Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Starting a new adventure

So, in the end i did it, and finally started a blog. My first blog, and a blog revolving around one of my very favorite subjects, the British Armed Forces. This blog will now become the place where i share my thoughts, ramblings, and the news on which i manage to get my greedy hands on. Because every novelty about the British Armed Forces, i must know.

I think a foreword about myself is a must, because i guess that, to most people, i'll seem like a weird case. And they are totally right at thinking it. I'm italian, i've never (yet) been in the UK, yet i consider Great Britain my second homeland. My passion for the british armed forces dates back to when i was 8 if not younger, which means it is now at least 13 years that i follow every event closely.
How did it begin? Well, with the Spitfire, of course. A legend not just in the UK, but pretty much everywhere. I bet there are even little chinese kids who have dreamed at least once to be a Spitfire pilot after hearing of the Battle of England.
My passion did continue with the Lancaster, and even more so with the "Wooden Wonder" the Mossie, with the Bren, the Sten, HMS Warspite and HMS Illustrious, and it was a love and interest that expanded steadily, from the 25 pdr gun to the Sherman Firefly, from HMS Vengeance to the Tornado GR4, and it went even backwards, past the Dreadnoughts and into the 800' with HMS Victory, Nelson, Wellington and the Redcoats, the Grasshoppers and the dragoon cavalry charging down the hill of Waterloo. 

It is a burning passion and a never-ending interest, from the Royal Navy to the Army to the RAF, from the SAS to the Royal Marines.
It is a passion often painful in these times of cuts and capabilities being gapped. But this does not make the passion any weaker.

And so here is my Blog, a place where to share my passion, and the knowledge i've built up in these years. I hope you'll find interesting data in here, and why not, interesting ideas and proposals to discuss about. This is my sincere Welcome to everyone, and I hope you will enjoy your visit here. Feel free to comment and discuss and contribute, it'll only make me happier.

And yes. This place is still kind of being built. So expect modifications and new things to pop up with time.



  1. Welcome to the blogosphere dude !

  2. Good work on the Army,
    - what is the proportion of MRAPs factored in/ stored/ written off; there is quite an investment cost embedded in the fleet, but condition may be variable (and makes are too many)
    - what's the hurry with FRES SU when there are so many Warriors available? What time scale had you thought for the introduction of this part of the new fleet?
    - Command/ Comms vehicles can't do their job without emitting; have you thought about giving them Trophy-type of active armour protection?
    - ditto for any formations specially training for urban combat? You can't enter densely built up areas, except at your peril, without. It is counterintuitive, but perhaps it should be for the AMRAPs? Not the most expensive/ best armed, but all other platforms might already be too cramped to accommodate these add-ons.
    - good thinking about the high-mobility armoured bn (google Kainuu Brigade for the same in brigade size). They and the AAB would seem to be lacking in organic indirect fires, so some into the rear half of the articulated Broncos(?) and some into the Stormer-weight vehicles, which you already have in the your fleet (and plenty in storage)- without introducing a new (120) caliber?

    Cheers, ACC

  3. Thank you, glad you could appreciate the article.

    By MRAP i guess you mean Mastiff and Ridgback. As i've stated into the article, i believe the early batches of Mastiff are now worn and torn and kind of already obsolete, but a good 200 Mastiff 2 and 2A should still be in good conditions by the time Afghanistan is over.
    You probably know that, at the moment, Mastiff and Ridgback and even Warthog are driven by tankies, coming from the Challenger II regiments.
    My idea is that these drivers, by now, have been away from the Challengers for so long that they would need expensive training to get back into efficiency, at a time in which Tank Regiments will be made smaller and redundancies are likely to become necessary.

    The idea is that, being the Bulldog seriously at risk of being retired, the Mastiff and Ridgback might become the interim vehicles of the Mechanized battalions.
    It is possible that up to five battalions (the ones needed) could be covered by Mastiff, Ridgback and Warthog, along with a sizeable core of already trained drivers with Afghan experience.
    True, those drivers came from Challenger regiments and they surely would prefer to get back to the tanks (who wouldn't???), but the risk of losing their job as the Tank numbers are cut would make less bitter their permanent re-roling.

    However, there's probably no money to really follow this approach: standing to an old Telegraph report, the Army might throw away all Mastiffs, Ridgbacks and even Warthog in 2015 or 2016, after the Afghan drawdown.
    The most likely real outcome is a bleeding gap which leaves the army with no mechanized infantry at all until FRES UV comes.
    Hopefully, at least the Mastiffs and Ridgbacks in better conditions will be put into storage and kept for future possible use, but it is all to be seen.

    FRES SV is mainly needed to replace FV430-series vehicles and CVR(T) vehicles, from the Scimitar to Spartan.
    Both these fleets are not just old, but by now ancient, and need urgently a replacement because they are obsolete in many aspects.
    True, many Warriors will be retired, but not enough to cover all roles, so that new vehicles would still be needed. Besides, to use Warriors in these roles would require a quite massive upgrade/rebuilding of the vehicles, and this is probably not cost-effective.

    Command and COMMS vehicles are normally safe enough, protected and away from the most dangerous areas. Combining this with the constraints in budget terms, i do not even dare advocating for expensive active defence systems.
    They might however get the Electric Armor in development, if this is adopted on the FRES fleet as it has been suggested, and this would almost be worth of the Trophy.

    For combat vehicles, the FRES programme does envisage an active defence system, not the Trophy but the LEEDS mentioned in the article. So, yes. Budget permitting, this will be present.

    As to indirect fire support, in the article i mention creating a Warthog (or even Vicking) Mortar Carrier with a L16 mortar as currently in service mounted in the rear cab. So, yes. I've already suggested it.

    Thanks for reading, i hope you'll find plenty of other good stuff on here.

  4. It is disheartening when someone writes such a good piece - about carriers and amphibs - that there is nothing to argue against!

    The fist I heard of "Joint Forces Head Quarters team (this indicated in around 120 men)" though
    - will they also have the kit fitted, as on Bulwark/ Albion, in a separate operations space?

    Will Albion/ Bulwark now have hangars for their helicopters (after their respective refits) , or are they still having to house them on the "mothership" most of the time

    Cheers, ACC

  5. The JFHQ team is officers from the tri-services, that would use CVF as their base from which to direct operations, exploiting the network of which CVF will be a part thanks to its extensive data link fittings. Such a HQ team goes from 95 to 120 officers, for whom there's plenty of space in the ship's operational rooms.

    They will have the possibility to esploit the Communications fitting of CVF itself and of the accompanying Type 45 destroyers, which are fitted with a world-class C2 kit.

    Albion and Bulwark continue to have no hangar, and never will they have. The refit touched the flight deck, making it capable to take two Chinooks at once, but there's physically no space for an hangar, unless you eat up half of the flight deck to build a shelter!
    The helicopters will need to be carried in the open, on the deck, and sent to the accompanying CVF/LPH when they require servicing.

    The Bay class LSD(A) could instead be fitted with hangar/shelters, but this would eat away the space between the cranes that is used to store containers of supplies, Offshore Raiding Crafts, vehicles and any kind of other load required.

    Anyway, plenty more stuff on the Navy, Carriers and Amphibs will come out on here, as i'm working to put it all online.

  6. Hi,

    Relieve some garage space first, by giving the IS Saxons to the police, for their protected mobility? RE "Hopefully, at least the Mastiffs and Ridgbacks in better conditions will be put into storage and kept for future possible use, but it is all to be seen. "

    Cheers, ACC

  7. If Saxon is still around at all! I hope the army is not paying to keep that relic stored away XD
    But that is an idea too. If the police has funds and need for a vehicle of that kind, of course.

  8. Gabriele,

    Che bella sito! (I think -- my Italian doesn't approach your English.)

    Really, it's a grand addition. Love the level of detail and thought about the details. Like the template and use of graphics/images as well. Bags and bags of real substance. Also has a very good feel -- but then we tend to count on the aesthetic value of Italian design (with good reason!) When I've got a bit more time I'll comment on the long "Future Force" articles. Particularly like the Typhoon piece, too. You may finally have pushed me in the direction of hanging up my own shingle, as well. Time and schedule will see on that one but for now I'm just pleased and happy to see you get off to a roaring start.

  9. Jackstaff, thank you a lot.

    The template is actually... an easy and simple one, i just felt like it would work better. I'm glad it does.

    I'll be more than glad to hear your comments on the (huge) Future Force articles, and i'm glad that you like the Typhoon piece as well. I tried to get all the possible info into it.
    And now i'm going to write a JCA page as well, that i may put online within today if i do manage.
    But thank you again, and good luck for your own projects. I'll be looking forwards to your comments.


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