Fieldcraft policy update - Dec 2018


As always I bet it comes down to a combination of poor brief and 6 covering

Vest was probably designed with shooting in mind as its primary purpose - hence 2 ammo puches 1utility (cleaning kit) and 1 Water Bottle

Cadet Patrol Pack probably because someone got wind of the fact that we had no control over what cadets would try to carry and in what and that staff could not be trusted to ensure the health and safety of the cadets by not preventing them from taking the kitchen sink with them…

So now we are left with a situation that, if we operate within the rules, means we cannot operate away from CP for more than a short period (between meals) and that cadets cannot transport there own kit on foot unless it is in approved LCE

…might as well issue every cadet a batman/orderly to keep them sorted

‘I say Jenkins…is my basha up and the kettle on…there’s a good man…and my boots for tomorrow?..’


The vest has more pockets, I think he was referring to what is allowed if you use a belt order.

You could always be imaginative and cache the kit ahead of them at an RV so they can pick up their rations.

The drive for the change in LCE has come from the Regional Commandants. It’s in keeping with what is taught within the pamphlet for fieldcraft which is likely why they have gone that route.

With the recent issues they’ve seen in the regular forces for claims where people have had to stretch their legs a little I suspect they are concerned about small Cadets being overloaded with kit.


I think the best way to treat this is to complain vociferously about it. How does this affect JL for instance? The organisation’s own stores supply the students with PLCE and Bergens. The course couldn’t run using vests and day sacks. (Heck, a lot of the students carry a day sack in the bergen!)


I have posed that question as they should not be operating outside of the policy and there is no proper ‘fitting’ of kit or other reason for them not to have to follow the path the same as the rest of the organisation.


The problem is the “policy” is ridiculous.


I don’t think the vest was designed with cadets at all, it’s identical as far as I can tell to the PLCE assault vest.


There’s a document somewhere saying the original vests were donated from Army stores to the ACF so not designed for Cadets.
If we could get hold of some I’d give them a go but funding would be an issue if we had to buy new.
On webbing it seems odd to restrict the belt order to 2x ammo and 1x water as the assault vest carries more. As PLCE uses the ammo pouches for yoke attachment at the front, you’d have to use an ammo on each side (likely double ammo as single ammo pouches are rare) and a utility or water bottle at the rear. It would make more sense to have 2 rear pouches to balance the load. If the need is to adjust the weight on belt kit then that’s more easily done with a MOLLE system like Osprey.
On packs this makes more sense but again why not set a weight/capacity limit rather than specific kit? The Cadet (ACF) pack is rated at 50L, my Infantry day sack is 45L and a lot of day sacks the Cadets buy are in the 25-40L range.
We don’t specify a pack size for AT or DofE.


No, but there is a weight recommendation of no more than 25% of their bodyweight.


You don’t need ammo pouches for yoke attachment - the utility pouches can be used in exactly the same way. The RAF standard issue (other than Regt of course) tends to be one ammo, one utility, one water bottle.


Good point, that might also be a way of making a limited stock of webbing go further. I think some of the pouches we were handed down have the attachment removed though.

There’s also a stand-alone yoke strap apparently, never actually seen one however.


More sensible than specifying a capacity or type of bag. I have a compact (and fairly expensive) sleeping bag so 45L is fine for me, a cadet might have a cheaper bulkier one and need more space for it.


But the RAF ‘normal’ is because of role and circumstance - the setup is appropriate because the overwhelming majority of the RAF is about staying in a fixed location, with your work, clothing, food and sleeping all being (ish) at the same position.

Couple of mags, chocolate, biscuits and water is not just all they need, but carrying anything else is just a waste of energy.

Cadets from my (old? Still not heard anything yet…) Sqn would regularly be out on a training area for 18 hours plus in winter, so biscuits, chocolate and water doesn’t cut it - it’s a 24hr rationpack, cooking gear, waterproofs, softie, basha/poncho, head torch, emergency bag, FAK, map/compass, 2 litres of water, and spare trousers and t-shirt - belt-kit and daysack is what’s needed, not pockets full of Haribo while stagging on for three hours.

Not having a pop at you btw, just this idiocy - and yes, it does highlight the chasm between an office in Sleaford and a Sqn on a weekend away…


Agreed - but most of that stuff doesn’t need to go in the webbing.

Indeed, my sqn SOPs:

Field dress. Field dress consists of the CS95 or PCS jacket and trousers, undershirt, boots and helmet or suitable hat as ordered, plus mid- and outer-layers suitable for the weather conditions as required. It is the basic dress for fieldcraft or skill at arms periods. Carry the following:

  • Torch – a head-torch with red and white light modes is recommended
  • Whistle
  • Matches/lighter
  • Record of service book (3822) - well waterproofed!
  • Notepad + pencils
  • Map when issued (with case – a zip-lock bag can be used as a map case if a purpose designed case is not available)
  • Compass if available

Belt order (1st line). The '90 pattern belt order consists of the webbing (or assault vest/chest rig/etc). It is used for general training, skill at arms and limited periods in the field. Pack with the following

Ammo pouch:

  • Magazines if issued.
  • Rifle cleaning kit if issued (note that this is only possible with the DPM pouches – the olive green version has a divider which prevents the cleaning kit from fitting. If the olive green pouches are used or if more than 3 magazines are carried then the rifle cleaning kit is to be carried in the utility pouch).

Utility pouch:

  • Mess tin (the mess tin may be omitted from the webbing if a metal mug is carried instead)
  • One pouch meal*
  • Snacks^
  • Spoon
  • Camouflage cream*
  • Small first aid/blister kit
  • Small items of clothing when not worn (hats, etc)

Water bottle carrier :

  • Water bottle
  • Issue cooker (with fuel packed inside)*
  • Mug

CEFO (2nd line). The '90 Pattern CEFO consists of the belt order plus one or two side pouches (as required), attached to the yoke. A suitable daysack may be used in place of the side pouches if available. It enables an individual to be self sufficient in the field for 24 hours. Pack with the following:

  • Waterproof jacket if not worn
  • Spare socks (waterproofed!)
  • ‘Environment’ items (sun cream, insect repellent, etc)
  • The remainder of a 24 hour ration pack* (so that between the belt kit and CEFO a full 24 hour pack is carried)
  • Rubbish bag
  • Waterproof trousers (optional)
  • Warm layer (optional)

*Normally issued on arrival to exercise

^The issue ration pack includes snacks; if you are not provided with issue rations (eg a range day, or a minor exercise) then provide snack foods to your own taste


The previous FT policy had a similar paragraph on guidance.


That is true - my unit was issued some.

On the patrol pack side I would point out that although we had them issued to the ACF, there were nowhere near enoguh to issue to the cadets so the whole thing was pointless. I issue all cadets either infantry or other arms bergens.

Nothing is stopping you from making sure the kit fits the individual and nothing is stopping you from checking what is packed in the bergen. Anything more than 1-2 night FTX and the cadet bergen simply is not suitable.


From an SST perspective we’re not trained. This was always a classic excuse for helmets which is why I mention it.


If that’s the concern, it is better to train people to fit webbing than use assault vests.

The British Army has tried Assault vests again and again, they have never been standard issue? Why? Because they suck at weight distribution. You will do more harm carrying a fully packed assault best than with webbing. (Unless the webbing is ridiculously poorly set up, hence the training.)


This seems like the dumbest policy part to come out so far this year.

If they want to prevent cadets from carrying too much weight they should just say so. A nice direct, simple, policy that can be managed. Not take the ‘backdoor’ route of needlessly crippling the load carrying system in order to achieve the desired outcome by accident.

Those cadet training vests are utter rubbish! I had some loaned to us by an ACF colleague for a weapons course once. They had them on site, brand new, not being used and it saved us from going off to dig out our stash of webbing.
“Great!” We thought… Until we came to use them. Lunch time was spent digging out our own webbing.


A simple…
“For fieldcraft no cadets may carry more than 10kg including bag weight”

That would do.


The only thing you really need to be shown how to do is fit webbing properly. Many people seem to get that wrong. Bergens only come in two sizes - short back or long back. Actually “size” is the wrong term as they are the same size, just different shapes. 95% of people should use short back and the long back is for really really tall people. You don’t need some special training course in this stuff. It isn’t rocket science.