"Training Observations"

Quick recommendation: Look at the article "Training observations" on Volume 2 Issue 1 of the Journal of Military Operations.

It's about observations after a two-week battle group* exercise (apparently Brits). It gives a nice glimpse of how difficult it is to shake off "Afghan-ism"s.

(I also like the author's humour.)

* Battle group in UK = typically a reinforced, possibly mixed, battalion as far as I know.


  1. SO, you are correct: Battlegroups (BGs) in British, Canadian, and most likely also Australian practice, are built around an Infantry Battalion with attached armour, engineers, artillery, and that sort of thing. They are intended to basically be a scaled down brigade, and generally spawn Company Battlegroups (Coy BGs).

  2. There are some great observations in here and I agree with almost all of them (and shake my head that they aren't already taken as given - most, after all, apply equally to conventional and irregular combat.

    A point about orders. In para 4 the author states "intent is not a restatement of the mission (saying ‘I intend to accomplish my mission’ is meaningless) rather it is the manner in which the mission will be accomplished." I disagree (with both the example and the proposed solution) - intent should be a broader statement about the effect to be achieved. It ties into Mission Analysis and the inevitable questions "has the situation changed? Is my mission still relevant?" If the intent is simply a preview of the Scheme of Manoeuvre then it won't help when you have to ask those questions. The author returns to this in para 17, but focusses on Frag O's to change the Main Effort when the situation changes (using the example of getting attacked int he flank). I argue that with a clear intent that covers the expected effect, subordinates can adjust to meet a new situation while still keeping the effect in mind.

    1. Rarely any list that long is perfect.

      Intent shall be communicated to enable the subordinate to understand why the mission was given. It's critical for enabling the subordinate to make decisions on his own if the situation looks very different than expected by his superior.

      I think you're right; he used his idea of "intent" as a backdoor to slip in details on the "how".
      What he considers as "intent" is what others try to replace with a common understanding of doctrine (or SOPs).