Exercise Dynamic Victory is the last training challenge that lies between an Officer Cadet and their commissioning as an Army officer from the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
It is the final test for each officer cadet to prove they are ready to uphold the values enshrined in the Royal Military Academy’s motto – ‘Serve to Lead’.
The exercise is usually held in Germany in association with the United States Army on their Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas; however, due the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic it has been the case over the past year that the Academy has conducted ‘staytraining’ within the UK.
The 200 cadets on Commissioning Course No. 202 instead found themselves deep in the heart of the Brecon Beacons on the Army’s Sennybridge training area for their Exercise Dynamic Victory experience.
The exercise is structured to test each of the cadets’ leadership qualities where it really matters; in the field and in the face of a committed enemy. There are a series of different elements, ranging from ambushes up to whole company assaults involving scores of troops, with pyrotechnics, smoke and realistic simulated artillery and mortar fire.
Living out in the field for prolonged periods on simply what they carry on their backs really pushes the cadets to their mental and physical limits. The ability to make decisions and judgements, that could at some point in their careers be a matter of life or death - while under severe pressure and enduring the effects of sleep deprivation - is relentlessly challenged.
Throughout the two-week training exercise, the cadets are put through numerous scenarios based around conflict situations both in an urban and rural settings. Each cadet is rotated through the various roles by the directing staff, so everyone has the opportunity to play the part of a section or platoon commander and the various other roles. As the exercise progresses, the battle scenarios become larger and more complex, leading up to a full company-size assault that can involve upwards of 100 troops.
It is here that the high-fliers among the cadets are selected for the lead roles, possibly putting themselves into contention for the Sword of Honour. This is the highly-coveted prize presented to the individual who the Academy considers having been the highest performing cadet of their intake.
For those who successfully complete Exercise Dynamic Victory they have the joy, combined perhaps with a tinge of relief, of the post-exercise parade to look forward to.
At this, the final element to Exercise Dynamic Victory, they will have proven themselves worthy to ‘Serve to Lead’ and in so doing earned themselves the right to wear the head-dress of their chosen regiment or corps they are to commission into.
Exercise Dynamic Victory is the final training piece of a cadet’s 44-week commissioning course. Once it is complete and they are back at the Academy, a period of intense drill practice awaits ahead of their passing out parade – the Sovereign’s Parade; the spectacle of pomp and ceremony during which they slow march up the steps of the imposing portico of the iconic Old College to become Commissioned Army Officers.
Sandhurst is just one part of the Army leadership and development offer. Under Future Soldier, a dedicated programme will overhaul the way the Army manages its people and their careers to ensure that our workforce has the knowledge, skills and experience to meet future threats.