Sunday, 23 August 2020

Thats the way to do it... WW2 training films

Whilst hanging around on re-enactment social media pages, a kindly soul pointed out an interesting WW2 British training film covering platoon attacks. While the 1944 version has been endlessly reproduced in books, this one is from an earlier period (from the equipment, I guess 1942).

I particularly enjoyed each platoon member explaining their equipment and role. It is worth watching just for the accents alone. It covers a platoon attack against a German MG position, and very helpfully includes map briefings and a blow-by-blow account of how the action unfolds.

It would be very reproduceable on the tabletop, and another interesting scenario to test the veracity of tactical rules.

In a similar vein, I came across this:

which is about the selection of NCOs (plus some field activity). It is from later in the war as they have No. 4 rifles and lightweight respirators. It has more of a narrative structure and in some ways reminds me of the ourstanding David Niven film 'The Way Ahead' as the various characters and their development are explored. So which of the putative NCOs are you?

Both are pleasant way to pass half an hour and highly recommended.


  1. Most interesting, thanks for posting this.

  2. Fascinating films. There are a lot of levels to understanding this (see accents) but mostly I found myself thinking about my wargame. For example, how far my games relate to what was supposedly going on (I’m thinking about NT’s OHW rules where the basic infantry unit is a platoon). Is there a company attack film somewhere? The comments are a treat though, especially the combat experts criticizing the whole operation without realizing this effectively tactics 101. All I can say is thank heaven for stiff upper lips and Sargent Jones’ deep valley accent.

    1. I've not come across a WW2 company level film, just a BAOR Cold War one for a Combat Team (and they get to drive around in Chieftans and FV432s). Company level ops don't seem to feature in British manuals although they are touched on Lionel Wigrams 'Battle School' (1941) the emphasis is the platoon, battalion and division.

      The Nafziger reprint of the German 1942 manual 'German Squad Tactics' does cover company offensive and defensive operations, as does Chris Sharps 'Soviet Infantry Tactics'.