400 (Birkenhead) Squadron

Air Training Corps

Fieldcraft

Fieldcraft is, to put it simply, the art of living and moving in the field. Although the ACO is generally focused on different activities, fieldcraft does play a part in most Squadron's training programmes.

An average squadron might run 'exercises' which vary widely. Many involve two teams being pitted against each other. Exercises vary and each places emphasis on different aspects of fieldcraft. Some might need you and your team to move slowly and quietly, sneaking upon an 'enemy' installation, perhaps. Others need speed as well as stealth, and you will have to decide how much of one to trade off against another. An acknowledged advantage of fieldcraft exercises is that it forces people to use their initiative much more often. You could find yourself in a decision-making position as a relatively junior member of the squadron.

Fieldcraft is often used by squadrons as a method of assessing cadets' leadership qualities - what would happen, for instance if the 1 and 2i/cs (first and second in commands) of your team went down? Would you take control? Do you have the skills and abilities?

Uniform and Camouflage

Uniform used for fieldcraft is usually called DPM (Disruptive Pattern Material). The new camouflage uniform is MTP (Multi Terrain Pattern). Other names you may hear used are 'Greens' or 'Cabbage'. A short recommended kit list is shown below.

  • DPM/MTP Trousers
  • DPM/MTP Smock (Jacket)
  • Green / DPM Shirt or Dark T-shirt
  • Black Hi-leg Boots (Brown with MTP)
  • Wooly Hat and Gloves

These are all the things you need - extras can always be picked up later on. We do have a limited supply of second hand stock which you can loan, but should have no problem finding this equipment at your local military surplus store or on-line.

The idea of DPM/MTP uniform is very different to that of the 'blue uniform' described elsewhere. This kit can withstand months of constant use and mistreatment - it is designed to get wet, muddy and be used 'in action'. It is excellent camouflage - on a dark night, all you need to do to avoid being spotted is stand still. Kit choice and preparation can be an important part of the fieldcraft training syllabus.

'Camo Cream'
Everyone has heard of camo cream. It comes in tubes or compacts that you rub onto your face, and as soon as you do, you become invisible! This is, of course - not at all true. Be careful when applying cam as it contains insect repellent which can sting if it gets near your eyes and although washable does end up on everything you touch! There are some natural alternatives in the form of mud or wearing a balaclava.

Make sure that you are not too liberal or too sparse when applying 'cam' - you should rub it over the nose and cheekbones. Parts of your face which are in shadow should not be covered. Remember the goal is disruption - that means variation. Check out the Fieldcraft ACP for more details about this.

The cream should be applied with the objective to disrupt. After applying a base areas that stand out should be covered with 'tiger' stripes - whereas areas of the face already in shadow should be left as they are. Remember your forehead, behind the ears and neckline. There is no need to go for the Arnie Schwarzenegger "Predator" full face paint. This is one area where European and US tactics differ.