[Lone Sentry: Preparation of Antiaircraft Units for Theaters of Operations, WWII Tactical and Technical Trends]
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"Preparation of Antiaircraft Units for Theaters of Operations" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following report on British antiaircraft units during WWII is reproduced from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 6, August 27, 1942.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


Antiaircraft units, which have been assigned for prolonged periods to the protection of cities and other establishments outside the theaters of operations, present a training problem when it is decided to send them into active combat. For example, mobility and close cooperation with other organizations then become essential, but such units obviously have had little, if any, opportunity for training along these lines. The British have evolved the following general principles for the training of such units.

(1) Organize the regiment into teams, as ready for battle, and do not change them.

(2) Teach officers and men to think for themselves and be one jump ahead of the game. Slackness and lethargy must not be permitted. Explain to all ranks that the enemy is a cunning and ruthless foe, and that to beat him requires greater cunning.

(3) A gun is useless if it cannot get there, and vehicle maintenance essential.

(4) Learn to read and understand a map, not theoretical map reading the appearance of the ground as it looks when you see it. Use a compass.

(5) Gun drill; accurate lining-up and levelling are essential. A gun out of order is useless and a gun not levelled and lined up serves no purpose.

(6) All officers, battalion sergeant majors, dispatch riders, and mechanics should learn to ride a motorcycle; drivers should learn to operate their vehicles with gun attached.

(7) Learn the role for which you are intended, and the role of other arms of the service.

(8) Learn to know your enemy, particularly recognition of aircraft.

(9) Learn to know yourself; physical fitness is a prime requisite.

(10) Maxims:

a. If you don't know your equipment and drill, there is no sense in going into battle.

b. If your transport breaks down you won't get there.

c. If your guns are on their wheels, you can shoot, so get into action.

d. If your guns and instruments are not lined up and levelled, there's no reason to shoot.

e. If you can't read a map, you won't get there.

f. If you're not fit you can't fight, and you'll soon be buried.

g. If you're not awake and don't know what's going on, the enemy will soon teach you, and then it's too late.

h. If you can't cook and fend for yourself in the field, nobody will do it for you. Live, cook, eat, sleep, and wash in the open.


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