Was Colonel H a mad fool?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Rumrunner, May 12, 2007.

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  1. I'm not even going to read the article.

    Fool or not Col Jones VC had the desire to serve His country and His soldiers - something that I strongly suspect that John Gedde has NEVER done. Reporters who turn out this type of work should be shot and not heard.
  2. Aaaah

    The crystal vision of hindsight.

    They had only been told there was an Arg Bn at Goose Green.

    When they took the obj, they found there were 1800 En there.
  3. Schaden

    Schaden LE Book Reviewer

    *shrug* first time in combat, first time leading a Bttn in combat, things looking a bit wobbly, up against an entrenched enemy who had superior numbers (even if they were air force bods and Argy air force bods at that) nasty, nasty 20mm aa, no real arty support whole world and their brother looking on.

    Had the right to feel a bit stressed and made a bad pretty elementary mistake but then I wasn't there so couldn't comment, at least he got himself killed rather than having his unit slaughtered by cocking up.

    2ic did bloody well taking over though.....
  4. This will always be a very tricky judgement.

    I got to know H and some of his officers and men of 2PARA quite well during the two years prior to their FI deployment.

    I have yet to meet any two survivors who agree as to what happened, and how H, as CO, should have behaved. And only H knew what was in his mind in those moments.

    What I can't abide are the ruthless MoD-type "financial" assessments of H's "asset value". "The nation had invested X million in this officer's training to conduct warfare, and then he goes off impetuously and gets himself killed unnecessarily in it."

    By that reckoning, all soldiers would be constantly assessing their "asset value" in pounds and pence, and no gallant deeds (or awards therefor) would ever be done.

    Lt Col H Jones VC was a fine man, a personal friend, and we miss him.

  5. Have a read of the book "Not Mentioned in Despatches: The History and Mythology of the Battle of Goose Green" written by Spencer Fitz-Gibbon.
    Quick synopsis below, very good book. Have my opinion know people from 2 Para from the time, and book rings true with them.

    Although much has been written about the battle of Goose Green during the Falklands War, never before have its events been dissected so thoroughly and objectively, nor illuminated so clearly in the terms of current debate in NATO armies on tactical command systems as in this book. The British success at Goose Green was described by the then-Chief of the General Staff as "a feat of arms and gallantry probably unsurpassed in the glorious history of the British army"; how true a picture is given by such descriptions, both official and unofficial? Using factual analysis and in-depth interviews with participants, the author demonstrates that the battle in fact highlighted serious flaws in the British army's command culture. His knowledge of recent attempts to reform the army's command system, and of the ongoing tactics debate, allows Fitz-Gibbon to elucidate the two basic models of command system identifiable in the Falklands war. 'Restrictive control', traditionally preferred in the British army and still the accepted doctrine in 1982, holds that military action can be planned in detail in advance and expected to run according to plan as long as subordinates merely obey their orders. 'Directive command', on the contrary, recognises that the chaos of battle cannot be controlled without overwhelming material superiority, and therefore seeks to establish a more flexible system within the framework of an overall plan. Applying this distinction to Goose Green, Fitz-Gibbon shows that the British achieved much greater success when departing from the army's usual methodology - after the death of H Jones - than when adhering to the practices taught at officer training establishments. The worrying conclusion drawn from this assessment is that inaccurate reporting, and the unquestioning glorification of its performance, have hindered the army's efforts at modernising its command system, with serious consequences in past wars, and for future conflicts. This very readable book offers fascinating insights into how history is written and how armies often fail to learn from their experiences.
  6. Three things come to my mind on this subject:

    Firstly, whatever your opinion of the man or his actions, he had guts and respect is due to him for that.

    Secondly, I pesonally can make no comment on what he did or why because I was not there and therefore cannot appreciate the context in which it happened.

    Thirdly, on the operations I have been on, particularly the more recent one, in spite of the fact that the old adrenaline was already pumping quite hard, if I had heard that the Colonel had been killed I would really have started to sh!t myself. At that point you must realise that if he can get it, you most certainly can!!!
  7. Another factor perhaps worth bearing in mind re this particular report of Goose Green is that Maj. Philip Neame's grandfather - Lt Gen. Sir Philip Neame - was a VC.
  8. Phil N was an excellent bloke.He transferred from the RAF Regt to 2 Para.His grandfather was a sapper subaltern,when he won his VC.It's also worthy of note that the 59 Cdo Sqn RE Tp Cdr took over a rifle company during part of the battle.The Neame family make excellent beer,in Kent!!

  9. Excellent beer it is too!

    Chris Keeble's role after H fell is seldom given due credit, IMHO. His personal qualities were an excellent foil for his COs.

    BTW, the VC-winning Sgt MacKay isn't mentioned as often as merited, either.
  10. LOL! It appears you are not quite the leftist so many accuse you of... I concur.
  11. Mad? maybe. A fool? possibly.

    A hero? Definitely.
  12. I recall a book I read some time ago called 'For Valour' IIRC.

    The prologue gave varying accounts of what people believed were the intrinsic elements of the 'valour' displayed to merit such an award.

    A common thread was the ability to change the course of an encounter/ battle etc by positive and decisive action.

    My understanding of Goose Green was the impetus of the battle had slowed for a number of reasons. Col. Jones actions, when viewed with hindsight goggles, could be construed as flawed. (I don't know, I've never been in charge of an infantry battalion in battle). There is however, no doubt that his actions were the catalyst to restore that forward motion.

    Whether the battle was won because a different leadership method took over is a valid point though. Auftragstaktik anyone?
  13. As crisp a summing-up as is possible, I'd say.

  14. Sergeant Ian Mackay VC - Definate hero, VC for true valour

    Col H Jones - For Valour? Jury is out on that one in my house