Dear Squaddie, you’re fired

There is what they were doing to be considered:

Two soldiers serving in the regiment that conducts ceremonial duties for the Queen carried out a string of armed robberies across south London, a court has heard.

Grenadier Guards Kristopher James-Merrill, 20, and Dillon Sharpe, 23, are alleged to have raided seven convenience stores with their friend Marlon Wright, 25, between July 24 and 26 2018.

Their regiment is one of the most senior in the British Army with soldiers recognised by the scarlet tunic and bearskin uniforms they wear while on ceremonial duty at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

They’re supposed to be aiding Cabinet Ministers in the bushes of course. But then there’s also the efficacy:

But four of the attempted raids failed and Sharpe left empty handed after workers fought back.

If a couple of squaddies can’t hold up a corner shop then do we actually want them as squaddies?

Slightly missing the point

But their individual sacrifice is a silver lining common to many first world war movies: in the absence of a larger and nobler purpose, the best soldiers can do is fight for each other, and hope to spare a life or steal a little bit of dignity and humanity.

The fighting for each other bit. That’s always what soldiers do. That’s why armies are set up the way they are, in sections, platoons, companies. To engender that community which is what is being fought for.

Never been quite sure whether the Spartan hoplites all fighting alongside their gay partner was true or not but it’s the same idea. Very few indeed will risk their lives for King and Country but set it up right and many will for the band of brothers.

This is rather a big change

Radakin has also ordered an end to the job for life culture among middle ranking officers, with new employment rules for more than 200 captain-ranked officers — equivalent to army colonels and RAF group captains — being brought in.

Previously they could serve automatically until the age of 55. In future they will have to retire if they are not selected for a new job after completing two three-year postings.

Up or out has long been true for above captain ranks.

Bringing it down a step is a pretty big change though. And, OK this is from memory, but I thought it also applied to Commanders – Majors in the Army.

If you don’t make Major then you’re out – don’t make Commander then off you go. But if you do then OK to 55. And if the rules only change for Captains then you’ve an absurdity, that Commanders can stay in and Captains not.

And there is a certain problem here too. Someone who is good enough to make Captain RN is pretty good. And the career certainty is to last only until they are perhaps 45, 46? That’s going to have a knock on effect back down to recruitment into Dartmouth…..

This is also something easy to get wrong:

….the new defence secretary, Ben Wallace, has lambasted navy chiefs for the number of ships and submarines stuck in harbour awaiting repairs or lacking crews.

This is something that has played out many times over the centuries for the RN. The entire point of having the thing is that you can go fight when you need to. Which implies a certain amount of redundancy when you’re not fighting. And so complaining about redundant capacity when you’re not fighting is to rather miss part of the point…..

We are surprised are we?

United Nations peacekeepers fathered hundreds of babies in Haiti then abandoned young mothers to lives of single parenthood and poverty, the academic leading a research study has told The Times.

Thousands of young men, far from home, controlling the resources the poverty stricken need to survive.

We’re surprised, are we?

Is there actually an historical record of an army going anywhere and this not happening? Other than Genghis, in those towns where all were wiped out?

Fun fact

Not sure I believe it but fun fact:

The V2 was more sophisticated, but was never mass produced: only 3,000 were launched, and more Nazis were killed as part of the development of the rocket than Brits by their launch.

This seems perfectly reasonable to me

The Chinese orienteering team was disqualified from the Military World Games, which China is hosting, after its troops took first, second, and fourth for women and second for men in the middle-distance competition on Sunday.

The event tests runners on their speed and map-reading abilities by navigating unknown terrain equipped only with a map and compass.

But it later emerged the runners had received illegal assistance from spectators and used previously prepared markings and paths that only their team knew about.

Isn’t the first military rule “know the territory”? Therefore the Chinee won fair and square.

Yes, I know about the movie

But who knows with storytelling, eh?

He had four sons, three of whom served in the Second World War.

Philip Curtis, who also served in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps (now the Green Jackets) was killed by a land mine in Italy in 1943.

Richard Curtis was an RAF fighter pilot who was shot down and killed over France in 1944.

To his anger, Brig Peter Curtis was posted to Scotland at the time of D-Day, so not to risk a third son from the same family being killed, though he later went on to serve in Africa.

There is also that story of the woman with x number of sons who wrote to the War Office – “You’ve had six of mine serving, you’re not getting the seventh” to get the reply “We quite agree with you Madam”.

An interesting question being, well, how much effort was made to ensure that entire families weren’t wiped out. Was this, for example, something more common in the officer class?

Yes, I know the movie’s about a Private but……

This is rather fun

The Army could phase out petrol and diesel vehicles in a bid to attract ecofriendly recruits, the Chief of the General Staff has said.

Gen Sir Mark Carleton-Smith said today’s military equipment would probably be the last to be “dependent on fossil fuel engines”, and that a move toward clean energy would be beneficial logistically and put the military “on the right side of the environmental argument”.

Fun in an appalling manner, of course.

We can all see the logistical benefits of not having to have tankers of derv or LPG following the tanks around. But there might be that slight worry that trucks of batteries aren’t going to be much better. And fill up times, well, there’s a problem.

But that an actual General is talking about the environmental argument, when did that happen?

Rilly?

Brazilian warplanes dump water on Amazon fires as outcry mounts

Warplanes? F 15s aren’t going to carry much water you know.

Brazilian warplanes have begun dumping water on burning forest in the Amazon state of Rondonia, responding to an outcry over the destruction of the world’s largest tropical rain forest.

Rilly?

A Hercules C-130 plane dropping water to fight fires in the state of Rondonia, Brazil. Photograph: Brazil Air Force/HANDOUT/EPA

Oh, you mean the military fly the standard firefighting planes then?

Hmm

The Armed Forces has unacceptable levels of sexism, racism and bullying because it is led by a “pack of white middle-aged men”, a major new report has said.

The Armed Forces are one of the few places where you only get to be a manager by having done the job for a couple of decades.

Your promotion into line management being based upon close examination of you over those years by all around you. Those who fail the test – there are any number of Majors and Commanders off running support lines and the like, knowing and known to be never to get any further – stop being line managers quite early on in a potential career.

Can’t have that, obviously, management by competence just won’t do in the modern world.

Quite right too

HMS Queen Elizabeth returns to port after leak on board

Sailors should go over the side. That is what man overboard means, isn’t it?

The real point of this story being:

The UK’s most powerful warship, which cost £3.1bn, has been forced to cut its latest trials short.

Yes, that’s why they’re called trials. Big complicated things, ships. Almost all built to order, each different from the last. Therefore you try them out and fix the problems as they become visible.

In fact, you collect an experienced and special crew to do this.

An odd thing to think of but….

After childhood rheumatic fever spared him from a wartime call-up

The physically not too good don’t get conscripted. Yet – in certain wars at least – being conscripted is to have a very high chance of being killed. Wouldn’t it be better to conscript the less than physically good?

Yes, I do know that’s not how it works and also understand why. It’s just a thought.

Yes of course you know best a century later

British army officers wrongly believed alcohol made WW1 troops better fighters, claims addiction specialist

Sigh.

British army officers wrongly believed WW1 troops fought better if they were drunk in battle, an addiction specialist has claimed.

Senior commanders encouraged drinking among soldiers as they were following medical advice that claimed alcohol made them more effective fighters.

Go live in a trench, under battle conditions, then say booze isn’t a good idea.

Many colonels agreed that the recommended level was too low and would give nervous fighters extra helpings to improve their confidence before infiltrating enemy lines.

Lt Colonel J.S.Y. Rogers, a medical officer to the 4th Black Watch, said in the Report of Enquiry into Shell Shock in 1922: “Had it not been for the rum ration I do not think we should have won the war. Before the men went over the top they had a good meal and a double ration of rum and coffee.”

Quite so. Our modern man:

Speaking at the Chalke Valley History Festival near Salisbury, he said: “There are a lot of myths around. If you want people to charge into the enemy machine guns and you give them a bit of alcohol, it probably makes them a little more likely to do that but on the whole most of the research I have seen shows there is no real evidence that this really helped.

“It was the opinion of the Black watch medical officer that WW1 would not have been won if people had not been drinking. I think that on the whole the effect of these drugs on military effectiveness was negative.”

Dr Leighton added: “It is probable that it made them braver and more willing to take risks. Whether this always made for more effective operations is open to doubt.”

Which is to be an idiot. Well up into 1917, even into early ’18, the problem with the British Army was that it couldn’t conduct complex operations. The well trained Expeditionary Force was mostly gone and had been far too small for this sort of war anyway. The Pals Battalions Followed, then the conscription army from 1916 onwards. That last really only becoming capable of anything more than a “walk that way men!” after that year and a bit of both training and then experience of the real thing. This all being not so much about the private solder, that’s only a part of it, it’s about having the NCOs with experience.

The booze got them to move forward. The tactic required was to get them to move forward.