Provost Operations - a brief overview
The Provost Ops side of the RMP's is the main justification
for Cold War Provost's existence. It is the role in combat theatres
of operation that we seek to portray, and members are encouraged
to learn as much about the tasks within the role, so that
they can accurately and knowledgably portray a Military Policeman
of the RMP in the 1980's. The following is only a basic introduction
to pro-ops; members will become more knowlegable as time goes
by, of course!
A typical RMP platoon from the 1980's was staffed, according to SOP (Standard Operating Procedure), as per the chart on the right, for a total strength of 21 personnel. Don't forget - at the time, the RMP was one of very few fully integrated Corps - both Men and Women served equaly, and still do!
- PI comd (S/SGT) + Driver (NCO, Cpl or L/Cpl)
- 2 x Sect comd (SGT) + Section (8 X NCOs, normally 4 x
Cpls and 4 x L/Cpls)
- Cook (attached from the Army Catering Corps, normally
a Cpl or L/Cpl)
Of note is that it was rather rare to find an attached cook or Pl Cmd driver at anything other than an HQ Platoon - at least in the Authors' experience!
Platoon transport consisted of:
- 1 x ½- ton Land Rover
- 4 x ¾- ton Land Rover
- 2 x Motorcycles
- 5 x 3/4 ton Trailers
- 1 x 4-ton Bedford TK or MK (4x4) truck (HQ Platoons only)
The Role of the RMP in Provost Operations would, generally,
be the same as in peace time operations (i.e. maintaining
order, providing policing support, crime prevention and detection,
and so on), but with the addition of the following taskings:
- Provision of Military Route System route recce, establishment,
- Provision of straggler and refugee patrols and redirection
- Provision of NBC recce where required
- and a few other tasks that Cold War Provost
won't generaly be re-enacting!
Boiled down into a nut-shell, therefore, the Provost Operations
role could, very loosely, be described
as helping the Field Army get from A, to B, to C, ad Infinitum!
A Typical Provost Information Post (Traffic Post)
cornerstone to the British - indeed the NATO - Military Route
System was the provision of Traffic Posts, or TPs, along all
routes; tending to cover varying distances dependent on terrain,
urban or country environments, and so on, their 'patches'
could be from as little as 1 km in a heavily built-up city
with much traffic congestion, to as much as 100 km in very
sparsely populated regions with little activity.
A Traffic Post (TP) would be established on Main Supply Routes (which lead from the rear areas to practically the FEBA, or Forward Edge of the Battle Area), and Axial Routes (which connect MSRs laterally, providing potential diversions in the event that an MSR becomes blocked for whatever reason).
Running these military routes efficiently and effectively (not always the same thing in the military!) was the task of the MPs assigned to each TP. Conducting route recce, NBC recce, route maintenance, straggler/refugee patrols etc, they kept the roads and routes open.
Often co-located in harbour/leaguer areas (where convoy packets form up to either start, rest, or finish their routes), they were also found at strategically or tactically important locations up and down a military route in the field.
A typical TP would consist of one ¾-ton land rover
and ¾-ton trailer, one motorcycle, a single 9'x9' tent
(to comprise rest and sleeping accomodations for the 5 x RMP
personnel), their personal gear and TP equipment, along with
central supplies (rations, water, fuel, camouflage netting,
assorted and required paperwork, and a radio (normally a UK/PRC-320
with spare batteries).
land rover would be parked so as to afford speedy exit should
the TP become compromised, with at least four, preferably
six, camouflage netting spreader poles positioned so as not
to snag on the land rover as it exited the TP. The remainder
of the spreader poles would be positioned so as to cause the
camouflage netting not to resemble the outline of a land rover
and its’ accompanying equipment.
Normal walking access and egress would be in one place, and
visual guidance supplied via a “Pro Info Post”
sign aside the access way. The access way would ideally be
supported by at least one spreader pole, so as not to disturb
the camouflage netting more than necessary.
The tent, normally a 9'x9' tent, would be positioned so that
TP personnel not performing duties could be allowed the minimum
disturbance possible for when they may be sleeping.