Bit of help needed.

Two questions that kind of tripped me up at Briefing. I have an understanding of what Officers do, and what their roles and responsibilities are, but my answers suggested otherwise.

So I have two questions which if someone could help me answer, the help would be really appreciated.

1) You've become an Officer, what does a typical day look like?

I took a bit of a guess and said perhaps taking my platoon for exercise etc. At a bit of a loss as to what I should say.

I know there is the cheeky answer of, no day in the Army is normal, but I would appreciate any officers or people who have an idea as to what a fairly typical day off or on operations could be like.

2) What are the roles and responsibilities of an Officer?

My current answer is:

Constantly ensure that all the men underneath you are being looked after, have no problems, getting on all the courses they need for personal career development, as well as ensuring that their domestic life is in balance.

But this seems sparse, and could do with some fleshing out. Any advice or help?

Much appreciated guys.
I would rspectfully suggest that the typical day and responsibilities will depend on what corp you have joined.

However irrespective of corp, the best advice for conduct immediately post Sandhurst, is STFU, listen, observe and learn from the SNCO you are "commanding"

Troop/section piss-ups at the end of arduous weeks are also highly recommended, beers being supplied by you of course.

That gets you the guys onto your side, and guarantees honest feedback on your performance till that point.
I had the same question 11 years ago, didn't know the answer because, frankly, why would you. I took an approximate guess and they appeared satisfied.

I imagine the question is more to examine your expectations rather than actual knowledge of the daily routine of a YO.
This is something I had a difficulty answering too.

Could someone expand on this?
"It's depends on your rank sir, as a platoon commander as 2nd Lt I expect to spend the day sat behind behind a desk and the odd weekend on an exercise, and in the evening's blowing my company commander whilst my platoon sergeant is at my house shagging my wife because she doesn't love my boyish good looks anymore"

Being real I would think a good answer would be; "seeing to administrative tasks, constructing briefings for my platoon, expanding on my knowledge of my chosen role/corps, conducting inspections, liasing with my platoon sergeant as well as company commander for training exercises and generally making the most of the my SNCO's experience to ensure my platoons training and standards is on par and beyond whats expected of me"
Lieutenant John Beardsworth is a Platoon Commander of a Warrior Platoon with 3 MERCIAN in Fallingbostel, Germany. This is his account of a typical day.


I come into the office whilst the lads get on parade and scan my emails, just to make sure nothing new has come in. I command more than 30 men, which includes my right hand man: the Platoon Sergeant.

The morning is the ideal time for 'phys', and normally comprises a run or tab (march with weight) before mid-morning coffee in the mess.

Coffee and cake in the mess is an ideal chance to catch up with fellow Platoon Commanders. It is also a good opportunity to bounce new ideas off each other.

The time before lunch is normally spent on lessons for the soldiers. These cover subjects ranging from field craft and weapon skills, to first aid and computer literacy. Occasionally I am required to teach these, and it is essential to have a few lessons tucked up my sleeve to pull out at short notice. When not teaching, this time is invaluable for catching up on Platoon paperwork or planning future lessons, exercises and ranges. I try to squeeze interviews into this period as well, and these cover issues from discipline, compassionate cases and career guidance for soldiers of all ranks.

Lunch in the mess is another opportunity to catch up. All officers have been Platoon Commanders before, and so there are lots of people to ask advice from if you're working on something new.

The afternoon is normally dedicated to vehicle maintenance. As a Platoon Commander you are directly responsible for your fleet of 4 30-tonne Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicles. These formidable machines require repairs and servicing which is achieved with the close support of your Warrior Sergeant. The soldiers normally finish at around 1630, leaving me an hour or so to finish any paperwork before heading back to the mess.

If I'm feeling energetic, I'll head down to the gym or swimming pool for an hour before dinner.

Dinner in the mess is usually only for those of us who live in, with the exception of Wednesdays which is 'happy hour' when the married guys come in with their wives, children and dogs!
Gosh John you are keen. Now we Cold War chaps back in the 70s with our 432s were still pissed at 07:30 and in fact were still bashing down the road in our GTIs from some nearby BMH.
So 08:30 Pl Sgt is at the Coy Office covering for us.
09:15 appear for coffee in the back of a 432 being first paraded.
09:45 seen crossing the square with a clip board for the mess for coffee
10:30 emerge from Mess after coffee and a couple of King Edwards
And so the day goes on.


Book Reviewer
2) What are the roles and responsibilities of an Officer?
One hates to intrude, but as someone who has stood back and observed new officers trying to get the hang of a tough job, may I offer my opinion?

Identify the big shouty bastard with three chevrons on his arm. Listen. Then do it again. Do not under any circumstances try to be his friend. He will have enough friends. Let him sniff the glove. Then you will either bond, or he will chew his way up your arm and suck out your eyeballs.

The other responsibility of an officer is to buy a poodle. Nobody takes the piss out of a big man walking a poodle I have noticed.
I would suggest listening to ECE-Tech, regardless of your corps, your platoon/troop/whatever sergeant usually knows what to do next, leaving you to fill out the paper work (probably all computerised these days) One piece of advice. When I had a Recce Troop, my main job, regardless of tasking/objectives laid on my by the BC was to make sure my guys had enough beer, enough scran, enough ciggies and an up to date Sigs SOP.
And being a Recce Troop, and therefore dispersed, the up to date Sigs SOP was maybe to enable the guys to get to where the beer, scran & ciggies were ?

Sound drills !

You, Sir, are (or were if now retired) the sort of officer I could respect.
I salute you ! (Metaphorically because I am no longer serving)
Thank you ECE-Tech, I return your salute (also metaphorically, a. Because I left when they were still using SLRs and 105mm Pack Hows, and even 40mm Bofors, and b. because the arthritis in my shoulder won't let me get my arm up to the desired level)

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