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How much better are elite forces than ordinary infantry ?

  • 24-10-2014 1:56pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 372 ✭✭


    Watching a series programme few months ago on training the British Royal Marines and it started to cross my mind, well to be honest, these guys didn't seem to be much different from general infantry (plenty of spotty faced 19 year olds etc). Sure they seemed to go on longer marches etc but well, it wasn't like comparing say a professional boxer to an amateur. I'm not trying to be over critical, but it strikes me that these 'elite' regiments are often talked up at the expense of the ordinary infantry regiment. I'd imagine quite a lot of guys are just happy to do their service in an ordinary infantry regiment and don't see any need to join the so called 'elite' whether it be the US Marines, Airbourne, Royal Marines or whatever.

    So for arguments sake, let's say we have some imaginary scale of units and the average infantry man is rated as 100 units for his military capability, what would you rate guys from Marines, Paratroop regiments etc ?


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 26 Miceail22


    ChicagoJoe wrote: »
    Watching a series programme few months ago on training the British Royal Marines and it started to cross my mind, well to be honest, these guys didn't seem to be much different from general infantry (plenty of spotty faced 19 year olds etc). Sure they seemed to go on longer marches etc but well, it wasn't like comparing say a professional boxer to an amateur. I'm not trying to be over critical, but it strikes me that these 'elite' regiments are often talked up at the expense of the ordinary infantry regiment. I'd imagine quite a lot of guys are just happy to do their service in an ordinary infantry regiment and don't see any need to join the so called 'elite' whether it be the US Marines, Airbourne, Royal Marines or whatever.

    So for arguments sake, let's say we have some imaginary scale of units and the average infantry man is rated as 100 units for his military capability, what would you rate guys from Marines, Paratroop regiments etc ?

    In reality, your spot on the cap-badge does not make the soldier. When it comes to the infantry of a country a lot of the time fitness and funding will be the deciding factor.

    The Royal Marines are a very fit and capable unit, there is approximately 7,000 of them. The British army have around 40,000 infantry including all their regiments combined, not including combat support ie artillery, cavalry, armour etc . .So the RM can in theory claim more funding per man. Which means more training opportunities.

    They are all very well trained be they paras or guardsman but to keep the overall numbers up not every unit can have the same standard of entry. So the RMs and paras have more stringent entry fitness standards, and as a result they can start their recruits on a higher physical training level and as a consequence the end product is fitter than the average. Its just good marketing and making it an attractive recruitment strategy that emphasize it as Commando and P coy. If you were a spotty 19 yr old who would you rather join??? Elite shock troopers like the paras/ marines or a hum drum local infantry regiment as they'd say.

    They all get taught a lot of the same syllabus with regard tactics etc . .

    However, some units are very proud of their elite status and try to cling onto it at any cost. For instance RM training is 32 wks and is lauded as the longest training in NATO, 15 years ago it was 28 wks. See what Im getting at

    This elite status, will become ingrained in the unit ethos which will give them a sense of confidence and pride. That will help in fostering a strong sense of cohesion

    Competition is also powerful motivator. No one likes to be second best, unit advocates will always claim their standards are higher ( in reality you either have standards or you don't) it does not matter if you have airborne wings on your arm or a grenadier guards insignia. Good soldiers, like any good worker get the job done. Some people, unfortunately just live off the reputation of their unit.

    I think elite is thrown around too much today, if everyone was special no one would be special. In any military there is only one true elite and that is the men with blacked out faces, who have all the best gear and are never seen on the parade square.

    Elite implies rare and in short supply, not several thousand with different headgear be it a green or maroon beret. Bearing in mind I have great respect for serving personnel regardless of Corps or branch, in case anyone thinks Im having a go at anyone


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,015 ✭✭✭✭bucketybuck


    Miceail22 wrote: »
    In any military there is only one true elite and that is the men with blacked out faces, who have all the best gear and are never seen on the parade square.

    I suspect that is his question though. Those guys with the blacked out faces, how much better are they to the average infantry man?


  • Registered Users Posts: 26 Miceail22


    I suspect that is his question though. Those guys with the blacked out faces, how much better are they to the average infantry man?


    I may have picked him up wrong, but royal marines and airborne units are not special forces. They are the so called 'elite infantry'' he was referring to. SF (who are human men like us all) compared to standard infantry is completely different.

    It would be like comparing someone in the Premier league with someone in the League of Ireland. The same occupation but the gulf in training, expertise, funding and operational capability is significantly pronounced.

    The biggest factor being training and expertise. Its just a higher standard covering a broader range of roles


  • Registered Users Posts: 26 Miceail22


    I suspect that is his question though. Those guys with the blacked out faces, how much better are they to the average infantry man?


    I may have picked him up wrong, but royal marines and airborne units are not special forces. They are the so called 'elite infantry'' he was referring to. SF (who are human men like us all) compared to standard infantry is completely different.

    It would be like comparing someone in the Premier league with someone in the League of Ireland. The same occupation but the gulf in training, expertise, funding and operational capability is significantly pronounced.

    The biggest factor being training and expertise. Its just a higher standard covering more specialist roles


  • Registered Users Posts: 26 Miceail22


    I suspect that is his question though. Those guys with the blacked out faces, how much better are they to the average infantry man?


    Edited for double reply


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  • Registered Users Posts: 372 ✭✭ChicagoJoe


    I suspect that is his question though. Those guys with the blacked out faces, how much better are they to the average infantry man?
    No Miceail22 has answered my question very well. As he said "elite" is thrown about, I suppose I should have used the correct jargon elite infantry. As for the men with the balcked out faces, I presume you mean SEAL Team Six etc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,979 ✭✭✭Stovepipe


    As an example, when I was in, we went to the range once a year, fired a small scale of ammunition and put the guns away when we came home and only drew them for guard duties or ceremonial. Now, bear in mind that I was in one of the less aggressive (for want of a better word) Corps of the DF, so shooting was not a priority. I'm quite sure that elite arms like the RM probably fire a much, much larger scale and range of weapons per man annually. SF people can pretty much fire what they like and when they like and never worry about quantity.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,332 ✭✭✭cruasder777


    Miceail22 wrote: »
    In reality, your spot on the cap-badge does not make the soldier. When it comes to the infantry of a country a lot of the time fitness and funding will be the deciding factor.

    The Royal Marines are a very fit and capable unit, there is approximately 7,000 of them. The British army have around 40,000 infantry including all their regiments combined, not including combat support ie artillery, cavalry, armour etc . .So the RM can in theory claim more funding per man. Which means more training opportunities.

    They are all very well trained be they paras or guardsman but to keep the overall numbers up not every unit can have the same standard of entry. So the RMs and paras have more stringent entry fitness standards, and as a result they can start their recruits on a higher physical training level and as a consequence the end product is fitter than the average. Its just good marketing and making it an attractive recruitment strategy that emphasize it as Commando and P coy. If you were a spotty 19 yr old who would you rather join??? Elite shock troopers like the paras/ marines or a hum drum local infantry regiment as they'd say.

    They all get taught a lot of the same syllabus with regard tactics etc . .

    However, some units are very proud of their elite status and try to cling onto it at any cost. For instance RM training is 32 wks and is lauded as the longest training in NATO, 15 years ago it was 28 wks. See what Im getting at

    This elite status, will become ingrained in the unit ethos which will give them a sense of confidence and pride. That will help in fostering a strong sense of cohesion

    Competition is also powerful motivator. No one likes to be second best, unit advocates will always claim their standards are higher ( in reality you either have standards or you don't) it does not matter if you have airborne wings on your arm or a grenadier guards insignia. Good soldiers, like any good worker get the job done. Some people, unfortunately just live off the reputation of their unit.

    I think elite is thrown around too much today, if everyone was special no one would be special. In any military there is only one true elite and that is the men with blacked out faces, who have all the best gear and are never seen on the parade square.

    Elite implies rare and in short supply, not several thousand with different headgear be it a green or maroon beret. Bearing in mind I have great respect for serving personnel regardless of Corps or branch, in case anyone thinks Im having a go at anyone



    The Paras syllabus 2 weeks is longer as recruits learn how to Parachute and more advanced fieldcraft (FUPs, platoon level tactics ) then just on the CIC course.
    Everything is done to a higher standard then the infantry of the line.

    Royal Marines do a lot more map work, solo navigation marches including overnight, rock climbing, underwater helo escape drills, more advanced field craft, boat handling, survival skills. Also have to score higher on marksmanship...and the commando tests.

    I would say Royal marine commando training is harder then most countries special forces selection and training, most countries Special Forces selection is not all that, nothing like SAS selection.

    As for not having the experience of Special forces units, RMs, Paras, infantry of the line have far more experience then most of the worlds Special forces, most of whom do nothing.

    UK Special Forces have much more emphasis on solo map work, as opposed to route marches where you can switch off and advanced ambush drills, advanced fieldcraft, then specialist skills like demolition, Close quarter protection etc etc.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 9,625 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manach


    Historically there was another meaning to elite. In the context of from the development of the regimental systems in Europe, 17thC onwards, it would have mean dependable or loyal to the ruling crown. For instance guard regiments were more closely linked to the dynasty so least likely to mutiny or side with their fellow soldiers against the state.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 9,683 Mod ✭✭✭✭Tenger


    I would hazard a guess that all modern infantry would qualify for the 'Elite' title as compared to the WWII interpretation of it. 60 yrs ago you got a rifle,a uniform and some kit to carry. The 'Elite' units got the tactics and the advanced training. As mentioned above the historic 'Elite' units will increase their training to stay ahead of the improving general population.

    I read a book quite recently that talked through the recurrent training cycle of the US Rangers. It described their base assault training. Full run thorough 3 times with blanks, when the DI's were happy once with live ammo. Then that evening 3-4 times in the dark with blank, again the DI's decided repeat until they decided a final time with live ammo. In this one anecdote the company did the excercise 9 times in a day.
    In an actual normal vs Elite combat situation I think we could agree that the side who practise the assault 9 times in a day will probably overcome the side that did it 2-3 times with blanks.

    This comparison however doesn't really help the OP's query on man vs man comparison.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 20,297 ✭✭✭✭Jawgap


    Tenger wrote: »
    I would hazard a guess that all modern infantry would qualify for the 'Elite' title as compared to the WWII interpretation of it. 60 yrs ago you got a rifle,a uniform and some kit to carry. The 'Elite' units got the tactics and the advanced training. As mentioned above the historic 'Elite' units will increase their training to stay ahead of the improving general population.

    I read a book quite recently that talked through the recurrent training cycle of the US Rangers. It described their base assault training. Full run thorough 3 times with blanks, when the DI's were happy once with live ammo. Then that evening 3-4 times in the dark with blank, again the DI's decided repeat until they decided a final time with live ammo. In this one anecdote the company did the excercise 9 times in a day.
    In an actual normal vs Elite combat situation I think we could agree that the side who practise the assault 9 times in a day will probably overcome the side that did it 2-3 times with blanks.

    This comparison however doesn't really help the OP's query on man vs man comparison.

    It's worth having a look at a guy called Lionel Wigram who was heavily involved in infantry training at the start of WWII.

    He noted that the army tended to get the people no one else wanted - all the clever chaps were hoovered up by the RAF. Of what was left, the Engineers, Artillery etc took the best - leaving the residue for the infantry!

    However, he found that the qualities that made for a good infantryman weren't necessarily prized by other branches - for example, when it came to the infiltration tactics he was a great advocate of he found that being a sneaky fooker was better than being a clever fooker!


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,148 ✭✭✭✭Lemming


    I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the biggest single differentiator between SF and infantry (whatever moniker they bear); mindset. Very, very few people have what it takes to pass SF selection, fewer still to go on to be badged, and the DS are looking for a specific type of individual; the rest get actively binned from selection. Infantry training is a different beast to that; it's classic 'apples & oranges' territory.

    So saying the RM/Paras/etc. are better than most SF is a bit uninformed and overly simplistic as a statement. Do they have more stand-up fighting experience; at the moment possibly, but SF tend not to just do stand-up fighting so again what experience are you trying to compare?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 472 ✭✭folbotcar


    But SF are not infantry so outside the discussion. The term elite is an old one. In the past elite units may be no more than men with battle experience or simply cooler uniforms or sometimes with extra roles beyond that of ordinary infantry. Grenadiers being the obvious example. Napoleon's Old Guard being another.

    But you can make any unit elite. Ireland has no elite units but you could for example rename the 5th battalion as the 5th Para- Commando Battalion, give them extra training, red berets and a highly developed sense of regimental identity and can be fairly sure they would perform better than other battalions. It's partly psychological and partly training. Paras and commandos are better than other units because they have tougher and more training and because they believe it about themselves.

    Military commanders have always understood this.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,332 ✭✭✭cruasder777


    Lemming wrote: »
    I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the biggest single differentiator between SF and infantry (whatever moniker they bear); mindset. Very, very few people have what it takes to pass SF selection, fewer still to go on to be badged, and the DS are looking for a specific type of individual; the rest get actively binned from selection. Infantry training is a different beast to that; it's classic 'apples & oranges' territory.

    So saying the RM/Paras/etc. are better than most SF is a bit uninformed and overly simplistic as a statement. Do they have more stand-up fighting experience; at the moment possibly, but SF tend not to just do stand-up fighting so again what experience are you trying to compare?



    Very few people can pass commando training, p coy etc. The Royal Marines and Paras have more experience then most special forces, that's a reality. The Paras Pathfinders and royal marines brigade reconnaissance force do the same phase 1 selection as the SAS inc long tabs etc. So its hardly misinformed.

    Most of the worlds special forces are not particularly well trained in their green role, nor do they have combat experience across the globe from mountains to deserts to the arctic.

    The anti terrorism drills Special forces units learn can be drilled and learned by anyone, cops even perform many of these roles nowadays, having vast combat experience in different theatres is a different matter.


    The simple reality is most special forces units are highly overrated, their weakness is the fact their role is so broad, example in the Falklands, the Royal marines tactically defeated Argentinian special forces in nearly every engagement.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 20,297 ✭✭✭✭Jawgap


    Very few people can pass commando training, p coy etc. The Royal Marines and Paras have more experience then most special forces, that's a reality. The Paras Pathfinders and royal marines brigade reconnaissance force do the same phase 1 selection as the SAS inc long tabs etc. So its hardly misinformed.

    Most of the worlds special forces are not particularly well trained in their green role, nor do they have combat experience across the globe from mountains to deserts to the arctic.

    The anti terrorism drills Special forces units learn can be drilled and learned by anyone, cops even perform many of these roles nowadays, having vast combat experience in different theatres is a different matter.


    The simple reality is most special forces units are highly overrated, their weakness is the fact their role is so broad, example in the Falklands, the Royal marines tactically defeated Argentinian special forces in nearly every engagement.

    here we go..........:p


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,142 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manic Moran


    The simple reality is most special forces units are highly overrated, their weakness is the fact their role is so broad, example in the Falklands, the Royal marines tactically defeated Argentinian special forces in nearly every engagement.

    That shouldn't be a surprise. No special force, from SAS through Delta Force, is expected to win against a line infantry unit in a conventional fight. Making such comparisons is daft. Indeed, even if you got an equivalent number of typical SF against a professional line infantry unit of that same country and took set them against each other in conventional combat, my money's still on the line infantry unit. It's what infantry are equipped and trained to do. SF are not equipped or trained for it, even if, in the back of their minds, they may vaguely remember the training from when they were in 5th Infantry.

    I would also add that 'how hard it is to pass selection' has very little relevance to 'how good at the job they are'. It certainly gives a sense of pride, which counts for something, adding to esprit and staying power. But not much else. So RM course is 32 weeks. Bully for them. Any serving man knows that the real training occurs in the line unit, not in the schoolhouse.

    If the RMs, or Rangers, or anyone else are to be allocated the term 'elite', I don't think it is based on the fact that they are, unit-for-unit, better than anyone else. It is because they are trained and equipped for a role which 'conventional' units are not trained and equipped to do. They are special.

    Napoleon's Old Guard were elite for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they were the old guys. The experienced guys who were reliable and knew what they were doing. RMs aren't really any more experienced than The Rifles. Everyone's gone to Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. Western militaries no longer (and justifiably so) try to keep experienced people in one unit. But the Old Guard had a higher than average proportion of people who had seen combat before, and who had learned the skills of how to kill/avoid being killed which much of the rest of the Army lacked. Rangers, Airborne etc have little, if any, more higher percentage of battle experience in their units than a random passing Stryker Brigade.

    Elite units sometime also are called such because they get the best equipment, to make them more effective. Say, Iraq's Republican Guard, or often Guards units in the Red Army. But in the US recently, National Guard units were getting the same stuff the Regular Army were. Who got which piece of equipment was basically determined by "when the tanks came off the production line, which unit was in a position in their deployment/training cycle to actually accept them?" This is no different to the situation in WWII. You couldn't tell a 1st ID soldier from a 28th ID soldier from his equipment. Even Rangers were generally equally equipped excluding equipment required specifically for their specialized role. SF, however, are a different kettle of fish. They -do- get the most high-speed, top of the line equipment. But then, they're accepted as being elite to begin with.

    A unit may be considered elite because they are better trained than the average. Again, though, is a Ranger Battalion better trained than a Light Infantry Battalion from 1st Infantry Division? They are differently trained they are slightly differently equipped. But both have to do gunnery twice a year, both have to do routine cycles through the Training Centres (NTC, JMTC etc), both are provided soldiers trained side-by-side in the Infantry School in Fort Benning. Rangers will spend more time learning how to consolidate at after a paradrop or assault an airfield than a light infantry battalion. A light infantry battalion will spend more time learning how to assault defended positions in restricted terrain or defend against a mechanised attack than a Ranger battalion will. Different. Not necessarily better.

    At this point, much of the usage of 'elite' comes from history and prestige, as opposed to any particular superiority on average. The rest, in a modern Western military, comes from the use of 'elite' as opposed to 'specialised'. If you wish to consider 'specialised' as a form of 'elite', there are certainly arguments to be made for it, but I think in today's professional militaries, there is far less of a distinction between 'elite' units and 'standard' units in practice than there is in non-Western or historical militaries.


  • Subscribers Posts: 4,075 ✭✭✭IRLConor


    At this point, much of the usage of 'elite' comes from history and prestige

    I'm sure the history and prestige can help improve the standards in some cases though. For example, how many cadets in Sandhurst interview for the Parachute Regiment versus, say, the Royal Anglian Regiment? If the more prestigious regiments get more applicants then surely they're better placed to cherry pick the best cadets?


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,332 ✭✭✭cruasder777


    IRLConor wrote: »
    I'm sure the history and prestige can help improve the standards in some cases though. For example, how many cadets in Sandhurst interview for the Parachute Regiment versus, say, the Royal Anglian Regiment? If the more prestigious regiments get more applicants then surely they're better placed to cherry pick the best cadets?



    Also if units are all at the same level, how comes the Rifles etc are never Spearhead units. It was the marines and Paras who were first on the list for the Falklands not infantry of the line.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 20,297 ✭✭✭✭Jawgap


    Also if units are all at the same level, how comes the Rifles etc are never Spearhead units. It was the marines and Paras who were first on the list for the Falklands not infantry of the line.

    The clue is in the title.....the Rifles - they were originally formed as skirmishers.

    In fact you couldn't have picked a worse comparator - the Rifles were originally formed as the 95th Rifles and were part of the Light Division.

    They were the spearhead for Wellington in the Peninsular War!! (the history of the British Army doesn't start in 1982!)

    Just a quote from a recruiting poster for them

    "On Service your post is always the Post of Honour and your quarters the best in the Army; for you have the first of everything...."


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,332 ✭✭✭cruasder777


    Jawgap wrote: »
    The clue is in the title.....the Rifles - they were originally formed as skirmishers.

    In fact you couldn't have picked a worse comparator - the Rifles were originally formed as the 95th Rifles and were part of the Light Division.

    They were the spearhead for Wellington in the Peninsular War!! (the history of the British Army doesn't start in 1982!)

    Just a quote from a recruiting poster for them

    "On Service your post is always the Post of Honour and your quarters the best in the Army; for you have the first of everything...."



    That's history in the 70s, 80s and 90s the infantry regiments who today make up the Rifles of today were all pretty rubbish. There is no way they could have yomped over the Falklands. Comparing the likes of the Royal Green Jackets in the 70s, 80s etc to the Royal marines, Paras in terms of professionalism is ridiculous.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,148 ✭✭✭✭Lemming


    That's history in the 70s, 80s and 90s the infantry regiments who today make up the Rifles of today were all pretty rubbish. There is no way they could have yomped over the Falklands.

    That's a lot of servicemen (and women) whom you have just paid a rather large amount if disrespect to. Plenty of those "rubbish" troops gave their lives throughout the decades too I should hasten to add, so what did you ever do besides slag them off on an internet forum?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 20,297 ✭✭✭✭Jawgap


    That's history in the 70s, 80s and 90s the infantry regiments who today make up the Rifles of today were all pretty rubbish. There is no way they could have yomped over the Falklands. Comparing the likes of the Royal Green Jackets in the 70s, 80s etc to the Royal marines, Paras in terms of professionalism is ridiculous.

    Again you're lack of historical grasp does you no service......

    In the 20th Century, the RGJ produced more officers of the rank of Maj-Gen; Lt-Gen; Gen & Field Marshall than any other regiment - hence the regiment being known as the "Black Mafia" and the suggestion that the "the Green Jackets run the Army." - they must have being doing something right?

    'Professionalism' is a subjective word - just because a soldier / unit can march further than another doesn't make him any more or less professional that the soldier who perhaps drives or flies into combat. I'd have thought how you do your assigned job is the hallmark of professionalism?

    What about the support troops - are they not professional? I mean an ATO drives to his 'job' (or is more likely to be 'chauffeured' to it) , probably only has to walk a few hundred metres on any given day carrying a few kilos of kit - is he / she 'elite'?


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,332 ✭✭✭cruasder777


    Jawgap wrote: »
    Again you're lack of historical grasp does you no service......

    In the 20th Century, the RGJ produced more officers of the rank of Maj-Gen; Lt-Gen; Gen & Field Marshall than any other regiment - hence the regiment being known as the "Black Mafia" and the suggestion that the "the Green Jackets run the Army." - they must have being doing something right?

    'Professionalism' is a subjective word - just because a soldier / unit can march further than another doesn't make him any more or less professional that the soldier who perhaps drives or flies into combat. I'd have thought how you do your assigned job is the hallmark of professionalism?

    What about the support troops - are they not professional? I mean an ATO drives to his 'job' (or is more likely to be 'chauffeured' to it) , probably only has to walk a few hundred metres on any given day carrying a few kilos of kit - is he / she 'elite'?



    I talking about ranks in the RGJ, Light etc infantry being filled with recruits who joined to escape borstal, in the 70s, 80s, young offenders were sometimes given that choice.it was later Reflected in their high rates of criminal behaviour in Germany, Cyprus etc.

    One of their ex COs is even chair of the ex armed forces prisoners group, so many of them later end up in the nick. There was even one unit in Germany who became prolific bank robbers, it was quite a big story in Germany, then there was their mutiny on the Falklands, which lasted three days, before RMPs were flown in from the UK. In the 80s the RGJ were totally wild.

    Also the you not only need to score higher on the physical but also the Barb tests to join the elite 3, RAF regiment, Paras, Marines.

    This used to be run of the mill stuff in the RGJ.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/soldiers-used-ira-tactics-in-orgy-of-serious-crime-1401432.html


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,357 ✭✭✭Beano


    Didnt take long for the RAF Regt to be mentioned did it.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 20,297 ✭✭✭✭Jawgap


    I talking about ranks in the RGJ, Light etc infantry being filled with recruits who joined to escape borstal. Reflected in their high rates of criminal behaviour in Germany, Cyprus etc.

    One of their ex COs is even chair of the ex armed forces prisoners group, so many of them later end up in the nick. There was even one unit in Germany who became prolific bank robbers, it was quite a big story in Germany, then there was their mutiny on the Falklands, which lasted three days, before RMPs were flown in from the UK. In the 80s the RGJ were totally wild.

    Also the you not only need to score higher on the physical but also the Barb tests to join the elite 3, RAF regiment, Paras, Marines.

    The 'elite 3'??!?!?!

    What about the SRR, SBS, 18 Signals? Never mind the likes of the SFSG, the Pathfinders, 24 Commando RE, the RM's Arctic & Mountain Warfare Cadre etc etc......

    .....and do you still regard RLC ATO's as not being 'elite'? it's only an 18 month course and I don't think they go anywhere near Brecon?

    .....btw - what about nuclear sub drivers (most of those are fat lads), fast jet and AH-64 (AAC) pilots? Are they elite?

    As for your assertion about the RGJ - have you any data on that. The NAPO Report I found indicates that in 2008/2009 there were in one prison examined as a representative sample 53 offenders with Armed Forces connections - of these 42 were associated with the Army and of those 2 were associated with the RGJ.

    The Green Howards and Signals (and RM) had more, and the RGJ figure was the same for the Duke of Wellington's and the Prince of Wales Regiments.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,709 ✭✭✭knucklehead6


    Beano wrote: »
    Didnt take long for the RAF Regt to be mentioned did it.



    Ah give him credit... he lasted, what, 4 or 5 posts?? :P :pac: :D


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,357 ✭✭✭Beano


    Ah give him credit... he lasted, what, 4 or 5 posts?? :P :pac: :D

    he is a model of restraint. I wonder if he posts on ARRSE? He'd go down a storm over there.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 9,683 Mod ✭✭✭✭Tenger


    Think this is going off course. The original direction is on how to compare efficiency of "elite" versus regular/ line troops.

    I would hazard a guess that SF cannot be easily compared as their roles are different in the overall force structure.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,979 ✭✭✭Stovepipe


    It's more difficult these days to set "ordinary" troops apart from supposedly elite troops. Armies are well down the path of getting away from the great mass of conscripts to more specialised, smaller armies, employing more technology, requiring more specialist personnel. If you look at the Russians, their Strategic Rocket troops were among the highest qualified, educationally, of them all, up there with submarine crews and air crew and the great mass of the Army were just ordinary boots, conscripts with limited training and still are to a great extent. In modern armies, the ordinary soldier is increasingly looking more like the SF type, with specialised firearms, headgear, night vision and personal comms instead of just being a boot with a standard rifle and a steel pot on his head. Modern infantry are much more educated and expected to do more; ie; have more personal input with heavy arms such as artillery by being able to call down fire from guns or aircraft or to have a much greater level of cooperation with armour, as well as being much more aware of his place in the modern war.


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,332 ✭✭✭cruasder777


    Tenger wrote: »
    Think this is going off course. The original direction is on how to compare efficiency of "elite" versus regular/ line troops.

    I would hazard a guess that SF cannot be easily compared as their roles are different in the overall force structure.


    Getting back on track, the difference between professional well trained infantry and elite troops is the fact elite units are geared up to moving at very short notice as a spearhead force, have more demanding selection and wider on going training, a wider set of skills, better fitness beyond that of professional infantry of the line. In regards to the Royal Marines as an example, they regard themselves as sea, air and land troops.


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