Officer time in the field/action

As mentioned, conventional warfare exercises you'll be busy - attempting to - direct your full screws who'll be doing the bulk of the 'fun stuff' with their sections. As a newly minted platoon commander you will be fully involved on the ground on all exercises etc though, just not 'getting rounds down' unless it's went pete tong.

I'm not as clued up as DSJ, though typically it's a couple of years as a platoon commander then a stint at a training establishment. Any officer who was a captain was typically in the ops room when I was in Afghanistan, though I think recce platoon commander is/ was typically a captain and they still went out on the ground etc.

As a slight digression, I recently saw on social media my very first platoon commander in battalion is now an OC in another battalion, so took him ~10 years to hit major. An absolutely top officer who organised the best adventure training when he was a subby :smile:
 

QRK2

LE
As mentioned, conventional warfare exercises you'll be busy - attempting to - direct your full screws who'll be doing the bulk of the 'fun stuff' with their sections. As a newly minted platoon commander you will be fully involved on the ground on all exercises etc though, just not 'getting rounds down' unless it's went pete tong.

I'm not as clued up as DSJ, though typically it's a couple of years as a platoon commander then a stint at a training establishment. Any officer who was a captain was typically in the ops room when I was in Afghanistan, though I think recce platoon commander is/ was typically a captain and they still went out on the ground etc.

As a slight digression, I recently saw on social media my very first platoon commander in battalion is now an OC in another battalion, so took him ~10 years to hit major. An absolutely top officer who organised the best adventure training when he was a subby :smile:

If you're lucky, around a year for many these days, I'd put the norm at about 18 months now.
 
If you're lucky, around a year for many these days, I'd put the norm at about 18 months now.

Fair enough, was enduring ops when I hit battalion so I guess the powers that be were keen for subbies to experience the full 2 year FOE before rotating them on.
 
If you're lucky, around a year for many these days, I'd put the norm at about 18 months now.
tbh I think the average has been 12-18 months for around 20 years, if not longer. IIRC non grads in our Battalion used to do 2 years before they achieved parity of TACOS c. 2005.

Needless to say, those who commissioned in 2020 to find themselves housebound or in charge of vaccination teams must feel severely shortchanged.
 

QRK2

LE
Fair enough, was enduring ops when I hit battalion so I guess the powers that be were keen for subbies to experience the full 2 year FOE before rotating them on.

That would be sensible, rather than take over three months before the tour and next posting 4 months after.
 
I think Glasgow Jock's experience might unfairly flatter the FOE!

Officer MS drives the Army, its effectiveness is secondary. During Telic/Herrick ( both early & late ) I saw 2Lts take over platoons immediately before and during tours. Many units also saw their role changed several times before deployment, requiring the Battalion ORBAT to be re-drawn up. Platoons were formed, disbanded, detached to other battlegroups, disbanded for use as BCRs, re-jigged as mentoring teams etc.

This is indicative of Good Things such as flexibility, but death for the continuity we aimed at, and utterly contrary to 2Lts' expectations i.e. being introduced to 13 Platoon who they will spend 18 months with and Take To War.

Its almost as if the blokes aren't that bothered about their latest square jawed hero, and regimental identity isn't that much of a big deal on Ops. :)
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
I think Glasgow Jock's experience might unfairly flatter the FOE!

Officer MS drives the Army, its effectiveness is secondary. During Telic/Herrick ( both early & late ) I saw 2Lts take over platoons immediately before and during tours. Many units also saw their role changed several times before deployment, requiring the Battalion ORBAT to be re-drawn up. Platoons were formed, disbanded, detached to other battlegroups, disbanded for use as BCRs, re-jigged as mentoring teams etc.

This is indicative of Good Things such as flexibility, but death for the continuity we aimed at, and utterly contrary to 2Lts' expectations i.e. being introduced to 13 Platoon who they will spend 18 months with and Take To War.

Its almost as if the blokes aren't that bothered about their latest square jawed hero, and regimental identity isn't that much of a big deal on Ops. :)

Both sides of that encounter are asking themselves the same question - how are you going to get me killed?
 
You're right @Bubbles_Barker , Rose tinted lens from me. The only continuity the Jocks were bothered about was their full screws/ sgts, which was arguably easier to maintain for pdt/ tour.

I recall a freshly minted subby being dropped into another platoon right before BATUS and being a little out his depth due to missing build up.
 
We spent a good deal of time in the mess making sure that the SSLC & attached Army Air Corps 2Lts knew their place.

Much to our annoyance, if the Jocks had been told that these blow-ins were taking them to Helmand, they'd not have been terrifically bothered. They'd have looked at their Platoon Sergeant for a reassuring look, mind, but only for a second longer than they did for any of us.
 
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.
I was attached to the Scots Guards in a PB, when it was attacked, quite a few people went to the Sanger, a captain (who I think was the Ops O) elbowing his way to the front and almost flew up the ladder to take part.

Although noone could see where the Taliban were and the ANA werent helping matters by blindly firing one handed over the hesco walls.

Young officers frequently went out on patrol and occasionally stagged on.
 
No patrol is complete without some hangers on escaping their desks... whether they be a legal bloke/ fat occupational therapist/ vet keen to get some selfies, or a staff officer dripping with barely used kit, desperate to reconnect with the blokes and - most importantly - show he's Still Got It. :)
 
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?

Just watching it again, and whatever you think of it as entertainment, the movie 'Danger Close' (2019) gives a reasonable impression of the role of an officer in contact, including when it all goes pear-shaped. I know a number of the 'original' cast (Laurie Drinkwater, Buddy Lea, Bob Buick).

 
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Juice

Clanker
Just watching it again, and whatever you think of it as entertainment, the movie 'Danger Close' (2019) gives a reasonable impression of the role of an officer in contact, including when it all goes pear-shaped. I know a number of the 'original' actors.

Seen it, amazing movie. To a war movie vet, like me, it did seem like the most accurate representation of how a battle/engagement would go down.

Another good one is: The Outpost. Directed by Clint Eastwood's son and some of the actors were actual soldiers that took part in the engagement depicted in the movie.
 

Wee Hawken

War Hero
We spent a good deal of time in the mess making sure that the SSLC & attached Army Air Corps 2Lts knew their place.

Much to our annoyance, if the Jocks had been told that these blow-ins were taking them to Helmand, they'd not have been terrifically bothered. They'd have looked at their Platoon Sergeant for a reassuring look, mind, but only for a second longer than they did for any of us.
Correct.

My predecessor as a Pl Comd on an NI tour back in The Olden Days was an attached officer from the RAPC, waiting for his chance to train as a Paymaster.

He was without question one of the capable Pl Comds in the Bn, held in respect by the soldiers, and a hard act to follow.
 
Platoon Commanders certainly led from the front in the Falklands War. Try watching Tumbledown.

Afghanistan isn't a particularly good example of a war (it's simply the last war that the British army fought).

The next war may be very different. If it involves a competent peer group enemy, anybody at battalion level (who isn't suddenly obliterated by ordnance they never see) could easily have to fight directly. There are all kinds of echelon and support troops who might also find themselves going hand to hand with enemy troops.

Be careful what you wish for...


(Not that I'd wish any differently if I was in my early 20s).
 

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