British WW1 Army organised and trained to todays standards

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by PKDkd33, Apr 18, 2019.

  1. PKDkd33 Crazy old Crabfat Donor

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    It would take a lot of persuation but consider if the Old Contempables, the Volunteers and the Conscripts of the Empire were trained and organised to todays standards? What a difference, what changes and saving in loss of life? So how to engineer it and then play it out in a timeline?
    Comments and suggestions would be greatly welcomed.
    Cheers!
     
  2. Byzantine fanatic Pasha of the Rumistan beylik

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    Sorry for being a cynic but this raises a few problems. The British army today is mainly equipped for counter-insurgency work and 'peace-keeping' operations in places like Afghanistan. But they also suffer from very serious problems, mostly caused by lack of budget, including poor rifles that aren't as good as the American equipment, a lack of properly armoured vehicles and armoured vests for personnel, a lack of helicopter support and probably other issues that I don't know about.

    Fighting in the First World War is a very different type of conflict scenario which requires entirely different equipment, training and tactics. More 'hard' equipment such as main battle tanks and so on will be required, and the number of troops would have to be vastly expanded. The British army does have some excellent special forces, so perhaps these could be a starting point. The army will also certainly not be sending men 'over the top' in massed human wave attacks against fortified emplacements.

    I'd expect casualties to be a lot lower. Perhaps better use could be made of air strikes, artillery, special forces and snipers, although the British of WW1 did use all of these to some extent OTL.
     
  3. TDM Well-Known Member

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    The problem here is translating what "today's standards" would mean in a 1914 context? The detail of the training and fighting style being trained for would be so different that you are clearly not going to be training the same stuff. So are you really just thinking in terms of being a very well trained force, because if so welcome to the BEF in 1914!


    But Volunteers and pals regiments are going to be hard to do because in a world of limited time and resources (as well as world where there's an ongoing total war drawing resources on a daily basis) "highly trained" and "lots" are almost mutually exclusive concepts.

    The problem is it take resources and time to highly train large groups of people, both come with issues. And while a highly trained solider might be better at not being where the bullets & shrapnel are to an extent than a raw recruit,no one is immune and a bullet or spinning chunk of metal will end both. Which is why the 1914 BEF as a force doesn't really exist after a couple of years, and it not just the deaths but the injuries and basically the overall corrosive effect of combat and even if it's intermittent and broken up by rotation off the line.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
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  4. Jellico Well-Known Member

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    About the only thing more you can do to them is add tech like more MGs or arty.
    I must admit that lately I have wondered if this relatively small elite force could have been motorized and how that would have changed things.
     
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  5. TDM Well-Known Member

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    Maybe if it could get behind the Germans into their supply lines and sandwich them against the French, and that all happens quickly enough to prevent that force itself being cut off and sandwiched between more Germans coming up!


    The problem I can see is how to mechanise in a way to gives them enough speed to do this (even if it's strategically possible to do so). Especially as you will need that artillery with you to some extent! There are other issues with mechanised groups zipping about the place in 1914 e.g. how to communicate between and co-ordinate them, let alone keep them supplied?


    In 1914 there seems to be only way to move troops and equipment fast and that's trains (and train tracks). Can we in 1914 get trucks (and roads) up to being able to do this.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
  6. FillyofDelphi Banned

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    No? You're asking for Volunteers and Conscripts trained to the quality of a professional standing army, which are two fundimentally different things. Now, if you're suggested a British population better acclimated for rapid expansion of the army by also having the Continental system of a manditory service and training period before being organized into reserve units, that's a different story. In theory it's possible, if a herculaian task to get through politically
     
  7. Orcbuster Well-Known Member

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    I suspect OP has no idea what todays standards are or what the standards were in 1914 for that matter.
     
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  8. PKDkd33 Crazy old Crabfat Donor

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    Current British Infantrymen get 26 weeks of training before they can be deployed, Gukhas 38 weeks. According to the BBC Private Tomkinson (18th Battalion, Manchester Regiment) "went through 13 months of good, sound training" before deploying to France in October 1915. By the time conscription came in basic training was three months plus weeks or months on specialist training with deployment to transit camps in France for further training before deployment. Time wise, it seems, the process was not too disimilar. However weapons and tactics were totally different in WW1 from a modern "conventional" as opposed to a-symetric conflict. The WW1 tactics were unproven by any previous experience. Great play was made of artillery - indeed it caused the majority of caualties during the war. Machine guns and trench systems protected by barbed wire ran from the North Sea to Switzerland after the initial war of manouvre. Reconnaisence and air support were rudimentary. The use of cavalry stymied. Communications and transport difficult except where railways, good roads and telegraph systems existed. So how could an army trained and organised to today's standards adapt and succeed? Don't think about inventions such as the tank etc. but purely on whether infantrymen, artillarymen and airman with period kit could get the job done better than it was done. After all the German Spring 18 offensive used better trained troops and tactics to almost succeed!
     
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  9. Orcbuster Well-Known Member

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    Again, you haven't mentioned by a word what you mean by "todays standard" or "the standards of the time"
     
  10. PKDkd33 Crazy old Crabfat Donor

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    Fully UK infrantryman CIC standard plus current Artillery doctrine. Flexibility of thinking to apply what our training is now and how to apply it then. Hope I'm making myself celar - apologies if not.
     
  11. Orcbuster Well-Known Member

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    You're not making yourself clear at all.
     
  12. King_Arthur The Once and Present King

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    This may have been true in the 80s and early 90s but the L85A2 and A3 are as good as if not better than the M16. Remember, the M16A1 was crap too.
     
  13. steamboy Well-Known Member

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    I think the closest WW1 equivalent would be Stormtrooper style tactics, so fast and agressive exploitation on the attack, squads dividing up into fire groups etc for fire and advance and the like with an emphasis on mobility which would have to be on foot, so lots of training in tabbing with kit etc rather than drill square bashing.
    But as folks have said the kind of battles fought in WW1 and now are so utterly different they are nearly alien.
     
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  14. Stenz Don't judge the past by the standards of today... Monthly Donor

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    Completely incorrect and largely out of date.
     
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  15. yulzari Well-Known Member

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    There were maybe three British WW1 armies. The original BEF which was possibly the best trained of it's day, the volunteer 'Kitcheners' army which was making it up as it went on and the conscript army if late 1917/18 which had learned lessons and evolved a full range of training both for recruits and for troops in service. In their day the 1914 and the 1918 British armies were as well trained as the current British army is. Only in the different skills appropriate to the time.
     
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  16. Aber Well-Known Member

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    There is an argument that in both those cases they were the best army in the world.
     
  17. FillyofDelphi Banned

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    Per-Pound, at least.
     
  18. Byzantine fanatic Pasha of the Rumistan beylik

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    Thank you for this constructive contribution.
     
  19. PKDkd33 Crazy old Crabfat Donor

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    Like your comment and agree that the battles then and now bear no comparison, other than the fact that the bloody infantry still has to take and hold ground.
     
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  20. Mike D Well-Known Member

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    Current artillery doctrine relies on current artillery - computers, radar, GPS, drones, rockets and many other things that just aren't available in 1914 - 18.

    In many ways the WW1 infantryman was better trained than the modern equivalent. They certainly spent longer on weapon handling and musketry than the modern army. Many of the areas where modern soldiers are better trained are thanks to inventions or concepts that weren't available back then (in first aid for example - there's no quikclot available for Tommy Atkins while the modern squaddie benefits from a century of medical discoveries and battlefield experience).

    He is right though, I wouldn't swap the L85A2 for either the M4 or the M16. They were fun and you can get a few ally photos with them but the M16 is 50% longer than an L85 making it far less handy in a mainly vehicle borne world and in situations such as FIBUA while the M4 has an effective range of about 7 feet and had a few fairly major defects that came to light during operational use in Iraq and Afghanistan and was even being blamed for deaths thanks to problems with stoppages and overheating.
     
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