Officer Cadet Todd Ledwith writes from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst with a look back at Exercise NORMANDY SCHOLAR in northern France, and a look forward to upcoming Regimental Selection Boards.
The historical backdrop of Exercise NORMANDY SCHOLAR set an engaging environment to conduct the sometimes dry estimate and orders process.
Assuming the roles of a young Platoon, Company or Battalion Commander leading on D-Day gave us an appreciation for the enduring effectiveness of the tactical decision-making process, as well as a greater understanding of the history of the events in Northern France post D-Day.
The relevance to current operations was also illustrated, particularly in the urban scenarios. The personnel-intensive nature of urban warfare and the principles of surprise, maintenance of momentum, security, concentration of fire and simplicity were as relevant then as they are now. After our final scenario on Hill 112, planning the defence of the sparse woodblocks and orchard which were subsequently overrun by an aggressive German counter-attack, we attended a moving memorial service at the St Manvieux-Norrey cemetery before departing France and returning to Sandhurst.
Back in camp, the week has focussed upon preparation for the upcoming log-race and Annual Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) and on practising our drill with a view to victory in the drill competition.
Personal attentions are trained upon the Regimental Selection Boards which take place next week. The volume of copies of periodicals sold in the NAAFI has undoubtedly spiked as everyone looks to arrive at interview brimming with knowledge of current affairs as well as the history and dispositions of their two choices of arm. A nerve-wracking week lies ahead for those in the intermediate term.