The British Antiaircraft Command reports that a
number of antiaircraft regiments have arrived at battle
training centers without having had the proper
physical conditioning. The regiments which have
been trained and hardened physically go through the
rigorous battle training with practically no injuries or
sickness, while those lacking in physical conditioning
have a high rate of injuries and sickness.
In emphasizing better physical conditioning of regiments
before they reach battle training centers, the
British Antiaircraft Command pointed out that this
could not be accomplished with mere "daily dozen" exercises
of the "bend-and-stretch-arms" type.
2. PHYSICAL EFFICIENCY
The following tests, laid down by the British War Office, are
used by their Antiaircraft Command as a
basis of judging the physical efficiency of antiaircraft
units (all tests should be carried out with full combat equipment):
a. Run 2 miles cross-country in 17 minutes.
b. Rim 200 yards, and at the finish carry out a firing test in which
three hits out of five rounds must be obtained on the
figure 3 target (British) within 1 minute 15 seconds.
c. Complete a forced march of 10 miles in 2 hours, followed by a firing test.
d. Carry a man of approximately the same weight for a distance of
200 yards in 2 minutes, on level ground.
e. Jump a ditch 8 feet 6 inches across, landing on both feet.
f. Scale a 6-foot-high wall without assistance.
3. GENERAL PROCEDURE
To attain top physical efficiency, the British War Office has laid
down the following general procedure:
a. Seek a general toning up of the body.
b. Strive to harden and strengthen the feet and ankles; practice them to
withstand the strain of moving over rough or hilly terrain.
c. Train the lungs to coordinate efficiently when climbing or running.
d. Increase stamina by training the body to surmount natural obstacles
skillfully, and to run, climb, pull, lift, carry, and crawl with the minimum
use of energy.
e. Practice swimming with full equipment, and practice methods of crossing
water obstacles at full speed.
f. Train the body to relax.
g. Train the body to react quickly and correctly to the unexpected.
4. SUGGESTIONS BY AA COMMAND
The British Antiaircraft Command makes the following recommendations with
the object of assisting commanders of antiaircraft regiments in making such
preparations as will enable them to get the maximum benefits from the
battle training course:
The great majority of interruptions to training are caused
from minor foot troubles, primarily blisters. The following
precautions are therefore of first importance:
(1) A preliminary and thorough inspection by officers of the fit of
shoes and of the condition of socks.
(2) Regular foot inspections by officers after marches, coupled
with instruction in the care of feet.
(3) Training that hardens the feet (for example, route marches), to be
carried on right up to the time of going to battle school, as even a
short lapse of time will permit feet to soften again.
b. Route Marches
On arrival at the school, all men must be capable of making
at least an 8-mile route march with full combat equipment.
c. Wearing of Equipment
As all training at the schools is carried out in full combat
equipment, all ranks should get used to wearing equipment
beforehand. This will involve wearing equipment as often as
possible and for as long as possible during the weeks immediately
prior to the course.
d. Jumping from Heights
Many cases of minor injuries to ankles and knees have been
incurred by men when jumping over ditches, or down banks
and over obstacles. On arrival at the school, all ranks should
be capable of carrying out a running downward jump of 4 feet
6 inches in full equipment without sustaining injury.
Progressive instruction should be given in how to land when
jumping from heights. It will be found that in the majority
of cases elementary instruction will be necessary in plimsols
(sneakers) from a low height.
The main point to be stressed is the necessity for landing on
the ball of the foot and not with the weight back on the heels.
Troops will gradually accustom themselves to shoes and battle
equipment, and the height of the jump can be increased.
Much of the training is carried out with the rifle at the port,
and men have been inclined to suffer a good deal from lack of
the necessary strength in the forearm. Every effort should be
made to prepare for this with suitable exercises. Bayonet drill
should figure prominently in the training programs.
f. At the Double
The majority of training is carried out at the doubleómuch
of it over rough ground. As much practice as possible should
be given at this, and stress laid on economy of effort in order
that all ranks will appreciate the necessity not only for reaching
their objective, but for reaching it in a condition fit to fight.
The correct technique of clearing obstacles such as wire,
walls, ditches, and streams should be taught as preliminary
training in negotiating the pursuit course. In this connection
due regard must be given to the care of arms.
All preliminary training should be progressive, but it must
be hard. A man's powers of endurance and his will to see a job
through will be fully tested only when he is on his last legs.
(Motor transport drivers and office personnel will need special
attention in this preliminary training.)