Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Royal Anglians being "prepared for deployment"

400 officers and men from 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment have just been told to prepare for imminent deployment to Afghanistan.

The Battalion last saw action in Afghanistan in 2007 when, during a very tough tour, nine of their number lost their lives fighting the Taliban.

Concerns have been raised that, due to a shortage of combat troops, the time devoted to pre-deployment training is being slashed from six months to six weeks. One senior Army source said: "This is a panic measure as we do not have sufficient battle-ready troops. Six months is the minimum required to bring troops up to battlefield readiness."

Whilst some in the Battalion will have first-hand experience of fighting on the frontline, most - possibly as high as 70% - will not have been to Afghanistan before.

An MoD spokeswoman said: "1st Battalion, Royal Anglians, are being prepared for deployment as part of prudent contingency planning. They are at a high level of readiness. No troops are ever deployed without full training." Regretfully it is becoming increasingly difficult to believe such statements from MoD spokespersons.

Cutbacks in equipment, cutbacks in funding, cutbacks in compensation and now cutbacks in training.

Whatever the real situation, the Vikings will do the country proud.

The Mail: Troops to be sent to Helmand, Afghanistan with just 6 weeks' training