PLATOON COMMANDER (INFANTRY)InfantrySoldierLeads soldiers on operations and maintains the platoon’s effectiveness as a fighting unit
Infantry battalions specialise in one of four main roles. Light Role Infantry rely on speed and mobility, Armoured Infantry use the Warrior armoured fighting vehicle, Mechanised Infantry use the fast and versatile Saxon armoured personnel carrier, and Air Assault Infantry deploy by plane, helicopter or parachute. You will command a rifle platoon of 32 soldiers within an infantry battalion with the help of experienced NCOs, although the responsibility for its operational effectiveness rests with you. In addition, you will be expected to take an active interest in the welfare of your soldiers and the development of their careers and will resolve any disciplinary problems within the platoon.
The Right Job For Me?
All officer jobs will call on your ability to lead and motivate the troops under your command, and you will need the maturity and sense of responsibility necessary for a role in which soldiers’ wellbeing can depend on the outcome of your decisions. As part of a larger unit an ability to take orders is essential, but you must also be able to act on your own initiative if the situation calls for it.
What Skills Will I Learn?
Officers are expected to master the same basic military skills and tactics as the soldiers they command. This will include drill, basic fieldcraft, map reading, first aid and how to fire and maintain your personal weapon.In addition to your soldiering skills you will also learn the skills pertinent to being an infantry officer, and how to command soldiers in the field and in barracks through a series of field exercises.Depending on the battalion you join it may be necessary to learn further skills applicable to its role, including the command of an armoured vehicle. If you intend to join the Parachute Regiment you will need to complete the prestigious selection course known as P Company before progressing to parachute training.
What Training Will I Do?
Initial TrainingThe Commissioning Course takes place at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, arguably the most prestigious institution of its kind in the world, and lasts for 44 weeks. It is divided into three terms with periods of leave and adventurous training between them. As well as core military skills such as drill and weapon handling, it includes a rigorous physical regime. The course also has an academic component but the emphasis is on learning by doing, so you will take part in a range of exercises. You will also learn about the behaviour and self-discipline of an officer, and will be expected to act with integrity at all times.Further TrainingBefore joining your platoon you will complete further training relevant to the role of your new battalion in addition to the 13-week Platoon Commander Battle Course. This course is intended to supplement the infantry skills you will already have learned at Sandhurst, culminating in a live-firing exercise. All officers follow a clear development plan, and as your career progresses you will attend other courses to prepare you for the new roles and responsibilities that come with promotion. You will also be able to complete relevant courses at UK universities and may be able to qualify for full-time, funded language training if you are selected for certain posts.
What Qualifications Could I Get?
The Commissioning Course is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development and the Chartered Management Institute, while City & Guilds awards a Certificate in Human Resource Management on completion. It also counts towards the Edexel/BTEC Certificate in Management Studies and towards Bournemouth University’s Postgraduate Certificate in Human Resource Management. The Army prides itself on its continuing professional development and you will attend courses throughout your career, many of which translate directly into civilian life.
Whatever you decide to do, your training and experience as a Platoon Commander will stand you in good stead. If you choose to make a career in the Army then the infantry, with its front-line roles and flexibility, is the ideal start. Equally, should you decide to return to civilian life then your track record of leading troops under the most demanding circumstances, and taking responsibility for commanding troops in the most challenging conditions, will impress any civilian employer recruiting for senior managerial roles.