Will FR20 see return of Recce, Snipers, AT and all the other bits TA Inf is missing?

#1
Back in the good old bad old days, a TA Bn was established in much the same way as a Regular Bn in terms of having a Recce Platoon, snipers, MG Platoon, Mortars, Anti Tank and all that good stuff.

Since TA got re roled into being a feeder system for Battle casualty Replacements, much of that has gone.

Arguments that the TA can't manage such units because "skill fade is too great" or "the equipment today is too complicated" are hogwash as it was managed perfectly well in the past and I can't see that Javelin will be more technical from an operator's point of view than Milan etc.

So how would this fit in with the aspiration for the TA to provide a third of the army?
 
#2
The thing is, as usual, we had the TA set up nicely in the mid 90's then along came Labour, bugger it all up and now almost 20 years later we're back to square one. To be truely effective as per FR20 then the TA must have all elements a Regular battalion has, inc equipment, training, and manning. As much I am an optimist I'm not convinced this will happen.
 
#3
This is where The TA could prove their worth.

I still think the TA should be a form of BCR's and number bulkers but there is definately an argument for training them in the less commonly employed roles. Having a TA Anti Tank Plt for example free's up the regular Bn to concentrate to specific to ops training and then if a fast ball comes in and The Iranians start driving MBT's into Darlington or what not The TA can assist with increased numbers trained in the specific role required.
 
#4
I know we still have our mortar platoon.

But we don't have the numbers to do **** all interesting on coy weekends we are getting like 10 people which you cant conduct a platoon attack let alone some coy level training. Then from that 10 take the coy commander coy 2 i/c the platoon commander and the platoon sgt you end up with 6 rangers if your lucky.

Would be nice if the Ta sat actually got some recruits in and got the numbers up.
 
#5
What about home service type battalions along the line of the old Royal Irish homers or somthing like the Gib regiment? Could that work in the main land. Change the TA to these types of battalions?
 
#6
I know we still have our mortar platoon.

But we don't have the numbers to do **** all interesting on coy weekends we are getting like 10 people which you cant conduct a platoon attack let alone some coy level training. Then from that 10 take the coy commander coy 2 i/c the platoon commander and the platoon sgt you end up with 6 rangers if your lucky.

Would be nice if the Ta sat actually got some recruits in and got the numbers up.
Well yes, there is the small matter of actually having manning at anything like the proper strength. My Bn turned up at camp this year with about one company in total. That's about 14% of the Unit. It's not like we've got 86% on OPs!
 
#7
I am old enough to remember TA Inf Bn's having the relevant attached arms and, indeed, attended two Bn-level camps with them i.e. recce/sniper Pl and MG Pl in consecutive years. I also worked with the Sigs Pl too. There seemed no partcicular problems with lack of skill, far from it. I think that this lack of skill argument has come from Regular Army in large measure - if TA budgets are raped, then there will be a lack of skill because insuffcient resource is devoted to training for more complex tasks. It becomes a self-fulfiling prophecy, but has not delivered the desired end-state i.e. the preservation of the Regular Army at all costs.
 
#8
Well yes, there is the small matter of actually having manning at anything like the proper strength. My Bn turned up at camp this year with about one company in total. That's about 14% of the Unit. It's not like we've got 86% on OPs!
Sounds about right - on a related note, I seem to remember that the unlamented 31 Sig Regt managed about 67 on its very last camp, which was BCIP 4.5 conversion i.e. core business. Going back to the mid-90s, IIRC 6 ROYAL ANGLIAN were tasked to send 450 to Belgium and they managed 404? Far, far better than anything I ever saw with the R SIGNALS.
 
#9
Surely numbers would be the problem. Before I changed units earlier this year I was part of a mortar plt. There where 12 of us (including the psi) of which 3 where recruits. Herrick 13 came along and that went down to 6.

Having these capabilities seems good on paper but could your unit 'seriously' man them. It's all very well blaming government funding but also take into account that lifestyles have changed aswell. Work shifts, wifes wanting to see their husbands, dads looking after kids, etc.

In theory, good.
In practice, not so.
 
#10
We have plenty of interest but we dont't have room. The dead wood of those who have jacket it in and told us **** all has sort of put a hold on recruiting.
 
#11
Sounds like why I came up with my idea (put forward in another thread) for a two stream (NOT TIER) TA.

One stream would be for BCRs and augmentees, up to maybe Plt strength. TACs wouldn't be 'A Coy' or 'B Sqn', they'd be Rural Coy or Urbanton Coy based in TACs in the local area. Their make up would be dependant on what the Vols wanted to do. Although some 'direction' could be used. Thus Ruralton Coy could be a mix of Inf, RAC, RA, RE and REME, whilst Urbanton could be heavy on the Medical side due to the Hospital being nearby. Drill nights would concentrate on basics, whilst weekend/camp concentrations would focus on trade. A County (or further) generic capbadge would be used for ALL trades. This would be the Vol Reserve.

The other stream would be a RGibR style mix of full time and part time troops used for in UK taskings. This would be the Territorial Army.

Regular Reserve would be sacked off as not really worth the maint. If it has swapped places with teh TA as the provider of WE manpower, then it would only be used for an all out drama... and if that is the case then we can sort out those who have served with those who haven't as they are coming through the conscript training depot.
 
#12
. Going back to the mid-90s, IIRC 6 ROYAL ANGLIAN were tasked to send 450 to Belgium and they managed 404? Far, far better than anything I ever saw with the R SIGNALS.
In the late 70s 1 WESSEX sent over 550 to a NATO Ex in Denmark. Biggest unit on the Ex, Reg or TA. Numbers are NOT a problem if you have a decent training programme on decent kit heading towards a solid reason for existence. The rot set in when they started stripping out the "interesting" roles and chopping into MTDs and intensified with the shite CRF role nonsense. TA soldiers are ideally suited to learning a core skill well - AT, Mortar, Sigs etc. We had a CO who had done every single role in the Milan Platoon before taking on a Company OC role. I genuinely doubt many Regulars had the same depth of knowledge, longer courses or not.
 
#13
What happened to the old Support Bns? TA Bns with Coy worth of SF, Milan and Mortars

IIRC 3 Cheshire was one, along with 2 or 3 other Bns.
 
#14
We have plenty of interest but we dont't have room. The dead wood of those who have jacket it in and told us **** all has sort of put a hold on recruiting.
You solve this by allowing units to if need be recruit to 150-200% of establishment instead of turning people away to other units or telling them they cant join becuase they haven't got a car Licence (excepting the RLC for the most part)
 
#15
with the idea that in future the TA will be integrated into the new multi role brigades it is foreseeable that some of these specialisms will come back, but who is going to train these new platoons. Our Regiment shitcanned all specialist platoons and for the last 2 years has been solely providing IRs and this will continue for the next few years as long as Herrick still trundles on.
In the meantime no specialist training has been conducted, and as a result skill fade will be massive or there will be a lack of suitably qualified instructors to train the new specialist platoons when they start emerging. In all probability there will be a mass rush and over subscription to push soldiers on the one course a year.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
#16
It can happen, and indeed should happen, if the intention is for Inf units to be prepared to deploy in unit or sub unit group strength.

Requirements:

Equipment scaling, training time, range time, ammunition.

Issues:

Our equipment was frequently taken from us to meet the requirements of regular units. No arguments - they needed it for operations - but it meant training stopped. If you want to build the capacity, you need to get the kit and keep it.

Training time is a major issue. You need to plan for a TAC based cadre to raise basic skills, 2 weeks of camp for a numbers cadre/concentration culminating in live firing, and then regular, progressive shoots. Courses to teach the execs at the Sch Inf need to be reinstated to the numbers/frequency they used to run at. COs/OCs must also be willing to accept that the numbers of people they see conducting section attacks will diminish as the support platoons will be doing their Sp Wpns training not making up the numbers.

Range time is essential. Dry drills get boring very quickly. 2 or 3 live shoots per year is a must if you are to maintain interest and develop the skills required.

Ammunition must be available, and in sufficient quantitites to support realistic training. The dregs of someone elses budget is just not enough.

It certainly can be done, but only assuming all of the above is in place. If it isn't then you are only paying lipservice to the capability and might as well not bother pretending.
 
#17
3 Cheshire (now Mercians) are coping fairly well, fired on camp with three barrels, ACMT done.
Now if we get back and retain the blokes on ops and run another numbers cadre for them then we could field six barrels and two pairs of Mfc's, however the CP's would be light a bloke each....mix in the recruits who are due for CIC before xmas then we'd be fine.....if you get them all to turn up at once that is!
Our Bn's last weekend asked for a pair of MFC's and used them...now a no's cadre has been done they can have a dry section and someone in main to add to the realisum....we seem to becomming embraced all of a sudden after a layoff....all welcome and good stuff.

As mentioned I think to avoid skill fade the coursed-up people and psi have to keep onto of the skills and the blokes hands on kit, firing done minimum twice a year.

The Mor Plt's should be "networking"(sorry I hate that phrase) and if for whatever reason you're short on manpower get others in.
If you're passionate about the job ignore capbadge rivalry and concentrate on the skills for the weapon system, share ammo as there isnt enough around and seemingly some Bn's are short of blokes to fill the barrels/CP's/Op's and safety...makes ferkin sense!
 
#18
What happened to the old Support Bns? TA Bns with Coy worth of SF, Milan and Mortars

IIRC 3 Cheshire was one, along with 2 or 3 other Bns.
We were sacked in late 90's. It should have stayed, it was good for training - we generally had a 2/3 sized mortar platoon on exercise, competition between us and the other platoons was good (well until my section was fully trained anyway).

Pity the DofInf decieded he didn't want TA infantry.
 
#19
It can happen, and indeed should happen, if the intention is for Inf units to be prepared to deploy in unit or sub unit group strength.

Requirements:

Equipment scaling, training time, range time, ammunition.

Issues:

Our equipment was frequently taken from us to meet the requirements of regular units. No arguments - they needed it for operations - but it meant training stopped. If you want to build the capacity, you need to get the kit and keep it.

Training time is a major issue. You need to plan for a TAC based cadre to raise basic skills, 2 weeks of camp for a numbers cadre/concentration culminating in live firing, and then regular, progressive shoots. Courses to teach the execs at the Sch Inf need to be reinstated to the numbers/frequency they used to run at. COs/OCs must also be willing to accept that the numbers of people they see conducting section attacks will diminish as the support platoons will be doing their Sp Wpns training not making up the numbers.

Range time is essential. Dry drills get boring very quickly. 2 or 3 live shoots per year is a must if you are to maintain interest and develop the skills required.

Ammunition must be available, and in sufficient quantitites to support realistic training. The dregs of someone elses budget is just not enough.

It certainly can be done, but only assuming all of the above is in place. If it isn't then you are only paying lipservice to the capability and might as well not bother pretending.
These issues could just as equally be applied to the Yeomanry, even allowing for a training scale of equipment.

In the Yeomanry's case, (those that nominally carry out the FR role), even if the equipment is there, training time will be an issue in order to get to a reasonable baseline as some skill sets have disappeared and will need to be relearnt.
 
#20
with the idea that in future the TA will be integrated into the new multi role brigades it is foreseeable that some of these specialisms will come back, but who is going to train these new platoons. Our Regiment shitcanned all specialist platoons and for the last 2 years has been solely providing IRs and this will continue for the next few years as long as Herrick still trundles on.
In the meantime no specialist training has been conducted, and as a result skill fade will be massive or there will be a lack of suitably qualified instructors to train the new specialist platoons when they start emerging. In all probability there will be a mass rush and over subscription to push soldiers on the one course a year.
Just pick up the SNCOs etc that are made redundant...
 
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