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Monday, 15 February 2016

Olivers Army: Part 1 'Our Kid'

I admit it, I got carried away and spent all of last week writing new rules and games and all things Winter of '79.

What had started out as a short and sweet 1970's British Army career generator has turned into a sprawling Character Generator in no less than 4 parts! Not quite finished but who cares....

 So, here is Part 1. 'Our Kid'. I'll be updating it with a few more tables but thought you might like to start rolling up a character of two for Winter of '79 and taking them through their school years, ready to join the Army or the revolution.

Click here for the free pdf hosted on Dropbox Oliver's Army: Part 1 'Our Kid' 

 I ordered a clutch of 1/2 ton Land Rovers from Shaun at S&S Models last week and picked up this Bus Station at a very reasonable price from eBay.




Cheers
Mark

9 comments:

  1. Alreet our kid.

    Good stuff mark, keep it up.

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  2. This is the type of thing that had me following your last blog. Delightful to read stuff like this. Creativity is oozing out from the pages. Looking forward to seeing what emerges in the future.

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  3. Thanks for the pdf most interesting.
    Rules arrived from Caliver on Saturday- good job done.
    Alan

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  4. A very interesting and useful PDF, I can see eventually being able to detail out the background for a number of leaders and personalities in the W79 world.
    So far everything I've seen of W79 is a quality product and I look forward to seeing what the future brings.

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  5. Thanks for the supportive feedback.

    Cheers
    Mark

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  6. Any idea when we might see the next update. Thanks

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  7. OFFICERS Part One
    Only just discovered this blog and the game, which is ordered. Anyway think it is brilliant. Found the Olivers' Army download and would merely wish to give some info on officer recruitment in the 70s, which might be of assistance in developing their characters in Oliver’s Army . My qualifications for doing so; I am the socio group C 1-2 grammar school boy from the North East who joined the Army in 1977 went to Sandhurst in 1978 and retired in 2015 so was there at the time.

    Officer recruitment went through some fundamental changes around this time. Prior to 1972 all regular, as in long service career officers went to Sandhurst for 2 years on a course designed in 1947. Short service officers (3 - 8 years with most only doing 3) went to MONS; a officer training establishment in Aldershot for 6 months. A bit like a wartime OCTU or a conscript officer training show. All Majors and upwards in 1979 would have been to old style SANDHURST, as would many senior captains.

    In 1972 the system changed MONS was disestablished and all cadets went to Sandhurst on one of three courses: Standard Graduate Course (SGC) for those who had been to university, a short 5 month course leading to a commission as a Lieutenant with 3-4 years seniority. Standard Military Course (SMC) for all non-graduate entries. 7 months long at the end of which you were commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant (Short Service). Most left at that juncture to become short service officers serving between 3 and 8 years, with the bulk leaving at 3. The remainder of the 18 1/2 -19 year olds stayed at RMAS to do the Regular Careers Course (RCC) another 7 months as a nominal 2Lt but treated very much like a cadet. Only difference between them and the blokes who left 7 months earlier. They had a permanent regular commission i.e. a career for life if you didn't screw up. The bulk of Captains and about 1/3 of junior officers in your game have followed this path.
    End of Part One

    Tony

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  8. OFFICERS Part 2
    In part one we saw that graduates of civil universities provided a little less than 1/3 of RMAS’s intakes. The other 2/3 went on to the Standard Military Course (SMC). They were mostly boys, generally straight from school. However SMC courses also produced officers who commissioned from the ranks of private, lance corporal, corporal and very occasionally sergeant. They made up about 2-6% of the SMC rising to 5-10% of RCC. Whatever route your officer had taken to get into and pass through RMAS at the end upon commissioning they would initially go to their arms school to learn to be an infantry officer, gunner or whatever. These young officer courses took from 3 - 7 months. Then, finally, the newly baked officers would arrive at their first posting and would take over a troop/platoon in their regiments or battalions. Hopefully the system had given them an experienced and effective Sergeant to guide them in the first few months. Whilst there they would meet the final group of officers in the Army; Quartermaster Commissions:- About 5% of any battalion's officers were commissioned from the ranks at the end of 22 years’ service (sometimes a little less) as a soldier. Almost without exception these men had gone from private to Warrant Officer 1st Class and then been commissioned. They received no formal training as officers but relied on 20+ years of experience. In 1979 in British Military Law these officers were still junior to all officers commissioned from RMAS; so Short Service 2Lt Platoon Commander with 9 months service in the army was higher up the de jure chain of command than the Major Quartermaster with 30+ years of experience.
    End of Part 2

    Tony

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  9. OFFICERS Part 3
    Returning to education even in the 1970s the British Army was very wary of officers who were too clever, hence Sandhurst is a leadership institution NOT repeat NOT a university.
    Therefore I would warn about sending too many boys to university prior to Sandhurst. To repeat in the late 70s less than a 1/3 went to uni first. The fact that they commissioned straight as lieutenants and became captains within 4 years, instead of the 6 ½ years it took non-graduate officers made them very suspicious. The bulk were 18 year old cadets who commissioned as 2nd Lieutenants after 7 months if they were short service officers or after 14 months with a regular commission Most then went to their arms school for 6 months joining their Regiments aged about 20 as a 2Lt. These are your gung ho platoon commanders

    Times were changing and already of those who were commissioned as Permanent Regular Commissions between 1/3 and 1/2 would leave their platoons after 12-18 months and go off to do an in-service degree. The numbers were different dependent upon the Regiment or Corps they were commissioned in, ranging from 100% in the REME to rather less than 30% in the teeth arms.

    Of these regular officers who went on to university whilst serving, the bulk went to the Army's own university; The Royal Military College Shrivenham. A miniscule percentage went to civvie universities as 20+ year olds with money and cachet and had a great old time.

    Post Script
    This system would fundamentally change again within the next 10-15 years as society decided all should go to university. The Army reacted in its own way. It did not change Sandhurst except top make it a 12 month leadership course for all no matter the background. As for education, it merely closed its own university, encouraged young men and women to join after their time at civvie university and thereby exported the costs to the Department of Education.

    Happy to add anything else if it is of use either here or off line. Conversely if I am boring I am happy to retreat back into the shadows.

    Tony

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