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  #181  
Old 06-27-2019, 05:31 AM
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Given the state of the PNG military forces in the 1990's, that little raiding party would probably have consisted of about 95% Australians....
I wasnt talking about PNG military forces - I am talking about the West Papua guerrillas who have been fighting off and on against the Indonesians ever since they took the area over from the Dutch. Have a feeling the Australians would love to move that switch back to on as to them fighting against the Indonesians and making their use of the western end of New Guinea one that entails a hell of a lot of fighting guerrillas - and thus keeping them from concentrating against the Australians.
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  #182  
Old 06-27-2019, 06:29 AM
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There's also a good possibility that the British may send special operations troops to assist Australia in PNG considering that the south eastern region had been a British colonial possession since 1884 plus the fact that since 1975 PNG has been part of the (British) Commonwealth of Nations.
I'd like to think that, but they've already got their hands more than full elsewhere, and I don't intend to kick off hostilities until after the big players are committed in the main arenas.
One thing I've kept in mind through this whole process is the Indonesian leadership is acutely aware of of their limitations and their inability to stand up for even a moment against the US, or even UK. They won't be moving until they're sure the only opposition they'll face are from the local region.
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  #183  
Old 06-27-2019, 06:35 AM
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I wasnt talking about PNG military forces - I am talking about the West Papua guerrillas who have been fighting off and on against the Indonesians ever since they took the area over from the Dutch. Have a feeling the Australians would love to move that switch back to on as to them fighting against the Indonesians and making their use of the western end of New Guinea one that entails a hell of a lot of fighting guerrillas - and thus keeping them from concentrating against the Australians.
West Papuans are technically Indonesian and have been for about 50 years. I know what you're say though.
However I intend most of the fighting will be east of the border. The Anzac forces won't be in place in sufficient numbers early on to be anything more than speed bumps, and will never have the strength to push the Indonesian's back across a wide front. There simply won't be much of an opportunity for training any of the West Papuans although there will possible be an SAS presence from time to time. They however will be focused on conducting relatively short term missions of no more than about a month in length, and won't be in a position to do very much with the locals - in fact it's highly likely they'll be doing everything possible to avoid them!
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  #184  
Old 06-28-2019, 10:55 PM
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And logistics in that region will be excessively difficult. The only reasons there's even roads in some of those areas east of the border is because the mining companies working there, earning enough money to justify making & maintaining those roads.

In other areas there's nothing other than foot paths or animal trails.
Most items will have to go in by air transport or be carried in by porters and with a war in full swing, airspace is obviously going to be contested.

Ok Tedi is probably the most well known mining lease/company site in the area. It's approximately 10km from the border in some places but that's 10 kilometres of mountainous, jungle terrain. However there are other mining leases much closer to the border, one of the Ok Tedi leases is as close as 5 or 6 kilometres

Mind you, those mines are probably part of the reason why Indonesia wants to add the place to it's empire - copper, nickel, silver & gold are the big money makers but there's also cobalt, platinum, iron, chromium, molybdenum and rare earth elements. Because of the volcanic nature of some regions, there's also likely to be decent deposits of gemstones such as diamonds (the islands of New Britain, New Ireland and Bougainville are known to have deposits of diamonds although they've been deliberately left unexploited to allow for revenue in the future).

This map has some of the major minesites shown
https://www.niuminco.com.au/index.html


This link however gives a much better overview of the mining situation. It shows not just minesites but also exploration leases and the map itself has a good representation of the mountainous nature of the land.
http://portal.mra.gov.pg/Map/
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  #185  
Old 06-28-2019, 11:05 PM
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Indeed you are correct. I've included Indonesia building roads in West Papua during the build up to their offensive for just that reason, with their cover story being they're simply improving civilian infrastructure prior to moving a few hundred thousand citizens from the overpopulated areas to the west.
Of course they can't actually cross the border during this phase, and there's only so much you can do in the proceeding year, especially if you're trying to conceal the fact all the major routes lead towards PNG...
By itself it's not enough to trigger a military response, or even a diplomatic one, but it is sufficient to alert defence planners to the increased probability of conflict and therefore improve Anzac preparedness by drawing in personnel from low priority offshore missions and boost overall manpower (basically begin to flesh out the three Australian Divisions from their peacetime levels of absolutely abysmal).
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  #186  
Old 06-29-2019, 08:41 PM
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Reading through the Australian Army Training Information Bulletin - The Infantry Division, 1975 and came across something that would never even be considered today.

Air defence from Division level down was considered "optional"!

The best that could be expected by lower commanders if the Div CO chose not to take dedicated AA, was their subunits organic GPMGs. Even an entertainment unit had a higher priority!
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  #187  
Old 06-30-2019, 06:23 PM
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Yeah...
I remember in the 70's-80's that the attitude towards air defence seemed to be "that's the job of the air force". The feeling towards that idea was most colourfully expressed by one of my training sergeants when he said something along the lines of "if the air force can't stop them, we're fucked".

Then only about a decade later we were deploying Army air defence units on RAN ships to bolster their air defence (I think it may have been for East Timor but I can't remember, it could just have easily been the Persian Gulf) - because even the RAN wasn't given sufficient air defence!
And all that shows once again, that there are some circumstances were you cannot expect the Air Force to be providing air defence.

It's a holdover from WW2 I think - too many politicians believing that Australian defence policy consisted of expecting the enemy to attack Australia over hundreds of miles of sea and not thinking that Australian military forces could/would be deployed to regions beyond RAAF control.
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  #188  
Old 06-30-2019, 09:18 PM
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Out of curiosity, I hit up Wikipedia and, apparently, Australia was a one-time user of the FIM-43 Redeye MANPAD. I guess it's better than nothing.

NOTE: I checked the entries for the Stinger and Blowpipe first. No dice.
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  #189  
Old 06-30-2019, 09:42 PM
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Definitely the gulf. I can remember seeing video of holes being drilled into the navy's nice clean deck to bolt the mounts down.
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  #190  
Old 06-30-2019, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
Out of curiosity, I hit up Wikipedia and, apparently, Australia was a one-time user of the FIM-43 Redeye MANPAD. I guess it's better than nothing.
Yes, had the Redeye from 1973 to 1987, Rapier from 1979 to 2005, and RBS-70 from 1987 to now (this was the weapon mounted on the navy's ships). The AIM-120 SLAMRAAM is due to be introduced next year.
Up until 1973 they were still equipped with the WWII 40mm Bofors.
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  #191  
Old 07-01-2019, 11:18 AM
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The US supplied Australia with 260 FIM-43C Redeye SAM's between 1969 and 1970.
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  #192  
Old 07-01-2019, 08:08 PM
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Yeah, it took about two years or so to get Army Air Defence trained, qualified and organized for the missile and then, from memory, they kept them based in South Australia. They were rarely part of deployed forces on field exercises for "reasons"...


As an aside but still on air defence, during the 1950s or 1960s the RAAF had the British Bloodhound SAM for protection of air bases. I don't know what mark they were but I think they decommissioned them in the 1970s.


EDIT: by way of explanation, when I said "reasons", I'm using it to imply that the head shed had some mysterious reason for not deploying the Air Defence units and that they never bothered to tell or explain that to anyone.

Last edited by StainlessSteelCynic; 07-01-2019 at 08:13 PM. Reason: explanation
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  #193  
Old 07-01-2019, 11:07 PM
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I know that the Brits used tripod-mounted M2HB .50 caliber HMGs for impromptu air defense during the Falklands campaign. In a T2K scenario, especially a v1.0 continuation, it stands to reason that the Australians would supplement their Redeyes, Rapiers, RBF-70s, and Bofors guns with same.

I haven't checked my memory, but IIRC, Indonesian air power (both fixed wing and rotary) was not something to be particularly feared c.1996 (IRL), so it probably wouldn't give the RAAF and Australian army AAD forces too much trouble. I can't imagine that there are many- if any- airfields in western Papua that could accommodate modern jet fighter-bombers. Even if so, keeping said airfields supplied with fuel, parts, and advanced weaponry would be difficult to say the least.
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  #194  
Old 07-02-2019, 12:31 AM
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No 40mm bofors left in Australia in T2K - out of service nearly 30 years with most either scrapped, or deactivated (welded up and parts removed) and turned into memorials in parks and outside RSL (Returned Services League) clubs. There's a very good chance the old Redeye's would have been destroyed, although I can't find any details of their disposal (another question I have to ask of the relevant people I suppose).
The Indonesians don't really have a problem with airfields as the front is right on their doorstep. The Anzac forces have a bit further to go, but it's still well within range of the available aircraft with most probably based in either Darwin, Port Moresby, or RAAF Base Curtin at Derby.
Neither side has enough air power to gain air superiority (Australia's defence has always relied on the idea of a more powerful ally coming to their aid - initially Great Britain, and then the US from WWII onwards). It won't take long before both sides are either shot out of the sky, or simply unable to replace/repair aircraft with parts and replacements being sent to either Europe, Korea or the Middle East.
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  #195  
Old 07-02-2019, 01:04 AM
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Might be of some use about the Bofors.

http://www.defence.gov.au/UXO/_Maste...oforsRev01.pdf
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  #196  
Old 07-02-2019, 01:08 AM
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Yeah, they were a nice bit of kit in their day, but there's no way Australia has any in service in T2K. They were already obsolete and ineffective in the late 60's and even more so by 2000.
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  #197  
Old 07-02-2019, 01:11 AM
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Yeah, they were a nice bit of kit in their day, but there's no way Australia has any in service in T2K. They were already obsolete and ineffective in the late 60's and even more so by 2000.
But the RAN were still using them up to 2007 and they were the main armament on the Freemantle Class patrol boats
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  #198  
Old 07-02-2019, 03:56 AM
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I think there's some confusion here based on army and navy usage.
The Australian Army stopped using the Bofors decades before the RAN so I'm thinking maybe there's some crossed lines here, Legbreaker is probably thinking in terms of purely Army air defence.
With the Twilight War, the RAN is unlikely to give up their Bofors just so the Army can have some air defence!
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  #199  
Old 07-02-2019, 07:15 AM
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Correct, the RAN was using them, but with GREATLY updated targeting and control systems, on patrol boats as their main, direct fire weapon. Absolutely NOT available to the army.
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  #200  
Old 07-02-2019, 08:27 AM
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Keep in mind too that Australia might have tried to make a quick buck during the Soviet-Chinese part of the war - i.e. the Chinese are screaming for any anti-air weapons they can get and Australia decides to sell a significant part off to them of what they have in exchange for currency - and then ends up short on those weapons when they need them in 1998
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  #201  
Old 07-02-2019, 09:23 AM
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Not likely. Australia's barely got enough to equip even a peacetime army with AA weaponry, and no suitable industry to quickly make more.
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  #202  
Old 07-02-2019, 12:57 PM
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Its been done before as to countries selling equipment that they later turned out they needed. All comes down to who was in power and how confident they were that they wouldnt get dragged in.

Examples abound - US shipments to Britain pre-Pearl Harbor, Italian shipments to Spain of equipment they needed when they jumped into WWII, etc..

Wouldnt be the first time for sure that something like that stung them in the butt - i.e. hey lets ship oil to the Nazi's after all they arent shooting at us - which the Soviets did right up to the morning the Germans invaded - in this case the Australians might have thought we can use the money to buy newer equipment and then uh oh maybe we shouldnt have done that
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  #203  
Old 07-02-2019, 01:19 PM
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So the question is:

What happened to the Redeye's - were they scrapped, sold, stored? If stored were they still in useable condition?

Did the army dismount the RBS-70 and the Bofors from the ships once they were either damaged or out of fuel and use them in the anti-air role?
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  #204  
Old 07-02-2019, 06:33 PM
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The RBS-70s were only a supplement for the RAN ships for a specific task, once the deployment was over, they were removed from the ships and resumed their army defence role.

As for the Bofors, being a naval version, the RAN would probably want to hold onto them for as long as possible. Adding to the difficulty of the Army obtaining them would be the need to construct a land-mount for them. They were never supplied with the trailer-mount that land-based versions were. If the Army wanted to use them in the land defence role, they would have to build new mounts plus also build AA sights & fire control for them.

All in all, I'd say that the Army would consider it too much trouble for too little return.
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  #205  
Old 07-02-2019, 07:34 PM
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All in all, I'd say that the Army would consider it too much trouble for too little return.
And that's assuming the RAN would be willing to give any up in the first place - highly unlikely given they're also gearing up for potential war at the same time.
It's also worth noting currently Australia only has 30 of the RBS-70 launcher/sight units. This is after a second purchase was made in 2003-05 in order to replace the older Rapiers. Hardly enough to meet current needs, and certainly not enough to consider selling and leaving the army essentially defenceless.
So, subtracting a couple of units for training and replacement purposes, you're left with about a dozen RBS-70 and the same number of Rapiers to protect three Divisions. (Yes, I'm keeping 3rd Div in the book even though IRL they were disbanded in 1991 and barely a shell for the previous few decades).

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?
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  #206  
Old 07-02-2019, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
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<snip>

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
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  #207  
Old 07-03-2019, 12:37 AM
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No, that's pretty much the sort of thing I'm after. You've given me more than I was expecting actually.
Totally agree with you re the country depots and especially the uni regiments. To be "promoted" to corporal after just six months as a reservist, just because it was a stepping stone to commission never sat right with me, especially after being around a few on various courses. Quite a number of oxygen thieves looking to subsidise their university fees...
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  #208  
Old 07-03-2019, 12:40 AM
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Here's another one open to the gallery.
Which units would you reconstitute to bring 3rd Division up to strength? As at their disbanding in 1991 they had just two badly understrength infantry battalions and a smattering of support units...
I'm thinking of looking back to WWII for inspiration.
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  #209  
Old 07-03-2019, 06:58 AM
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You always have new recruits that could be trained and incorporated to fill out the understrength infantry battalions and build up more - what is the training cycle in Australia to go from inducted recruit to fully trained infantryman?
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Old 07-03-2019, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
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What is the training cycle in Australia to go from inducted recruit to fully trained infantryman?
At the time it was about six months training before they hit their Battalion (11 weeks recruit training including basic infantry skills, three more months Initial Employment Training at the infantry centre). Corners can be cut in wartime to almost halve that, but that's really pushing it.
Note that's minimum level for an infantryman too. I've been on both sides of the training both as trainee (of course) and DS. You really get an appreciation of how much more they need to learn when you're on the other side looking in.
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Nothing happens in isolation - it's called "the butterfly effect"

Mors ante pudorem
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