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Divining the right role, capabilities, structure, and Regimental System for Canada's Army Reserves

The regimental system is the strongest thing that the Canadian military has to offer. The traditions, uniforms, colours, songs, and other things that make a regiment unique are what allow people that sense of belonging. Even most Americans I‘ve spoken to really admire the Regimental system; it allows for far more unit cohesion that just "The 862nd infantry brgade" or whatever.
I belong to the Calgary Highlanders, i stand out from the crowd, especially on Remeberance day, when the reserve units in calgary get together and do a parade (we have Calgary Highlanders, KO Calgary Regt., 15 Med Bn. (det), HMCS Techumseh, 14th SVC Bn., that‘s a lot of units) now when we are on parade and we hit the town afterwards people notice ‘the guys in the kilts‘ before anyone else. and it‘s not only that, i really truly admire my regiment because we are one of a kind...i‘m not giving up my kilt to wear some pants like every other schmuck in calgary, and call myself "the Regiment Formerly known as Calgary Highlanders" the other guy was right: the Regimental system is the best thing our military has... :sniper:
Hmmm ... I wonder ... if the challenge is "chew on this", then is the password "Bite me"?

Why destroy esprit de corps?
Why destroy regimental pride?

Why destroy any organisation that has survived the disgraceful cuts in defence spending foisted upon Canada by an irresponsible political party that makes Quisling look like a patriot?

Okay - chew on this:
The Militia mobilised, fought, and won the Second World War. If, as you propose, we destroy the Militia - who is left? The Regular Force?

Oh, boy - now that‘s the way to ensure we have absolutely no depth, no strength in reserve, no farm team for the big league.

Other that 3 PPCLI‘s soujourn in Afghanistan, when was the last time ANY Reg Force organisation deployed without reservists (and, yes - that includes the Dwyer Hill Highlanders).

I‘ll dig out a history book and confirm some statistics, but I seem to remember the strength of the Militia was something like 140,000 in August 1939. Kinda makes ya wanna think, eh?

Dileas Gu Brath,
We deployed to Somalia, the first missions to Bosnia before we went through most Regts, IFOR and the and the first SFOR. There are others, the first few mission of UNFORCYP, UNEM,etc. The Res go after the Regs go first.
Tours without ResF participation: UNPROFOR roto 0 1992, Cambodia 1992, Somalia, Rwanda 1994 , roto 0 to Haiti 1997, East Timor 1999. That‘s just the last decade... Now this is not ResF bashing, I respect Reservists and whether some of us like it or not, we need them. But ResF pers are usually absent from Roto 0 on overseas ops. :cdn:
You know, it never ceases to amaze me that we continuously have this debate/argument in the army on Regular/Reserve issues. A debate on the Regimental system has deteriorated into whether or not there is participation by Reservists on Roto 0‘s.

Bossi, Recce41, Jungle, etc. For the most part, Reservists have deployed on most operations in one form or another. Anyone want to argue Roto 0 for UNPROFOR was any less dangerous than future Harmony/Cavalier roto‘s? I can personally assure you that Reservists participated in Op Deliverance (Somalia) to fill out the Airborne Regiment. They also deployed to Afghanistan on Op APOLLO (yes they were in Kandahar). IFOR (Roto 0 and 1) and SFOR (Roto 0 and beyond) all had increasing participation by the Reserves. I can‘t comment on Rwanda, Haiti, Cambodia, or East Timor as I wasn‘t involved with them, but I would be very surprised if there wasn‘t at least one there in some type of capacity. But I have to ask? Who cares if there is or isn‘t a Reservist on a Roto 0…aren‘t we trying to accomplish a mission?

The limited Reserve numbers on Roto 0 have sweet FA on the capabilities of the Reserves. It is simply the high readiness nature of Roto 0‘s combined with newness factor of new missions. Large amounts of money is spent on the Regular Force to ensure its members are trained and ready to go on operations. Why would you spend this amount of money on Reservists (or spend valuable time training them) if international operations must be mounted quickly?

Regimental affiliations mean squat if they do not reflect the overall army strategy. I see it every day, officers and soldiers more interested in the name of the Regiment, instead of focussing on the direction of the Army. Is the Regimental system one of our greatest strengths? You bet, but it is also one of our greatest weaknesses.
You maybe right in a way, but I was in Somalia (RCD), and on IFOR (RCD)0 and there were no Res on those as I saw. I know first Snow Goose 1-8 (Cyprus) nil, many of the first UN tours were nil Res. Why? there many a Reg to go. As for DH the first few were REG I was there for the first in 92. There are Res that show now, but are few and far.
As for Res, I‘ve had Res crews, and they were crap! Its bad when a Gunner cannot do Driver Maintance, or a Res Sgt that could not even lead a veh Ptl. Or showed up with his damn sniper scope. But they still went. Because they were Res! Regs get fired if they don‘t cut it. I will never go on tour with a Res crew AGAIN!

In the past you have made your thoughts about Reservists known to the War Diary. I can‘t comment on your experiences with Reserve crews as you are/were in LFCA/2CMBG/RCD. I know I have worked with excellent as well as very poor Reservists (I can say the same about other Regulars). Within LFWA (recently for roto 11 and 12) I know very well there have been Reservists fired for not being capable of doing their job (and a Regular placed in the position). Sometimes the Reservist simply needs an experienced Sgt to guide him on full time duty...You don‘t always have to do that for Regulars, but sometimes you do.

For Somalia, the Reserve units affiliated with the Airborne Regiment sent personnel to fill out the line commando‘s. For IFOR, the majority of the Reserve participation was within the MNBG HQ as LO‘s etc and staff at MND(SW). Why would they be in the Recce Sqn? OP SNOWGOOSE, Cyprus...that was another time, my friend, when the army was alot larger than we are now and there for many Regulars aval to go. Having said that, I know there were several reserve gunners that deployed to Cyprus in the early 80s and alot in the early 90s, just prior to the reduction in the mission. I can‘t comment on DH, but, as the jobs are open to any trade, component or element, I don‘t doubt there are Reservists working but the majority remain combat arms.

WRT your comment about Regs staying home while Reservists get to go overseas. We really encountered this during Roto 11 and 12. The soldiers are telling the leadership that the are over tasked but when there unit deploys overseas (roto 11 and 12) they are upset at the Reserve augmentation (also known as the "tour stealers"). This is further compounded by the fact most Reservists can‘t fill the more senior positions (Sgt and above) and wind up filling Cpl/Pte driver (GD type) positions. This restricts the number of positions that young Reg F privates can fill. I feel for the young Regular trying to make something of himself in a Regiment where Cpls often have a very hefty rack of medals. When they don‘t get the opportunity to go overseas with their Regiment, who do they blame? But isn‘t the army better off having a "high readiness" capability available in Canada?

Just my thoughts.
Password is incorrect!
It‘s the people in the unit that make the esprit de corps, not the unit itself.
ex. unit that just formed a year ago where the training is tough, and they are known to be the best unit for being a$$ kickers in the field,
a unit that has 150 years of battle honors a cool cap badge and a deadly mess, but they get there a$$‘s handed to them in the field because they are all fat and retarded.

So what unit would you join?
this is an example.
Also, with regards to certain trades like, oh I don‘t know, medic, reservists aren‘t allowed to go overseas and occupy a Med A position, and neither are QL3 qualified Reg Med As. This creates a HUGE strain on the Reg QL5 Cpls and up. A reserve QL3+QL4 is roughly equivalent to a reg QL3 and neither are able to do their jobs overseas unless they end up as an ambulance driver. How frustrating is that on both sides? To spend 6 months training and no ability to apply the knowledge. No wonder all the GD/driver/HQ tasks get filled so quickly.

This has been a problem within the medical world for many years. Reserve (and Regular) medical personnel were being trained without any civilian equivalency (ie QL 3 equals EMT course). CFMG has recognized this and (I believe) for the first time on Op PALLADIUM Roto 12 Reserve will serve overseas if they hold a civilian qualification roughly similar to the Regular qualification. I believe there are around 4 Reserve personnel who will be deploying as part of the HS Pl.

The longer term problem is making sure Reserve training actually provides the military with some type of resource it can call upon. I‘m not sure where this lies as there are more pressing issues that CFMG must deal with....
ArmyAl - you‘re comparing apples and potatoes.

When you used the "example" of a new unit, and a unit 150 years old, you forgot to mention how many MILLION dollars the new unit received (you know what I‘m talking about, so let‘s get real).

Fat, retarded? Hmmm ... I wonder how these personnel got by the Regular Force Recruiting Centre ... (after all, there certainly aren‘t any Regular Force personnel who fit this description, are there)?

Recce41 - as already pointed out, there were reservists in Somalia (including one from my unit)

You‘re right - the Reg Force often deploys first, especially when there is short, little or no lead time - however, as soon as the well starts to run dry, they start sending reservists ...

It‘s a necessary, symbiotic relationship.

And, as for unnecessary internal bickering - we need only to look at the Artillery, who have effectively crippled the Infantry battalions by robbing them of mortars (and, the Artillery most closely follows the example that was initially given in this thread ... hmmm ... kinda makes ya wanna thunk, eh?)
And, as for unnecessary internal bickering - we need only to
look at the Artillery, who have effectively crippled the
Infantry battalions by robbing them of mortars
Bossi, you are going to have to expand on your point because I do not agree with you at all.
As for Recce postions (Armour) there is a many of Res crewman boat (Cougar) qual. In the 50-60s most Res were ex reg WW2 vets. So you cannot compare them to the Res of today. Most like my Father started out as a Res until he stayed in after WW2. Now they‘re getting a Coyote qual here or there. All I‘m saying is some of the ones that go on tour are the ones with no real job. And all the good one cannot doto this. I had a driver in my troop in Bosnia that was sent home from Cyprus in 89 with us, sent home from Bosnia in 94 with us and almost sent home from SFOR in 98, but the two of us that remembered him spoke to him. We pointed out that he was on a fine line.
I was in D+S Troop for Somalia, and RCD BGE HQ for IFOR. This thought will only change if the Res start to be like the ones of old, the its raining I‘m not going to play today soldiers.
Airaghardt seems to think the Calgary Highlanders don‘t have any schmucks on the rolls...must not parade much.... :rolleyes:

In any event, the original poster is merely trolling - his comment about saving money on Highland regiments is especially funny, since the majority of highland kit, etc. is purchased at regimental expense.

This too has been discussed often.

However, bear in mind that my previous comments also bear fruit - the German Army in WW II did not have regimental traditions per se, and they fought very well. All the traditions of the "Old Army" were done away with, though an effort was made at first to retain regimental traditions in the companies and battalions of the new Wehrmacht in the 1930s. By 1940, the last outward sign of regimental tradition - the number of the unit - was deleted from the shoulder straps. While regiments still recruited locally, and divisions were given a regional designation (ie Berlin, Württemberg, Rheinland, Westphalia, Saxony, Bavarian, etc.), there were no regimental colours, uniform distinctions, or any of the other "regimental" trappings of the Commonwealth armies.

Unit cohesion was actually drawn from the National Socialist influence - officers ate what their men ate, and were looked on usually as comrades, as class distinctions were officially being done away with. There were exceptions, but the officers of the British Army of the time retained their caste system to a much larger degree, by way of contrast, and some Canadian officers would have preferred that as well (Crerar, Simonds...the lower ranking combat officers tended to have a more modern outlook). The point being that the Germans placed more importance on relationships between men and units, than on ceremonial trappings. And it paid them dividends.

Granted, regimental distinctions are usually retained for their value in recruiting in peacetime, this is just a reminder that in action, cap badges and back flashes and coloured hosetops really count for much less than the respect between men and leaders, and confidence in each other - brought about by training and experience, not dress regulations.

The Canadian Army dispensed with regimental traditions in many units during World War One - the numbered battalions in some cases kept the traditions of their founding regiments, but many (most?) did not. The Calgary Highlanders‘ predecessor is a great example. They were formed from the 103rd Calgary Rifles and the 106th Winnipeg Light Infantry.

The battalion did not adopt a single rifle regiment tradition, nor a single light infantry tradition (no blackened buttons, Sam Brownes, chin strap or rank insignia, they marched at the normal pace, they had no buglehorns or bugle band) and simply called themselves "The Tenth Canadians", and later, "The Fighting Tenth". A wartime effort by one officer to nickname the unit "White Gurkhas" did not stick.

Their fighting reputation was second to none - and done entirely without the benefit of any "regimental traditions". They simply created their own.

So too the other CEF units formed from several regiments in Canada.

So you could probably do away with the kilts (sorry!) and regimental traditions tomorrow and number all the units, and in six months time or a year, there would be little difference in the operational capabilities of the units.

Don‘t get me wrong - you would definitely have lost a lot in the process - but the Army would not come to a crashing halt, and we would pretty much survive. Any Army that could survive Unification could survive anything, though some would argue we are still recovering from Unification, too. Mostly because of the people that left, not because we stopped wearing metal shoulder titles for 15 years or so.

I don‘t know if I buy into the kilt or the pipe band as a recruiting tool in any event. If you‘re not predisposed to the infantry, I can‘t see the incentive of wearing a kilt as being all that crucial to making the final decision. Would be interesting to see some hard data on that, but if anyone is selecting their trade based on the uniform they are going to be wearing, I have to question their ability to make decisions like that at all.
One of my all time favourite past times when working with ‘old school‘ reg force personal is asking them "why don‘t they like reserves, because were like reg force mini-me‘s?"

For the most part it‘s just to get a laugh and break the ice but for the most part the reasons they‘ve given in seriousness are very intellegient and very legit such as;
-Reserves charging reg force insturctors with racisim or harassment if they fail a course (i‘ve seen this personally)
-Reserves showing up on a tasking and treating it like summer camp, walking around with walkmens or asking if they have to shine their boots
-cadet and ql3 war stories ad nasium

I also think some fault of this falls on the reg force personal. When a reservists performs very poorly for some reason (from what i‘ve seen) they are given a good or standard report anyways, be it they feel bad OR (what i suspsect) they don‘t want the hassel of justifing/showing evidence of how a soldier performed poorly.
I can understand not wanting to get involved with that crap but if the reservests unit thinks they performed well there going to send them on a tasking again.
I have been one of the ones that have written a crap report, but it will get changed. For you CANNOT hurt their feelings, or if you go they will quit. I was DS on a JNCO course we had 15 out of 36 fail or quit, due to this we could not fail any more that was from LFCA. For Res units get money for the numbers. More numbers they put down more money they get, even if they have 200 names and only 10 show. They still get the money for 200. My wife was RSS, she had seen this first hand. This is why Res unit seem to have more money.
I have been told that I was harassing one of them because I had given him too many chits on one course. Or you have Res course officers that show and say they don‘t care about the students they are just there for the money. Damn one day these people may have to fight.
Thank goodness I‘m away from that crap. Ever other Army they Res take it seriously. I was in Bosnia and the Kiwis had a whole Res Regt. None of us even knew. But they know the differance between us. Why because some of our Res units are a joke.
When you see the BC of the GGs driving around with a damn Medic in the bussil bin of a Cougar going cross country. He was stopped and didn‘t think it was wrong. Now tell me thats not a joke.
the equation, More soldiers = More money makes sense now that you‘ve all explained it. I wish I had taken count to how many times i‘ve heard an instructor say: "Alright Bloggins, fail this test one more time and you‘re off the course... And i mean it this time." :skull:
Every few weeks, same ol‘, same ol‘. Oh well, vent if you must, everyone‘s entitled to their opinion :boring: