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Front Row (L to R): Ptes Rowark (1st Bn), Howe-Gaskin (3rd Bn), OC Maj R N Johnson, Pl Comd Lt B Smyth, Ptes Rawlinson (1st Bn) & Cotton (2nd Bn).


Second Row: Ptes Bodycote (3rd Bn), Yates (3rd Bn), Evans (1st Bn) and Heaton (1st Bn). Third Row: Ptes Tipton (2nd Bn), Ponter (3rd Bn), Grimes (3rd Bn) and Owen (3rd Bn)


divisional representative, have attained the appropriate BARB test score, passed a PFT (still a struggle for some even at this stage), passed a fit to transfer medical and then of course actually been accepted by the Other Arm. However, what is certain is that during this procedure they continue to train as infanteers.


During their time at ITC the recruit is nurtured by the Battalion Regimental Shepherds attached to the 1 ITB Divisional Companies. The Mercian Regiment is fortunate to have one shepherd for each Battalion, notably Cpls McCabe, Roddis and Palmer (in Battalion order). The recruits on arrival complete a personal preference performa (PPP) and identify which battalion they wish to join (fortunately for them, The Mercian Regiment continues to recruit in the former county areas). The battalion is confirmed no later than after TACEX 3 thus giving them plenty of time to enquire about their future rôle and unit training. Training during CIC is of course balanced from the end state of phase one training. The JE recruit is petrified for no apparent reason of the ITC fitness programme. Only one recruit in the last year has actually failed the JE intake due to his inability to carry weight (but subsequently passed in time within his 1 ITB Divisional Company). The JE fitness programme is progressive and all exercises incorporate a well-balanced weight carriage based on the level of fitness of the recruit at each stage of training. Both JE courses are short and intensive and, to this end, should a recruit miss even a short period of training on medical grounds or should a recruit not achieve an appropriate standard at key stages of each course, then the recruit may be removed from the JE training and transferred to his parent 1 ITB Divisional Company at an appropriate stage of their 26 week CIC course (following rehabilitation if required). Recruits soon learn that there is no opportunity for catch up but just extended training elsewhere if they don’t maintain the standard required. The end of the JE course! An excellent FTX and LFTT package which all recruits identify as the highlight of the course and a simple parade in combats to present prizes, say well done and wish them luck for the future (unfortunately, there are no glamorous passing off parades with Anzio and no time


The Mercian Eagle


for drill). These JE recruits as trained soldiers are almost certainly the future of the WOs’ & Sgts’ Messes across the Infantry.


Anzio Company is also responsible for the TA short courses. Six CIC courses are run throughout the year at ITC and, where bids are sufficient, also available are TA JNCOs’ courses. There has been a noticeable improvement in the quality of TA recruit arriving at ITC which is believed to be down to two main reasons: training prior to the recruit arriving at ITC and the now focussed commitment the recruit has for his rôle. The Recruit Training Centres (phase 1A and 1B training) and ITC (phase 1C more commonly known as Phase 2 training) have adapted their programmes in the last year to see a more balanced achievable sequence of training. The end-state is a far more professional soldier more attuned to joining any unit and, after completing further training, fully capable of participating on any operational tour with a regular unit. The TA CIC course runs over a 14-day period and concentrates on fieldcraft and live firing. During week one is an introductory exercise and in week two the course culminates in a four day FTX. Between exercises, live firing ensures that the recruit completes the APWT and Transition to Live Firing Tactical Training. Some live firing may be curtailed due to inclement weather and may mean that the recruit leaves the TA CIC with a delayed pass until this objective is achieved at a later date. Fitness starts on reception day with a one and a half mile assessment run which all must pass in 13 minutes to remain on the course (this is to ensure that the recruits are suitably fit to participate in the gradual fitness programme including activities during the FTX). During the course, recruits will also participate in a 4-mile loaded march and the TA CFT (6 miles in one and a half hours). In all, the level of fitness of the recruits has been seen to be of an acceptable standard to ensure that the key fitness objective is achieved. The TA JNCO course normally runs concurrently with the TA CIC and, depending on attendance, will be run as a separate training Platoon or combined. Low numbers normally sees the potential JNCOs joining the TA CIC but extracted for specific JNCO training. This scenario normally sees the potential JNCOs commanding the TA


CIC recruits but under close supervision of the Anzio staff directing staff. The TAC has a normal capacity to take up to 144 recruits (3 training Platoons of four Sections), the TA JNCO up to 48. Unfortunately, even though the courses are at times loaded above these figures in the past year, maximum attendance has never exceeded 100 (even with some arrivals not loaded but still accepted at reception). The frustration for the Anzio staff is obvious with training teams carrying out preparatory work but then at the last moment being stood down (which may sound good but normally staff will then be re-allocated elsewhere at short notice – especially if on loan from 1 ITB). It is good to see that a lot of units now escort their recruits to ITC where practical. This practice of low attendance has on a number of occasions however allowed Anzio staff to take a risk and as such risk low manning for low loaded courses releasing or committing staff elsewhere. This is not a practice that Anzio wishes to pursue but with attached staff from 1 ITB at a minimum it is a risk that at times is worth taking. The TA should be congratulated on the recent high pass rates for TA courses. In the last year the pass rates have generally been above 80%, a vast improvement on the last training year.


During the Summer period (July/August), Anzio is responsible for external TA training or validation. With 2 Div in 2008, Anzio staff for the second year provided two training teams to teach on a complete CIC in Inverness, known as Summer Challenge. This two-week period was the culmination of the recruits carrying out intensive 1A and 1B training. Although generally a success, this external training is time intensive with the Anzio command team having to carry out planning in an unfamiliar area in advance whilst normal training continues at ITC. With only four training teams, Anzio staff cannot be committed to conduct training on all TA Summer Challenges (and also due to the unavailability of 1 ITB staff) and therefore in 2008 was tasked to validate training at other challenges. These included Summer Challenge with 5 Div at Swynnerton and Sennybridge, Midland Challenge with 4 Div at Aldershot; and Shamrock Challenge with 38 Bde at Ballykinler. All gave the opportunity for external work and a relief from the Catterick training area!


In 2009, Anzio will support Ex Summer Challenge (2 Div at Inverness), Ex Challenge East (49 Bde), Ex Welsh Challenge (160 Bde) and Ex Midland Challenge (143 Bde). The Anzio command team are always pleased to host visits to any of its courses and would most welcome feed-back on the way it does its business. The JE soldiers that pass from Anzio to their regular Battalions will almost certainly still provide the RSMs of the future and the TA have and will continue to give valuable support to units on operations.


October 2009 131


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