Battle Drill

January 30, 2005: In combat, speed kills. Or saves lives if you happen to be the faster team. In Iraq, American troops have learned the value of drills, exercises that increase speed. These drills are the precise sequence of movements you make in combat situations. The scariest ones involve clearing buildings. You want to hit uncleared rooms so fast that any enemy fighters inside won’t have time to react, or will react too slowly to be effective. These same drills have been used to good effect in the hundreds of raids conducted every month. In most cases, there is no one waiting with a weapon, but if there is, it is rare for them to even get a shot off. Speed also limits the ability to hide weapons or documents.

Many troops coming to Iraq thought they had their drills down pretty good. But they found that a little more speed could be a life saver. Fire teams (4-5 troops) can sometimes be seen practicing in their bases. Even marines aboard their amphibious ships, on their way to Iraq, will take over small portions of the ship and practice for hours, in the hope of shaving a second or two off their time. The moves become automatic, and buy you a few seconds for when the unexpected does happen, and you need a few seconds to get out of it alive.

Even non-combat troops have been introduced to battle drills in Iraq. Every soldier and marine gets some exposure to these drills in basic training. If you are assigned to a combat support unit (in a combat unit), there is some refresher training. Just in case. But in Iraq, it became a matter of life and death how well, and how fast you can open fire from inside a truck, or get out of the truck and get in the best position to fight back. The army opened a special school in Kuwait, where non-combat troops can learn how to survive, when they come under fire while driving supply trucks through dangerous areas.

New tactics have been developed as a result of so many troops getting involved in combat. When speed is needed just to get near the building to be cleared, a hummer will be used. The vehicle can approach a building more quickly, and quietly, than an M-2 Bradley. The Stryker, because it’s on wheels, is almost as fast, and the Stryker brigades have used their armored vehicles speed and low noise level to quickly get close to targets, before the troops jump out and into the building. Even getting out of a vehicle quickly can be improved with practice. Nothing like a few close calls to generate a lot of enthusiasm for practice, lots of practice.


Good post Tom, good skills and drills are always going to save lives, before my last tour in Iraq we practised every spare moment we had, and it proved to be time well spent as every contact situation my unit was involved in the drills become second nature.At the time there was lots of the usual whinging
{during our training} of doing the same drills over and over again, but as the guys found out that old cliche "Train hard fight easy" is true.


One thing i forgot to mention is that there's a fine line between practising drills, to f**king the guy's around for the sake of trying to look keen {ie SGT SPUNKTRUMPETS, plt are always getting beasted they most be mongs :!: }

As well as keeping intrest in the training you are trying to achive :!:
Was it Montgomery who said "Time spent in training is never lost in War" ?
I don't know who said either quote but I prefer this one:

A pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood!
No substitute for good, hard, imaginative training. Drills perfected to the point where each member of the team practically knows what the others are thinking.

I remember seeing a patrol come under fire in the Falls, their drills were instinctive, fast and flawless their shooting accurate it was a joy to behold. Months of realistic training prior to deployment paid off in dividends. They were not unique, the standard of training and professionalism in that particular battalion enabled them to dominate the enemy in their TAOR immediately.

More recently that same unit did extremely well in Iraq too, same ethos obviously prevails.

Train Hard Fight Easy!
In the last year or so I have really seen a change in the way we train. The threat of some proper combat has meant in our Bn we have focussed back on the basics- fitness, drills and shooting. In the six months before an Iraq tour, the Company was on the ranges at least twice a week; everyone knows their points of aim at different ranges and from different positions.

All I can say is that if PIRA want to kick off again, they had better hope they don't do it when an up-to-speed post Iraq Bn is there. :twisted:
better to be tried by nine than carried by six