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The Army Doctrine and Training Bulletin_PREPARE for BATTLE_INFANTRY JOURNAL_ vol 2, No. 2, May 1999

The Army Doctrine and Training Bulletin_PREPARE for BATTLE_INFANTRY JOURNAL_ vol 2, No. 2, May 1999

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Published by manuals&manuals
Fitness requirements for the infantry
are currently under review–again–
and at the time this article was originally
submitted to the Infantry Journal in
1998, the Warrior Programme1 had
dropped the fitness performance
requirement altogether. Recently, we
have even been told that we are not to
run while wearing combat boots.
The first qualification
of a soldier is fortitude
under fatigue and privation.
Courage is only the second;
hardship, poverty and want
are the best school
for a soldier.
Napoleon Bonaparte
Military Maxims
Fitness requirements for the infantry
are currently under review–again–
and at the time this article was originally
submitted to the Infantry Journal in
1998, the Warrior Programme1 had
dropped the fitness performance
requirement altogether. Recently, we
have even been told that we are not to
run while wearing combat boots.
The first qualification
of a soldier is fortitude
under fatigue and privation.
Courage is only the second;
hardship, poverty and want
are the best school
for a soldier.
Napoleon Bonaparte
Military Maxims

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Published by: manuals&manuals on Dec 08, 2009
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12/07/2009

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The Army Doctrine and Training Bulletin
16 
   M  a   j  o  r   R   i  c   h  a  r   d   E  a   t  o  n
F
itness requirements for the infantryare currently under review–again–and at the time this article was originallysubmitted to the Infantry Journal in1998, the Warrior Programme
1
haddropped the fitness performancerequirement altogether. Recently, wehave even been told that we are not torun while wearing combat boots.In the years before 1998, the WarriorProgramme fitness requirementchanged annually, dropping from therequirement to complete a 13 km (7.8 mile)battle march carrying 24 kg (55 lb) in just under two hours, to no formalizedphysical requirement at all. Prior to theintroduction of the Warrior programme,although every training establishmentand unit had their own favourite fitnessregime, there was little formallyarticulated in the way of an infantry-wide battle fitness standard for regularforce members and reservists thatrelated directly to the extreme physicaldemands of dismounted operations.Will our current methods of physically and mentally preparingourselves for the most stressful activityknown to man–ground combat–begood enough to ensure that our infantryis tough enough to fight and win thenext conflict? Are we, in our efforts tobe a fair and equitable employer, doingus, our country, our allies, and oursoldiers a disservice by operating aselection system which cannoteffectively or “officially” screen outthose who are unable to achievesufficiently high qualities of battle fitness?The aim of this article is to challengeinfanteers to develop and implementhigher, and more consistently applied,fitness based selection standards forour corps. In addition, it will:
P
REPARE
 
FOR
B
ATTLE
 Major Richard EatonThe first qualificationof a soldier is fortitudeunder fatigue and privation.Courage is only the second;hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier.
Napoleon BonaparteMilitary Maxims
k
Remind us of the physical realitiesof the dismounted infantry battle.
k
Review the battle fitnessrequirements of two other infantryorganizations well known for theirproven battle fitness standards with aview to modelling our own fitnessstandards after theirs.The capture of Mount Matajuroccurred fifty-two hours after thestart of the offensive … Mymountain troopers were in the thick of battle almost uninterruptedlyduring these hours … Here,carrying heavy machine guns ontheir shoulders–they surmountedelevation differences of eightthousand feet uphill and threethousand downhill, and traversed adistance of twelve [straight line]miles through hostile mountainformations.
2
Sixty-five years later during theFalklands campaign of 1982, theexperiences of Lance Corporal VincentBramley, 3rd Battalion, The ParachuteRegiment (3 PARA), Machine-GunPlatoon, were not much different fromRommel’s. Following a two day, 50 mileadvance to contact on foot, 3 PARA–festooned with personal weapons,grenades, general-purpose machine-guns (GPMGs) and tripods, anti-tank weapons, and as much ammunition ascould be carried–moved off to the startline for their attack on Mount Longdon:Lying before us was about twelvekilometres of ground and a river. Mykit alone weighed about a hundredpounds, possibly more. Many ladsin our group had to swap kitthroughout the march–a machinegun for a tripod for example. Milans,being bulky and awkward, went fromshoulder to shoulder. As daylightfaded I could see the thin line of troops disappearing into thedarkness, struggling with their kit …
3
The weight of the ammunitionrequired by the infantry to suppress anddestroy the enemy in wartime is clearlyIt is obvious that the job of aninfanteer is hard, physically andmentally demanding work. Tosuccessfully close with and destroy theenemy, infantrymen must be capable of carrying heavy loads of weapons,ammunition and provisions for longdistances over all types of terrain–andthrough all types of climatic conditions–while encountering and defeating theenemy. Yes, you can count on it, wewill no doubt encounter terrain andsituations preventing us from motoringthrough to the objective comfortablyembussed in our LAV/Grizzly/Bison/ M113. This job description inevitablymeans that infanteers must be preparedto pack exceptionally heavy loads asdictated by the enemy and terrain. Asdescribed by Field Marshall ErwinRommel, both his experiences and thoseof his troops on the Italian front in 1917were intensely physically demanding:
 
Vol. 2, No. 2, May 1999
17 
   P  r  e  p  a  r  e   f  o  r   B  a   t   t   l  e
the greatest difference between loadswe carry in peacetime exercises and war.Our main load was ammunition,”recounts Corporal “Lofty” Largeof the Jebel Akhdar campaign inOman, 1959:I remember having two 3.5 rockets,four 90 (Energa) grenades … EightNo 36 grenades, six No 80 (whitephosphorous) grenades. Five20-round magazines of rifleammunition, plus 100 rounds inbandoliers. One 250-round box of .30 calibre machine-gun ammunition… My bergen rucksack, loaded andready to go, weighed 98 lb. My beltweighed 22 lb–120 lb total [without]my rifle. Everyone had similar loadsto carry.
4
How much different would be theload of today’s dismounted Canadianinfanteer?Discounting the usual “camping”gear and other superfluous articles wenow force ourselves to carry, most of which will no doubt be discarded inpreference for more ammo when the“real thing” intrudes on our peacetimereverie, we infanteers are still looking athefting a considerable load. In additionto flak jackets, webbing, personalweapons, grenades and ammunition,who is supposed to carry ammo for thecrew served weapons?Rifle company troops of course.This means that officers and non-commissioned members are packing5.56 mm bandoliers and link for use inthe platoon, as well as 7.62 mm link,60 mm and 81 mm mortar ammo for useby our support weapons during theattack/ambush/advance to contact etc.In addition, now that we have adoptedthe new Eryx anti-tank weapon,ammunition for this beastie as well asthe weapon system itself, will have tobe manpacked as required within the riflecompany. It seems reasonable toassume that the requirement to carryloads weighing up to 100 lb will not beout of the question for our dismountedinfantry, now and into the future.The consequences of inadequatepreparation for dismounted warfareare obviously serious. For example,in contrast to the epic physicalperformances of The ParachuteRegiment and Royal MarinesCommando units in the Falklands War,soldiers of 5 Infantry Brigade–takenfrom a mechanized role–were not nearlyas physically or mentally preparedfor the realities of dismounted infantrywarfare:On the afternoon of 3 June [1982],the Welsh Guards began an attemptto march to Goose Green. Theywalked for twelve hours before5 Brigade agreed with theircommanding officer that the exerciseshould be abandoned … howeverenthusiastic and efficient theirofficers and men, they couldscarcely be as mentally andphysically attuned to a campaign inthe Falklands as 3 CommandoBrigade. They were trained to fightfrom armoured personnel carriers.“We are not bergen
5
soldiers,” asone of their officers said.
6
As countless infanteers beforeus have discovered to theirdisappointment, helicopters andvehicles will not always be available–or able–to carry us to the assembly area.So what then should we do? It may beinstructive to look at the physicaltraining programmes of two infantrybased formations renowned for theirfitness standards–The ParachuteRegiment and Royal Marines–to gainsome insight into what our own infantrybattle fitness standards should be.
T
HE
B
RITISH
A
PPROACH
: T
HE
P
ARACHUTE
R
EGIMENT
 
AND
R
OYAL
M
ARINES
These two British infantry organizationsare well noted for their high standardsof physical fitness. As proven in theFalklands conflict of 1982, and welldocumented since then, physicaltoughness and associated mentalstamina were key battle winningelements for the British infantry in thatcampaign. It is instructive to reviewtheir selection systems in comparisonto our own.
T
HE
P
ARACHUTE
R
EGIMENT
The Parachute Regiment recruits itssoldiers directly from Civvy Street viaarmy recruiting depots. The trainingregimen for Parachute Regiment soldiersconsists of what at first glance seems afairly typical 24 week syllabus forinfantry recruits. The major difference,however, is not only the 4 week parachute training course at RAF BrizeNorton, comprising of weeks 13to17,but the physically and mentallydemanding Pre-Parachute SelectionCourse (PPS, or “P”Company) testswhich occur throughout Week 12. Thisselection process is designed to weedout those unlikely to succeed in theBritish Airborne Forces.Consequently, in addition to theusual types of training delivered in thefirst three months of any infanteer’scareer, the Parachute Regiment recruitis also subjected to a progressively morechallenging battle fitness trainingprogramme preparing them for successat “P” Company. The “all arms” versionof the course–a three week condensedversion of the recruit’s experience–isattended by prospective ParachuteRegiment officers immediately followingtheir graduation from the Royal MilitaryAcademy Sandhurst, as well as all otherpersonnel hoping to serve in 5 AirborneBrigade. All candidates must pass“P” Company prior to joining either theParachute Regiment or Airborne Forces.In recognition of their leadership role,officers are expected to perform to higherstandards than other ranks, and aregraded against those standards.Standards are maintained by the“P” Company staff, a permanentlyestablished training team based at theDepot The Parachute Regiment andAirborne Forces. “P” Company staff accompany candidates throughout thecourse–setting the example by carryingthe same if not more weight in theirequipment–and constantly review
 
The Army Doctrine and Training Bulletin
18
   M  a   j  o  r   R   i  c   h  a  r   d   E  a   t  o  n
candidate performance based onestablished standards. “P”Companystaff are commanded by a major fromThe Parachute Regiment, and includePhysical Training Instructors (PTIs)from the Army Physical TrainingCorps (APTC) as well as seniornon-commissioned officers from theParachute Regiment and other5 Airborne Brigade units.In the mid-1980s, the “P”Companyselection process was as describedbelow:
P
RE
-P
ARACHUTE
S
ELECTION
(“P” C
OMPANY
)–4 W
EEKS
2 Week Preparation:
Most candidates prepare intensively for“P”Company prior to arrival at DepotPARA either individually, or with oneof the Airborne Brigade units who runspecific preparation courses. Prior totest week, “P”Company staff runcandidates through an intensivepreparation period including circuittraining and other gym work, running,and progressively longer marches withweights up to 35 lb and rifle. Followingthe 2 week “beat up,” candidates moveto Test Week as detailed in Table 1.
R
OYAL
M
ARINES
C
OMMANDO
C
OURSE
–8
WEEKS
Like 5 Airborne Brigade, the RoyalMarines recruit both directly from CivvyStreet, as well as running commandotraining qualifying Army personnel forservice with brigade combat andsupport units (e.g. artillery, engineersand logistics). Commando training issupervised by the Training Team at theCommando Training Centre RoyalMarines (CTCRM) Lympstone. Like“P” Company, Training Team staff include physical training instructors,and all staff participate in all selectiontests undertaken by course candidates.In contrast to the Paras’ fondness forWales, the Royal Marines prefer to usethe nearby Dartmoor mountain trainingarea in south-west England for theirlonger exercises and marches. In themid-1980s, the Royal MarinesCommando course consisted of thefollowing major components:
Phase 1: Pre-All Arms CommandoCourse: 2 weeksPassing In Standards:
k
Boots, denims, combat shirt, 50 situps in 2 min, 5 chin ups.
k
1.5 miles in 15 min group runfollowed by same route individual besteffort in under 11.5min.
k
Basic swim test: jump from highboard in combats and runners and treadwater for 2 min.
k
Combat Fitness Test: 8 mile march/ run cross country, 22 lb webbing, rifle,helmet, in 150min.
k
Jump 5 foot gap, climb into truck.
k
100 m fireman’s carry in less than45 sec.
Other Requirements:
k
4 mile speed march cross country22 lb webbing and rifle under 40 min.
k
30 ft rope climb 22 lb webbingand rifle.
k
Assault course in under 5 min.
k
232 yd fireman’s carry under 90 sec.
k
Full rope regain.
k
Basic fieldcraft, weapons,navigation, tactics, two field exercisesincluding progressively longer marcheswith full equipment (up to 60 lb or more).Following successful completion of Phase 1, candidates complete the finalphase of the course as follows:
Phase 2: Commando Course: 4 weeks
k
12 mile load carry cross country,60 lb, under 4 hrs.
Table 1. “P” Company Test Week
PhaseActivitiesDress/ EquipmentStandards
Friday,Day 12 mile cross countrysteeplechaseboots, trousers, PT vestunder 18 minLog Raceboots, trousers, PT vest,helmet8 man teams per 130-140 lb log,1.5 miles across steep terrain, best effortPairs “milling”PT strip, 16oz boxinggloves1 min controlled aggressionWeekendRestMonday,Day 210 mile battle march35 lb pack, belt order,rifleCross country in steep terrain, 1 hr45 min, finish with the PTI and leadgroupTrainasium, High levelconfidence course (40-50 ft)Boots, PT Vest, helmetSuccessfully negotiate all obstacleswithout hesitationAssault CourseBoots, PT Vest3 times around in under 18 minTravel to Wales for Days 3,4 and 5Tuesday,Day 318 mile approach marchthrough mountainous terrain35-40 lb pack, beltorder, rifle4 km/hr, finish with the PTI andlead groupWednesday,Day 4Pen Y Fan: Approx 2900 ftascent and descent, 7 miles35-40 lb pack, beltorder, rifle4 km/hr, finish with the PTI andlead groupFan Fawr: Approx 2400 ftascent and descent, 5 miles35-40 lb pack, beltorder, rifle4 miles/hr (6.7 km/hr), finish with thePTI and lead group6 mile speed march35-40 lb pack, beltorder, rifle1 hr 10 min, finish with the PTI andlead groupThursday,Day 5Stretcher raceBelt order, rifle, helmet180 lb stretcher, 10-12 man teams,7.5 miles walk and run(Approx 4 km/hr)

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