The Army Doctrine and Training Bulletin
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:
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.
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:
Boots, denims, combat shirt, 50 situps in 2 min, 5 chin ups.
1.5 miles in 15 min group runfollowed by same route individual besteffort in under 11.5min.
Basic swim test: jump from highboard in combats and runners and treadwater for 2 min.
Combat Fitness Test: 8 mile march/ run cross country, 22 lb webbing, rifle,helmet, in 150min.
Jump 5 foot gap, climb into truck.
100 m fireman’s carry in less than45 sec.
4 mile speed march cross country22 lb webbing and rifle under 40 min.
30 ft rope climb 22 lb webbingand rifle.
Assault course in under 5 min.
232 yd fireman’s carry under 90 sec.
Full rope regain.
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
12 mile load carry cross country,60 lb, under 4 hrs.
Table 1. “P” Company Test Week
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)