UK - especially after Options and SDR, and now post FAS - means that the Army is becoming virtually invisible to many sectors of civilian life.

Closure and disbandment of units and the selling off and disposal of TAC's may result in small short term savings but with massive damage to the body politic of the Army (Regular and TA). We seem to be masters at slicing the cake in thinner slices - but this leads to death by a 1000 cuts. Unfortunately, the asks on us (Regular and TA) increase but the elastic will eventually snap.
 
#14
US is in about the same position.

A new recruit can join the Guard, be activated, sent to Iraq/wherever for a year, then come back. By the time everything is said and done, he's been in uniform over two years.

Or, he can join the regular Army, be sent to Iraq/whatever for a year, then come back... Heck, if he's only in for a 3-year stint, might as well join the regulars and get all the benefits.

NTM
 
#15
I think the primary difference, C_T, is that British TA and regular soldiers don't enjoy the fringe benefits that a GI does (particularly the generous education allowance) and a British TA soldier doesn't get a pension (like The Guard), doesn't do regular duration basic training (like The Guard). Also, a British TA soldier is unlikely, I presume, to do the twelve month tour of duty that The Guard does.

Which leads me to another question: if the TA soldiers here had the same benefits as the NG would they stand for a twelve month op tour?

V!
 
#16
Has the MOD bothered to find out why 6K personnel have left the TA? I guess not but in case they bother to read this site here my reasons.
1. Mobilised so late that pre-deployment training was cut short
2. Arrived in theatre so late no time for aclimatisation or any in-theatre training
3. Shortages of personal kit, e.g. no desert kit, out of date respirator cannisters, insufficient combopens, body armour issued in UK taken away in theatre.
4. Shortages of unit kit so acute that it would almost certainly have led to deaths had the enemy actually possessed and used chemical weapons
5. Support from my parent unit to my family was zero, not even a phone call from the families officer.
6. A top level decision to send regulars home first but leave TA in place had me, my wife and civilian employer enraged. Civi boss actually wrote to Geoff Hoon to complain
7. Geoff Hoon telling the House of Commons Select Committee on Defence that by the time the war started all the soldiers had all the kit they needed. I don't know what planet the guy is on but its not the same as the rest of us.
8. The whole reason for going to war was based on lies.
I miss the TA and in many respects miss no longer being in Iraq, for despite all of the above it was one of the most exciting and rewarding things I've ever done. I see there is plenty of speculation in the media that between 3K and 5K troops will be sent to Afghanistan next year. I'm sure the TA will be there supporting them (filling in the gaps) but given all the above, combined with a new job and a young family I know I made the right decision however much it hurt when I handed in my letter of resignation.
Geoff, Tony, George et al, you are still a bunch of cnuts though.
 
#17
I agree with Jacques Bustard on all of his point's. I was absolutely gutted the way i and my family were treated by the mod and the army not only on mobilisation but on my return. I was even told that if i wanted my bounty for that year that i had to complete eight in camp training days , and even though i didn't complete the required thirty days to qualify for my OP-TELIC medal due to the fact that i was aero medivaced out because i was going into renal failure the army refused to acknowledge that i had anything wrong with me ? even now when i see my psychologist for my now diagnosed P.T.S.D. the army still refuses to acknowledge this and as an ex reg this sickens me . Yes i volunteered to join the TA and yes i accepted that if i were to be called up that i would have to go ,but i made the mistake of thinking that the GOVERMENT/ARMY/MY TA REGIMENT were going to watch my back like i had been trained to do over the many years of loyal service . And as a result i had to leave the TA , and from the squadron that i was in i would say at least eighty per cent of the trained soldiers ( most like myself ex regs ) have left on returning from operational tours namely OP-TELIC all due to the fact that the powers that be dont give a sh*t about the men/women on the front line . and the final and the best insult of it all all that i have got to show for doing my bit for queen and country........fukc all i lost my job i nearly lost my family oh and i will have to take medication for the rest of my life , so as a final note A BIG THANK YOU MUST GO OUT TO TONY BLAIR ,GEORGE BUSH AND ALL OF THE TOP BRASS IN THE MOD.. And am i bitter ? too fukcing right i am . :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:
 
#18
msr got it right, the Army has raped the TA to fill the gaps. That, coupled with the deeply held conviction of many in this country that Iraq is an unecessary and shameful mess has got us where we are today.

Mind you, I don't blame the regs, what else could they do ? However, there have been some incredibly dumb decisions made from a combination of ignorance, lack of money and perhaps a touch of ARAB arrogance that have made things harder than they need have been.

To my eyes some of the forthcoming changes will make things worse - they are based on the false assumption that the TA soldier will continue to behave as before despite the entire TA-soldier contract (in the wider sense) having changed. If the TA are to be used regularly and compulsorily then we need proper employment protection and a damn sight more financial and welfare support. If we are to be used once in a blue moon then we're probably OK as we are. However, we seem to be aiming for more mobilisations and no more real support. And with less money to train it's far less fun than it used to be.
 
#19
Ok for my tupence worth,

Gordon Brown Regular Inf Btn Budget £10m a year where as a TA one £1m a year,
Not enough kit, bust. On a basic point why are not all my guys issues Body armour with the rest of there kit like gas masks? How old are our rovers?
Organising weekend, involves spending more time on HSE than, the training aims, being told I have to issue goggles to solider working in a forest, to protect there eyes,
Running a weekend, not enough ammo or pyrotenics bust, 30 rounds a man with no thunder flashes, smoke anything for a weekend does not work
Footprint on the ground is really reduced, we as whole must get on the ground and fly the flags- and get our message out, letting people know how good/bad things are going how many TA officers are MP’s now that gets our message to the top.

The Regular army is under funded so any kit that is not used fully in the TA that can be better utilised in a regular unit should be (they must take priority), therefore we should all be funded equally (yer right that’s going to happen) we all need the kit "wolves for all", properly funded we can be a massive aid to the regular army however under the current government (heath education) this will not happen

As an example I would like to point to 131 commando engineers, they get there kit from there regular unit, who see them as an asset, they make the investment in men, hours, kit and FUNDING, in return 131 provide the commando brigade with a pool of men to call upon when needing additional support, the soldiers get the toys which they wouldn’t get to play with in the office jobs, (this is a key retention issue), kept up to date in the latest kit, allowing them to slot straight into regular roles with little or no training, people turn up for planned, motivate, interesting and involving lesson which without doubt helps with the numbers, death by PowerPoint IMHO is not acceptable on a tue evening, (PowerPoint is an aid to a lesson not a lesson on its own) also the guys get focused on one aim (the parent units) and not several

We are a last ditch reserve, if I wanted to me mobilise regularly I would have joined the regs, I DONT once is a fun more is pushing its luck, as always with the TA my civilian job must come first, fringe benefits might work to sway the undecided. However a basic principle of war, is that you always have a reserve, and you use your reserve as your last stroke, the Gov needs to realise this, People will not risk there long term careers for short term thrills.

Without a significant and sustained funding in training, equipment and locations the TA will not recover from this downturn.

Taking cover now
 
#20
Man...you guys are freeking heros for doing that job. We have a lot of folks...more every day apposed to the Iraq row...but overall continue to support the National Guard (and regs). The Guard is called upon for more and more disaster recovery as well.

If it were up to me...you'd be compensated and equipped by my uncle sam.

After all we did invite you all along...maybe because of all that back in 1917 when y'all captured Baghdad.

(you know the oil for the Imperial Navy and Zionism...)

http://www.nmhschool.org/tthornton/mehistorydatabase/world_war_i_and_the_early_mandat.htm

http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/oil/2003/0425byzantine.htm

Maybe we're repeating history...maybe the 'coalition' is finishing this 'business'. I don't know.

Anyway it's a gosh darn dirty way to treat loyal troops the way the TA and the National Guard is being 'used up'...like 'legacy armour'...and old rovers et. al..

http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2003/030417-battletank01.htm

Using up the best of our 'old soldiers' and many new 'boots' to leave them in the graves the hospital homes or looking for lost family and jobs...

Perhaps the 'oil interests' and political parts should rely on 'private security' for the extra 'police work'. 'Whereever'.


:?

Hang Tough TA & NG.
 

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