The aim of Battle Procedure is to ensure that a cadet is sent into battle without waste of time and with minimum fuss, knowing exactly what they have to do, how they are going to do it and what support they are going to be given.
Principles of Battle Procedure
Good battle procedure means that the commander has maximised their use of the available time and that all cadets have had enough time to prepare for the task they are being asked to carry out. It can be understood by the acronym CAKE.
Concurrent activity ensuring that different preparation tasks take place at the same time, being as efficient as possible. This includes resting if you have not been tasked with anything else. The issuing of Warning Orders allow subordinates to prepare for a new operation and initiate concurrent activity. Rest should not be forgotten to ensure individuals are well prepared for battle.
Anticipation at all levels
The anticipation of future tasks and moves increase the time available to prepare for battle. This means thinking ahead and planning for possible future tasks and patrols.
Knowledge of the ORBAT and Grouping System
A thorough understanding of who is attached to whom and how each element of the Order of Battle (ORBAT) interlinks with one another is elementary to efficient Battle Prep. Everyone should know where each element fits in to the Company and Platoon structure. At a Company level, there are four main functional groups. These are explained in detail later on.
Properly understood battle drills save time, that is why training and rehearsals are so important. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) increase efficiency, they help to standardise procedures and enable attachments and detachments to quickly adapt to local practises. They should be well known by all concerned, taught to attached personnel and frequently practised.
At Company level the Company Commander (Coy Cdr) (Captain or Major) will divide the Company into what is known as functional groups. These help in the preparation for a task and consist of four groups:
- Recce Group (R Group)
- Orders Group (O Group)
- Harbour and rear recce parties
- The main body
At Company level, this could be almost be thought of as a reformed Headquarters (HQ) group, although not known as such. They are the group that provides the Coy Cdr with planning advice, as well as communications capability and protection. There is no fixed composition of the R Group, keeping numbers small to avoid detection, but large enough to have sufficient personnel to carry out the tasks.
At Platoon level, the R Group would consist of the Platoon Commander (Pl Cdr) themselves, as well as a runner and the Section Commanders. A dedicated signaller may also be attached to the R Group, but if signals capability is already attached then this can be used instead. A good example of a Platoon level R Group you may be familiar with is during the occupation phase of Patrol Harbours.
Down at Section level, an R Group is rarely required. If, as part of a larger patrol, the Section Commander (Sect Cdr) would like to conduct a recce, perhaps of a location for an Observation Post (OP), they will take take a cadet for protection, leaving the 2IC to undertake the section admin.
You are probably familiar with the term O Group already? The Orders Group must include all those people who are needed to directly receive the Commanders Orders. This is usually those in command and control appointments at one level subordinate (below) the level of orders being given. At Company level this would be the Coy Cdr issuing orders to the Company R Group, Company 2IC, Company signaller, the Platoon Commanders, as well as any attachments to the Company. However, at section level, the whole section would be expected to attend the section O Group; however, if cadets are on sentry or on duty elsewhere, they must be briefed seperately.
Platoon O Group would consist of:
- Platoon R Group
- Platoon Sergeant (if not occupied elsewhere)
- Section Commanders
- Radio Operator
- Attached personnel
Harbour and Rear Reconnaissance Parties
Using a Patrol Harbour as an opportunity to administer a patrol after a task, the commander may delegate a harbour party to recce suitable harbour sites and prepare to receive the patrol when they have completed their tasks. This takes the pressure off the commander who is occupied with achieving the main objective of his task. They will be made up of sufficient strength to provide self-protection if required, be fully briefed by the commander, and have an NCO of suitable knowledge to select a suitable area.
At Company level, a rear recce party may be established; led by the Company 2IC, as well as having the Platoon Sergeants, any support weapon platoon NCOs and platoon guides.
The main body forms the bulk of the fighting force. Their main aim is to achieve the objectives as briefed in the O Group by their commanders.