Over the past week we’ve been studying soldiers in training. Getting ready for the battle field, and being fit to fight is an important part in the life of a soldier.
It was actually harder than we thought to research this topic. We couldn’t find a site that actually told us the training that soldiers had to undergo beyond the basics of physical fitness and drills. We still managed to learn a bit, some of this based on what my lad is learning in army cadets this year.
This video reminded my son of a reenactment he attended, where he had to practice running in a straight line carrying a gun. I asked him, how would we practice this skill in real life. He thought a while and then brought up the air rifles we have. I suppose we too, can practice some of the skills to be soldiers in training.
Surprise! Horse training
One of the videos that popped us surprised us. Army horse training. In retrospect it makes sense, we just never really thought about how soldiers might need to be trained as well as the horses themselves. First train the men, then train the horses.
I never thought to think about soldiers in training having to focus on gas warfare, how to deploy it as well as how to protect themselves from it. Last night we attended Christmas 1914 at Fanshawe Village and there was a fellow who talked with us a great length about gases used and the products used to protect the men from it. It was hard and brutal and the knowledge gained was a big reason why it wasn’t used in World War 2.
My son said when it was on you couldn’t see anything and it was harder to breathe. Can you imagine trying to run and fight and carry a full load while wearing one? Just a hard job for those soldiers. Helps us better understand the struggles they went through. The video below shows German troops. While watching I wondered aloud how many times they would kill themselves. Apparently this was something my son had wondered about earlier and researched and the answer was YES, lots of times.
Being Canadian, we appreciated this video and we found ourselves talking through it, sharing knowledge we learned from our individual research. Did you know that Canadian soldiers were known for their ferocity during the First World War?
Modern day training! My lad is inspired.
We learned that training is there to increase skill levels and physical fitness but also to help the soldiers bond as they work together. This was part of the advantage of having “Pals” units as you had some of that cohesiveness already built in. I see this in my lad with the Army Cadet unit he is part of. The more the boys do things together, talking, working, exercising, the more the unit is coming together as a unit. Neat to observe. 🙂
Lest you think we only watched videos, we also took in a few websites.
Learning about the Canadians training at Valcartiers. We admittedly spent a fair bit of time at this site exploring images, delving into other topics etc.
We learned about the Kitchener blue uniforms of the british.
Studied a PDF of the American training program that gave us excellent ideas for our own training program. It’s LONG and we only looked the ww1.
Learned about elderly training officers in Britain and some of the problems that created.
We learned why soldiers drop and crawl when they are on an infantry line. Makes sense once you stop and think about it. See if you can discover why HERE.
We also looked back at our day for the World War 1. This was an excellent day for the lad with learning about order, disciplines, different aspects of the wars and so forth. He still talks about it.
We’ll be starting a training regime… physical fitness anyone?
My son and I were talking today about some of the things he wants to do. He wants it to be something that we do together. So starting next week he’ll be running around the block (I will walk as quickly as I can) and he’ll eventually catch up to me again. We’ll do (for me some modification) sit ups, planks, push ups, leg lifts and squats. Hopefully we can get dad involved as well. How to fit it all in will be a lovely challenge for us. 🙂
I am going to get him (hopefully tomorrow sometime) to put together a spreadsheet for us to use. Need to see if we are improving our abilities as that’s something that soldiers do as well.
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