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  1. #1
    Lord Chief Bottlewasher trellheim's Avatar
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    DF Strength Down the years

    I've dug some old numbers up from looking at PQ's.

    This has been difficult because the Department has always answered Strength of the DF question which gets asked three or four times as year by responding with PDF numbers which is technically not correct as it ignores The Reserve;
    (see http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/1.../en/html#sec18)

    you therefore have to dig up FCA/RDF numbers separately. I did a lot of this work years ago for the RDF but I've done PDF now as well. I'll post 1969-1979 first

    PDF

    1969 8242 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...1969-02-25/31/
    1970 8575 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...1970-04-16/21/
    1971 8728 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...1971-06-17/63/
    1972 10144
    1973 10635 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...1973-12-06/35/ Numbers begin to rapidly rise due the Troubles
    1974 11312 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...1974-04-24/12/
    1975 12736 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...1975-10-22/42/
    1976 13800 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates.../1976-03-25/9/
    1977 14771 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...1977-10-12/89/
    1978 13964 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...1987-10-20/94/
    1979 13569 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...1979-05-03/22/

    FCA

    1968 19773 http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/19...7/00036.asp#N4
    1969 20459 http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/19...7/00099.asp#N4 (note als average dropous of6273 )
    1970 18533 http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/19.../00033.asp#N10
    1971 16984 http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/19...5/00040.asp#N5
    1972 19430 http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/19...00005.asp#N189
    1973 16315 http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/19.../00023.asp#N16
    1974 16834 http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/19.../00025.asp#N55
    1975 17504 http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/19...00005.asp#N189
    1976 17987 http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/19...00005.asp#N189
    1977 18787 http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/19...0/00043.asp#N3
    1978 19641 http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/19.../00025.asp#N55
    1979 17315


    Total

    28701
    27108
    25712
    29574
    26950
    28146
    30240
    31787
    33558
    33605
    30884


    We can see PDF numbers rising rapidly ; that 1977 figure is the highest I can find. This is of course due to the troubles. I'lll post 79-89 in a day or so.

    Note in many cases here FLR and Cadets are excluded from the PQ replies - this causes some changes in the numbers but broadly here in these dates its about right.
    Last edited by trellheim; 18th October 2020 at 18:48.
    "Are they trying to shoot down the other drone? "

    "No, they're trying to fly the tank"

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  3. #2
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    At some stage in the 70s, many in the FCA went full time, many remained in the PDF till retirement. I wonder what stage their numbers stopped being FCA and started being PDF? (a lot down these parts ended up in FCA cadre as years progressed).
    German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
    German 2: Private? I am a general!
    German 1: That is the bad news.

  4. #3
    Lord Chief Bottlewasher trellheim's Avatar
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    "Are they trying to shoot down the other drone? "

    "No, they're trying to fly the tank"

  5. #4
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    Do you want something more fancy than this?
    graph.jpg
    German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
    German 2: Private? I am a general!
    German 1: That is the bad news.

  6. #5
    Lord Chief Bottlewasher trellheim's Avatar
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    no thats fine
    "Are they trying to shoot down the other drone? "

    "No, they're trying to fly the tank"

  7. #6
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    I'll update going forward and put a better version embedded later on.
    German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
    German 2: Private? I am a general!
    German 1: That is the bad news.

  8. #7
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    Great work on the charts lads.

  9. #8
    Lord Chief Bottlewasher trellheim's Avatar
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    "Are they trying to shoot down the other drone? "

    "No, they're trying to fly the tank"

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  11. #9
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    From what I see, in the last 20 years the Defence forces strength, PDF and RDF has halved!
    German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
    German 2: Private? I am a general!
    German 1: That is the bad news.

  12. #10
    Lord Chief Bottlewasher trellheim's Avatar
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    "Are they trying to shoot down the other drone? "

    "No, they're trying to fly the tank"

  13. #11
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    I notice that the moment of RDFRIP in 2005 was also the first time RDF numbers begin to dip below PDF numbers. While the PDF decline has been gradual since, RDF numbers have been in freefall, dropping in ten years to a third of their 2010 position.
    I'm going to add a marker to the graph showing which Dail was sitting at the time (By number only to be apolitical).
    German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
    German 2: Private? I am a general!
    German 1: That is the bad news.

  14. #12
    Lord Chief Bottlewasher trellheim's Avatar
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    While the PDF decline has been gradual since
    I'd argue instead that J1 have been managing as best they could to match headcount to establishment decreed by the DOD as they know how hard it is to pull it back when it drops too far ( current issues with Pay and Contracts aside, because they can't fix that )
    "Are they trying to shoot down the other drone? "

    "No, they're trying to fly the tank"

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  16. #13
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Ref RDF

    are those the total or effective strength figures?
    We know that the effective strength in many units was .... not sure how to put it


    Remember the VFM (this time 8 years ago) they used figures up to end 2011:
    Establishment 9692
    Effective Strength 4554
    Personnel who used at least 1 manday 2788
    Received Grat 2010 (that excludes recruits)

  17. #14
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    When I first joined in the 80s, It was very much a case of once you were on the books, you were on the books until someone informed the unit of your demise, or you went to the trouble of telling the Cadre you were leaving and requested a discharge.
    Officers were another issue up to very recently. Once you were commissioned you couldn't be discharged or listed as inactive. Others here will know more, but there was a format where if you were invited to meet with the CO on 2 occasions and did not respond, you could be taken off, but most units were reluctant to go down this road, for fear of causing offence.
    In reality, before RDFRIP the numbers weren't too far off. The Paddys Day muster could see a company manage to get 50 all ranks in uniform, with another 20 giving notice of their inability to parade on that particular occasion.
    German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
    German 2: Private? I am a general!
    German 1: That is the bad news.

  18. #15
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by na grohmiti View Post
    .
    Officers were another issue up to very recently. Once you were commissioned you couldn't be discharged or listed as inactive.
    Does 15 years count as very recently because that’s when it came in?

    Others here will know more, but there was a format where if you were invited to meet with the CO on 2 occasions and did not respond, you could be taken off, but most units were reluctant to go down this road, for fear of causing offence.
    If you hadn’t met the criteria to remain effective you were posted non-effective by your unit commander. With resultant paperwork processed and you being informed.

    You could apply to GOC to be removed from the non-effective list (and put back on the effective list). With resultant paperwork processed.

    After 2 years on non-effective list, you could be discharged (think that only came about in 2005). And resultant paperwork processed.

    Do you see a pattern emerging ? It involved people having to do paperwork... which wasn’t difficult (did it myself)



    In some areas General Michael Collins was probably still on the effective strength in 2005. In some he received a position in the 2013 reorg.

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  20. #16
    Lord Chief Bottlewasher trellheim's Avatar
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    The numbers refer to those questions put to, and answered by, the Minister, hence official by nature. As I have posted the links you are free to investigate more !


    For example here is 2005 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...-04-21/15/#s19

    Knock yourself out. PS I need to fix some of those RDF links post 2005

    someone stick up a graph as a jpg and I will post 2011-2020 tomorrow
    Last edited by trellheim; 23rd October 2020 at 17:02.
    "Are they trying to shoot down the other drone? "

    "No, they're trying to fly the tank"

  21. #17
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    graph

    The grey (?)dots show the changes in government over the years beginning at the 19th Dail in 1968, ending with the current one.
    Last edited by na grohmiti; 23rd October 2020 at 18:44.
    German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
    German 2: Private? I am a general!
    German 1: That is the bad news.

  22. #18
    Lord Chief Bottlewasher trellheim's Avatar
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    2011-2020

    RDF

    2010 6083 http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2011/10/26/00105.asp
    2011 5220 http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/20...00131.asp#N139
    2012 4350 http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/20...0/00349.asp#N3
    2013 4773 APPROX - No exact number due reorg occurring see https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...11/137/#pq_137
    2014 2326 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...17/524/#pq_524
    2015 2329 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...17/301/#pq_301 ( increase but we had a recruiting ban ! )
    2016 2141 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates.../1960/#pq_1960
    2017 1856 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...2-12/71/#pq_71
    2018 1777 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...22/110/#pq_110
    2019 1899 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...2-26/46/#pq_46
    2020 1624 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...13/196/#pq_196 Oct 2020

    PDF

    2011 9513 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...1-09-21/9/#s10
    2012 9438 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...2-02-08/8/#s10 - Reorg and Loss of W Bde Estab back to 9500
    2013 9222 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...11/137/#pq_137
    2014 9110 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...27/580/#pq_580
    2015 9112 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...09/116/#pq_116
    2016 9044 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...1-09/37/#pq_37
    2017 9044 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...7-11/66/#pq_66
    2018 9058 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...5-10/43/#pq_43
    2019 8828 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...6-13/38/#pq_38
    2020 8374 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...08/170/#pq_170 ( Oct 2020) Strength back to 1970 levels.


    Totals

    14733
    13788
    13995
    11436
    11441
    11185
    10900
    10835
    10727
    9998


    Ends. Thats 50 years. If anyone wants to do the first 50 years or so of the State be my guest. Its tedious work to go back but very enlightening as you can see stuff changing down the years
    Last edited by trellheim; 24th October 2020 at 16:19.
    "Are they trying to shoot down the other drone? "

    "No, they're trying to fly the tank"

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  24. #19
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    graph

    Hope this helps.
    German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
    German 2: Private? I am a general!
    German 1: That is the bad news.

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  26. #20
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    Looking at the graph, I am reminded of the RDF "golden years" in the late 90s/ early 2000s. We were all issued Combats (initially o/g, later DPM) and were armed with modern firearms (initially FAL, later Steyr). There was never a shortage of pyro, or blank ammo for exercises, as opposed to the 80s when you could go on a 24 hour ex and be glad to get 10 rounds (unless you had a Bren, at which point you got no rounds). As a result I think there was a huge surge in recruitment, as the surplus non-effectives were removed from the strength. Hence the RDF "bump" after the first white paper. We felt we were appreciated, and looked forward to what the upcoming review would provide. Great things were expected, but what we ended up with greatly sapped morale.
    Numerically, isn't it strange how the RDF totals have had such an effect on the overall totals. Interesting also how the PDF managed to maintain numbers throughout the 70s and 80s, in spite of no active programme of recruitment. Back then you filled in the application before you left school, and waited for the call. Could be a year, could be more. There were media and poster campaigns(the "5th of Beethoven" was around 1980), but they were not followed up by targeted recruiting. Cadet and Apprentice competitions were held annually, and were well documented in most school career guidance offices.
    German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
    German 2: Private? I am a general!
    German 1: That is the bad news.

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  28. #21
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    Want to commend trellheim on the trojan work, I managed to find some of the missing years to fill in some gaps, and that took a good bit of time and tedium in fairness. So serious work was involved to get the 50 years.

    RDF
    1968 19,773 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...B0%5D=strength * This one needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, I believe how effective strength was counted started to change significantly.

    1987 14,522 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...ght%5B1%5D=fca
    1988 14,942 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...ght%5B1%5D=fca

    1992 15,459 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...5B3%5D=reserve
    1993 15,564 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...5B3%5D=reserve
    1994 15,674 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...5B3%5D=reserve

    1995 N/A The only one that alludes me, cannot find it anywhere, I can find how many officers there were but no total strength figures.

    1998 14271 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...5B1%5D=reserve

    2003 13835 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...5B4%5D=reserve

    Hopefully that will help fill in the gaps. I do recommend for anyone interested, with time on their hands, or looking for a cure for insomnia, to go back and have a look at the various debates that have occurred over the last 50 years, its eye opening in many ways that many of the same issues just repeat themselves over and over, and most are still relevant today.

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  30. #22
    Lord Chief Bottlewasher trellheim's Avatar
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    NG can you change the label from RDFRIP to Reorg/Single Force Concept please; technically both are correct and it coincides closely with the PDF's own Reorg


    Hopefully that will help fill in the gaps. I do recommend for anyone interested, with time on their hands, or looking for a cure for insomnia, to go back and have a look at the various debates that have occurred over the last 50 years, its eye opening in many ways that many of the same issues just repeat themselves over and over, and most are still relevant today
    Fun isn't it the same old stuff keeps on popping up down the years there's nearly a book in it


    For RDF Can anyone remember what year we stopped being paid cash in hand and what year the Gratuity stopped being paid
    Last edited by trellheim; 25th October 2020 at 15:38.
    "Are they trying to shoot down the other drone? "

    "No, they're trying to fly the tank"

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  32. #23
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trellheim View Post
    NG can you change the label from RDFRIP to Reorg/Single Force Concept please; technically both are correct and it coincides closely with the PDF's own Reorg




    Fun isn't it the same old stuff keeps on popping up down the years there's nearly a book in it


    For RDF Can anyone remember what year we stopped being paid cash in hand and what year the Gratuity stopped being paid
    Cash was about 1999/2000... many got it a long time after that

    Gratuity was 2013 can’t remember if we actually got it that year. Don’t think so, think they changed R5 in November

  33. #24
    Lord Chief Bottlewasher trellheim's Avatar
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    Yeek run a linear trendfit on the RDF numbers and predict out
    "Are they trying to shoot down the other drone? "

    "No, they're trying to fly the tank"

  34. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by trellheim View Post
    Yeek run a linear trendfit on the RDF numbers and predict out
    Without going into my spreadsheet, I give it till 2025.
    German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
    German 2: Private? I am a general!
    German 1: That is the bad news.

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