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The Re-formation of C Company by WO2 (CSM) Brown Pre-Re-formation

18 months ago, and following a series of testing operational tours, C Company was disbanded in order for the Battalion to regroup. The plan had always been to re-form C Company around December 2008 and, in September 2008, the Commanding Officer briefed me that I was to begin the process so that by the time the OC (des), Maj McKay, arrived, the Company would have established a basic routine. I was also briefed on the draft ORBAT for the Company and its commanders down to Sgt rank.

The first job on my list was to go over to the C Company office and the lines and take a look at what condition they were in. Once I had tracked down the keys and gained access, I discovered that there wasn’t even a notice board on the walls. The term “ghost town” sprang to mind. The accommodation had been used as a transit block and, having no real ownership for a while, was looking a little sorry for itself. I then linked in with the Company Coiled Spring (better known as CSgt (Frosty) Midwinter, our CQMS) to get his perspective on the task on the G4 side. We knew that, unless we housed and administered our men properly from the very start, they’d want to be back in their original Companies.


It was now time to sit down and brain storm what needed to be achieved to get C Company onto the first step of the ladder. Step one was to organise the new Company with no outside distractions. For us to achieve step 1, we needed a start date and, more importantly, a time period away from Battalion commitments. This happened in the middle of October 2008 and I was given 1 December 2008 by the Adjutant as the re-formation date. I had looked at the Forecast of Events and it seemed the perfect time, three weeks prior to Christmas. These three weeks would become our administration period so we sat down and identified what G1 and G4 business needed to be completed as I felt that, once this was achieved, everything else would fall into place. Now, I would like to give you a taste of the sort of thought process I was going through:

• G1/G4. Taking people on strength; check/ administer and accommodate all C Company personnel… Who was going to do this? How were we going to this? When would this happen?

• Discipline and Welfare. Would this be an excuse for the other Companies to unload their problems onto us?

• Appraisal and Training. How would we capture all of the appraisal and training information required for every soldier – we’d need this to get off the ground.

• G3, the ORBAT, and training. How would we establish what state the Company was in before being bought back into the

The Mercian Eagle

Battalion’s commitments cycle? What needed to be achieved and at what level should our start point be? What time was there to train and what resources were needed? When and what would be our first commitment with the Battalion?

Around the middle of October 2008, Maj McKay made contact with me, listing a page load of CORGI’s (Commanding Officer’s Really Good Ideas) and this was followed shortly afterwards at the beginning of November with a short visit. This was my chance to voice my concerns and give my opinion on where I thought we should be going and the direction we should use on some areas such as Command and Control (C2) within the Company - or lack of it from a JNCO numbers perspective. This was also a chance to meet some of the members of the Senior C2 element of the Company so cakes, tea and coffee were served at NAAFI break to the great delight of CSgt “I don’t get fed at home” Mulingani, our TQMS-in-waiting. At this stage, I’d also like to point out that the new Company 2ic, Capt “You can’t find me” Odell, was off sunning himself in the USA. Well, he had held down an extremely demanding job at the ART - standby!

Two weeks prior to 1 December, the confirmed date of our re-formation, and the Coy 2ic and I were under clear direction from the OC, starting to get our ducks in a row. Confirmation of the ORBAT was needed and an arrivals process was set up with the help of LCpl Richardson, the new Company MA.

The Reformation

1 December arrived and our anxious new soldiers were stood outside the Company office being broken down into their Platoons. I then introduced myself, gave them the normal shot across the bows (as is a CSM’s right) and a pep talk on what was expected from them. It was then time for the soldiers to move up to the training wing for the OC’s address. For the next three weeks, the soldiers were under the direction of their Platoon Commanders and Platoon Sergeants to sort out their G1, G4 and, as importantly, collect all of the soldiers’ data required to get us going. It soon became apparent that we had inherited at least our fair share of G1 problems, many of which only came to light once each soldier went through the interview process, all under my and the OC’s close supervision.

While the Platoons were getting to grips with their troops, Company HQ was into the planning process for January 2009 as this was our period to shake out as a Company. So what did we need to achieve and where should we start? The best place to start, I think, is at the beginning and with simple skills in mind, as you can accelerate later depending on your capabilities, so that is exactly what we did. We returned from Christmas leave and, after the initial accounting for C Company, briefly

known as Rangers from a song introduced by Lt “X Factor” Koniarski, we were straight into preparation for the first Company exercise. This Exercise comprised two parts: the Warrior crews went back to basics (movement, FUP drills, replen drills and cam and concealment, to name but a few); at the same time that this was happening, the dismounts were going through Harbour drills, pairs fire and manoeuvre, and everything up to section attacks. Then, in the evenings, we would consolidate and carry out navigation training and movement at night drills. The next task in January was the Battalion live firing camp (LFTT), held on Sennybridge Training Area. We deployed on the Wednesday, giving us the Monday and Tuesday to carry out our own Company Training. The OC and I headed this and it gave us a real chance to see at what level the Platoons were. We trained progressively using cloth model exercises, open area rehearsals, walk throughs on the ground and blank, rehearsed attacks by day and night; then we put the Company through its paces with a Company day deliberate blank attack. This gave us a sound footing for the LFTT.

The LFTT phase started with an insertion tab to the Company Harbour. On arrival, soaking wet and with no visibility in the pitch dark, one of the lads (we’ll save his blushes - no names, no pack drill) immediately reported the loss of an LMG barrel. Pleased that he’d carried out his drills, checked his kit, realised that something was missing and reported it, he got praise rather than the bollocking he was expecting. Lucky for us, a first light search turned up trumps - we found it right outside the Harbour in the stop short position. Each Platoon moved to its respective range to carry out its first Platoon attack. For a lot of the soldiers, this was the first time in command of a team or Section on a live firing range and, for others, the first time for a long while. This showed as the soldiers were a little apprehensive to start with but, as the package progressed, their confidence grew and the Company attack (in true dreadful Brecon weather style) showed the culmination of the week’s intensive training: a cracking day attack followed by two excellent night attacks. CATT was next on the agenda for the Warrior crews to have another chance to hone their skills and drills. Apart from the odd Warrior straying at the beginning, the package went well and the aims were achieved: a Platoon shakeout, movement as a Platoon, FUP drills, quick attacks and turret navigation practice. We still have a lot to do in these areas but things are looking up.

And so, here we are. C Company “Rangers” are now established and are into the Battalion cycle. We have already carried out a number of small commitments, we have completed Ex Lion Strike in support of the Company Commanders’ Course (where the OC was a student as well as our OC) and we will soon be tested, I’m sure, at Battle Group level.

October 2009 67

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