Fieldcraft policy update - Dec 2018


Not my logic, yours!!


This shows your intransigence! I have never said you are wrong!! You are bringing a different opinion to mine to this debate, but not supporting your ideas with evidence other than saying it will be a more immersive experience for a small amount of cadets.

So are you going to answer my points about where the extra costs of training, equipment and maintenance are coming from? Or are you just going to avoid these important issues?


What cost?

The L98A2, and the L103 weapon systems have been paid for already. The BFA and Blank magazines are already paid for. The weapons are serviced in accordance with their maintenance schedules by the RAF/Civvie armouries, regardless of whether they been used or not. So no extra cost.

The extra cost of blank and Pyro? There are already RAFAC ‘M’ qual staff out there, running exercises, and we haven’t been made bankrupt yet! I can’t see the RAFAC figure rising substantially in the next few years.

As for the risk of damaging a target rifle - you do know that the L85 and it’s derivatives were designed to be used primarily in the field, don’t you?

The Air Rifle, L144 and the L81 are target rifles, to be used solely on a range. The L98 was designed from the outset to be used in the field as well as on a range.

Fitness wise - the basic FC syllabus is exactly the same as it was. It can be delivered by even the most rotund CFAV. Adding a rifle doesn’t change that at all.

Personally, I think it’s a step in the right direction.
The FC Pam and L98 Pam both already have Lesson on fitting BFAs, moving with a weapon etc. Not all field craft periods will require a weapon to be carried, but it will allow us to deliver training that is now as realistic as it can be.


“just continue to try a ridicule me because I don’t agree with you?” - you do that yourself by saying stupid things like “training cadets to be infantry”

“How is giving cadets active firearms keeping that activity safe? “ - because like everything we do it involves a safe system of training - how is this any different to any other shooting activity we run? Is shooting considered safe?

“How will it maximise the quality of training? What do you mean by immersive elements?” - you haven’t taught much Fieldcraft lately have you? Cadets running round with hands up pretending to have a rifle doesn’t make for a stimulating environment.

“How will 10 rounds per cadet and 5 pyros make it a more immersive experience, apart from a brief time of lots of noise?” Why 10 rounds? You’re asking why noise and more authenticity makes something more immersive? Same reason that people go to the cinema because the sound is better, or play computer games with VR, etc etc it all contributes to making the training more authentic. Have you actually tried asking cadets what they want? You seem somewhat out of touch.

“Your last point is a really childish retort. “ - your whole attitude is childish, and indicative of everything wrong with this organisation - ‘I think it’s a waste of money, if you want to do something like that go elsewhere’, it’s pathetic.

“Cost of equipment blah blah” - you’re chirping on about costings…so what are the costs? Do you know? You’re saying the money could be better spent elsewhere? What money? Blank and pyros have been available for years but never used, we already have L98 and L103, so what cost is it that you think is involved here? The cost will be negligible and certainly not enough to affect the funding shortfall for flying, cost of airframes, maintenance and fuel vs cost of some extra smoke grenades and blank rounds - cmon. You seem an intelligent chap - so why make such a daft point.


Hear hear.


Anyone got a link to the FC Pam?


Air cadets are not training to be infantry soldiers and the RAFAC is not an infantry training organisation. What we do well is developing:
Individual problem solving skills.
Functioning teams.
If field training with individual weapons and the associated bells and whistles can enhance what we do in these 3 key areas then why not?
However, if the mastery of the fieldcraft skills becomes the key output and measurable then the question must surely be, how does that help put the air back into the air cadets?


Bottom file.


Counterpoint - the L98 is not a good target rifle. If we don’t use it for FT, then we have acquired at a significant extra cost a rifle that is little better at making holes in paper than the L144 whilst requiring the use of far more involved ranges, with a huge extra training burden and ammunition that is far more expensive.

By not using it for FT, we’re wasting a lot of money.


Spot on! Not using equipment for its designed purpose or to its potential is not value for money.

It’s starting to get a little heated and personal all up in these parts…

Out of curiosity, who here actually has experience of a blank firing exercise, or even a dry exercise with CWS? There’s a lot of opinion being flung around which seems to come from a position of lacking understanding and not truly wishing to understand before judging…

Or even, who has been involved to a great degree with basic FT training?


If you think using a rifle on FT only doesn’t cost money you clearly haven’t taken cadets out for B&P.

First of all they lose everything! Firing pins, BFAs, mags, slings, gas parts. You name it, a cadet can lose it.

Second is damage itself: I’ve seen handguards melted, (to be fair that was somewhat exceptional) TMH retaining pins get pulled clear out all the time and then that weapon is ‘officially’ U/S.

And don’t forget this is for cadets on JL, the ones who are supposedly senior leaders in the organisation! Imagine the carnage the 14 year olds will cause!

I’m not against the practice full stop. What worries me is what happens when it gets done poorly at a local level. It’s been difficult enough at JL and they have both the time and resources to do it properly.



Done both - blank and pyro exercises and basic Fieldcraft courses at Wing level, as well as Fieldcraft on a squadron level.


There are a few bits that aren’t quite on the ball though - for example the “personal equipment” lesson isn’t much use to us as it uses the CTV, for which we’re not scaled.

But my biggest complaint is exactly the same as it’s always been - if taken at pure face value, it still doesn’t allow for any sort of actual exercise to be run, as the ‘fieldcraft’ chapter only covers the Personal fieldcraft lessons. Without adding in the Tactics chapter, it’s all a little pointless as anything other than a feeder course for something like JL.


In my 20 something years of being staff in the ACO or supporting them in the regular army, I’ve never known anyone in the cadet forces on the scrounge for blank and pyro have a problem finding a couple of thousand rounds of 5.56 and some smoke and TF…

In my 16 years of using the L85 as a regular I’ve never broken one in training - we would regularly use it blank and live on the same day, and often change over several times in one day. I even recall using one with blank in Cyprus in the morning - as theatre reserve - and using it live that evening in Basra.

Using the L85 with blank on Salisbury Plain one day, and being in a patrol base in Helmand province two days later, with lots of live is a fairly common occurrence. No armourers, manufacturers rebuilds, or huge swathes of paperwork involved - but then, of course, that was only against the Taliban at 600m+ with AK’s, PKM’s and RPG’s, not the kind of life-or-death stuff that cadets do on 50m barrack ranges…


I’d argue not - certainly in the weekend format. You’ve already complained that using weapons takes time, and you’re trying to fit the necessary training and ongoing coaching into those weekends, additional to the objective activities.

Also, you’re taking a group of Cadets, usually with no prior experience of using weapons in the field and using the SBFS, and giving them the rifle (under those circumstances) for the first time. It’s the definition of the deep end.


All of the above, regular, reserve and cadet.


Truthfully, I’m yet to know anyone come a cropper from allowing cadets to use their own molle or plce belt kit, or from issuing plce…

The point of that is to prevent any Tom, Richard, or Harry from teaching it. There are some things that can be taught by qualified and authorised staff on authorised exercises.

I don’t get this, you can run “an exercise” that utilises the skills given in those lessons…


@MattB maybe I’m missing something in your meaning?


Such as?

I can’t think of any sort of exercise (not CPT) that can run without the participants knowing anything about, say, patrolling, unit formations, harbour areas, OPs, recces, section composition, etc.

It’s a return to the old ACP16 situation, where you had to bend the rules quite significantly if you actually wanted to come up with something usable.


Agreed - bizarre that there is no patrolling lesson, it’s one of those things you have to include to link everything together.

I imagine the plan was to keep all the patrol related stuff together in chapter 2 - but it’s not a good fit - would be better included in chapter 1.