Received this training questionaire via e-mail in reference to the ongoing update of the Small Wars Manual - please chime in with your comments and / or suggestions:


Question: What are the most pertinent past experiences from which to learn and incorporate into training schedules? US in Somalia? US in Najaf 03?

Question: Which lessons from the French, British, and Australians are most applicable?

Question: How much time does it take to effectively prepare individuals and small units for small wars such as we face in OIF and OEF?

Question: What additional subject or item should be incorporated at MCRD in preparation for small wars action?

Questions: Before deployment to OIF, USMC battalions are allowed to send limited numbers of personnel to certain division schools. If allotted 500 school seats for SASO instructor training, squad leaders course, information operations basic course, language immersion training, cultural intelligence training, convoy commanders course, snipers course, and field communications (systems) training, how would you allocate seats?

Aside from the schools listed above, which other school training is a must?

Should successful completion of Combat Lifesavers Course be a requirement for all Marines?

Question: Should Battalion, MEU, and MEF Staffs be required to successfully complete a small wars focused MSTP exercise before deploying in support of a contingency such as OIF or OEF?

Should this accreditation be a yearly requirement?

Question: In relation to other training demands, where should small wars training fall? Given limited resources and time, if forced to conduct urban operations training, mech-armor integration training, combined arms exercises, mountain warfare training, small unit leadership development training, and amphibious operations training, in addition to small wars training, what percentage of time should be spent on each?

Question: Should every battalion be required to maintain a CAP regardless of being forward deployed or in garrison?


(From the Manual) 4-1. C. Training for small wars operations places particular emphasis upon the following subjects:

(1) Composition, armament, and equipment of infantry patrols.
(2) Formations and tactics of infantry patrols.
(3) Mounted detachments.
(4) Transportation of wounded.
(5) Planned schemes of maneuver when the enemy is encountered by patrols.
(6) Security on the march.
(7) Security during halts and in camp.
(8) Organization of the ground for all-around defense.
(9) Night Operations, both offensive and defensive.
(10) Employment of weapons.
(11) Messing. To include feeding of troops on the trail and in small groups in garrison.
(12) Laying ambushes.
(13) Attacking a house.
(14) Street Fighting.
(15) Riot Duty.
(16) Defense of garrisons.
(17) Surprise attacks on enemy encampments.
(18) Stratagems and ruses.
(19) Scouting and patrolling, including tracking
(20) Combat practice firing.
(21) Sketching and aerial photograph map reading.
(22) Marching under adverse conditions, trail cutting, and conservation of water.
(23) Bivouacs and camps.
(24) Sanitation, first aid, and hygiene.
(25) Handling of small boats and inland waterways.
(26) Air-ground liaison.
(27) Training of officers as aviation observers.
(28) Rules of land warfare.

Question: Are the above items still applicable? What should be added or deleted? What order should these appear? If you could only do 10, which 10 would you choose?

Assumption: Unit has 6 month training work-up in addition to previous past exercise, deployments, and training.


(From the Manual) 4-7.B Training during concentration is primarily concerned with preparation for the following operations:

(1) Ship-to-shore movement, against organized opposition and without opposition.

(2) Reorganization preliminary to movement inland.

(3) Movement inland, including the seizure of defended cities and towns, and operations against guerrilla forces whose tactics include surprise attacks and ambushes.

Question: If this list should be revised, what should it include? Please limit the response to 6 items?

Question: Should community policing training, such as that conducted by local civil law enforcement agencies in the U.S. be included in Small Wars training?


(From the Manual) 4-16.B The following subjects are particularly important and should be emphasized en route to the theater of operations.

(1) Information of the country of destination; its people, language, topography, political and military situation.

(2) Enemy tactics likely to be encountered. Tactics to be adopted by your own troops.

(3) Relations with inhabitants of the country of destination.

Question: If this list should be revised, what should it include? Please limit the response to 6 items?

Question: Which schools or course of instruction could be potentially taught aboard ship? Note: Assume 10-21 day transit.


(From the Manual) 4-22. Troop Schools. The following are a few of the subjects that may have special application:

(1) Scouting and patrolling.
(2) Sniping.
(3) Handling small boats.
(4) Language of the country.
(5) Transportation. (animals, carts, boats)
(6) Care of animals.
(7) Packing.
(8) First aid, hygiene, and field sanitation.
(9) Horseshoeing.
(10) Saddlery.
(11) Cooks and bakers.
(12) Aviation observers. (for all officers)

Question: If this list should be revised, what should it include? Please limit the response to 6 items?

Question: What specialized training (normally conducted by Division Schools personnel) must be able to be taught by battalion and company personnel while in theater?

Additional comments:

Here is a link to the original 1940 Small Wars Manual.