|| battalion schemes,
and, consequently, the training became, towards the final
stages, a combination of company or even platoon work with
large-scale exercises initiated by the higher commands. It
was a development which I certainly deplored but as platoon
training was fundamentally important and the exercises ordered
and controlled by the higher authorities could not be evaded,
the time available for training would not allow for battalion
efforts as often as most of us would have liked.
During 1940/41 we had our own Defence Scheme, without interference
either in direction or personal contacts from higher authority.
Curiously enough, in its simplicity, this Defence Scheme
was not very far removed from the final one officially authorized
for the battalion in 1944.
But higher formations were themselves organizing and increasing
their staffs and, consequently required food to feed upon,
and the first thing to be affected was the Defence Scheme.
I believe I am right in saying that our first Defence Orders
from Sector in 1941 consisted of one or two pages of foolscap
at the most. By the summer of 1942, however, the Higher
Command had begun to develop theories on defensive tactics,
and orders reached voluminous lengths all revolving round
the "Stud", the centre of resistance of about
80-rifle strength to be established at all important tactical
points in the county.
we had to reorganize our defences entirely and, to comply
with the theoretically necessary number of "studs"
for the area covered, had to absorb about 720 men from the
Darlaston Battalion for this purpose.
Consequently, during the summer of 1942, we spent a great
deal of time working up the "stud" defence and
working out the administrative and other details with the
various Darlaston contingents which had to be attached to
practically every company in the battalion. The Darlaston
men were a good natured lot, and some of them took their
job very seriously, particularly Captain Gwinnett's Company,
which was given the task of looking after the outlying areas
of Lynn, Wall, and Muckley Corner.
To add to our problems, the Aerodrome was included in our
defence scheme and "E" Company was put in charge,
"B" Company taking over at a later date.
The "stud" scheme of defence lasted for approximately
a year, and then, in 1943, the Higher Command thought again
and decided that "studs" were too small to be
of any real use against organised attack, so ordered concentration
on the most important tactical points and the building up
of centres of resistance of not less than 200 rifle strength.
So we deserted Wall, Lynn, and other outposts of the area,
and concentrated roughly on a line of the Beacon Ridge.
By this time, however, the success which was attending our
forces overseas was beginning to make these local defence
schemes seem very (......continues.....)