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Disorder dramas

Officer cadets train for public order duties

Maintaining command when violence is erupting all around and missiles are flying is crucial for a military leader – but learning the skills can be a baptism of fire.

Public order is soldiering up close and personal. And squaring up to mock rioters is a key part of the training experience for the next generation of Army officers.

Facing a baying mob determined to derail efforts to restore order is the final stage of Exercise Templer’s Triumph – an opportunity for cadets at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to be pushed to their mental and physical limits.

“A public order situation calls for robustness, even though you may be unable to think clearly,” academy Chief Instructor Seniors Maj Alex Ficke (Rifles) said.

“This is a chance for cadets to go from the comfort zone into the stretch zone.

“It is about having the mental and physical toughness to lead effectively, in what may be your first time in such a demanding environment.”

Despite the exercise being carried out in controlled conditions on the Longmoor Training Area in Hampshire, the officer said the feelings of fear and aggression remained real.

Instructors were looking for situational awareness and command acumen in cadets, plus the ability to push through limits.

Maj Ficke added that the participants from Borneo, Falklands and Imjin Companies had performed well – with some showing outstanding promise.

“They took on-board lessons from the dynamic environment and dealt well with the demands placed upon them,” he concluded. “It was a really good exercise with a great deal of learning.”

The serial was part of an eight-day package dedicated to teaching future commanders how to lead complex stabilisation operations.

The full schedule focuses on building relationships with different groups in a simulated society – some welcoming and others hostile.

Read the full story in the December issue…

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