WS - what do they do?

Discussion in 'Joining the Royal Navy' started by BoatyMcBoatFace, May 16, 2016.

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  1. Hello all,

    Hope I haven't posted in the wrong section!

    I'm highly interested in joining the Navy as a Warfare Specialist.

    The reason for this choice is because I'm especially interested in using the Gimpy's and mini guns. Am I wrong in thinking it's a WS that does this? I've read through the RN website O so many times and have spoken to my AFCO (but unfortunately she was an elderly woman who was rejected from the Wrens) so her advice might not be sound.

    But if I get in, will I be able to 'man the guns' as it were? I'm not really interested in radar or computer side of things. I'm more interested in actually fighting the ship.

    So do WS's spend much time on deck manning the MG's?

    And how much seamanship and other tasks (other than what you'd expect a WS to do) do they do?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    An interesting observation. Are you sure she was an RN careers adviser? If so, she will have served at least 12 years. If it was someone you spoke to on the 03456 07 55 55 number, it was not an Armed Forces Careers Office (AFCO), it was a civilian call centre.

    All RN Careers Advisers, be they male, female, RN, RM, young or old are qualified to give professional careers advice for all jobs within the Naval Service.

    Whilst it's appreciated many joiners quite like the idea of shooting baddies in the face, day to day, with short range weaponry, the reality is very few shots have been fired in anger for the last three decades - probably since before the elderly rejected Wren even joined.

    All Warfare branches partake in some element of Seamanship but Seaman Specialist maybe slightly more akin to your aspirations, particularly with regard shooting stuff with 'guns'. One thing worth pointing out is pretty much all jobs have menial aspects involving communal duties, cleaning, painting, greasing, oiling, watch-keeping (shifts) etc., but traditionally the Warfare branch like to moan about it the most. Sea Spec involves visual comms, Morse code, steering ships, coxing ship's boats, gangway watches in harbour and all manner of mundane, routine tasks beyond shooting musket-wielding pirates.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Have you tried the RAF? :D
    • Like Like x 1
  4. janner

    janner War Hero Book Reviewer

    • Like Like x 2
  5. Seadog

    Seadog War Hero Moderator

    I'm reminded of:

    And why do you want to join my beloved Corps?

    Sir, to kill, sir.
    • Funny Funny x 1
  6. Trainer

    Trainer War Hero Book Reviewer

    Fixed that for you , no charge...;)
    • Funny Funny x 1
  7. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Oi. Less lip ;)
  8. The original question was "WS what do they do"
    Probably the most difficult question ever asked as even those in the branch do not actually know.
    They are pretty good at chipping paint and cleaning though
  9. I know, it's a bit of a flimsy reason. But I loved firing the Gimpy in cadets and just would rather being doing that then sat at a computer.
  10. Thank you so much :)
  11. I went for my interview, she came down, not uniform, which is what I was expecting. She said she was filling in for the recruiter and joked that she wasn't in the navy. I didn't find it amusing as I was their looking for a career, not some civilian telling me about my career choice. She said oh I've got experience, don't you worry. I queried what that was and she said 'oh I was in the wrens... But unfortunately failed my medical due to asthma'. Great.

    And yeh I've looked into seaman spec, but from what I understand it's a varied job. I am interested in the seamanship side of things, but am more so in the warfare side of things.

    It's not so I can kill the baddies or anything, it's just I'd rather be doing that, and sort of doing something rather than sat on my backside Looking at radar. Obviously I know it's a vital part of warfare, but that side isn't for me.

    Of course missile systems and the Mk 8's are appealing as well.

    From what I understand it is called above surface warfare? Is this a specialism?

    And the reason I ask about seamanship is because on a documentary about the Royal Navy, it was a warfare spec who was up on the bridge steering the ship, and was then later involved in driving the RIBs.

    It's just caused a bit of confusion because I thought this was the job of the seaman specialist.

    Last edited: May 17, 2016
  12. Wouldn't touch an RAF careers booklet with a barge pole :p
  13. Try GPMG rather than Gimpy.
  14. Spend a lot of time asleep :)

    (Standby for incoming) :D
  15. Wow. @Ninja_Stoker is there something you'd like to share? Is this normal practice?!
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  16. Does it really make any difference? Gimpy is just another word for the GPMG. As General Purpose Machine Gun is four words for it.
    • Braindead Braindead x 1
  17. Seadog

    Seadog War Hero Moderator

    There is no ammo allowance for overcoming boredom serials. Nor does the Command arrange firings for fun unless to save time and effort on deammunitioning drudgery.

    Guns are a serious business at either end.
  18. Thank you.

    I understand all of this. I'm not joining just for fun. I may come across as uninformed and wanting to join just to shoot people, but believe me I'm not. I (personally) would rather be out on deck, watching the oceans and ships that pass, and land when we near it. I suppose I get to see the sights (even though most of it is just ocean) rather than just seeing the same screen all day.

    And of course there's the test firing, maintaining the weapons, and the relatively few but exciting times when some poor fisherman strays towards us. Or maybe one day it won't just be a fisherman.
  19. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Seems an out of the ordinary experience for an AFCO visit, I'm wondering if you spoke with one of the civil servants, employed as an admin officer, perhaps.

    Either way, I'd be inclined to give your AFCO a call and ask to speak with a careers adviser about the two roles you've mentioned. Warfare Specs work part of ship when not on watch, during the core working day. When on watch, they're mainly in the ops room monitoring surface, air & sub surface contacts. There are overlaps with WS and Sea Spec but I'd be more inclined to steer you toward the Sea Spec route than WS route going by what you would like to do.

    Many AFCOs also have loan ratings who may also be able to describe the job they do. Weapons maintainers tend to be ET(WE) rather than Warfare Specs, although they do clean/maintain small arms after a firing serial.
  20. Thanks ninja!

    When I went to my AFCO, it was with the intention of joining as a seaman spec. But as I'd seen and heard different things about WS, considered that.

    Can you specialise in different roles once you're a seaman specialist? Say could I specialise in small boat operations or in manning the MG's on the upper decks? Or will I always be doing different stuff? And if so, at what point can I specialise.

    Any prospects of getting a commison further down the line?


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