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Old April 11th, 2013, 04:17 AM   #21
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Indeed, but I'd argue more so for the lack of usable experience of the commander of the British army (Raglan), who had last served in battle as Wellingtons aide-de-camp some forty years earlier. He seemed unable to argue (some of) his officers tactical wishes against the ones of the French allies. So the Crimean peninsular campaign became long and attritional, as siege tactics were adopted, rather than the short, sharp campaign that it begged to be. The soldiery were in themselves, relatively well trained, as the hand-to-hand combat proved, but made less effective due to tactical blunders. Although the tactical blunders no doubt masked any short-comings in the battle experience of the soldiery. An example of the soldiery being on and indeed learning from a steep learning curve, can be seen in them beginning to question some of the more lunatic orders, as they began to be able to recognise them, themselves, for what they were. The tardiness (I'm being kind here, 'b*gger off' comes more to mind) in rising from the trenches and attacking during the latter stages of the seige of Sevastopol, as they were pinned down by shelling, being a fair example of this I think, although the enervating effects of trench warfare had a lot to do with it too.

My point about the Boer War, if I'm remembering those campaigns correctly, was that you had a relatively well trained and experienced army that still found itself at something of a loss, when faced with the guerrilla style tactics of the Boers and their use of the topography.

Hence, in identifying the country with the best trained soldiers, I keep asking myself which country has real experience in the widest of eventualities and which soldiers might have benefitted most from them. I keep going to the likes of SAS, SBS, mainly due to me not knowing enough about SEALs and the like from other countries.
To be honest I don't know enough about Crimea or the Boer war to comment fully. I just remember reading that ours was a pretty poor show in Crimea, certainly the French tended to fare better than us in Crimea from my limited knowledge.

This is bordering upon fantasy, but I've always been intrigued as to how effective Lord Cochrane would have been at Sevastopol. Instead of the seige tactics used he endorsed an aggressive attack using amongst other things stink ships(early chemical warfare). I don't know how seriously he was considered for command. The Royal Navy had also lost effectiveness to an extent through relative peace.

http://www.historynet.com/sir-thomas...eonic-wars.htm
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Old April 11th, 2013, 06:56 AM   #22
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To be honest I don't know enough about Crimea or the Boer war to comment fully. I just remember reading that ours was a pretty poor show in Crimea, certainly the French tended to fare better than us in Crimea from my limited knowledge.

This is bordering upon fantasy, but I've always been intrigued as to how effective Lord Cochrane would have been at Sevastopol. Instead of the seige tactics used he endorsed an aggressive attack using amongst other things stink ships(early chemical warfare). I don't know how seriously he was considered for command. The Royal Navy had also lost effectiveness to an extent through relative peace.

Sir Thomas Cochrane: The British Naval Officer Who Proposed Saturation Bombing & Chemical Warfare During the Napoleonic Wars
It's an interesting thought. I knew nothing about Cochrane and his stinkships. Thanks for the link. My initial thought is that as the Russian Navy had blockaded the entrance to the harbour at Sevastopol by scuttling their ships, Cochranes suggestion might have had limited effect. Having said that, if Palmerstons government were 'close to sanctioning the strategy' (per your link), there may have been more value to it than initially appears. I'll have to have a dig around about these stinkships!

Interestingly, it was thinking outside the box that led to another suggestion. Another naval one that had been bouncing around and finally given the green light. The civilian (and spy), Charles Cattlay had put forward 'the Azof option' as Raglan had referred to it. Naval ships were to abandon their largely logistics operations and sail (with allies) into the sea of Azof and take on the Russians in an effort to strangle their logistics operations. They did, disabling the supply line (through the port of Kertch) to Sevastopol. Although not immediately ending the seige (that took another four months), the Russians from that point were no longer able to fully replace their losses. Not as well known as Alma, Balaklava, Inkerman etc.. it was likely *the most successful operation of the Crimea. So who is to say if Cochranes presence and thinking may have shortened the war.

*(And unusually, largely 'intelligence' led. Yes, I am being a little sarcastic ).

Last edited by Jim Casy; April 11th, 2013 at 07:06 AM.
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Old April 11th, 2013, 07:02 AM   #23
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It's an interesting thought. I knew nothing about Cochrane and his stinkships. Thanks for the link. My initial thought is that as the Russian Navy had blockaded the entrance to the harbour at Sevastopol by scuttling their ships, Cochranes suggestion might have had limited effect. Having said that, if Palmerstons government were 'close to sanctioning the strategy' (per your link), there may have been more value to it than initially appears. I'll have to have a dig around about these stinkships!

Interestingly, it was thinking outside the box that led to another suggestion. Another naval one that had been bouncing around, was finally given the green light, as Raglan struggled for ideas to break the seige deadlock. The civilian (and spy), Charles Cattlay had put forward 'the Azof option' as Raglan referred to it. Naval ships were to abandon their largely logistics operations and sail (with allies) into the sea of Azof and take on the Russians there. They did, disabling the Russian logistics and main supply line (through the port of Kertch) to Sevastopol. Although not immediately ending the deadlock (that took another four months), the Russians from that point were no longer able to fully replace their losses. Not as well known as Alma, Balaklava, Inkerman etc.. it was likely *the most successful operation of the Crimea. So who is to say if Cochranes presence and thinking may have shortened the war.

*(Also unusual, in being largely 'intelligence' led. Yes, I am being a little sarcastic ).
Apologies, it seems to have been Kronstadt where Cochrane advocated using stink ships.

Its kinda hard to work out just how close the authorities were to using such devices. They may have viewed Cochrane as a doddering old fool by then and simply humouring him. Yeah, intelligence lead and Crimea/Raglan is a stretch.

Last edited by jackydee; April 11th, 2013 at 07:04 AM.
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Old April 11th, 2013, 07:17 AM   #24

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It's 21st century, warfare has changed so much through the ages. Yes, weapons are more advanced today, but war is not won by weapons alone, but by the quality of soldiers. So which country do you think produce the finest/best trained soldiers today?

In my honest opinion... for me... it's a toss up between U.K. and Israel, but I think Israel has a slight advantage because that country is surrounded by enemies and they are vastly outnumbered, so troop quality should compensate for that.
Every single soldier believes that they are the best trained soldiers, no matter what country they belong to. Even "rebels" believe that they are the best soldiers. It goes even deeper than this.

Soldier within different branches of the same military force, believe that they are better than soldiers within another branch. eg: Personnel within the Armoured Corps believe that they are better than the infantry because they have armoured vehicles and usually have heavier weapons which carry quite a push. But infantry troops believe that they are better, because they are more mobile in the field and make for a much smaller target on the battlefield compared to armoured vehicles...
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Old April 11th, 2013, 07:24 AM   #25
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They may have viewed Cochrane as a doddering old fool by then and simply humouring him.
Hey!, I'll have you know they held doddering old fools in high esteem back then. Backbone of the army, sir!
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Old April 11th, 2013, 07:40 AM   #26
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Hey!, I'll have you know they held doddering old fools in high esteem back then. Backbone of the army, sir!


A military based on the time honoured principles of "old dodderiness" and fundamental tactics such as "they don't like it up 'em!"? Such sound military practices built us an Empire I suppose.
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Old April 11th, 2013, 07:52 AM   #27
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A military based on the time honoured principles of "old dodderiness" and fundamental tactics such as "they don't like it up 'em!"? Such sound military practices built us an Empire I suppose.
.

It did, incredibly. The debacle at the Crimea left us ruling the waves for quite a while and trading like there was no tomorrow. Maybe there really was something in leaving the old lunatics in charge.

Mmm..no, no...there wasn't.

Last edited by Jim Casy; April 11th, 2013 at 08:02 AM.
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Old April 11th, 2013, 10:09 AM   #28
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Fair point, British troops didn't initially train for an insurgency because there never was a contingency plan. Once Sadam was gone it was meant to be hunky-dory. I never went to theatre but was reading Beevor's Stalingrad at the time and thought the Iraqi army or Wahabi types might try sniping in a similar guerilla style to the NVA, American revolutionaries and IRA. I think IEDs in such large numbers are a new style of psychological warfare.
The real problem wasn't in the pre deployment training, it was in the basic training. Thats where it wasn't upto date. I started mine in Oct 90, and as an Infanteer it was 6 months. So i was in depot during the build up and execution of the first Gulf War. A few of the guys in my Platoon would have gone over there if the war had dragged on and there was quite a bit of enfosis on NBC training and the like. But i and a few others knew almost from day one that we would be going to Ulster.

I got to my Battalion in their final 4 weeks of pre deployment and was straight into a training village for a week. I suddenly went from learning how to work in an 8 man section, digging trenches, section attacks and the like to working in a 4 man brick, doing VCP's, 5 and 20m checks and ECM kit i had never heard of.

If you consider that between 1970 and 2003 we fought 3 conventional wars that between them lasted maybe 6 months but spent most of those years in counter terrorism and peace keeping in Ulster and Bosnia, it seems silly that none of the basic training went into any of this sort of operation.

As for the guys going into Iraq in 03, your right, we didn't expect an insurgency. And to be honest, in the early days, there wasn't one. I first went there in June 03, so we replaced the guys who had invaded. And most of the trouble was between the local tribes trying to fill the power vacuum. We were really there as peacekeepers, doing the softly softly approach.
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Old April 11th, 2013, 12:20 PM   #29

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4. russia (elite forces)
The Spetnaz?
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Old April 11th, 2013, 12:21 PM   #30

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I am just waiting for some ultra-patriotic American to come bargaining in going USA! USA! USA!
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