A myth Ive heard a few times....

Discussion in 'Infantry' started by cdn_spr, Mar 26, 2009.

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  1. A year ago I transferred from the British Army to the Canadian Army. Was formerly RE. Since then, a myth I've heard quoted a few times has come up and made me shake my head. It is in relation to pairs F&M, and basically what I've been told is:

    'The brits did this study on the falklands y'see, and found that if a guy went to the prone during a section attack, he was less likely to get up again, cause he'd be shit scared, therefore it's better to take a knee *even if you are not behind cover*'

    Now I first heard this when I was teaching a canadian equivalent to a JNCO cadre, and it was from an experienced and (so I thought until I heard this) knowledgable Sgt in the RCR. I didn't say anything at the time, just though 'really, hmm...' cause in my 7 years in the British Army I never once heard this, and even when conducting pairs F&M trg with the QLR in the falklands was told to get to the prone as long as you can get rounds on target.

    Is there any truth to this at all? Many thanks for the replies.
  2. Certainly not that i've ever been taught. I was always told prone unless it prevents you getting rounds on target, the only other time I think kneeling is appropriate is FIBUA!

    The reasoning he gave seems odd!
  3. Never heard that before-and my Plt Sgt and section commander in Depot were both Falklands vets.
  4. If there's rounds coming overhead, people will be on their belt-buckles whatever you try to teach them to do; I for one wouldn't fancy sticking up on one knee. Fire would also be more accurate from the prone position.
  5. I was told recently in Brecon, when I got on my buckle that as part of a fire team the momentum is paramount to the attack! I am not infantry, but i did listen to the RHF Sgt as he kept us pushing forward. The knee in a sustained fire fight in the advance is the way ahead he said. Concurrent fire support from your section in the advance keeps the Enemys heads down and allows for a faster movement of the team. In cover he shouted at us to remain on the knee!
    He did say though that to make yourself as small as possible if your fire team was under fire and you could not move forwards (this i thought was a f@cking good idea) This he said was the changing concept of the advance to the enemy or in other words keep moving and kick their teeth in!
  6. Thanks a bunch to all! Will now happily spread the truth to these ill-informed colonials....

    Conco- I basically did a similar thing when it came time to assess the canidates on the JNCO cadre for their section attacks; said if you're going to take a knee then at least do it in dead ground or behind some cover. And the momentum bit does sound sensible
  7. Can only comment on Goose Green, but thats pure DS bullshit. If you took a knee, you would have got hit. on closing with the enemy, most was done on the belt buckle, crawling forward in pairs. Winning the firefight in Brecon takes about 5 minutes, in reality, you could be cracking at it for several hours until someone breaks a flank, by crawling into position.
    I would concede the taking a knee scenario could be feasible if your against 2 guys with Ak's, and your guns are suppressing them, but not against in-depth , mutualy-supported positions, with support weapons.
  8. I'd guess it might make a bit more sense given the amount of kit guys seem to be festooned with these days, but still - I reckon I'd prefer to get in amongst the enemy eventually on my belt buckle than get casevaced in the first 5 seconds with small-arms rash.

    IIRC, one of the arguments set out against the formation of the Rifle Brigade was that you needed to keep soldiers standing in close ranks to keep them fighting. Sounds like a similar line of reasoning.
  9. Fcuk, i took a knee behind a tree once well within cover on a section attack got a stern "get on your fcuking belt buckle" was taught only use knee if you cannot get eyes on.
  10. BBear

    BBear LE Reviewer

    The problem with this whole "only on your belt buckle-itis" thing is that people are afraid to use other firing positions as they'll get a bollocking for it. I saw recently an infantry WO2, my capbadge, grip a Fusilier as he got up to the kneeling position in order to fire over the bund line he was using as cover. His argument for gripping the lad was that "he should crawl up the thing, and fire from the prone". The problem was you couldn't crawl up it, in my opinion the young lad was right and the Sarnt Major in the wrong.

    Soldiers should be encouraged to use different firing positions - they're taught on the ranges for a reason.

    Having said that, unless there is some quite effective supporting fire coming in, I'd be on my belt buckle.
  11. Agreed, you cannot go with ridgid rules, Ok for teaching recruits the basics, but you expect any decent infantryman to use his tactical nounce. The scenario i gave at GG was out of neccesity at times, when closing on en-trenched enemy. Its like what is deemed 'bullet-proof cover'. In any training establishment, its some solid earth bank, bund, substantial brick or concrete structures, dry-stone walls etc etc. In reality, cover could be a little depression in the ground, and i think anyone who's been under fire will testify , you get quite good at spotting little dips in the ground . In Brecon, if you took cover in a small dpresion, you would have got a boot ***********.
  12. Many, many moons ago I was briefed on this issue by an infantry captain. He advocated the knee, as it gave more momentum. By way of comparison, he told us that Second World War Germans used to stand when skirmishing as it was the best way to maintain momentum.

    One point about skirmishing is that it's supposed to be done after winning the firefight/ suppressing the enemy whatever it's called these days. In theory you're not therefore under effective enemy fire.

    I also recall that direct assaults were the fashion by those training me- again based on the Parachute Regimenet's experience in the Falklands. The premise here was that right and left flanking just put you in someone else's killing field, so the best thing was just to skirmish straight through a position- and apparently, so the story went, this is what para reg did in the Falklands- Agression and all that- and that's why they won all that glory. That description of para reg tactics seems consistent with that 'Not mentioned in dispactches' with the exception that the author strongly recommended against using direct assault tactics- as that was why they won all that posthoumous glory!
  13. 'Not mentioned in despatches' was used to display the superiority of 'directive command' against the 'restrictive command' that was used by Jones. Interesting book, but I found his attitude got on my tits, trying to diminish the acheivements of the battalion. What he failed to highlight, I thought, was the fact that you can call the command of a battalion, and the way those orders are disseminated and acted on, any name you like. But, the guys on the ground knew the mission, and continued to crack on even after lots of casualties , shit weather and a terrain that favoured the defender. That speaks volumes for the spirit of the Para soldier, definately a Toms and JNCO's battle.
    As ever, without much support, the ground dictates how you assault a position and from what direction. The startline (or 1 of them) to the settlement was 8km, or 5 miles, along an istimus, so relatively narrow, with in-depth, mutually supported positions. Hence frontal assaults, mainly but not totally.
    As mentioned, if the enemy position is supressed, no problem taking a knee as you fire and manouvre through the position from the FAP ( probably called something else now!). However, winning the firefight always takes longer than expected or trained for!
  14. IIRC from doing Long Look the Aussies used to do everything on their belt buckles when they came under EEF which took forever to get anywhere and especially when it came to close country (i.e. Jungle) you'd find yourself getting tangled up in all sorts of vegitation and really slow everything down.

    The enemy - guys from the 10th Independant Rifle Company would scatter leaves from the Gimpie tree all over the approaches to their positions so just about everyone would have some of this stuff in them - Barstewerds, so it was in everyones best interests not to crawl everwhere.

    One of the things I always used to get my section to do when F&M was to say to themselves 'I'm up, I'm running, I'm down' this would give them the correct distance to run when moving forward.
  15. With regard to the Falklands: Avoid the prone in any area that might contain 'mines'. Double your chance of getting blown to bits?

    It is one of those twisted half truths. As a lot of AP mines were thrown about you kneel to engage the enermy without getting blown up but giving him as small a target as possible.