How realistic is training?

This is a question for those who've seen action as I'm wondering just how realistic those training scenario's are? How can they recreate the chaos of battle as surely part of the chaos is unexpected problems, setbacks or wins that weren't thought possible.
Did you feel the training was a good way to prepare you for what is a highly dangerous situation or do you think they missed any obvious things?

I'm obviously not asking about specific operational stuff just general thoughts about training.

old faithful

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Training is often misunderstood, by nearly everyone involved.
Take bayonet training as an example. Its not about charging the enemy and hand to hand combat. Its about teaching individuals that no matter how exhausted they THINK they are, they can continue when they learn how to harness their aggression. Its about finding the inner "mongrel" within the soldier.
Training and exercises teach soldiers to think and make Decisions when under pressure.
They also cover some options to take tactically and those options lead to non book options that are so handy on operations.
So yes, training is crucial and valuable. Even non realistic training in unrealistic environments are valuable. Very hard to sumerise here.


Grumpy Old Man
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) is another good example

eg Red Flag

the whole idea of training is not to win, its about forcing blue team to eventually fail as its through failure that lessons are learned

eg in Red Flag and Pitch Black type exercises red teams planes get to spawn when killed, whereas when blue team lose a plane they go through proper degradation - so eventually the view is that they will eventually be subjected to overwhelming odds and start losing assets faster

its the need to operate under increased tempo and in an increasingly pressurised combat environment that encourages learning

similarly in asw training, there is a defined training box in which the ships cannot move out of - that applies to skimmers as well as subs

Blue Jay

To sort of drive the point home.

Ultra realistic simulation-esque training has its place. Practicing the real thing like it's real is important.

But most training does not fall into this category. Usually a training exercise takes one thing and inflates it to put the trainee in an environment to learn and master one or two particular important aspects.

Take athletic training for instance.

Athletes don't train just by constantly playing match after match after match. They run drills and training exercises. A soccer player in reality will face a highly dynamic playing field that changes every second, with teammates and opponents all shifting around as the ball is constantly in motion in order to get into a goal. When in training, however, their coach may have athletes simply stand in a triangle and pass the ball back and forth while a fourth and fifth athlete try to steal the ball. Not realistic by any means. First its a static exercise: it completely ignores the fact that almost all passing is done while moving. The fact that there are only 2 defenders vs. 3 attackers is unrealistic. And it utterly ignores the fact that such a thing as scoring exists in the game. However it does allow the players to develop confident and intelligent passing and trapping skills while under mild pressure, which are crucial to successful play.

Similarly, the athletes may be subjected to repeated intense 200-meter sprints again and again and again, for an extended period of time, despite the fact that they are unlikely to do so in an actual game. The overkill of intensity ensures that they are more than sufficiently conditioned for an actual game.

Similarly a lot of military training–even the more intricate ones that more closely resemble reality–are designed in a specific way to facilitate the growth of certain skills. The difference being, however, that you're probably more likely to have a 2v3 rather than a 3v2. Achieving a simulation of the real thing isn't always the point, even in fairly realistic exercises.