"The defence force fiercely guards the identities of its crack troops
and allows journalists on the SAS base only if they leave behind
their recording equipment, cameras and mobile phones.
Reporters were allowed to interview Trooper X and three other
soldiers but were warned the SAS did not gauge success by its body
count and that such questions would not be answered. Names, dates and
operational details were also out of bounds.
Mr Howard told the war veterans there was no harder decision than to
send servicemen and women to war.
"I am very relieved to see you back without a scratch," Mr Howard
said. "There are no finer special forces in the world."
He read out the details of Trooper X's citation for acts of gallantry
before the assembled company and their families but said the medal
would be awarded at another time.
Trooper X told journalists the battle in which he earned the medal
was won by a team effort against well-organised, aggressive Iraqi
forces who had been hunting the patrol.
"They engaged us with several vehicles and probably 16 to 20
personnel and a variety of weapons," he said.
"The superiority of ours (weapons) allowed us to stay outside of that
and engage them, and really neutralise the threat."
Trooper X said the clash was the most deadly of the many encountered
by the SAS, and that the weather had caused more frequent trouble.
"The biggest problem was dust and sandstorms. Sometimes you'd get a
combination of both. You'd almost have horizontal mud coming down out
of the sky, and that made things quite difficult."
Apparently the only injuries incurred was in a "games afternoon" at rear base (a punch-up).
"We have been involved in an anti-terror conflict in Northern Ireland for over 30 years."
"Biz - I was making my point from a UK view."
Take it easy "Royal"... give sources, and reasons, when you start to push your own agenda on this board please. You'll be brought up short.
As for this comment:
"Expansion can only mean lower standards."
Ridiculous. Expansion could mean higher budgets, encouraging operators to stay in and train new recruits longer. Higher budgets would trickle down to attract a higher quality of recruit (pay grades) and encourage others to stay in longer.
I say "could".
"The current thinking is a two tier SF. Current standards for 'black Ops' ie CT work, and a lower standard group for 'green Ops' ie war fighting. There are suggestions that a Para Bn will be re-rolled in line with the US Rangers as some kind of SF support force, in line with the way they worked in with the hostage rescue of the 1RIR troops held Sierra Leone by the 'West Side Boys'."
What sources can you cite for these claims about a "two tier SF" in the British Army? Where did you hear about "suggestions that a Para Bn will be re-rolled in line with the US Rangers as some kind of SF support force"?
Surely these sources must be open source as you are posting on a public BBS?
Front - Sorry, but UKSF budgets are not a problem (unlike some other parts of the armed forces), and SF pay is the highest apart from aircrew. The whole UK armed forces are understrength and have been for nearly a decade.
The main reason for leaving the UK armed forces is overstretch - too many deployments, for too long. Young people want some quality time at home, older guys (and girls) want time with their families. Because units are under strength, most have to be reinforced by at least a Company from elsewhere on deployment - ie 2 Para & 1RIR's Gurkha Reinforcement Companies (the Gurkhas are one of the few units that are overmanned). The same applies to an even greater extent with SF.
An average operator spends less than 3 months a year in the UK (not on leave, just based in the UK training and on leave).
The main open source I can remember for a 'split role SF' was a series of articles in the Times newspaper last year. I can't find a link (their on-line archive doesn't go that far).
Australian East coast based CT unit formed as partner to SASR's CT rotation TAG (West). Formed from a core of CQB trained 4RAR (Cdo) soldiers, CQB trained Navy Combat Divers (CDTs) and SASR TAG (W) operators. BiZ and Reverence are much more up to speed on the Chicken Stranglers and their ilk than me these days; if you need more drop them a line.
A hole or ring mount at the bottom rear of the pistol grip is used to attach a thin flexible line (like a telephone flex cable) to the sidearm which is attached to the shooter, normally on his belt rig. If the sidearm is dropped or taken in a weapon grab, the sidearm will not be lost. There are specific retention techniques for recovering grabbed sidearms which are lanyard equipped.