Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


Auxiliary Unit Training Papers & Tests

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A Coleshill Training Guide reproduction can be downloaded FREE here

Operational Patrols

Patrols will never go out aimlessly but always as a result of something that has been observed. Generally speaking, the patrol will be undertaken in darkness or fog (but always on known ground) as a result of daylight observation.

No night can be missed. There MUST be a target every night.

Your task is either to destroy by incendiarism, demolition or ambush, enemy stores, aeroplanes and vehicles, or to overpower isolated sentries, stragglers, HQ DRs. The weapons you are given are for self protection, for destruction of stores etc by burning and demolition, and for overpowering of individual men. You must therefore lie low if encountered by an enemy patrol, and never accept battle unless the odds are overwhelmingly in your favour. Whilst en route to your task, do not return the enemy's fire. He thus will remain in doubt, and will either come nearer to investigate or go on his way.

On arrival at the last R.V. or springboard, close observation of the enemy will always be necessary before ‘going in’ to the target. The Patrol Leader and possibly one or two others will then go ahead - the rest remaining hidden - to look out for obstacles and watch the movements and reliefs of sentries.

Plenty of time must be taken over this as the execution of the final plan, the success or failure of the patrol and the lives of all concerned are dependent on accurate observation and deduction of enemy sentries’ dispositions.

From here the patrol will split up and go to its appointed tasks. Remember that we want to be back in bed before the explosion occurs - the time pencil is therefore our chief ally. In all your movements proceed deliberately, as haste merely leads to excitement and confusion.

A simple plan is therefore the keynote to success. Each member of the patrol must clearly know the task in hand and his own particular role before he leaves the Operational Base.

Never leave a wounded comrade, who should be taken to a friend's house, and never to the Operational Base.


The duration of an invasion of this country must be limited to about three weeks at the outside. We therefore have only from 10 to 20 nights in which we can operate; and to make ourselves felt, we must waste no time. A target must be attacked every night, and in order to do this it may be necessary for every man in the patrol to be an observer or scout by day.

A patrol cannot operate without a definite target. The finding of a reasonable one is, therefore, its primary task.

The area officially allocated to each patrol is a circle of 2½ miles radius, but many are confident of being able to cover four times this area, which would mean operating sometimes five miles from their base.

A patrol would only be aware of a target so far away if the observer had been there to find it.

This is the order of priority of the targets that we hope to find:

1. Important military HQs.

2. Landing Grounds.

3. Dumps.

4. Vehicles.

By 'attacking an HQ' we do not intend that five men should make a commando raid upon it and attempt to wipe out personnel who may number 150, but rather that it should be rendered inoperative as an HQ. This can be done by destroying wireless transmitting sets, sabotaging telephone wires and ambushing DRs.

Opportunity may occur to ambush a flagged staff car, but it must be remembered that armoured cars will probably be used.

If the fighting is fluid, such targets may be gone within a day or two, and in any case must be considered the exception rather than the rule.

Broadly speaking therefore, our patrols will be divided into two categories:

(i) those which have been formed near landing grounds (LG) with the express purpose of raiding them; and

(ii) those whose primary role will be the destruction of dumps.

It is no longer considered likely that Hitler will be content to count upon his aircraft for one single journey and crash-land them in fields, if he can capture an L.G.

He will probably attempt to organize ferry services to evacuate his wounded and bring in more and more men and stores. Every plane wrecked, therefore, means 35 wounded not evacuated and 35 fully equipped men unable to arrive.

Those patrols who have their bases near airfields have the greatest opportunities of all. Their observers have an easy task, since it is only necessary to locate the dispersal areas. The patrol can penetrate the perimeter and find their targets with comparative ease, and can achieve the maximum of results with the minimum of explosive.

The defence will probably be in the form of fixed posts at intervals and patrols with dogs. Wind direction should therefore be studied, and training should include experiments with ‘Renardine’, turpentine or T.C.P. on the hands, knees and feet.

It may be considered necessary, if charges are being placed on the tails of dispersed aircraft, to arrange for them to go off within as short a space of time as possible, by breaking all the pencils together, say, at the springboard or when the first charge is laid. Safety pins are, of course, withdrawn only at the last moment. If two or three planes blow up at intervals, the others will probably be examined by the crews in time to save them.

Dumps are likely to be small and numerous, to localise destruction by shellfire or bombing. Below a certain size they would not justify the attention of the R.A.F. but would provide very useful work for us.

They cannot be located at random but must be (a) on a firm track or road, first to avoid the bogging of laden vehicles, and secondly to avoid making new tracks that can be seen from the air, and (b) under trees, so that they are screened from air reconnaissance. A firm track through a wood is ideal, but the difficulty of finding a known target in a dark wood is familiar to all auxiliers from many exercises; and to find dumps, guns or vehicles that are only known to be somewhere in that wood is incomparably harder, especially if the wood is a large one. It is, therefore, essential that the observer should not only know the exact spot where they will be found, but should be able to describe it accurately to the rest of the patrol.

As the number of possible dump-sites in a given piece of country is limited, a patrol should get a 1/25000 map of its area and, from the combined local knowledge of its members, should mark on it in colours:

(i) all stretches of road that can be used as dumps, and

(ii) the points from which they can be seen.

Next, a circuit or series of circuits should be planned, by which a scout can visit a chain of these points and report to his P.L. which, if any, of the roads covered by his beat are in use as dumps. From the reports the P.L. can choose his ‘Target for Tonight’.

(i) In districts where the war is intense and enemy troops thick on the ground, it will not be necessary to go far to find a target.

(ii) In modem and highly fluid warfare there will be nothing unusual in the sight of the odd man, or even a small body of men, moving about; and should the observer show himself for an instant, he may attract very little notice from troops whose whole attention is on their own tasks and progress.

All stretches of road that can be used as dumps or vehicle parks should be regarded as traps for the enemy. The observer's duty will be to visit his traps daily and report to his patrol leader whether the enemy has walked into them, i.e. whether they are in use as dumps, or whether they have been - and therefore may be again - used as A.F.V. laagers.

Should all traps be empty, however, the answer is to stage an ambush. Time must not be wasted!


If a patrol can ambush a vehicle on a difficult piece of road, they will achieve results far greater than mere destruction of stores - the holding up of the whole supply column while the road is cleared. The operation will be comparatively safe as there will not be any appreciable defence and certainly no personnel to follow up the attackers when they make their withdrawal.

An ambush cannot be organized vaguely but must be laid out for a definite type of target.

The stage setting is most important - high hedges, narrow road, a bad corner and uphill gradient are ideal. There must always be a covered 'getaway'.

To intercept motor-cycle D.R.s, a wire stretched across the road at body height will probably decapitate the rider. The black trip wire (not the thin 'trap wire') should be used. The wire is raised and fixed when the observer signals; the debris is then removed, the wire lowered and the attackers return to hiding until the next target is signalled.

(Recommended methods of stopping a selected vehicle included shooting the driver, felling a tree, mining the road, disturbing the surface to make it look mined, and, simplest of all, hanging a screen of sacking across the road.)

To destroy vehicles and stores, rifles and Stens will be needed to deal with the personnel, then incendiary and demolition charges, previously prepared, to carry out the destruction. Such an ambush must be close up so that the drivers are killed and have no chance of taking cover and firing on the men who emerge from cover to lay the charges. These should be used to make the vehicle as difficult as possible to move off the road, which is most easily done by blowing off two wheels or capsizing it. The petrol tank should always be holed and fired.

To attack lorried infantry, the patrol should remain at a greater distance and rely on heavy automatic weapon fire as long as confusion reigns. Once any organised defence begins, they should retire.

It is enough to annoy the enemy and slow him up, it is not always necessary to organise a true ambush. Suitable forms of booby trap can be laid and left, with no risk to the patrol.


1. EXPLOSIVES - Practical. Each man to make up the following charges.

a. To set alight a dump of 2 gallon petrol drums.

b. To destroy an aircraft (description of where to be placed).

c. To cut down a tree.

d. To de-rail a train.

e. To put a tank out of action.

f. To destroy a lorry full of stores.

g. Unit charge as shown in calendar.

h. Make up an anti-personnel mine.

5 points each. Total 40.


a. Each man to give correctly 3 map references.                   6

b. Each man to point out on map a given landmark.                 2

c. Each man to draw correctly 4 conventional signs (to be given by the examiner).           4  

d. Each man to measure correctly distance between two given points on a map.           2

e. Each man to say from looking at a map whether two points are visible from each other.          3

Total 17.


a. Each man to load correctly a Sten gun and prepare it for firing with dark glasses.           3

b. Each man to fire six rounds with a revolver at a figure target 20 yards away.               6

c. Each man to throw 5 grenades into a pit 10ft square from 20 yards.                5

Total 14.

4. BOOBY TRAPS - Verbal

a. What weight is required to set off a pull switch?              3

b. What pressure is required to set off a pressure switch?        3

c. What safety precautions have been laid down for practice with pull switches?             3

d. When setting booby traps would you put a switch on the door of a room?              1

Total 10.


a. How long would a piece of Bickford 2'6" long take to burn?     2

b. What safety precautions must be applied when using Bickford?   2

c. How can you distinguish between a 7 sec. and a 4 sec. grenade igniter set in the dark?               1

d. How does a time pencil work?                                   2

e. How does an 'L' delay pencil work?                             2

Total 9.


a. What battn of the Home Guard do you belong to?                 2

b. What is the patrol code name?                                  2

c. Give correct sequence of issuing order. P.L. only.             10

d. What is the operational entitlement of Sten and .300 rifle ammunition?                   5

e. At what temperature would you consider your O.B. too hot?      5

Total   24

Total possible 94; patrol leaders 114.

Standards: Special - 90% and above

Pass - Above 60%

(A pencil note on the original Coleshill document reads: Lunnon - Your Patrol code name is HW2. 2/Lt Percival John Lunnon, a dowser in civilian life, was a member of Ebbor Gorge Patrol.)



Five troops will be concealed on a frontage of approximately 200 yds at distances varying from 100 yds to 500 yds from the competing teams, which have 5 minutes to spot them.

The Judge will allot 1 point to each Auxilier of each Patrol for each 'enemy'.

TOTAL: 25 points per Patrol.


The Patrol is given one numbered magnet per Auxilier, who has 2'/z hrs in which to penetrate the defence (2 sentries at least 20 yds away from target, and 3 trip wires up to 15 yds in length, at least 20 yds from the target), place his magnet on the target and return to his starting point. Distance from starting point to target is approximately 1,000 yds. Patrols will proceed fully equipped and armed.

SCORING: For each magnet on the target - 10 points.

For each Auxilier back at the starting point, having successfully placed his magnet on the target - 10 more points.

For each Trip wire set off - DEDUCT 10 points.

TOTAL: 100 points.


Six throws per man: 3 standing at 30 yds; 3 kneeling at 20 yds. Target to be an enclosure or pit, 10 ft side, out of and into which the bomb will NOT roll.

SCORING: 1 point per bomb in enclosure or pit.

TOTAL: 30 points.


The quickest team will score 30 points, and each successive losing team 5 points loss.

a. on whistle blast first man adjusts his respirator;

b. loads 3 rounds into Tommy gun magazine;

c. runs forward 50 yds to firing point;

d. loads, and fires at figure target 20 yds away. If target is missed, he will reload with 3 rounds and fire again until target is hit by each man in turn;

e. clears gun correctly;

f. removes respirator, and returns to starting point;

g. hands over Tommy gun to next Auxilier, who adjusts his respirator as soon as he takes over the gun.

TOTAL: 30 points to winner, 25 points to runner-up, down to 5 points for 6th; 0 points for 7th and onwards.


A different one of the following events will be allotted to each Patrol to perform correctly.

10 points (a) Set a trip wire attached to a shrapnel mine to be made up by the Auxilier.

5 points (b) Set a charge so as to fell a tree in a given direction.

10 points (c) Set a combination of Mills Bomb and Incendiary to be actuated by a Lead delay pencil.

10 points (d) Make use of Primacord or Cordtex to lay a combined charge of H.E. and A.W. bottle.

5 points (e) Sabotage telephone wire by removing wire without leaving any trace of the wire having been tampered with (i.e. remove inner wire, leaving insulation apparently intact).

TOTAL: 40 points.                   HIGHEST POSSIBLE AGGREGATE POINTS – 225