Fieldcraft policy update - Dec 2018

New update to the Fieldcraft policy been live on Sharepoint for a little while now - what are everyone’s thoughts?

Fieldcraft lessons 1-19 can be conducted with L98 or L103

Blank and Pyro for Fieldcraft lessons 1-22 with appropriately qualified M Quals.

ATF Fieldcraft Course forthcoming.

3 levels of Fieldcraft Instructors

Recognition of existing ECO and ECO TTT

Personally I think it’s long overdue to have Fieldcraft conducted with weapons, hopefully this represents a positive step for Fieldcraft in the ACO.


I had some prior knowledge of this before it was released and was quite excited by it. While B&P isn’t new and was possible before(*), the addition of lessons and exercises with weapons (dry) is a welcome one and one that will be a great addition to what we do.

*maybe now it’s more heavily noted in the policy, those that have been blocking it through personal bias will be forced to wind it in.

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Aye - I think having it in policy will prevent it being blocked constantly and help really drive Fieldcraft forward.

Will all wings adopt a fieldcraft instructors training course though?

They don’t have a choice -

Policy states that Fieldcraft Instructors must:

  • · Self-study lessons 1-19

  • · Complete wg-led 2 day consolidation exercise

  • · Complete wg-led assessment exercise.

  • · Relevant WHTs (if weapons involved)

So they can’t really freestyle it. Although it’s more likely that some Wings will say they haven’t got anyone suitable to deliver, and it will then fall to Region to deliver.

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In my experience it’s never been Wing with the issue, it’s heen Region.


Why should we have guns and loud bangs when the ATC play soldiers?
I understand that Fieldcraft provides leadership and other training, is fun and cadets like it. But putting firearms and fireworks in the hands of cadets is not the reason for the ATC. If you want to play soldiers like this, join the ACF!
What budget is the costs for all these guns and loud bangs going to come from?
We keep getting told there is not enough money for flying and gliding and cuts have to be made, so why pay for something that ACF is all over?

Because some kids want both?

This “go to the ACF” attitude has been causing the drama for years - time for it to disappear, and fortunately it seems that is the case.


We have the weapons, and the blank and pyro allocation has been there for years - mostly unused.

Overall, the lessons aren’t going to be very different - certainly not at the base level (1-19). It will just be a couple of extra movements and techniques to supplement those already taught and even then only for certain lessons.

Having seen cadets use even just dry weapons in the field, they DO engage a lot more so actually they will get more out of it. If you compartmentalise the training and make cadets show competency before moving onto FT with CWS, competency with CWS before introducing them to SBFS… It incentivises them to engage and perform if they want to move up a level. With that, they get more from it, their peers get more from it, and so do the staff!


And crucially, there is an aptetite for Fieldcraft, from staff and cadets, so why not improve on our offering and make the most of the training we provide.


Why shouldn’t we, our core activities have fallen through the floor and aren’t coming back.

We can deliver it safely our Cadets want it and so do our staff do let’s be Male it happen.

As you say Fieldcraft had a benefit to the Organisation, this is a natural movement for Fieldcraft.


Why do FT at all?

Why do kayaking? Seems much more of a sea cadet activity to me. Why do AT at all? Just join the Scouts.


Don’t forget that many schools run DofE? Why are we ploughing time into something they can do at School??

Colleges do BTECs don’t they? Why we wasting money running BTECs?

This whole “if you like Fieldcraft go to the ACF” attitude is on its way out finally - about time.


I knew I’d stir a hornets nest!!! But I didn’t say that just to stir!
So how much training time and money will go into it? If you say we have the ammo and stores already, my first question is why has money been spent on things that we can’t do? My second question would’ve where does the money come from to replace that stock?
Many of the posts on ACC complain about RFCA and Flying &Gliding and their poor use of resources. Why are we then going to spread that pot thinner to do this expensive activity?
Which rifles will be fitted with BFAs and used? Will they come from the current L98 stock? Would you want to use them for target shooting afterwards?
Who would do the training? Ex Infantry? There are not many ex RAF Reg CFAV (apart from Gunner obvs!) or ex Army Infantry either. So the people who can do playing hide and seek whilst dressed as soldiers will be allowed to train cadets in the use of Blank firing weapons? We’ve all seen that becoming a range Officer means you have to jump through multiple hoops, so will you have to have a highly qualified Range Officer, who are in short supply, traipsing through the woods instead of providing already approved training!
So how many rounds would be needed to satisfy this the to have bangs on exercise? 10 per cadet? 100? If it is 10, then that means they fire it 10 times then have to carry that large metal stick for the rest of the time, shouting bang loudly?!? If it is 100 then a basic 30 cadet exercise means 3000 rounds, a large amount of a Wing’s ammo allocation wasted!
Also such an exercise will require a higher level of fitness, similar to the levels required by Infantry. In that case will all BF Fieldcraft Instructors be required to take and pass the Army’s Combat Fitness Test?
The reason why I say join the Army Cadets is because that is what they do, are resourced and correctly trained to do. The ATC is not and we shouldn’t waste the money doing something that is the core activity of our sister service!
This argument has been going on for decades and the decision has remained No, correctly in my view!!

Because they are part of a funded and trained program that has been part of the ATC activities for decades.

Yes they do both!
But as DofE is embedded into the ATC as the Duke was our commandant and an ATC Cadet was the first recipient of a DofE award, that’s why we do it. Not all schools provide this, so we fill the gap.
The BTEC part is to provide a goal at the end of training that the cadets do anyway. Do you want to lose that?

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While this is a positive move forwards in many ways. I do share Leather worker’s lack of enthusiasm. But entirely disagree with his reasoning.

For me, the problem with our organisation is that we try to do way too much and end up doing nothing particularly well. Having spent 3 years of my staff career staffing the JL course I know the amount of time and effort it takes from cadets and staff to use weapons effectively and I just cannot see the average wing exercise getting the benefit from using blank.
First, is the training, pretty much a whole JL day was set aside every year to standardise weapon handling, when theoretically every cadet was fully trained before the course as the qual was a pre-req.
Second, it takes them time and practice to use them properly and not ingrain bad habits.
But my main big bear is the cleaning.
Because once you fire blank you then have to dedicate HOURS to cleaning the damn things. It takes the JLs two-three hours on the first weekend they use blanks that time reduces as the course progresses but it takes training, practice and a lot of inspection time to do and supervise it well and I would rather spend that time actually doing something interesting if I don’t have 9 weekends worth of dedicated experienced cadet time to do it in.

If you factor in all that into a single weekend, essentially the first B&P weekend you run would consist of weapon handling training all day Saturday, maybe the opportunity to fire a magazine on the Sunday morning, weapon cleaning all Sunday afternoon. Then go home. In which case I’d rather be canoeing.

Being honest, I’d rather just have permission to take water guns out, less cleaning, more fun.


As a squadron we reaguarly conduct field craft on an authorised site by mod via TOPL.

we have several ECOs and field craft instructors. (All be it the process to become a wing registered fieldcraft instructor is to have the Wing Fieldcraft officer add you to their list if you can prove competency. )

I’m not interested in the faff to take weapons into the field as has already been mentioned it’s a pain.

But are we now saying that for us to continue our highly successful and much enjoyed fieldcraft program taught by instructors with teaching quals and in accordance with the PAMS that we will all have to do YET ANOTHER course…?

The real problem with this organisation ( and I use that word lightly) is the expectation that we have limitless time to offer for endless 3 year expiring courses.

There won’t be a need to do another course.

The policy is a step in the right direction. Brings in to policy what the RCs have been authorising outside of policy.

Biggest issue I can see will be people moaning about having to buy cadet training vests and rucksacks.

There should be an update to it soon as from what I can see there is a gap in the SST as it allows people who have never been formally trained to conduct NSPs on weapons to take them out in to the field where NSPs will be required. One accident or incident where NSPs wasn’t conducted correctly and I can see the whole lot crunching to a stop.

TG5 has retired and left the building… note the changes to FT and Shooting