Friday, May 20, 2011


Incompetent defence chiefs cost British forces their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan by squandering nearly £1billion on armoured vehicles that have not been built.

This is the narrative being thrown up by The Daily Fail and others this morning, telling us the Ministry of Defence "wasted a shocking £718million on plans for thousands of properly-protected battlefield trucks which were then scrapped or delayed".

Look behind the headlines and you will see FRES – about which we have written a word or two. But the MoD/Army narrative is that the MoD purchased a fleet of mine-resistant vehicles - including Mastiffs and Ridgebacks - to stop troops being maimed and killed. These were bought as "urgent operational requirements' using Treasury cash. But because they were built specifically for Afghanistan, they are unsuitable for wider use".

In other words, we are being told that FRES would have been a better option – which is pure, distilled BS. The mine protected fleet was bought instead of FRES – in the face of stiff resistance from the Army. Had the Army been given its way, there would have been carnage.

But there is something more fundamental here. Apart from Korea, the Falklands and the first phases of the Iraqi war, every significant conflict in which the Army has been deployed has involved elements of irregular warfare, for which these mine protected vehicles were designed. But the Army hates this type of warfare, refuses to accept that this is the rule, rather than the exception, and hankers after the free-style, war of manoeuvre for which FRES is designed.

Classically, the Army is seeking to equip itself for the wars it would wish to fight, instead of the warfare it is most likely to meet - a triumph of hope over experience.

But FRES, as they say, is the narrative, and the MSM buys it hook line and sinker. The real story is here ... in my book, but we don't want anything like the truth sullying the minds of the public, so let's forget all about that. These people are idiots.