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British Military Current Events


Royal Marines recruit worried over kit - inquest​

A teenage Royal Marines recruit found dead on a railway line may have feared losing his leave after misplacing a piece of kit, an inquest heard.

The coroner has been told that Connor Clark, 18, from Norfolk, believed he was the "worst recruit" just three weeks into his training in Devon.

He had been due to spend the weekend in Exeter when his body was discovered on the tracks near the commando training centre in Lympstone on 12 June 2021.

The inquest in Exeter has heard Mr Clark had made comments about being told by the staff he was a "failure" and the "worst recruit" and he had also misplaced a blank firing adapter for his rifle.

An eye opening article on the British Army Reserves.

I don't think that the British Army's concept of mobilization equates to that of any other nation in the world (except maybe Canada's)

Military chiefs are planning the biggest mass mobilisation exercise of Britain's Army reserve in 20 years in a move to evaluate the 'deployment readiness' of more than 10,000 'weekend warriors'.
Senior officers at Army Headquarters in Andover, Hampshire, will co-ordinate the exercise in September with the aim of determining how many reservists would be prepared to volunteer to mobilise if needed in a time of crisis.
The current strength of the Army Reserve stands at 26, 240 - a drop in the past 12 months of 4.8 per cent according to the most recent manning statistics issued by the Ministry of Defence.
‌Soldiers from specialist medical, infantry units and special forces reserves will be asked to volunteer for a six-month tour of duty - with commanders seeking to secure a reserve force of 10,000 ready to support the frontline Army if needed.
‌A senior source at Army Headquarters in Andover said the exercise will be aimed at seeing how many people are prepared to step forward and for how long.
'That is not to say we are going to war, this is an exercise and if these people were called up the aim is that the majority would be asked to backfill regular army soldiers so that those personnel can deploy.'
‌In February 2024 the Ministry of Defence revealed that 9,263 soldiers are medically non deployable and a further 7,669 are 'limited deployable' - leaving the operational strength to fight a war at just 57,890.
But there is no obligation to attend and attendance across the country is sporadic with some soldiers not attending for months.
A reservist in Fleet, Hampshire who serves with the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment said there is very little incentive to attend.
‌He added: 'It seems like there is no money so all the good trips which were good for retention have gone, so very few people turn up'.

An eye opening article on the British Army Reserves.

I don't think that the British Army's concept of mobilization equates to that of any other nation in the world (except maybe Canada's)


I note that they exclude mention of the RN and RAF.

I guess they only have the time and money to see if they can drum up enough cannon fodder at short notice ;)
The long, and slightly confusing, arm of military service ....

Terms of Service in the UK Armed Forces

Employment in the armed forces is unique in placing severe restrictions on rights and freedoms that are available to the rest of the UK population. The armed forces are also the only employers in the UK who legally require their employees to commit themselves for several years, with the risk of a criminal conviction if they try to leave sooner.

This situation is all the more worrying given that the majority of recruits are very young. There is also evidence that many personnel are unclear about the length of their commitment and their rights to leave and that the information they receive can be misleading.

Length of service

The minimum length of service in each branch of the forces is as follows:1 Army (over 18s): Four years Army (under 18s): Until 22nd birthday Navy: Three and a half years after completion of training or four years' service, whichever is longer Air force: Three years after completion of training or four years' service whichever is longer

In 1999 the army increased its minimum length of service from 3 to 4 years. Army recruits under 18 years old are required to serve up to 2 years longer than a recruit who joins aged over 18 and socommits to up to 6 year’s service when still a minor.

On leaving full time service personnel are transferred into the reserves which usually lasts for six years. The army has the right to call up reservists for any reason for up to sixteen days in the year. All three forces may call up reserves for longer periods during emergencies, or when the Defence Secretary judges there is a national need.

I note that they exclude mention of the RN and RAF.

I guess they only have the time and money to see if they can drum up enough cannon fodder at short notice ;)
There isn't even the time and money for the total 26,000 army reservists. The RAF and RN reserves are tiny by comparison - around 3,000 and 3,300 respectively.

The long, and slightly confusing, arm of military service ....
It's a bit like Canada in that while there is adequate legislation to make the reserve system work, the managers of the army (I find "leadership" to be an inadequate term here) simply has another viewpoint which limits and handicaps the reserves from reaching their full potential.

I'm not going to go into great detail once again, suffice it to say that the US Army, while not perfect, has a much better grasp on how to get the most out of their ARNG and USAR components.

You can't train soldiers effectively for war unless the training is 'war like' ;)

A Bureaucratic Approach to Safety is Weakening the British Army’s Training​

The growth of an overly burdensome safety regime is restricting opportunities for the British Army to train at scale. This poses risks of higher casualties and reduced capability if it is called on to fight a war, and of reducing safety through undermining confidence.

In recent years, a number of fatal accidents involving UK service personnel have been reported, each a tragedy in its own right. At the same time, since the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the armed forces have become a significantly safer environment than the wider civilian world; service personnel are 56% less likely to die each year than their civilian peers. While statistics are no comfort to a grieving family, this provides some perspective for the evaluation of Defence’s approach to safety.

Two years ago, a brave syndicate of young officers published an article on the extreme shortage of collective military training in the British Army. While levels have significantly improved in spite of severe resourcing issues, this article will argue that the present rules-driven, top-down approach to safety is holding training back – and may be less safe than a more balanced approach. Safety bureaucracy is also arguably hampering innovation and the development of resilience against the unexpected dangers inevitable in war.

The armed forces are subject to the same health and safety legislation as business, except where the Secretary of State explicitly waives it, but Defence cannot be prosecuted except – in extremis – for corporate manslaughter under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, something which may be tested for the first time shortly.

Defence’s approach to safety is grounded in Lord Justice Haddon-Cave’s report on the Nimrod accident in 2006, in which 14 RAF aircrew died in a fireball. His report is recognised as a landmark document. He unearthed a range of institutional and individual shortcomings, and showed moral courage in, for example, dismissing the findings and comments of his fellow judge, the coroner on the case.

Haddon-Cave’s proposals were rooted in four principles:

  • ‘… strong leadership from the very top, demanding and demonstrating by example active and constant commitment to safety and Airworthiness as overriding priorities’.
  • Thorough independence throughout the regulatory regime, in particular in the setting of safety and airworthiness policy, regulation, auditing and enforcement.
  • Much greater focus on People in the delivery of high standards of Safety and Airworthiness (and not just on Process and Paper).
  • Regulatory structures, processes and rules must be as simple and straightforward as possible so that everyone can understand them.
These were prescribed for all three services, but this short article focuses on the Army.



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A new broom sweeps clean ;)

Government launches root and branch review of UK Armed Forces​

A review has been commissioned by the Prime Minister and will be overseen by the Defence Secretary, and headed by Lord Robertson.

  • Strategic Defence Review to ensure Britain is secure at home and strong abroad.
  • Review has been commissioned by the Prime Minister, will be overseen by the Defence Secretary John Healey, and headed by Lord Robertson - reporting in the first half of 2025.
  • It is to be Britain’s review – not just the Government’s – so will consult serving military, veterans, MPs of all parties, industry, and academia.

Who's the bright spark, then... ;)

Laser weapon test-fired from British Army Wolfhound armoured vehicle in UK first​

A Raytheon High-Energy Laser Weapon System (HELWS) has been mounted on a British Army combat vehicle and successfully test-fired.

Using similar technology to the Royal Navy DragonFire laser, but designed for the Army, this new weapon is a lightweight portable system that can be fitted to a vehicle such as the Wolfhound and used to counteract drone threats.

"We have proven that the Raytheon High-Energy Laser Weapon System can track and engage targets whilst mounted on a vehicle," said James Gray, the chief executive and managing director of Raytheon UK.