ITC Catterick has been operational since 1 May 1995 when it assumed overall responsibility for all infantry phase 2 training from the three Infantry Training Battalion sites at Catterick, Strensall and Ouston. As of May 2002 the ITC assumed full control of all infantry phase 1 and 2 training for the Regular Army in a single Combat Infantryman's Course (CIC). ITC Catterick also conducts specialist phase 3 training for the Army School of Bagpipes and Highland Drumming in Edinburgh within the School of Ceremonial. In addition, pre-parachute selection courses are run for recruits intending to join the Parachute Regiment and for volunteers for 16 Air Assault Brigade, the creation of ITC Catterick has centralised training on a scale not seen since National Service. ITC Catterick is the training depot for the Infantry and since 23 July 2001 the HQ School of Infantry has been located at Catterick, it commands the ITC Catterick, the Infantry Battle School (Brecon), and the Support Weapons School (Warminster). The ITC is responsible for a training output in 2007/08 of approximately 2900 phase 1 to 3 trainees and in order to meet its training remit, ITC Catterick is organised into 2 Infantry Training Battalions (ITB). 1 & 2 ITB are responsible for the conduct of the Combat Infantryman's Course (CIC) and there is also capacity to teach phase 2 CIC (TA) courses and a potential JNCO (TA) course, for 44 students, 2 ITB are responsible for the conduct of the TA courses. The ITC Battalion provides overall coordination as well as the administrative and logistic support for the ITC Catterick and is established for 808 military and 257 civilian permanent staff posts.
Training is structured on an intake system and is able to receive a regular soldier intake of up to 140 trainees every fortnight and up to 148 TA Infantry soldiers can be trained on the TA CIC a two week course every month. Each Line Infantry intake is structured in Divisional Companies, this achieves maximum supervision of all soldiers under going training and it is the most efficient use of training resources. This training structure applies to all companies within the ITC with the exception of the Foot Guards and Parachute Regiment, their intakes come in on a platoon basis because they complete a different and longer CIC. All training is focused on the three pivotal training skills of the Infantryman which are tactical weapon handling and shooting, battlecraft and finally mental and physical robustness.
The combat infantryman's course is the framework upon which all regular Infantry training is based and it will equip the trainee with the Infantry Special to Arms skills needed to operate in a Rifle Platoon. The successful completion of the Combat Infantryman's Course marks the end of the trainee's initial army training, the qualified Combat Infantryman then possesses the fitness, knowledge and skills allowing him to join an Infantry Battalion ready to deploy on operations anywhere in the world in areas such as Afghanistan and Iraq. The soldier will have gained an excellent foundation upon which to learn other specialist Infantry skills such as driving, Javelin missile operator, mortar man or radio operator in addition there will be ample opportunities to earn promotion.
The Infantry Training Centre (ITC) Catterick is the primary training location for all recruits who want to join the infantry and is where the Combat Infantryman's Course (CIC) is conducted. The CIC combines Phase 1 and Phase 2 infantry training, (although junior soldiers destined for the infantry continue to receive Phase 1 training at Bassingbourn Army Training Regiment and at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate). ITC Catterick is divided into three Battalions 2 Infantry Training Battalions (ITB) and one support Battalion (ITC).
For the majority of recruits, who have chosen to join a line infantry or rifles regiment, once the standard 26 week course is over they will join their battalion. Some infantry regiments require a degree of further specialist training, and will therefore undertake a longer CIC:
The aim of the Infantry Battle School is to deliver trained officers and soldiers in order to meet the operational requirements of the Infantry, the Army and wider national Defence. The Infantry Battle School (INFBS) is located in Brecon, Wales. The INFBS conducts realistic battle training for officers who have passed out of Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and for Warrant Officers, SNCOs and JNCOs. This encompasses Phase 2 training for officers (who do not attend the ITC Catterick, but undergo their Phase 1 training at Sandhurst) and Phase 3 training for NCOs and Warrant Officers. The INFBS has a permanent military staff of approximately 250, including a company drawn from the Brigade of Gurkhas which provides realistic opposition for those undergoing training at Brecon.
Slwch Tump, the ‘mini beacon’ which lies some five hundred metres to the North West of this camp has had a military presence on or about it from Roman times. It is not surprising, therefore, that in the mid 1930s a war office contingency plan was conceived to site a temporary training camp, in the event of war, in the lea of the Tump. When it was completed in early 1939 it became known as Dering Lines after Sir Edward Dering who, in 1689, raised the 24th Regiment of Foot to be named the South Wales Borders and more recently, The Royal Regiment of Wales.
From 1939 until 1946 Dering Lines was the home of 21 Infantry Training Centre (ITC) with a capacity of eight hundred troops in training at any single time, crammed into the asbestos and wooden huts. The 27,000 plus men who were trained here reinforced the hundreds of Infantry Battalions through out the world.
In 1946, 21 ITC was replaced by The Welsh Brigade Training Centre and it remained thus until 1955 turning out an endless stream of National Servicemen. In the early 50s the parade square and roadways rang in the early mornings as the Band led formed drafts of reinforcements in full battle order to Brecon Station to start their journeys to Korea (1 Welch) or Malaya (2 RWF and 1 SWB).
By 1955 Dering Lines was ready for the demolition hammer but it was given a short stay of justice as a very temporary week-end training centre – 83 WETC this lasted for 18 years.
In 1961, very noticeably the year after the RA Practice Camp, Sennybridge, opened its doors to the Infantry as a field firing area. The Parachute Regiment was allowed to locate a battle camp within Dering Lines. Two years later the potential of Brecon as a training area had been realised (again) and with a little money earmarked for minimum maintenance, The Parachute Regiment Battle School was established.
During the major reorganization of the School of Infantry in 1967, part of the NCOs’ Division moved to Dering Lines. The unit then became known as The Parachute Regiment Battle School and Tactical Wing, NCOs’ Division, The School of Infantry (a sign writer’s nightmare.).
In 1973 the title changed again to NCOs’ Tactical Wing, School of Infantry and took the Parachute Regiment Recruit Division (PRD) under its wing. A major rebuild was approved in the 80s as the old camp was almost beyond any more patch repairs. This however was taken over by events.
In 1991 the government laid out its policies entitled “options for change”. This affected the School of Infantry to the degree that tactical and skill at arms training should be centralised in one place and not several as was previously the case. Brecon was selected and once again the fortunes of Dering Lines changed. The rebuild started in the 80s ceased, The Parachute Recruit Division departed and new plans were drawn up to cater for the revised role of the new and autonomous establishment to be called The Infantry Training Centre Wales (ITC Wales). Buildings costing several million (funded from “options” savings) were put up and completed on time for the official opening on 01 April 1995. The centre now has responsibility for instructing Officers and non commissioned officers on specialist and career courses. It has no responsibility for recruit training.
Thus after 60 years nothing (except this old hut maintained for nostalgic purposes) remains of the temporary camp cobbled together in wood, tin and asbestos to meet the needs of a country at war. Strangely, though the original name has been perpetuated and the aim of the Infantry Battle School continues to be the teaching of men and women to a standard of excellence in the profession of arms.
DIVISIONS AND COURSES.
PLATOON COMMANDERS DIVISION
Platoon Commanders Battle Course - Tactics Phase
Platoon Sergeants Battle Course - Tactics Phase
Infantry Warrant Officers Course
Section Commanders Battle Course - Tactics Phase
Basic Tactics Course
Platoon Tactics Course (Platoon Commander, Platoon Sergeant, Section Commander)
INFANTRY WEAPONS DIVISION
Platoon Commanders Battle Course - Live Firing Tactical Training Phase
Platoon Sergeants Battle Course - Live Firing Tactical Training Phase
Section Commanders Battle Course - Skill At Arms Phase
All Arms Live Firing Tactical Training Course
All Arms NCO Skill At Arms Instructor Course
All Arms Live Firing Tactical Training Short Course
All Arms NCO Skill At Arms Instructor Short Course
Dismounted Close Combat Trainer System Manager and Basic Operators Course
Its mission is to deliver trained officers and soldiers in order to meet the operational requirements of the Services.
The Support Weapons School provides Infantry Commanding Officers with highly trained, confident, battle-winning specialist commanders. Our staff are members of a Centre of Excellence where they teach by example to develop students to their individual limits. In return, we invest in our staff and return them to Regimental Duty as experienced instructors and as subject matter experts in their field.
The present day Support Weapons School is based in Warminster and comprises 4 divisions; the Anti-Tank Division, the Mortar Division, the CIS Division and the Direct Fire Division. The school can trace its history back to when the first support weapon systems came into service during WWI, but it was after WWII that the School of Infantry formed the Support Weapons Wing (SWW) in Netheravon, bringing together most of the modern day composite parts. The SWW remained in Netheravon until 1995 when, under the Options for Change reorganization, the Infantry Support Weapons Wing closed and its components moved to Warminster Training Centre (WTC) as part of the Infantry Training Centre (ITC). Here it remains today, in it’s most recent incarnation - the SupportWeaponsSchool, effective from Apr 2005. The school is commanded by a Commanding Officer whose HQ contains three staff officers (1 x SO2 and 2 x SO3s) and RSM, and is supported by a Course Design Cell (CDC). Its divisions run commanders courses in Warminster and Brecon; the Direct Fire Division, which runs Sniper and MG courses, is located at the Infantry Battle School (IBS) in Brecon.
During 1915 the "3-inch Stokes Trench Mortar, Mark I" was adopted by the British Army. The first recorded use of Stokes mortars by the British was near Loos, France, in September where they proved to be very valuable weapons despite the limited numbers available. By this time, however, the British Army had begun to reduce its emphasis on rapidly moving infantry advances in favour of holding static trench positions. This strategy reduced the effectiveness of the highly mobile Stokes mortar and spurred the development of larger and more powerful, but relatively immobile, mortars. With increased range of up to 2400 yards, the 3 inch mortar continued to be used throughout the Second World War until the British Army adopted the new 81mm mortar into service in 1963. Due to the design and effectiveness of this weapon system, few changes have been made since 1963, other than the charge system to allow ranges of just under 6 km.
Mortar Courses have been run at Netheravon until late 1994, with the first course taking place at Warminster in June 1995. With the exception of the 51 mm mortar which was brought into service in 1987, the 60mm mortar is the newest indirect fire capability at BG level which is planned to be used specifically in Afghanistan in early 2007.
During WW2, infantry training on the MG, and then the 6 pound anti-tank weapon, was carried out at Netheravon. Post-war work developed and deployed the Battalion Anti Tank (BAT) series of recoilless rifles; the BAT recoilless gun - a new build weapon with lightweight carriage and heavy armoured shield that could also be fitted to vehicles such as the FV432 or a Land Rover; ConBAT, the converted BAT with the spotting rifle; MoBAT – a lighter version of the ConBAT with shield removed; WOMBAT – (Weapon of Magnesium, Battalion Anti Tank) 120mm Recoilless Anti-Tank Gun which entered service in 1962. Specialist training was conducted by the Support Weapons Wing until the 1980s until WOMBAT was gradually replaced by the French anti-tank weapon MILAN (Missiled’Infanterie Leger Anti-char) during 1979 which was used successfully to destroy bunkers during the Falklands Conflict in 1982. MG tracer was used to identify and MILAN to destroy targets at night by 3 PARA on Mt Longdon and 42 Cdo on Mt Harriet. MIRA was introduced during 1983 which finally gave MILAN a TI capability and an ISTAR role. MILAN has now been replaced by Javelin, which entered service in Apr 2005. All Infantry Bns are now equipped with Javelin, and it has been used operationally in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Infantry signals training was conducted in Hythe prior to the move to Warminster in 1969. All signals training for the infantry has been conducted in Warminster since, but the division has fallen under different commands (ITC Warmintser, IBS Brecon) at various times. The division initially instructed on the use of the Larkspur radio equipment, which was superseded in 1976 by Clansman. The division now sits within the structure of the Support Weapons School, where it shall remain. BOWMAN entered service in Apr 2005, and a revised course structure was implemented which exists to the present day. BOWMAN is shortly to be completely integrated across all Army units, whilst all units deploying on operations are fully equipped and trained on the new CIS technology.
Direct Fire Division, consisting of a Sniper Wing and Machine Gun Wing, was formed as a part of Support Weapons School in 2004. Initially the Snipers Wing concentrated on delivering courses for sniper instructors and commanders and the Machine Gunners training Section Commanders and Platoon Commander in the GPMG Sustained Fire Role. Due to the demise of sniping across the infantry the Sniping Wing has been tasked since 2006 with delivering basic sniping courses. Snipers are trained using the L96 .308 rifle at ranges up to 900m. A sniper improvement package is expected shortly which will see engagement distances increasing to 1200m and beyond using a .338 rifle. SF training concentrates on the 7.62 GPMG, with the possibility of the 40mm grenade machine gun being incorporated from 2008 onwards.
DIVISIONS AND COURSES
Detachment Commanders Course - 9 weeks
Section Commanders Course - 9 weeks
Platoon Commanders and 2ICs Course - 8 weeks
Standard Course - 8 weeks
Advanced Course - 7 week
Platoon Commanders and 2ICs Course - 8 weeks
COMMUNICATION INFORMATION SYSTEMS DIVISION
REGIMENTAL SIGNALS OFFICERS WING
Infantry Regimental Signals Officer Special to Arm Course - 3 weeks
Infantry Regimental Signals Warrant Officer Course - 5 weeks
Infantry Regimental Signals Advanced Systems Course - 9 weeks
REGIMENTAL SIGNALS JUNIOR WING
Infantry Regimental Signals Advanced Course - 7 weeks
Infantry Regimental Signals Instructors Course - 4 weeks
REGIMENTAL SIGNALS AND COMMUNICATIONS SUPPORT WING
Infantry Regimental Signallers Course Phase 2 - 5 weeks
DIRECT FIRE DIVISION
Sniper Commanders Course
Machine Gun Platoon Commanders Course
Machine Gun Section Commanders Course