Submariner’s Comment: 5 Star Review of ‘Contact!’ + Comment

I’m back!

In comments on the post  ‘Student Review: 6 Day CRCD / Combat Patrol 28 Jun – 3 Jul: Submariner” was this comment by Submariner:


I just posted the following 5 star review for Contact! at

“Fire and move! Fire and move! That’s the mantra of the infantryman and when it is all said and done, motivated and well trained as they are, paras are infantrymen…. Firing without moving gets you nowhere. Moving without one of your mates supporting you is a recipe for disaster. So the British infantryman fires and then he moves while his mates support him with fire. Then his mates move while he supports them in turn. We call it fire and manoeuver and British soldiers excel at it.” John Geddes & Alun Rees, Spearhead Assault: Blood, Guts and Glory on the Falklands Frontlines (London: Century, 2007), 50.

Nobody does it better? Right.

So how does someone desirous of learning such skills actually go about acquiring them? Start with reading Max Velocity’s book, Contact! Written by a former ranker and, after being graduated from Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, a commissioned officer in The Parachute Regiment, the book is a common sense approach to the how as well as the why of reacting to contact, contact drills and patrolling – the bread and butter of light infantry operations.

My first introduction to this topic was a book bought back in the late ‘90s, McAleese’s Fighting Handbook. It is reputed to be one of the best books on book on modern soldiering and small-unit tactics by a former member of The Parachute Regiment and both 22nd SAS and the Rhodesian SAS. The tried and proven basics Max teaches in Contact! are the same as those expounded by McAleese. Trust but verify.

The book, however, simply the first step. Knowing and doing are two completely different things. Initial training under the watchful eye of a skilled instructor who provides immediate correction and feedback is paramount. Self-training with no frame of reference only reinforces bad practices.

Earlier this month, my three sons and I completed six days of training with Max on his mountain and ranges in West Virginia. The words of the book came alive and even had the proper English accent. Priceless! We can now train these newly acquired skill sets with a much better appreciation for the meaning and implementation of the words. Perfect practice makes permanent.

A blogger and recent commander of a US Army parachute infantry company in Afghanistan, AmericanMercenary, wrote, “Gentlemen and Ladies, if you want to be a better fighter, you need to go out and actually train. If you can’t train yourself by all means pick up a class from John Mosby or Max Velocity. I had to sign away years of my life to get my training, a few hundred bucks and some time sleeping on the dirt is a damn good bargain in comparison.

Just read the FM, right?”


Comment on being back at my desk:

I just got back from 2 weeks annual training. I was amused to see on the interwebz comments about ‘troop movements’ in ‘unmarked military vehicles.’ Come on guys, the paranoid  ass-clownery has to stop. Learn to distinguish real from imagined threats. We were/are all on Annual Training right now…

This time we took a bus down to Bragg, but we are often on the roads at weekends, in convoy, heading to training locations.

I was just thinking about my two weeks at Bragg. A few jumps, some ranges, and some civil affairs training. There is so much testosterone induced competition out there on on the Internet about which instructor is higher speed than the next. What I do now in the USAR is not high speed at all. That was never the point. I was far more ‘high speed’ back when I was in the British Army, or when I was a paramilitary contractor for 5 years after that.

You see I didn’t join the US Army Reserves to be high speed. I didn’t do it to somehow repeat my life with equivalent schools such as Ranger school and selection. I’m older and more broken now anyway. I actually joined to give back to my adopted country, keep my hand in with the military, and to have the opportunity to give back my earned experiences through training others. I’m an NCO. I was a captain when I left the British Army. I get to train people, which I love. I was able to run, among other things, the reflexive fire training and ranges down at Bragg. A little like MVT training, but not as good!

I was attracted to civil affairs, where I am in an airborne unit, by the description of it as a place where slightly overweight ex-SF types could go and live out their days. Unfortunately, it has since become a little less high speed by being moved out of SOCOM, where standards were higher, into big army. However, civil affairs in itself is very interesting: on the face of it, it sounds pretty boring, but there is a challenging mix between activities such as key leader engagements, balanced with the fact that you have to get out on the ground and thus often have to fight because you are placing yourself in harms way by doing so. The bad guys know you have to come to the village, or visit that project, so it is a challenge in itself. Very much a mix that calls on my previous infantry, paramilitary, and close protection experience, both dismounted and vehicle mounted.

Just another thing: everyone knows that my last name isn’t ‘Velocity’ right? It was only ever a pen name for my books, that became Max Velocity Tactical. I continue to use it for the business simply to give my family a semblance of separation from crazy people on the internet, but of course I am sure if you really wanted to squirrel away you could find out all about me. I mean, I’m sure .gov doesn’t have a problem figuring out who I am. OPSEC is a little ludicrous when I am such a public figure.

Just call me Max. Thanks.