Armed Forces - a12a4 - British Army - Phase 1 Basic Training for Recruits - Gurkha training - Combat Infantryman's Course



Basic Recruit or Phase 1 training comprises the Combat Infantrymanís Course (CIC) for infantry and the Common Military Syllabus Recruit (CMSR) for all other British Army regiments and corps.

As part of ARDT, the Initial Training Group (ITG) is responsible for Phase 1 (Basic) Training of the majority of soldier recruits, which is undertaken primarily at the Army Training Centre Pirbright in Surrey. Exceptions to this are the adult Infantry recruits who go direct to the School of Infantry at Catterick in Yorkshire.  Recent figures suggest that training a recruit on the CMSR at the ATC Pirbright costs £20,200.

The CMSR includes training in the basic military skills required of all soldiers and incorporates weapon handling and shooting, drill, physical fitness, field tactics, map reading, survival in nuclear chemical and biological warfare and general military knowledge. It is an intensive course and requires the recruit to show considerable determination and courage to succeed. There is an Army Technical Foundation College at Winchester in Hampshire and the Army Foundation College at Harrogate in Yorkshire.

ARTD has its own Staff Leadership School (ASLS), at Alexander Barracks, Pirbright. ASLS has the task of training the Army's trainers, from corporal section commanders and trade instructors to Commanding Officers, as well as administrative and support staff. In all, about 2,000 military and civilian training, supervisory and support staff are trained each year.


Catterick is the home of all Infantry Training at Phase 1 and Phase 2, except Junior soldiers destined for the Infantry who continue to receive Phase 1 training the Army Foundation College. Catterick comprises the Headquarters School of Infantry and the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick. Also under its Command are the Infantry Battle School at Brecon and the Infantry Training Centre at Warminster, which both provide Phase 3 training for Infantry officers and soldiers.

Combat Infantryman's Course
The Combat Infantryman's Course (CIC) is the framework upon which all regular infantry recruit training is based. The course equips recruits with infantry special to arms skills needed for a rifle platoon ready to deploy on an operational tour after minimal further appropriate pre-operational training in the Field Army. Successful completion of the CIC marks the end of initial army training.

The majority of recruits joining the infantry choose line infantry regiments; they undertake the standard CIC which lasts for 26 weeks. Recruits joining the Foot Guards, Parachute Regiment and the Gurkhas, carry out additional training to meet the particular needs of these regiments. Similarly, recruits from the Army Foundation College at Harrogate undertake a specially adapted, but shorter CIC.

The Combat Infantryman's Course (Single) is structured around three phases as follows:

Weeks 1-6 Individual skills, drill, weapons training, fitness and fieldcraft.
Weeks 7-21 Team skills, endurance training including long runs, patrolling skills.
Weeks 22 - 26 Live firing and battle camp at Sennybridge in Wales followed by Passout Parade preparations.

Recent figures suggest that training a recruit on the CIC at the ITC Catterick costs £33,700. Parachute Regiment recruits cost about £10,000 more and their course is longer.


Recruits from Nepal joining the Royal Gurkha Rifles, Queen's Gurkha Engineers, Queen's Gurkha Signals and the Queen's Own Gurkha Transport Regiment are trained at the ITC on a 38 week CIC (G).This combines the normal Common Military Syllabus Recruits (CMS(R)) course taught at the Army Training Regiments with the CIC course and it includes a special English language and British culture package.

As many as 30,000 potential Gurkha recruits apply to join the British Army each year and between 150 and 200 are selected.


The Army Foundation College (AFC) at Harrogate delivers Phase 1 (initial military) training to Junior Entry recruits destined for the Royal Armoured Corps, Royal Artillery and Infantry. Recruits make their final cap badge selection after week 21. The aim of the course is to develop the qualities of leadership, character, and team spirit required of a soldier to achieve a full career in the Army. The 42-week course is a progressive and integrated package divided into three 14-week terms. It combines the Common Military Syllabus (Recruits) with Vocational Education and Leadership and Initiative Training. Recruits achieve a Foundation Modern Apprenticeship and up to Key Skills Level 3.

Entrants to the college are aged between 16 and 17 years. At the College, they undertake a course that provides a supportive environment allowing students to develop a broad range of skills and qualifications that are equally valuable, in both Army and civilian life. There are three main elements to the course:

There are 23 weeks of military training, which include basic or advanced soldiering, progressive physical training, infantry weapons, grenades, military leadership, marksmanship, parade ground drill. There is also a two week final exercise in the field.

There are five weeks of leadership and initiative training which takes in hill walking, hiking, caving, rock climbing, abseiling, and all kind of leadership and command tasks. Lastly, there are 14 weeks of vocational education which can result in an NVQ or SVQ in Information Technology.

The latest figures show that training a recruit at the Army Foundation College Harrogate cost about £68,700 per recruit.


The Army Technical Foundation College Winchester was opened in 2010 and provides basic training to Junior Entry recruits wishing to join the Technical Corps. Recruits are found from the following:

Royal Engineers
Royal Signals
Army Air Corps
Royal Logistics Corps
Army Medical Services
Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
Adjutant General's Corps.

This is a 23-week course, designed to develop the Junior Soldiers' individual and team skills in a progressive manner, preparing them for Phase 2 training, where they will lean the specific skills for their chosen Army trade.

Course modules include:
Skill at Arms
Fitness Training
Qualities of a Soldier
Military Knowledge
Battlefield Casualty Drills;
Individual Health