Don't worry about faulty equipment, shortages, make do and mend ... shore up the breach with our English dead
It was not an accident that Lord Patel posted Reid sends ill equipped troops to certain deaths in S Afghanistan on Friday, January 27, 2006.
Ever since then , lamentable equipment shortages, the poor quality ammunition, dire food supplies , and the revelation of breathtaking shortsightedness over decades of procurement have become evident and have been relentlessly chronicled as the MOD in a hopeless game of catch up and have simply reacted to each glaring weaknes .. only to shore up the breach with the English dead.
For example ..at random
BBC Thursday, 23 November 2006, 11:34 GMT UK troops had faulty ammunition
The problem was highlighted after members of 3 Para posted a video on the YouTube sharing site.
According to reports in the Daily Telegraph, the soldiers refused to go on patrols until the ammunition was replaced. BBC again ...On Thursday, it emerged that troops in Afghanistan had faulty ammunition for a month and had to borrow from other Nato forces.....the MoD accepts there were problems with the .50 calibre rounds used in the Browning machine gun, a spokesman said there was "no problem" in borrowing supplies from allied units.
As senior officers have squandered money on palatial homes, young men with young families have been shuttlig around leaking, dirty, antique barracks. As generals preen themselves on TV we despatch an increasingly part time amy in 42 year old Tristars and VC-10's to expose themselves in open top geriatric Land Rovers. Overhead overworked tankers struggle to stay airworthy and their siccessors move fuerther and further away ..Wednesday, January 30, 2008 AirTankers - MOD PFI financing suffers from Ambac credit rating downgrade - will / can the banks agree a financing deal ?
So inadequate is the new Bowman comms, so heavy that the man packs are heavier than the kit they replace , so heavy are the base stations cannot be carried on even the most beefed up Land Rover that troops have reverted to using cellphones. Tuesday, September 12, 2006 BOWMAN/CIP MOD speak for "Crock of Shit"
"new £2Mn. Bowman radio system (BMN) suffers from exploding lithium batteries when water / rain seeps into the handset (.... as it does).Apart from a refit of 12,000 batteries the Mirror quotes an MoD spokeswoman who said: "A full investigation is being carried out. All Bowmans destined for Iraq or Afghanistan are getting a new battery cover to ensure no water can get to the battery. (Rumour in Kandahar is that means they will come in a polythene bag)
Tuesday, June 12, 2007- Nick Harvey MP asks about WMIK . Ill equipped UK forces in Afghanistan Part 17....BBC correspondent Alastair Leithead spent a period as an "embedded" journo in Afghanistan and as a result filed a BBC Online report.... This was headlined 'Lack of vehicles' in Afghanistan.
Lack of heavily armed Land Rovers was a particular problem explained Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Mayo, spokesman in Helmand province, told Alastair that of 170 WMIK's needed only 126 were in working order.
Friday, September 15, 2006 Too Lite ... Too Late chronicle the extraordinary purchase of the air cooled (yes in Aghanistan) lightweight Pinzgaurs, whose driver sits over the front axle - which tends to be where the IED's make their mark ... familiarly known as ...
Each failure has been excused, apologised for, each death caused by faulty or non existent equipment is explained away... Saturday, September 02, 2006 Air crashes in Afghanistan - Maintenance worries . Who now remembers that the the Nimrod that flashed over when being re-fuelled had 38 year old rubber seals in the fuel lines which had't been replaced ? "The seals were under "corrective maintenance"; this means that they were replaced if they blew. The manufacturers originally suggested they would last indefinitely but must be checked every 5 years; this has never actually been done. "
"Service training courses were perceived by a number of witnesses no longer to impart the skill of hand or depth of knowledge necessary to maintain an aircraft built around a design philosophy now some 40 years old."
"Some Nimrod aircraft at both DOB [CENSORED] and Kinloss had elements of the acoustics mission equipment removed and the resultant voids had been masked with cardboard, held in place with tape.."
The official report on the dead aircrew had a final kicker especially to comfort the relatives ...""The body bags, which had been provided by the US mortuary at Kandahar and manufactured in the USA (NATO Stock No 9930-01-3316244) were not provided with impermeable membranes."
Today Mr Justice Collins said sending soldiers into action without proper kit could breach human rights.
Defence Secretary Des Browne who has had his attempt to ban coroners from using critical phrases such as "serious failure" rejected was just on BBC World news saying everything was now wonderful, the garden was rosy and UK trooops ahd the "best equipment in the world".
In June 2007 The Daily Telegraph after spending 3 weeks embedded with UK troops in Helmand province in Afghanistan yet again reports today of continuing major equipment problems ;
# Only 50% of the 8 Apache helicopters are working - heat and fine dust are wearing the kit out
# Only 70% of the 12 Chinooks are available meaning no air assualts have been undertaken
# Shortage of helicopter drivers means operations are limited by monthkly schedules being exhausted prematurely
# A beleaguered garrison recently had only 200 mortar rounds because of failure of helicopter supply
# Only 16 of 96 new armoured vehicles have been delivered
# High Explosives carried buy engineers in soft skinned trucks because of inadequate transport
# Soldiers have bought their own binoculars to replace inadequate Army sights.
Finally there is wonderful and eye watering fuck up over the Chinooks ...
For those who savour these private moments in those hidden away committees the following exchange is worthy of mention … Select Committee on Public Accounts Minutes of Evidence 25 OCTOBER 2004 - i.e 4 years ago....
Q133 Chairman: Thank you very much. But the fact remains, Air Vice Marshal, that for safety reasons you cannot fly this helicopter when it is cloudy; is that correct?
Air Vice Marshal Luker: That is also correct.
The bottom line is, 8 Chinook 3’s were ordered from Boeing in 1995. They were tailored to the needs of the SAS and Special Boat Service, with satellite communications technology, extra fuel tanks and in-flight refuelling probes for long flights. (Hence the need for the derring do of the SAS "brave" lads hanging on like aerial circus performers to Apache's to lift a wounded colleague (pic) (Guradian) - portrayed as a Boys Own Paper tale of heroism but actually forced by the dire shortage of equipment that these Chinooks will eventually relieve in .... 2-3 years time) - their colleague died."
8 brand new Chinook HC3s costing £260 million were delivered in 2001 but will be sitting on the ground until 2007,'' said Edward Leigh Chairman of the Public Accouts Committee. "Because of a massively botched job, they cannot be flown when there is a cloud in the sky. The MoD might as well have bought eight turkeys.''
At an extra cost of some £69 Mn these may be available next year.
UPDATE - Saturday 8.20 BSTDes Browne the whingeing part time Scottish Defence Secretary in discussion with the whingeing Welshman John Humphreys on BBC "Today" program displayed a complete incapacity to answer a single question about supply problems, stuttering like a badly maintained machine gun..