Britain may soon ‘no longer be taken seriously’ by other global powers according to Sir Mike Penning.

Speaking in the Sun, Sir Mike Penning warned British forces were so short staffed and under-funded they may soon be unable to vital international work.

“Someone has to stand up and say, enough is enough. We’re down to the bone now. The legacy of austerity measures has been so severe that the British navy now no longer has the ships needed to fight piracy off the coast of Africa.

The Army is too small. An army of 82,000 does not give us enough ready troops to deploy. If numbers go down any more, we are simply not going to be able to do what the British public expect of us, from our NATO and UN commitments to humanitarian missions.

If you continue to develop the replacement Trident from the existing budget, that will dramatically affect the operational capability of the three armed forces – particularly the Army. I want the PM and the Chancellor to fund Trident replacement with a new pool of money that is kept entirely separate from the rest of the MoD’s budget.”

He added:

“You see will a decline in exercises, in flying times for fast jet and helicopter pilots, and we will get back to sailors shouting bang instead of firing real shells. I cannot condone going back to a time when we send our troops to war with just five rounds of ammunition, as they had to in Iraq.”

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Daniele Mandelli

Always when they leave.

Geoffrey Roach

….and bordering on the ridiculous. Shouting bang. really?


Second hand evidence admittedly but a friend of mine served on a minehunter and T23 a while back and they did just that! Not enough ordnance to actually fire the guns and the harpoons / Sea Wolf were too costly.


Yes they are costly hence you only shoot them if a. They are about to go lifex as is the case with SSMs. ( I was on a T22 that loosed off 4 exocet in a morning as they where going out of service) b. You are about to deploy on an Op Task ( Gulf) where a prerequisite is a seawolf firing to prove the system. To be honest, for complex weapons you don’t need to know it goes woosh…the engagement set up is the important thing and that can be done in simulation on the combat system infinietum.… Read more »


When I was in the TA in the 1990’s we did a fair bit of shouting “BANG BANG”, rather than firing blanks, while on selection and on exercise.

Richard Davies

I agree with you Daniele. They can see how stretched our Armed Forces are while in the MOD but never have the balls to say something. As soon as they leave office they can wait to spill the beans.

P tattersall

Large numbers on troops on the ground these days are a complete waste of time and money its never going to be large land battles ever again ..

David Stephen

At least he is saying what we are all thinking. Yes it would be better if he was still in position but him saying succesor should be funded separately will carry more weight than us saying it, though not enough to make a difference i fear.

Barry White

Be honest guys
Would you shout and moan to your employers and risk getting the sack and losing your pension
I bet none of you would


Happy they speak out at all. Takes pressure off serving officers.


In other news ex minister says sky is blue and grass is green.

David Steeper

So would he be willing to reduce the officer corps to the same level as the in the US ? If any of these retired brass were willing to put their money where their mouths are a lot more of us would be a lot more willing to listen.