Commandos killed wearing wrong body armour

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by plymwebed, Jul 18, 2008.

Welcome to the Navy Net aka Rum Ration

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial RN website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Two commandos killed in Afghanistan were wearing the wrong body armour, which was a failure in the chain of command, an inquest heard today.

    Read more at thisisplymouth
  2. Terrible stuff but I fail to see why it is the Chain of Command's fault here since it was their own decision to wear the lightweight stuff. They were not ordered to make a change from their standing orders and did not have to give it up so that someone else could use it in the field

    If they had not been issued with OSPREY then I could understand the remark but in this case, the coroners comment seems ill advised and is likely only pour salt into the open wound those particular families are suffering from.

    Shame on him I say.

  3. I tend to agree, although note that the coroner is Andrew Walker, who seems to have based his recent career on criticising the system.

    That said, I can see the argument. Anyone in a supervisory role has a responsibility to ensure that PPE is both issued, and used. The principle needs to be applied with some common sense though, that's where the coroners court, and not specifically Walker, seems to be weak.
  4. Fair point, well made Karma but having been out there I know from experience that there isn't always someone on hand to ensure you are properly dressed. We're talking about disciplined military personnel at the end of the day and they would have known the regulations / standing orders and, more importantly, the risks in contravening them. It seems barking then that there should be someone responsible to supervise what are in effect the basics.

    Notwithstanding the rights and wrongs of it I just hate to see some civvy have a pop at us when we aren't always able to respond with anything which falls outside the agreed LTT and, as you say, this guy is a bit of a regular.

  5. I see it as per SILVER_FOX. They were both Lance Jacks and, arguably, were in a supervisory position at that level.

    Mr A Walker seems to have become a significant liability. The good he has achieved has been more than negated by his mindset and lack of understanding; either deliberate or innate. He acts very much as if he is viewing the loss of builders on a large company's building site.
  6. Since when does the Army chain of command have anything to do with Royal Marines standing orders???
  7. matelo99. This isn't the first time yer man Walker has got things wrong or misunderstood them. Being charitable, he may not understand or be totally uninterested in the RA Commando's relationship with the RM
  8. 42 Cdo Battle Group Standing Orders, the BG includes elements of 29Regt RA. Whilst under the command og the BG CO his standing orders apply.

    I'm sure you are aware that 3Cdo Bde includes quite a large proportion of pongos.
  9. Agree both your points, hence my previous comment about applying common sense.
  10. A couple of good lads lost their lives. Like alot of us have done they tweaked their kit and changed it about to suit their needs. If they were wearing the ''Pussers correct issue'' It probably would'nt have made a difference. The incident happened and nobody is to blame, it's big boys rules after all. It should all be put to rest this coroner has'nt got a Scooby what goes on out there.
  11. Now this is clearly a delicate issue as these 2 young men gave their lives in the service of their country but this is a debate worth having.

    This is my primary issue. It is not the job of JNCOs to second guess command decisions, presumably based on int, the IPB, the Threat, and not a little personal experience, and in this tragic event there was no element of Mission Command. We have all argued the toss about something or other during our service but once the decision is made or confirmed "the order is to be given as if it is your own". If this is not the case where does the "tweaking" end, fu** it these grenades are a pain in the arse, I'll ditch 'em (not fantasy, I know of such a case), or if you prefer the Hollywood version of real events the Rangers preparing to deploy in Black Hawk Down, fiction but actually based on what happened.
    Sadly confirmed in the inquest.

    It's very easy to throw out one liners but unfortunately this is not the case. The Coroner very clearly blamed the chain of command. We should all agree that the chain of command does not start and finish in Cdo HQ. It extends down the the lowest man with authority over the individuals concerned, including the S/JNCO responsible for posting or briefing the sangar sentries.

    I accept entirely that in this case the outcome would not have changed but in terms of Operational Effectiveness does this matter?

  12. Am I to read that as everyone going on patrol/STAG should be checked by the "line manager" first? That seems to border on the Soviet way of doing things. One of the great strengths of British Services has been their ability to operate at all levels, with degrees of independence, through discipline, training and motivation. If the Walker man has his way, that culture would quickly end and not to the National good.
  13. You are to read exactly that, except of course they are not line managers they are junior commanders on operational service and this is a command not management responsibility. It is standard military practise, in all phases of war, that sentries are briefed and relieved correctly. Stabilisation Ops/Peace Support/Enforcement are not exempt. It is hardly Stalinist to ensure that sentries are aware of their task, arcs, duration of watch, ROE, updated threat, ongoing patrols, actions on contact, alarms, passwords, comms, etc and are dressed & equipped correctly. Now, one has to temper this with the Operational situation, ranging from section commanders orders in the field to 10 or 15 pages of instructions in a permanent static location, and guard rotation, etc but it should be considered the norm not the exception. From your question I assume that you would be perfectly happy with the engine room watch keeper, QM, upper deck sentry or bosuns mate just upping sticks and F888ing off at the end of their duty? In NI for a 6 month tour guys may have done 30 or 40 duties in a sangar but I would have no qualms in tearing a new ******** from any JNCO that did not brief and post them correctly. They may know it off by heart but the first time something goes wrong someone will be quick to jump on the fact that this standard practice (often in SOPs/SOs in long term locations) was not done.

  14. I now blame myself for using the word "checked" without a suitable diagram of what I meant. The question I meant, in this instance, should the 2 Lance Bombardiers have been physically checked for rig and equipment by their Bombardier or Sergeant?

    So we know that the Orders were in place and, therefore, cannot be held as a "Command Chain failure". The failure would seem, from the preceding answer, that 2 JNCOs needed to be physically checked that they were following published orders and, in the event, weren't checked.
  15. This is down to a publicity seeking coroner who has either misunderstood, or intentionally mistrued the situation to get a pop in

    It was clear what should have been worn, it was available, they weren't children, they made decisions, judgement calls. They got zapped, they would have got zapped anyhow

    This shizzer can only upset greiving parents further and helps no one, especially as the truth has not been presented correctly

    I'm all for coroners pushing for responsibility/culpability and hammering MOD and the Gvt when deserved but this isn't the case in this situation
  16. That I can't say because I don't know what the SOPs or Standing Orders or possibly daily orders/briefing state in this respect. However, in relation to my last answer, use the scenario that a JNCO was doing a sangar duty in Cross or Fort Whiterock, yes I would still expect him to be briefed, checked and posted correctly. I can see the point that you are making, JNCOs should be capable of complying with orders without supervision but it is self evident from this incident, several threads on Arrse and elsewhere that many Army personnel consider it "ally" not to wear the maximum protection available. Read some of them and you will see some consider it a sin akin to cowardice (I'm not exaggerating) to do so! I am not for one minute making the assumption that that is what happened to these men but it seems in many things I read and see that the norms of (field) dress and equipment are going by the board in Afghanistan. Now it is a hot, arid, dusty and generally uncomfortable place to fight but for example; it was unthinkable to patrol sleeveles in NI nor have I seen (I haven't really looked) this happening in Iraq. Why do some unit do it and others don't? Why are some top cover sentries wearing neck protection and others aren't? Why do some units persist in the myth that 2 helmets made of the same material but of different thickness (and therefore cost presumably) provide the same protection? Do they honestly believe that pusser would buy anything more expensive than they needed too? Like I say I've read several very long threads on this and the only reason that would make sense is operational effectiveness and as far as I am aware there isn't a single report that states definitively the "XXX died because his Osprey/Mk 6A/neck protection prevented...". But of course I am not seeing post-op reports so they could well be making that very point.

  17. If the correct equipment was avaliable to them, then it was their decision not to wear the correct protection. Im sure that they were briefed on what they should be wearing for patrol duties etc, if they werent then the chain of command and ultimately the MOD is responsible (even if indirectly) for their deaths.

Share This Page