147 Troop Diary – Week 13
This was our first week back on camp for what seemed like an eternity. The week got off to a rapid start, with the troop being introduced to both Bottom Field (AMF) and CBRN training on the Monday. In hind sight, the troop enjoyed both of these activities; however words can not describe the pain felt at the time. The physical aspect of bottom field was exhausting and the skin burning, eye watering, breath stealing gas chamber left 147 Troop wondering what exactly we were getting into.
Progressing onto Tuesday we again began a new aspect of training – Signals and Communications. The entire day was spent learning the basics of the radios and their assembly; a basic test at the end rounded up our first comms lectures.
Wednesday began where Tuesday left off and until lunch we were learning more about different communications systems used in the field. After lunch we began another much anticipated topic… Grenades. We gathered on the bottom field to learn the mechanisms and build of issue grenades before getting some drills/throwing practice in preparation for Friday’s live Grenade throwing.
Thursday brought the challenge of underwater helicopter escape drills and dry helicopter drills. Nervously, a long line of 42 recruits, two corporals and a troop commander lined up along side the pool, watching the metal helicopter replica hover metres above the water. 3 hours later, the troop (full of smiles, certificates and confidence in escaping from inverted, submerged helicopters in absolute darkness) gathered to move onto drills for entering and exiting the Sea King – something we will be using in later exercises. A quick map reading stance in preparation for Ex. Baptist Run finished the troop for the day.
Friday’s main focus was the Woodbury Common grenade range; an afternoon detail in which every recruit got the opportunity to throw two live grenades each, and a select few got to throw a third (mainly because they threw like girls in their other attempts!). Once this evolution had finished the troop returned back to base for a weekend off duties and free time – not forgetting the impending Baptist Run Ex.
A normal day on camp (bottom field and lectures) kick started the infamous week 14; however all the recruits could only focus on one thing… Baptist Run. This began Tuesday morning with an early start, all field kit being inspected in the drill shed, before moving onto the 4 mile speed march with 21lb webbing and rifle. This was the first weighted speed march 147 had attempted, and on completion all but three were left jovial (the three recruits however would get a chance to re-run the march on finishing the exercise). A few hours later all members of the troop were aboard the transport; Bergen’s, webbing and rifles ready to depart. Tuesday afternoon and evening flew by as everyone had a chance to practice their stalking and map reading, as well as enjoying the delicacies of the ration packs and preparing for the practice solo night navigation that was to take place that night.
The night navigation occurred, the weather stayed positive and everyone returned – the troop couldn’t have hoped for a better start to the exercise. Days 2 and 3 followed, both following the same agenda – a stalking and map reading stance in the morning, a FCO/observation/target indication round robin in the afternoon, preparation and execution of the night navigation after that. In all of these areas the recruits made a solo effort and were scored based on their performances. Day 4 (Friday) saw the close of the exercise with an 8 mile (39lb + Rifle) load carry back to camp through the Woodbury lanes, throughout which the troop showed great determination and physical strength the complete the march under time. The rest of the day was allowed for de-service of kit ready for the final aspect of the exercise (full field kit muster). At 10:00am Saturday morning 147 troop had completed Baptist Run and had time to themselves to enjoy the weekend and do what they did best… drink sensibly and responsibly.
Over the weekend it emerged that 2 recruits had been unsuccessful and 147 wish them the best of luck in the rest of their training.