139 Troop Diary – Week 19
This week started off with some intense physical training (PT) down on the Bottom Field. We continued to work on our timings over the assault course, up the ropes and the regain. Along with the PT we had our introduction to fighting in built-up areas and the general purpose machine gun (GPMG). Included in our GPMG training were safe weapon handling drills, how to strip and clean it along with an introduction shoot.
The week is more affectionately known as “Death by Bottom Field” just because of the amount of time we spend down there. In previous sessions we have built up from carrying nothing to then our basic 10lbs of webbing, then introducing a rifle until finally we were carrying the full 21lbs plus the rifle. This is the weight that we would be required to carry on Bottom Field pass out; the culmination of all our Bottom Field training. And although the gradual increases in weight didn’t seem like much they make a big difference when you’re throwing yourself over the 6 foot wall or climbing the 30 foot ropes.
In most sessions we start off with a good 10 minute warm up, slowly jogging and doing press-ups and squats to loosen the joints off. The rest of the session usually follows the routine that we will conduct the Bottom Field passout assessment. We would put all our kit on and it would stay on for the rest of the session, our rifle slung down our backs so we’ve got both arms free. Then we would start with the ropes, doing a couple of full and half climbs. Next would be the assault course which was always my favourite part of any session. Next would come the hardest part, the fireman’s carries, 200m of lung busting pain as you carry your partner across the Bottom Field with you both wearing all your kit. To make it even harder we did 5 squats every 50 metres to build up our legs. Last but not least we would perform the regain over the water tank. This involves shimmying across a horizontal rope until you’re suspended across the tank and then dropping off to a full hang before getting yourself back up on to the rope and along to the other end. If you don’t get it right you end up going for a swim.
Half way through the week we were introduced to the GPMG. We practiced and carried out the weapons handling drills, just as we had done with our personal weapons, before doing a weapons handling test and a live shoot at the end of the week. Now that we have fired and can safely handle the weapon we will be taking it on exercise and some of us will have the pleasure of carrying all 10.9kg of it!
Overall this week has been physically hard on the Bottom Field but it has been enjoyable as well. It has boosted the Troops confidence battling through another tough week in Royal Marine training and we will all be recovering over the weekend ready to take on Exercise Urban Warrior next week.