What do we really think of UOTCs?

#2
A bit of both. I found UOTC to be mostly a waste of my time and a glorified drinking and sports club for the Cadetship and TA Officers, while the rest of us twiddled our thumbs and wondered when we'd be taught something useful...

On the other hand, I know that those who were in my OTC who didn't join the Regular Army either transfered to the TA or just picked up a better appreciation and understanding of military life. As many of them have gone on to be very successful and few a now quite influential (1 MP, several company directors and a handful of journalists) that can't be all bad for us.

IF
 
#4
woody said:
gives the ta someone to look down on ,And an excellant way for ending ncos marriage s
Co's "protegee",Trg Maj's "special friend" RSM's "bike" PSI's"slut" or SUO,JUO,OCDT. I can never tell the difference.
But seriously,folks, the money from my shares in CLEARASIL just keeps rolling in on account of these fine young men and women :lol:
 
#6
IdeasFactory said:
On the other hand, I know that those who were in my OTC who didn't join the Regular Army either transfered to the TA or just picked up a better appreciation and understanding of military life. As many of them have gone on to be very successful and few a now quite influential (1 MP, several company directors and a handful of journalists) that can't be all bad for us.

IF
If you left the army and applied for a job between 1945 and about 1990 chances are the company you applied to had someone there who had done national service. Whatever you think about these erstwhile soldiers, they at least understood a little bit about what it meant to wear a uniform and could appreciate where you had been for the last twenty years of your life.

One of the side-effects of 'the Troubles' was that the regular Army withdrew inside a protective shell and to a large extent, the only public exposure to uniforms for two decades was either the ceremonial stuff or the TA.

Try explaining that you were in the Army to an interviewer nowadays and you will get a reaction that will be based purely on the current perception of the military at the time - usually courtesy of the pinko lefty 'meejah'.

If it does nothing else, the OTC machine at least pumps out a few potentially high-powered civvies who have fond memories of the Queen's uniform (even if it was only ever worn in the bar).

Slag 'em off at will if you like but IF has a point - like it or lump it, 'three years and out' or 'twenty-two and a chestful of gongs', we're all civilians in the end and it might be useful if a future employer knew about 'the smell of the webbing'.

My verdict: they might not be soldiers but they could be damned useful one day.
 
#7
ILTB that of the three intakes to RMAS in 1994 if you added up all those who had spent time in OUOTC then they were only one section short of one entire intake. How much of that was contemporary propaganda from the 'finest (and best funded) of the OTCs' I don't know.

On the other hand... recent experience suggests that the vast majority of current OTC cadets are not recruited into either the Regs or the TA. This does seem a waste of investment - even considering the OTCs' mission statement as discussed above. (There is a lengthier discussion of this on the TA Recruiting thread in the TA forum.)
 
E

error_unknown

Guest
#8
I joined an OTC as an Army Bursar in the early 80s and it certainly wasn't a complete waste of time: I learned how to put my uniform on, basic weapon handling, sigs, a bit of map reading etc, but the tactical side was farcical. I moved on to a 'real' TA unit after a year which was better but considerably more time consuming. But I would have to say that the only useful thing I got out of the OTC for Sandhurst/regular Army, was a knowledge of MAPCO, Slidex and BATCO.

I strongly agree with Shortfuse that the Army's basic profile problem stems from the fact that we have been hiding ourselves away from PIRA since the late 70s. Civilians virtually never see uniformed soldiers - regular or TA - doing normal things any more: like doing their shopping, taking their kids to school etc etc, and they thus tend to view us like weird aliens as opposed to normal members of society. The 'footprint' of the OTCs is so small that their impact on opinion formers can be marginal at best.
 
#9
I believe that the OTCs were set up, like the University Air Squadrons not to act primarily as a recruiting tool for the Army or TA but to provide a quantity of graduates with basic military or flying experience to build on should there be a major war. The question is then: Is this remit still valid? It was probably usefull during WWII, but is any major punch-up these days going to last long enough to get them trained up?
 
#10
All OTC officer cadets are TA group B soldiers. Contrary to popular belief, OTC are liable for for call-up in 'dire national emergency' (check your green terms of service sheet if you've still got it OTC types) but let's face it, even the MoD aren't completely stupid and WWII veterans would probably be given a stick or something to defend the country should the need occur.

The official line on OTCs is that they promote a deeper understanding and a good impression of the Army amongst undergraduates who will rise the top of their chosen fields whether that be in the British Army or civilian life. Of course, if the odd one or two want to wear green as a career, that is a bonus for recruiting. It's basically to ensure that those who will be captains of industry in the future don't turn out like Piers Morgan.
 
#11
Unknown_Quantity said:
Can anyone say with authority what the percentage of OTC wallahs going on to the regs or TA is?
Of finalists (remembering that less than a third of those who join the OTC get this far) roughly a quarter will go to RMAS to do the CC (including Bursars etc.), 1 in 20 will become a Cat A TA officer and 1 in 20 will become a TA enlisted soldier.

The figures are biased by the fact that they're finalists, so exclude those leaving earlier to enter the TA, either as officers or soldiers.
 
#12
IdeasFactory said:
On the other hand, I know that those who were in my OTC who didn't join the Regular Army either transfered to the TA or just picked up a better appreciation and understanding of military life. As many of them have gone on to be very successful and few a now quite influential (1 MP, several company directors and a handful of journalists) that can't be all bad for us.
I second (or is it third?) the view that the OTC helps to give potential opinion-formers a positive impression of the Army. It might not be a realistic impression but at least it's a favourable one. And your ex-OTC chief executive will appreciate the significance of having attained the higher SNCO ranks, whereas a pure civvy wouldn't have a clue.

There must be many more than just 1 MP, several company directors and a handful of journos with OTC experience. I personally know an MP and a journo who are ex-OTC and are or were in the TA and I'm no social animal, so unless I've been unusually lucky there must be more of them around.

chickenpunk said:
I strongly agree with Shortfuse that the Army's basic profile problem stems from the fact that we have been hiding ourselves away from PIRA since the late 70s. Civilians virtually never see uniformed soldiers - regular or TA - doing normal things any more: like doing their shopping, taking their kids to school etc etc, and they thus tend to view us like weird aliens as opposed to normal members of society.
Although I disagree with the point that chickenpunk goes on to make (about OTC's footprint being too small to influence public opinion much), what he says in the bit quoted above is right. It is particularly true of London, where the Army is perceived as basically ceremonial or a bunch of Scots and Scousers who would happily venture down to the Big Smoke to oppress the populace, given an excuse. I say more swanning around in uniforms looking dashing!
 
#13
Bladensburg said:
I believe that the OTCs were set up, like the University Air Squadrons not to act primarily as a recruiting tool for the Army or TA but to provide a quantity of graduates with basic military or flying experience to build on should there be a major war.
Except in the UAS if you aren't joining RAF after Uni then you can only do two years with them, after that you're out.

Other point, as well as familiarising future managers with the forces, you're also giving students leadership and analytical skills that they probably wouldn't gain otherwise.
 
E

error_unknown

Guest
#14
Dr Evil said:
There must be many more than just 1 MP, several company directors and a handful of journos with OTC experience. I personally know an MP and a journo who are ex-OTC and are or were in the TA and I'm no social animal, so unless I've been unusually lucky there must be more of them around.
Well, I know lots of journos, MPs, Company Directors etc etc, and very, very few have any experience of the TA, OTC or regular services for that matter, other than what they see on the news, at ceremonial occasions or occasional TV docu-soaps. Of course there are a few ex-regulars and serving TA on the Tory benches in the Lords and Commons, but few of them could be described as influential (an honourable exception being Desmond Swayne who served on Telic 2 and is a frontbench NI spokesman); they are mostly there because the little old ladies who make up Tory selection committees rather fancy them. My University didn't have its own OTC, we had to travel to a bigger one thrity miles away, and I think I'm right in remembering that a massive seven of us used to make the trip every week: that is hardly a big 'footprint'.
 
#15
chickenpunk said:
Well, I know lots of journos, MPs, Company Directors etc etc, and very, very few have any experience of the TA, OTC or regular services
....but then, with the 19 OTCs each taking in between 60 and 100 per year (call it 75 each for cash), that's 1500 more "opinion-formers" per year than otherwise. Assuming a 40-year career, that's about 60,000 people in the workforce. Better than nowt.

ISTR that someone runs an "OTC review" about every five or six years. Every one of the reviews has come back and said "the OTCs are worth the money".

Of course, those reviews have occurred at about the same frequency with which the infantry is reorganised, or some politico announces that "thanks to the following changes, the TA is more relevant now than ever before".
 
E

error_unknown

Guest
#16
Gravelbelly said:
....but then, with the 19 OTCs each taking in between 60 and 100 per year (call it 75 each for cash), that's 1500 more "opinion-formers" per year than otherwise. Assuming a 40-year career, that's about 60,000 people in the workforce. Better than nowt.
Better than nowt, but feck all in real terms. Of these 1500, according to figures quoted above, roughly 375 are going to go into the regular Army anyway, and how many of the remaining 1125 are actually going to have a negative experience in the OTC, watching a bunch of massively self-regarding dildos dressed as officers disport themselves, whilst the PSI's rip through the good-looking women like Velociraptors in a petting farm? Hmm, so let's say, generously, that there will be 30,000 ex-OTC people in the workforce (and the huge, huge majority will not be 'opinion formers' in any way, but we'll let that go) who have a sufficiently positive experience of the OTC to let it influence their judgement. Feck me: 0.1% of the workforce at a generous estimate; big deal.

Gravelbelly said:
ISTR that someone runs an "OTC review" about every five or six years. Every one of the reviews has come back and said "the OTCs are worth the money".

Of course, those reviews have occurred at about the same frequency with which the infantry is reorganised, or some politico announces that "thanks to the following changes, the TA is more relevant now than ever before".
Nobody ever failed to get promotion by recommending that some senior officer's empire should be bigger. It's the really clever ones who get to the top by recommending cuts: see PoD etc.
 
#18
army_of_1 said:
All OTC officer cadets are TA group B soldiers. Contrary to popular belief, OTC are liable for for call-up in 'dire national emergency' (check your green terms of service sheet if you've still got it OTC types) but let's face it, even the MoD aren't completely stupid and WWII veterans would probably be given a stick or something to defend the country should the need occur..
Something that came home to roost at OTC's all over the country in 1990 where TV footage of the republican guard rampaging through Kuwait and rumours of a middle eastern WW3 soon sorted those who took their commitment seriously from those who did not............

Trotsky
 
#19
Trotsky said:
army_of_1 said:
All OTC officer cadets are TA group B soldiers. Contrary to popular belief, OTC are liable for for call-up in 'dire national emergency' (check your green terms of service sheet if you've still got it OTC types) but let's face it, even the MoD aren't completely stupid and WWII veterans would probably be given a stick or something to defend the country should the need occur..
Something that came home to roost at OTC's all over the country in 1990 where TV footage of the republican guard rampaging through Kuwait and rumours of a middle eastern WW3 soon sorted those who took their commitment seriously from those who did not............

Trotsky
Two guys I knew transferred to the UAS because they thought there was no liability there as opposed to being called up for sure at the OTC.
 
#20
I'd agree with most of what is written here about UOTCs. But as a useless civvie bastrad who did 4 years in the OTC I'd say the bald figures underestimate the influence. At officer level in particular one of the Army's biggest 'image problems' is not the lack of men in uniform but the fact that they are drawn from a very limited subset of society. We all know the recruiting stereotypes - all my serving friends fit them and I love 'em for it - but they don't exactly fit into society's mainstream.

Now OTCs aren't exactly melting pots either, but those OTCers who don't join up go into civvie jobs where state schooling and red brick universities/ Independent-reading politics are the norm. And I'm afraid this is as true in the City as it is amongst primary school teachers. When these people meet ex-OTC types (and even more significantly their serving Army friends) you’d be amazed what they expect them to be. I was brought up a proper leftie and my parents had apoplexy when I joined the OTC; their road-to-Damascus moment came eventually when I explained that the charming bloke chatting up my mother at a drinks do was not just a fellow student but a cadetship officer signed up for a Guards regiment. A highly intelligent woman, she had never dreamt that a man planning a career in soldiering could be intelligent enough to do PPE at Oxford – it’s depressing, but never underestimate how little the average middle class urban civilian knows about the forces.

I can honestly say that not just my friends and colleagues, but many of their friends and families have all changed their opinions of what the Army is as a result of meeting people even vaguely connected with and cognizant of Army life. That’s not because I’m special or I have lots of friends – it’s because they were so spectacularly ill-informed/ antagonistic in the first place, and never imagined that highly educated, reasonably level-headed people would join the military. I’m not saying this bunch won’t still go on anti-war marches or dislike posh blokes killing foxes, but they are certainly far better disposed to the notion of the Army as human beings rather than murderous machines of the state.

Just an opinion, of course.
 

Latest Threads

New Posts