Scots wa hae wi Wallace bled …

“Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led;
Welcome to your gory bed,
         Or to victory!

Now’s the day, and now’s the hour;
See the front o’ battle lour;
See approach proud Edward’s power—
         Chains and slavery!

Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a coward’s grave!
Wha sae base as be a slave?
         Let him turn and flee!

Wha for Scotland’s king and law
Freedom’s sword will strongly draw,
Freeman stand, or freeman fa’,
         Let him follow me!

By oppression’s woes and pains!
By your sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
         But they shall be free!

Lay the proud usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty’s in every blow!—
         Let us do or die!”

Robert Burns

The Story

“English battalions are set to bear the brunt of cuts because “politics” means the Government won’t touch troops in Scotland, the former head of the army has said. 

General Lord Richard Dannatt, the former Chief of the General Staff, has hit out at the reduction in troops set to take place over the next decade as part of the integrated defence review. 

Plans being considered are looking to reduce the army by nearly 10,000 troops, cutting the number of full-time posts from 82,000 to 72,500.

However, Lord Dannatt told The Telegraph it was inevitable that to achieve that reduced figure the Ministry of Defence is “going to have to get rid of four English battalions”, despite the “low” operational capability of Scottish battalions. 

“The politics overrides the logic,” he said. 

“For the last two defence reviews Scottish battalions should have been disbanded but politically that’s not acceptable.”

He added that with “Ms Sturgeon rampant north of the Border and the Union under threat” there was no chance Westminster would “touch Scottish battalions”. 

“At the very least one Scottish battalion should go to show equity across the country,” he said. 

“Don’t take four English battalions and no Scots battalions when everyone knows the Scots battalions are undermanned.”” Telegraph


Battalion? We are talking about battalions?

Battalion – Wikipedia

72,500.” Really? Really?

Gonna whip their weight in wildcats? Well, they had better.

This is not a real army. Why not just admit that the British Army is an adornment rather than a strategic force? At this level of manning, or womanning, if you prefer, it is not really possible to make a serious contribution to an overseas expeditionary effort.

The Royal Marines have about 7500 people. That would make about 80,000 but that is not fighting force numbers. That would be a lot fewer.

I love history but this is not the British Army of old. This is a tourist attraction in which the Household troops are the major feature. pl

This entry was posted in The Military Art. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Scots wa hae wi Wallace bled …

  1. harry says:

    Absolutely. But they don’t have the tax base for a bigger army. They refuse to pay for it. Besides, should we mourn? What was the last thing the UK did overseas which was a service to humanity? Libya? Syria?

  2. A.I.S. says:

    Its very hard for a non threatened vasall state to maintain a capable military.
    Essentially, if you are not threatened, and if having a capable expeditionary force will just get that force “voluntold” by your boss to some adventure with an at most tenous relation to your own national intereste, then the winning move is to not have a capable army.

    My guess is that the Brits probably arent as far down on the road of self inflicted military insignificance as the Bundeswehr in which I once served.

    I would bet the the final 2 credible non US militaries in Nato will be Poland (because it does feel threatened by Russia and actually still has ambitions that resonate in a sizeable segment of the Polish population) and Turkey (a degree of threat by Russia, but the bigger reason is that Turkey is unusually independent for a Nato member).

    This is not meant in an Anti american way by neccessity. American managment of the German national interest had a far lower death toll (both in Germany and in its neighbours) then the traditional german managment of the german national interest.

    • Fasteddiez says:

      Aye, to Yemen with the bloody lot of them. At least they’ve much experience there, having been thrown out on their asses in South Aden in 1963. Let them savor the Houthi flavor. However, if you look at the positive view of such an undertaking, they can reduce their forces even more and evermore. As it stands, some U.K. regiments now have but one battalion. A fait-accompli, like an excursion in Yemen might have their regiments feature one company. The troops will further be experienced in combat in the Middle East. And lastly, welcomed savings will be accomplished by the Crown. What’s not to like.

  3. English Outsider says:

    Colonel – if Scotland goes independent they’ll need to keep the Scottish regiments for themselves. So it’s only civil to keep those regiments going in the mean time.

    Except … Scotland will never be independent. Current thinking up there is that it’ll join the EU. Some of those noble verses above will have to be modified.

    Now’s the day, and now’s the hour;
    See the front o’ battle lour;
    See approach proud Angie’s power—
    Chains and slavery!

    So that’ll put a kink in UK defence policy. But not much of one. It’s already not so much a defence policy as a game of make believe.

    At present our fighting forces are busy defending the Eastern Marches of the EU against the fearsome Soviet threat – we have a little trouble with dates over here – while the EU is devising new and interesting ways of cutting our throats. Has to be like that apparently, else we don’t get a cut of European defence projects.

    And our aviation is going in with the French to help them bomb some more mud huts. Apparently if you choose the right mud huts that doesn’t need much in the way of logistical support or Command and Control Centres. If it does the Americans will see to that. They usually do.

    Mean time back home, while we and the French are valiantly bombing the mud huts, the Royal Navy will be deploying a few rowing boats – or aircraft carriers, there doesn’t seem to be that much in between – to stop the French achieving their heart’s desire. Pinching our fish.

    With as conflicted a UK defence policy as that our Scottish regiments becoming Brussels’ pride and joy will scarcely be noticed.

    • Pat Lang says:

      English Outsider

      I have English, Scottish (highland), and Green Irish blood. I have many dogs in this fight.

      • Pat Lang says:

        Also my Lang ancestors who fled the West Highlands to live in Louth in a tight knit community until they cam to
        America in 1828.

        • English Outsider says:

          I recollect you had forbears from there, Colonel. I know County Louth a little. It was there I met a ninety year old Irishwoman who told me there had been two Irish speaking areas near Dundalk in her lifetime. Irish literature in manuscript was circulating in Dundalk as late as the turn of the nineteenth century. That was an ancient culture, as old as any in Europe.

          Gone now. But somehow, among the new industrial estates and the sprawling mass of newbuild, the old magic’s still there.

      • English Outsider says:

        If I were a Scotsman, Colonel, I’d vote for independence. After all, I’ve only recently voted for that for my own country. And Scotland is a perfectly viable unit as a country for all the talk.

        There’s a snag. I think no more than this is needed to tell the story. All regions voted to stay in the EU in the recent UK referendum on EU membership –

        Scottish independence would therefore lead to another EU outpost on the borders of the remnant UK. Seems two of those dogs would be Brussels’ dogs.

        Best solution, since he has no further use for it, would be for President Biden to send us the wall over, preferably with the holes filled in. It’d need very good fences to be good neighbours with Brussels.

        • Fasteddiez says:

          A question, how would the Scots get their retirement pensions from the British Government as citizens of a different country? Could they use their North Sea oil drilling as a weapon to ensure equality of sorts in a split?

          • English Outsider says:

            The Scots own most of North Sea oil. Not a vast amount left now, but more than enough to keep them going if if they went independent. One of the reasons I reckon it’d be a viable country if independent.

            I think they also own most of the fishing grounds. So plenty there too.

            The question of pensions was sorted out by Ireland when they went independent, and that after a most bitter war. So I doubt it would be a sticking point here.

            Apart from the EU snag, I think we in England would lose if they went. The Scots were a significant part of UK intellectual and cultural life. They produce a better class of politician – more articulate and straightforward*. And presumably the military problem of defending half an island is more difficult than defending an entire one.

            So me personally, I’d just as soon the EU didn’t get them.

            (*Footnote. Please except one Mr Blair from the above generalisation. Though I suppose he was articulate enough.)

  4. Escarlata says:

    Off topic, Pat, but very important…

    First demand presented at the ICC on the vaccines experiment taking place in Israel on basis of violation of Nuremberg Code…As the EU prepares to discriminate also its citizens who, not only do not all have access to the vaccines, but neither have been offered other options, like the Russian one, I fear more demands will follow….

Comments are closed.