Despite rainy conditions on the Sunday, twenty-four cadets and seven staff nominated from twelve of Norfolk and Suffolk Wing’s squadrons enjoyed a weekend of fulfilling fieldcraft and tactics training at RAF Barnham from Friday 4 to Sunday 6 October 2019.
Saturday’s programme covered the basics of: living in the field; personal camouflage and concealment, individual movement; team movement including selecting a route across country and obstacle crossing; and a night exercise.
Everybody feasted on Operational Ration Packs (ORP) heated on field cookers for most of the weekend. Twelve of the cadets slept out in bivouacs accompanied by three of the staff (whose average age was over sixty!). Almost exactly as forecast, heavy rain started at about 0200 on the Sunday
morning. Reveille at 0630 heralded a very watery dawn. However, spirits were not dampened and very little training time was lost.
The harbour area was swiftly vacated and everybody reconvened in the training facilities at RAF Barnham. Where needed, those who had been out overnight changed into dry clothes. Gallons of hot water (that may be an exaggeration this time round!) were provided to ensure that everybody had
some hot food and drink at the start of the day. Equipment was hung out to dry in the old vehicle workshops.
Having sorted out the field administration, an alternative programme of indoor fieldcraft and tactics training got underway: observation and target indication; duties of a sentry; and an exemplar ‘orders group’ utilising the sandbox
models usually used by the RAF Regiment NCO courses. At the final wash-up, all the cadets eagerly said that they wanted to come back for more.
Only a handful of the Wing’s Fieldcraft Instructors (FCI) have completed upskilling and assessment to the new performance standards and are thereby formally authorised to deliver fieldcraft and tactics training. Hence, such training will continue to be delivered on a centralised Wing basis in order to enable concurrent cadet and staff training and assessment.
As the cadre of authorised FCI builds up, there is the potential for some enthusiastic and proficient cadets to be able to undertake fieldcraft and tactics with cadet weapons systems, blank ammunition and pyrotechnics.
It is intended that the next Wing fieldcraft and tactics weekend will be run in January/February 2020 with places for up to sixty cadets, plus staff.