Making of a Commando in Indian Army

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by Daredevil, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Romancing with unknown dangers | 'Warfare is all about confidence'


    Bangalore: "We make men out of boys," – reads a massive board at the the entrance of the Commando Wing (CW), one of the most-discreet units of Indian Army, situated in Belgaum. It is here that the advanced lessons in undercover operations are taught to the fittest and finest soldiers, who get enrolled for a 35-day commando course. Express was recently given access to some of the round-the-clock activities inside the CW, consisting of outdoor and indoor exercises.

    Part of the Junior Leaders Wing (JLW), the CW is spread across vintage buildings of British era and imparts training to officers, non-commissioned officers, para-military forces and friendly foreign nations on a regular basis. The JLW is part of the Infantry School at Mhow and the commando course is mandatory for all infantry and mechanised forces. Among the highlights of the commando course are: jumping from high walls, walking on narrow platforms and beams, slithering from helicopters, endurance runs (10 km to 40 km) carrying complete battle load and personal weapons, battle obstacle courses, rock-climbing, rapelling, combat firing, suvival missions and lecture demonstrations.

    Maj Gen Chandra Shekhar, Commander, JLW, says that passing the commando course is just one milestone a solider crosses. “We impart special skills using most-optimum use of ground and they get sharpened when the commandos repeat the process again and again. It's all about how much extremes your body and mind can handle. No two situations in life or war can be similar. It's not a mathematical formulae that they should apply. We always remind the commandos that tough times don't last, but tough people do,” says Maj Gen Chandra Shekhar. He said a good commando has to be a good human being first, possessing qualities like top class character, compassion, courage, competence, commitment and finally charisma.

    As part of the special mission training to enhance the combat edge, small teams are formed and sent to jungles and varied kinds of terrains. This exercise, said to be the most toughest part of the course, may vary from one to three days. “Warfare is all about confidence. We break the biological timings, deprive a commando of sleep and put him through a timetable that's not told to him till the last moment. We make him do all things which he hasn't done before. No plans are known to anyone. We show them the limits their body, mind and soul can take. It's all about romancing dangers and risks. It's all about feeling for the nation. We have done it and now it's their turn,” says Col Deep Bhagat, Commander, CW, JLW.

    In addition, there are planned exercises in simulated battle conditions. The commandos are also trained in different kinds of military explosives and they are given valuable survival tips in hostile conditions (to be featured in later part of of this series). “They are also given training in basic medical aspects and unarmed fighting (if the weapon malfunctions). We are able to enhance the endurance, confidence and the knowledge levels of a solider so that he gets a complete insight of special mission and covert operations. Among the many tests a commando has to pass in the beginning of the course is the BPET (Battle Proficiency Efficiency Test),” says Lt Col Rajiv Saharan, Chief Instructor, CW.

    The BPET consists of a 5-km run with weapons (5kg) and battle load (3.5kg); climbing vertical rope and horizontal rope; jumping fire ditches with battle load; 60-m sprint and swimming in battle fatigue (uniform, shoes and the like).

    Tarmak007 -- A bold blog on Indian defence: Making of a Commando-1: Romancing with unknown dangers | 'Warfare is all about confidence'


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  3. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Ability to hang on for a moment longer matters the most | Giving up is considered unfit to be welcomed in the brotherhood

    Bangalore: If you are nursing the dream of becoming a commando one day, then you need to get your body in shape right away. Inside Indian Army's Commando Wing (CW) at Belgaum, every solider who enrolls for the rigorous course, is constantly reminded of the need to be physically and psychologically fit. As the training gains momentum, a new reality dawns and the fight to survive for one more day takes hold. As days go by, the rules of the game change rapidly, with nothing known about the next moment. The psychological strain is immense, by design. Lack of sleep and fatigue begin to play havoc with your senses.

    Major Raviraj Nalawade, Head of Training Team at CW, was the man marked to give Express an insight into the unknown terrains of a commando's mind. After a two day sojourn of the training facilities at the CW, the welcome handshake with the Major was a reminder to what separates boys from the men of steel. “An individual who wants to stretch his limits; who is willing to undergo physical and mental hardship; ready to block out pain and allow the body to be controlled by the mind, can take a shot at becoming a commando. The foremost quality of a commando is steadfast will power. The other defining traits in their order of importance being, moral and physical courage, psychological, emotional and physical fitness,” said Major Raviraj.

    He added that a commando is a person with intense self-discipline. “Somebody who has to be supervised cannot become a commando. He has to think and then act like one. His firing skills should be second to none and the capability of handling of all kinds of weapons and explosives has to be top class. A commando also has to navigate without any technological gizmo,” the Major said.

    A commando is not all brawn and no brain, as the popular opinion goes. He has to be tech-savvy and should be able use every latest gadget at his disposal to his benefit. He may have to direct laser guided bombs on to targets, that can otherwise not be destroyed by other explosives. He must be able to communicate with his headquarters and may have to send back live audio/video surveillance feeds of high-value targets.

    “Another important aspect of a being a commando is the knowledge of medicine. He is trained in life saving procedures that he may have to perform on his colleagues or at times on himself during conflicts. He will have to be well read, understand foreign relations and government policies as well. A commando has to be aware of everything all the time and cannot be ignorant. He has to have the ability to win hearts and minds. A good commando also has to be compassionate too,” says Major Raviraj.

    Finally, what everything boils down to is the will of a man to go on, and the capability to hang on for a moment longer. At the CW, a man who thinks of giving up is considered unfit to be welcomed in the brotherhood. “A commando is therefore a man who thinks, how he thinks and how long he keeps thinking,” signed-off the Major

    Tarmak007 -- A bold blog on Indian defence: Making of a Commando-2 | Ability to hang on for a moment longer matters the most | Giving up is considered unfit to be welcomed in the brotherhood


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  4. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    CLASS ACT: Acquiring Combat Skills for Special Mission Ops

    By Anantha Krishnan M
    Express News Service

    Bangalore: Special mission operations are the most hazardous job for the commandos. The combat skills they acquire make the difference between life and death while operating on commando missions, behind enemy lines. The outfit will have specialists in skills like tracking, survival, demolitions, communications, medicine, surveillance, rock climbing, sky diving and deep sea diving.

    The Indian Army has put some of its best men in the business to train soldiers who check into the Commando Wing (CW) in Belgaum. During their stint at CW’s facilities, the soldiers are imparted with basic skills in combat shooting, unarmed combat, rock craft, demolitions, special missions and combat first aid. These skills are the bread and butter of a commando.

    Combat shooting is a very challenging, yet charming part of the training at CW. While firing skills mark the foundation for any solider, it is his expertise that graduates him into being a commando. “A student at the CW is trained in ambidextrous firing (using both hands and shoulders), firing on the move, peripheral vision firing and cover fire techniques. These disciplines of firing are essential to the survival of a commando and will help him in various combat situations,” Major R K Sharma, Instructor, CW, told Express, during a recent visit to the facilities.

    In unarmed combat, a commando is trained to tackle the enemy, empty handed. “We teach martial art techniques to defend against armed and unarmed enemy. A commando is made aware of sensitive and pressure points in a human body essential to injure or kill the enemy. With the Indian borders in the North and the North-East being mountainous, we also impart training in various basic and specialised rock climbing techniques like slithering, scorpion rappelling and walk down from the falls,” said Major Sharma.

    With today’s war being driven by technology, the CW has upgraded its curriculum to reckon with the best in the world, even throwing some surprises to the visiting foreign armies. The use of paint ball guns, gen-next rock climbing gadgets, remote controlled targets and cameras for room intervention are some of the training gadgets being used. Remote controlled IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) developed by CW for training is based on the experience gained by its instructors while on the job.
    While undertaking training in special mission operations, a commando’s performance is validated against six different parameters. “He has to navigate undetected for long distances, reach the designated target, carryout surveillance before destroying it. Case studies and experiences of actual operations are shared with future commandos,” says Major Sharma. In addition, potential problem solving skills to meet unforeseen situations are also practised.

    A soldier who passes out of CW would have mastered techniques not only in destroying targets and killing the enemy but also in combat first aid and survival that will help in saving lives behind the enemy lines.


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  5. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    Tarmak007 -- A bold blog on Indian defence: Making of a Commando-2 | Ability to hang on for a moment longer matters the most | Giving up is considered unfit to be welcomed in the brotherhood



    Thanks to Tarmak for publishing something different ??
     
  6. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    That's one tough training for the commandos. Salute!!! :salute:
     
  7. Ankit Purohit

    Ankit Purohit Senior Member Senior Member

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    Great .....What A Thread.This Kind of Thread is Gaining Knowledge

    And

    I Just Loved This

    It's all about romancing dangers and risks. It's all about feeling for the nation. We have done it and now it's their turn,”


    Jai Hind
     
  8. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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    :salute:

    Our commandos may lag behind in tech availability, but more than makes up in training and will.

    It shows that only due to lack of political will that we are a soft state!

    How about making conscription mandatory for the political class?
     
  9. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    I would like to see exchange program for training with US Army Rangers and IA Commando Wing.

    United States Army Rangers - The United States Army

    The United States Army | Fort Benning

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    Ranger School

     
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  10. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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    I would like to see some of out SF to go and train in US Sniper School. US can send over troops for Mountain Warfare training. SF Exchange Program. :sad:
     
  11. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Good idea. US mountains are so puny compared to India.
     
  12. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    US has had some exchanges in past at HAWS

     
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  13. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Shaping body & mind with endurance and confidence-building exercises | Daring 'Lido Jump' from 55-feet height a stunner!

    By Anantha Krishnan M
    Express News Service

    Bangalore: Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear – so reads a prominent poster in one of the Group Offices of Indian Army’s Commando Wing (CW) in Belgaum. During the 32-day commando course, a solider has to clear the physical training (PT), battle obstacle course (BOC), endurance speed marches and confidence jump – all with excellent grading.

    Major Varun Maandi, Instructor, CW, tells Express that to successfully complete the commando course it is imperative that every soldier possesses a high level of physical fitness. “As most of our students come from active employment along our borders, we have designed a progressive course that revitalises their physical prowess. After initially toning up the body, we gradually increase stress levels and training hours with three hour runs and strenuous exercises. These are then followed by other individual and group exercises. The PT sessions begin as early as 2 am in the morning as we attempt to break the body’s bio-rhythm and sleep cycle,” Major Varun said.

    Next comes, the BOC which forms an important part of training. Here, a solider has to negotiate 22 obstacles in stipulated time, carrying a load of 3.5 kg and his personnel weapon. If a soldier can't complete the obstacles in 18 minutes and 30 seconds, he fails the BOC. To be fit to serve as an instructor at the wing, a student has to complete the obstacle course in 14 minutes and 30 seconds.

    According to Major Varun, the endurance speed marches (forced marches) are 10 km, 20km, 30 km and 40 km which a student has to complete in a given time limit. “He has to carry a load of 17.5 kg and his personal weapon (3.5 kg) during the marches. These endurance exercises are spaced out over the complete training cycle and the course ends with the 40-km march, which has to be completed in 6 hours and 10 minutes, to avoid failing in the complete commando course,” he said.

    At the CW, the most daring part of the course is the confidence exercise, called the ‘Lido Jump.’ Here, a student has to walk on a wooden plank 24 inches wide and 40 feet long, 50 feet above a water tank and negotiate two flights of stairs. “He then gets on the horizontal rope at a height of 55 feet and monkey crawls a distance of 10 feet. After that he hangs with both his hands, stabilizes his body and jumps into the water below at the crack of a rifle. This exercise is designed to help overcome vertigo and develop self confidence in a student,” says Major Varun.

    In another confidence exercise, a student has to slide down from a platform at 50 feet keeping his body in a taut ‘L’ shape. To be adjudged fit to be an instructor, a student has to let go of the slide and dive into the water tank.

    Tarmak007 -- A bold blog on Indian defence: Making of a Commando-4 | Shaping body & mind with endurance and confidence-building exercises | Daring 'Lido Jump' from 55-feet height a stunner!

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  14. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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  15. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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  16. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Survival skills to fight, to win, to live another day

    By Anantha Krishnan M
    Express News Service

    Bangalore: One of the tenets of a commando is 'live to fight another day.' Every soldier who arrives at the Commando Wing (CW) in Belgaum is prepared to face a worst case scenario; that is the best preparation. A commando has to ‘fight to survive’ and ‘survive to win.’ He can never afford to lose. Having learnt various commando techniques to operate behind enemy lines, skills to survive form the final piece of the commando training at CW. These skills may not overtly aid in carrying out a task but are the most essential and helpful in adverse situations. A commando has to master jungle skills to survive in inhospitable terrain and weather. He has to be in touch with his animal instincts.

    During their survival skills training, commandos are taught how to build shelters, procure water, make fires, navigate, make traps and snares, track and finally obtain food from flora and fauna. “Shelters protect from weather, insects, animals and enemy observation. It helps conserve energy. We teach our students to build debris huts, swamp beds and improvisations of a poncho,” Capt V K Pandey, Instructor, CW, tells Express.

    Procurement of potable water is a pivotal aspect of survival. Water obtained from a solar still or plant sources like banana or cacti can be directly consumed. Various means of purifying water like boiling, use of bleaching powder, chlorine tablets and distillation are taught to student during the course.

    The ability to start a fire in adversity could make the difference between life and death. “Fire can be started using flint and steel, lighter, chemicals and a magnifying glass. For a soldier, fire can be a bane as smoke and light can alert enemies. Techniques to conceal fire and smoke are crucial lessons and are taught in detail,” says Capt Pandey.

    A commando does not ask -- What’s on the menu? -- as they have no option but to survive on the flora and fauna available. “Edibility test for plants comes very handy when one is not sure about them. Skills to prepare an animal can come handy and have saved lives of non vegetarians. Taste and choice of food have no place in our lives, while on a mission,” he said.

    A commando has to be an expert in building traps and snares to catch small animals and birds without losing surprise. “It takes lot more than knowledge and survival skills to live successfully through an arduous situation. While learning survival skill is important, having the will to survive is essential, without which these skills have no meaning,” adds Capt Pandey.

    Tarmak007 -- A bold blog on Indian defence: MAKING OF A COMMANDO-5 | Survival skills to fight, to win, to live another day

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  17. Ankit Purohit

    Ankit Purohit Senior Member Senior Member

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  18. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Soldiers battle it out to become India's Army's best unit | Cambrian Patrol Selection Trials (CPST) test capabilities to the core

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    The above photos are from the Cambrian Patrol Selection Trials (CPST) conducted by the Command Wing in Belgaum. Photos: JLW

    By Anantha Krishnan M
    Express News Service

    Bangalore: The Cambrian Patrol Selection Trials (CPST) are one of the most prestigious professional competitions held in the Indian Army. It is held to select one team to represent the Indian Army at the exclusive patrolling exercise conducted by the British Army annually at Sennybridge Training Area (SENTA) of Wales, in Brecon, United Kingdom. Cambrian Patrol is a true reflection of professionalism of one’s Army and is designed to provide a challenging situation to develop operational capabilities and test the professional acumen of a small team.

    During the Express' recent visit to the facilities of the Commando Wing (CW) in Belgaum, patrols participating in the CPST were seen returning after completing their reconnaissance missions. For the soldiers and their unit, getting selected to represent the nation on an international platform is a matter of great pride and honour.
    The CPST is held at CW every year and the best teams from Indian Army are selected after trials at various levels to represent their Commands. “The exercise is set as a mission oriented tactical patrol in semi mountainous terrain. It focuses on evaluating patrols for their leadership, team work, physical fitness, patrolling, basic military skills, casualty evacuation, handling of prisoners of war, CBRN warfare (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) and fighting in built up area,” says Major Amol Kalel, Instructor, CW.

    “The teams are assessed for knowledge of weapon, equipment held with NATO/WARSAW nations, CBRN, weapon handling and field craft and battle craft. Each team comprises of one officer, one junior commissioned officer or one non-commissioned officer and eight other ranks. Teams generally prepare for close to five months and are highly motivated, skillful, intelligent and possess great mental as well as physical robustness,” says Major Amol.

    The trials are conducted over a period of 12 days in three phases. The initial phase consists of preparation and acclimatisation, second phase assesses preparatory drills before the reconnaissance and surveillance exercise and third phase is the exercise itself. Two teams are selected to represent the country. In the initial phase, the teams arrive at CW five days prior to commencement and acclimatise, as many report from Kashmir, high altitude areas of Sikkim and far flung regions of North East India. “In assessment for their preparation each individual is tested for his ability to swim 50 meters in combat fatigues with shoes. In this phase teams’ equipment is checked for their serviceability and correctness,” he said.

    In the final phase, a mix of conventional and sub conventional tactical scenario is depicted. “Tasks such as infiltrating into enemy territory, linking up with friendly agents to gain information of targets, carrying out close reconnaissance of target and preparation of reconnaissance reports are done by the participants. Teams are also required to undertake crossing of a water obstacle approximately 100 meters wide enroute with combat load under simulated combat conditions,” says Major Amol.
    This entire exercise is conducted over a period of 72 hours covering a distance of more than 60 kms of arduous terrain. The entire exercise is set in a manner so as to progress from one drill to another in a sequence. At no point of time there is any logistic pause in the exercise and it is ensured that teams are on the move for the complete duration. Teams are assessed for various drills as they navigate from check point to check point.

    Tarmak007 -- A bold blog on Indian defence: Making of a Commando-6 | Soldiers battle it out to become India's Army's best unit | Cambrian Patrol Selection Trials (CPST) test capabilities to the core
     
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