Cadet trains to lead

Cdt Sgt Sam Richards has just returned  from a Cadet Leadership Course at Nesscliff training area, a weeklong course run by the Army Cadet Force. Competition for places is fierce and it is an intensive and active event, and succesful completion is rewarded with the coverted Leadership Badge. Sam reports:

“Over the week developed my leadership skills with section and platoon attacks, ambush drills, hostage rescue and casualty evacuation scenarios. As the course is run by the Army, I also had a chance to experience blank firing on the L98-A2 semi-automatic cadet GP rifle. The week kicked off with a brief by the officer commanding the course and some icebreaking activities where we were able to introduce ourselves to the rest of the Platoon. The next day began with a rather early 6 O’clock wakeup call after breakfast we commenced the day with a demonstration of a Section Battle Attack from the UOTC (university officer training corps). We then spent the day going round a multitude of different stands that varied from initiative based command exercises to first aid and weapons handling tests. We also had another chance to bond as a section on the forced march, a two mile speed march with rifles. The next day began with practice of Section Battle drills that culminated in a platoon level attack which I had the privilege of leading. A platoon attack, which was made up of several sections attacking an enemy position. We then returned back to camp for lunch in the mess that was quickly followed by ‘Exercise Lost Cadet’ an orienteering activity that took place on the northern training area.

The course now moved into the second phase: exercise ‘cutting edge’. A three day deployment into the training area. We packed our burgans, filled our webbing, slung our rifles and prepared to move out. We tabbed to a forest and set up a harbour area, the rest of the day was moving tactically between various stands that included casualty evacuation, section attacks and evacuation drills. After we had finished the stands for the day we were given time to set up our bashas the thin waterproof covering that would be my home for the night, and cook dinner. The final part of the first day was the night ambush. The platoon set off in the cover of darkness to the other side of the northern training area. The good weather that we had throughout the day was wearing off, and then the heavens opened. We finally made it to the ambush site and laid down in our firing teams, it was our sections’ job to be fire support group in the centre of the attack. We were ready and waiting for the signal, our eyes peeled for any movement outside of the tree-line. Suddenly, the night sky turned yellow and the field in front of us was illuminated in the glow of flares and smoke grenades. It was ambush time. Within seconds it was over. Clouds of smoke and the smell of cordite from our ammunition lingered like a layer of fog.

Early next morning we tabbed over to the Southern training area which would be our home for the n next day and a half. We spent the rest of the day continuing with the stands which included another section attack, a survival stand, hostage rescue and a minefield evacuation. The day ended with our ‘O’ group the brief for the next day’s platoon attack that marked the end of the exercise. The final phase was the dawn attack on the third day. Our section was given the task of fire support which meant we gave covering fire while section one over ran the enemy position, we then swapped into the role of reserve for the next stage of the attack which allowed us the chance to ‘bomb up’ replenishing our ammunition in preparation for the final assault of the enemy position which my section lead. We then re-orgd and victory was the culmination of the last 5 day exercise. All that was left was the cleaning of both myself and the rifle on return to camp and the preparation for the regimental style dinner in the mess.

So that was the Cadet Leadership Course. It gave me an insight into a whole different side of fieldcraft that we don’t do with the ATC I learnt many new skills, and became much more proficient in field skills and managing a team. I would recommend this course for anyone who enjoys fieldcraft and would like to develop there leadership skills in a new and challenging environment”.