On behalf of 3 PARA I would like to thank all those at Staffride for their help in organising our Battlefield Study of the Airborne Operations conducted in Normandy during June 1944. John Greenacre and Julian Whippy proved to be excellent guides combining the large scale operational picture with personnel individual accounts from the campaign. Their extensive knowledge enabled all ranks to truly appreciate the actions of our predecessors, whilst the content of the study was tailored made to enable discussion and debate on how similar objectives would be achieved in the modern day. Staffride provided an outstanding administration package, from coach hire and ferries to accommodation and packed meals, that enabled the focus to be on learning for all rather than coordination. I would highly recommend Staffride Ltd and will certainly look to use them again in the future.
Capt HW Mitchell, Intelligence Officer, 3 PARA, Ex Green Neptune, October 2018
On behalf of Gen Nick and the DIO teams that participated in the Monte Cassino Battlefield Studies in 2018 please accept our sincere thanks for such well organised, insightful and thought provoking studies. The studies presented an extremely useful and beneficial opportunity for DIO staff to get back to their military grassroots. All staff that attended have been extremely positive about the experience which, in turn, has generated a high level of interest in future studies.
Sqn Ldr Fi Thompson RAF, HQ DIO, Ex Spring & Autumn Cassino 2018
Ex Anzio Avalanche – Monte Cassino and Anzio, Italy 2018
I’d like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank you for your flawless support to Commando Helicopter Force’s first large scale Battlefield Study. As an amphibious aviation unit of the Royal Navy, Staff Ride perfectly tailored our 5 day trip to Monte Cassino and Anzio around our core aviation and amphibious roles. Des Fitzgerald and Mike Peters delivered a superb academic service, managing to engage and inspire at every opportunity, drawing out lessons from the past that can still be applied in modern coalition warfare. The 42 personnel who attended were a mix of Royal Navy and Royal Marine Aviators, Engineers, and Logisticians, covering the full spectrum of ranks on 845 and 846 Naval Air Squadrons. The feedback has been unanimously excellent and I’m already being asked whether we can facilitate another Battlefield Study next year, which we will certainly do and look forward to using you again. From my personal point of view, the Battlefield Study not only gave the Force’s personnel a chance to reflect back on the Italian Second World War Campaign (so often overshadowed by Normandy), but also offered a significant contribution to the hard sought Moral Component of Operational Capability.
Lieutenant Commander Robert Powell Royal Navy
B Flight Commander, 845 Naval Air Squadron
Commando Helicopter Force
Ex Somme Yeoman – Northern France 2018
Staff Ride provided a bespoke Battlefield Study to Agincourt, Somme and Dunkirk bringing to life some of the operational logistic challenges of these battles at the time.
Mike Peters and Andrew Duff proved to be outstanding subject matter experts and provided excellent guidance and thought provoking analysis on each stand. Their previous military experience allowed them to transcend the rank structure providing historical detailed analysis at 1* level to coaching new members of Civil Service on their individual stands. This ability and attention to detail sets Staff Ride apart from other Battlefield Studies I have attended.
Remaining flexible throughout, they professionally dealt with French motorway closures and ensured that the administration of all travel, hotels, museums and cafes were prepared. All in all, an excellent Battlefield Study that was informative, developed all attendees and above all else, extremely enjoyable.
Major M Green CEng REME (Equipment Branch - HQ Army) - May 2018
I recently used Staff Rides to take a group of JNCOs and Ptes from 3 PARA to the Fort of Eben Emael on the Belgian/ Netherlands border to study the airborne operation to seize the fort. The aim was to conduct some JNCO development and study the use of airborne forces, adding contempory experience throughout.
Staff Rides were extremely helpful through the whole process, with regular communication and understanding of the unique environment we work in, with exercise and deployments affecting our abilty to communicate as much as hoped. The organisation was smooth and they put me in touch with our historian, Mr John Greenacre, early on so we could finalise the elements of the study. Their flexibility was great as it was even possible for Mr Greenacre to provide a pre-brief and reading list the before departure, really setting the scene for all involved.
The trip ran smoothly right from the start, with comfortable transport, extremely nice accommodation and all fine details worked out so I could concentrate on leading the group and the JNCO development. I would like to say thanks to the team for all their assistance and hope to work again soon in the future.
M Stone – OC D Coy – 3 PARA May 2018
Having just returned from an excellent Battlefield Study in Cassino and I have to say that your Guides were absolutely superb. Bob and Des complimented each other’s knowledge throughout the Study and managed to help us extract significant benefit from the work. I have no doubt that their previous Military experience assisted in translating the various actions, they were able to flick between the strategic to the sub-tactical with ease and complete assurance. Indeed, it may have been because of their previous service that they were able to bring everyone along with them; no one was left in the mists of high academic uncertainty nor were we left unclear about the human conditions (or cost) faced by the combatants on both sides and the civilians who had to endure the 5 months of fighting in the Liri Valley.
Would you please pass on my thanks to both Bob and Des; I hope that next year’s DIO outing should be a study of the Soviet fight for Berlin and, if this is the case then I, for one, will be very keen to participate on this …… especially if Bob and Des are the guides.
Lt Col Mike Onslow DIO May 2018
Ex Information Overlord 2017
I just wanted to thank you for the excellent Battlefield Study that Staff Ride ran last week. The Directorate Information team all had an enjoyable time and got a lot out of the week. The team and Des did a great job of pulling together an itinerary that was absolutely fit for purpose, with a question set that met the goals I was given. It was also reassuring to see that this was not an off the shelf package and there was a great deal of effort that went into making this fit for our requirements.
Often underestimated if it all goes to plan but easily recognisable when it doesn’t, is the administration. In this instance it barely featured as it was run so well, a credit to your team and Des for ensuring everything ran smoothly. I had someone comment to me that I seemed very relaxed all week and this was partly because I didn’t have anything to worry about on the admin side!
The double act of Peter Caddick-Adams and Des Fitzgerald worked perfectly, combining a long and recently completed military career with one deep as a historian with relevant military background. This worked really well drawing out the historical lessons and the more contemporary military context.
Thank you very much again and I hope to be on one of your staff rides again soon!
Maj Jason Wood Int Corps SO2 ISTAR UNDERSTAND, Army Directorate of Information
Ex Taranto Wolf 2017
104 Logistic Support Brigade would like to thank Staff Ride for running a Brigade battlefield study of the World War 2 Italian campaign. This campaign was conducted by a multinational force, operating in complex terrain at strategic reach from the home base. What makes the campaign so relevant for 104 Log Sp Bde is the numerous amphibious and enabling operations (Ops HUSKY, LEHRGANG, BAYTOWN, SLAPSTICK, AVALANCHE and SHINGLE) as well as operations in complex terrain around Monte Casino, each presenting significant logistic challenges.
The Staff Ride team were exceptional, presenting the strategic context alongside the tactical detail that enabled the 81 officers and soldiers from across the spectrum of 104 Log Sp Bde Regular and Reserve Units, to gain enormous benefit from the exercise. There can be no doubt that we now far better understand what it takes to conduct such complex operations in the contemporary era.
Our 3 Historians complemented each other perfectly, getting the right balance between academic context and relevant military detail. I wholeheartedly recommend Staff Ride and look forward to the next study.
Lt Col J E R Rhodes, Commanding Officer, 29 Regiment RLC
May I take this opportunity to thank the entire team for an excellently supported BattleField Study of Berlin. Notwithstanding some initial confusion over rooms, the whole event was truly fantastic.
Rob Deere is a credit to the Staffride delivery team and, as per Cassino last year, organised and ran an excellent study. Covering an array of topics leading to the culmination of WWII and the Cold War landscape that followed, Rob delivered to a wide-ranging audience in his own inimitable and engaging style. All personnel on the study commented on the balance he managed between education AND engagement with the topics.
Please pass on, on behalf of the Colonel and the Team at RSA, our unreserved gratitude and appreciation.
Until next time,
Capt J K Woodsend RA
Joint Fires Branch | Close Support Wing June 2017
Ex Ottoman Ride – Gallipoli 2017
Staff Ride supported our Battlefield Study to Gallipoli and in doing so, guaranteed its success. They took away all administrative burden in country and provided truly excellent subject matter experts that allowed all group members to focus completely on the learning opportunities without any of the minutia distractions of timings, transport, messing, accommodation or in country liaison. Staff Ride delivered a first class end to end trip which presented value for money that is impossible to replicate in booking through HRG and claiming subsistence for messing. With their unrivalled experience in delivering Battlefield Studies to the region, they tailored our specific requirements for the trip to ensure the golden thread of our learning objectives were delivered. An excellent service and one I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone thinking of organising a Battlefield Study or Staff Ride.
Major John Anthistle REME, Army Equipment, HQ Army, May 2017
Whilst initially sceptical about bringing in a civilian company to deliver the DIO battlefield study to Sicily (justifying value for money, the risk of a generic package etc etc), I’m now very glad I did. It has been the best battlefield study I have been on and I now realise that you absolutely get what you pay for. We will be using Staffride again later this year. Throughout the planning phase, Mike Peters was entirely accommodating and able to craft a package that met our needs whilst remaining within budgetary constraints.
Staffride’s office team’s experience ensured that we got the very most from the week in every sense; both in terms of a slick, end-to-end administration package (not to be underestimated in its complexity!) and the quality and credibility of the team who deployed with us. Both Mike and Brig (Ret’d) Jim Tanner were supremely knowledgeable, both in terms of historical detail and also, knowing the best locations to visit. Mike and Jim were able to tailor their pitch perfectly to a tri-service organisation with a very diverse mix of rank and experience.
Staffride enabled us to squeeze every last drop of learning and developmental activity from the precious time available for battlefield studies and ensured everyone enjoyed it to boot. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.
Major Jim Howard RTR, Project Officer, Ex Spring Husky, HQ DIO May 2017
“STAFFRIDE are a must for anyone in the Military organising a Battlefield Study. In February 2017, 25 members of 3 PARA deployed to Italy for a Battlefield Study of the Monte Cassino battles in 1944. Faced with organisating this large endeavour, a friend recommended STAFFRIDE – and they did not disappoint. Mike Peters and his administrative team offer an excellent turn-key solution which takes much of the administration and stress away from those in the military tasked with the organisation of a Study. STAFFRIDE were very proactive in seeking out 3 PARA’s exact intent for the Study and went at great lengths to tailor it to our specific needs. In Italy, Dr John Greenacre was excellent, his knowledge wide and his historical context briefs were engaging. Those members of the 3 PARA Battle Group which deployed to Cassino benefitted immensely from the discussions which followed from Dr Greenacre’s tour of the Battlefield. The out-sourcing of the historical study, accommodation, transport and feeding to STAFFRIDE offered a fantastic, value for money solution and I can not recommended them highly enough.”
Capt TC Ham - Regimental Signals Officer – 3 PARA.
“The Royal School of Artillery deployed on a Battlefield Study of Monte Cassino and were thoroughly impressed with the professionalism, organisation and administration that STAFFRIDE Ltd provided from start to finish. Mike Peters was forward leaning and receptive to tailoring a bespoke Artillery focussed study and Dr Peter Caddick-Adams delivered an excellent road-to-war brief prior to deploying. Our particular thanks goes to Rob Deere who was the groups guide and historian. He was energetic, totally professional and delivered a completely interactive experience. He invested a lot of personal time researching artillery specific actions prior to the trip and ensured this was a steady focus throughout. He also ensured that the administration, transport and accommodation ran smoothly and without incident. STAFFRIDE Ltd’s assistance was further enhanced by their access to current military tactics, techniques and procedures due to their previous extensive military experience, all of which removed much of the burden from the military battlefield study leader. It has been a pleasure dealing with STAFFRIDE Ltd and I would most certainly request their support for subsequent battlefield studies.
On behalf of the Royal School of Artillery, I would like to thank you for an excellent battlefield study.”
Lieutenant Colonel Geoff Osmond RA, Chief Instructor - Close Support - November 2016
STAFF RIDE has supported two trips for Headquarters Regional Command this year to examine the battlefields of the Assiago Plain, northern Italy, and actions of the British Expeditionary Force there in 1917-18. The administrative organisation was excellent with support to the organising officer provided throughout the preparation phase. Source material for study was identified and issued. The battlefield was an inspired recommendation from the team; it is little frequented by other tours, it is an interesting campaign with, for some, unfamiliar combatants (Austro-Hungary and Italy) and challenging terrain where military positions are well defined and accessible. The tour was able to highlight a full spectrum of operations, tactical to strategic, and the depth of knowledge displayed by our guides was impressive. The guides, ground and campaign actions prompted excellent discussions from all those that attended and much was learnt. I happily recommend the services of STAFF RIDE to other organisations planning similar events.
Brigadier General Simon Banton - September 2016
Mike Peters brings to the market his considerable experience as a professional soldier to Staff Ride. He and his fellow guide Rob Deere, showed themselves to be up to the mark for the delivery of a most interesting tour of the British contribution to the Great War Italian campaign. Although not quite as visceral as the Western Front it is packed with thought provoking descriptions of actions that have a relevance to the contemporary situation that faces the Army today. From the lowest tactical level up to the Political and Grand Strategy level, they make the link that brings to life for all those who attended (a mixed group of ranks and trades) the importance of the doctrine we embrace as a profession. The organisation and content of our Battlefield Study were delivered by Staff Ride with style and an engaging process of interactive reflection for each member. I thoroughly recommended this as an alternative to the Western Front for those seeking to expand their knowledge of the history of 20th-century warfare and it's relevance today.
Lt.Col WD Blakey, Irish Guards - September 2016
Ex SUMMER HUSKY – Testimonial
This is the 4th occasion Department Manning (Army) has worked with STAFFRIDE to plan and execute its Battlefield Studies overseas. We have built a strong trust and working relationship with the STAFFRIDE team over the past 2 years to deliver outstanding campaign studies. Our recent visit to Sicily to study Operation HUSKY was excellent. The assistance, flexibility and guidance offered during the planning phase made the whole experience quite simple. Whilst deployed, we were well supported by both Mike Peters and James Holland throughout; they completely understood my intent, the tempo I wanted to achieve and added significant value and historical knowledge. We have returned better informed enjoying the opportunity to personally and professionally develop our understanding of Operation HUSKY.
Brigadier SPM Nesmith – Head Manning, Department Manning (Army) October 2016.
My intent was for Battalion officers and soldiers to become better educated about the tactics and doctrine of both the Second World War and today. This was done through the mechanism of a staff ride to Monte Cassino to study the Italian Campaign of WW2. I wanted them to understand the challenges faced by light role infantry, sometimes with armour in support, against a determined adversary. We looked at this on the ground through both a WW2 ‘lens’ (the historical analysis), and with a contemporary ‘lens’ (application of planning activity, the estimate process and doctrinal dicsussion) of the same problems using contemporary doctrine, orbats and tactics. Ex CASSINO CAPSTAR delivered this exceptionally effectively. I also wanted to “bring to life” some regimental reflection as we considered a number of tactical actions of regimental significance to the Coldstream Guards. Thanks to the hard work of the academics provided by ‘Staffride’, those of us attending were able to study the ground that previous generations, and our own forebears had actually fought over and formulate our own plans for how we might approach a given situation today. I witnessed rapid improvement in my soldiers’ and officers’ ability to assess ground and tactical problems. They developed their understanding and experience of the estimate process, and were able to enhance, and in some cases be introduced to the different levels of warfare. They were able to grasp the complexities of combined arms manoeuvre and integration of all arms assets in a short space of time, and feel we are far better placed to develop as a light role infantry unit following this exercise. We emerge better educated and I hope as better thinkers, tacticians and exponents of light role infantry combat through this educational activity.
Lt Col Thurstan CO Coldstream Guards - July 2016
I wanted to thank you on behalf of everyone who attended the Battlefield Study to Arnhem. The service you provided was exceptional. From your help and flexibility in planning to the high quality of delivery you provided, you made the process as easy and painless as possible. Special thanks must also go to Brigadier Jim who pitched it at exactly the right level; tailoring his approach to ensure all ranks got the maximum possible from it. He understood my intent to make it as enjoyable as possible whilst injecting his exceptional knowledge throughout; he was fantastic. I really can’t thank you enough – all those you travelled are elated at the experience and I have no doubt that they will pass their passion down to the recruits.
I would recommend you instantly.
Lt Col BPN Ramsay OBE WG - Catterick ITC - July 2016
“It has been an absolute privilege to work with STAFFRIDE Ltd in the planning and delivery of a Battlefield Study (BS) to the Ardennes. A small team has the skill set required to handle the complexity of organisational and administrative requirements that encompass everything from all travel arrangements to hotels and catering, and make everything happen seamlessly, even if presented with logistical challenges. This means that the military BS Leader can concentrate on delivering the study package and the BS participants. However, the real strength with STAFFRIDE Ltd lies in Mike Peters as a recently retired army officer understanding his audience and being able to deliver a programme with discussion topics, reading material and question sets that completely bring to life the campaign that is being studied and put them into the context of the contemporary operating environment. This infectious enthusiasm has a deep impact on all the BS participants who are inspired to research their topics in detail and to contribute fully to the stand discussions. The partnership between the military participants and STAFFRIDE Ltd delivers a BS package that is achievable, enjoyable and within budget.”
Lieutenant Colonel Mark Pugh-Cook, Department of Manning (Army). June 2016
‘On behalf of Field Training Unit I would like to thank you for a fantastic study in the Ardennes last week. We got exactly what we wanted from the trip and I am very grateful for your efforts to tailor the study to our needs. The fact that you were able to lay on the snow and mist to recreate that Dec 44 atmosphere at no extra charge was a bonus!’
We will be in touch reference next year’s study once the FOE for 2017 has firmed up.
Lt Col Phil Bassingham-Searle Field Training Unit - May June 2016
‘Staff Ride’ not only provided the organisational and administrative structure to our Battlefield Study, but with their unique understanding and access to current military doctrine and policy, they were able to deliver a thorough conceptual framework that provided intellectual rigour to our study of the Salonika Campaign throughout the trip. From arranging hotels and flights, to supplying the overarching agenda, discussion topics and reading material, ‘Staff Ride’ think of everything. This partnership should be considered the new way of doing business for any unit seeking to deliver a professional and polished trip from end-to-end, and all within budget. Simply superb!
Lieutenant Colonel Andy Rogers, Commanding Officer 5 Force Support Battalion REME - June 2016
Staff Ride were able to conceptualise our BFS from the strategic to the tactical and back again with ease. On every occasion the powers of analysis we got from Mike Peters were truly impressive, he was able to convey the historical context into the current contemporary operating environment with conviction and clarity. Despite the audience ranging from 1* to Private Soldier Mike was able to offer insights that were tailored accordingly. I would highly recommend Staff Ride as the ‘go to’ company when planning a BFS.
Brigadier ST Hutchings OBE, Command 104 Logistic Support Brigade. - June 2015
I have participated in many battlefield study tours but this was the first for which I was the Project Officer. Staff Ride was recommended to me by Reserve colleagues who had utilized their services in the past.
I was not disappointed: Clive Harris and Mike Peters brought the entire Battlefield Study to life in a way which I have not experienced previously. The training package they produced was expertly designed to focus on the medical aspects of the FWW, this complimented a well written Question Set focussed on the provision of medical support on a modern battlefield. The resulting syndicate discussions generated some thought-provoking debate and a host of valuable Learning Outcomes. One of the key advantages of working with Staff Ride is their ethos of end to end administration, any problems were dealt with quickly and efficiently by Angela in the Staff Ride Office. Since our return to barracks, I received nothing but positive comments from those who went on the exercise about the concept of Battlefield Study and the medical aspects of Verdun itself: food, accommodation and transport were also excellent.
Once again, many thanks to all the Staff Ride team: highly commended.
Major Robin Dickson, 306 HSR(V) - March 2016
This was the first Battlefield Study I have organised and using Staffride was pivotal in saving both time and money. Your knowledge of the administrative aspects was a huge help and allowed me to link in with Mike Peters to concentrate on how to deliver a relevant study in line with my SO1s intent. The result was a Battlefield Study that was valuable to us as a training organisation, across the rank range. I would not hesitate to use Staffride in the future.
Capt Fraser MacPherson RA, SO3 Joint Fires, Field Training Unit, Field Army Training, 2016
Now that the dust has settled after the General Staff tour to Gallipoli I just wanted to express my gratitude for your assistance and perseverance in organising a fantastic trip. The format and scope was exactly as requested and administration was fantastic in that it all flowed seamlessly.
The Brigadier was certainly very happy with the trip
Major Charlie Carver - Royal Welsh, General Staff Tour 2015
This is the third time I have organised a Battle Field Study in conjunction with Staff Ride. They have a long history of working with the military ( the owners and many of the guides have a military background), they speak our language and appreciate the administrative problems often encountered. I would recommend them to any military group considering a battle field study. Without their experience, flexibility and resorcefulness we would never have boarded our plane.
Lieutenant Colonel Eric Hunter - 2 Med Brig, 2015
From the outset, Staffride Ltd were critical in the selection of a theatre of war that provided sufficient breadth to make the linkages between the modern contingent context with those of the past. Staff Ride depth of knowledge surrounding the political, strategic, operational and tactical aspects of the Battle of Monte Cassino allowed the Regiment to entirely shape the content of its study to its needs and thereby maximise on the value of its study. Facilitating access to the national archives to draw out the Regimental aspects of the campaign made a significant difference to the colour and character of our study. Staff Ride's administration was faultless, freeing up time and resources to focus on the content of the study rather than on its moving parts. Critically, the Staff Ride were helpful, insightful and thorough – from planning to execution it was a first class experience and one that I will wish to repeat in the future.
Major WD Hodgkinson - King's Royal Hussars, 2015
It was a long time coming but now it’s finally over I just wanted to thank you and Mike again for such a great Battlefield Study. The comments I've been receiving from the Soldiers and Staff who came have been nothing but positive and several rather hardened BFS attendees have declared Exercise War Horse as the best they have ever attended! Virtually everyone has heaped praise on the hotel and the study content, (especially the walking elements allowing a true appreciation of the topography of the area) but without fail everyone has appreciated your enthusiasm, vast knowledge and excellent personal anecdotes. Thank you.
Rachel Lockhart 306 Med TA Unit, 2014
I am writing personally to thank you for organising the excellent Gallipoli tour this week, and particularly to commend Mike Peters for his exceptional knowledge, professionalism, teaching skills and good humour throughout the trip.
Colonel David Rew - RAMC, 2015
Thank you very much for leading the Staff Ride last week in Gallipoli, I thought it an excellent program, particularly so given the emphasis on approaches by sea and the balance of your historical introductions and discussions. The timing worked perfectly, both on the ground and with a view to the commemorations.
Major General E A Smyth-Osbourne CBE, 2014
On behalf of my unit may I thank you most sincerely for our magnificent tour of the Somme battlefields. The knowledge of your two guides, Clive and Mike, was superb and their imagination and ability to convey information made a lasting impression on all participants. I do not believe the tour could be improved and would be happy to recommend it to anyone who wishes to explore the legacy of The Great War.
Captain Chris Norman 306 Hospital Support Regiment, 2014