3 Comments on "a hard, hard game to pick"

  1. Hmm, the Telegraph is really going all-out to corner the “senile old fool” demographic, I see. He has the nucleus of a point – a lot of TA units are very far from being deployable en bloc or even producing significant numbers of individually deployable soldiers, and that’s in fitness terms alone, never mind more difficult-to-measure skills. The median TA soldier could probably pass a CFT tomorrow, but I wouldn’t put money on it (even though they’re supposed to all be able to pass them every year). But he seems to have gone out of his way to be offensive, and his point about the TA SAS is completely wrong; as one of his first commenters notes, Hereford hates hates hates 21 and 23. Which is a real shame because they’re very capable troops, and if they weren’t SAS-badged but called something like “1st and 2nd Long-Range Reconnaissance Patrol Regiment” Hereford would probably have a lot of time for them.


  2. Speaking as a) a TA soldier who has done 2 tours of Afghanistan and b) someone who has never read a Con Coughlin article he could agree with, I’m afraid Coughlin is entirely right, for perhaps the only time in his career. The condition of the average TA soldier is a disgrace: Coughlin- guided by his military sources- is right to note that it is about 10%, perhaps at most 15%, of the TA who actually deploy on Ops. The rest of the buggers use the TA as a beer club and use those of us who do real soldiering to justify their existence. The exceptions are 4 Para, 21 and 23 SAS and some of the smaller specialist units.

    Ajay: ‘Hereford hates hates hates 21 and 23.’ Simply not true. I had a beer last autumn- actually several- with Richard Williams, who was CO of 22 SAS, and he spoke very highly of the TA SAS and told me that 21 and 23 SAS were the third main source of recruits into 22 – ie the regular- SAS. Most 21 and 23 blokes seem to get operational postings with SFSG rather than the SAS: I met a couple on my last tour.


    1. I wonder which bit of the military establishment Coughlin is being briefed by at the moment? The last time we heard from him, it seemed to be the secret services trying to blame the Defence Intelligence Staff for Helmand.


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