Author Topic: British Military Current Events  (Read 986942 times)

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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #600 on: September 24, 2008, 18:44:35 »
Warlord No4 killed by Apache

AN Apache gunship blew up a key Taliban warlord after he was tracked down by the SBS, The Sun can reveal.
The British helicopter slammed a Hellfire missile into his Jeep — making him the FOURTH terror boss to die at the hands of the SBS in 18 months.
The precision strike also killed his bodyguard and left a second henchman badly injured as they drove across the southern Helmand desert.
The warlord — whose name is being kept secret — is believed to be a new field commander sent in to coordinate bomb and gun attacks on Our Boys across the Afghan badlands.
But the SBS, the Navy’s special forces, spotted him crossing the border from Pakistan and then trailed him with unmanned “drone” spy planes. Ninety minutes later he was dead.

 
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/campaigns/our_boys/article1726840.ece
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline geo

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #601 on: September 25, 2008, 08:01:45 »
BZ to the SBS boys

MIghty hospitable of them to give him a big SBS welcome to Helmand province.

:cheers:
Chimo!

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #602 on: September 25, 2008, 21:34:54 »
Army's demand for 15% limit on foreign recruits to safeguard 'Britishness' upsets race watchdog
Matthew Hickley and Ryan Kisiel, Daily Mail, 25 Sept 08
Article link

Army chiefs want foreign recruit numbers to be capped to safeguard 'Britishness' within the ranks.

They have demanded a 15 per cent limit amid fears the soaring numbers of foreign troops would dilute the force's cultural identity.

They also fear that foreign countries could ban their own citizens from fighting Britain's wars, seriously hampering key operations.

The measure has been backed by Defence Secretary Des Browne and was due to be announced two weeks ago.

But the plans have been thrown into chaos by race relations watchdogs who will not support the measure.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission says there are 'large issues of principle'.
graphic

Senior officers are angry over the Government's dithering, and recruiting trips to the West Indies have had to be cancelled until the confusion is cleared up....

More on link
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #603 on: September 25, 2008, 23:41:45 »
Like I always said, 'There'll always be an England - as long as they've got Canadians in their army'.
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #604 on: September 26, 2008, 01:13:23 »
Navy has 41 admirals but just 40 warships

The number of admirals serving in the Royal Navy outstrips the number of warships in the fleet, research has disclosed.

There are 41 admirals, vice-admirals and rear-admirals, but with constant cuts the number of fighting ships stands at 40, figures released in the annual UK defence statistics show.

Since Labour came to power in 1997 the Navy has been steadily eroded, losing one aircraft carrier, six frigates, four destroyers and three submarines.
The 41 admirals draw an estimated annual salary of £6.7 million, which would fund 420 able seamen at a time when the Navy has a shortfall of 1,200 sailors.
The news comes after the UK National Defence Association (UKNDA) accused the Government of “chronic underfunding” of the Navy as a result of repeated cuts over the past two decades. If this trend continues, the fleet would be reduced to half its current size by 2020, leaving it “grievously weakened”, the pressure group said in a report earlier this month.

Following the withdrawal from service of the Sea Harrier, the fleet will be left without air cover for the next nine years, the report added.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/onthefrontline/3075936/Navy-has-41-admirals-but-just-40-warships.html
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline geo

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #605 on: September 26, 2008, 08:06:30 »
Quote
Army's demand for 15% limit on foreign recruits to safeguard 'Britishness' upsets race watchdog

Umm.... there is no reason for the race watchdogs to be upset IMHO..... any resident / UK national regardless on ethnic nationality has every right to join the UK military without being lumped into that 15% foreign content rule...

What's the problem ???
Chimo!

Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #606 on: September 26, 2008, 14:23:07 »
Two Army assault rifles go missing 'after soldier falls asleep during training exercise'

By Daily Mail Reporter  Last updated at 1:48 PM on 26th September 2008

Two deadly assault rifles have gone missing during an Army training exercise following reports that a soldier fell asleep.

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that the automatic weapons and a secure portable radio system disappeared during a 42 Engineer Regiment training weekend on Dartmoor, Devon.

But officials refused to confirm whether the weapons were taken when a serviceman fell asleep.

The missing items are now the subject of a military investigation. A spokesman said that the radio has been disabled and is unable to intercept military communications.

It will be rendered useless when it runs out of charge.   

The two rifles are unloaded. A spokesman said: 'The Royal Military Police Special Investigation Branch is investigating the loss of two unloaded SA80 rifles and a Bowman radio. It would be inappropriate to comment further.

'They went missing after a training exercise last weekend on the south side of Dartmoor,' he said.   

The equipment belonging to the Oxfordshire-based regiment went missing in the early hours of Sunday at Homing Beam, a regular military training area near Princetown.   

No ammunition is missing and the MoD Police's special investigation branch was leading the inquiry, a spokesman explained 

In 2006, the BBC discovered that more than 200 weapons had been lost by or stolen from the British military over a nine-year period.   

The SA80 rifle is one of the British military's standard combat weapons. It takes a 30-round magazine and is capable of firing 700 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition per minute.   

There has been a military presence on Dartmoor for more than 200 years. The MoD has licences for firing on 13,000 hectares of National Park land.


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Offline ironduke57

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #607 on: September 28, 2008, 08:38:08 »
Quote
September 28, 2008

Britain considers £9bn JSF project pullout

Michael Smith

BRITAIN is considering pulling out of a £9 billion project with America to produce the new Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft, intended to fly off the Royal Navy’s forthcoming aircraft carriers.

The move is part of an increasingly desperate attempt to plug a £1.5 billion shortfall in the defence budget. The RAF’s 25 new Airbus A400 transport aircraft could also be at risk.

Studies have now been commissioned to analyse whether Eurofighters could be adapted to fly off the carriers.

If Britain abandons the JSF, it will be seen as a further snub to the Americans following Gordon Brown’s decision last week not to send 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

Only a week earlier, during a visit to London, Robert Gates, the American defence secretary, had said he understood Britain would be sending more troops to meet what commanders say is a 10,000 shortfall.

The possible ditching of the JSF results in part from spiralling costs that have seen the price of the planned 150 British aircraft rise from the original £9 billion estimate to £15 billion.

Britain has already paid out £2.5 billion in preliminary costs but next spring must start paying for actual aircraft. At that point it is committed to the entire project whatever the price.

Once full production begins, Britain will be paying more than £1 billion a year for the aircraft, exacerbating the already dire state of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) budget.

“That has really concentrated minds at the MoD,” said Francis Tusa, editor of Defence Analysis. “Put simply no-one has the faintest idea how much this project will cost.”

The cost is only part of the problem. There is serious concern over the aircraft’s lack of firepower as it can only carry three 500lb bombs, compared with as many as eight on the Eurofighter.

There is also increasing frustration over the continued American refusal to share information on the technology involved.

President George Bush signed a deal with Tony Blair shortly before the former prime minister handed over to Gordon Brown, promising to share top secret technology with Britain.

The deal has still to be ratified by Congress and the Senate foreign relations committee has written to Bush warning him it will not now be ratified until the new president takes office.

There is consternation over the lack of information Britain is receiving on the aircraft and this country’s lack of input into designing its capability.

BAE Systems, manufacturer of the RAF’s Eurofighter, has been asked to produce a study into whether it could be flown from the carriers, which are due to enter service in 2014 and 2016.

The JSF is a short-take-off-and-vertical-landing (STOVL) aircraft similar to the Harrier aircraft that are currently being flown off the Royal Navy’s two old carriers.

Flying Eurofighter from the new carriers would require pilots to learn a completely new skill of landing conventionally at sea — a task likened by experts to a “controlled crash”.

It would also require the Eurofighter fuselage to be strengthened, the attachment of an arrestor hook to stop the aircraft on landing, and protection against saltwater erosion.

The BAE Systems study, carried out earlier this year, determined that the aircraft could be built to land on carriers without major difficulty.

A company spokesman would only confirm that the study had been carried out and that the MoD had seen the results which confirmed the aircraft could be adapted to fly off carriers.

Replacing JSF with some of the 232 Eurofighters the RAF is committed to buying would be attractive for the Treasury, which has always wanted to find ways to cut its £16 billion cost.

The deal committed all four major partners — Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain — to paying for all the aircraft they originally ordered even if they later decided to cut the numbers they needed.

The cost of the project, now running at close to £1.2 billion a year, is the biggest single contributor to the £1.5 billion shortfall in the defence budget.

Efforts to stave off the payments dragged the government into the controversy over the decision to call off a Serious Fraud Office investigation into alleged bribes paid by BAE Systems.

The probe into the company’s £43 billion al-Yamamah arms deal with Saudi Arabia was expected to examine the bank accounts of members of the Saudi royal family.

A £6 billion deal under which Saudi Arabia agreed to take 72 Eurofighters from Britain — earning the MoD a two-year payments holiday on its own aircraft — was dependent on the probe being called off.

That has only served to focus attention on the fact that when the payments holiday ends, Britain will be committed to a decade of paying well in excess of £2 billion a year for two different strike aircraft.

The additional measure of cancelling the military version of the Airbus A400 would only save a total of £1.5 billion but is attractive to the Treasury because it would cost nothing.

The aircraft has consistently failed to meet deadlines with manufacturer EADS admitting last week that it could not meet the deadline for the first test flight.

“The RAF and the MoD would prefer to enforce penalty clauses providing compensation for delays while continuing with the project,” said defence sources. “But the Treasury would happily bin it.”

The MoD said “marinising” Eurofighter had been looked at as an option but “JSF remains our optimum solution to fly off the carriers”.

A spokesman said Britain remained “fully committed to the defence trade cooperation treaty and we are working closely with the American administration to find a way forward.”

- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article4837746.ece

From an logistical point of view an navalised EF should be the cheapest solution in the long run.

Regards,
ironduke57
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Offline milnews.ca

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #608 on: September 28, 2008, 08:44:56 »
More on foreign troops serving in UK forces.....

How dare those foreigners die horribly for us
Rod Liddle, Times Online, 28 Sept 08
Quote
.... Given that we have franchised our entire manufacturing base to the Third World and now subsist on an entirely fictitious and ectoplasmic economy based on pyramid selling and rumour, it seems sort of fitting that our numerous wars should also be franchised ....  It seems to me a minor miracle that a growing number of people from countries that were once part of our empire still seem prepared to swallow the bile and sign up for the British Army, regardless of our recent behaviour (nobody, one assumes, has told these people about the poor Gurkhas refused British passports despite their brave service). The British Army, meanwhile, would be ill-advised to look such a gift horse in the mouth.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #609 on: September 29, 2008, 18:14:36 »
"They are not angels" - good quote Huw. Watch out for the moratr platoon. Well done 'Gungy' 3....

Para troops welcomed home
Coalition forces are "moving forward" in the fight to bring stability to Afghanistan, a senior paratrooper has said as his battalion returned home.
 
Soldiers from 3 Para made their return to Colchester on Sunday after their six month tour of Afghanistan Photo: PETER LAWSON/EASTNEWS
Lieutenant Colonel Huw Williams spoke as a battle group - the 3rd Battalion, the parachute regiment - returned to its base in Colchester, Essex, from a six month tour of duty without losing any soldiers.
He said he could see a change in the situation after completing his second tour of duty in two years.
"When we went two years ago we didn't know what to expect," said Lt Col Williams.
"This time we expected the worst and to come home having lost no one means a great deal."
He added: "This year we are starting to make progress - moving forward."
He said coalition forces were providing electricity to enable factories to be built and bringing stability to Afghan people.
"There's still a long long way to go," he added. "But we are moving in the right direction.
"In terms of how far are we away from winning - that depends on how you define winning. It's not a straight fight, it will be getting to a point that will be acceptable to the Afghan people."
Lt Col Williams said modern paratroopers were a match for any British soldiers who had gone before them.
He said: "I have never once had to worry about them being scared. I know they are scared sometimes but that never prevents them going forward.
"These are young men of 18 and 19 going into situations where bullets are flying at them but they do not hesitate.
"They go into situations where other people would not go and they do that because they are disciplined and proud of their regiment."
Some 120 British soldiers have died in Afghanistan since the war started in 2001.
Ten British paratroopers have been killed in recent months.
Lt Col Williams said soldiers were today experiencing levels of fighting not seen by the British army for decades.
"Young soldiers today are witnessing things that a generation of their senior officers and sergeants have not experienced," he said.
"In the Falklands, battles tended to be over one day but in Afghanistan they are going on day after day and seeing more and more people get hit and killed and many of them are only 18. It is humbling to see."
"They are not angels. These men are an element of society that does a very dangerous job and it is humbling to be with them and in command of them."

 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/onthefrontline/3097739/Para-troops-welcomed-home.html
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #610 on: September 30, 2008, 02:11:47 »
Thgis chap's definitely off the Queen's Christmas card list...

Taleban warrior who delights in killing British soldiers

Tom Coghlan in Lashkar Gar

For a self-confessed and enthusiastic killer of British soldiers there was something strangely naive in the manner of the Taleban bomber. The lightly bearded 23-year-old looked younger than his years, with gentle features beneath his black turban and a habit of asking odd questions.
“The British soldiers have shaved their heads but when we see them washing they are still shampooing their heads, but they have no hair.” He looked mystified and then laughed.
Between the moments of naive curiosity, he boiled with a visceral hatred of Westerners. Almost casually, he mentioned the desire he felt to kill me with a pistol he was carrying, before explaining that he was restraining himself because of a promise he had given to tribal intermediaries who set up the interview.
Instead he focused on his enthusiasm for bombs and dead foreign soldiers and his role as a midlevel commander of 20 to 30 fighters.
“Last year, after one attack near the town of Baramcha, there was the hand of one British soldier left on the field. We took it and we hung it as a souvenir in the room and sometimes we would shake the hand.”
He laughed again.
“We have a new magnetic bomb,” he said. “It is from Pakistan. We put it under the vehicle and then wait till there are many British vehicles together, then just press a button.”
Other bombs he improvised using old munitions and cables from a motorcycle clutch, suggesting perhaps that Taleban bomb supplies were limited.
“We enjoy finding the British bombs unexploded. We have some guys with us, they are not Afghan, they use the bomb back on the British. I like to bury a gas canister on top of the bomb, the explosion is very large,” he added.
“We have some other people with us, I can't tell you where from but they don't speak a language we understand. They have a bomb that recognises the number plate of a vehicle and only explodes with the number plate you put in a computer.” His face betrayed a bemused reverence for such voodoo. The bomber learnt his trade last winter as the Taleban began to appreciate the effectiveness of roadside bomb-making tactics perfected by Iraqi insurgents.
Bombs that he and other Taleban makers have built have killed 34 of the 43 British soldiers killed in the country this year. Many more Afghan civilians have also been killed.
If there was no shortage of bravado about the man, some of his answers also betrayed underlying problems that beset the Taleban.
One was an obsession with spies - suggesting that at least a part of the civilian populace detests the Taleban enough to betray them. “We got two spies last Friday,” he said. “I shot them in the head with 16 bullets each. The spy problem has stopped for now.”
Another problem was how to counter the relentless British pursuit of the Taleban's leadership. It was a particular source of concern since the bomber had been told that he was soon to graduate to a higher level of command - one that would make him of greater interest to Western special forces units tasked with decapitating the Taleban command structure.
“The British give special coats to their spies,” he said. “They have mirrors to show where the planes should go. The spies also drop a tiny piece of metal on the roof of a house. It sends a message and the bomb the house.”
Then, suddenly turning on me, he asked: “When we go to a village at night the British soldiers come for us in helicopters. How can they see us? How do they know we are there? They have technology?”
I shrugged. He nodded.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article4842542.ece
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #611 on: September 30, 2008, 09:44:33 »
Thgis chap's definitely off the Queen's Christmas card list...

Taleban warrior who delights in killing British soldiers

Tom Coghlan in Lashkar Gar ......

A great example of why we should encourage reporters to talk to "the enemy" - regardless of the spin they apply.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #612 on: September 30, 2008, 19:58:44 »
They sent me a big 'FO' letter shortly before I was due to retire too. I should apply under the same deal, if I wanted to actually live there again of course, which may not be likely!

Gurkhas win right to stay in UK
 

A group of retired Gurkhas fighting for the right to settle in Britain have won their immigration test case at London's High Court.

They were challenging immigration rules which said that those who retired from the British Army before 1997 did not have an automatic right to stay. Prominent supporter actress Joanna Lumley said it was a "chance to right a great wrong". The government said it would now review all Gurkhas' cases.

The regiment moved its main base from Hong Kong to the UK in 1997 and the government had argued that Gurkhas discharged before that date were unlikely to have strong residential ties with the UK.

That meant those who wanted to settle in the UK had to apply for British residence and could be refused and deported.
The judgement could affect some 2,000 former Gurkhas who retired before 1997.

The judge, Mr Justice Blake, said the Gurkhas' long service, conspicuous acts of bravery and loyalty to the Crown all pointed to a "moral debt of honour" and gratitude felt by British people.

He ruled that instructions given by the Home Office to immigration officials were unlawful and needed urgent revision.
Lawyer Martin Howe said: "Today we have seen a tremendous and historic victory for the gallant Gurkha veterans of Nepal.
"This is a victory that restores honour and dignity to deserving soldiers who faithfully served in Her Majesty's armed forces.
"It is a victory for common sense; a victory for fairness; and a victory for the British sense of what is right."    

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7644441.stm
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Strike

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #613 on: September 30, 2008, 20:29:24 »
Stop assuming I'm a man!

Don't know how long I want to keep playing this game...

Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #614 on: October 02, 2008, 21:15:19 »
Army chief who spoke out for his soldiers 'set for early retirement' after being passed over for top job
By Matthew Hickley Daily Mail Last updated at 8:23 PM on 30th September 2008

The head of the British Army is lining up an early retirement, military sources have claimed.

General Sir Richard Dannatt, 57, will go after being passed over for the top job of Chief of the Defence Staff, they say.

The general is thought to have earned respect from rank-and-file soldiers for publicly highlighting the serious strains facing the Armed Forces - as well as calling successfully for improved pay for junior troops.

But according to Ministry of Defence insiders his 'plain speaking' soured relations with Labour ministers after he was appointed as Chief of the General Staff two years ago.

Hopes among his supporters that he would become Britain's most senior commander - in overall charge of all three services - are fading.

Critics are angry that such a widely admired officer appears to have fallen foul of Whitehall politics, and said it would be a 'national scandal' if his views were to curtail his career.

The Chief of the Defence Staff is a political appointment which must be backed by the Prime Minister, and Sir Richard's prospects were effectively ended recently when ministers announced that the current head of the armed forces, Air Chief Marshall Sir Jock Stirrup, will stay in the post for two years longer than normal.

By convention, each of the three single service chiefs and the overall Chief of the Defence Staff serve for around three years, with a single service chief then chosen to move into the top job.

Sir Jock took up his post in April 2006, and when General Dannatt took charge of the Army four months later it appeared he was in a strong position to succeed him.

But because Sir Jock will now serve a five-year term, Sir Richard and his counterparts in the other two services will have retired before he does.

Insiders believe Sir Richard may now step down long before his planned retirement date of late 2009 - possibly before the New Year - to allow David Richards to establish himself in the post and position himself to succeed Sir Jock in 2011.

General Richards is currently Commander-in-Chief Land Forces.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #615 on: October 03, 2008, 12:32:49 »
3 PARA motto: Girls are OK but there's nothing like the real thing  ;D


http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/campaigns/our_boys/article1762942.ece
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #616 on: October 03, 2008, 15:48:50 »
Army bans Christmas parcels after post backlog
The Army has banned the public from sending Christmas parcels to combat troops unless they are addressed to an individual soldier.

By Graham Tibbetts Telegraph.co.uk  Last Updated: 4:00PM BST 03 Oct 2008

It said the British Forces Post Office system had become overloaded and would only be used to deliver mail from friends and family to service personnel in war zones.

Other people wishing to send cards or donations were urged to use recognised charities instead of simply addressing them to "a British soldier".

Last year the military postal service suffered such a backlog that many soldiers were left without mail from loved ones at Christmas.

Prince Harry, who was serving in Afghanistan, declared the system "pants" after a Christmas card from his father arrived two months late.

The Ministry of Defence said the boxes from well-wishers resulted in more work for staff and meant dangerous trips had to be made to reach the frontline in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Susan Coulthard, a spokesman, said: "Every item of post received by the BFPO has to be checked by hand and scanned to make sure that there is nothing inside that is unsuitable to send.

"Sometimes we get people trying to send things like chocolate which of course just melts when it is sent to the Middle East. If we get thousands and thousands of boxes that we don't know where they came from or what's inside it can really clog up the system.

"It can also put individuals lives at risk if they have to make extra trips through dangerous areas to deliver the post to the front.

"Additional mail in the system can delay the delivery of personal mail from loved ones, which is of huge importance to those away from home for long periods, especially at Christmas."

Since September last year 146,000 bags of mail have been sent out to soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Vice Admiral Peter Wilkinson, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Personnel), said: "The generosity and support of the British public has been outstanding and it means a huge amount to all those serving in our Armed Forces.

"When on operations, the receipt of news from home, a letter from your wife or children, is a huge boost to morale, but, unfortunately, this can be delayed by the sheer volume of mail generously donated.

"Last Christmas, the mail created a significant challenge to our logistics chain in theatre, which must also focus on the supply of operational essentials such as ammunition, food and medical supplies.

"These controls mean we will continue to supply free post to the friends, family and loved ones of those serving on operations overseas, whilst ensuring our operational effectiveness is maintained."

The MoD said donations can be made via charities set up to support the servicemen and women, including UK4U Thanks!, the Royal British Legion, Poppyscotland, SSAFA, Army Benevolent Fund and Help for Heroes.
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Offline ivan the tolerable

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #617 on: October 03, 2008, 16:16:01 »
Prince Harry, who was serving in Afghanistan, declared the system "pants" after a Christmas card from his father arrived two months late.
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Is it wrong of me to be quite amused by that particular quote?
Summary of my service career:  Too much of a poof for JTF2.  Too lazy for CSOR.  Not energetic or bright enough to do anything vaguely glamorous.  But I was never too scared to ask the fat chicks if they wanted to dance!

Offline Danjanou

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #618 on: October 03, 2008, 16:29:33 »
NASA spent $12 Million designing a pen that could write in the zero gravity environment of space. The Russians went with pencils.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #619 on: October 03, 2008, 17:58:08 »
Mortar Platoon?  8)

We regarded the majority of 3 PARA with great suspicion. Like I always said "Don't drop your wallet in 3 PARA's lines or you'll have to kick it to Basingstoke before you can bend over to pick it up"
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #620 on: October 03, 2008, 18:23:25 »
'The Mole', Second World War POW tunnel digger, dies aged 95

A Second World War RAF navigator who was nicknamed 'The Mole' because of his persistent attempts to tunnel out of prison camps after being shot down over France, has died, aged 95.
 
By Richard Savill
Last Updated: 2:34PM BST 02 Oct 2008

Warrant Officer John Fancy, who acquired the reputation of being one of the most determined escapers the Germans had encountered, dug eight tunnels under camps in Poland, Lithuania and Germany.
He helped several comrades to escape, and dug himself to freedom on three occasions, only to be recaptured.
Despite harsh punishments, he never gave up and one of his prized possessions in later life was a 10 inch butter knife, issued to him by his German captors to eat meals, which he used to dig the tunnels. His efforts involved drawing elaborate plans and maps.
Mr Fancy spent nearly five years in prison camps after he was shot down over France on May 14, 1940. He and his crew had successfully bombed bridges over the Meuse, near Sedan, which were important to the advancing German army.
Summing up his war, he once said: "After four years, 10 months and four days I landed back in England after taking off on what should have been a four-hour trip."
After his final escape he and two other prisoners made their way to the shores of the Baltic in Lithuania and were out at sea in a stolen boat when they were seen and recaptured.
He was eventually released from his last camp in 1945 and became a market gardener, and was the author of two books about his exploits.
His daughter, Janet Fancy, 68, of Kingsbridge, Devon, who still has the butter knife, inscribed with the German eagle emblem, said: "He was wonderful, and above all else he was a doer.
"He dug at least eight very deep and long tunnels. It was hard work that required great skill and patience.
"After surviving a plane crash and five years of imprisonment the whole family rather felt he was indestructible. He will be greatly missed."
Mr Fancy, who died two weeks ago, was held in numerous camps, including the Stalag Luft VI in occupied Lithuania.
He married his sweetheart Elsie when war broke out, and heard she was expecting their first child in May 1940, the same day that his Blenheim bomber plane was shot down.
His daughter said: "He found out that mother was expecting me on that very day. She always said it was the fact that he knew he was going to be a father that gave him the strength to survive and the will to keep trying to escape."
Mr Fancy, a Yorkshireman, lived in Scarborough, but moved to Slapton, Devon, after his wife died 23 years ago. The village pubs in Slapton had seats reserved for him at the bar, one of which, The Tower Inn, has his portrait above.

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/woman/real_life/article1762785.ece
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Old Sweat

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #621 on: October 04, 2008, 07:23:05 »
According to this story in The Daily Telegraph, the Royal Navy is in dire financial straits. The Labour government pledged that the complement of destroyers would not fall below 25, but there are now only 22 in commission. (I am not all that good at the nuances of sailor speak, so I apologize for any slips here in advance.)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/onthefrontline/3131155/Exclusive-Cash-strapped-Navy-cuts-destroyer-fleet.html?source=EMC-new_04102008

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #622 on: October 04, 2008, 17:50:20 »
Speaking of dire straights... "You don't have to be crazy to work here, but it helps'


Armed forces facing 'explosion' of mental illness
Britain is facing an "explosion" of psychiatric disorders amongst serving and former members of the armed forces.
 
By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent
Last Updated: 7:25PM BST 04 Oct 2008
The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that ex-servicemen's charities have seen a 53% increase in the number of veterans seeking help since 2005, a rate which threatens to "swamp" them within a few years.
The Ministry of Defence's own figures show that up to 2000 members of the armed services are being diagnosed every year with a psychiatric condition after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Former service personnel who fought in earlier campaigns stretching back to the Second World War are also coming forward for treatment after psychological problems have emerged years, sometimes decades, later.
Those problems include post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), manic depression, mood swings, and drug and alcohol dependency. It has also emerged that up to seven service personnel have committed suicide either during or after active duty in Iraq.
Details of the size of the problem were revealed by a senior MoD official speaking on condition of anonymity.
The official said: "We are facing an explosion of psychiatric problems not just from serving military personnel but also from those who served in campaigns dating all the way back to the Second World War. It is a huge problem and something which requires a cross-governmental solution."
The official's comments were supported by Combat Stress, the ex-services mental welfare charity, which has seen an increase in the number of referrals of veterans rise by 53 per cent since 2005.
In 2000, the charity saw just 300 new patients who had an average age of 70. So far this year, the charity has seen 1,160 veterans, with an average age of 43. Of those, 217 saw service in Iraq and 38 fought in Afghanistan. The youngest veteran being cared for by the charity is just 20.
Robert Marsh, the director of fund raising for Combat Stress, said his organisation was working at full capacity.
He said: "There is a strong possibility that we face being swamped by new veterans seeking our help. There has been a 53 per cent increase in the number of veterans seeking our help in just three years. Lord knows what we are going to be faced with in five or 10 years time. We need to develop more capacity for the future because we are already creaking."
The charity, which has three regional treatment centres in the UK - in Surrey, Shropshire and Ayrshire - has 8,490 ex-service personnel on its books of whom around 4000 are currently receiving treatment.
The charity is treating 246 veterans who fought in the Second World War; 57 who fought in Malaya; 128 who were based in Aden; and around 2000 who served in Northern Ireland.
But it is the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are likely to produce the most psychiatric casualties over the next few years.
The Iraq War developed into a bitter insurgency in which dozens of soldiers were killed and hundreds were maimed by improvised explosive devices. The war in Afghanistan is now regarded as the bloodiest campaign since Korea.
The latest government figures available show that for the first nine months of 2007, more than 1500 servicemen and women who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder - a rate of 2000 a year. Personnel who are posted to Afghanistan are 14 times more likely to develop PTSD than those who do not deploy.
But the MoD's own analysis warns that its figures might be hiding the true extent of the problem because of the social stigma associated with mental illness.
Liam Fox, the Tory shadow defence secretary, said: "We are seeing an increasing number of veterans coming forward with mental health problems because of the stresses they faced in places like Northern Ireland and the first Gulf War - this was entirely predictable. But what is absolutely tragic is the fact that these same veterans have been abandoned to their fait by this government."
The military has gone to great lengths to diagnose psychiatric disorders amongst troops. Serving personnel have access to 15 community mental health centres across the country which provide psychiatric out-patient care. Those troops requiring in-patient care are treated at The Priory, which has centres across the UK. Troops also have access to in-service psychiatrists. Junior commanders are trained to recognize the symptoms of psychological trauma at an early stage.
A spokesman for the MoD, said: "Counselling is available to Service Personnel and troops receive pre and post deployment briefings to help recognise the signs of stress disorders. We recognise that operational deployments can be stressful experiences, so we offer individuals briefing prior to returning to their home base. 'Decompression periods' at the home base or in places such as Cyprus are in place for personnel to unwind mentally and physically and talk to colleagues about their experiences in theatre. The families of returning personnel are also offered presentations and leaflets about the possible after-affects of an operational deployment."
Last month it emerged that one in ten of the British prison population was a former member of the armed services. The revelation led to calls for greater welfare improvements for veterans.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/defence/3136251/Armed-forces-facing-explosion-of-mental-illness.html
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #623 on: October 05, 2008, 23:02:41 »
Less painful than shooting yourself in the foot...

Wot? No penal battalions?

Army 10 in drug swoop
By TOM NEWTON DUNN
Defence Editor
Published: 04 Oct 2008
 
TEN soldiers just back from the frontline face the boot for drug use.

The random swoop by military cops on the 1st Battalion the Royal Welsh led to the biggest bust in their history.
Senior officers — already facing a troops exodus — are probing whether the soldiers took narcotics to get caught on purpose.
It can take up to three years to be discharged but want-away squaddies are turning to drugs to get kicked out immediately.
Nine of the group — corporals or below — took cocaine and the tenth took cannabis.
The battalion was called into action in Afghanistan and Iraq before returning to its Chester base in August.
Some soldiers are sick of spending so much time away from their families.
An Army source said: “Popping a pill or doing a line of the coke is the easiest way to get out. More and more blokes are doing it.”

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/campaigns/our_boys/article1767365.ece
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: British Military Current Events
« Reply #624 on: October 06, 2008, 00:18:09 »
Relentless Taliban just keep coming

As their gruelling tour of duty in Afghanistan ends, men of 2 Para tell of relentless battles with an enemy that simply doesn’t know when he is outgunned
 
AS the Afghan sun set over the end-of-tour memorial service last Wednesday at British headquarters in Lashkar Gah, 32 names of the dead, aged between 19 and 52, were solemnly read out, including that of the first woman killed, Corporal Sarah Bryant. Almost every other name, it seemed, was from 2 Para.
The 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment lost more lives than any other section of 16 Air Assault Brigade — 11 in total, and five in one week in June — or one in 10 of the unit.
Over the past few days, as the paras flew back to Camp Bastion at the start of their journey home, the mood was sombre. “2 Para took the bulk of the casualties,” said Sergeant Andrew Lamont.

“I lost a few good friends I’ve known for 12 years. Others lost limbs. But when you’re out on the bases you just get on. If anything it encourages you to fight to the best of your ability. Only now, as we’re going home without them, is it really sinking in.”

The most recent victim was popular Lance-Corporal Nicky Mason, killed by a roadside bomb while on patrol keeping the Taliban away from the Kajaki dam. “It was a big shock to everybody,” said Lamont, who was just a few hundred yards away when he heard the blast. “When I got back to camp I actually had a cigarette, the first I’d smoked in 19 years.”

It was not supposed to be that way. Unlike 16 Air Assault Brigade’s first tour in Helmand two years ago, when the then defence secretary John Reid declared that he hoped not a single shot would be fired, they were well prepared this time.

They had almost twice as many men — 7,800 troops and four combat battalions, consisting of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions the Parachute Regiment and two battalions of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. Their commander, Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, declared them “the best equipped force the British Army has ever sent”.
But the Taliban have also changed tactics, increasingly using improvised explosive devices (IEDs), hiring foreign fighters from Chechnya and Uzbekistan as well as from Pakistan, and even managing to lure defectors from the Afghan national army who had been trained by British and American forces by offering to double their £90-a-month combat pay.

Capitalising on an increasingly unpopular government in Kabul and growing anger at civilian casualties, the Taliban now present themselves as less hardline, promising if they return to power they will no longer ban kites or demand quite such long beards.

As he prepared to hand over to the marines, Carleton-Smith admitted that it had been “an intense summer”. But he insisted: “That intensity has been less a product of resurgent Taliban and more the result of a larger international military footprint. We’re controlling more, our perimeter is wider, more people are living in our enclaves.”
He said British forces had killed six senior or mid-level Taliban commanders and successfully transported a US-funded turbine to the Kajaki dam to prepare the way for a supply of electricity.

“We’ve taken the sting out of the Taliban for 2008,” he said. “As autumn turns to winter those who are foreign will return home and restore themselves and only reappear after the poppy harvest in May or June.”

The number of civilians caught in the crossfire has also been reduced. “We’ve dropped fewer bombs than on any of the previous missions,” said Carleton-Smith.
Yet, while the British claim 78% of the population lives in their zones, the governor of Helmand says half the province is under Taliban control and they are fighting in Nad Ali, less than 10 miles from brigade headquarters in Lashkar Gah.

Carleton-Smith acknowledges the preponderance of Taliban ringtones proclaiming “Death to the Invader” that are heard on the street, but dismisses them as “quite a good insurance policy to have on your phone”. He insists that “the very conventional battlefield of 2006 no longer applies”.
For those engaged in the fighting, it certainly seemed like war, particularly to the men of 2 Para who lost so many comrades.
Sergeant Phil Stout, 34, commander of one of C company’s three rifle platoons, lost five men from his 30-man unit, one to an IED and the others in firefights. Stationed at Forward Operating Base Gibraltar in the upper Gereshk valley, he had only been in theatre two weeks when two Royal Marines who were due to go home were killed on patrol. “That really brought home there’s a real threat out there,” he said.

The platoon’s first big contact was on June 12. “That day is marked in my head.” Two of his men, Lance-Corporal James Bateman and Private Jeff Doherty, were killed when ambushed by the Taliban while out on patrol. “The amount of firepower was phenomenal; they must have had their finger on the trigger the whole time.
“From then to the present day it never stopped,” said Stout. “We were getting contacts every day, some just pot-shots at the base, others much more. We always outnumber and outpower them with our weapons but they keep coming back. I reckon they’re crazy. Two of them would try to take on a company. That’s not good odds.”
The relentless attacks reduced the area in which British forces could operate. “When we arrived we could patrol up to the top of our operating area, 8-9km north, but by the end we couldn’t go more than 1-1Åkm,” Stout said.
The worst threat was from IEDs. “They’re very crude devices and we got good at identifying them, but it’s always in your head, ‘Am I going to lie on something or kneel on something and get blown up?’”
Conditions were basic. Food was usually 10-man ration packs, ammunition containers sufficed as chairs and tables, and the only washing facilities were solar showers. “It was so basic that I was really excited when we got a welfare pack from a teacher with wet wipes and toothbrushes,” he said.
When he started suffering from stomach pain, Stout blamed the way they were living and dosed himself with paracetamol. Then he collapsed and had to be “medi-vacced” back to the UK. His gall bladder was about to burst and he was lucky to have survived. Yet as soon as he had recovered he returned to Afghanistan, much to the horror of his wife.
With him at FOB Gibraltar was Corporal Scott Bourne, 26. “I knew it was always worse in summer than winter but thought it was ‘bigged up’ in the media before I came,” he laughed. His view changed when, on June 10, he narrowly escaped being blown up by a suicide bomber.
Two days later he was on patrol when there was an ambush by 30-40 Taliban. “After that it was every couple of days. By the end we could go less distance than at the beginning and we were just pushing, pushing, fighting Taliban off.”
Lamont, commander of one of 2 Para’s fire support groups, spent his entire tour based at Kajaki. “When we first arrived it was the poppy harvest, so fighting was low, but then the maize grew so they had more cover and fighting got more intense,” he said.
“If anything I’d say it’s getting worse. Taliban tactics are changing, using more IEDs, and they don’t back down.”
Lamont at first operated from a Wimik, an armed Land Rover, but near the end of the tour he was equipped with one of the new Jackals, a much better protected vehicle.
“It’s one of the best things the government has done for us,” he said. “It saved three of my boys’ lives.”
Two weeks ago they were on patrol when an IED blew up the vehicle behind him. “I heard this huge explosion and turned around thinking the worst,” he said. “All I could see was this massive wall of smoke. Then two guys started to walk towards me, the driver and the commander. The gunman had been thrown out. If we’d had the old vehicles we’d have lost all three guys.”
While getting the turbine to Kajaki was the high point of the tour, Carleton-Smith admits that the low point was sustaining so many casualties. In June Britain’s 100th soldier died in Afghanistan.
“Our casualty figures have been substantial but they have to be kept in context,” he says. “We may in the course of 2008 have in the region of 50 fatalities in Helmand, but in 1972 more than 100 British soldiers were killed in Northern Ireland, on our own streets.”
He insists that time is on the side of the Afghan government. “The young people want betterment of their lives. What the Taliban can’t do is deliver progress and development. As long as the international community can stay the course, over time the Afghan government capacity will grow.”
He argues that the international community should aim not for victory over the Taliban but to reduce the insurgency to a level that can be contained by the new Afghan army.
“If we reduce our expectations then I think realistically in the next three to five years we will be handing over tactical military responsibility to the Afghan army and in the next 10 years the bulk of responsibility for combating insurgency will be with them.”
Flying out through the dustbowl that is Camp Bastion, and watching all the building going on below, it seems the British Army is digging itself in for a very long campaign.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article4882417.ece
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon