Training Video: Squad Hasty Attack Drills
This video is very old school, I’m guessing 1970’s. However, it is well worth 35 minutes of your time, and it is worth seeing through to the end. As part of the video the section (squad) conducts three hasty attacks as part of an advance to contact, utilizing varied methods each time. There are a lot of gems in the videos at various points. I have written about a lot of the concepts that are in the video, I was a little shocked and surprised to see!
This is my antidote to anything tacticool, SF, SOF, elite groupie, super high speed, high speed low drag, or similar. It illustrates GOOD SOLID BASICS. There is nothing cool about these guys, they are old school regular infantry soldiers. It even has a little comedy value, with the 1970s British accent of the narrator, and they even have real life Ivan as the enemy, speaking Russian. Love it.
The good solid basics are in the video, lots of good tactics and fieldcraft tips. There are some outdated parts that have been improved since with more updated tactics. Some points to bring out:
1) The squad organization used in the video predates the current squad structure of two equally balanced fire teams. In the video, there is a large squad (section) of approximately ten soldiers. There is a gun group and a rifle group. The gun group has a GPMG (240) for fire support. The rifle group can be spit into two groups of approximately 3 men each. They do this in the video for both fire and movement and also to place a point of fire covering the flank while the assault is conducted.
2) As I explained in the ‘Use the Flank
‘ post, you can conduct squad attacks using a larger squad organization, as they do in this video. You may not have a 240 in support, but you could have three teams perhaps as part of a large 12 man squad. This would allow use of a team similar to the gun group in the video, in support with precision fire, while you use the other teams to assault and cover the other flank.
3) They use a lot of good drills in the video, such as bounding overwatch and other little gems. Tactics have been updated since. When they do the final assault/fight through on Ivan’s positions, they throw grenades and charge. You may or may not have grenades, but you would be better to fight through the enemy position by further fire and movement, rather than get up and charge. Also, if you have grenades, they can be thrown in suitable circumstances, but sometimes this is wasted or can be a danger to friendly troops. It is better to post a grenade once you have crawled up on a suppressed position, or at least get close enough to ensure you can toss the grenade into an open trench. For a bunker (a trench with overhead protection), you have to ‘post’ the grenade in through the opening, because to throw it would just cause it to bounce off.
4) In the British Army parlance of the video, cover is defined a little differently from the US Army cover and concealment. Cover, in the video, refers to two types of cover: cover from view, and cover from fire, in the same way as cover & concealment is used in the US Army. So when he talks about using the cover and it is just bushes, he is referring to cover from view.
5) I commented in the ‘Use the Flank
‘ post about the danger of conducting ‘advance to contact’ with the intention of carrying out a hasty attack. In the video, the section is in a conventional war situation and is tasked with a ground clearance operation which is in effect an advance to contact. They take two casualties, and this is acceptable in a military operation. That is my point – you would not want to, if you could avoid it, do an advance to contact in an SHTF situation. You still want to drill the hasty attack, but try and make your attacks deliberate raids. In the video, the section advances until Ivan opens fire, and they have to wrest the initiative off the enemy using the battle drills of ‘locate the enemy’ and ‘win the firefight’ before they can assault.
A great quote in the video: “Sweat saves blood, and brains save blood and sweat.”
Take a little time, put up with the dated accents and the essential ‘Britishness’ of the video, swallow that good old American xenophobia, and give it a watch, or two.
I put up the video in the flanking post
from the Platoon Sergeants Live Firing course. I am putting up these videos today. I would be interested in feedback in comments as to whether readers find these videos interesting and educational?
Off topic, slightly related:
It occurs to me, and I have been asked this before, that I reference a lot to my British Army background. I have been asked why. I have avoided answering because I didn’t want to offend any xenophobic American readers. The answer is that the quality of British Army training is excellent. I will remind you that I am a US Citizen (albeit British born) before I continue: From my personal experience, I see many who think that the US Military is the one and only. I hate to tell, you, it’s not. I’m not talking about political aspects, or size. The US Military is a huge superpower and projects a huge amount of combat power, but has huge problems with quality of personnel. A military reflects it society. But what is useful to you is the best drills for you so you can survive SHTF – which is what I bring you.
Whatever the problems the British Army has politically and with funding, and whatever problems the UK has as a whole, the British Infantry remains a small force with extremely high standards of training. There is a lot to learn there. Yes, I served in an ‘elite’ part of that Army, but the ‘bog standard’ line infantry in the British Army are excellent. They all go through training that would be the equivalent of Ranger School, I’m sorry to say.
That is partly why I steer away from some of the staid doctrine and drills that I see coming from the US Army – because my approach is an amalgam of doctrine, drills and experiences to bring you the best that works. Battle is not an American Football game, and so often I see that kind of inflexible approach with all the various numbered and detailed battle drills, like it is some sort of complicated play. It is a flow, ongoing chaos – more like rugby, I’m sorry to tell you! What do you do in rugby? Get the ball out to the flank!
I will have offended some by these remarks – to which I say open your eyes. I am not talking about redcoats and the Revolutionary war. I serve in the US Army. I served in the British Army. I can see both clearly, warts and all. I aim to bring you the best of both, with my contractor experience thrown in, in order to better prepare you for SHTF.
I’m interested in feedback on that approach.
Live Hard, Die Free.