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British Army lower standards for recruits to the reading age of a 5 year old.

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British Army lower standards for recruits to the reading age of a 5 year old.

Old 8th Apr 2020, 09:17
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Poor strategy lost Germany the War!!!

I think a 10 year old kid with the reading ability of a 6 year old could have told you:

’Don’t invade Russia’!!!
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 10:06
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Well, the Duke of Wellingon's illiterates didn't do to badly did they?
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 11:34
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Timmy Tomkins,

Apart from the fact that the Duke's Army was far far more literate than you appear to suggest, try giving an illiterate soldier a Javelin, or a Starstreak, or a hand launched lap Top driven UAV...
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 11:51
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To get an insight into relative intellectual levels of different kinds of soldier in the UK Armed Forces in the '60s, at least, look no further than how artillery support was provided for the then new concept of the "Commando Carriers", old aircraft carriers converted to carry a Commando (ie battalion strength) with artillery support, to be landed ashore to extinguish brush fire rebellions in the remaining bits of the British Empire.

In preparation for the commissioning of the two carriers (Albion and Bulwark) the Navy decided to resurrect the old Royal Marine Artillery and form a 6-gun battery for each carrier to complete the Commando battle group. Unfortunately, it proved impossible to find any Marines clever enough to learn how to work out the sometimes quite complex arithmetic for surveying gun positions, then providing indirect fire support without actually killing the grunts in front. After a year or two, with the commissioning looming, a lateral thinker in the MoD suggested that a Royal Artillery Field Regiment should be ordered to go to Lympstone RMCTC and pass the Commando course, shortened to keep all the physical training activities and tests but dropping the basic soldier training. Since it was already located in the Citadel in Plymouth, 29 Field Regt RA was selected to do this. At the time the regiment was split between Kuwait and the Yemen border in Aden Protectorate, but all quickly returned to the UK . With one exception every single member (ie 500+) of the regiment passed the same Commando course tests as the RM recruits, in batches over the next 3-4 months, the regiment was re-equipped with 105mm light howitzers of Italian design, and was thus able to join in the commissioning cruise of HMS Bulwark, practising landings on the South Coast, mainly in the Lulworth Cove area. The RNAS squadron on board had the new Wessex to contend with; among other learning curves confusion about the location of the hook release button and the PTT button, different from the Whirwinds they had before, led to guns and lightweight Landrovers inadvertently being released. (You know; P2 to P1, "Wossa time then?"; P1 to P2 "Half past sev......oh shit".)

And so 29 Commando Regiment RA was born; a monument to lateral thinking.
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 12:10
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Originally Posted by ambidextrous View Post
Between 1962 to 1974, "Tommy's" were somewhat better educated, they must have been as they hired me.!

14th. November 1973 . Mark Phillips, known as "Foggie" by Anne's brothers married the lady in question.

P.S.:"Foggie's"commanding officer was heard to say "Lt.Phillips will go far in the Army because he's a Gentleman". Presumably at that period nothing further was required as an Officer!


An interesting observation given that I'm fairly confident that the then CO of the Queen's Dragoon Guards would have expected, and made sure, that *all* his young officers met that criterion.

On a lighter note the nickname "Foggy" comes as no surprise, since Prince Charles will readily have remembered that a favourite steam pudding in wardroom messes was called Sandhurst Pudding, because it was thick and sticky.

Jack
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 12:25
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Originally Posted by woptb View Post
During the Vietnam War, the US army essentially recruited functional illiterate’s, project 100,000 or McNamaras Morons. Forest Gump wasn’t all fiction!

Some had physical impairments, some were over- or under-weight, and many had very low mental aptitude—often to the point of being mentally handicapped!
..and here they are being talked about.

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Old 8th Apr 2020, 13:17
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Originally Posted by pr00ne View Post
try giving an illiterate soldier a Javelin, or a Starstreak, or a hand launched lap Top driven UAV...
It doesn't work like that in the real world though.

First, there is the BARB test to filter out jobs suitable based on a crude aptitude test (I was unsuitable RMP, what a shame!).
Second, if "illiterate" is the entrance bench mark then they will come out of training with some form of academic qualification to show they have a basic level of comprehension both numbers and letters (level 2 functional skills).
Third, there is a form of streaming at unit level to determine suitable candidates for jobs. You use the strengths and weaknesses of the team to achieve the task. Not everyone was a wizard on the kit, but not everyone could carry all the kit up the hill like an Ox.
Fourth, people can be trained to work kit without knowing the intricacies. Take the Javelin for example, does it matter if the soldier doesn't know what NFOV stands for or is it just important that he knows it means "zoom in"?
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 13:25
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Originally Posted by BEagle View Post
One hopes that the new recruits will at least be able to read FRONT TOWARDS ENEMY and understand the need for the wording!

Sigh.

How many times do you have to be told it's the fault of the education system.

And it is.
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 13:36
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Originally Posted by TBM-Legend View Post
I say it has nothing to do with Army standards but an example of the complete failure of the UK education system that can't produce literate people. Heaven forbid they check the three R's .... reading, [w]riting and [a]rithmatic..!
They may be illiterate but they'll be very caring and expert virtue signallers and useful for very little.

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Old 8th Apr 2020, 13:45
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Originally Posted by a1anx View Post
They may be illiterate but they'll be very caring and expert virtue signallers and useful for very little.
which may well be the plan.
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 14:14
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Seeing as there is a tiny TINY weeny percentage of the UK population that is ether illiterate or close to the low standards being discussed, surely the major problem is that most people, of ANY educational standard, just don't want to join the Army?
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 14:23
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Originally Posted by Party Animal View Post
Poor strategy lost Germany the War!!!

I think a 10 year old kid with the reading ability of a 6 year old could have told you:

’Don’t invade Russia’!!!
Or, indeed a 6 year old with the reading age of a 6 year old.

Some schools of thought suggest Hitler could have defeated the Soviets' ability to fight back coherently if he'd chosen to advance on only one front. This to first capture Moscow and severely degrade or defeat the USSR's highly centralised command and control, both military and economic/industrial. (And, if he hadn't also become obsessed with capturing Stalingrad as he judged its iconic status to be of pivotal importance to the Soviet population's morale). He could then have defeated the remnants in detail and, more-or-less, at his leisure.

I'm not so sure, but his failure to concentrate force at the correct time and place certainly dissipated effect and cost time, which allowed the Soviets to continue the war into the winter, moving key industrial capacity east of the Urals, and allowing the regeneration of their armed forces, and reinforcement of equipment by the Allies, etc. It remains possible, though un-provable, that a more focused, Moscow-first strategy would have worked (like the Allies' Europe-first strategy agreed, I think, at the Ottawa Conference).
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 14:47
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Rheinstorff,

Whilst struggling to see what relevance 1945 is to the British Army's failure to be able to recruit, your well made points above provoke thought about Hitler and 1941. I am not sure that whatever tactics Hitler adopted would have overcome the massive imbalance in ultimate numbers that the Soviets could employ against him. It may have taken longer, but once the initial thrust had been absorbed the Germans were on the back foot strategically within a pretty short time, and come what may he still had General Winter to fight at least twice, possible more. He may have won a tactical victory and taken Moscow, but then the Soviets still had massive resource that they were able to bring to bear, and Hitler simply did not. Plus he was fighting elsewhere against the British Empire and the USA, that was never going to be doable.
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 14:57
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Red face

Originally Posted by pr00ne View Post
Rheinstorff,

Whilst struggling to see what relevance 1945 is to the British Army's failure to be able to recruit, your well made points above provoke thought about Hitler and 1941. I am not sure that whatever tactics Hitler adopted would have overcome the massive imbalance in ultimate numbers that the Soviets could employ against him. It may have taken longer, but once the initial thrust had been absorbed the Germans were on the back foot strategically within a pretty short time, and come what may he still had General Winter to fight at least twice, possible more. He may have won a tactical victory and taken Moscow, but then the Soviets still had massive resource that they were able to bring to bear, and Hitler simply did not. Plus he was fighting elsewhere against the British Empire and the USA, that was never going to be doable.
I agree to a considerable extent; I'm not confident a single axis would have worked, but it definitely stood a far better chance than the three axis attack, against which the Soviets barely held on. I do think capturing Moscow would have constituted more than a tactical victory, given the centripetal nature of Stalin's command and control of the USSR, and would have significantly disabled the USSR's capability to organise its military industrial response.

This is thread drift of considerable proportions, so I'll now desist from my qualitative dissection of Nazi tactical and strategic actions!

Last edited by Rheinstorff; 8th Apr 2020 at 14:58. Reason: spelling
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 15:53
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With respect to Germany’s conduct of WW 2, Amateurs discuss tactics, professionals discuss logistics.....

With respect to education standards I remember reading a report by a US defense attaché in 1938. After observing a German army exercise he said, “Every private would be a corporal, every corporal, a Sargent, every Sargent a lieutenant, in the US army.
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 18:36
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According to the National Literacy Trust, anyone on 'entry level one' would struggle to read the instructions on a medicine bottle label – let alone for an assault rifle or a computer-operated drone.
Last I remember, there are no printed instructions on an assault rifle (except safe, semi, and auto) although I see some Marines had that replaced with no pew, pew, and pew,pew,pew...

damn, raising the reading level to 5 year old?

next thing you know, they will check for inbreeding, and will have to import recruits from OZ...oh, wait...
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 19:23
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Having done my UAS stint and realising HM would never let me in her airforce, people way better than me on the squadron having been turned down, I joined the local TA. Now I joined with a school chum who is now a Dr of Mathematics, we were both privates. I'm not sure about him, but I never filled any educational qualifications in on my form. Our first weekend prior to being sworn in was an eye opener. A written/ multiple choice test took place and after we sat it out of 40 or so of us, 6 of us were then left in a TV room, while the others were called out. Being worried I was missing something exciting, I asked a corporal what was occurring. Resit! He snapped. The mark wasn't that high 40% or something, but the large majority had alas failed. We were told before the test that a good mark would allow us to possibly apply for a commission. Funnily enough neither my chum or myself never achieved that accolade. Now a map reading exercise some weeks later really was amusing. I left for personal reasons some time after. The chaps I met though were all decent people and at that late Cold War time under no illusions.
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 23:23
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Originally Posted by Big Pistons Forever View Post
With respect to Germany’s conduct of WW 2, Amateurs discuss tactics, professionals discuss logistics.....

With respect to education standards I remember reading a report by a US defense attaché in 1938. After observing a German army exercise he said, “Every private would be a corporal, every corporal, a Sargent, every Sargent a lieutenant, in the US army.
IIRC, all German soldiers were trained to be able to fulfil the duties of those two ranks higher, so that if a platoon suddenly discovered that the poor Leutnant had copped it, and the SNCO then fell down clutching his leg saying 'Ouch!', one of the Corporals would know exactly what a platoon commander did and would take over. This contrasted with the British model which seemed to work on the basis of one of the NCOs (or sometimes the Private who was always getting into trouble in peacetime) muttering a profanity, saying 'right, lads, follow me!' and earning themselves a DCM or MM as everything worked out in the end. Which is not quite as stereotypical an account of how it worked in the British Army as it might sound (at least according to my Uncle, who spent a bit of time between 1944-45 having some rather serious disagreements with some Germans).
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Old 9th Apr 2020, 06:40
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When the draft is in force, the army gets a broad spectrum of the population, not just those who want to be soldiers or have few other options. Therefore a period in the not too distant past when there was a draft provides a good comparison base for the present generation of recruits.

The Vietnam war is going back a bit far but the last person drafted in the USA was in 1973 and it's been voluntary ever since. For the UK, national service ended in 1960 with the last servicemen leaving in 1963 so we are going back a bit.

In the years after Vietnam there have been periods when average IQ scores of volunteer army recruits have been lower than those who were drafted which isn't a good indication, particularly as the draft favoured poor and uneducated while the more intelligent got deferements and went on to further education. There were also times when a judge would give the option to someone who had just been found guilty, of joining the army or going to prison. Then again there were times when the military wouldn't take you if you had an outstanding parking fine.

This article regarding the quality of current US recruits is quite interesting and dispels a few myths.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/sg/b...lowest-our-low

It will be interesting to see the quality of recruits in the years following this pandemic, with fewer opportunities available the prospect of secure employment, paid training and opportunities for advancement that the military provide would be very attractive to someone who wouldn't have otherwise considered the army.
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Old 9th Apr 2020, 10:02
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I will admit to reading facebook and several forums.The standard of written English by both male and female correspondents is abysmal.I do not profess to be any better but make far fewer mistakes.(No GCEs and secondary modern school).Mind you I did 18 months as a boy entrant!!!
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