Officer time in the field/action

Juice

Clanker
Hello, have my Main Board in a weeks time and just wondering, out of curiosity, up to which rank you spend significant time of training with your platoon in the field, and likewise as boots on the ground officer getting involved in patrols and scraps with the enemy. I assume each theatre of war is different, so for example in Afghanistan, would Captains still go on patrols and now and then get the opportunity to fire a shot in anger?
 
If, as an officer, you're having to 'fire a shot in anger' you've probably screwed the whole op up. Officers are there to lead and direct, not get involved in firefights except in extremis, in which case, you've probably just been ambushed.
 

Juice

Clanker
If, as an officer, you're having to 'fire a shot in anger' you've probably screwed the whole op up. Officers are there to lead and direct, not get involved in firefights except in extremis, in which case, you've probably just been ambushed.
Roger, what about time in the field?
 
Roger, what about time in the field?

That would depend, as you've already identified, in that each theatre of operations is different, as will be the type of activity undertaken by whichever corps you join.
 

DSJ

LE
Without knowing which Regiment/Corps/role you might be interested in, this might be a rough guide:

11 months @ RMAS followed by special-to arm training

2-3 years as a Platoon or Troop Commander, possible posting as a Lt/junior Captain to a training establishment like Pirbright/Catterick

Company 2IC/specialised role (Mors, Recce)/FOO

From thereon in you'll spend less time on Regimental Duties and will be posted in line with the requirements of the service, etc etc.

Clearly each different part of the Army is slightly different in terms of postings and next steps and I'm far too long in the tooth to advise on the current specifics, but the majority of your 'in field' soldiering will, in all probability, take place in the early part of your career.**

**Operational tours/requirements not being taken into consideration.
 

Juice

Clanker
Without knowing which Regiment/Corps/role you might be interested in, this might be a rough guide:

11 months @ RMAS followed by special-to arm training

2-3 years as a Platoon or Troop Commander, possible posting as a Lt/junior Captain to a training establishment like Pirbright/Catterick

Company 2IC/specialised role (Mors, Recce)/FOO

From thereon in you'll spend less time on Regimental Duties and will be posted in line with the requirements of the service, etc etc.

Clearly each different part of the Army is slightly different in terms of postings and next steps and I'm far too long in the tooth to advise on the current specifics, but the majority of your 'in field' soldiering will, in all probability, take place in the early part of your career.**

**Operational tours/requirements not being taken into consideration.
Thanks for this! I'm considering joining an infantry regiment, currently my preferred regiments are Paras, Irish Guards, Rifles
 

DSJ

LE
Thanks for this! I'm considering joining an infantry regiment, currently my preferred regiments are Paras, Irish Guards, Rifles

Suggest you jump onto the recruiting forum in that case - there will be some more current infanteers/ex infanteers who can better advise.

Nonetheless, a rough guide post-Sandhurst would be looking at spending couple of years as a Pl Comd, before moving onto Company 2IC/RSO/Specialised Pl Comd and then onto the vast and unknowable world of MCM Div and their infinite skill for smashing round pegs into square holes when it comes to postings.

Best of luck with the Main Board!
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
He told me the story of that, and like a lot of gallantry awards, it wasn't quite the version in the citation. OCs and COs weren't beyond sexing things up to get awards which were seen as reflecting well on them. This account from the guy you link even notes that it was rare for a Platoon Commander to be in that position:


@Juice

The short answer is: it is far more determined by luck than role or rank. That said:

1. Join the infantry or at a stretch light cav.
2. Be the best platoon commander then put Recce Pl commander down as your No1 choice.
3. Do selection for SF or Pathfinders.
4. From Major onwards your chances of being on the "front-line" decrease dramatically.

If you know anyone who can invade Britain, encouraging them to do that will also help. The major thing standing in your way is that, having fucked up 20 years of major operations, the chances of politicians sending the Army into another one during your (relative) youth and junior officer years are somewhere between zero.
 
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He told me the story of that, and like a lot of gallantry awards, it wasn't quite the version in the citation. OCs and COs weren't beyond sexing things up to get awards which were seen as reflecting well on them. This account from the guy you link even notes that it was rare for a Platoon Commander to be in that position:


@Juice

The short answer is: it is far more determined by luck than role or rank. That said:

1. Join the infantry or at a stretch light cav.
2. Be the best platoon commander then put Recce Pl commander down as your No1 choice.
3. Do selection for SF or Pathfinders.
4. From Major onwards your chances of being on the "front-line" decrease dramatically.

If you know anyone who can invade Britain, encouraging them to do that will also help. The major thing standing in your way is that, having fucked up 20 years of major operations, the chances of politicians sending the Army into another one during your (relative) youth and junior officer years are somewhere between zero.

And neatly illustrates my point at #2.

“The Taliban seemed to be sending pairs or groups of four to probe our flank and after a while I realised two sections were separated more than I would have liked.” The southern section of the platoon was then ambushed by machine-gun fire and Lt Adamson moved towards the fighting.

He, his Mortar Fire Controller (MFC) Corporal Fraser Hamilton, known as Hammy, and an interpreter, suddenly found themselves alone.

The trio were forced to wade chest-deep across a river to join the southern section. “The two Taliban came out of this 8ft maize right by the river,” recalls Lt Adamson.

“They were three to four metres away and suddenly there was this exchange of fire. One of them had an ammo belt-fed Soviet machine gun called a PKM, the other an AK47.”

We were both low on ammunition and I gave another burst and was out.

“After that I was on autopilot. It was either a second to scramble out of the river and bayonet him or two seconds to change magazine and shoot him. I chose the one-second option.

“But after I bayoneted the second guy I realised I was out of the river bed, out of ammunition, and we’d got two, but how many more were there?”
 
If, as an officer, you're having to 'fire a shot in anger' you've probably screwed the whole op
. This account from the guy you link even notes that it was rare for a Platoon Commander to be in that position:

From those that commissioned with me and then joined the Infantry, I would say that it was fairly common for Infantry Pl Comd to be returning fire on Op Herrick.

Nothing to do with "screwing the Op up".
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
From those that commissioned with me and then joined the Infantry, I would say that it was fairly common for Infantry Pl Comd to be returning fire on Op Herrick.

Nothing to do with "screwing the Op up".
But much less likely than for their soldiers, is surely the point.
 
But much less likely than for their soldiers, is surely the point.
True. However, not rare as you stated.

Herrick having finished, it's pretty moot, anyway. The most recent (non-SF) contact was in Mali, yesterday, I believe - first one since 2014, the CO LRRG claimed.
 
From those that commissioned with me and then joined the Infantry, I would say that it was fairly common for Infantry Pl Comd to be returning fire on Op Herrick.

Nothing to do with "screwing the Op up".

And, while you disagree so vehemently that you have to resort to buttons, how many of those instances were in an unplanned contact, rather than at the initiation of the Pl Cdr?
 
And, while you disagree so vehemently that you have to resort to buttons, how many of those instances were in an unplanned contact, rather than at the initiation of the Pl Cdr?
No idea. However, seeing as Pl Comd engaging the enemy was a daily occurrence in many areas, I wouldn't really class it as "in extremis" - that would tend to indicate something happening rarely.

Saying that a Pl Comd firing their rifle was indicative of them screwing the Op up is unfair.

Don't let the pixels upset you; I certainly didn't intend for them to do so. I shall remove the "disagree" as it seems to have aggrevated you.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
True. However, not rare as you stated.

Herrick having finished, it's pretty moot, anyway. The most recent (non-SF) contact was in Mali, yesterday, I believe - first one since 2014, the CO LRRG claimed.
(As Adamson, the Lt in the article stated)

But yes, pretty moot for the foreseeable.
 
(As Adamson, the Lt in the article stated)
Re-reading it, I believe he was talking about the bayonneting being rare, rather than the shooting.
 

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