I was a little perplexed, but also (a little) encouraged, by these news reports. They are both about 3 PARA on exercise in the UK, concentrating on conventional operations rather than the recent focus entirely on Afghan style operations. It was a little discouraging to hear both the reporter and one of the interviewed soldiers talking about how these conventional style infantry exercise were more like the sort of thing their grandparents would have gotten up to! I mean, I’m not that old, and that used to be my bread and butter!
I was discouraged because high quality infantry work is what the Para’s were always about, but encouraged that at least they are getting back to it. When I served, when you went away on a non-conventional style operation, something like Northern Ireland or the Balkans and more recently the early days in Afghanistan and Iraq, you would train up for that and then get straight back into the conventional infantry stuff when you got back. You never let the old school infantry skills get rusty. I guess with the constant focus on Afghanistan more recently, the focus has been purely on that…..
In this first clip
there is some useful footage of a patrol base (“harbor” in the video) with shell scrapes, tarps, some routine in the field. There is also an orders group (‘O’ Group – a briefing) and some live firing.
(I don’t think the MTP ( the Brit Multicam) is as good as the old DPM).
is from the same exercise, and shows a little more of the FTX and some live firing. The focus here seems to be that the company has taken in a lot of new recruits without combat experience and they are assimilating them – for assimilation of new recruits, see the part with the two guys blowing out of their hoops carrying the GPMG’s (240’s) up the hill during the attack 😉
The important thing is that these are paratroopers yet they still have to get out and train to keep up to speed on the basics, particularly when they have been concentrating on Afghan style operations and receive new recruits.
*Harumphs, shakes his newspaper, and thinks “It wasn’t like this in my day, what are the youth coming to?”*
Live Hard, Die Free.