141 Troop Diary Week 24
Monday 30th July
On Monday there was a slight delay due to a meeting that the training team had to take part in. This gave people time to crack any admin and revise from their affairs folders. We looked over an LMG handout in preparation for the lessons later on. Our next detail was to be down the stances to learn about the LMG (Light Machine Gun), the general consensus was that the LMG was very similar to the GPMG, this made learning the drills much easier as you only had to remember a couple of extra things. Everybody picked up the drills quickly and the training team thought we might be able to try our weapon handling tests as early as the next day. We finished the day with a lecture of the Laws of Armed Combat and the troop was given a debrief on their performance from violent entry which was overall positive.
Today we continued with LMG lessons and were given the opportunity to pass the weapon handling test. Everybody in my section passed first try. With the 6 mile speed march being moved to next Monday we set in out loose order (no kit) to get a feel for the route. Even without kit, running up a couple of the hills was pretty tiring. We collected our blues today and were briefed about our trip to Portsmouth.
Wednesday 1st August
With an early start we managed to get a couple more hours sleep on the coach to Portsmouth. We had lectures all morning and got to do the practical stuff in the afternoon. We jumped from a 3 meter platform with our dry suits and inflatable jackets and swam to an overturned life raft, we carried out the re-erect drill as we were taught in the lectures and that was that. Next we swam out to the 25 man life raft and carried out the procedures we were shown, the rafts are surprisingly hot inside.
Another morning of lectures with practical in the afternoon. We were shown a display of how to put out different types of fires. We were shown how to refill the fire extinguishers and how to use the hosepipes, including how to change them to foam from water. We carried out a drill where 3 of us were in the building (replicating a ship), one of us would ‘find’ a fire and shout for help, then start to tackle the blaze with a fire extinguisher. The other two would come down and hand the first person a replacement fire extinguishers while prepping the hose. They would then come in and take over and extinguish the fire. The final test of the day was to evacuate from the replica ship while it was full of smoke, we used special rebreathers which last up to 10 minutes, they are hard to breathe with though and you do not feel like you can breathe properly, the air is warm and unnatural, the trick is to trust the equipment and just stay calm.
A bad start to the morning when the entire troop turned up to the wrong armory despite it stating clearly on orders where we were supposed to be. However this was a big day with the criteria test known as the 12 mile load carry, it was a challenge and especially towards the end took some determination and fortitude, both commando qualities. It was too much for a few lads but the majority pushed on and finished in the required time. We disappointed the troop commander as a few lads flashed during the load carry, because of this we had to crack a kit muster to make sure everyone had packed correctly as per orders, fortunately everybody did so we avoided any further action. We rounded off the week by live firing the LMG for the first time which was a good way to finish.