Monday, 18 March 2013

Farewell the Deserting Rats

A rare, but sensible criticism of the military here. The grumpy old codgers moaning about the 7th Armoured Brigade's history of tank warfare need to look back at the regimental annals. Regiments get re-roled, as do their other Service counterparts. Tradition is very important in the forces, but not at the expense of any forward movement. Parts of our armed forces are centuries old - but they have had to adapt to survive. We have cavalry units complaining about losing tanks now. Would they rather we went back to horses?

I am the first to admit the defence review might have been somewhat hurried and may prove in the long term to be somewhat of a poorly effected hatchet job, but both cuts and change are necessary in some measure - anyone can see that. If we upheld everyone's claims that "we've been doing x since blah blah blah", there would never be any change and the Armed Forces a worse place for it. The only way is to embrace the change and try to work with it rather than against it. Tradition will not always be your best defence in trying to divert the axe.

As an example look at the Rifles - now one of the most prestigious and over-subscribed infantry groups after under 10 years since formation. The writing was on the wall at the turn of the century that there were too many small infantry regiments and amalgamation and maybe disbanding would be inevitable. The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry, the Light Infantry, the Royal Gloucester, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry and the Royal Green Jackets chose their bedfellows. They embraced change and created a fantastic fighting unit with a real sense of union. Others had it forced on them and tangibly lack the success that cohesion brings.

So let us have less sniping about the sideline matters, it only serves to drown out the more important arguments over future size, structure and funding. That, too, is not only a lesson for the Armed Forces. Other departments would do well to remember to pick their battles and not sweat the small stuff, or else people will have stopped listening to their cries by the time the real wolf does come along.

No comments:

Post a Comment