Two young squaddies on leave from their barracks punched and kicked a man in a South Yorkshire town centre following a night out, a court heard.
Royal Artillery Regiment soldiers James Page and his 17-year-old pal, who cannot be named for legal reasons, carried out the assault in Barnsley.
Both narrowly escaped jail but Page, 20, who was convicted of another assault last month, is now likely to be kicked out of the Army.
Carl Fitch, prosecuting, said the incident happened outside a bar at 4.45am one Sunday on Wellington Street in Barnsley town centre.
A man on the pavement remonstrated with them as they drove past and said something before approaching their car.
Both Page and the other soldier got out and ‘set about’ him by throwing punches. They pulled his shirt off and blows were delivered to his back and kidneys while one of the soldiers held him.
The man was pushed to the ground where Page kicked him three times as he was down.
Mr Fitch said: “He was left in a heap on the floor while the defendants left the area.”
When later interviwed by police the pair said they had been out drinking and felt threatened by the man.
Both men, of Larkhill Barracks, near Salisbury, Wiltshire, admitted the April 5 affray at Sheffield Crown Court.
Page was given a community order and 80 hours unpaid work by High Wycombe magistrates last month for assault causing actual bodily harm.
Sean Fritchley, for both men, said the victim had ‘sounded off’ at them and was pointing towards their car and shouting before they got out.
He said: “Both are members of the Armed Forces and it is a serious offence and potentially there will be consequences over and above the punishment of this court.
It will mean the immediate loss of Page’s career which could be seen as a punishment in itself.”
Judge Mark Gargan said: “But for the victim sounding off at you, you would have gone home.”
But he added CCTV footage had shown the man ‘getting a good beating’.
The judge gave Page a four month jail term suspended for 18 months and ordered him to carry out 95 hours of unpaid work and a 30-day rehabilitation requirement.
He said he was however keen to allow the 17-year-old to continue his Army career and his involvement in the affray finished earlier.
“This is your first appearance before a court and you have a real hope of an Army career,” said the judge.
“I will pass such a sentence to allow you to continue your career.”
The teenager was given a community order and ordered to carry out 95 hours of unpaid work.