Parachute Regiment Video: Including Break Contact Front

This video is a complication by ‘Kanutster’ which appears intended as a tribute to the Parachute Regiment. It’s cool from an ‘old times sake’ point of view, but at the same time at 6:40 it does include a break contact drill performed in the Belizean jungle. This is ‘dirty’ secondary jungle and you can see how thick the vegetation is.

The first part of the video is taken from the recent British TV show ‘The Paras’ and shows the bayonet assault course and a milling event (probably part of P Company selection). The blonde kid shown getting ‘beasted’ through the bayonet course apparently didn’t make it through training and rebadged to an infantry unit. ‘Milling’ is a specific event where you are not allowed to defend yourself (unlike boxing) and have to continue to straight punch your opponent, as he is also punching you, for a minute. It is designed to test aggression and will to win, and to continue to fight in the face of incoming.

There are various scenes of jungle training in the video. At 6:40 you have a live fire break contact front drill. The four man patrol is moving in ranger file forwards, and is contacted from the front. The first two men are ‘alpha’ and the last two are ‘bravo’. The point man returns fire and steps left, the second guy moves the the right, and the rear two bravo guys move out to the left. For those that have done this drill in training at the VTC, you will note that bravo moves to the right, so this drill is opposite. That is simply because of the terrain at the VTC, with the creek on the left, and thus it makes sense to move out to the right. Hence the drill being ‘opposite.’

There is a difference in this drill from what is taught at HEAT 1, but I have started teaching this difference to more advanced alumni at the Texas class. What is happening is that the second bravo guy does not move all the way up online with the point guy, which is done for safety reasons. Instead, the second guy remains a bound behind the point guy, the point guy moves back to him, and then the alpha pair then moves back online with the bravo team. You can see the state of the jungle they are moving through, and this is a time for maximum situational awareness and checking of safety angles, when conducting this drill in such vegetation.

Once the whole team is online together there is a moment where they are ‘on baseline’ and you can notice the rate of fire picking up, which has the effect of lots of rounds down range to suppress the enemy. The team then makes a couple of bounds back, and the peels out to the left. Whether the team continues to bound back, or peels out, is circumstance dependent. On day 4 of HEAT 1, we run a drill where we are contacted in the hasty ambush (rally point) after running a break contact drill, and have to fight back, then peel out to the right. I do the same on the Texas class, in a slightly different order. The point is not to give you specific drill that you must do, but to show you the options you have when maneuvering.

I was curious what I could find P Company (Pegasus Company) on YouTube. I found this relatively recent video made by the Paras themselves. In the 90’s I was a Parachute Regiment recruit platoon commander at ITC Catterick. It is interesting to see the changes made to P Company over the years, it is relatively the same, but I’m sure the Stretcher Race used to be 7 miles! We used to take Joe to a nearby much hillier training area for the 20 miler, so it was more mountainous terrain. I was also shocked at the log race as depicted in the video, with so many falling off the log. I don’t have any recollection of a single recruit left on the log and staff having to fill in? Is this a reflection on the state of youth today?

The big change is that now Parachute training used to be a month at RAF Brize Norton, with the completion of 8 jumps. I see now that this is not completed, and the recruit reports to Battalion before going to jump school, which is shorter and only involves 5 jumps, and only 2 from a C-130. Saving money apparently! When I was doing this, the recruits would go to jump school, return for a final exercise which involved parachuting in and seizing an objective on a raid, and then do all the drill for the passing out parade, which they would do with maroon beret and jump wings. Times have changed!

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