Train as we mean to fight

The quote ‘train as we mean to fight’ comes near the end of this video from QinetiQ on naval combat systems engineering, realistic training is critical to success.

It is and always was ‘all about the people’

As we fight also means where we might fight.

Where we might is generally accepted to be littoral and urban, or so says the eggheads in the Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC).at least as defined as Cluttered, Congested, Connected, Constrained and Contested.

So this must surely mean we are investing training funds in locations and activities that reflect those predictions.


So far…

The Army is continuing its urban or built up area training in places like Copehill Down and STANTA (Google them to see what I mean) with the occasional trip to CENZUB in France. In early 2012 I wrote about Agile Warrior and the British Army’s evolving urban concepts, not sure where that has gone but today we see plenty of images and news pieces of the Army and Army Reserve getting back to armoured operations in big wide open spaces.

The RAF is practising supporting operations in cluttered and congested environments by participating in Red Flag in the close terrain of the Nevada desert.

And the Royal Navy and Royal Marines are just about to complete Exercise Joint Warrior, concluding with an attack on a 16th Century castle in Scotland.

Basics are always the basics that will apply to any environment and future operations in wide open spaces are hardly an impossibility but the question is, are the British armed forces training as they are likely to fight or training as they hope to fight?

Come to think of it, are they also equipping for the fight they hope for or the fight they are likely to be involved with?

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Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
April 5, 2014 12:12 am

“…a Sixteenth Century Castle in Scotland”…has Salmond got one of those then? Presumably we’ll follow up with Operation Instant Sunshine, rehearsing the reinforcement of a threatened Naval Installation and rapid establishment of a defensible perimeter and appropriate facilities to provide air superiority…

A precautionary Gloomy.

April 5, 2014 12:24 am

Most of the land surface of the planet is not covered by ‘built-up areas’. Built up areas come in many shapes and sizes, as does the un-built-up. JEWTs (Jungle Exercise Without Trees) are not unknown. Another reality is that urban training areas where all arms can exercise with live firing are not going to happen. At best urban training areas can exercise little more than infantry minor tactics. Expedient facilities can be built quite quickly, eg several ‘tin cities’ built for NI training. More recently IIRC a cave complex was built at BATUS using containers.

For the last decade operations have been overwhelmingly at company and lower level. Battalion and brigade level training is a different matter, and you can argue that at these higher levels the lessons learned from lots of boots on the ground exercises are fairly independent of the nature of terrain. To practice these HQs in more tactical issues CPXs remain a good vehicle.

Ace Rimmer
April 5, 2014 3:13 am

However you train, train hard, any idiot can run a BFT, we need to hang on to the seasoned soldiers, airmen and sailors that can pass on the hard earned lessons to the next generation.

Experience really does matter, for the price of a Eurofighter to retain a substantial number of these guys and girls, definitely a price worth paying.

April 5, 2014 6:04 am

@GNB: Well if it works for the Russians…

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
April 5, 2014 10:10 am

I thought one of HM forces strengths was the professionalism and training of its people.
The UK must be doing something right training wise. Why else do so many send their people here to train, or to attend FOST for example.

We should keep training for high intensity state on state war, including all arms manoeuvre at Brigade level.