Do squaddies still need survival skills

Discussion in 'The Training Wing' started by gary-pompadour, Feb 26, 2009.

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  1. When I first joined my Bn I was suckered into and sent off on a course/exercise called Ludwig's Lair which was a all arms E&E course in Germany - excellent course btw - anyway that sort of set me off on a life long quest for skills and knowledge.

    On leaving the army I worked for a guy who does tv programmes for awhile before going solo and seting up my own company which has a good turn over of civilians and we also run free (at cost) courses for cadets, scouts ect - but squaddies are few and far between.

    So my question is this do e&e and survival skills still have a place on the modern battle field - with the prominance of mech is the battle field deemed to fast moving??

    What do you guys think??
  2. I don't know about the British army, but in Australia it is a good basic skill. For us it's not just for operational worst case scenarios, but also because we live in a decent sized country, it is pretty useful for worst case scenrrios during training or travelling in our our backyard.
    I think at the very least a soldier should have a few clues about water procurement, shelter and celestial navigation in the hot environment and fire and shelter in a cold one.
    In Australia, the regular infantry can volunteer to do a course. The SAS do a pretty intensive Combat survival and conduct after capture course.
    Like first aid skills, survival skills are good general skills to have as a soldier. If nothing else, you can impress your Missus and kids when you go camping!
    There is a good video series on Aussie survival called 'The Bush Tucker man'. Hosted by Maj Les Hiddins a former Austy army survival instructor.
  3. A mechanised war machine is useless without human support and maintenance, and a human war machine is useless if individual components can't look after themselves and adapt to the environment to some degree if separated from the whole.

    And when you take into account that most wondrous pieces of equipment making logistics and military strikes easier are usually flying over hostile territory and could be difficult to recover the specialist trained personal if downed, you kinda want them to last aslong as possible.

    Plus it gives squadies something to do.
  4. Considering the amount of time spent on exercise, I think that teaching soldiers backwoods skills is a good thing as it makes me at least feel happier in the field. It serves to make the environment seem less hostile.
  5. They certainly still teach survival on the Jungle Warfare courses!
    Much of the stuff taught is transferrable to other environments, even a little knowledge can be a lifesaver!
  6. It is certainly a useful thing to have.

    And you can make some really nice extras for your basha or location. I used to make little tables and chairs.

    And I agree it gets you to respect the environment and tune with it, rather than you just being in it.
  7. I joined an infantry battalion a long, long time ago and most of the young soldiers were from a northern, city environment. The first time I went out on exercise in the "woods" I realised that most of them couldn't even put a basha up against a dry-stone wall. So, we went out and practised lots of that sort of stuff over the next few months. Not sure how useful it would have been if Ivan had come trundling over the IGB but it did give them more confidence to adapt to the environment that they were living/fighting in.

    However....we concentrate on Ray Mears-type stuff which is great fun and a useful skill but will the next generation of soldiers be fighting in an urban environment; will the skills-set that they need to survive be based on living rough in built-up areas ? Rather than getting water out of a river and purifying it, will we be draining air-con units in bombed out shopping malls and drinking from those ?

    Or, going a bit over the top, will the generation of soldiers after that, need to be able to survive in a cyber-environment ?
  8. Good point. There probably is a case for a Urban survival package as well as the traditional Cold or Hot environment rural packages. Lock defeating etc too. I think urban climbing and roping could also be useful.
    There are probably just too many skill sets to maintain, so courses just need to be tailored as operational environments change.
  9. Ex Sweaty Palm.... for winners :D

    It isn't just about making out we are Ray Mears or similar, it gives a chance for the lads to learn adaption, something not always inate. It also shows people how little they really need, and personally I just love sitting in the boonies making bashers....
  10. SERE is a MATT now