Topic: Drill and Training
Unidentified Canadian infantrymen negotiating an assault training course, England, August 1942. Photographer: Alexander Mackenzie Stirton. Mikan Number: 3205243. From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibition Faces of War.
In this scheme, called "Into battle," carriers, complete with equipment, were "gone over" by the instructors; mechanical faults were set up in the vehicles, and weapons and ammunition were tampered with. The crews were them given an hour to be ready to go into action.
Battle Drill Training Examples (1944)
From an Appenix to Report No. 123 on Battle Drill Training. Published under the Canadian Military Headquarters (CMHQ) Reports 1940-1948.
Examples of Exercises and Schemes Used at C.T.S. in Battle Drill Training
1. Battle Drill Training offers constant surprises to accustom the soldier to the unusual. The unexpected is bound to happen! The following small observation scheme has been used with good results:
In the middle of a lecture an Assistant Instructor dressed as an Italian prisoner bursts into the lecture hall and stops momentarily as if surprised where he is. He then bolts for the stage platform and clambers up on it. He is hotly pursued by two other Assistant Instructors who catch him on the platform and a short struggle ensues. Then into the hall burst two M.P's. One of them fires two shots at the crowd on the platform and the lecturer appears to be shot and falls. A whistle is blown and all disappear. The students are asked a number of questions, e.g., (1) How many shots? (2) How many were in the struggle? (3) Who appeared to be shot? Etc.
This was made as realistic as possible and was particularly designed to take the students by surprise. (C.M.H.Q. file 2/Reports/4/2: Report of C.T.S. July 1943).
2. A night scheme in Battle Drill Training involved a platoon which was assumed to have been cut off during the day's operations. The platoon commander was ordered to attempt to rejoin his unit. This necessitated a move of the platoon back to its own lines through enemy infested territory. It demanded:
(a) Choosing of route from map and by ground observation during daylight.
(b) Control of movement at night and maintenance of objective.
(c) Interpretation of sounds, occurrences, etc., at night.
(d) Pinpointing any enemy activity which is met on the way, i.e., tank harbours, patrol posts, enemy headquarters, M.G. posts, number of enemy wounded at R.A.P., etc. The object was to demonstrate the need for initiative at night as well as by day, and the necessity for acquiring all information in an accurate form so that it can be acted upon, namely, target co-ordinates to C.S.O., areas of troops concentrations, tank harbours, etc., to B.M. controlling patrol activity in that sector. (C.M.H.Q. file 2/Reports/4/2: C.T.S. Reports, May 1943).
3. In this scheme, called "Into battle," carriers, complete with equipment, were "gone over" by the instructors; mechanical faults were set up in the vehicles, and weapons and ammunition were tampered with. The crews were them given an hour to be ready to go into action. (C.M.H.Q. file 2/Reports/4/2: C.T.S. Reports, May 1943).
4. Rifle students march and fight their way across 15 miles of country to the Downs. They arrive there about dusk. Company vehicles then come up with food and greatcoats. They then have to arrange all-round protection, night administration, sent out patrols to locate an enemy A.F.V. harbor, then they must organize and attack it at dawn. They then march to the Assault Course, go over it and march home. (C.M.H.Q. file 2/Reports/4/2: C.T.S. Reports, May 1943).
5. On a scheme where they were behind the enemy's lines, the students were given slips of paper telling them where they could find friends and where they could find ammunition. Out of a hundred students not one was noticed who memorized the information and destroyed the paper. As a result, the enemy---whom the students knew were operating in the area and on the lookout for them---were able to capture a few and from the information gained smash the whole plan. (C.M.H.Q. file 2/Reports/4/2: C.T.S. Reports, March 1943).