Sunday, April 29, 2012

Highlanders safe, but Scots Dragoons gone?

The press reports that, differently from what we heard in the last few months, 4th SCOTS battalion, the Highlanders, will not be cut. It is end of the road for the junior regiment, however, 5th SCOTS Argyll and Sutherland.
And the only regular tank regiment from Scotland, the Scots Dragoon Guards regiment, is to be removed from the regular army, possibly becoming a TA formation (depending on what the Army does to its tank fleet).

The article also reports that an announcement about the Army cuts and disbandments is now due in June, much later than expected.

If the report is true and correct, where does this leave us?

5th SCOTS is an airmobile battalion of infantry and represents the 4th maneuver battalion of 16 Air Assault brigade, so if it is disbanded the brigade is either reduced to 3 infantry battalions or given a re-roled battalion. Perhaps, 4th SCOTS: currently the Highlanders are armoured infantry on Warrior, but this is almost certainly going to change as the armoured battalions are cut from 8+1 to 5+1.
So there is inconsistency in the plan outlined by the press compared with what we are expecting basing ourselves on the SDSR Multi Role Brigade plan.

There is also inconsistency, worse and harder to remedy to, brought up by the disbandment of the Scots Dragoon Guards: what happens with the SDSR promise that each MRB would have its tank element?   


  1. Hi Gabriele,

    June seems along way off. It does not surprise me that 4 SCOTs will remain. As I think, that the 4 SCOTs battalions will form the Scottish MRB.
    I suspect that all MBT regts will be TA based, I don't think that gives a very well trained MBT option, but I assume thats the least worst option. My feeling is that the RAC will be cut to 5 or 6 Regiments, plus the Household Cavalry.
    PR 12 is well overdue, I think we will see it sometime after the local elections this Thursday.
    I doubt very much if the infantry is cut to 25 battalions, that there will be an infantry training battalion, or IDB as we called it in our day. But looks like we will have to wait until June to find out!
    Keep up the good work.

  2. Gabriele

    How much store do you set by such reports? Is ths one merely a testing of the water by certain groups with Scottish interests? I quote from a letter sent in as one of the comments on this report:

    "5 SCOTS (Argylls) are about to become the lead Battle Group in the UK Airborne Task Force, part of the Rapid Reaction Force. Would the MOD announce the end of a battalion which, for the next two years, will be on 5 days notice to be sent anywhere?"

    Do we really know the truth yet? Anyway, why would Scotland worry about the loss of regiments from the British Army? After all, it is certain Scottish factions who are pushing for an end to the Union. If they want that, let them form and pay for their own defence force.

  3. The role of 5th Battalion in the next two years is sadly of nearly no relevance at all for its safety, as the cuts to the army will take place in a first phase concluding in 2015 (going down to 90/89.000 and then in another 5 years phase that brings it down to 84/82.000 regulars by 2020.

    Accommodating the eventual changes introduced by SDSR15 in the meanwhile, of course.

  4. Hi Gabriele,

    I agree with you. I fear many of these units that are going to get the chop may still have to do a tour of the Afghan yet.
    Just to add, 2 RTR maybe the Scottish 'tank regiment' to be cut, as this has been seen as a Scottish unit. As I assume the 'Scottish' MRB, will at least need a Recce Regt.
    Keep up the good work.

  5. Is there going to be a Scots MRB ?

    Sounds like a national "Pals" battalion - In the unlikely event of a severe military defeat a large chunk of a country's population would/could be decimated !

    PS. Keep up the good work - Arfah

  6. Well, in the past there used to be battalions with a very tight tie with their country of origin. In the battle of the Somme battalions of true town-pals were maimed. The risk exists, but i don't think it will stop the process anyway.

    Then again, today's scottish battalions of the army are actually filled with people from... everywhere, including Fiji islands, so it is more theory and names than facts, in a way.

  7. After the Somme, whole streets lost their menfolk. There aren't enough Fijians, Africans or Caribbeans to go around.

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the formation of the 'Union Brigade'



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