View Single Post
Old 07-02-2019, 09:38 PM
StainlessSteelCynic's Avatar
StainlessSteelCynic StainlessSteelCynic is offline
Registered Registrant
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Western Australia
Posts: 2,344

Originally Posted by Legbreaker View Post

Now a question for those who were in the ARes during the 90's. How much additional training do you think your unit(s) would have required to be combat effective?
What was your units IRL strength like at the time as a percentage of fully manned?
Was there sufficient "talent" within the unit to be promoted into the necessary NCO and Officer positions if the unit had received enough new recruits (with IET completed) to bring it up to strength?
This is the hard part... it's got a lot to do with where the unit was located and obviously anything I say is limited by my own personal experience.

Many country depots in Western Australia tended to have less personnel but more effectives than city units, (for those outside Australia - "effectives" was lingo for those Reservists who attended all the needed parades, training etc. etc. and were deemed qualified in their role). Country units also tended to have more personnel qualified for higher rank (but obviously they couldn't be promoted to higher rank as there were limited positions in small units).
If it came to bringing them up to strength I would hazard a guess that they had plenty of talent for promotion among the senior soldiers (some of them already qualified in a number of cases).
The overall impression was that country depot personnel were more dedicated, more prepared to go out of their way to fulfil their obligations and so on, more interested in taking the training seriously.

City units tended to have far greater access to personnel but a greater percentage of ineffectives (or marginally effectives) but when you're talking say 20% of 300 troops, it wasn't seen as so much of a problem, whereas 20% of 120 at a country depot was a big issue.
This is probably my own perception, but it seemed to me that the highest percentage of ineffectives seemed to come from the University Regiments. To be fair, I only met a handful of Uni Regt officers but I was generally left underwhelmed by their abilities. Marginally effective soldiers and marginally effective officers at best, complete wastes of oxygen at worst. Some of them seemed to treat the Reserves as a side hobby.

I would think that simply by virtue of having a greater recruiting pool within the cities, that city depots would be able to meet their needs for NCOs & officers and, obviously, would also be far more likely to be able to build up to full strength.

By way of example, my last unit was initially an Infantry Company (C Coy, 16 RWAR) that was probably 2/3 full when I transferred in 1988. In 1990 we probably could have filled out to full strength without much trouble.
By 1992 there had been a severe drop in numbers and we were an overstrength Platoon (we would have mustered one full Platoon and a second that was about 2/3 strength). At that time IRL the government was trying to cut costs and had decreed that any Reserve units below a certain strength would be cut.

My unit survived by being redesignated as the Battalion's reconnaissance platoon. We got help with training from SASR who had been using the depot for decades as a base during their desert, demo & car commander training courses. We also had training from the WA based RFSUs so overall we were getting assistance from the local experts in the trade!
Some of our officers & senior NCOs got unofficial criticism from officers in battalion HQ for our "overly" friendly relationship with SAS.

From memory, the main unit (HQ etc. etc. + B Coy located in Perth) had more personnel on the books than needed but seemed to muster about 75% of required strength. A handful of those who did attend were still ineffective in one way or another (e.g. not attended annual Ex, marginal passes on rifle quals and so on).
A Coy on the other hand, another country depot was much like C Coy, understrength but of the personnel on the books, most of them were effectives. No surprise to some, but the country depots still tended to have better shooting scores during annual qualification.

Annual training was usually well attended and there was a decent range of training courses available for those that wanted them. I qualified for SFMG, others from my unit qualified for medic, mortar, sigs and so on.

Reservist Corp of Trucks was typically well manned but I would rate many of their personnel as marginally effective. They could drive fine but many had no damned idea of recovery techniques and it was not uncommon for, surprise surprise, the Reservist Infantry unit being transported to be the ones who knew how to recover the vehicles. A number of Transport personnel appeared to treat their time in service as a place to socialize and it was said by non-Transport personnel that the only reason you joined Transport was to "learn to drive trucks or to pick up a fuck".

The Reservist field artillery unit that used to be in WA was apparently pretty damned good although I have no idea of their percentage of effectives. The medical unit that was here was pretty good too, I knew a few people in it although I cannot recall the unit designation. They had a reasonable number of qualified doctors, nurses and dentists on strength and a good number of personnel who were at least medic trained. Again I don't have any idea of their number of effectives but there were always some of the Reserve medical units (to complement the Reg units) on every major Ex I went on.

For a complete change of pace, my first unit, 1/15 RNSWL an Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment based in Sydney using M113s, had plenty of personnel on the books and most of them attended but aside from vehicle crews, support, admin etc. etc. there was insufficient training for some roles. Specifically, while I was qualified as Assault Trooper, there were a number of specialist training requirements for that role that were never met.
Assault Troopers were "meant" to be trained in shallow water diving, minor demo (not anywhere near as much as Assault Pioneers but enough to clear tracks for the vehicles at the least) and even para-drop.
Too pricey for the government so although those qualifications were on the books, they were never offered in training. However we did get plenty of range time with machineguns as we had plenty on strength and it was expected that the Assault Troop buckets would mount a few at the rear hatch.

Unfortunately not a lot of specific info for you
Reply With Quote