Drill Nights 2 - How Best to Use the Time?

#1
I'd be very interested in ARRSE opinions on how to best use Drill Nights.  

E.g. Is it worth trying to fit 2 periods of training in or would it be better to aim for 1 and do fitness for the rest of the evening?  Are drill nights the best time to get ITDs out of the way, or should they concentrate on preparation for the next training weekend?  Are they worth having at all?  Etc. etc.

All thoughtful and well considered replies gratefully received...
 
#2
Paoli,

I think they very much depend on the unit involved. As a RSIGNALS Ptarmigan unit, we need a lot of time for vehicle maintenance, although the last Tuesday of the month is usually a Sports & Social night.

ITD nights tend to get the lowest turnout and we are looking at moving ITD lectures across to Maintenance weekends. All in barracks w/e now include PT.

The Tuesday night before any exercise is always exercise prep.

Cheers,
msr
 
#3
Before SDR , we had this problem at my old Company.
The boss instituted a regime of "Interesting and challenging" lessons. For example ; Fibua in the TAC,Section Battle Drills, Lots of .22 range, SAS unusual weapons lessons, Orienteering in local parks, Bayonet practice (Cheers Kev) , Military-orientated civilian nights, local initative open nights, etc.

In other words , it was "Every Tuesday something different" , or was for the most part. it certainly helped, when members of the company spoke to those who were absent, and told them what a brilliant Tuesday night they missed.

The other part of the problem, was before this regime, people weren't turning in because "It's fcuking boring, and I'm learning Jack, and sick and bleeding tired of moving furniture and doing press-ups" So, basically the boss converted Tuesday nights into high intensity learning/fun , and moved PT to a voluntary Wednesday night activity.

Amazingly, the turn out for 2 hour VOLUNTARY UNPAID PT sessions,which the Boss was always present for, , was most of the Company.

The sessions were organised from a start from the basics and work up. So we started with circuits, and built up to regular BFT's and CFT's , and no one cared or bitched, because they hadn't been ordered to do it. The results were excellent, and fitness was certainly improved across the Company. It showed on our next annual camp, with My company going 22 miles in full battle order in 90 degrees , with the only medical injuries being blisters  - (Camp 98 ) We certainly won all the Regimental mil skills competitions too.

We still did PT on alternate Tuesday nights, but mostly fun and team stuff, 5-a-side etc.

One of the things that could/should be done, is to have a look at some of the tools/weapons/items currently gathering dust in the TAC , get them out, and have a lesson on them , as opposed to the usual "This is the Rifle 5.56, this is the Radio Personal 349 etc etc zzzzzzz"

Get the LAW sim out , get the local survival instructor in for a lesson, Organise a Radio Exercise with Landrovers, Train soldiers on Veccy maintenance, changing tyres etc, have section competitions in mil skills, always good on Tuesday nights, because the others will get around their people to get them in, there's loads of things, you just have to creatively use what you have :)
 
#4
I wish that more people had access to the sort of training regime that PTP described. However, my understanding is that most of us don't.

This being so, I think it would benefit a lot of units if they had drill nights only, say, 2 or 3 nights a month. This would (hopefully) give 2 or 3 nights with a good turnout, not 4 with average-poor ones, and would enable the powers that be to plan something interesting for the evenings concerned. (I don't know whether it's asking too much for something interesting to be arranged 4 nights a month, but surely 2/3 nights is possible?)
 

OldSnowy

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#5
In my experience, 2 x 45 min lessons are not really practicable.  By the time 1st parade is over, and you have caught everyone after the post-parade bomb-burst ("I've got to go to the orderly room to sort my pay out...") and then set up, you're lucky to get 1 hour of decent quality training in.  To be fair, there is always something else to do, what with the admin nightmares that are UNICOM for kit issue (takes hours) and TAMIS for our pay.  Plus, at 2 weekends out a month we are usually always either clearing up or  getting ready :)

However, for my many years in the Inf we trained exactly as PTP did - orienteering, bayonet fighting, FIBUA and all (Wonder - was he ever at Sutton?).  Now, in a Corps, we do 2 trade, 1 Mil, 1 fitness per month.  For trade, the VMs go and repair our wagons or have a lesson from the ASM, and the other trades do their thing similarly.  For mil training, it is based on who is around to take a lesson, and who turns in (we have people coming in from a very wide area).  Very rarely do we have a formal 45 min period, unless it is on something like the 9mm, or LSW or something.
 
#6
time to make this one sticky and send a copy to my PSI!!!!

One comment pork pie,

You may well find that reducing the number of parade nights actually has the opposite effect to that you are trying to achieve...

If you stop parading on one week then noone is in and they will find something ewlse to do that night, they then might find something else the next week that trg's not on and before you know it they have suddenly discovered all these wonderful things that can be done elsewhere and stop coming in altogether.

I'm also amazed that ITD nights are the lowest attended for some of you! Our ITD nights generally have the HIGHEST  attendance because points make prizes and ITD subjects get you your bounty. (And I know that technically the lectures aren't mandatory but tht OC and the CO look far more favourably on granting an extension to someone who just needs 1 or 2 subjects than to someone who needs a range and 10 lectures.
 
#7
having spent last three drill nights on gate guard
cos the lesson was gpmg intro  i am a gunner and i know how to use it  ohh and we coulndt have any live rounds cos the link was on top of the  5.56 and they couldnt be arssed to get it out . :)
        i rember drill nights when we did quality training
and decent lectures  then all our commited blokes went to chillwell or afganistian or iraq
 
#9
One comment pork pie,

has the opposite effect to that you are trying to achieve...
Humphrey,

no prob, it's something I've grown used to in life!  :)
 
#10
You could always add lectures on potental theatres of conflict?
 
#11
Hi, Here's another Porkpie! Paoli, please let's combine our units under FAS! I get more attendance at ITDs (A) trg than maintenance, mind you we've got NCRS (Non Communicating Radio System!) As for drill nights, although the're short I feel it's got to be once a week. Reason, in my opinion, is that it provides the link between the individual and the organisation.
 
#12
Pork_Pie said:
I wish that more people had access to the sort of training regime that PTP described. However, my understanding is that most of us don't.

This being so, I think it would benefit a lot of units if they had drill nights only, say, 2 or 3 nights a month. This would (hopefully) give 2 or 3 nights with a good turnout, not 4 with average-poor ones, and would enable the powers that be to plan something interesting for the evenings concerned. (I don't know whether it's asking too much for something interesting to be arranged 4 nights a month, but surely 2/3 nights is possible?)
Pork.

Just print out PTPs post and wave it under the other members And the CO/OC/RSMs noses to see what kind of response you get. Worste case 'find another unit' with PTPs kind of mentality. I always found entertaining the troops not only embeds the knowledge but keeps them coming back for more.

JJ
 
#14
claire_midia said:
If i was you lot, and im not , i would start doing some medical training.
Why Is the NHS going on strike :?: :wink:
 
#15
woody said:
having spent last three drill nights on gate guard
cos the lesson was gpmg intro  i am a gunner and i know how to use it  ohh and we coulndt have any live rounds cos the link was on top of the  5.56 and they couldnt be arssed to get it out . :)
        i rember drill nights when we did quality training
and decent lectures  then all our commited blokes went to chillwell or afganistian or iraq
So you don't think you're getting quality training? What do you think could be done better?
 
#16
I've been organising Coy training for coming up to a year now, and it's been interesting and challenging to say the least.

I have now officially 'done' Pam 3 (lots of lovely lessons on Ambushes/attacks/All arms and the like. When done by someone who's well into their war, these can be brilliant fun, and everyone wants to know what is supposed to happen instead of the cold-wet gang-fcuk that usually ensues. Mixed with this for variety we've had lots of sport, various weapon drills, and the odd fun lesson to keep it interesting. But...

We can't teach them this stuff again, or they won't come in. We also can't get them to teach this to recruits, because they aren't confident enough with most of the material and they don't want to. If I dick them, they just don't turn up.

Now, my job (as I was told to my horror when I first turned up) is retention, so as a result I am heading down the line of non-sense lessons (we're going to do underwater knife fighting next month) to keep them coming in. What am I going to do?

And incidentally, Company football (down the park) has no higher attendance than the rest of the month. How does that work?
 
#17
we're going to do underwater knife fighting next month
I don't think that adopting the "we've done that once so we'll not do it again" is sensible, although what I think you are saying is you don't want to repeat basic stuff too soon.

Well underwater knife fighting isn't a very useful skill and there are no end of useful skills to be learned. If you are looking for something that is useful, but that rifle companies don't do every day, why not look at getting some help from your supports platoons. AFV Recognition, have a play with the milan simulator. Get your assault pioneers to do something on minewarfare, booby traps or whatever. Signals skills even? Alternatively look to see what specialist training teams can do for you.

I know the problem about retention and not being too repetetive, but I think it is possible to have variety. Nonetheless the core skills and drills only get good through repetition, so you have to find a balance. Not easy I'd agree.
 
#18
Stop calling them "Drill" nights, let's face it not much drill goes on, and what does wouldn't impress the Guards Division, call them "Training" nights. Sounds better, could sound interesting to potential recruits and get them in through the door, "drill" nights sound too Dads Army! Let the regs have their say and offer their well meant advice for 15 minutes or so and send them home. Let the TA get on with the rest of the evening, whatever the "it" is. Oh and call the place a "Training Hall or Centre" not a "Drill" Hall!
 
#19
Yaris said:
Stop calling them "Drill" nights, let's face it not much drill goes on, and what does wouldn't impress the Guards Division, call them "Training" nights. Sounds better, could sound interesting to potential recruits and get them in through the door, "drill" nights sound too Dads Army! Let the regs have their say and offer their well meant advice for 15 minutes or so and send them home. Let the TA get on with the rest of the evening, whatever the "it" is. Oh and call the place a "Training Hall or Centre" not a "Drill" Hall!
Great stuff.
Spent 8 years in the Guards,MBT'S & CVR(W) you can work it out, went through the Tea Pot in 78-9.
Had to do Full Basic Trg again as i had been out so long :oops:
Our training nights were a pain, real basic stuff, no very good trade Trg if any at all :?
As i had started Hashing at the same time so something had to give...Yep it was the TA...
 
#20
I think it also depends whether you are a big or small unit. When I was infantry there was always loads to do. If we weren't sorting out the vehicles/ radios/ weapons then we'd be doing first aid/ fieldcraft etc. Our SPSI was also very hot on everybody being able to do someone else's job so those of us in HQ Coy got to learn what everyone else was up to. So one night we'd go and play with recce, then sigs (etc). We had pretty good attendance.

Then I went to a rifle company. This wasn't as interesting for me personally, but there was always lots to do. Mainly, in our case, keeping our kit up to scratch and doing stacks of weapon handling stuff. Our PSI there was obsessed with TA having quality weapon handling skills (not least because he was supervising our live firing). I'll say that because of him I became pretty hot on the SA80, LSW, GPMG and LAW.

Lastly I went to the Int Corps. After training I was posted to a Security Company where attendance was patchy because (A) everybody seemed to have quite windswept and interesting jobs ("Oh, Bob's in Moldavia selling water-filtration kit this week") and (B) the geographical spread of the guys. We also didn't really see our PSI as much as the guys at the Central London HQ. We were pretty much left to our own devices, but we tended to plan for what we were up to at weekends more than train "for the sake of it."

My conclusion is that, hey, it's the army = you do what you are told = it's up to who's in charge. A good PSI/ SPSI boss is the key.

V!
 

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