Today I received my Veterans Badge reminding me of 18 very happy years service to HM The Queen, The Royal Artillery’s Captain General.
Cavalry charges: that’s how it used to be in the good old days! But then came the Tank: dirty, ugly, noisy and of course terribly effective in battle. So the horses moved from the battlefield to other parts of the Army.
So it must be a bit of a surprise to find that the British Army still has more Horses than Tanks even today.
According to a response to a Freedom of Information request the Army currently has 485 horses, compared to 227 Challenger Main Battle Tanks.
Progress, but at what price?
The tone was set by the Americans with videos of missiles in flight to destroy their targets and now the RAF are doing the same. Videos showing the military might of the Western world often against an armed but un-armoured pickup truck are released as part of the media war. Why they are released is not clear, but I suspect someone, somewhere, thought that such images would be a demonstration of how power can be projected on a world stage.
And of course they aren’t particularly unpleasant. Black and white, pretty grainy and always ending in a flash/bang that showed nothing much of any consequence.
But underneath all that, someone is being killed. And when the Islamic State turned this war porn on its head and got up close and personal in their recent videos many of us were very uncomfortable with what we saw. Allegations of savagery, medievalism, brutality were common, but the reality is that the images were IS’s equivalent of the missiles- in-flight films issued by western powers. Continue reading “War Porn: we just don’t need it”
Someone asked me this morning: "how is it that we can be prepare to use airpower in Iraq but appear to be so reserved about a response to the situation in Ukraine?"That set me thinking: and the answer is, in my opinion, that we face very different situations. In Iraq we will not project our military power on the land, so can only do so from the air. The Islamic State air defence capability is limited, so risks are low.
Historically we might have considered using Armoured power in Europe as our principle weapon, albeit supported from the air.My first regimental posting is within 24 hours drive time to Kiev. But having now removed nearly all our troops from Europe we are unable to project force into the East. Moreover the use of air power in Ukraine will meet effective defensive responses from the separatist and/or Russian forces.
We are therefore "stuck". We don’t have any local or close-by capability available to intervene on the ground and we face a dangerous risk from intervention in the air.
Consequently we are suffering the fate of an alliance that has fought "light wars" for the last decade whilst forgetting that Russia has not reduced its military might and can certainly advance armoured forces from cross proximity.
Developing a suitable response for Ukraine will prove difficult
I shed a tear a few minutes ago, only a small one, but an item on the lunchtime news really moved me. It was the report that said it was time to say farewell to a great servant of this country: HMS Illustrious.
Lusty, as she was known as been home to hundreds of seamen and sea-women for 30 years or more and is now to retire having travelled nearly 1 million miles around our world and taken part in several conflicts and rescue operations. But now, as the BBC reporter said: “the Navy is moving to a new era”. Continue reading “Farewell Lusty, you did us proud”