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    IF you had to join armed forces...

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    Walther von Oldenburg
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    IF you had to join armed forces...

    Post  Walther von Oldenburg on Mon Jul 18, 2016 10:06 am

    ... would you join the officer corps or the enlisted/NCO corps?

    I have never served but I know from other people that 75% of the job is just boring paperwork and that percentage only grows as the rank increases. At the rank of Major and above you hardly even see common soldiers anymore. The upsides are of course better pay and more respect.

    Vladimir79
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    Re: IF you had to join armed forces...

    Post  Vladimir79 on Mon Jul 18, 2016 1:17 pm

    NCOs get more respect. We usually curse officers behind their back.


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    Re: IF you had to join armed forces...

    Post  GarryB on Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:24 am

    I wouldn't care about respect... respect the rank not the person remember...

    For me it would really depend on the armed force involved... I would be happy being an armourers job playing with small arms all day, but I don't mind paper work.

    Would be nice to earn enough to make a proper living out of it and leave with a pension and skills that are useful in society...


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    Khepesh
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    Re: IF you had to join armed forces...

    Post  Khepesh on Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:17 am

    In the difference between officers and NCO there is also this fact to consider. The long time senior NCOs run the Army in that they are the muscle, blood, the nervous system, with officers being the brain. NCOs have more direct influence on the ordinary guys, and as Vladimir says, often get more respect, and can with high level performing senior NCOs be the difference between success and failure of small unit on the battlefield. As officer, if you are competent, you move up with promotion, you leave behind the guys in the platoon you started with as junior officer. A good officer will off course have good relations with his NCOs and not loose touch with what the guys think, of their welfare etc. But the higher you climb in rank, it is inevitable that the distance between you and the ordinary soldier will grow. As platoon commander in early days you are with them, fight and die with them, but as time passes, you end up in positions a bit further back from front line and deal more and more only with other officers, and yes, paperwork, always paperwork. But you have real command, whether company, battalion and upwards, and this can only be achieved as officer. The same applies in the technical nature of the Army, of training, of input into what works and what does not and needs changing. But perhaps the main difference is this, what level of responsibility are you prepared to accept?, that of the senior NCO within the battalion structure, or as officer, eventually responsibility for the entire battalion, or brigade, or division or army corps.

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    Re: IF you had to join armed forces...

    Post  franco on Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:37 pm

    One supervises, one manages.

    One wants to be the difference, one wants to make the difference.


    Both are needed...

    Walther von Oldenburg
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    Re: IF you had to join armed forces...

    Post  Walther von Oldenburg on Fri Jul 22, 2016 3:17 pm

    Vladimir and Khepesh, what do senior NCOs (starshina and praporshik) normally do in the Russian army?

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    Re: IF you had to join armed forces...

    Post  Khepesh on Fri Jul 22, 2016 4:36 pm

    They run the army at the most fundamental level. The way the army is configured, the chain of command, the executive control is carried out by officers, but how the army actually works on a day to day basis, of getting the guys to do their various duties, is the job of the senior NCO. Junior NCO have a function of course, but in Russian army not as great as in fully professional armies, as conscripts of sufficient quality, or toughness, will be promoted to junior NCO ranks, but do not have more experience than the soldiers with them, except the newest batch of conscripts, and serve a control function, of being able to tell another guy to do a task, sweeping the floor, cleaning the lavatory, low level stuff, and make sure he does it. But they of course serve their short time and leave, while it is the senior NCO who are professionals who serve for years and provide continuity,and have vast knowledge of now battalion works, much better than junior officers. A historic perspective is to see the senior NCO as the middle ranking centurions of a Roman legion. Well, I know that centurions in legion from lowest to highest performed all the functions that in modern armies are carried out by junior NCO, senior NCO and officer up to sort of divisional chief of staff, which is what Primus Pilus really was, but all are essentially plebian class NCO. At most basic level of explanation, officer at battalion level says he wants something done, senior NCO makes it happen. But this is the same for all armies, excepting the element of professional versus conscript army, where junior NCO in professional army will have served for a few years and have more knowledge than equivalent rank in conscript army. Junior NCO in Russian army are really only equivalent of American PFC, senior NCO in Russian army are fully equivalent to western counterpart in knowledge, power, authority, not pay tho, but the army is not the life if you only want the money, such as it is......

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    Re: IF you had to join armed forces...

    Post  Walther von Oldenburg on Fri Jul 22, 2016 4:59 pm

    Is advice of senior NCOs taken into consideration while planning operations by junior (LTs) and company grade (CPT, MAJ) officers? In US Army high ranking senior NCOS have so much informal authority that no officers below the rank of Major (approx..) dares to challenge their authority. They also function bery much like officers, with every 1SGT having several SFCs and several dozen men under his command.

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    Re: IF you had to join armed forces...

    Post  Khepesh on Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:10 pm

    Generally yes, as junior officers are basically still in diapers. A company commander can take advice, he could in battle be replaced by senior NCO if incapacitated or killed and other officers not available. Battalion commander has been around some time and tho will certainly rely on his senior NCOs to maintain discipline and keep the system running, he is the guy in charge.

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    Re: IF you had to join armed forces...

    Post  Walther von Oldenburg on Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:45 pm

    Khepesh, if you had to, what career would you choose? At least in US military one may become a SNCO at 30 (or faster, with some outstanding achievements) and although the pay is about 1.5 times smaller than the pay of an average officer with the same level of experience, this is not a bad job.

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    Re: IF you had to join armed forces...

    Post  Khepesh on Fri Jul 22, 2016 7:06 pm

    If faced with a choice I would do exactly what I did some years ago, so the question is no longer relevant to me, and pay was never a consideration, it was the life, the feeling of tank engine roaring and charging over the fields, the gun firing, the mechanical failures and stuck in sea of mud, already forgotten, and if not, laughed at over a beer with fellow veterans. It is all on what you want to do, not even what you think you can do, because people can often surprise themselves and do what they never thought they could. Neither choice is easy, but the burden on officer is greater as you are responsible for those under your command, the senior NCO, no matter his position and length of service, less so. And I likely answered your question anyway.

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    Re: IF you had to join armed forces...

    Post  auslander on Sat Jul 23, 2016 6:42 pm

    Good thing we never met on opposite sides, Kepesh. My secondary MOS was to make life interesting for you tankers.

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    Re: IF you had to join armed forces...

    Post  Khepesh on Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:04 pm

    Luckily we never got to find out, but interesting to speculate, particulary what would have happened if war occured in 60s, or 70s or 80s and see what different results would have been likely at different periods, oh, of course, all major NATO formations destroyed by tactical nukes before even leaving barracks Smile

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    Re: IF you had to join armed forces...

    Post  auslander on Sun Jul 24, 2016 6:36 am

    I agree, good thing we never had to find out. I well remember the training fifty years ago, the constant 'Russian hordes pouring through the Fulda Gap' etc etc. Good thing neither side tested that concept.

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    Re: IF you had to join armed forces...

    Post  Khepesh on Sun Jul 24, 2016 9:03 am

    Offtop, but I have a feeling there will not be much more ontop posts in this thread.

    Fulda gap is always quoted in scenarios as where the main attack would come, 11 ACR holding of "Red horde" with their one surviving M-60/M1 sitting on a hill outside Bad Hersfeld on permanent duty looking at DDR watchtower, while the rest of 3rd Squadron tanks and all their other assets are a radioactive molten metal slag heap as they were caught all still parked in one mass in the barracks, not even knowing war was about to happen. What were the NATO drills, to be able to evacuate barracks and deploy to war position in two hours, or four hours, not sure, but needed to be four minutes in reality. But I think in dissregarding nukes, fighting thru Fulda gap would have been too slow, too many choke points, but just like Germans found in "impassable" Ardennes in 1940, not impassable. I guess many here have seen the map released by Polish general soon after collapse of Soviet Union with plan of advance across North German Plain from Lübeck to Braunschweig and advance to English Channel, with what are presumed nuke strikes along the route. Still arguments about that map, whether real or a "what if" war game map, but I think real, or very close. And what opposition in, say, mid to late 1970s, the optimum time for attack as Soviet equipment was better in quality at that time, and some still is. Cheiftain v T-64/72, M-60 v T-64/72, "spam in a NATO can", and the Bundeswehr were too busy combing their long hair and putting it in hair nets to fight. NATO rear area troops being used to fight German civilians who did not like idea of "Special weapons sites" or that the local bridge/viaduct/gap in hills/etc was going to be mined with a SADM or MADM. But go forward to the times of "Gorby" and perhaps a different outcome, less favorable to us I think.

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    Re: IF you had to join armed forces...

    Post  GarryB on Sun Jul 24, 2016 10:39 am

    I agree on the ground, but I think the reverse in the air...

    By the time the Soviets got their MiG-29s and Su-27s into service and their trump cards... one of which everyone talks about... R-73s high off bore sight missiles and helmet mounted sights, and the one they don't talk about the passive radar homing model missiles would have been totally devastating.

    Very simply the R-73 and HMS would make WVR combat totally one sided so the only solution for the west in the short period would be to use BVR and this is the kicker.

    The passive radar homing R-27ER homes in on the guidance signal for the Sparrow missile so when those F-15s try to shoot down eastern aircraft they have to continuously paint them with a radar beam otherwise the Sparrow wont lock or will miss.

    The R-27ER is longer range and higher speed than any model SPARROW and flies a lofted trajectory so once the F-15 locks its target to launch a Sparrow at it if the target has an R-27ER then it can immediately fire an R-27ER and is then free to perform any manouver it likes while its missile homes in on the tracking signal from the F-15 trying to guide its Sparrow.

    Sounds pretty one sided again...

    The Soviet Army does not expect air control... the west pretty much does expect air control to operate and has never operated without it to my memory.


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    Walther von Oldenburg
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    Re: IF you had to join armed forces...

    Post  Walther von Oldenburg on Sun Jul 24, 2016 11:06 am

    Soviet military doctrine simply put less emphasis on air power and more on air defence and artillery. This still appears to be the case in the Russian army.

    Back on topic - I would like more user to voice their opinion about the enlisted-officer choices.

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    Re: IF you had to join armed forces...

    Post  Khepesh on Sun Jul 24, 2016 1:01 pm

    GarryB wrote:I agree on the ground, but I think the reverse in the air...

    Yes, I would accept that in the air the positions were reversed, particulary in 70s. Would have hoped numbers would redress the balance and that more aircraft were seen with red stars going east to west, than with American stars heading west to east. Not sure where the airwar in that period would have been fought, deep over BRD or over DDR. I certainly know types and purpose of various aircraft type, but technicalities of stand off ranges and detection abilities in that period are somewhat cloudy to me, but I think NATO would be having problems at their airbases from the start of the war. Like NATO for reasons of how society works, not upsetting the civilians etc, could not disperse aircraft to ad hoc autobahn airfields until war started or was very clearly imminent, while Warsaw pact airforces could be dispersed from regular bases much earlier, and I believe greater ability of the various MiG and Su of the time to operate from more primitive conditions than NATO aircraft, and I believe it is a factor, the NATO aircrews and ground crews needing more creature comforts, mobile cinema, stopping war for chow wagon, Bob Hope performance like Apocalypse Now etc etc, well, maybe a little cynical, but I think not much.

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