Intelligence Corps Competition at Cambridge Detachment

Intelligence Corps Competition at Cambridge Detachment

21 November 2021

  • Cambridgeshire ACF

Cambridgeshire Army Cadet Force offers a wide variety of new experience and opportunities to its cadets. These opportunities are often greatest when we work directly with the Army, as happened on 20th November with the Intelligence Corps Competition at Cambridge Detachment.

WO1 Steve Squire, Corps Senior Reserve Warrant Officer, the Intelligence Corps, ran the day-long course with assistance from army colleagues who participated virtually. Cambridge Detachment is badged to the Intelligence Corps, and its cadets are encouraged to show an interest in the Corps and its activities. The competition is for senior cadets (Lance Corporal and above), and eight cadets took part, including some from other detachments, forming a team whose performance will be judged alongside that of other counties with an Intelligence Corps affiliation. The eventual winning detachment will receive a trophy.

Staff Cadet Staff Sgt Charlotte Wallace takes notes during a briefing. Picture: Doug Stuart

The day was split into a series of exercises designed to teach and test different aspects of intelligence gathering, planning and analysis.

The cadets were tested on their ability to remember and describe scenes of interactions between military personnel and local civilians shown to them in a video. They also took part in a theoretical planning exercise, which involved meeting up with, and providing assistance to, a group of fellow soldiers with whom communication had been lost. This challenging exercise required considerable teamwork, and involved deciding which equipment would be needed, how survival equipment could be used in different ways, how to navigate, and how to best cross challenging terrain such as dense forest and rivers.

WO1 Squire explains the planning exercise. Picture: Doug Stuart

One of the most engaging challenges was tank recognition. WO1 Squire explained the vital importance of the Army being able to identify enemy vehicles, both in establishing the exact threat they posed, and when combined with knowledge of the enemy’s fighting doctrine, establish the likely position of other enemy forces and their intentions based on the deployment of their armoured vehicles. The cadets demonstrated great teamwork in matching the pictures of tanks they were shown to recognition images.

Cadet LCpl Alice Wallace and Cadet LCpl Finley Morgan discuss tank recognition. Pictures: Doug Stuart

Later in the afternoon, the cadets received aerial reconnaissance analysis training- being taught how to recognise various kinds of vehicles, ships, transports hubs and military bases in photographs taken from the air.

Staff Cadet Sgt Grace Bugg (right) and Cadet LCpl Scarlet Surtees identify features in aerial photographs. Picture; Doug Stuart

Staff Cadet Staff Sgt Charlotte Wallace said: ‘Ive really enjoyed today. I like the affiliation we have with the Intelligence Corps, and its great to learn more about what they do. I have particularly enjoyed learning about the human aspects to Intelligence, and how much information you can extract from one photograph.’

Group discussions during the planning exercise. Picture: Doug Stuart

Cadet LCpl Alice Wallace said: ‘I have learned lots of new and interesting facts, I especially liked finding all the alternative uses for survival equipment.’ Cadet LCpl McConnell added; ‘ I liked the tank recognition exercise, I liked the way it made us all work together.’

The team outside Cambridge Detachment. From Left, Cdt Cpl Houghton, Cdt Sgt Wallace, Lt Houghton, (behind the gun) WO1 Squire, (in front of gun) Cdt LCpl Wallace, Cdt LCpl McConnell (at right) Cdt LCpl Morgan, Cdt LCpl Surtees, Cdt LCpl Hamilton, and Cdt Sgt Bugg. Picture; Doug Stuart

The cadets felt the competition had been interesting and challenging in equal measure. Throughout the day, teamwork and effective communication was key. Our Cambridge team demonstrated these qualities and more, showing how much their training as senior cadets has paid off.

WO1 Squire said; 'The Intelligence Corps Cadet Competition is aimed to be delivered to each sponsored or affiliated Intelligence Corps ACF or CCF unit across the country. This is the first iteration of the competition, which has had to be adapted due to the Covid 19 pandemic into a hybrid competition delivered in bubbles virtually and individually to each of the Intelligence Corps Cadet units via MS Teams, and through limited one to one Face to Face engagement. The competition consist of five disciplines including Open Source analysis, Operational Recognition of tanks, interview techniques, problem solving and Imagery analysis. The aim of the competition is part of our vision and plan, principally to develop Esprit De Corps and weave our Golden Thread of “One Corps Family” into our engagement with all Intelligence Corps Cadet Units.'

Members of the team outside Cambridge Detachment. Picture: Doug Stuart

He continued: 'It was therefore a delight for me to meet and engage with Cambridge ACF on Saturday 20th November 2021. Your cadets were well turned out, motivated, polite, eager and each are an asset to your unit. I wish them all well for the future and look forward to being able to publish the results of the Intelligence Corps Competition after my team and I comprising of Regular and Reservist soldiers complete delivery to our last unit. Once complete, I look forward to visiting the winning team with the Corps Colonel to present their award. Thank you for hosting me.'

Text by PI Doug Stuart