Royal Navy to cut its fleet by half

Keltic Star
5th January 2007, 05:23
From today's Electronic Telegraph:

Royal Navy commanders were in uproar yesterday after it was revealed that almost half of the Fleet's 44 warships are to be mothballed as part of a Ministry of Defence cost-cutting measure.
The Government has admitted that 13 unnamed warships are in a state of reduced readiness, putting them around 18 months away from active service. Today The Daily Telegraph can name a further six destroyers and frigates that are being proposed for cuts.

A need to cut the defence budget by £250 million this year to meet spending requirements has forced ministers to look at drastic measures.

MoD sources have admitted it is possible that the Royal Navy will discontinue one of its major commitments around the world at a time when Sir Jonathon Band, the First Sea Lord, has said more ships are needed to protect the high seas against terrorism and piracy.

Full story at:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/01/05/navy05.xml&DCMP=EMC-new_05012007

Peter4447
5th January 2007, 09:55
'God and the Navy we adore, when danger threatens but not before'

Blair's legacy to the nation perhaps......?

Peter4447(MAD)

King Ratt
5th January 2007, 11:32
Blair and co were never lovers of the forces. All CND and worshippers of mother Russia. Now in the process of achieving their goal of destroying our Navy, Army and RAF. An easy way of handing us over to the tender mercies of the United ??? states of Europe.

STRAWBERRY
5th January 2007, 13:33
It is terrible for me to say this....But....we need another Falklands War, and soon!!

PollY Anna
5th January 2007, 14:46
No we don't need a War, just stop wasting money on Consultants, Committee's and Think Tanks, they could afford to double the fleet not halve it.

Hawkeye
5th January 2007, 14:56
Hi Strawberry

It is terrible to say we need another Falklands, but in a way, I'd agree. However are we not in the process of conducting war at the moment against 2 countries, with a possible 2 in the pipeline, one of which will need the navy for blockading duties?
There is also the 'threat' from Europe who seem very keen on being able to control everything in Britain, including the armed forces, and having nothing to do with the Americans, which in the past have helped to liberate most of them from an invading force. There's gratitude for you.
As someone has also said, many of the polictition in today's cabinet were always against things like the Nuclear Umbella, Nuclear power stations, large armed forces, etc. Talk about leopard's changing spots. There was one country in Europe with a comminist party, I can't remember which, when it heard about what was going on in Russia in their name, they disbanded themselves. It would have been interesting to see how these people would have survived under Soviet rule. (No human rights there, even today).
East verses West, look at which one collapsed. Many people in the East say they were better of then, then today. The same can be said about Cuba. So why do many of them want to come here? And why did many in t5he West want to adopt Soviet Policies (CND, etc). We faced a threat then, (or did we). Many of the solidors in these counties where ordinary people like as. The bigger threat is now a religion. They flee their own country to come here and set up a system they fled in their homeland. Many live quietly among us, but the minority, while wanting to live here, but not adopt our way of life. Europe was responsible for much of this. (Border controls)

That's my two bobs worth on this and I say sorry for getting a bit carried away.

Regards
Karl

fred henderson
5th January 2007, 16:04
The report on the front page of today's Telegraph is almost a word-for-word repeat of a report in Jane's Defence Weekly of 20 December last year. The MoD response is exactly the same.
In this week's Jane's there is a further report that these proposed cuts in the active destroyer and frigate force are part of a menu of possible savings from all branches of the armed forces to find £150 million to prevent a Defence budget overspend. The MoD refute this and claim that the 2007-2008 Budget is not yet established.
It is clear however, that a major part of the MoD problem is the continued massive cost over-runs by BAE. In addition to the £157 million additional cost for the Type 45 programme mentioned in the Telegraph article the Astute submarine construction cost increased by a further £164 million during 2006 alone. Both programmes are now years behind schedule and of course the Typhoon and Nimrod aircraft are far worse.
It seems that the Royal Navy cannot afford the problems created by its major supplier.

Fred

LEEJ
5th January 2007, 18:02
I cannot believe you guys are actually advocating war. Get a grip.

meechingman
5th January 2007, 18:15
I'll put the Devil's Advocate hat on. [I'm assuming everyone knows what that means!]

IF we bought 'off the peg' planes, ships, weapons etc from abroad, there would no doubt be a big hue and cry about it. All the MP's etc local to BAE, suppliers etc etc would understandably be up in arms. Loss of jobs would be high on their list of complaints.

BUT, we would have ships, planes and equipment that worked (probably first time), they would be delivered on time and on budget (probably cheaper than anything home grown), might well work better, and there would therefore be more money for 'front line' use, rather than paying huge for over-runs in budgets.

Devil's Advocate hat off.

How do we resolve the mess we seem to be in now? I honestly don't know, hence the devil's advocate approach to start some discussion.

Andy

yorky jim
5th January 2007, 19:12
the thin edge of the wedge ,of this situation,started when we left the far east in the 1970,s.then as well went Malta and hong Kong.
they felt there was no more need to have such a large royal navy ,the money they could save ,whoops then we had the falklands,but still the M.O.D became complaint,and down this silly road we went,
ten years on we have one person saying ,help out here and there,and on the other hand we have another person saying sorry we have no money to cover exter cost,s.
what has this country come too,i am afraid we need new blood in the M.O.D to wake this tired country up.

wigger
5th January 2007, 20:38
Its not a very popular point for obvious reasons but I think Meechingman is about right on this one. In fact the ships would not even have to be brand new! I've said before that the U.S. are paying off perfectly adequate ships that would probably be a better bet than the T45.
If we even had "some" of the ships (and aircraft) that the US has decided are old hat in the last 10 years, we would have a better equipped Navy than the one we have at present, and probably in the future the way things are looking.

barrypriddis
5th January 2007, 22:26
Dare I say that ten years of this Governments mismanagement of defence and immigration is now coming home to roost!

Peter4447
5th January 2007, 23:23
Perhaps I am being too simplistic but what completely baffles me in this whole sorry affair is how can such as BAE justify a £321 million overspend and yet still expect the taxpayer to make up the difference. When I worked in industry, a job was estimated and you then quoted a price for it. If the estimators got it wrong bang went your profit but what you did not do was to go back to the purchaser and expect them to bail you out. I sometimes think that the BBC TV comedy programme "Yes Minister" was definately based on what happens in the real life corridors of power!
Peter4447(Thumb)

Derek Roger
5th January 2007, 23:42
Well without a Merchant Navy what has the Grey Funnel line got to protect ?

Hugh MacLean
5th January 2007, 23:46
Disappointing news but to be honest I am not surprised at all.

The focus of the defence budget at the moment is in Afghanistan and Iraq with the Army, and even that is much mismanaged.

The Navy will have the cuts imposed upon them, and I only hope and pray that the decisions the politicians make now don't cause us problems in the near future. We have been here before and we just and only just got away with it then.

This country is taking on far too many worldwide commitments and the Government is shamefully trying to manage it on a shoestring. We are an island race and the sea is our lifeline our number one concern should be our own back yard.

I would certainly not like to see another Falklands type war and to be honest those that made the remarks earlier in the thread were, I am sure, not serious. There are a few members on this site who have experience of conflict and the effects of conflict. Go and read the thread by Stan Mayes on WW2 convoys. Who would wish for any of that to happen again - even small scale.

I fear for our Navy now and wonder if the new carriers will ever see the slipway.

Regards

marinero
6th January 2007, 13:32
I agree with most of the comments previously posted except another war. The labour party has never cherised the armed forces(and I am not being political, merely stating what I believe to be true) Now the news today that promotions within the Royal Navy have been suspended or delayed reinforce my view that a labour party is in danger of putting my country in harms way.
Regards
Leo

Pat Thompson
6th January 2007, 14:49
What do you call 100 politicians at the bottom of the North Atlantic ?

A bloody good start!!

I kept taking the pills but even they don't seem to help these days

Aye

Pat Thompson

wigger
6th January 2007, 20:33
Where the hell is this number of 44 ships coming from anyway? To the casual observer, 44 may sound like a decent amount of vessels, if it was made up of Destroyers and Frigates it would be, but surely they are including a lot of minor vessels. A tad misleading to the general public I think.

STRAWBERRY
6th January 2007, 20:44
I never said I wanted another war, I have already served during the Gulf war in 1991, that was bad enough. I was only saying, it would take a Falklands type of war to postpone the reducing of the fleet. for a few more years, but lets face it... it would be a short term solution for one problem which will raise it's ugly head again in the future. The government have got this in their heads, and like a Jack Russell with a piece of cloth...they will not let it go.

Peter4447
6th January 2007, 21:01
This thread started with the Telegraph report that the First Sea Lord has said the RN needs more ships to counter terrorism and piracy. I can certainly understand where Strawberry is coming from on this because surely the need is for less high tech, state of the art, multi-million pound ships and more good, solid dependable work horses regardless of whether they are purchased second-hand as surplus to the US Navies needs or not - just look at the role the conventional Frigate 'Yarmouth' played in the Falklands and earned for itself the nickname The Crazy Y in the process. I'll bet the First Sea Lord would be overjoyed if he suddenly found the Fleet was to be enlarged by 10 new gun armed Leander Class frigates.
It seems we never learn by our mistakes, old they may have been but what would have happened without those 50 four funnelled lease-lend destroyers we accquired from the US at the start of the Second World War.
Peter4447(Thumb)

dacron
7th January 2007, 03:27
I have just finished reading a work of fiction set in the not too distant future that covers the Falkland Island war (again) and this scenario actually condemns the current and previous labour governments for the defence cuts over X amount of years in the UK, just seems strange how the author can get it right a few years before it actually happens,maybe he does some really good research. if anyone is interested the author is Patrick Robinson and the book is Ghost Force, Dale

cboots
7th January 2007, 03:28
I am more than a little puzzled as to what you all deem this large navy and its accompanying massive expenditures to be required for? It is also worth pointing out that the two eras of major defense cut backs were the "loss of empire" period and the end of the cold war. Both took place under Conservative governments. Prime Minsister Wilson's withdrawal from "East of Suez" was no more than a confirmation of reality. As a confirmed expat of many years now I do not follow British politics as closely as I used to but I would be surprised if you were to find much by way of CND or communist affliations in the background of Mr. Blair or any of his government.
CBoots

viking
7th January 2007, 21:12
mod has got its priorties totally wrong front page todays times they are spending £2.3billion on referbing offices istead of front line services example 3100 chairs at £1000 each

PollY Anna
8th January 2007, 14:13
How does a chair cost 1000 pounds I know they are covered in leather BUT!!!

Read my previous posting about wasting money. It seems that it would not be wise to put these people in charge of the local corner shop. If they did some good house keeping there would be enough money for the Health Education and the M.O.D depts. I and my wife are both war babies so nothing is wasted

Lindsay Bremner
8th January 2007, 20:29
Good to see that this governments actions against the Royal Navy are causing this much conversation amongst the members of this site. Please consider signing the petition below.

The petition link is http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/savethenavy

Lefty
8th January 2007, 21:35
Can I remind some of you that it was a reduction in the Naval protection of the Falklands by the Tory Party that caused the Argoes to think they could take the Falklands.
Anyhow what's £250.000.000 against the cost of Trident? It's all a waste of our hard earned taxes! H

Santos
8th January 2007, 21:44
I am more than a little puzzled as to what you all deem this large navy and its accompanying massive expenditures to be required for? CBoots

Words fail me !!!!!

Lindsay Bremner
8th January 2007, 23:34
Can I remind some of you that it was a reduction in the Naval protection of the Falklands by the Tory Party that caused the Argoes to think they could take the Falklands.
Anyhow what's £250.000.000 against the cost of Trident? It's all a waste of our hard earned taxes! H

Was it not a Labour Government that started the cuts 5 years before the Falklands war?
Was it not the same Labour government that scrapped the Aircraft carriers and as a result the new escorts that were to be built.
Is it not a Labour government that is in power now and in the process of finishing off what a 70s Labour government started? Facts are the Tories have not helped matters but they are not guilty of destroying the Royal Navy that’s down to Labour and in particular Blair and Brown.
This government has managed to do what Napoleon, the Spanish Armada, the Germans twice, the Italians and the Argentines to name but a few couldn't do that is sink the Royal Navy.

cboots
9th January 2007, 10:56
I notice that another poster has quoted my earlier post and added the comment, "Words fail me." Well they might, but how about answering the original question someone. Everyone seems to want a massive navy, well, what for? Who is going to invade Albion's shores? Alternatively, whom is Britain intending to launch a seaborne invasion of? How exactly is the average Joe, grafting away and paying his taxes, going to benefit from massive expenditure on everything from aircraft carriers to battleships. Sorry guys, if there is some answer so glaringly obvious that no one feels it necessary to mention it, I am stuffed if I can see it. And frankly I find the inter party squabbles and accusations as ludicrous as they are innaccurate. Has everyone forgotten "Options for Peace" under the last Conservative government. Governments of both parties have wielded hefty cuts to all wings of the armed forces when they have felt it politically expedient to do so.
CBoots

Peter4447
9th January 2007, 12:09
I notice that another poster has quoted my earlier post and added the comment, "Words fail me." Well they might, but how about answering the original question someone. Everyone seems to want a massive navy, well, what for? Who is going to invade Albion's shores? Alternatively, whom is Britain intending to launch a seaborne invasion of? How exactly is the average Joe, grafting away and paying his taxes, going to benefit from massive expenditure on everything from aircraft carriers to battleships. Sorry guys, if there is some answer so glaringly obvious that no one feels it necessary to mention it, I am stuffed if I can see it. And frankly I find the inter party squabbles and accusations as ludicrous as they are innaccurate. Has everyone forgotten "Options for Peace" under the last Conservative government. Governments of both parties have wielded hefty cuts to all wings of the armed forces when they have felt it politically expedient to do so.
CBoots

I think CBoots that you are making rather sweeping statements when you talk about "everyone seems to want a massive navy" and "massive expenditure on everything from aircraft carriers to battleships". That is not my reading of the situation at all. Regardless of which political party is involved it is a simple fact that at the moment questions are being asked about £2.3 billion being spent on a new RN Headquarters and the millions being wasted on over-runs etc by suppliers. Millions more are being spent on Iraq and Afghanistan which is going to the Army and Royal Air Force with the result that the Royal Navy's finance is being slashed, even though it is still being ordered to carry out many world-wide tasks by our politicians.
The First Sea Lord has stated that he wants more ships not "because we are going to launch a seaborne invasion" or that "someone is going to invade Albion's shores" but to counter piracy and terrorism. My own personal opinion is that when we look at the Fleet that we have at the moment, with the vast changes that have taken place in recent years that has brought about the New World Disorder, the RN is now very much on the wrong foot. Instead of being a political pawn, the RN needs to look clearly at the tasks it now has to undertake and, as far as possible those it will be required to undertake in the future. The harsh reality is that the United States Navy is today the world's seagoing Police force so we do not require a vast Navy. Notwithstanding that we still need a well-balanced Fleet and I think that the point that the majority are making on this thread is that will never happen until politicians (of all colours) stop playing around in they way they do (and yes I remember Options for Change all too clearly) and that the vast sums that are being wasted should be directed to the front-line.
Peter4447(Thumb)

Ron Stringer
9th January 2007, 12:46
Everyone seems to want a massive navy, well, what for? CBoots

Well spoken CBoots! This country seems hell-bent on clinging on to delusions of Victorian grandeur. We are now a tiny country whose standard of living continues to slip down the league table. If we spent only as much on the military as do other small European countries such as Switzerland, Austria, Finland or Sweden, we might be able to raise our living conditions to theirs, rather than slipping to compete with Turkey, Greece or the Balkan countries.

With smaller military resources we might be able to confine our politicians to sorting out the problems of the UK rather than allowing them to massage their egos by playing at being international policemen and caped crusaders.

cboots
10th January 2007, 10:12
I would suggest that piracy is a very local problem and not too apparent in the English Channel and North Sea. The days when the Royal Navy could sail boldly into foreign harbours and blast holy crap out of the place because of the presence of pirates is long gone. I know certain factions in the US administration think that it is still okay but the rest of the world does not. As to the much vaunted threat of terrorism, well suffice to say that I don't really see that as a naval campaign. The ratio between expenditures on administration and front line force I cannot comment upon as I am not in possession of the facts of the matter.
CBoots

cockerhoop
10th January 2007, 10:46
To defend BAE on the matter of budget over runs, most of the problem lies with bean counters in the MoD , they batter the original price so low that it is impossible to built to contract, caviats are introduced to push the price back up. Also common sense seems to go out the window there, take the Mk8 mod 1 gun, BAE had developed and successfully built 10 of these including full (AA type repair service) called Contractor Logistic Support, when the contract was issued for the last 13 guns BAE were undercut by DML (With no experience of building or servicing the mod 1 gun), but despite the dept at Mod indicating to there finance collegues we still want to stay with BAE, they were over ruled. The DML gun have been delayed due to there not having experince of supply schedules, and the cost is escalating due to the contract again not being watertight. The MoD fiance dept have a feather in their cap for saving a few £m, while the MoD dept that runs the guns for the navy have major headaches with delays and lower standard service.

fred henderson
10th January 2007, 12:04
A good loyal defence Cockerhoop, but the main cause of cost escalation in shipbuilding is failure to produce the ships on time. BAE has a very bad recent record in that respect. The Astute submarines, Ocean, Albion & Bulwark the Wave class and now the Type 45s.
The Astute tender was issued in 1994 and the contract was signed in 1997 for an in service date of 2006. There is no current real confidence about any actual in service date. The main reason for this terrible performance has been the loss of skilled staff during the production gap between the Vanguards and Astute. The same can be said about the gap between the Type 23s and the Type 45s and the Swan Hunter fiasco.
The MoD must accept the need to provide a steady, continuous build programme. The civil servants in the MoD Contracts teams are not laid-off when a contract is placed, then re-engaged when a new project emerges. A shipyard is somehow expected to exist while MoD consider their requirements and budget.

Fred

cockerhoop
10th January 2007, 12:53
thanks Fred
here's another political desicion that lead to caos, in 1995 Rosyth were crying out for ship refit, so they were given the T22 Coventry refit, DML had expected it, and they were the yard that held the Datum pack of drawings, hence a lot of money was spent copying drawings and sending them to Rosyth. Because of this DML claimed poverty at the end of 1995 and won the Glasgow refit for 1996, this meant that Rosyth had to copy the T42 drawings and send them to DML, as Rosyth held the T42 datum pack.
all good planning.

PeterG
20th January 2007, 01:56
No we don't need a War, just stop wasting money on Consultants, Committee's and Think Tanks, they could afford to double the fleet not halve it.

Completely agree Polly Anna. This government is very hypocrytical - they say the defence budget has to be cut to meet spending requirements in 'other' (their bloated salaries, bonuses and holidays) areas, and then they flitter millions away on damned consultants and reports, the results of which are mostly common sense to everyone anyway.
It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if our nuclear detterent was scrapped either, citing that our protection would be the US in any future attacks. We might as well just call ourselves 'Little USA', because we seem to blindly follow them into all of their escapades nowadays.
Tony and his gang are spineless, indecisive and utterly useless.

AlexBooth
20th January 2007, 02:42
Seems to me a repeat of Harold Wilson's campaign in the 60's - Socialist doctrine ? Or just cash in all the forces and leave it to George Jr to take over the world ?

Bearsie
20th January 2007, 03:15
Maybe you all need to have a meeting with your politicians and ask what the "business plan" is?
Seems like some of them still dream of an empire that hasn't existed in years.
The other half apparently sees salvation in socialist idea's (they worked sooo well in other places after all), and the rest of them seems hell bent to be bestman to any and all adventures the US government can possibly think of...
That playing cop to the world is even getting a bit expensive for us actually.

Falklands, I looked at the history. Maybe the place made sense in the days of the empire when Britain had a "hangout" at every corner...
Like: Gibraltar, Malta, Aden, Singapore, and so on, it has long since lost its usefulness.
Perhaps it would have been best to simply sell it back to the Argentinians and make a tidy profit, rather than wasting money and tax funds on a meaningless war? Who's outcome by the way depended heavily on quiet US help in the background...
That of course would call for a differently equipped navy.
But then the people would have to ponder where they want Great Britain to be in 10 or 20 years , then vote for leaders to make it so.
A new business model as we would call it here.
As far as countering terrorism? I doubt that an aircraft carrier will protect subway stations and insurance office buildings, that's nonsense and we all know it.
Just like the new port security scheme pushed by our government and eagerly (why?) accepted by European governments. essentially designed to make life hard for folks working in ports and to accomplish absolutely diddle squat but concentrating more power in the hands of the government.
With other words another thinly diguised attempt at taking liberty away from people for what? Exactly nothing!

And so it goes :)

Lindsay Bremner
20th January 2007, 12:50
It seems to me that we all have different views on this subject. Some people say we don’t need much of a navy, some people like me say we do need a navy. The way I see it we need a navy to match the commitments given to it by the government and a little bit extra to deal with the unforeseen things that pop up (Falklands etc) Its all very well saying we have more capable ships and weapon systems than we had before, but a ship can only be in one place at a time and as a result can deal with only one thing at a time.
If Tony and Gordon want to make savings on the defence budget then they should also cut the commitments that they have signed the navy up for.
It also looks like Portsmouth Naval Base might close in order to save money, I cant for the life of me see how we could make savings by doing that, all that would happen is the civilian employees will become unemployed and have to claim unemployment benefit also there are a lot of businesses that supply the base that would have to shed jobs. Like it or not, in one way or another we need a strong navy.
I am not saying we need a mega powerful navy for the purposes of invading other countries. Just powerful enough to deal with the jobs it’s being tasked to do.
Lindsay

LEEJ
20th January 2007, 14:05
Was it not a Labour Government that started the cuts 5 years before the Falklands war?
Was it not the same Labour government that scrapped the Aircraft carriers and as a result the new escorts that were to be built.
Is it not a Labour government that is in power now and in the process of finishing off what a 70s Labour government started? Facts are the Tories have not helped matters but they are not guilty of destroying the Royal Navy that’s down to Labour and in particular Blair and Brown.
This government has managed to do what Napoleon, the Spanish Armada, the Germans twice, the Italians and the Argentines to name but a few couldn't do that is sink the Royal Navy.

Funny, many merchant seamen blame Thatcher for doing the same thing to the merch.(Cloud)

Lindsay Bremner
20th January 2007, 15:17
Funny, many merchant seamen blame Thatcher for doing the same thing to the merch.(Cloud)

Yes LEEJ you may well be correct.
It may be fair to say that one government is as bad as the other. (I eat my words from my earlier statement) But what this current government is doing to the Royal Navy is unforgivable.
Lindsay

Bearsie
20th January 2007, 16:27
Funny, many merchant seamen blame Thatcher for doing the same thing to the merch.(Cloud)

Do they? and all the sailors in merchant navies that are growing applaud their government, presumably.
When in reality there isn't much most governments can do to influence it one way or the other. The merchant marine follows the Dollar, like everything else.
One of the few exceptions was the Soviet merchant marine, and that was subsidized to the gills at the expense of their people...
As far as Ms Thatcher is concerned, over here she is rather popular and gets credited with making Great Britain more competitive in an increasingly international world.
In general terms the decline of the British merchant marine has been a long one and was already visible in the late 60's.
Which would mean that the decline was facilitated by 40 years worth of all sorts of british governments, or if you look at it from the other side, none of them; whatever their ideology; was able to stem the decline.

Next sentence is tongue in cheek...
You Brits just are not as efficient at governing as we Yankees.
That is why after 80 years of co-operation between the US government and the US maritime unions we yankees have the biggest merchant marine in the world !!! (NOT)
So much for government help (Thumb)

ddraigmor
20th January 2007, 18:16
As an armchair student of the military, I read - 10 years ago - that the threat to theWest was always viewed to be from India ( who were courtng Russia for technology and weapons system in order to be the dominant force in the area) and - more significantly nowadays, China.

China has always had a 'blue water' mentality. It just didn't have the leadership needed to push it. It has now - and after their space weapons test just days ago, the will to thrust itself on the world as a dominant power whether we - in the West - like it or not. They have state of the art fighters, missile systems ahead of most countries in the world and nuclear subs that, whilst less then ideal, are a grumbling threat.

Ignition of the fragile infrastructure in that area would possibly start a war. China, for example, has always eyed the Spratly Islands (for one) as theirs as well as Korea. The US and others are committed to defend this. If China were to kick off, it would require a massive US dominant force to firefight the conflict. As we still have interests there, we would also need to show the flag - but with what?

The stepping up on the back of a conflict like that is very, very real. We could find ourselves in a situation where we would be more than stretched fighting conflicts on a possible half dozen fronts.

I also fear for the security of my country, as someone elequently poited out in an earlier thread on here. I also believe that we are becoming a roll over nation, obsessed with human rights, religious freedoms, lax border control and immigration. Crime is at an all time high, armer offences have trebled in the last ten years, religious and racial persecition is out of hand. Even 'Big Brother' caused more of an uproar amongst the country's plebs than does the announcement we are becoming weak.....isn't that significant? We don't need a 'big Navy' for those threats - it is not their remit - but we would need an Army to maintain law and order if it came to it and a RAF to supply and provider the logistics train to maintain it. This is not about the Navy but rather about the state of our Government. A navy, however, would be needed to control the sea routes, police ports and defend offshore interests such as rigs, patforms and coastal shipping. In any threat to these islands, the war would begin with he taking down of the RAF and then the strangulation of trade. Hitler almost won the Battle of the Atlantic on the latter, though Goering sore;ly miscalculated the fighting spirit of the RAF on the first. In between, the Merchant Seaman was targetted with the express intention of strangling the country into negotiation - and surrender.

It is not just the defence industry that sees profit being put before anything else. My own profession is over burdened with managers who cost a damned fortune - I have a Senior Practitioner above me (on £33k+) and a Line Manager above him (on £40k +/-) and for what? 18 months ago there was just me and a manager........and yet still we are told to cut, cut and cut again - and the losers are the very people we work on behalf of. How is that sensible? It isn't. It is all about saving when in actual fact we should be (in my corner anyway) investing to save. Get it right first time and it will get better - get it wrong (because you want to save money) and it comes back to haunt you. That's the way it always has been.

For the first time in my adult life I find myself listening to the policies of hard liners and believing that here is more than a grain of truth in their predictions. The loss of our ability to 'power project' is already known. The loss of our military a scandal and a shame that we will regret. However, we need strong, capable defence forces to do what they do well: defend the country.

I only hope I am not around when it kicks off........

Jonty

LEEJ
20th January 2007, 18:22
With respect Bearsie, If there is no British merchant navy, manned by British nationals, then this has to be a case to reduce the Royal Navy in size. Otherwise what is our tax money defending from a maritime sense? For example,piracy has always been an issue for seamen but only on the political agenda with the "war on terror" and the loss of the soviet threat.

James_C
20th January 2007, 20:10
Leej,
There may not be a Merchant Navy to speak of anymore, but over 90% of our trade STILL goes by sea.
Do you think it'd perhaps be an idea to protect the trade routes and vessels going to/from the UK, even if foreign flag?
After all, we can't survive by eating air. As proven in Big Mistake 1, Big Mistake 2 etc etc...

jimmys
20th January 2007, 20:51
A day ago in another part of the site I stated I thought the new carriers for the Royal Navy would not be built.
This was nothing to do with defence or wars or Afghanistan or Iraq. It is a problem of a Government with no money. The economy is built on service and property transactions and persons spending money they have not got. It is a fact of life it must come to an end and it may be soon. Everything is being talked up and I do not know if people are listening. The political feel I get from this site and others is that they are not.
A massive amount has already been invested in these carriers in the Clyde Rosyth and in the South, it may be lost. I hope not.
I may be wrong ????

best regards
jimmys

LEEJ
20th January 2007, 21:23
Leej,
There may not be a Merchant Navy to speak of anymore, but over 90% of our trade STILL goes by sea.
Do you think it'd perhaps be an idea to protect the trade routes and vessels going to/from the UK, even if foreign flag?
After all, we can't survive by eating air. As proven in Big Mistake 1, Big Mistake 2 etc etc...

Well aware of the figures Jim. My point is its British tax payers paying for a Royal Navy protecting shipowners who contribute less than they should do to the exchequer.Having said that I find it difficult to visualise a scenario similar to previous wars at sea anytime soon.Can you imagine convoys of Liberian flagged ships manned by filipinos? And who would the enemy be?(Thumb)

trotterdotpom
21st January 2007, 13:48
Good arguments from both sides of the fence.

My ex RN cousin has sent me a UK Govt website where British citizens (including ex-pats) can vote for or against on the sell-off: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/savethenavy/

Rule Britannia.

John T.

Bearsie
21st January 2007, 15:02
Leej,
There may not be a Merchant Navy to speak of anymore, but over 90% of our trade STILL goes by sea.
Do you think it'd perhaps be an idea to protect the trade routes and vessels going to/from the UK, even if foreign flag?
After all, we can't survive by eating air. As proven in Big Mistake 1, Big Mistake 2 etc etc...
Oh, I quite agree with you there, James. The question seems to be what kind of ships does that require and how to pay for them and their operation...
That's where I thought NATO came into play.
Britain covering the western approaches and West Africa, France and Italy covering the Med, Germany, Holland, Norway et al, the eastern North Sea, the Baltic and so on.
With the US covering the western Atlantic and most of the Pacific and Canada the north ?
And perhaps the Asians starting to cover their own area? instead of letting pirates run all over them ?
After all, Japan is as dependent on marine trade as the UK.

I just can't see that one smallish country can cover the whole lot and pay for it to boot...
That was perhaps feasible in 1940 when ships under the red duster were 2/3rds of the world tonnage and paid money into the coffers, as Lee.J pointed out.
In the end its always money ...(Smoke)

Perhaps we could just hire the ex Soviet navy at half price ? After all what's a few more foreigners, since all cargo ships are foreign manned too?

In regards to foreigners, I hope you all realise that the lot of you is foreigners to me? and highly suspect LOL

Lindsay Bremner
23rd January 2007, 21:52
Couldn’t resist posting this, copied from the RN website

Armed Forces Minister, Adam Ingram said today:
“We are currently investing in the biggest naval shipbuilding programme in decades, and the launch today of HMS Dauntless shows the world class ships we are proud to be delivering for the Royal Navy. This is an important milestone in the multi-billion pound Type 45 Destroyer programme, a project which will give the Royal Navy a class of one of the most advanced destroyers anywhere in the world.

He seems to forget that the original 12 - T45 destroyers planned was cut to 6. We may be about to mothball half the current fleet. The first T45 HMS Daring is already behind schedule which may or may not have a knock on effect on the rest of the class. The order for the Astute class submarines was placed by the previous government in March 1997. There is still no order for aircraft carriers. All this government has actually done for the benefit of the RN is order 6 destroyers to replace 9 frigates. The frigates have already been decommissioned the destroyers are still being built, and according to certain rumours kicking around we might not even get 6 T45s. Not to mention the submarines and minesweepers that have been decommissioned.

Peter4447
24th January 2007, 00:15
Just a thought Gentlemen with the MSC Napoli dominating the news. If she or other ships of that Company were sailing in waters where piracy is a high risk or ships of the Chinese owned Evergreen Line were doing they same thing and the owners asked HM Government to provide a destroyer as an escort to ensure their safety I wonder what the response would be - after all some of these vessels are now flying the Red Ensign.
Peter4447(Thumb)

fred henderson
24th January 2007, 13:44
An good question Peter. If such a request was made however, what RN ship would provide a suitable escort? Certainly not a £600 million Air Defence Destroyer, nor an A/S frigate, nor a submarine. One of the new Fisheries Protection ships is the correct sort of simple ship, but they are slower than the average container ship.
It seems like the old story of the Armed Forces buying equipment that would have been great in the last conflict, but is useless the next time we go into battle.

Fred

jazz606
26th January 2007, 10:47
Isn't there one admiral per ship now - or something ridiculous.

PeterG
26th January 2007, 17:27
A great query Peter 4447. It highlights the fact that it could take only one minor event for the government's shortsightedness to be realised by every single person in this country!

neillrush
26th January 2007, 19:35
OK I will have my say, when you look at it which vessels are in "extended readiness", I cannot see which ones are, as most are still in place and operating at one base or another, Liverpool and Exeter are quoted as going, well Liverpool has gone for refit in Rosyth and Exeter is wandering around somewhere, most of the type 23's are in a seaworthy condition, Iron Duke is booked in for a service, mind you she hasnt been in to Gibraltar for 7 years, the MCM force is going well at the mo so what are they going to cut? HMS Argyll seems likely, she is not going to be "Merlin Modified" so seems to be the next candidate for Chile! The sub force is at its minimum so when you take Tony Blair (puppet) out of the equation its allup to Gordon Brown - Actually was it not him that made salvage on Scottish beaches illegal? - Whiskey Galore - if its washed up - tax it!!!!!

neillrush
26th January 2007, 19:42
Actually I forgot, the news came out t'other day that all promotions for senior officers were to be cancelled for five years! so how come Princess Anne's husband has just been promoted to Vice Admiral - silly me it was planned before the announcement was made. Lets hope he fights his corner for the RN!!!!

Lindsay Bremner
31st January 2007, 21:41
Anybody who cares about the armed forces of the UK might want to have a look at the United Kingdom National Defence Association website.

http://www.uknda.org/index.php

Regards
Lindsay

Sea Toby
8th February 2007, 22:41
I think the main problems are the costs of waging war in Afghanistan and Iraq. If you are not willing to pay for a war don't wage war. Subtracting funds from the navy's operating budget isn't the answer. Allowing a major defence contractor to pass on its shortage of funds to pay for over priced weapons isn't the answer either.

Waterways
9th February 2007, 22:35
Blair and co were never lovers of the forces. All CND and worshippers of mother Russia. Now in the process of achieving their goal of destroying our Navy, Army and RAF. An easy way of handing us over to the tender mercies of the United ??? states of Europe.

PLease be sensible. Why is it ex servicemen always see a red under the bed. Blair has ordered the large carriers.

I can think of better things to spend taxpayers money on than needeless military hardware.

Geoff_E
9th February 2007, 23:21
We are an island nation; many on this forum have actually set out on the cold grey waters and, like myself, found some comfort that we might have a navy to protect us. There are too many folk with blinkered vision, short memories and little concept of history; which has a disturbing habit of repeating itself!
Would you rather the taxpayer's money drained away on hiring more social workers?

Lindsay Bremner
9th February 2007, 23:25
PLease be sensible. Why is it ex servicemen always see a red under the bed. Blair has ordered the large carriers.

I can think of better things to spend taxpayers money on than needeless military hardware.

I might be wrong, but as far as I am aware no orders have been placed for aircraft carriers.
Lindsay

Brian Twyman
10th February 2007, 01:18
PLease be sensible. Why is it ex servicemen always see a red under the bed. Blair has ordered the large carriers.

I can think of better things to spend taxpayers money on than needeless military hardware.

That comment about ex-servicemen was rude and unnecessary. They have served their country, often at the whim of politicians, often in harms way and without thought of their own safety and their families.

Waterways, you were out of line.
Brian

Waterways
10th February 2007, 01:27
There are too many folk with blinkered vision, short memories and little concept of history; which has a disturbing habit of repeating itself!


You size the navy to suit the circumstances - we have a new world order. The UK just does not need a large navy at all. Two Independence sized carriers are in the piepline. The largest the Uk will have ever had.


Would you rather the taxpayer's money drained away on hiring more social workers?

Maybe. certainly not on needless military hardware and the people to man it. There is enough need in the UK and that is where money should go. Don't let nostalgia cloud reality.

Waterways
10th February 2007, 01:40
That comment about ex-servicemen was rude and unnecessary. They have served their country, often at the whim of politicians, often in harms way and without thought of their own safety and their families.

Waterways, you were out of line.
Brian

No it was not. To imply that anyone who is against us having an overlarge navy is a pinkie commie etc, is naive in the least. I am against it, so I must be a raving red then. I have worked with ex military, UK and US, and 90% plus are conditioned to the right of the political spectrum, with this militarist mentality. I am not on about those in WW2 who were called up, like my uncles and the likes. BTW, one was on the first wave at D Day and one killed by a U-Boat in the Atlantic and another killed in cavalry unit, and others served just about everywhere, from deserts to Malta, to AA at the Battle of Britain. Oh and my Grandfather was a sergeant in WW1 (injured) and the Boar War - and was buried in a paupers grave, while we had a massive military.

cboots
11th February 2007, 04:33
I was reading an interesting article in the December 2006 edition of "Ships Monthly" on the sinking of the Repulse and the Prince of Wales during WW2. Perhaps the lesson of this military disaster needs to be re-learnt by some of us. Surface naval ships are very expensive to build, they are manpower intensive, they are easily located by an enemy, whence they become sitting ducks.
In relation to the controversey in the posts above, frankly those who make stupid and uniformed statements about politicians of the Labour Party all being CND, Russia-loving etc, deserve all the rubbishing they get whether they have been employed in the armed forces or not.
CBoots

Brian Twyman
11th February 2007, 05:01
cboots

Well said,there is a way to disagree without emotive name-calling etc.

Quite relevant in that the HMS Repulse and Prince of Wales were both sacrificed because they had no covering air power ( carriers !) , rather than their size.

Politicians make wars, not sailors, if they intend to do so, they need to arm their sailors accordingly. And they must remember, if it is going to be a fair fight, to forget it until you have better odds. And even then, think again ! (Iraq ?)
Brian

GeeMcDee
11th February 2007, 08:42
Think it's too late to 'Save the Navy' but I'm signing the petition anyway. Perhaps the Govt will take notice, especially as I read in the press just last week that there's a pro-Malvinhas regime back in power in Agentina and the Falkland Islanders are getting worried.... quite rightly so ... we wouldn't win a return match
Gary

PeterG
11th February 2007, 15:36
You size the navy to suit the circumstances - we have a new world order. The UK just does not need a large navy at all. Two Independence sized carriers are in the piepline. The largest the Uk will have ever had.

No one is saying that we need a Navy to match that of the US - we do indeed not need it. But, despite a 'new world order', the UK still needs to project some sort of power in the world.
The size of our Navy at this present time is disgraceful for the most prominent island nation on earth - and it's getting smaller by the year!
We may not be fighting world wars in the Atlantic anymore, but we still have independent requirements, such as protecting our own shorelines, both at home and abroad - the Falklands in particular. People may say that they are now permanently ours, but time cannot shrink Argentina's belief that the Malvinas are theirs by God given right.
At this present time, we would not stand a chance if they decided to invade, and that means that our Armed Forces as a whole are not fit for their active requirements.
And despite what you think, the new carriers are by no means certain with this Labour government.




Maybe. certainly not on needless military hardware and the people to man it. There is enough need in the UK and that is where money should go. Don't let nostalgia cloud reality.

Needless military hardware?? The army is fighting a battle in Iraq with completely inadequate equipment.
Our army is not fit to fight this war, and the sooner we get those brave men and women back the better - before we start p***ing away money like the government is doing right now on pretty much everything!

Waterways
11th February 2007, 23:35
Needless military hardware?? The army is fighting a battle in Iraq

The point is naval vessels.

boulton
9th November 2007, 18:12
The point is naval vessels.

The point is - that it is naval vessels that take the Army to where it has to fight; and, it is naval vessels that look after our intrests on the high-seas which still transport 95% of our trade. This last point may be overlooked, as the ship-owners/agents/importers/exporters, grew increasingly fed-up with the in-efficiency of our traditional ports and (thankfully) discovered "containerisation"!

PollY Anna
10th November 2007, 13:22
Hi Geoff E

I couldn't agree more, very few people seem to have looked out the window and noticed WE ARE AN ISLAND it can't all come through the Channel Tunnel. So we have to have a Navy Royal and Merchant. As sombody said 90% of trade goes by sea. I think all Governments think it's ok to cut back on the Forces until the S - - - Hits the Fan then it's a case of we ain't ready

I believe Churchill said "if you wish to view the future read the past" as man does not learn.

Regards Ron

boulton
14th November 2007, 11:55
Good to see that this governments actions against the Royal Navy are causing this much conversation amongst the members of this site. Please consider signing the petition below.

The petition link is http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/savethenavy

Went to sign up, but found:

"Deadline to sign up: 05 April 2007".

However, as I understand the threshold for the Government to even acknowledge a petition (never mind do anything about it !!), is FIVE HUNDRED signatures, the total amassed of:

"Signatures: 14,384",

does mean they can NOT ignore it.

Well done.

CEYLON220
15th November 2007, 01:12
Cutting down on the fleet,what about this new super aircraft carrier that was in the pipe line,has that gone by the board or is this a ploy of reducing the fleet so as they can find crews to man this super carrier, what a load of - "W--kers" we running this country, did they not learn from passed mistakes ie: Falklands.

cboots
15th November 2007, 09:58
Much has been made in posts above of Britain being an island, various high number percentages of trade going by sea etc., drawing obvious parallels with the war at sea during the 1939 to 1945 world conflict. But surely the UK is self-sufficient in food these days and has been for many a year. The dominant portion of trade is within the EU and would only travel a relatively short distance upon the high seas. I am playing the devil's advocate here, but surely there is little to justify a "mighty navy" on that basis. I suppose some future antagonistic foreign fiend could seek to starve you of Chinese manufactured plasma screen televisions, but I am sure that the Dunkirk spirit would see you through that hardship. I have no axe to grind in regard to the Royal Navy one way or the other but I have asked before in this thread, and in others on similar themes, what is the justification for a substantial increase in naval expenditure, and none has been forthcoming as yet.
This, and similar threads, seem to provoke some quite irrational political commentary. I would remind you all that if one does not like the government you can always vote for a different lot next time. If, as we are finding in our current elections in Australia, you see no real difference between the major political parties, then I suggest that you join one of the minor ones that is more to your liking and work to build up its electoral support. That's grass roots democracy and is ultimately more satisfying than venting ones spleen on threads such as this.
CBoots

ddraigmor
15th November 2007, 10:07
Interesting - and yet no mention of the Reserves which, in time of conflict, would be needed to man those mothballed ships (for example), to assist the RAF and Army. There used to be a massive amount of reserve activity in the UK but even they appear to be getting cut as well.

I once read a quote about Dunkirk which said " At the Bank of Miracles, the UK was seriously overdrawn'. That was over 60 years ago. What would it take for them to realise we need a strong military? History shows that cleary - as recently as The Falklands and later, in the Gulf.

OD

Sarky Cut
15th November 2007, 10:58
If the "WEST" wants a worldwide police force then why don't the "WEST"
countries pay towards it.
As I see it its the good old UK and the States that are footing the bill for all these "beach parties" with high taxes on their citizens while the rest of the countries are freeloading for security.

They all need the oil that is at the centre of the problem but they are not paying the price for it as far as I can see.

But then who am I an ex simple sailor who has spent most of his life worldwide to comment on worldwide problems, anymore that the Head of Security of can comment on Security?:) :confused: :rolleyes:

James_C
15th November 2007, 11:38
[QUOTE=cboots;163424]But surely the UK is self-sufficient in food these days and has been for many a year.

Well according to the BBC 95% of Fruit is imported, and more than 50% of vegetables are imported.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/food_matters/foodmiles.shtml

According to Hansard, we also import a substantial quantity of meat. In 2000 the UK imported 1.427 million tonnes of meat.
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200001/cmhansrd/vo010312/text/10312w19.htm
That has no doubt increased since then due to the various foot and mouth outbreaks.

Basically, the UK seems no better off import wise than we were during the various World Wars, in fact we may even be worse off due to a rising population and the gradual run down of the farming industry - it's only going to get worse.

As regards the size of the Navy etc, we still have a fair few overseas colonies/protectorates and whilst they still wish to remain with us we have a duty to protect them. Naturally we don't particularly need an all singing all dancing supership to do that, a fleet of long range Patrol vessels would no doubt do the job.
With the requirements for an on station vessel in the Persian Gulf (Warship and an RFA), Falklands Guardship (two vessels), West Indies Guardship (still a few dependencies out there, plus counter drug operations) together with anti piracy protection and what seems to be an upcoming requirement to re-establish a Far Eastern guardship, plus those ships that will obviously be required in UK waters, either operationally or in refit/reserve, the requirement for a distant water fleet is still there.
The problem isn't so much that we really need to increase the size of the Navy massively, the main campaign is to see that it maintains the status quo with regards to size and capability at a time when commitments are increasing. There's yet more suggestion of the RFA taking on traditionally Naval tasks such as mine clearance, boarding operations, security etc. - for one reason alone, money.
Personally, I think we should scrap the Trident replacement, after all just who are we going to use it against anyway? And if we do it would probably mean the end of our world as we know it. Then take that money (£25 billion they reckon, but you can safely add another 10 to that) and use that to invest in the conventional fleet, perhaps in a squadron or two of Offshore patrol vessels.

boulton
15th November 2007, 13:29
Well written James.



As regards the size of the Navy etc, we still have a fair few overseas colonies/protectorates and whilst they still wish to remain with us we have a duty to protect them.

Those that need to remind themselves, might wish to look at,

http://www.answers.com/topic/location-of-the-bots-png

or alternatively,

http://www.british-towns.net/os/level_1_display.asp

Chouan
15th November 2007, 17:45
"The point is - that it is naval vessels that take the Army to where it has to fight; and, it is naval vessels that look after our intrests on the high-seas which still transport 95% of our trade."

No it isn't and no it does't.
Merchant ships took our army to the Falklands, Merchant ships took the army's equipment to the Gulf, not British ones either, as we don't have the capacity anymore under our flag or ownership.
Our Navy is incapable of protecting our trade, either imports or exports and has been for years. The Armilla patrol during the Iran-Iraq War was a sham, and did nothing at all to protect British ships or British crews during that conflict.

"We are an island nation; many on this forum have actually set out on the cold grey waters and, like myself, found some comfort that we might have a navy to protect us. There are too many folk with blinkered vision, short memories and little concept of history; which has a disturbing habit of repeating itself!"

I have found no comfort in the existence of the RN at all. As an RNR Officer my training emphasised to me that the Merch, in the event of a war would be completely on its own as far as the Navy was concerned. They would organise convoys but would not and could not escort them.

"Would you rather the taxpayer's money drained away on hiring more social workers?"

Yes. At least we'd get something for our money that might do us, or some needy unfortunates, some good. I can't see that new aircraft carriers or submarines would benefit us at all, in any sense.

James_C
15th November 2007, 17:57
"The Armilla patrol during the Iran-Iraq War was a sham, and did nothing at all to protect British ships or British crews during that conflict."

Well it did and it didn't. There weren't enough RN ships to go round to cover all British shipping in the Gulf (especially since a number of owners flagged in purely for RN cover), but when they were there they did a good job.
In the case of BP, many tankers transiting upto Kharg etc were escorted to/from by a warship, usually a Leander. The number of RN crests and signed photos in the bars of many BP ships of the time is testament to this, and there are a number of photos about on the net depicting such an operation.
Whether BP ships were given preferential treatment due to their high profile I can't answer.
However a couple of unescorted ships were hit e.g. the Respect, Renown and a River boat or two, all by Iraqi forces (as I recall).

al1934
15th November 2007, 18:12
Well, I dunno why we bothered to join the RN at all. We have now been made redundant not only by our useless politicians but also by our ex-merchant navy mates.

As for the £25 billion which you feel we could save by scrapping trident, it would all go into the EU and useless bent politicians pockets, make no mistake about that.

Good luck is all he wrote...

Chouan
15th November 2007, 19:39
We once, only once, had a Navy escort in the Gulf, from the Quoins to just inside the seperation scheme, and out again. Once we were past that we were on our own, all the way up to Mina al Ahmadi and back. Every other trip during that conflict we were on our own, so you can imagine that I didn't feel any gratitude, or confidence. Even less when I heard from a Navy friend what the Navy's "rules of engagement" were.

Santos
15th November 2007, 20:38
Dont blame the RN its not their fault. If you want to blame anyone blame successive Governments for what they have done.

A navy is only as good as the fleet that it has and the Royal Navy since the end of WW2 has suffered a constant reduction in numbers. Agreed we did not need all the warships we had at the end of the war and numbers had to be cut, but only to a reasonable number.

Successive Governments ( especially the present one ) have seen the Armed Forces as as a great place to obtain money from for hairbrained ideas and of course MPs expences. All three services have been drained, and are not alone with the Police, Fire Brigade and Ambulance Services also feeling the brunt of the governments cuts to Public Services.

This once great Island of ours is a former shadow of itself, being ruled by politicians who cant or wont remember what a world war was or could be like.
The only people on the recieving end of decent funding nowerdays are the Fat Cats of both Private and Public Industry and of course Politicians.

Dont blame the RN, the RAF or the Army they are all trying to do their best and having to fight blinded in one eye and with one arm tied behind their back. Soon , if things carry on the way they are doing, we wont have any of our own armed forces, nor any law or order, nor anyone to put out the fires or gives us succour and assistance when we are ill or hurt, so we wont have anyone to blame, except ourselves for continually voting the way we do.

Chris.

Hugh MacLean
15th November 2007, 22:09
The Armilla patrol during the Iran-Iraq War was a sham, and did nothing at all to protect British ships or British crews during that conflict.

Well thanks very much for that. I served during the Armilla Patrol 1980/1. Nice to know that we were really appreciated

For Chris, thank you, as usual your argument is sound.

Regards

Chouan
16th November 2007, 00:05
I don't think that the Navy did much to protect the "Havpil"'s British Officers. Fortunately none were killed, but the RN did absolutely nothing. Look at a map of the Gulf, look at the scope of the Armilla Patrol, at how much of the Gulf it covered. As I said above, once we were beyond its limited reach we were literally on our own. What was there to appreciate? I'm sorry to have hurt your pride, but that was the reality. When you have Iranian gunboats approaching and you know that nobody will come to your assistance it is a lonely feeling!

cboots
16th November 2007, 01:20
Just to quickly defend my proposition that the UK is now self-reliant for basic food, I think that if one checked the sources of all that imported food one would find the bulk of it was EU in origin, what wasn't could easily be replaced by such. I doubt if the a beseiged British Isles would starve for the want of Kiwi fruit.
Much has been made of the lessons of history by several posters, but surely it has been ever thus. Westminster governments have always been exceedingly parsimonious towards their armed forces the minute the bullets stop flying. It was always standard practice to put half the officer corp onto half pay before the ink on the peace treaty was dry, so nothing has changed there. The various naval commitments around the globe that have been mentioned are very much political commitments; most other countries around the world, most in Europe even, do not feel the need for such commitments. And I'm sorry but I cannot buy into the one about security of oil, that is a pure furphy. Oil is traded on an international market at the market price; invading other peoples' countries, and or steaming floating arrays of military hardware off their shores will do nothing to secure supplies. I must endorse wholeheartedly the poster who said that the nuclear submarine programme should be scrapped. This has always been a tremendous burden on naval expenditure and is of no discernible use whatsoever.
So, whether from here? May I suggest that what you require is a change in thinking; it is extremely unlikey that Britain is ever again going to be the possessor of a powerful navy, so why not aim to be a part of one? I have seen it quoted by those who would have themselves regarded as experts in this field, that collectively, the EU spends roughly the same as the US in the defence area, but for a fraction of the "bang for the buck." So, being as you are all locked into the same economic/political structure, and are treaty-bound not the war against each other, surely the solution is obvious. Create a Euro defence force, do away with all the duplication, and concentrate on the real task, the defence of Europe. Given the very uncertain future for our civilisation, it is probably going to need some pretty serious defending in the decades to come.
CBoots

Steve Woodward
16th November 2007, 01:35
Well thanks very much for that. I served during the Armilla Patrol 1980/1. Nice to know that we were really appreciated

For Chris, thank you, as usual your argument is sound.

Regards

Hugh,
For every dissatisfied Armilla patrol customer you will find hundreds that were very relieved to see you all.
I am sat on my yacht down in Suffolk at the moment and if I look at the chart table there are two ships shields : Adromeda and Sheffield I also have quite a few pictures of ships of the armilla patrol, mostly not very good but I keep them for the memories of you all being there, true you could not cover the whole gulf but that was not your remit, and to the best of my knowledge not a single escorted ship was ever attacked.

thanks very much, your efforts and prescence were appreciated
Steve

Orbitaman
16th November 2007, 11:08
Hugh,
For every dissatisfied Armilla patrol customer you will find hundreds that were very relieved to see you all.


I can assure you that there were hundreds of British seafarers that did not have the assistance of the Armilla patrol, mainly because they did'nt sail on 'British' ships. After all, the Armilla patrol was operated to look after the interests of the ship owners and not British subjects, hence the number of ships that became 'British' for the duration.

I worked for a Saudi Arabian company during the iran-iraq war, with all British Officers, but no cover from Armilla because the ships were not 'British'.

On the one occasion that I was involved with the Armilla patrol, the whole thing started off as a farce because the Royal Navy support turned up three hours late and sent a message to the six VLCC's involved in the convoy to "maintain position until we arrive". Maybe easy for an RN flotilla, but not for six loaded VLCC's.

To suggest that for every dissatisfied customer there were hundreds very relieved to see you, I suggest you think again, Armilla was not an operation that benefitted British seafarers, unless they were on 'British' ships.

AncientBrit
16th November 2007, 11:50
In Nelsons day, the RN would have boarded those foreign vessels that you chose to sale in for whatever reason and your body would have been press-ganged onto serving on an RN ship which is there to protect ships sailing under British flag. The very thought that you are naive enough to believe that the Navy is there to protect you personally because after all you are British, is incredible. Did it occur to you while you were griping about the RN not protecting your ship because you were on it, to suggest to the owners that maybe their navy might have a responsibility to protect their flagged merchant shipping? Unbelievable!

Orbitaman
16th November 2007, 12:02
In Nelsons day, the RN would have boarded those foreign vessels that you chose to sale in for whatever reason and your body would have been press-ganged onto serving on an RN ship which is there to protect ships sailing under British flag. The very thought that you are naive enough to believe that the Navy is there to protect you personally because after all you are British, is incredible. Did it occur to you while you were griping about the RN not protecting your ship because you were on it, to suggest to the owners that maybe their navy might have a responsibility to protect their flagged merchant shipping? Unbelievable!

I chose to sail where I sailed because I have to make a living and there was no living to be had under the British flag - not just for me personally, but for many other British seafarers.

the inference that i should have stuck to British flag is also naive in the extreme, as unfortunately was the British government who ended up protecting the commercial interests of a number of foreign companies who jumped onto the bandwagon by reflagging their vessels into the UK for the duration and then just as swiftly out again once the dnager was past.

My faith in the abilities of the Saudi Arabian armed forces was nil, bordering on less. But hey ,that's life and I'm lucky not to be the British Master of the Saudi Arabian flagged 'Al Safaniyah' who lost his life to an Iranian missile, or perhaps he deserved it for not being able to find employment on a British ship?

K urgess
16th November 2007, 12:08
Can we discuss this in a calm and rational manner please gentlemen.
I want a nice quiet Friday.(Thumb)

Salaams

Chouan
16th November 2007, 14:27
It was mildly irritating to see the Hong Kong registered ships with their Taiwan Chinese owners and Indian crews, secure for a couple hours with protection of the Armilla Patrol, whilst all those British officered ships, like the "Havpil" and the "Al Safaniyah" had to do without.

As Orbitaman suggests, given the mass redundancies in the traditional British companies in the late 70's, were we to give up our careers at sea, or find employment elsewhere? Indeed, The Officers on the "Havpil" had all been employed by P&O, who then transfered their contracts to a P&O owned management company.

I was sailing into the Gulf in these conditions whilst working for Denholms, and later for Maersk UK, both British Companies, but because of the ships' registration we weren't entitled to protection.

In any case, I again suggest that you look at a map of the Gulf and see how much protection the Armilla Patrol actually afforded, and what protection was available beyond that tiny area, which was ..... nothing.

Finally, when I was undergoing my RNR training at Dartmouth my instructors found it risible that I even imagined that protection of the Merch was a role of the Navy. Projection of Britain's power worldwide was the prime role of the Navy, with protection of the homeland the next in the list. Protection of Britain's Merchant fleet didn't even feature in the list of priorities.

PAULD
16th November 2007, 14:30
What gets me is, you see cuts to the armed force's, cuts to the police, cuts to the fire brigade, cuts to ambulance service,cuts to health service, cuts to customs and excise, cuts to the prison service, but never cuts to the civil service. If we have cut everthing back to the minimium, why havn't we done the same to the pen pushers, and when are we going to cut ministers in parliment [ sooner hte better i say] and local counciler's which seam to breed faster than rabbits

James_C
16th November 2007, 14:50
Chouan,
With respect to the MN of 70s/80s nothing has really changed. Most of those ships that have flagged in due to that abject failure known as the tonnage tax still maintain foreign crews.
From memory, the vast majority of the UK owned fleet were registered under Foreign flags, and I believe that is still the case.
So you work for a British company, are a UK citizen, are resident in the UK, pay UK taxes (maybe) and yet you're not entitled to protection in a war zone because due to some creative accountancy your ship doesn't fly the correct bit of bunting over the stern.

Chouan
16th November 2007, 15:00
That was one of my points. Whilst I was with Denholms, and British Maersk I was paying UK tax, but as far as the RN was concerned I and the ship I was on didn't exist.

Stevo
16th November 2007, 17:07
I totally agree with cboots, whilst I hate to see a dissapearing navy, we don't need a large force. Can we seriously argue the need for a large navy based solely on the Falklands, sorry but the answer is no.

In the Gulf, the threat does not come from the sea, the Iranians have not kept those Kilos in a high standard of maintainance for years and so the only other threat is a mine or suicide boat and no amount of frigates and destroyers could change that.

The Russians, well they might be rearming but that does not make them our enemy and to be fair they have their own numerous problems maintaining a decent collection of warships.

In my honest view the only place which is a potential hot potato is the Far East where every nation in the area is arming itself with all manner of warships. However, it might be argued that Britain has no place sticking it's nose into the business of the area and will do well to steer clear of any incidents in the future, (Tsushima 1905 spring to mind).

As many have quoted, 'we are an island nation' and so should concentrate our resources on the shores surrounding it and the North Atlantic. Isn't it time we looked at other models such as the Germans and the Dutch who operate a respectable small but potent navy for local operations.

Hugh MacLean
16th November 2007, 19:33
Hugh,
For every dissatisfied Armilla patrol customer you will find hundreds that were very relieved to see you all.
I am sat on my yacht down in Suffolk at the moment and if I look at the chart table there are two ships shields : Adromeda and Sheffield I also have quite a few pictures of ships of the armilla patrol, mostly not very good but I keep them for the memories of you all being there, true you could not cover the whole gulf but that was not your remit, and to the best of my knowledge not a single escorted ship was ever attacked.

thanks very much, your efforts and prescence were appreciated
Steve

Thank you Steve. We escorted many merchantmen through those waters but like you said we couldn't be everywhere. Maybe some of the members who complain about the RN would like to read the post by Santos again, maybe then they may understand some of the reasons why we couldn't cover the whole gulf. We did the job as best we could given our remit. Who made the policy about which ships would be protected by the RN? Was it the RN - no I don't think so. Maybe some of you should look to the corridors of power to answer that one. I also note in other threads concerning the RN that some members would be happy for the fleet to be downsized and even one who would be happy if we did not have any navy at all - incredible! You can't win with some people.

Regards (Thumb)

AncientBrit
16th November 2007, 20:34
I chose to sail where I sailed because I have to make a living and there was no living to be had under the British flag - not just for me personally, but for many other British seafarers.

the inference that i should have stuck to British flag is also naive in the extreme, as unfortunately was the British government who ended up protecting the commercial interests of a number of foreign companies who jumped onto the bandwagon by reflagging their vessels into the UK for the duration and then just as swiftly out again once the dnager was past.

My faith in the abilities of the Saudi Arabian armed forces was nil, bordering on less. But hey ,that's life and I'm lucky not to be the British Master of the Saudi Arabian flagged 'Al Safaniyah' who lost his life to an Iranian missile, or perhaps he deserved it for not being able to find employment on a British ship?

Nowhere did I infer that you should stick with the British flag to earn your well paid living. In todays increasingly international way of life, trade and financing, one should be free to travel where ones needs will be best met.
Whilst the RN has never withdrawn lifesaving aid and in some cases protection to vessels sailing under foreign flags and the crews that serve in them, the prime remit of the RN is the protection of its mercantile trade and the only way one can identify who is what, is by the flag. Twas ever thus!
It is tragic beyond words that the British Master of that Saudi vessel should die doing the task that he chose to do. The facts of life ordain that if you want the big money, more money or better money, you must also accept that there are certain inherant risks that go hand in glove with that reward.
But to suggest that it is the RN's alloted task to protect you because you are British is akin to suggesting that it is the prison staffs fault for not protecting you if you choose to wear make-up and a dress whilst serving your sentence for embezzling millions.(Smoke)

Sarky Cut
17th November 2007, 00:59
Cutting down on the fleet,what about this new super aircraft carrier that was in the pipe line,has that gone by the board or is this a ploy of reducing the fleet so as they can find crews to man this super carrier, what a load of - "W--kers" we running this country, did they not learn from passed mistakes ie: Falklands.

The carriers are still go, the main contractors are thrashing out where the bits will be built and where they will be nailed together. My guess would be Rosyth, near Gordon Browns own constituency, what else matters. Jobs for the Jocks.

If they are not built then the councils of Portsmouth,Fareham, Godsport and Hampshire Council will be well hacked off.
Reason, the imminent arrival of these deepdraughted vessels put the final nail in the coffin of the much vaunted Light Transport System. The extra depth required to allow the passage put the cross harbour tunnel into another price bracket. Yeah right!!!!

wigger
17th November 2007, 12:06
New carriers! when the first one sails into Portsmouth Harbour under the White Ensign I'll believe it (maybe even then somebody can pinch me....just to be sure). Until then you just know that here will be a U-turn. At the very least they will be probably be massively delayed and probably lacking in several important areas (no catapults? JSF issues?).

PS. I hate being a pessimist and I hope I am completely wrong! :D

James_C
17th November 2007, 12:27
[QUOTE=Sarky Cut;163963]The carriers are still go, the main contractors are thrashing out where the bits will be built and where they will be nailed together. My guess would be Rosyth, near Gordon Browns own constituency, what else matters. Jobs for the Jocks.

If you can find anywhere else in the UK where it's possible to build a ship of such a size using existing infrastructure/equipment then I'm sure the MoD would like to hear from you.
The only drydocks large enough are in Scotland, at Rosyth and Inchgreen on the Clyde. Rosyth has the benefit of having pretty much all it's ex RN infrastructure intact, has HMS Caledonia within the perimeter to provide support/accommodation, is in fairly quiet and uncongested waters, is next door to the UKs major deepwater Naval armaments depot and navigation wise it is excellent for access. Portsmouth is too shallow and congested, and a CVF wouldn't even get into Plymouth.
To construct these ships at Portsmouth would cost hundreds of millions as they'd have to build the facilities from scratch.
It wouldn't surprise me though, its not unknown for Southern England to get all the breaks and a bottomless pit of funding, especially when the Daily Mail brigade start bleating. Remember the Trident fiasco?

Chouan
18th November 2007, 20:57
"Whilst the RN has never withdrawn lifesaving aid and in some cases protection to vessels sailing under foreign flags and the crews that serve in them, the prime remit of the RN is the protection of its mercantile trade and the only way one can identify who is what, is by the flag. Twas ever thus!
It is tragic beyond words that the British Master of that Saudi vessel should die doing the task that he chose to do. The facts of life ordain that if you want the big money, more money or better money, you must also accept that there are certain inherant risks that go hand in glove with that reward."

If you read my comments, and Orbitaman's comments above you'll see that your response isn't really appropriate.

The mass redundancies of the 1980's meant that many, if not most, serving Merch Officers were forced into going foreign, not through choice, but through necessity. Not to earn "big money, more money or better money", but some money, as our British employers no longer wanted us. Others, such as many working for P&O, and Denholms, found that although we thought we were working for the same companies found that we were now working for a manning agency owned by those companies, and were now sailing on ships flying other flags than our own. Suggesting that we voluntarily made that choice and thus deserved our fate shows both an unfortunate lack of understanding, and an unfortunate lack of charity to the family of the Master of the "Al Safaniyah", and I rather hope that none of them are members of this Forum to read your comments.

Finally, I'll repeat my comment about the role of the Royal Navy. Whilst I was undergoing training at BRNC as an Officer in the RNR in the early 1980's, we were told what the role of the Navy was; protection of the Merchant Navy was not only not the prime remit, it did not even feature on the list of priorities.

K urgess
18th November 2007, 21:20
Therefore the protection given to British Merchant ships at the time was out of the kindness of the Admiralty's heart?

It is accepted that some seagoing personnel had no choice but to go to foreign flagged vessels as the industry changed if they couldn't bear to give it up but it doesn't alter the fact that the Royal Navy cannot be held responsible for every vessel in the area.

The brief of the Armilla patrol was to protect British Shipping and Interests in the Gulf area. To say that the RN had no remit to protect British shipping is to say that the patrol was not doing what they were told. I would assume that not protecting the Merchant Navy was a general observation and had nothing to do with stated objectives in the Gulf. It is also somewhat unbelievable in the middle of the cold war that NATO would not protect their own vessels as part of their remit.

If they were concerned about the safety of their vessels then the flag countries should have provided the same protection.

Some of us saw what was happening in the mid 70s and made the decision to get out before it was too late. A bit of a shock to the system but preferable to not being in control of one's own destiny.

Santos
18th November 2007, 21:50
Whilst I was ndergoing traing at BRNC as an Officer in the RNR in the early 1980's, we were told what the role of the Navy was, protection of the Merchant Navy was not only not the prime remit, it did not even feature on the list of priorities.

Are we going to be privy to what was the list of priorities other than protection of the homeland and pretending we are big in the world , or left in the dark ?

Chris.

Peter4447
18th November 2007, 22:22
Finaly, I'll repeat my coment about the role of the Royal Navy. Whilst I was ndergoing traing at BRNC as an Officer in the RNR in the early 1980's, we were told what the role of the Navy was, protection of the Merchant Navy was not only not the prime remit, it did not even feature on the list of priorities.[/QUOTE]

Chouan

For the benefit of those like myself who served in the Royal Navy and particulary in Anti-Submarine Frigates, could you tell us exactly what was the point of us spending endless weeks and months of training to sink enemy submarines if this was not to protect the Merchant Navy?

Was there some hidden agenda at BRNC that was never actually revealed to those of us in the Fleet?

Peter4447

Chouan
18th November 2007, 22:38
You, as full-time RN Officers may have been told something different. All I can say is what I was told. When I suggested to our instructor in our session on "The role of the Navy" that it was protection of the Merch, he thought it amusing that I should be so naif as to still believe that that was still a role of the Navy. Home defence and projection of Britain's power was essentially the role of the Navy, we were told. Anti-submarine frigates were to keep submarines away from other important units of Nato task forces, not to protect Merchant ships.

Gavin Gait
18th November 2007, 23:23
From the official Royal Navy website
Post-World War II

After peace had been declared, numbers in the Royal Navy once again dropped, but as the Cold War started, the need for an effective naval service remained, which led to another review of the RNR and RNVR which ultimately led to their amalgamation in 1958, creating the model for the modern Royal Naval Reserve. In organisational and operational terms, this was the start of sustained modernisation during the post-war period, which culminated when the reserve element of Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service (QARNNS) and the Women’s Royal Naval Reserve joined the rest of the RNR in 1971 and 1976 respectively.

The primary and very visible role for the RNR during the Cold War was mine warfare, and to this extent, most training centres were given a minesweeper to act as a tender to facilitate sea training for their officers and sailors, and behind the scenes, the RNR provided much support in the Headquarters and Intelligence communities.

As the Cold War ended, another review occurred following the 1994, ‘Options for Change’ paper. It removed all the minesweepers from the RNR, training centres closed or merged and by 1998, a new style RNR had been created, under the Strategic Defence Review (SDR), which almost echoed the format of the RNR at its formation, with more direct liaison and training with the Regular Fleet.
http://www.royal-navy.mod.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.9623

The Royal Navy's main obligation during the Cold War up till 1990 was defence of the shipping lanes in the North Atlantic and to protect the NATO northern flank from the Soviet Navy.

As the "Tanker War" between Iran/Iraq took place during the height of the cold war it was inevitable that a large task force could not reasonably be deployed without weakening our defences on the main area of operations.

Chouan
19th November 2007, 00:48
Therefore the protection given to British Merchant ships at the time was out of the kindness of the Admiralty's heart?

It is accepted that some seagoing personnel had no choice but to go to foreign flagged vessels as the industry changed if they couldn't bear to give it up but it doesn't alter the fact that the Royal Navy cannot be held responsible for every vessel in the area.

The brief of the Armilla patrol was to protect British Shipping and Interests in the Gulf area. To say that the RN had no remit to protect British shipping is to say that the patrol was not doing what they were told. I would assume that not protecting the Merchant Navy was a general observation and had nothing to do with stated objectives in the Gulf. It is also somewhat unbelievable in the middle of the cold war that NATO would not protect their own vessels as part of their remit.

If they were concerned about the safety of their vessels then the flag countries should have provided the same protection.

Some of us saw what was happening in the mid 70s and made the decision to get out before it was too late. A bit of a shock to the system but preferable to not being in control of one's own destiny.

Whatever you say the brief of the Armilla Patrol was, de facto its action was to sail up and down the entrance to the Gulf, not the "Gulf Area", so its real protection offered was extremely limited given the size of the Gulf. Even when on ships that were escorted by the Armilla Patrol, once we were in the Gulf itself we were on our own. A ship I mentioned earlier, the "Havpil" had an RN escort into the Gulf, but was then on its own and was then hit by the Iranians, and was left on its own after having been hit.

As far as "getting out" was concerned, some people had skills that were more transferable than others. A Second Mate's skills are, perhaps, less transferable ashore than most. I made the best of it as my profile shows, but only because of the changing nature of the job. Others were less able to do so, and are not to be condemned, nor sneered at "Nowhere did I infer that you should stick with the British flag to earn your well paid living".

AncientBrit
19th November 2007, 06:14
"Suggesting that we voluntarily made that choice"
A choice by its very nature, must be a voluntary action. What exactly are you implying, that you were not responsible for your actions?
As far as "getting out" was concerned, some people had skills that were more transferable than others. A Second Mate's skills are, perhaps, less transferable ashore than most. I made the best of it as my profile shows, but only because of the changing nature of the job. Others were less able to do so, and are not to be condemned, nor sneered at "Nowhere did I infer that you should stick with the British flag to earn your well paid living".
It is some 40 years since I came ashore, but I seem to remember that no seafaring job and its relative skills tranfer directly to life ashore and there will always be some who adapt more readily than others.
The RN that I joined had 150,000 manpower and ships to spare, the RN I left 15 years later had half the men and ships and as we all know has continued to decrease in size ever since. But the world around us has changed, as much as the old salt and historical prognisticators wish otherwise, there really is no calling for Britain to have a large navy any more. If the average Brit could get rid of the notion that "Wealthy Oriental Gentlemen" begin at Dover and truly become part of the European community, all those smaller navies working together for the protection of all seems to me a much more viable suggestion than for Britain to attempt to regain her past glory.
I was born in England, my father died at Dunkirk and over time, various male relatives or ancestors have found their final resting spot in assorted odd corners of the globe. When, in 1973 England initiated a three day work week and cities were turning off street lights to save money, I took the 200 pounds the government of the day would allow one to take from the country and I left. When I stated that nowhere did I infer that you should stick with the British flag to earn your well paid living, I was far from condemning nor sneering at others less able to do so. I was in fact stating fact. If I am guilty of anything, it is of practicing what I preached.
I joined SN because you can take me away from the sea.......... etc. I realise the error of questioning politically motivated prognostications by euridite members of academe and as such will refrain from such comments in future.
I would suggest to the organizers of this site, that a section be formed for Political comment or discussion and anything even smelling of politics be directed there.

Orbitaman
19th November 2007, 07:35
Nowhere did I infer that you should stick with the British flag to earn your well paid living. In todays increasingly international way of life, trade and financing, one should be free to travel where ones needs will be best met.
Whilst the RN has never withdrawn lifesaving aid and in some cases protection to vessels sailing under foreign flags and the crews that serve in them, the prime remit of the RN is the protection of its mercantile trade and the only way one can identify who is what, is by the flag. Twas ever thus!
It is tragic beyond words that the British Master of that Saudi vessel should die doing the task that he chose to do. The facts of life ordain that if you want the big money, more money or better money, you must also accept that there are certain inherant risks that go hand in glove with that reward.
But to suggest that it is the RN's alloted task to protect you because you are British is akin to suggesting that it is the prison staffs fault for not protecting you if you choose to wear make-up and a dress whilst serving your sentence for embezzling millions.(Smoke)

I did not want 'big money, more money or better money' as you suggest, all I wanted was a job to make ends meet. As it was, I earned the same or less as someone of equivalent rank on a British ship. I would, if the circumstances have permitted, stayed away from the Persian Gulf. However, at that time, the employment on offer was there and so I took it. I moved on to another company as soon as the opportunity arose to get away from working in that region.

Fact - Foreign flag does not automatically = more money!

Santos
19th November 2007, 11:31
I think the spirit of this thread has been lost to an apparant few who appear determined to knock the RN and most of whom served in it for the past forty years or more, despite the fact that it was not their fault that the RN appeared to be lacking in certain areas. It was the cost cutting government of the day who reduced their numbers and rules of engagement etc, its them that should be blamed.

The opening of this thread was as I understand it, to highlight the fact that this government is again cutting the fleet further notwithstanding the fact that a reasonable sized fleet is required to combat piracy and terrorism. A cut which I hope is deplored by all members of this site.

There will reach a point as I stated previously where we will no longer have any Armed Forces, either because we cant get anyone to do it any longer or because the government has cut it so much we have no equipment, ships, planes to give anyone to fight with.

The morale in our Army is very poor, as I have no doubt is the same in the RN and RAF. Our service personnel feel dispirited and unappreciated by both the government and the general public. I am not surprised after following some of the posts in this thread.

For goodness sake these men and women deserve our gratitude not condemnation, they are prepared to go out to war and risk their lives, and not sit in an armchair pontificating on the past and present performance of the services.

I for one am very grateful to all who presently serve in our Armed Forces and fight for our country and all who did so in the past in all parts of the world, I would hope that I am supported in that view. I also condem outright the cost cutting by politicians which puts the lives at risk of those willing to serve their country and believe that someting should now be done to stop the rot before it is too late.

Chris.

Orbitaman
19th November 2007, 11:36
I wish to make it extremely clear that I do not wish to knock the Royal Navy. My comments referred only to the Armilla patrol.

My eldest daughter currently serves in the Royal Navy and it was on my recommendation that she applied to serve and I am extremely proud that she is serving in the Royal Navy.

Chouan
19th November 2007, 13:01
Similarly, if I thought the RN was useless and to be condemned, I wouldn't have joined the RNR. That I wished to do so, is surely evidence that I am not "determined to knock the RN"?

What I have repeatedly said was that “The Armilla Patrol during the Iran-Iraq War was a sham”; it was.

Even its terms of engagement were a sham. A conversation I had with an ex-Navy Officer who I subsequently worked with who had been on the Armilla Patrol confirmed this. He told me, and I can only repeat what I was told, that if a Merchant Ship in convoy was attacked, the Naval escort would endeavour to put itself between the Merchant ship and the attacker. The Naval vessel was only to shoot if the attacker fired at the Naval vessel. Not a great deal of comfort there either, I’m afraid.

Nowhere in this, or any other statement am I blaming the individuals who were onboard the ships that made up the Armilla Patrol, they were not the policy makers. The government of the late 70's and early 80's that made the policy that controlled the actions of the Armilla Patrol is where the finger should of course be pointed.

I did state earlier that:
“I have found no comfort in the existence of the RN at all. As an RNR Officer my training emphasised to me that the Merch, in the event of a war would be completely on its own as far as the Navy was concerned. They would organise convoys but would not and could not escort them.”
I was speaking in terms of protection of the Merch, rather than of the wider role of the Navy, of course.

Finally, I would suggest that all of the comments about the decline of the fleet are politically motivated, and that comments such as:
"I realise the error of questioning politically motivated prognostications by euridite members of academe and as such will refrain from such comments in future.
I would suggest to the organizers of this site, that a section be formed for Political comment or discussion and anything even smelling of politics be directed there." are rather misplaced, as they suggest that some comments have more political motivation than others, or perhaps that some comments have a less laudable political motivation than others?

Peter4447
19th November 2007, 13:37
Quotes from Chouan's posting:

What I have repeatedly said was that “The Armilla Patrol during the Iran-Iraq War was a sham”; it was.
Even its terms of engagement were a sham. A conversation I had with an ex-Navy Officer who I subsequently worked with who had been on the Armilla Patrol confirmed this. He told me, and I can only repeat what I was told, that if a Merchant Ship in convoy was attacked, the Naval escort would endeavour to put itself between the Merchant ship and the attacker. The Naval vessel was only to shoot if the attacker fired at the Naval vessel. Not a great deal of comfort there either, I’m afraid.

The government of the late 70's and early 80's that made the policy that controlled the actions of the Armilla Patrol is where the finger should of course be pointed.

I did state earlier that:
“I have found no comfort in the existence of the RN at all. As an RNR Officer my training emphasised to me that the Merch, in the event of a war would be completely on its own as far as the Navy was concerned. They would organise convoys but would not and could not escort them.”

Chouan

Although the Armilla Patrol was in your opinion a 'sham' I am sure you would have been very grateful to have an RN ship place itself between you and the enemy.

The Iran-Iraq war saw the Government of the day being forced to walk a tightrope and it is interesting to note that when mines were discovered in the Gulf of Oman outside of the Iran-Iraq War zone and decided to send in 4 minesweepers what was the reaction of the then opposition: "The opposition Labour Party criticized Thatcher's action as the abandonment of the British "low-profile, non-provocative role in the Middle East". Roy Hattersley urged an international minesweeping force responsible to the United Nations contending that the unilateral step might make it easier to "become embroiled" in the Iran-Iraq War".

In regard to your statement that in the event of a future war the Royal Navy "would organise convoys but would not and could not escort them". Perhaps you could explain to us how those ships of the Merchant Navy would actually arrive at their destinations!

Peter4447

Chouan
19th November 2007, 14:43
"Although the Armilla Patrol was in your opinion a 'sham' I am sure you would have been very grateful to have an RN ship place itself between you and the enemy."

For the few hours that the Armilla Patrol offered that protection, for the few ships with British Officers that were offered that protection anyway. Again, look at a map of the Gulf, look at the scope of the protection offered, and think of how 'valued' that 'protection' would be.
If you haven't sailed up to Mina al Ahmadi, or other Gulf ports, without protection, constantly wondering what those fast moving objects might be, and are you their next target, knowing what the consequences are, then criticising the less than positive attitudes of those that haveis, I think, less than fair.


"In regard to your statement that in the event of a future war the Royal Navy "would organise convoys but would not and could not escort them". Perhaps you could explain to us how those ships of the Merchant Navy would actually arrive at their destinations!"

I've no idea. Wishfull thinking? The power of positive psychic energy? I've really no idea how the Navy thought that the Merch would manage. The RNXS Officer who lectured us at HMS Paragon whilst I was on leave, and attending this establishment stated quite categorically that the Navy had no capacity to escort convoys, that all of its ships would be committed to Nato in an active military role which precluded the passive role of convoy escort.

James_C
19th November 2007, 15:24
"In regard to your statement that in the event of a future war the Royal Navy "would organise convoys but would not and could not escort them"

Chouan is perfectly correct in that statement - purely because the RN today has neither the ships, manpower or money to implement and protect a convoy system on any kind of scale.
Today RN fleet (e.g. Destroyers/Frigates) exist for one reason only - to protect a Carrier/Amphibious battlegroup. There simply isn't enough ships for anything else.

Chouan
19th November 2007, 15:31
Neither did it 20 odd years ago, for the same reason as James C states so succinctly above.

Peter4447
19th November 2007, 15:50
James

I did not say that Chouan was wrong I merely asked him to explain how he felt unescorted Merchant ships would arrive at their destinations.

It is a simple fact that the 'New World Disorder' has allowed politicians to cut the Royal Navy to the bone based on the premise that a future enemy would not have a large submarine capability, such as was faced during the Cold War.

If (Heaven forbid) we did find ourselves facing another large scale war, history would repeat itself and essential supplies to Europe would have to be shipped by sea and mainly across the Atlantic. If there was no submarine threat that's fine but if the 'enemy' had that capability those merchant ships could not sail without escort but where would those escorts come from?

One can only assume they would have to be made up from whatever NATO could supply or would the lion's share be flying the Stars and Stripes.

Whatever way you look at it, it is a frightening scenario.

Peter4447(Thumb)

John Campbell
19th November 2007, 16:06
James

I did not say that Chouan was wrong I merely asked him to explain how he felt unescorted Merchant ships would arrive at their destinations.

It is a simple fact that the 'New World Disorder' has allowed politicians to cut the Royal Navy to the bone based on the premise that a future enemy would not have a large submarine capability, such as was faced during the Cold War.

If (Heaven forbid) we did find ourselves facing another large scale war, history would repeat itself and essential supplies to Europe would have to be shipped by sea and mainly across the Atlantic. If there was no submarine threat that's fine but if the 'enemy' had that capability those merchant ships could not sail without escort but where would those escorts come from?

One can only assume they would have to be made up from whatever NATO could supply or would the lion's share be flying the Stars and Stripes.

Whatever way you look at it, it is a frightening scenario.

Peter4447(Thumb)
Given that we had a major war and we had to have a convoy system etc. Where would our ship's come from and whether the Chinese and Phillipino etc crews would man these FOC ships is another question. In the last war we lost dozens of ships in a convoy - imagine losing a ship the size of the Emma Maersk. I cannot see a convoy system ever being used. No British or American Merchant Navy exists as it was in 1945 .
JC

Chouan
19th November 2007, 16:12
It was quite unnerving when I was given "the facts" 20 odd years ago.

Similarly, I found it disappointing when the reality of RN "protection" in the Gulf was revealed.

Hearing another seafarer, literally crying for help from the Navy and the US Navy over the VHF as his ship was repeatedly hit by Iranian missiles, whilst knowing that no help would be forthcoming, knowing that it could have been me does tend to focus the mind somewhat.

I find it sad that merely stating these facts has produced so much personal invective, as if somehow I've been attacking individual members of the RN personally, or blaming them as individuals for a service that they are proud of not performing as they thought it did.

Peter4447
19th November 2007, 16:24
Given that we had a major war and we had to have a convoy system etc. Where would our ship's come from and whether the Chinese and Phillipino etc crews would man these FOC ships is another question. In the last war we lost dozens of ships in a convoy - imagine losing a ship the size of the Emma Maersk. I cannot see a convoy system ever being used. No British or American Merchant Navy exists as it was in 1945 .
JC

Thank you for such an excellent post John.

As I said earlier, Whatever way you look at it, it is a frightening scenario and you have certainly high-lighted another very serious aspect in regard to the manning and FOC.

Obviously I stand to be corrected on this but I understand that when the MOD chartered ships for the Gulf War they found themselves faced with the problem of ships turning up with Iraqii crews!

The carriage of goods by sea has changed out of all recognition since WW2 and, by definition a "Convoy" as we would know it today could consist of no more than a couple of Container ships such as the 'Emma Maersk'. The question is, however, if the 'enemy' had a submarine capability could those ships sail unescorted?

Peter4447(Thumb)

Ron Stringer
19th November 2007, 21:43
The question is, however, if the 'enemy' had a submarine capability could those ships sail unescorted?

Peter4447(Thumb)

Peter,

At the start of WW2 I believe that the 'enemy' had a significant submarine capability. This situation was known to the Admiralty for several years in advance of war being declared. In spite of this it was some considerable time later before any effective convoy system was instigated. Merchant ships had to make do as best they could.

Even when a convoy system was operational, there were large areas of the oceans where no such protection was available. Ships sailed away from the Continental Shelf and (apart from some parts of the North Atlantic) once heading across the open ocean, the convoy stopped and the merchant ships dispersed to make their way independently to their destinations. Although Brazil and Argentina supplied food and other goods, ships trading there normally travelled without cover from any armed naval vessels. Tankers trading from Venezuela and the Caribbean island refineries to the USA and Europe had little or no cover for much of their passages.

Peter4447
19th November 2007, 22:45
Hi Ron

JC mentioned in an earlier post a ship like the 'Emma Maersk' being sunk.

When one considers the disruption the MSC Napoli's accident had on the industrial production/farming in the countries to which she was sailing, it makes one realise just what would be at stake.

In your post you have high-lighted what happened in WW2 and I totally agree with you that we ignore the lessons of history at our peril.

Peter(Thumb)

boulton
20th November 2007, 14:42
(Boulton, nervously, pops-up head above the parapet . . ),

Having vented our collective spleen generously over these pages, the conclusion drawn from my place of safety behind the sofa, is that if the Royal Navy had more/some/enough ships; and they were all adequately manned/armed; none of the above ire would/could have been disgorged!

(Whether we will ever have enough ships as a contingency for problems that no-one wants to imagine - but for whom a lot of professional people are paid a lot of money to contemplate and anticipate - is not the purpose of this individual posting).

What is undeniable is that at the moment the Royal Navy does have SOME ships!

It would be helpful, if we might please consider doing something that will hopefully be productive and useful for the future, by enhancing - rather than emasculating - the meagre Royal Naval fleet that we have at the moment.

There is another thread in these pages, entitled:

“Equip ALL Type 23 frigates with towed array sonars, and invent a new ASW helicopter”, with a link to:

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/sonars/

The contents of that thread are self-explanatory, so will not be duplicated here.

Yours Aye,

Chouan
20th November 2007, 14:53
Hi Ron

JC mentioned in an earlier post a ship like the 'Emma Maersk' being sunk.

When one considers the disruption the MSC Napoli's accident had on the industrial production/farming in the countries to which she was sailing, it makes one realise just what would be at stake.

In your post you have high-lighted what happened in WW2 and I totally agree with you that we ignore the lessons of history at our peril.

Peter(Thumb)

Except that we consistently do. Look at the state of both our Merch and RN before WW2, and look at them now.

I know that I'm biased, but if you also look at our government's, indeed, our nation's attitude, to History as a taught subject, you can see where the blindness comes from.

gdynia
20th November 2007, 15:04
Gents

You can ridicule the RN as much as you like but once you get those boys backs up against the wall no matter how little the fleet is now they will come out fighting and woe beside anyone who gets in their way - History has proven it so many times

Chouan
20th November 2007, 16:14
On the other hand:
1) Who has been ridiculing the RN?
2) Relying on History to prove it again, without the wherewithall to back it up is no more than wishfull thinking.
3) Given the realties of our world commitments, ie shortage of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, is it realistic for Britain to maintain even a moderate sized Navy?
4) Is the need, expressed by many on this thread, for a bigger Navy, anything more than an emotional need? Rather like me wanting a fleet a British general cargo ships again?