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(Article from December 1942)

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An article from December 1942 on the subject of training which included a suggested training schedule for Home Guard D.R.s. is reproduced on this page.


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Training the Home Guard D.R.

Securing Something Approaching 100 per Cent. Efficiency: A Suggested Scheme

RECENTLY the D.R.s of his local Home Guard battalion approached the Editor, Mr. Bourne, for a training scheme that would enable them to attain something approaching 100 per cent efficiency. Since details may assist other Home Guard units in formulating their training programmes, the particulars are set out below. It is necessary to point out that the despatch riders in question have previously undergone training on specially chosen cross-country hazards, with lectures and demonstrations at each—in other words, have had instruction under the Editor's now standardised Army "training on the lines of trials" scheme. Secondly, they have, of course, their own workshop for maintenance and repairs. It is also, perhaps, desirable to emphasise that in all training the aim should be simplicity, i.e. one point at a time, and not a conglomeration of points, few of which may be absorbed.THE aim of the following Training Schedule is to ensure that the Battalion's despatch riders are capable of fulfilling with certainty, and not merely in theory, the role they would be called upon to play if the Battalion went into action. The results should be that:
(1) The motor cycles in the Battalion are at all times ready for instant action and can be counted upon to perform with complete reliability;
(2) the D.R.s are able both by day and by night to maintain the communications of the Battalion and of any troops drafted into the area - to deliver their vital despatches with speed and efficiency irrespective of the enemy occupying roads;
(3) the D.R.s are so trained in observation that automatically they note all matters of military importance and provide clear, accurate reports.The aim throughout the riding portion of the training is Maximum Training Value Per Mile. Every mile can have its value provided the lessons are driven home then and there. To achieve the foregoing, 100 per cent. attendance of D.R.s is essential.

Object No. 1. — To ensure that the motor cycles are ready for immediate service and can be counted upon to perform with complete reliability.
Method of Achievement
By lectures and practical demonstrations of motor cycle maintenance as laid down in the Army "Daily Task" system of maintenance. One task only to be covered per night so that the points may be driven right home. This task to be carried out on an actual machine belonging to the Battalion—whose machine to be determined on the evening by drawing lots.
Lectures, demonstrations and tests covering running repairs (including, of course, tyre repairs), the rapid diagnosis of faults and dodges which will enable a machine to continue in use. Tests to be carried out against the watch and times compared with those achieved by the C.E.R.s (vide The Motor Cycle, 17/9/42).
AB406-type inspections of all motor cycles in the Battalion to be carried out at indefinite intervals.
Periodical emergency turn-out of all D.R.s; machines checked to see that they really are ready for immediate action; petrol and oil levels, lamps, tool kits, pump, repair outfits, spare chain links, etc. Two or more of these occasions will be at night and observations made covering noise; to drive home the need for the maximum degree of silence, especially in operational work at night.

Object No. 2. — That the D.R.s are able to maintain communications by day and by night, irrespective of the enemy occupying roads.
Method of Achievement
Lectures in map reading: Study of maps covering the Battalion area. D.R.s mapping (a) their own Company district, and (b) that of Battalion, with all negotiable footpaths and tracks specially marked in. Memorising the area so that maps need not be carried on active service.
Short runs from Battalion to Company H.Q.s on basis that roads are blocked or in enemy's hands—"the despatches must go through." D.R.s to be encouraged on all duty runs to add to their knowledge of alternative routes, cross-country especially.
Riding over short stretches of road specially chosen for the lessons they bring out in road sense and the achievement of safety.
Short runs at night over suitable terrain without lights.
On all cross-country and other riding a halt to be made at each point that affords riding lessons and those lessons driven home by (1) lecture; (2) demonstration; (3) the D.R.s tackling hazard afresh in light of knowledge imparted.
Practising turning round in narrow lane, preferably one with high banks and on a steep downgrade.
Lecture by a Senior Officer on duties of a D.R. and covering: The general organisation of the Army; the position of the D.R.'s own and other units in the general scheme of things; which officers are at the various H.Q.s, what their names are and where to find them; who deals with this subject and that; who has the. authority to give him instructions and when he must get them confirmed before he may carry them out.

Object No. 3.—To be able to provide clear, accurate reports of all items of military significance seen in the course of his journeys.
Method of Achievement
Lectures giving a clear indication of all things a D.R. should notice on his journeys and instructions as to whom he should report them. D.R.s to be required to furnish
reports at end of all training runs on which there have been matters of military significance, such reports to include map references.

Object No. 4.—While routeing convoys and convoy work generally do not normally fall to the lot of a D.R., the unique knowledge of his own locality a Home Guard D.R. possesses could prove valuable, especially if roads were blocked.
Method of Achievement
Lecture by Battalion Transport Officer or other officer (or N.C.O.) with wide experience of M.T.
Written tests involving thinking in terms of the negotiation of tracks and other alternative routes by various types of vehicle; of bottlenecks, cover afforded by various routes, concealment, woods, points requiring Traffic Control, etc.               
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