Good Solid Training

Many of you will have heard of the phrase ‘crawl, walk, run’ where it concerns training. It is very true, and it is important to get the solid building blocks of your training in place, whether as an individual and then as a team, before you try and move on to more complex drills.

I write this because I have been thinking about a lot of what I see out there, the ‘tacticool’ stuff. I also use as an example those movies where the heroes always seem to have perfect information and perfect technology, movies such as ‘Mission Impossible’. Very seductive images, but imagine if they were trying to do that stuff for real: how do they have such perfect knowledge?! In the real world, ‘Murphy’s Law’ says that if it can go wrong, it will. As such, using technology can be very helpful and very useful, but when you begin your training you should do so without the gadgets. This will also mean that when the gadgets fail, you will still be able to continue, overcome the inconvenience, and succeed.

So, what are some basic examples of this?

1) Map reading: make sure you are proficient at navigation with map and compass. You will utilize GPS when it is available, but if for whatever reason it is not, you have a reliable back-up. Have the paper maps and compass. You may run out of batteries, your GPS device may fail, or the GPS grid may be shut down.

2) Basic Tactics: when you train your drills, whether it be squad level break contact drills, foot or vehicle mounted or whatever, make sure you start off just using voice commands and hand signals. You should be able to do all these things with technology, without radios. Add the radios later to enhance communications, but expect and anticipate communications failure.

Don’t be seduced by all the cool technology. Use it as a tool to enhance your operations when you can, but don’t be reliant on it. You won’t have perfect information and your gear is likely to fail at some point, particularly in a post-collapse situation.

Plan for the worst and hope for the best.

Also consider that the more low-tech you go, the less detectable you are by modern technology.

A last word on ‘the basics’: It is my experience that what is considered the basics in terms of tactics is really all there is. These ‘basics’ don’t really get any more complicated than they are. As an example, fire and movement: from individual up to Company or Battalion level, fire and movement is what it is. There are variations on how to do it, and some ways work better than others, but there is no super-secret ‘secret squirrel’ technique to it. As an example some of the break contact drills that I lay out as options in ‘Contact!’ and ‘Rapid Fire!’: These are ‘simple drills’ in the tradition of using in combat drills that are simple enough to work under stress: KISS – Keep it Simple Stupid. These are the same drills that are used by the British SAS and SOF.

The key point here is that it is not making a drill complicated on paper that makes it ‘high speed’. It is making the drill simple and logical enough that can be successfully carried out by trained operators when under enemy contact. The real skill to all this is to train good solid drills but be able to bear up under the stress, pressure and fatigue of being out there for long periods of time; being hot and dehydrated or wet and cold, without adequate sleep and food. That is when it counts. Intestinal fortitude and backbone. That is what separates the more ‘high speed’ operators from the ‘tacticool’ mall ninjas.