Working together apart: The new normal for B (Rorke's Drift) Company
“22A, fire all remaining rounds at the hard target to your front and go green on both natures". Mid-way through a Warrior shoot in Germany, this is how the news came that the Royal Welsh would disperse due to COVID-19. In armoured warfare, the force disperses to protect itself, communicates digitally, and comes together to deliver the required effect for the minimum time possible. From now, we would have to apply a similar pattern to regular battalion life.
Every crisis brings opportunity. For many, this provided time to spend with wives and children from whom they were often absent. The Company was able to run a charity event and raise £3,413 for the ABF. For all, the immediate requirement to adapt to new ways to learn and maintain readiness stimulated change and progress.
With the troops dispersed, fusiliers were at a ‘safe’ distance from JNCOs who would normally provide close management. This forced LCpls and Cpls to adapt their leadership styles and experiment with new strategies. At all levels, trusting subordinates to work unsupervised and selling plans effectively to motivate them became ever more important. As far as possible, a strategy of ‘flipped learning' was applied where the fusiliers took ownership of their own learning and development.
The fusiliers did well. They produced a battle-book for armoured warfare to aid in familiarity with Warrior and its TTPs, which will go on to be reproduced for the Battalion to use. They studied historical battles and learned lessons from them . They applied modern doctrine and came up with plans of how they would have done better themselves, often showing levels of strategic and tactical thought well above what could be expected.
In this way, the Company kept itself ready to fight a future war against the long threat. Meanwhile, the Battalion was also looking at the close threat: COVID-19. As per armoured warfare, the force concentrates to achieve the effect where necessary. Now, B (Rorke's Drift) Company is operating in 12-man teams testing for COVID-19 in the South West.