Not simply an academic exercise

Officer Cadet Todd Ledwith blogs once again from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst with an update on the latest week of his officer training.

Officer Cadet Ledwith

Officer Cadet Ledwith

The focus of the training this week has been largely academic. The week began with a Tactical Exercise Without Troops (TEWT) in the local area, allowing us to work on our estimate and orders process for a deliberate attack in preparation for the forthcoming formal assessment of these skills, which is known as PRACTAC. On each TEWT the time allotted to conduct this process is shortened, leading to a 45-minute period to conduct the combat estimate and 45 minutes to write our orders, after which they are delivered verbally. The combat estimate hinges upon the 7 questions:

• What are the enemy doing and why?
• What have I been told to do and why?
• What actions/effects do I want to have on the enemy?
• Where can I best accomplish each action/effect?
• What resources do I need to accomplish each action/effect?
• When and where do these actions take place in relation to each other?
• What control measures do I need to impose?

Through adherence to this format of assessment, it is hoped that no factors will be overlooked during the planning process. The effectiveness of this system is illustrated to us through accounts of its employment on current operations. It is not simply an academic exercise.

For the remaining 3 days of this week our time was filled with lectures and discussions on a variety of topics including manoeuvre warfare, definitions and threats of terrorism and assessing the validity of sources of information. The academic staff at Sandhurst conduct these lessons with great enthusiasm and I enjoy the study of the intellectual backdrop to the ‘green’ aspects of military operations.

However, everyone’s main concern this week was the promise of a long weekend from Thursday night to Sunday – chiefly due to the prospect of some uninterrupted sleep! It seems like such a short time ago that we were forming up on Old College Parade Square to have our drill assessed in order to ‘pass off the square’ at the end of week 5 of our Junior Term. Yet thinking back from then to now, we have experienced so much that this perspective seems inaccurate. It is one of the peculiarities of this very intensive course and at its conclusion, no doubt this year will have seemed to have flown by in much the same manner. However, being not yet half way through, the road ahead stretches away into the distance and plans are made week-to-week. We have many steps left to tread on our path to gaining a commission…

One thought on “Not simply an academic exercise

  1. Stick with it. The course has to be demanding and will fully test your leadership skills, determination and tenacity. Apart from everything else – you will be knackered, but still be expected to perform. At the end of the course, gaining your commission will be a wonderful achievement – I know I did it 1976 on SMC 11.

    All the best, and remember to look out for your mates as well.


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