In a recent episode of the OSINT Bunker podcast, retired Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Crawford, a 20-year veteran of the Royal Tank Regiment, shared his insights on the role of armoured warfare in modern conflicts.

Drawing from his extensive military experience, Crawford offered a nuanced perspective on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, comparing it to previous wars and highlighting the importance of both numbers and competency in warfare.

Crawford began by comparing the coalition invasion of Iraq and Kuwait in 1991 to the current conflict in Ukraine. He noted that the key difference between the two was the Allies’ overwhelming air superiority during the first Gulf War, which allowed them to range at will across the Kuwait theatre of operations. In contrast, no one has air superiority in Ukraine, leading to a more even contest.

The panel for the OSINT Bunker podcast includes @OSINTtechnical@geoallison and @AnAustinThing2.

Crawford also discussed the Russian battalion tactical group strategy and its effectiveness in Ukraine. He questioned whether these groups are large enough to have a significant impact on the battlefield, suggesting that the Western practice of having small numbers of highly competent, technically advanced fighting vehicles might be putting too many eggs in one basket. He argued for the value of larger numbers of less capable vehicles, as losses are inevitable in warfare.

He stated, “I’ve said this 100 times and stuff that I’ve been writing in the newspapers, mass matters, if there’s one lesson that comes out of Ukraine, is that numbers matter. And I’m now beginning to think that this western practice, and I’m thinking of the UK in particular, but it may apply elsewhere, of having small numbers of highly competent, technically advanced fighting vehicles, for example, like tanks, but which cost a fortune, whether we’re in danger of putting our limited eggs into one basket, and we might be better off going for large numbers or larger numbers of less capable vehicles, because losses are inevitable”

Adding to the discussion, Austin, another speaker on the podcast, mentioned the interesting case of the Polish military, which has been given the proper resources to do what they need to do.

Crawford responded, “I’m very impressed by the fact that they have, I think, come to an arrangement with South Korea to purchase some of the most modern South Korean tanks, I can’t remember the nomenclature of them, but also to construct a factory in Poland that will, that will, that will produce the bulk of them. Plus, they’ve got the US Aegis system, and the missile system already in Poland. And they’ve got the Patriot system”.

You can listen here or find the podcast on most audio streaming platforms, including Spotify and TuneIn. We’ve also included a link to all the episodes on this page if that’s easier for you.

If you want to hear more from Crawford, we recommend heading to his own podcast here.

What is the OSINT Bunker?

The OSINT Bunker is a defence and security-based podcast aimed at expanding people’s knowledge of the geopolitical landscape using open-source intelligence. It fills a niche that most people (most people reading this anyway) have for up-to-date, accurate and balanced information on ongoing conflicts.

What is OSINT? For those who don’t know, OSINT stands for open-source intelligence, which refers to any information gathered from public sources about an organisation, event, individual etc. In practice, that tends to mean information found on the internet, but technically any public information falls into the category of OSINT, whether it’s books or reports in a public library, articles in a newspaper or statements in a press release.

Episodes typically cover the UK and international defence matters.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
8 months ago

One problem with the U.K numbers is money what it’s spent on.
The army have done an awful job of getting fighting vehicles and it’s left the only option of purchasing some other countries projects.
Another thing would be could the U.K. make a tank or vehicle 1/5th the cost of current models so they could get 5 times as many?

Duker
Duker
8 months ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

They have the ‘cheap vehicle’ already the 400 plus Challenger 2 tanks produced up till 2002.
It just needs a ‘new’ turret and the associated electronics that gives you the low cost and numbers . A new tank for the sake of it isnt worthwhile anymore

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Duker

386 CR2.
Brimstone on a truck would be a cheaper Tank Destroyer! In addition to, and not replacing, CR3 of course.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

And as of last week that is now available on Supercat vehicles and ready to go despite the prototype being created by exploiting a laptop and a visit to B&Q for a generator. I wonder if we will show interest, a good way to add to numbers relatively cheaply I would say and support an innovative UK business with potential export opportunities esp to Poland and Ukraine.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Its an option for medium and light forces. Ukraine is firing Brimstone off a truck and I guess it is working well.

Jim T
Jim T
8 months ago
Reply to  Duker

We only ever had 386 and that has now been depleted to 214, of which not all are fit for purpose, hence why we are only getting 148 CR3.

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago
Reply to  Duker

Only 213 of those 386 cheap tanks left in service….and the upgrade to CR3 for the 148 tanks that get it is not cheap…its really expensive at £5.4m each (ammortised NRE).

Duker
Duker
7 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Thats not the *real* cost , its just the MoD accounting for the next 10-15 years. Actual intial modernisation costs from contractor are likely to be 1/3 or so
Even so 200+ modernised tanks is quite a strong force , enough for almost 6 battalions, even if they only have 4 active and 2 reserve

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago
Reply to  Duker

Duker, I’m no accountant but I am confused. The media reported that the CR3 contract was for £800m – that is surely what MoD is paying RBSL? We are not getting 200+ modernised tanks – we are getting just 148, which is just enough for the two Type 56 tank units that are in the Future Soldier (FS) ORBAT, the Training Organisation, the Repair Pool and a small Attrition Reserve. We last had 6 (or more) tank units (we call them armoured regts not battalions) in the height of the Cold War – now we have just 3, going down… Read more »

Duker
Duker
7 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Thats using MoD accounting. The add up all sorts of other costs over and above the actual modernisation contract. Loosely its whole of project costs over the next 15 years, sometimes more excluding personnel , fuel etc. It may even include ammunition in some instances. It shows up when the MoD buys US equipment when the tell us The P-8 for 9 planes costs £3 bill. But The US military have to publicly notify their actual contract costs which for each yearly buy of P-8 and 11-14 planes per year comes to £75-80 mill each. https://seapowermagazine.org/boeing-receives-1-5-billion-p-8a-poseidon-contract-from-u-s-navy/?print=print The main point is… Read more »

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago
Reply to  Duker

Thanks for the very good answer.

SteveP
SteveP
8 months ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Absolutely. Add in the RAF spending £4 billion on 2023 numbers on MR4A to receive no aircraft. You’d have thought that the lesson would have been learned after spending £2.5 bn in 2023 prices on Nimrod AEW.

John Hartley
John Hartley
8 months ago
Reply to  SteveP

If MRA4 had been all new build, it would have been fine. Sticking new wings on old bent airframes did not work. Likewise AEW, if it had been Hawkrod as first proposed. So USN E2 radar on larger Nimrod airframe, that would have worked.

peter
peter
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

The comet air frames were not just bent, they had extensive corrosion of bulkheads and frames. Also being hand built the wings would only fit the one the measurements were taken from. Perhaps they should investigate who had shares in company who refurbished the air frames?

Duker
Duker
8 months ago
Reply to  SteveP

The RAF did receive its aircraft They hadnt got IOC and some were still in production.
The Cameron government axed the whole project, those delivered and those under construction as the core reason for ‘nothing’
The obsession with a 4 engine aircraft meant more suitable airframes werent used and the ‘ideal’ Japanese 4 engine Kawasaki P1 came to late to be UK-Japan shared project

SteveP
SteveP
8 months ago
Reply to  Duker

You look like you know more about it than me mate. I thought I’d remembered reports that said a further £600m was required to bring the aircraft into service at the time that they were scrapped.
What’s your view of the P1? I remember comments about it being more capable than the P8 on account of having an inboard MAD which the P8 lacks.

John Hartley
John Hartley
8 months ago
Reply to  SteveP

Indian P-8 have MAD. Debate if it is any good at the high altitude P-8 flies at.

Duker
Duker
7 months ago
Reply to  John Hartley

They do come down low when theres a contact from periscope or electronic emissions

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Duker

Also, the RAF had commenced crew and maintainer training when MRA.4 was axed.

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Nobody could make a similar platform for 1/5 of the money. Even our new budget frigate is not 1/5 of the cost of other frigates.
But we should buy tank destroyers to augment our small number of MBTs.
We should have bought a cheaper recce vehicle and MIV, and spent less on the CR3 upgrade by better negotiating, but that is water under the bridge.

Marked
Marked
8 months ago

Tell us what we don’t already know! No matter how good the tanks fire control is, no matter how strong the frontal armour, no matter how good the active defence, it’s tracks are still easily damaged if they encounter mines. Recovering them whilst under fire is no easy task! That’s just one example of how easily they can be lost. If we ever do need to deploy challenger 3 against anyone remotely capable there’s the real chance of losing them, it won’t take long for the handful we have to start running out. But the same applies to pretty much… Read more »

Steve
Steve
8 months ago
Reply to  Marked

I’m more concerned with all the support vehicles etc. If we are only putting trophy on the chally, it leaves the boxers/Ajax/archers/etc highly vulnerable to low cost drones and atgm. We don’t have enough air defence assets to protect them, so they would be quickly picked off in a near / peer war. Thats before you even start thinking logistic vehicles which would also be targeted, as being behind the front line no longer means safety. Meaning the tanks might be ok but become useless as they are left alone on the battle field.

Marked
Marked
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Anything around the front line needs it. Apc ifv, recon, artillery etc. Every single one of them is vulnerable. It’s senseless having such expensive and scare assets then penny pinching on protecting them.

Either stop at nothing when protecting them or equip in large numbers to be able to absorb losses. As usual though our wonderful leaders are dithering around in no man’s land looking clueless.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Good points. The tank can only operate effectively and with minimal losses if it is adequately supported by other arms, armoured recce forces to their front, Armoured Infantry in IFVs alongside and CS/CSS. However to fit APS to everything is probably unaffordable. In manouevre warfare the skilful side will attack the enemy at both its weakest/most vulnerable point and also endeavour to break the enemy’s logistic and engineering support. Better to destroy 90% of the refuelling tankers than 20% of the enemy’s tanks. Thus CSS should be a key target, and they are mostly in soft-skinned vehicles. This is a… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

it is not unfordable if the armour you buy is cheaper than the hyper expensives Boxer, Ajax.

But you will be effectively trusting your life in the APS like ships today trust their floating in anti missile missiles.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Alex, I guess you have never had dealings with HM Treasury – I have!

IKnowNothing
IKnowNothing
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Sun Tzu. Strike your enemy where he is weakest. So target the vehicles around the tanks. Then they become exposed and vulnerable.

Steve
Steve
8 months ago
Reply to  IKnowNothing

It’s what Ukraine has focused on, taking out the russian logistics chain.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Indeed following the figures each day and the support vehicles are becoming the priority esp I guess as they have to move while the tanks are generally well hidden in defensive positions. Drones really are in the ascendency in such tactics as they thrive with moving vehicles whereas less so in well hidden assets covered in defensive netting.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  IKnowNothing

Very true. Better to destroy 10 fuel tankers than one tank.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Yes read an article a few days back where proposals (non uk) were to add Trophy or similar to light armoured and support vehicles before actual tanks. Struck me as odd at the time, but beginning to make sense the way you describe matters now.

Math
Math
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve

UK and France did a remarquable 40mm CTA canon. With it, short range air cover is perfectly fine. Togerther, on a truck chassi with a short range radar, we could get rid of any small drones, for little costs.
For tanks, the expensive solution is a dead end. The affordable solution may be a robot, on tracks, with a 105, 120 or 140mm gun, driven in front of infantry, shooting bad guys. This is what is expected from a tank. Je n operator drives it remotely, another One fires when needed.

Steve
Steve
7 months ago
Reply to  Math

Not so sure on the CTA for dealing with drones, as the fire rate is low. I guess we will find out if and when Ajax enters service and some tests are done in a realistic scenerio or if they are actually deployed.

peter
peter
1 month ago
Reply to  Math

The only remarkable thing about CTA 40 is cost of ammo, complicated loading system and short barrel life 750 rounds .

Gareth
Gareth
8 months ago
Reply to  Marked

We should invent hovercraft tanks

Marked
Marked
8 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

The RAF would claim them saying they fly, more cuts to the army…

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Marked

True. They lobbied very hard to fly Apache rather than AAC back in the day.

A.Thompson
A.Thompson
8 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

The force of air would likely set off mines anyway and have to be light enough to hover would have limited armour so be destroyed completely instead of recoverable

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

This capability will be the next Mid-life, Mid-life upgrade for the FV 432 with lasers and pulse cannons to be fitted at the following Mid-life, Mid-life, Mid-life upgrade. By then the FV 432 will have been in service for 3 millennia and the Tech Priests will then look at replacing it.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

The FV432 still being in service (ISD 1962) is like the Royal Navy still having Leander-class frigates, County-class destroyers, the carrier HMS Hermes and Sea Vixens.

John Hartley
John Hartley
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Oooh, new build Sea Vixen with AESA radar, IRST, Meteor & Storm Shadow missiles!

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Calm down! But the point is that the army kit is antique in part. RN and RAF would never accept that situation.

peter
peter
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham M

The Army likes the 432 because it is about 1/4 of cost of Warrior per mile !

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  peter

I’m not sure the army has been as focussed on running costs as performance, as you might think.

The army has still got 432s because beancounters did not approve funding to buy enough Warriors back in the day. 2,500 FV430s in service in the mid-80s but only 789 Warriors were procured!

Not sure that it is a great situation to be running 60-year old vehicles, that were designed 70 years ago – and that cannot keep up with the Warriors. Would the RAF like to still be flying Phantoms to augment a meagre Typhoon force?

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
8 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

I bet Dan Dare did.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Marked

Everything on the battle field is vulnerable including and especially soft-skinned vehicles and dismounted soldiers. The least vulnerable vehicle is the best protected and the best concealed.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Marked

Everything on the battle field is vulnerable, but the tank is the best protected asset we have. Everything has a weak spot – doesn’t mean we scrap them.

Mark B
Mark B
8 months ago

The UK brings many things to the table – I have to say that the mainland european countries should really be self-sufficient for tanks.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Mark B

All NATO countries including those that are far away (US, Canada) or are an island (UK), contribute to the defence of Continental Europe – that is what NATO is all about. We cannot opt out of the defence of the continent.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

You bring to the table what you can deliver. Should we also start counter complaining that most European countries don’t have nuclear subs and 2 x Aircraft Carriers?

Steve M
Steve M
8 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Yep, we should act as sea /air experts (sorry Army) our geographical place means we could defend for air/sea (if we buy right equipment) we then provide RC-135/E-7/P-8/JSTARs plus boom tankers and makesure that Tempest has decent range and standoff weapon to allow us to provide support to Poland/German/Czechia/Romainia. We will never have the mass to load up every ferry and surge 1000’s of fighting vehicles across channel aka Re-Forger from cold war days, so we need to change our force structure, have RFA/escorts and JETS to have CSG operational and to keep SLOC’s open and for protaganists to think… Read more »

John Hartley
John Hartley
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve M

The British Army is a projectile fired by the Royal Navy.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

We were discussing the defence of the European continent, not the Atlantic, and a sentiment that most of the heavy lifting should be done by Poland. My point was that all NATO countries including US, Canada and UK (the most distant and the island) can and should contribute to the defence of the continent. All NATO countries (less Iceland) have land forces. In the event of a major war in Europe with Article 5 being called, member nations decide how they respond but I would expect most nations to contribute land forces to the defence of the NATO member who… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

A land war in Europe will encompass all spheres. Land, sea and air. If the tanks started to roll everyone would be involved. How would resupplied come into Europe. Youre not going to lift a Brigade by air.
It will come by sea as it did during Reforgers and they will need escorts. Poland and the like won’t be doing that but the UK would.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

I’m not denying the use of naval and air forces in a European conflict, but this string has been all about the provision of land power in a European conflict. Some of our army’s vehicles are in storage in Germany – the Store Equipment Fleet (Germany) in Moenchengladbach. The Land Readiness Fleet (Sennelager) in Paderborn comprises vehicles intended for training at Sennelager, but they might possibly be used for operations at a pinch. Vehicles (and other equipment of course) can also enter Theatre from UK through the Channel Tunnel. Of course sea transit, probably to Emden, is also an option, and that… Read more »

Mark B
Mark B
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

We are definately not opting out Graham. What we are doing is encouraging countries to deter Russia by focusing on the weapons which will most likely play a key part in defending themselves. Countries such as the US, Canada, France and the UK should focus on controlling the skies and the seas which in turn supports any of Russia’s neighbours which would be the most likely first targets. That said we should have have our own capability & in suitable quantities for our own defence and to support our global role as a potent part of a larger force or… Read more »

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Mark B

The French have 406 Leclercs of which 200 are being upgraded – their army is 119k reg and 23k reserves. They should play a major part in a European land war. Mark, you advocate role specialisation which we have never done before. Perhaps when defence funds are tight and we never get that much of a bang for a buck (a lot of equipment for the money) in procurement – then the time may have come to consider this. Some advocate that we accept a small army (thats already happened) and that we minimise the heavy metal forces on the… Read more »

Mark B
Mark B
7 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Perhaps I am Graham. Since Russia’s hostility to Ukraine began most of Russia’s neighbours have been motivated to improve their defensive posture as a matter of urgency. Alliances, kit, training are suddenly the order of the day. Buying decent armour is something most countries can achieve themselves. It is the high tech stuff that we are actually quite good at (if only we had it in sufficient quantity). Should Putin be pushed back by Ukraine he must know that if he simply picks another target he is likely to achieve the same result. Don’t get me wrong I would like… Read more »

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago
Reply to  Mark B

Much as I am ex-army and believe in the future of the tank, we don’t need 1000-1500. We didn’t have that number at the height of the Cold War – we once had 900 Chieftains. Options for Change reduced the size of the army to its new Cold War Level – 120k reg troops and confirmed that we needed 386 CR2s (delivered from 1998). The threat has not reduced since 1991 and arguably has increased (certainly the world in general and Russia in particular is a lot less stable since then), so the army should still be 120k regs with… Read more »

Duker
Duker
7 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Good points. There seems to a bit of affordable upsizing required not a bad case of the unobtainable.

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago
Reply to  Duker

I am not sure how we could upsize affordably.

All the cuts have been because Government wants to save money in one area (that most of the public don’t care about) in order to spend on health, education, social services, servicing debt interest – that will never change.

Tomartyr
Tomartyr
8 months ago

I think the discussion centers too often on tanks, we should spend at least an equal amount of time talking about artillery and air defences.

Sam
Sam
8 months ago
Reply to  Tomartyr

Yes. We should be buying Archer now for artillery.

Sky Saber is a very good system, but have no idea of numbers.

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago
Reply to  Sam

We are buying Archer (just 14 have been received so far from Sweden) in part to replace the 32 x AS90 gifted to Ukraine, recognising that the former is truck-mounted and the latter is a SPG. Archer has been declared an interim solution for MFS. We should buy more Archer and a SPG.
16 Regt RA received SkySabre from Nov/Dec 2021, but I do not have the numbers in service.

Adrian
Adrian
8 months ago

Fine having extra equipment but can the UK afford the manpower to run the extra equipment.

I’m a great believer in numbers matter but large, hi spec equipment is in general cheaper than manpower (woman power)

Peter S
Peter S
8 months ago

Western democracies have, rightly, become casualty averse. Israel, in particular, places a premium on survival of its personnel. So Merkava MBT and the related Namer APC, have front mounted engines heavy armour and APS. These make the vehicles heavy and expensive. But the idea of favouring cheaper and more vulnerable platforms when one of the biggest constraints on UK forces is troop numbers, seems ill advised. If you want to deploy tanks, make them as powerful as possible. The idea of a hi- lo mix is one possible way to increase numbers. So perhaps a more affordable, less sophisticated platform… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago

If there was the money available, what provides a greater boost to the UK military strategically? Extra Tanks and, more widely, land power? Or extra aircraft, ships, subs, helicopters, and such? For me it is the latter. Our Tanks would be embedded in a wider NATO land force. The other assets would also be with allies, but are also expeditionary assets which could be used in a UK only operation, however unlikely that may be. I do want to see more Tanks, but only slightly more, by keeping at 3 Regiments size meaning an uplift in planned CH3 to 200… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
8 months ago

Totally agree mate, three Armoured Regiments was considered the minimum viable force back in 2010 and the Army placed the line in the sand there and fought hard to keep that number “Go below that figure and you may as well scrap the capability” was the Army battle cry… The Army won, only to have its strength stripped down the road. What’s next, a single Armoured Regiment in the next SDSR?? Never say never, those in the know once said we would never drop below three! Today the British Army fills the gaps in NATO’s line up, it’s mass gone… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
8 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

The Polish are now the tip of the spear! They know the dangers of being under the communist (mad Russian Nazis now) and take defence seriously! Decent lads and lasses who are up for a fight! Poland has been screwed over since it re-emerged as a country and the Polish know their history 👍

John Clark
John Clark
8 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Spot on, they take the threat seriously and are arming for bear!

An American contractor I know has been paving the way for Abrams deliveries and he’s extremely impressed with the way the Poles get business done!

Duker
Duker
8 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Some forget the Polish history. They ruled most of eastern europe inc Ukraine from 1500-1795 as Poland- Lithuania ( but the King of Poland ruled both entities!)
at the end of WW1 the Poles had border wars with all its immediate neighbours and ignored the Curzon line border decided at Versailles for its border with Russia and invaded Ukraine because that region was previously ruled by polish nobility from Poland -Lithuania and then Austrian periods.
On top of that unlike democratic Czechoslovakia Poland was a dictatorship for most of the pre WW2 period right up to the start of WW2.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Yep Poland is the tip of the spear in the East and rightly so.
However, they cannot do anything about the High North or Atlantic, its simply not in their purview.
NATO is going to go down the road of Subject Matter Experts (SME) in certain areas.
UK = High North and Maritime SME with additional Light/ Medium land forces to bolster the land elements.
Poland = Heavy Metal SME in Europe with Heavy Armour.

Airborne
Airborne
8 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Agreed, SME skill sets depending which country deems to be its forte and its needs. All in agreement as NATO, to ensure there are a rounded set of capabilities throughout NATO. Poland will certainly be the ground “anvil” for any future Russian efforts at expansion mate.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Carrier Strike is fine to frighten the Chinese but it will not enable a country to defend its territory against an aggressor – or to recover it.

Poland should not alone provide armoured forces in European NATO.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Not alone, no. I think the point is we do contribute, just not at a multi divisional level with many hundreds of Tanks as some call for. At one Division size, 3 UK Div, that should be our contribution. The DCP and later Wavell review ideally will also augment 1 UK Div to increase its utility from a “Division” with paper Bdes, which it once was, to something more deployable. That the DCP hinted at this and mentioned rapid deployable as well a “forward presence” has me hoping that 3 Cdo Bde become that forward presence via FCF and the… Read more »

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago

I was just responding to the contributor who thought we should let the Poles do all the heavy lifting – that is not what a collective alliance does. Of course we would commit 3xx on warfighting in the central front if Article 5 were called…and probably a bit more Land Forces than that…ARRC HQ, SF, light forces in the High North, 16x, and avn (elms JHC?) Are the current bdes of 3xx really just paper bdes? Granted the structure is dodgy here and there and much of the equipment is old and there are some capability gaps but the div… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Morning mate. No, not 3XX, I was referring to 1XX..and mentioned “as it once was” as it had 7 infantry Bdes lumped into it at one time. Its slowly improving as the army sorts itself out, or tries to. It has 7x, which has the CS CSS, and 4x, which doesn’t. The rest are not all arms manoeuvre bdes, but supports or reserves. I’d like to see 2 Divisions, 1 and 3, each of 3 proper manoeuvre Bdes with supports. We had them in 2015. Moving 16x into 1x, as already noted in the DCP, and giving 4x CS CSS… Read more »

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago

Sorry mate. I misread. The advantage of having two divs each with 3 proper manouevre bdes is that you can bring back Formation Readiness Cycle (FRC) later renamed to FORM – with both divs in synchronised cycles.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

It seems such an obvious thing to do.

Marked
Marked
8 months ago

I’d agree with having the smaller land force if it meant other areas benefited, the problem is they aren’t. The navy is at an all time low number of ships and the RAF is stripped back to the point its barely more than a local air defence force. The government are more concerned with defence spending going into industrial coffers than providing actual defence capability.

John Clark
John Clark
8 months ago
Reply to  Marked

Unfortunately we can have off the shelf mass, or we can have a serious defence industrial base.

We’ve currently miserably failing at mass!

Andrew D
Andrew D
8 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

👍

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Marked

Sadly I Think you’re spot on with your last sentence.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Marked

The army is the smallest its been since the Napoleonic wars and the thing with the army is you needs boots on the ground – lots of them.

Navy still seems to deploy a CSG from time to time, and the RAF is still fighting ISIS on Op Shader. The army cannot today deploy an effective division.

geoff
geoff
8 months ago

Good Morning Daniele. I don’t have anywhere near your and others knowledge on this subject but just taking a view, come to the same conclusion based on logic. The UK has a tiny number of tanks compared to the major and many middle powers who field them in their thousands so it makes complete sense to look at the UK as part of a Nato group with the Brits punching at the top level in other areas-Carriers, Nuclear capability for example. I was looking at an old film on the Falklands recently and it really struck home how we were(just)… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Morning geoff. Numbers go down but capability goes up, that has to be weighed in any scenario.
Where we fired Sea Slugs at land targets our SSN can now put TLAM through a window. So no need for Black Buck for example.

Airborne
Airborne
8 months ago

Mate that’s a great example of how our capabilities have improved, but with numbers and mass diminishing. Head sheds need to find the cash to find the right balance. Cheers.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Agreed. Numbers matter too. But we cannot have both, which is why I always call for a better balance between quality and quantity. By buying some cheaper OTS assets when possible to compliment the gold plated stuff.

geoff
geoff
8 months ago

Indeed and some of the new kit is so scary that future wars will be very different and truly terrifying!

klonkie
klonkie
8 months ago

H DM . I wonder if Sea Slug actually hit anything? There was a fella on this forum who served on HMS Antrim (County class destroyer) that took an unexploded Argie bomb in the Falklands. Can’t remember his name though. They were very lucky!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  klonkie

I doubt it! Maybe Andy?

Klonkie
Klonkie
8 months ago

Could have served on another county class though. Maybe Tommo? Given my brain fade, I probably have my wires crossed, just like the argie armourers who fused the bomb 😉

DaveyB
DaveyB
7 months ago

I still feel there is a need for a “Black Buck“ type of capability. An aircraft can provide something that a SSN cannot. This is the ability to target time sensitive targets that are outside the normal operating areas. The prime example would be a Falklands part 2 scenario. Where the Argentine Government had sold their souls to the Chinese and had re-equipped with Chinese material. It would take a number days at top speed, for a SSN to get from the UK to within firing range of say an airfield. Whereas a cruise missile carrying “bomber” would be able… Read more »

klonkie
klonkie
8 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Morning Geoff, how are things?

geoff
geoff
8 months ago
Reply to  klonkie

All well klonkie-hope they are with you too! Per your post above, Antrim along with a number of others as you know, were lucky to have survived thanks to the fuse issue. It has often been speculated that the RN would have lost another half dozen ships if it had not been for this and as a result would have lost the war, however I don’t think Maggie would have tolerated such a loss and would have used every possible tactic to avoid such an outcome. The key would have been an attack on the Argentinian Air Force on the… Read more »

klonkie
klonkie
8 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Good to hear the weather is fine, cant say the same for a wet and cold Auckland. Good points re the Falklands, very fortunate that the argies didn’t fuse their bombs correctly. I wonder if additional RN escort ship sinking’s would have had that much effect. I think the army and Marines would have landed regardless. Still, who really knows.

Dern
Dern
8 months ago

Just a reminder that Armies win Wars. Navy and Airforces are just enablers and supporting assets.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Morning mate. You’re right of course. Would it also not be fair to say the Army needs the RN and RAF to “fire” it to its destination. And give it air cover when deployed. Unless it’s put on rail cars and taken through the CT, which I know we’ve discussed previously. I recall after GW1 the talk that the several weeks of air offensive had so weakened the Iraqi army that air power would win wars alone. Yes, it still needed boots on the ground. I myself still favour the RN, RAF, Intelligence, SF, first philosophy, but I know what… Read more »

Dern
Dern
8 months ago

Nothing Ex about me mate XD

*edit* Except maybe Exercises.

Last edited 8 months ago by Dern
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Oh! Sorry. You’re still in, thought, let me correct that, assumed, you were out.
Now I get why you said you’d heard stuff about some of the upcoming changes but couldn’t discuss yet.
I look forward to that discussion, when we can discuss freely. 👍

Dern
Dern
8 months ago

Never freely, but certainly more freely. I’ll quietly point out that nothing I’ve posted here is actually informed in terms of project Wavell. If I know something, I’ve deliberately avoided commenting on it.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Didn’t think any different mate. Understood.

Peter S
Peter S
8 months ago

Not sure why you think Germany will supply “the bulk land forces”. The Heer has a smaller personnel total than the British Army. Conscription has long gone and is unlikely to return. Numbers of working MBTs are at a similar level to the UK. ( Similar also to France and Italy). Despite the announcement of a large one off spend to restore neglected equipment to FOC, Germany is only inching its way to meeting the NATO 2% target, after years of spending closer to 1%. If Germany is content to run the risk of funding only a small land force,… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

I suggested Germany, with emphasis on Poland primarily, as they are traditionally a land power who could expand if they get off their arses. They’re also close to the likely area of operations, and Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, the Baltic states, and anyone else I could think of who realistically might contribute I believe are even smaller.

Peter S
Peter S
8 months ago

I wasn’t trying to be pedantic rather point out that we are worrying about a capability we don’t need. When Soviet tanks were deployed just a few miles from major West German cities, WG had a large tank force in an army of conscripts..BAOR provided major support with the bulk of the army and armour forward deployed in Germany. But the strategic position is now so different. Russia is, its nuclear weapons aside, far weaker than the USSR. Half its former population is now independent and much of it implacably hostile and/ or allied to the West. We should not… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Well we have the same viewpoint. As I too don’t want BAOR replicated, and favour a RN RAF Intell 1st doctrine.

I do however, want the Army to be able to field at least one Armoured Division, as mandated by HMG since 2010. And that includes more Tanks than are planned now.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Would the Russian Navy play a significant role in any further and more widespread conflict in eastern Europe?

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

True. From Das Heer website: As of January 2022, the German Army had a strength of 62,766 soldiers

Absolutely tiny compared to what they had even only a few years ago. Could blame Ursula v.d. Leyen who was Germany’s rather hopeless defence minister and now wants to run NATO – scary thought.

Interesting that you speculate on where the British Army may not fight – never heard that – the army is globally deployable.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago

Daniele, I firmly believe that if Article 5 is called for a major war in Europe all of NATO needs to come to the party with land forces (and of course air forces – and naval forces as required) and not hide behind Germany and Poland. For a nation with the defence spend that we have, contributing just one unready, badly structured division with old kit is underwhelming and is a national embarrassment. In Cold War days, in West Germany there were British, German, American, Canadian, Dutch and Belgian armies (and for a time French until de Gaulle got the… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Graham M
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

I did not suggest we should hide behind anybody mate, just allocate the bulk of our defence spend on where we are best placed to help, that is at sea, in the air, arctic, and in the north JEF area. On the wider thought on “where the army will fight” I’m hearing rumours and snippets about this new NATO plan and that the British Army will be moving more northwards, away from the Poles and a perceived “central front” from Poland NE wards facing Belorussia – Russia. As UKAFC have rightly just commented, what does that mean for the UK… Read more »

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago

Thanks Daniele. Our army has the most incredible amount of combat experience in all environments and locations, across the spectrum of effort and ‘weight’. NATO surely respects that and would wish to see the British Army prominently feature in the NATO Orbat facing a peer opponent. We have always valued command of the ARRC and our framework nation status – it was a good consolation prize for losing 1 (BR) Corps. But the world does not stand still. If NATO formally decides that we should be more of a northern specialist then so be it – moot point if our… Read more »

klonkie
klonkie
8 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Morning Dern. From my air force days, we were always happy to oblige a ride for the army from point A to B.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Never a truer word. For all those who support cutting armies, they should look to the examples of history from WW1, WW2, Korean war, Gulf Wars and the current war in Europe. Western armies recover territories seized by the aggressor, and have the potential to seize an enemy’s territory (WW2) if required. Our army actually does warfighting, not just deterrence, decade by decade, and sadly takes casualties. When it is reduced in numbers its chances of mission success are diminished and our casualty numbers go up – we needed an infantry division in Helmand but were just allowed by politicians… Read more »

JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece
8 months ago

It seems the same argument as WW2 – Germany with technically far better Panther and Tiger tanks but simply not enough of them. Overwhelmed by more numerous, but technically inferior Shermans, T34s etc.
Appreciate there were/are different ways of killing tanks both in WW2 and now.
As Uncle Joe said numbers have a quality all of their own – or words to that effect.

klonkie
klonkie
8 months ago
Reply to  JJ Smallpiece

Out of interest JJ, one can make the argument that the Panther and Tiger were mechaniclaly inferior. Clutch problems, difficulty in replacing track bogeys, and other technicl limitations the Sherman and T34 did not have.

Mark F
Mark F
8 months ago

With proper Preperation and storage, we could have put the old CR1 into reserve. We kept a War Maint Reserve right up to the early 90’s, then slowly reduced this as the bean counters looked for the peace dividend. They may not be Top Trumps, but correctly looked after, they would provide a very comprehensive reserve.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Mark F

We still have a WMR of equipment, only now its called an Attrition Reserve and is very small in number.

It was never the intention to put CR1 in WMR whilst CR2 was with the field force. CR1 was declared Obsolete when CR2 came in and was disposed off asap, as we do with all equipment which has been superseded. We don’t keep Obsolete kit – it costs too much to do and there is not enough storage – and the Treasury require us to realise the assets.

Duker
Duker
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

The Treasury asset charge means they pay the government real money for all equipment in service or retained. Scrap it and no asset charge. Its billions per year but hidden amoung other financial charges like PPE Its an insane idea of the Treasury idealists who fight a lot harder for their way than the various Chiefs of Staff Check this on how it works for the NHS https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1113534/ ‘the capital charging system under which the government plays shareholder and banker to the NHS, recovering a 6% return on all capital used by the NHS’ MoD is covered by the same… Read more »

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Duker

Thanks Duker. Of course we try not to scrap obsolete equipment but to sell it on.

Duker
Duker
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

After 30 years and a few existing upgrades most is just scrap, especially if its replaced . Its the ones that arent replaced except with a paper project that are the worry

Jonno
Jonno
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Yes but not many people realise we scrapped half the CR2’s.
Its unbelievable but true. Same as scrapping one of the Fort supply ships.
The defence of the realm is too important to be left to the Government and Civil Service in a time of danger as presently exists. I believe we should have a permanent budget of 3% of GDP allocated indefinitely. The nuclear deterrent would have a separate 0.7% in addition.Foreign aid would be limited to 0.3%.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonno

213 CR2 tanks left out of the 386 purchased. But numbers to drop to 148 CR3s.
Yes, its all quite unbelievable, especially when the Threat has not halved.
I am not sure why the foreign aid budget was set to 0.7% by law a few years back.
I am not sure about a fixed %age for Defence – some years you may want to go higher than 3.7% (as in the Cold War) and other years you may be OK with 2.5%.

Duker
Duker
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Early Cold war was much higher than 3.7%, (1993) even at time of Falklands war it had fallen to just 5% from 7% in 1960
https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/GBR/united-kingdom/military-spending-defense-budget

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Duker

Yep, that why I said you may want to go higher than 3.7% (as we did in the Cold War).

peter
peter
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham M

David Cameron’s chum’s probably run the NGO’s that dish out the aid, more aid bigger salaries for CEO’s!

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
8 months ago

I think the writer is confused.com. He first states that the Ukraine strategy is determined by the lack of air superiority but advocates a policy based on the lack of air superiority. Who exactly would we be fighting, in coalition or alone, where we do not have air superiority? Russia? China? If this is an example of logical thinking by senior military staff it doesn’t bode well.
The real lesson of this conflict is not the silly notion that we need more tanks, but that we need to go all in on drones and to speed up acquisitions.

Steve R
Steve R
8 months ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

The point is that we might not always be able to guarantee air superiority, and we shouldn’t assume we’ll always have it.

If you build your forces with the assumption you’ll always have air superiority then you’re in trouble if one day you find yourself without it.

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

So we should plan for the improbable rather than the probable. That makes a lot of sense. So rather than spending money based on what is likely to happen we waste money on what is unlikely to happen. From a risk management perspective it is clear that he didn’t go to his lectures.

Steve R
Steve R
8 months ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

That’s the entire reason we have nuclear weapons; for the improbable scenario in which someone tries to nuke us or invade us.

If we fought a war alone it’s not 100% we’d get air superiority; we have around 150 Typhoons and F-35s combined; how many of those could we realistically deploy at once to a theatre? We never gained true air superiority in the Falklands because of how few planes we were able to bring with the task force.

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

Not sure what MAD and nuclear have to do with tanks or even air superiority.

Tanks have been shown to be vulnerable, so we should double down on tanks! I think some people are just living in the past with these big tank battles.

Recent events have clearly shown that we should be doubling down on drones, as I have said before.

Steve R
Steve R
8 months ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

My comment on nuclear deterrent was in response to your comment on wasting money planning for the improbable – which is precisely what our nukes are there for; the unlikely event. I’m not necessarily talking about tanks; my comment was that we shouldn’t depend completely on having air superiority and should be prepared for in case we fail to achieve it – increase in size and depth of forces, more AA capability such as Sky Sabre etc, and more of our own aircraft – Typhoons and F35s – if we hope to achieve and sustain air superiority. Right now we… Read more »

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

Nuclear wars are only now “improbable” because of MAD. They were not regarded as improbable in the 60’s. Otherwise I don’t disagree with your comments.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

In BAOR days we fully expected both sides to use tactical nuclear missiles and artillery if the cold war went hot.

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Yes people forget and young people think the world was always as it is now.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

…and aren’t drones vulnerable…to ground fire and jamming?

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Depends. Just as there are different categories of aircraft, there are different types of drones. From the very cheap, which are, to the very expensive/sophisticated, which are not. Most people are not aware that approx 50% of RAF flight hours are now performed by drones. The evolution of Machine Learning, hate the abused/misunderstood term AI, will enable much more support missions.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

Thanks. Interesting that 50% figure.

DaveyB
DaveyB
7 months ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

Drones are simply the new fashion item. In a couple of years the drones will be yesterday’s news. At the moment both sides are scrabbling around for an effective countermeasure. But as they say, wars are the mother of invention. At present a suicide drone such as the Russian Lancet, seems to have the advantage. It is relatively small and is difficult to detect by either radar due to its very small radar cross section or infrared optical sensors as it is battery powered. It can carry a number of different warheads, but it has been using a single shaped… Read more »

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
7 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

DB, whilst I agree with everything you say, apart from the first two sentences, which are frankly silly and below your usual knowledgeable standards. Drones are obviously the future of warfare for a multiplicity of reasons, the primary one being the absence of human loss of life. The fact that there are advantages and disadvantages to different systems is true of all systems. The fact that systems will vary in technological advantage at different times is a given to all systems. I would posit that where this war differs from previous wars is the proliferation of low level drones for… Read more »

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

In the Falklands we surely had local air superiority most of the time?

Steve R
Steve R
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Depends on what you call air superiority, but Argentine aircraft still flew over the islands aplenty. We lost two frigates (Ardent & Antelope) plus 2 destroyers (Sheffield & coventry) plus Atlantic Conveyor and RFA Sir Galahad.

All sunk by Argentine aircraft. So no, we didn’t have air superiority enough to protect our own forces. And imagine losing a similar number of ships today, or even half of that number.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

Just looked up the NATO definitions: Air superiority is the second level, where a side is in a more favourable position than the opponent. It is defined in the NATO glossary as the “degree of dominance in [an] air battle … that permits the conduct of operations by [one side] and its related land, sea and air forces at a given time and place without prohibitive interference by opposing air forces.”[3] Favourable air situation is defined as “an air situation in which the extent of air effort applied by the enemy air forces is insufficient to prejudice the success of friendly land, sea or… Read more »

A.Thompson
A.Thompson
8 months ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

As shown in the Ukraine war, unless fighting a vastly inferior force, with the advancements in air defence, air superiority is not guaranteed and if we rely on that alone to win, then we would come unstuck quickly against the likes of China or even Russia

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
8 months ago
Reply to  A.Thompson

What particular “advancements” in air defence are you referring to? The purported “invincible” Russian S400 has proved less than effective and has highlighted the poor quality of systems overall. So unless you are a believer in propaganda and not real world performance, I suggest that air superiority is a given, and to plan for anything else is a waste of resource.

Steve R
Steve R
8 months ago
Reply to  OkamsRazor

Which means that if we fail to achieve and sustain air superiority, we’re fucked.

Especially since we don’t have the means, if operating solo, to do that. With 150 active combat aircraft, of which probably 20% are in some form of maintenance, we cannot sustain air superiority without the Yanks doing most of the heavy lifting.

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

You make these sweeping statements based on what? Logically, the probability that we fight with NATO is high. The probability that we fight with a peer group is medium and the probability that we fight alone is low. If we have a low probability of fighting alone. The probability that we fight a peer adversary alone is very small to zero.

Do you have a logical alternative scenario that you would like to share?

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

The Ukrainians are managing alright without air superiority. They don’t even have air parity (the lesser level).

Steve R
Steve R
7 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

They’re managing alright but how much easier would it have been, how many casualties avoided, had they air superiority?

Yes, they’re managing it, but it’s a much harder slog than it had to be if they had air power to back it up.

Really, once they pulled off Kherson and Kharkiv last September, work should have begun then to supply them with F-16s, train the pilots and ground crews etc. It would have had much more impact and saved more Ukrainian lives.

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

I couldn’t agree more. Hard enough to do defence without air superiority, but it is verging on very difficult-to-impossible to commit to the offence without air superiority. Ukraine needs F-16s, and they needed them a year ago.

Steve R
Steve R
7 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

We (NATO) should have made moves from September to start giving them F-16s; Ukraine could have 2-3 squadrons flying by now with some spares to cover combat losses.

Not enough for air superiority but certainly enough to contest the airspace and provide cover for their ground forces.

The West has truly dropped the ball with this one. If Ukraine’s counteroffensive fails then we’re also to blame, and should make immediate moves to equip Ukraine with F-16s so that they have better luck in future counteroffensives.

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

True. I blame the Americans in particular, not the West in general. They had not wanted to supply tanks or long range artillery or fighter jets. They clearly want the conflict to be a ‘limited war’ which inflicts punishment on Russia (and to aid the Ukrainians to recover their territory) but not their overwhelming defeat or to fire weaponry over the border into Russia itself. The US finally agreed to gift tanks after the UK declared that it would, although still no M1s have arrived in Ukraine yet! The US has exercised a veto on the donation of all F-16s… Read more »

Matt C
Matt C
8 months ago

Numbers of vehicles isn’t the problem, numbers of crew for the vehicles, is.

Luke Rogers
Luke Rogers
8 months ago

That is a doctrine shift that would be unacceptable in most western countries. It entails the fact that you will need to politically accept the cost of bodies coming home in numbers that would dwarf Op Pabay. Remember the furore over body armour and snatch back in ‘03? It’s time to wake up to the fact that British forces are hollowed out to a force in being, but cannot get embroiled in anything on the scale of Ukraine.

Airborne
Airborne
8 months ago
Reply to  Luke Rogers

Most western nations have been “hollowed” to a certain degree, but fortunately for NATO dumb fuckstain Putin, and his stupid invasion of Ukraine has made the vast majority of Western nations realise their previous errors over the last 20 years, there was never ever a “peace dividend” (aka political cuts and money saving) and are starting to re-arm nicely (I’m sure you appreciate and agree with this). If bodies need to pile up in a peer to peer conflict then they will! You are mistaking politics and political agendas with military professionals and mission end state. But you understand that… Read more »

Frost002
Frost002
8 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

The UK will never fight a peer to peer conventional war. Being a nuclear power and member of nato…..

Airborne
Airborne
8 months ago
Reply to  Frost002

Why not? We would be fighting a peer war as a member of NATO, that’s the whole idea of, er, NATO! Nice of you to reply to a post not to you, any chance replying to the previous posts and the questions posed to you?

Pongoglo
Pongoglo
8 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Oh no Chief of the Orcs Frosty is back 😁👎

Airborne
Airborne
8 months ago
Reply to  Pongoglo

Very lucky that he and Luke are posting on the same stories, threads and posts…..very fortunate that mate isn’t it!

A.Thompson
A.Thompson
8 months ago
Reply to  Frost002

Just like we where when we fought Argentina in the Falklands. Never say Never

Luke Rogers
Luke Rogers
8 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Yep, it’s force reconstitution time across Europe. The question is what vision do any of the political class have for the future forces? Will we again build a force for the last war? We can’t ignore the fact that the military upper echelon are more political than is perhaps desirable. Will they be even more enamoured by a cheap-out force of nerds with drones that looks high tech and reduces casualties? I really cannot see where the next statesman of any worth will rise that would do what is necessary. You are right that the “peace dividend” was a fleeting… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
8 months ago
Reply to  Luke Rogers

Wow firstly a reasoned grown up answer for a change, secondly interesting to note you and old Frosty are answering each others posts to the other’s comments mmmmmm!

klonkie
klonkie
8 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Hi Airbone, I have noticed of late that the troll ski posts are ae becoming a little more “sophisticated”(I use the word in a broad sense) and less provocative than the usual tripe they spew up? What a sad group of human beings they are.

Airborne
Airborne
8 months ago
Reply to  klonkie

Hi mate, agreed but they are one dimensional as when challenged they get frustrated and lose track of their subtle agenda and go off on one! Easy to spot, easy to bait! Hope all is well with you mate?

klonkie
klonkie
8 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Yep all good with me Sir, despite the crappy wet New Zealand weather- where the hell is my global warning! Hope you’re enjoying your summer! All the best , K.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
8 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Agree completely w/ statement that the first of a cascade of mistakes was to coin the term “peace dividend.” Wasn’t it Will Shakespeare that suggested the first step should be to kill all the lawyers (except those that follow this site). 🤔😉

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

The peace dividend cut our regular army from 160k to 120k in 1991 – loss of 40k posts as the Cold War ended.

But then many more cuts have happened since, reducing the army to 73k – thats another 47k of cuts (more than the peace dividend cut). WTF!

[The army’s Reserve forces, then called the TA, were cut as part of the peace dividend too – think they went from 60k to 30k.]

I am sure the RAF and RN would tell a similar story.

Last edited 8 months ago by Graham M
Steve R
Steve R
8 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

“there was never ever a “peace dividend” (aka political cuts and money saving) and are starting to re-arm nicely (I’m sure you appreciate and agree with this).”

Except us, it seems. Our forces just keep shrinking and we make no moves to reverse them.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Luke Rogers

Ironic that Ben Wallace (BW) keeps on saying that the army in his uniformed time (1991-98) was hollowed out, and suggests that it isn’t now!

Aside – I have just found out a factoid about BW from Wiki: “Wallace was on duty on the night of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and was a member of the party sent to Paris to bring home her body.”

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Oh. That’s interesting, had not noted that before. In what capacity?

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago

Don’t know – there was no more to the quote. I guess OIC pall bearer party. With Diana being a Royal, you would need an officer rather than a SNCO for such a role.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Luke Rogers

If British forces were deployed in a major war with a peer or near-peer opponent it would be as part of an alliance, probably NATO. Even the smallest NATO countries such as Belgium and Holland would in all probability be involved, as they were in German bases in the Cold War.

Luke Rogers
Luke Rogers
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Isn’t that simply outsourcing the body count due to a quirk of geography? I have issues with the sensibility and morality of that. The first duty of government is defence of the realm and I don’t like that being offshored to third parties, no matter how friendly at this time. I will admit that I am that most shocking and heinous of all things in the 21st century, a nationalist. As a result I tend to question whether other nations will be so willing to make the sacrifices we are asking of them for all time. Would your average Latvian… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
8 months ago
Reply to  Luke Rogers

Defence and warfare is all about geography, the terrain dictates warfare, simple, and if that means certain countries provide certain capabilities, as agreed within a NATO framework, most could not see an issue with that, can you? And I can see you have never worked with the Latvians, they would be up for a scrap no matter where it takes them. Your example to justify your post was a weak one.

Luke Rogers
Luke Rogers
8 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

You shouldn’t mistake the intent and bluster of people who are in volunteer forces with that nations political and general populations opinions. The fact is, the continental people and specifically the Eastern/Central Europeans are going to be expected to do the heavy lifting against the most likely adversary. I know you don’t like or even (rightly at times) sneer at the political implications, you just can’t ignore them. The Royal Navy will not realistically be part of that fight and the RAF is so gutted in numbers and capabilities now it’s almost an irrelevance in the NATO order of battle.

Airborne
Airborne
8 months ago
Reply to  Luke Rogers

Like I said, warfare and defence are all dependant on terrain and geographical features. Of course Europe will have to do the heavy lifting as they are located (geographically) where the main threat lies. UK will do the normal NATO commitment of Norway, flanking and light forces, ASW, ISTAR, SF, RFA etc and I must say you are wrong in regard to the RAF. But I have to say, once you get gripped and realise you are getting angry on your posts, and giving away your obvious pro Russian agenda, you seem to have clamed down….

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Luke Rogers

What capabilities is the RAF lacking?

Luke Rogers
Luke Rogers
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Aside from the obvious mass to sustain ops in a serious fight with some amount of attrition? I’d say medium airlift with the loss of C130, and consequently overall airlift capacity. On that same subject, with Lyneham closed the whole fleet is reliant on a single runway on one base at BZZ. AWACS is another. 3 Wedgetails are not going to be able to keep 24hr coverage, or in more than one place. The training pipeline for a multitude of trades, pilots being the big ticket item, is in shambles. Ground based air defence and base security. The RAF Reg… Read more »

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Luke Rogers

Thanks. Interesting to see a collated ‘list’. I do question the RAF Regt point a bit. They have 1850 regs and 570 reservists;the regs are organised into 5 x Fd Sqns (117-strong), ceremonial sqn, 5 x FP Wings. They only have to cover grd defence (not AD) of overseas/deployed airfields, not every RAF Station in existence. Surely that is sufficient numbers?

Pongoglo
Pongoglo
8 months ago
Reply to  Luke Rogers

Well their were plenty of Latvians who picked up a rifle and went all the way to Afghanistan because they are part of NATO and because when it comes to their own homeland they know that we, the rest of NATO have got their backs. As Airborne says those that have served with the Latvians know full well that they and the rest of the Balt’s, Estonians , Lithuanians, Finn’s are commited professionals and very fine soldiers as good as any we have . So no your point not valid and I don’t understand why it seems to erk some… Read more »

Luke Rogers
Luke Rogers
8 months ago
Reply to  Pongoglo

Well Afghan was an article 5 operation so it wasn’t optional. As new members they also needed to prove their mettle somewhat (as members, not saying anything about them individually). I would dispute that they brought anything to that fight beyond a token presence and diplomatic support though. You are I fear missing my main point however. THIS country, despite any additional agreements, is and remains wholly responsible for its own defence. Choosing to assist others in collective defence is secondary to that.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Luke Rogers

Luke, you seem to be challenging the entire rationale of NATO (and the principle of forward defence), and perhaps all Defence alliances. Do you favour the UK leaving NATO, which essentially we (Ernest Bevin) was responsible for founding – and concentrating our army and air force in the UK and the navy in the UK’s territorial waters? That’s ‘Home Guard’ thinking. Article 5 was called for 9/11 – all NATO countries responded and several more others – and did their duty in Afghanistan, many nations incurring casualties. OK, that was to get to grips with an international terrorist group, but… Read more »

Luke Rogers
Luke Rogers
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

No, I think it’s essential that the Western powers were and are allied against hostile powers with geographical and demographic advantages that we can’t hope to match. My concern is that our national government is using collective defence as an excuse to reduce or delete independent capabilities for budgetary reasons. If we will never fight a war without the alliance (US really), then do we really need an air force or navy? Why retain or attempt to duplicate such capabilities? I am also a little concerned that expanding NATO beyond the former DDR is a mistake and provocation. I feel… Read more »

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago
Reply to  Luke Rogers

Luke, controversial stuff. Many on this site are happy to see a small army and a large navy and air force! We have little to no recent (last 300 years) history of fighting a war alone except for bush war colonial conflicts and the Falklands conflict. Even the Suez campaign was an alliance with France and Irael. Our operation in Sierra Leone was small scale and post-colonial. The RAF protects the airspace of the UK and the Falklands, transports the army by AT and SH, provides air support (CAS and BAI) for deployed operations in support of the army and… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D
8 months ago

For me our Armed forces need to be on the level of the late 80s 1990 like we had Gulf war 1 .We really have been cut to the bone .Do agree Poland seem to be going in the right direction on defence and looking like there will be the USA new partner on land anyway .The problem the UK has is our politicians way of thinking sadly 🙄💰💰💰

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

How you paying for that force structure at todays price’s? We don’t need Armed Force’s to fight yesterday’s conflicts. We need tech and capability to fight the conflicts of the future, which will be very different from the Gulf War of 1990.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

We fought Gulf War 1 with an armoured division. Today we have an armoured division (that needs to be smartened up, I grant you).

Matthew
Matthew
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

We don’t really have an armoured division

Pongoglo
Pongoglo
8 months ago
Reply to  Matthew

Don’t understand people running down 3 Div , the UK Armd Div as they do..Spent a couple of months in Estonia on Op Cabrit before XMas and whilst some might not like to hear this the UK contribution is impressive indeed. Chally 2 in particular is more than capable of holding its own against anything the bad gut might want to send it’s way and good ol Warrior as reliable and lethal as ever. Backed up by a Squadron of Danish Leo 2’s and an equally well equipped Estonian Bde ( soon to be two) we have a very narrow… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago
Reply to  Pongoglo

Then add in all the supporting arms that would come in to play and the other armed services.
Deep strike from air and naval assets.
Interdiction of enemy vehicles.
SEAD

Matt
Matt
8 months ago
Reply to  Pongoglo

I am not disparaging the capability. But with all the cutbacks, the size that can be deployed would not technically be that of what used to be considered an armoured division. Additionally, future plans to procure only 148 CR3 tanks mean a lower tank component.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Matthew

We would if the army re adjusted the ORBAT.
Put 7 Bde into it, retain the 3rd regiment of tanks and give them to 7 Bde, and give 4 RA Archer instead of LG, you’re on the way to having an Armoured Division.
Sure it needs modern kit but that is Ajax and Boxer and they are coming.
People need to remember from 97 to 2010 virtually nothing beyond UORs, Titan, Terrier and Trojan was ordered for the army. That is a generation lost.

Dern
Dern
8 months ago
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Dern

BOOM! There it is.
Wavell report, pretty please.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago

Although I see KRH still goes to Armd Cav rather than remaining as Tank, and given to 7.

I’ve also always been curious as to why 8 FE was placed in 1 UK, thought it more at home in Theatre/Force/Field Troops, as its 2 GS Eng Regs, 36RE At Maindstone and 39 RE at Kinloss are general and air support, so would support not just 1 UK, but the wider force. And likewise 29 EOD Group.

At least now both 1 and 3XX have their own DIEG of RS and IC Reg/Bn too.

Dern
Dern
8 months ago

This was low effort, just moving the existing unit counters from a previous orbat around rather than creating new things for the most part. No point until Wavell actually releases putting huge amounts of effort into a new graphic.

The thing I’m skeptical of is 3 Cdo going under 1 UK XX, we both know it would make sense, and should happen (even if in reality it’s now only got 2 Battalions, orbat not withstanding), but I doubt the Navy would ever let it subordinate like that.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Agreed.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Matthew

I mentioned that it needed smartening up – ie kitted with upgraded or new AFVs and certain weapons. If war flared up in Europe or the Middle East in the next few years I would be surprised if 3 Div did not deploy albeit with the disadvantages we all know about.

Andrew D
Andrew D
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

I agree prices are a nightmare and tech and capability is important but you most allow for battle loses .And what is the price for peace 🍺

Steve R
Steve R
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

We do need greater mass, though. Our current force structure only works if we’re part of an alliance e.g. NATO and also assuming we take no losses in ships, aircraft, tanks etc.

We have no mass to sustain losses – if we lost a single Type 45 destroyer in combat our carrier group would be at tremendous risk.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

I agree on escort numbers. 24 for the RN with a carrier force should be the absolute minimum and 8 SSN’s. I genuinely think, after the experience of Iraq and Afghanistan we and many other western forces will not get involved in any overseas adventures unless it is part of NATO or with UN resolution backing. And it’s a cheaper option than planning on going it alone. Maybe its a sensible plan, NATO could overwhelm Russia if we had too, and China isn’t a match for American and allied forces in the Pacific despite China’s rise. Not yet anyway. The… Read more »

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Afghanistan (Op HERRICK for us) was of course a NATO operation following an Article 5 declaration.
Iraq (Op TELIC for us) was of course a very different matter and was not launched follwing a specific UN Resolution for armed force.
British forces almost never go it alone – it is not the exception rather than the rule.

Airborne
Airborne
8 months ago

Oh dear, another post by you showing the value of having military experience when posting about, er, military subjects at both tactical and strategic level!

Gary
Gary
8 months ago

Need a low cost anti tank capability.In the same way in WW2 fireflies were spread out amongst normal Shermans.A tank destroyer or less expensive MBT needs to be added in numbers to the challengers.
Perhaps a Boxer variant.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago
Reply to  Gary

True. Brimstone on a AFV chassis for the armoured brigades and on a truck elsewhere.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago
Reply to  Gary

But with Brimstone…

Dern
Dern
8 months ago
Reply to  Gary
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Dern

I was about to ask “what are they” until I saw the clue in the flag. Centauro?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago

Do armies routinely keep the barrel covers on when on exercise?Assuming these are indeed on exercise?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Great photos. Not seen that.

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago

If they are not firing on exercise then it makes sense to keep the muzzle cover on – keep the rain, mud and crap out of a highly engineered component.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Yes, that’s logical.

Dern
Dern
8 months ago

Yes, though I’d specifically ask for the B2 version with the 120mm over the 105 for commonality with CR2. Also Italy ordered 100 of them 2 years ago so the prodcution line for the B2 is relatively fresh (I assume though we’d want some production in the uk)
https://i.imgur.com/AK8tvEt.jpg
Comparison between them.

Also only weighs 30t

Last edited 8 months ago by Dern
Dern
Dern
8 months ago
Reply to  Dern

https://i.imgur.com/tGuNpy4.jpeg

There’s a way to integrate them organically into battalions as well.
A 50 vehicle purchase would be enough to give every MI Battalion in 3rd Division (including 7X) a Centuro DF platoon.

Last edited 8 months ago by Dern
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Sure, their own Platoon in FSC.

So. I’d read of this vehicle before without ever looking into it in any great detail. With that price, weight, and wheeled, with that gun for DF, why oh why was this not bought for Strike?

WHY?

To me, and I know not about the tech details of vehicles, it seems absolutely ideal. Especially as a DF version of FRES was also planned and died a death due to saving cuts.

Did the army even trial it??

Dern
Dern
8 months ago

As far as I know it never came into the discussion. God knows why. There’s even an IFV version of it, the Italian Freccia is the same chassis but with the 120mm replaced by a 25mm and 8 dismounts. They also made a mortar carrier and recce version… of a vehicle that was designed to do long road marches up and down the Italian coast to repel Amphibious Landings. It’s just over all a very good little vehicle and I’m gutted we never went for it tbh. It’s like every time somone says “Well if only someone developed a DF… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Dern
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Dern

What do I know about vehicles? Nothing. But it just looks the part if that makes sense?

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago

I agree. To me ‘Strike’ means major firepower against high-value point targets from a highly mobile, medium-weight force.
[High-value not meaning £££, but key targets – AFVs, bunkers etc]

Last edited 8 months ago by Graham M
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

😁 Thanks mate. Yes, I know the military meaning for “high value” targets. Example, I believe one if the main reasons the F117 and B2 were created, going after Soviet High Value C3 targets. Funnily enough, that didn’t seem to be Carter’s vision. One explanation I heard from army high command was that the Strike Bde for the 3 Brigade Armoured Division planned ( 2 AI, 1 Strike Bde ) was that it was effectively the Divisions reconnaissance force. And for that reason, the AI Bdes no longer needed their own organic recc Reg as Strike would be ahead of… Read more »

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago

Perhaps Carter thought you could destroy or disable high value targets with a Boxer-mounted MG – who knows? I nearly had to reach for the whisky to read your third para. Literally everything wrong with that army high command idea. So the Strike bde leads the div doing div recce – why do they need Boxers in the mix – they are not recce troops? The Strike bde could not do recce by stealth very easily as a large brigade with a massive signature, so its therefore doing recce by fighting; are the Ajax destroying enemy medium and light armour… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

I know. I don’t recall exactly where I read it, only that I did. Strike also had a regiment of Light Guns…God knows when it would have got proper SP artillery like Archer. It was a mess, using already ordered equipment to fit in square holes. In my view, I’d have used the Foxhound mounted Inf Bde in the UK as an interim strike, added vehicles like Centauro, and Archer. Boxer could be added later. But that would not have done, as 2015 was also about cuts, and that would have been an uplift. The only place Ajax belongs is… Read more »

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago

Good points. Carter clearly had an obsession with Boxer and thought it could do everything except provide cannon fire, so why not throw some Ajax into the mix, even though they were ordered for the recce role. Even then this Carter Strike brigade could do little if it ran into a fight with MBTs as it had no tanks of its own and few A/Tk weapons – they would have been destroyed. The Light Guns would have been inadequate as you say. A Strike brigade such as he planned may have worked against an enemy without tanks and SPGs but… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Another thing. I was reading an issue of “The Craftsman” and it stated that the Wksp that are with BATUK deal with the army’s “Biggest fleet of B vehicles”

That surprised me.

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago

I had not thought about where the B vehs are most numerous except to say as we know that they are of course in every army unit, more being in ‘non-armoured’ units. The history and stats of BATUK (was BATLSK, I think) are intereresting: “On 3 June 1964, Duncan Sandys, Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, signed a post-independence defence agreement with the new Kenyan government. Among its other provisions, it specified that British troops could exercise in Kenya twice a year. Today, BATUK administers and facilitates British Army access to the large number of training areas made available by… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

I’d have thought any large garrison or barracks with regiments of RLC would have a bigger B vehicle fleet than an overseas training unit. Aldershot and Abingdon spring to mind.

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago

I can explain. I am sure that if you tot up all the B Vehs in Aldershot or Abingdon or Catterick or wherever there will be may, many more B Vehs than in BATUK. But the claim is not that. It is, I think, that the BATUK workshop deals with the biggest B Veh fleet, ie that its repair dependency is the biggest for a REME Wksp. Each RLC Regt in those Garrison towns you mention has a Regt Wksp or LAD REME which deals with just that one Regt’s B Vehs. The BATUK Wksp must deal with what amounts… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Hi Graham.
Thanks, that explanation makes a lot more sense.
I enjoyed reading it, especially for the details outlining the FS ORBAT regards the Corps, their manpower liability, and the formation of 9 REME as force support for ARRC.
LADs far outnumber Wksps it seems.

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago

Thanks mate. The default First Line REME support to a unit has always (not just in the FS era) been an LAD (an officer (Capt) commanding 50-70 soldiers), with each Sqn or Coy getting a REME fitter Section. However units with just light role equipment such as a lt role inf bn get ‘Attached Tradesmen REME’ instead (a WO2/SSgt with 10-20 soldiers). All the Inf bns that deployed to NI on Op Banner just had Att Tdsm REME, hence as they did not have an officer, I never had a chance to go out there at First Line – and… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Thanks Graham. Clearly a Corps of utmost importance, on a par with the RE. The difference between LADs and Wksp always confused me.

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago

Thanks. My post only covered First Line REME. The guys at Second Line do a great job too. Last time I looked REME still comprised about 10% of the army’s strength – until the formation of the RLC it was the army’s most numerous cap-badge.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

It still does. And has just formed 9 TS Bn REME too.
I’ve had an enjoyable afternoon going through my files that I’ve got every REME LAD and Wksp I can find noted, including some not well publicised ones.

That Craftsman magazine is a gold mine of info.

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago

Interesting. I note from this link below that this new bn has both a reg wksp coy and a AR wksp coy.

https://military-history.fandom.com/wiki/9th_Theatre_Support_Battalion_REME

I went to the REME Museum at Lyneham earlier this year – its very good.

Dern
Dern
7 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

His idea wasn’t that it would be the Recce force. Carter basically wanted to copy Op Serval: He wanted the British Army to be able to march long distance across hostile terrain without needing a heavy logistics chain to transport them. (Remember Carter came up into the role of CGS and CDS after a career commanding battalions, brigades and divisions in counter-insurgency ops in Afghan and Iraq, so thinking of the British Army fighting without it’s heavy tracks, either voluntairly or due to political interference was probably very much in the forefront of his mind). He saw what the French… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Dern
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Brilliantly explained and reasoned, far better than I ever could even try and makes more sense to me now. Interesting too how closely the ORBAT mirrored the French model, I know very little on their set up. On your comment regards the “long term plan” why then did he not leave Boxer till 2028 as MIV? As was the original plan. Base the interim Strike Bdes on Foxhound, get Ajax and WCSP sorted first, bring Boxer in later replacing Mastiff in HPM and Foxhound in LPM at the same time. We still have the 2/2/2 set up except the middle… Read more »

Dern
Dern
7 months ago

Basically because he thought that the way Wars would be in the near to mid term we’d be needing medium weight wheeled brigades rather than MBT’s and IFV’s. Effectively he took the stance that preserving the LPM and creating Strike was going to fit with the way he envisioned us fighting much more than prioritising Warrior and CH3. We both disagree with this, but looking at it from the point of view of a man whose entire career was based around wars in which the MoD and Parliament was pretty determined not to deploy IFV’s and MBT’s, and then see’s… Read more »

Dern
Dern
7 months ago

https://i.imgur.com/naWIHZn.png

Comparison between the UK Armoured and Strike Bdes and t he French Heavy and Light Armoured Brigades.
The main differences as you can see is in Mass. The French have more MBT regiments and more infantry in their brigades, but structually very similar.

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Thanks Dern. I never followed the Strike concept story that closely, but certainly knew that it was a medium-weight wheeled force modelled on broadly French lines, for what we used to call ‘Out of Area’ ops. No problem to me to have a heavy metal mainly tracked force, a medium weight force and also light forces. …and presumably the expected opponent for the medium weight Strike force would be a Third World army/insurgents. Is Boxer to heavy to air transport? If Boxer comes with just a MG in a RWS, then we don’t have what the French have ie vehicles… Read more »

Dern
Dern
7 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Hey Graham, So I feel a need to take a step back and establish some terms here: Strike isn’t a thing anymore. It was a plan that Carter established from 2014-2020(ish), and then died a death. So when we’re talking about the current equipment plan it’s only relevant in terms of what it left us with. In the original Strike model the UK would have ended up with 2x Armoured Bdes on Warrior and Challenger, 2x Strike on Ajax and Boxer, and 2x Light on Foxhound. (And sadly my pictures haven’t been approved yet which would make this more clear:… Read more »

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Hi Dern,

This all explains why the army has been (and still is) in a mess with structures and equipment.

Does all the above explain why we have now got a situation where 1 DSRBCT has been established which also sees many Ajaxes not being in a position to do formation recce for the Div or the armoured BCTs?
If so, we are still doing things in a strange way.

What is your take on why WCSP was dropped?

Dern
Dern
7 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

What is your take on why WCSP was dropped? Money. WCSP could probably have been salvaged but there wasn’t enough to buy Boxer, get Ajax into service, and do WCSP. And frankly, as much as it sucks, out of the three dropping WCSP was probably the right shout, given the age of the fleet and that, as has been proven, Warrior can kind of muddle through for a few more years without the turret and gun upgrade. Does all the above explain why we have now got a situation where 1 DSRBCT has been established which also sees many Ajaxes… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Dern
Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago
Reply to  Dern

WCSP. The problem, apart from not replacing equipment at the right time, say after 25 years service for most AFVs, is that programmes then clash. So, really CVR(T) should have been replaced about 1996, Warrior in about 2012, AS90 in about 2017 and CR2 in about 2023 – funding lines would then be smooth – no funding clashes. Additionally upgrades (such as WCSP, AS90 Braveheart and CR2 LEP (now cheekily rebranded as CR3)) should have been done at least once or twice in their nominal 25 years service. Despite WCSP being programmed very late (in my mind that should have… Read more »

Dern
Dern
7 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

It’s a pretty simple dynamic: an upgrade to a 40 year old vehicle that would need replacing in about a decade anyway, or continue with the procurement of a brand new vehicle that would be looking at 40-50 years service. Yes it resulted in a bit of a IFV gap, but really it was the right choice in a world of limited resources. At the end of the day, we couldn’t afford all three projects so the one that gave the lowest return went. As commentators we really want to have our cakes and eat them as well. We moan… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Dern
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Talking of OPs, I noted that the HAC, so we’re talking 1 Squadron with its patrols/OP/capability, has been placed in the SOB, where I believe that before it was supporting 4/73 in 5 RA. Makes sense in SOB, but surely would also fit in with the DSRB.
Maybe 21/23 will leave HERA behind ( perhaps they already did and I’m out of date ) and go back to their past Cold War stay behind OP role, considering the shortcomings of UAVs that you point out and the need for more eyes on the deep battle.

Dern
Dern
7 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Baisically you have to draw a hard line between what was intended with this orbat in 2015:
https://i.imgur.com/plLuB2p.png

and this on in 2018
https://i.imgur.com/yVBDJ4Z.png

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Thats good. What is the meaning of the vertical line in 2015 wiring diagram for KRH and RDG symbols?

Dern
Dern
7 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Easier to explain what it actually means and then what Wiki (where these images come from) is trying to bodge with them: Apologies if I’m teaching you to suck eggs btw but you know, easier to assume. A vertical line is a modifier for unit counters that typically means a heavy gun system. So if you compare 1 Yorks to 1 RRF in the 2015 chart you’ll notice both are infantry (big cross representing crossed infantry belts), with the armour modifier (big oval representing a MkI tank). But 1 Yorks has three small circles underneath, a modifier that means that… Read more »

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Thanks Dern, I served 34 years in REME as an officer, leaving the Corps in 2009, so I have some familiarity with such symbols, but not the one with vertical line.

Useful info – many thanks.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Last para, I hope so!
I think, guess, 7 goes to 3 Div, as 16AA comes into 1.

AlexS
AlexS
8 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Brasil also ordered about 100 Centauro B2.

Dern
Dern
8 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

True. I think Jordan and Spain also bought a few but of the B1 version only.

AlexS
AlexS
8 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Indeed.

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Great looking kit. We should definitely have some B2s for expeditionary operations where strategic and operational mobility is important and full-weight armour protection is less so – perhaps in a Strike Brigade!!!!

Last edited 7 months ago by Graham M
Pongoglo
Pongoglo
8 months ago
Reply to  Dern

We like those a lot 👍

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Pongoglo

A fine example of the fallacy of the army’s Strike Bde plans. Strike could be great, but with the right kit.
We bought Ajax to serve in the 3 Armoured Infantry Bdes, and Carter shoved them into Strike, to provide the firepower, with the rest of the force on wheels in Boxer. Denying the Armoured Bdes any organic recc regs.

So, why not use wheels for the whole force, and buy something like these for Strike while leaving the 3 Armoured Bdes we had alone and Ajax where it belongs, supporting Tanks and Warrior in all tracked formations.

Dern
Dern
8 months ago

https://i.imgur.com/jP770bs.jpeg

Daniele explains, I illustrate.

Last edited 8 months ago by Dern
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Dern

FFS….there it is everyone. What could have been if, in the 2015 SDSR, they’d not effectively cut again, losing one of the 3 AI Bdes for conversion to a Strike Bde, while “upgrading” a 1 UK Div Brigade, most likely at the time 7 Infantry at Cottesmore, for the planned 4 Bde structure – 2 AI, 2 Strike, that persisted til Strike met its end and WCSP was cancelled, leaving us in the current Boxer or nothing situation. The 3 Foxhound Bns ( in the ORBAT illustrations only, not the actual named Bns as far as I recall, and certainly… Read more »

Dern
Dern
8 months ago

Whispered
this isn’t even what could have been if there hadn’t been cuts. It’s litterally using the infantry that’s available in the current orbat, which is why the foxhound btns don’t match up with the 2015 HPMV ones.

But yeah, no problem.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Regards the Infantry Bns, yes it is possible now. But what I meant was the supports. We know 4x lacks regular CS CSS as it is beyond the Jackal Reg. And with 3 Armoured Inf Bdes back, we now have only 2 “sets” of CS – of RA SPG Reg, CS Armoured Engineer Reg, and the other CSS elements. There is a 3rd CS RE Reg but unsure if it has the armoured elements now? 26RA which was the 3rd of the AI Bde AS90 Regs was converted to MLRS after all the musical chairs with that capability since 2010… Read more »

Graham M
Graham M
7 months ago
Reply to  Dern

A great partnership!

Matthew
Matthew
8 months ago

He has recognised the key point in a way in which some US and British ex military have not. Lack of air superiority is the main factor. It means everything that happens in Ukraine is fundamentally different to what happened in Iraq. And if the UK intends to occasionally carry out independent operations, we cannot assume air superiority. So we need to be able to operate in a contested environment.

John Clark
John Clark
8 months ago
Reply to  Matthew

In short, we don’t, certainly not against a serious, sophisticated enemy.

Raiding and limited Brigade level operations is now our limit.

Unilateral action is severely limited by our lack of mass in all areas unfortunately.

Pete lloyd
Pete lloyd
8 months ago

No good having more tanks with a lesser capability. And then find they are just cannon fodder.

Graham Pearce
Graham Pearce
8 months ago
Reply to  Pete lloyd

The army was supplied with over 300 challenger 2s
I worked at vickers defence leeds factory on chall 2 prototype to final delivery.
Lackof maintenance of these by the mod is why only 150 is now available for upgrade to chall 3

Graham M
Graham M
8 months ago