Training Video: Defensive Tactics in Woods

Carrying on the recent theme of finding hugely outdated British Army training videos on YouTube, here is one from 1982: ‘Fighting in Woods‘.
Unfortunately, there is only part one, the end of the video is missing. A great shame. There are a lot of good tips on tactics and techniques for an area defense in woods & forests. Although this is a conventional British BattleGroup in 1982, they are preparing for a ‘shoot and scoot’ area defense in the forests of the West German plains. 
Notice that they are preparing a series of well dug in ambushes to harass and delay the advancing Soviet forces. There is talk of ‘classic guerrilla tactics’ and also of ‘bugging out’ back to further positions once they have hit the enemy in small ambushes. This is a conventional British Army unit, a Guards regiment I think. But they are preparing to face the overwhelming numbers of a Soviet thrust. So, it is classic underdog tactics for ambush and delay. 
Although you will not have the armored vehicles and some of the weapons available to the troops in the video, a lot of the techniques are relevant. They use ‘sappers’ and ‘assault pioneers’ to create obstacles using plant – this is military equipment, but a John Deere tractor or a CAT excavator will do the same thing. Replace the issue munitions with whatever you can come up with, or acquire.

There are some good visual tips on digging trenches with overhead protection. ‘Revetting’ a trench is shoring up the sides to prevent it being collapsed by artillery fire or run over with a tank – a tank will spin its tracks on top of an open trench, causing it to collapse. For overhead protection, you will need two layers of sandbags to provide adequate protection from artillery fire. Pay attention to how well they camouflage the trenches – and how they de-turf and re-cover the trenches and any areas they have dug with the turf. In the absence of turf, you can use leaf litter in the woods, as appropriate.

Perhaps when you think of ambush you don’t think of digging in? It all depends on the situation, but an ambush against heavy forces such as in this video should be dug in. Even a standard anti-personnel ambush should be dug in with shell-scrape positions if the tactical situation will allow, to protect the ambushers from direct fire and also any DF fire that the enemy is able to call in.

Hard work right? Why do you think I keep banging on about PT and also the utility of going out and digging with pick and shovel – because guaranteed if you want to survive infantry combat you will need to be digging in at some point, even if you see yourself as a lightly equipped fast moving ‘G’. It all comes down to light infantry combat in the end. 

Live Hard, Die Free.