How University Students Fared In Their First Platoon Attack

Reservists, who are also students who signed up during freshers week, have taken part in their first platoon attack exercise in Catterick.

The East Midlands University Officers’ Training Corps (EMUOTC) has carried out its annual exercise at Catterick –  the first time since all training was moved online a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the exercise, trainee soldiers led a platoon attack and, after a year of training virtually, the exercise proved a test for the reserves in a practical environment, but overall the platoon was successful.

Colour Sergeant Richard Alderman, Regular Army Instructor, 2 Royal Anglian, told Forces News the trainees "got on very well".

"Everyone was being a linkman, the information was getting fed back to the section and the section commander knew what was going on in the battle," he said.

Officer Cadet Isobel Horsfall, Trainee Soldier, EMUOTC, told Forces News it was the first time the reserves were "in the leadership positions".

"We were in charge of keeping that momentum going throughout the attack, so I really enjoyed it," she said.

"I really liked taking that responsibility."

The reserves are university students who signed up through a society group offered to them during freshers week.

For many taking part, it was their first practical platoon attack after training was moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For many, they hadn’t considered a career in the Army until joining the Officers' Training Corps.

Officer Cadet Dev Shah, EMUOTC, a third-year maths student at the University of Nottingham, told Forces News he "was just looking for a society to join that offered sport opportunities".

"I'm not from a military family or I'm not really affiliated with anyone that's in the military, so I don't really know what goes on in the Army, so I was quite interested to find out," he said.

Many who go through the UOTC training go on to a full career in the Army, while others may finish their career at the training corps.

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Ellis, Commanding Officer, EMUOTC, told Forces News the Officer Training Corps "get an awful lot who go through to the reserves" and even more who join the reserves as private soldiers. 

"It's trying to give them as much grounding... of the military aspects, but also, that leadership training is really what underpins what it is that we do," he said.