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Provost Operations - a brief overview

Tactical Sign - Pro Info Post 100 metres, with disc directional hung underneath pointing the wayThe 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!

Typical RMP Platoon organisational chartA 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, and maintenance
  • 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)

Tactical Sign - Pro Info PostDiagram - Typical RMP TP (Traffic Post) layoutThe 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).

The 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.

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