139 Troop Diary – Week 18
Monday morning of week 18 started with a short sharp session on the Bottom Field assault course to “warm us up” before we deployed on Exercise Second Empire. Our destination for the exercise was Braunton Burrows Training Area, a sandy, dune covered piece of land in North Devon. The weather was good and in stark contrast to what we had experienced in the field over previous exercises. The combination of sand and temperatures of up to 26c it felt more like training in the desert than the artic for once.
When we arrived in the area we wasted little time and went straight into more practices of the section attack, our bread and butter. Though we were still a little rusty we soon improved with practice and by the end of the first day each section had conducted a half decent evolution.
Tuesday consisted of more section drills where we would advance towards enemy positions before coming engaged and having to fire and manoeuvre our way to the target and the enemy. That evening we then moved into a harbour location we had occupied the previous night with a view to stay there again however we were compromised and attacked by the enemy. We had to win the fire fight from our positions before “hasty move” was called and we grabbed all our kit and got ourselves out of there. From the emergency rendezvous we yomped to a new safer position where we re-occupied a harbour and managed a couple of hours sleep.
We moved on then to a troop attack the next day on to the position we expected the enemy to be in. As the whole troop moved across the area we were contacted and we had to work as sections to close on to the position and destroy them. This was enjoyable but a lot of hard work as we moved positions and helped each other out.
From this attack we managed to gain some intelligence which launched us straight into a night time ambush on to an area of road that the enemy used. We lay a deliberate ambush with my section being tasked to move out early and recce the position for the rest of the troop. With us all in position two 4 x 4 vehicle approached and as they came into the killing area we set off trip flares and simulated claymores before opening fire. After searching the enemy we retrieved intelligence to launch a final attack.
This time we found out the enemies harbour location and set out for a dawn attack at 0230 on the final morning. By 0500 we were all in position and commenced the attack. After an hour of fighting through the position all the enemy were destroyed and we extracted back to the harbour location ready to move off the area. With a final march across the dunes back to RMB Chivenor we finished what was a very enjoyable but challenging exercise.