144 Troop Diary – Week 22 and 23
To start the week the Troop deployed on Adventure Training for three days based at RMB Chivenor. The aim was to provide the Troop with an insight into the types of activities that will be available to us and more importantly funded by the Corps once we pass out of basic training.
Filled with the horror stories provided by other Troops, especially one such member of Hunter Company about mountain biking and hunter hill, the Troop boldly strode where many had gone before. We were split into three groups and rotated through activities that included surfing, kayaking and mountain biking. Surfing provided many a completely new challenge, some managing to master the very subdued waves, whilst most spent the morning climbing up off of the sea bed. After a brief break for a not so authentic Cornish pasty and hot beverages it was back to the majestic, deep blue cold waters of Devon. The afternoon saw the majority of the Troop get up on their boards and ride some sort of wave. A hoofing day was had by all. Mountain biking…….we survived hunter hill, enough said! The next morning saw us get proficient in controlling the kayak and learning that communication and cooperation was paramount. Having mastered the art of kayaking in just a few hours, the instructors felt confident enough to unleash the group upon the high seas. The next few hours where filled with the cries for help, or the sounds of laughter as many a nod bounced off the rocky outcrops of the north Devon coast line. Another hoofing day was had by all.
On completion of adventure training was Exercise Violent Entry. The weather taking a turn for the worst on the way to Wales set the tone for what was to be a challenging exercise. On arrival, having unloaded the stories, we ‘cammed’ up and then bombed up what seamed like enough ammo to start a small war and then yomped off into the night. This was the first, but by no means the worst of several yomps on the exercise. The main aim of the first phase of the exercise was the taking of a village. The first few days were occupied with recce patrols, OPs, VCPs or manning the HQ radio – all working towards the taking of the village which occurred without incident early on Saturday morning. The illusion of hardcover being an easy few days quickly passed as “violent sentry” came into being. The Troop performed numerous OPs, fighting patrols (all day) recce patrols (most of the night), public showings of force and liaising with the locals to gain intelligence. It soon became apparent that the enemy where not too far away and we were in for a restless night! For those unfortunate few who had been “pinged” to carry the GPMG, release was soon to be had, as the subsequent attack allowed them to put down a serious amount of suppressing fire. The battle for the village had begun.
The next phase of the exercise saw the Troop move to the CBRN location, but not before undertaking what is commonly know as the killer yomp, which saw the Troop loose eight good men. Rumours have it that we covered well over 50 miles! Never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Having fended off a night attack from a relentless enemy that sounded remarkably like Corporal Cobb, the Troop were rudely awoken in the morning to the sounds of “GAS GAS GAS!” Many expletives could be heard well beyond the 9 second window. The rest of the day saw us attacked by an enemy with chemical capabilities. The Troop worked well together, sending out chemical recce patrols and manning chemical sentries. Apart from several sections having to fireman’s carry there oppos out of a contact, up a hill in full CBRN kit, whilst being sprayed with CS gas the day passed with relative ease. The final phase of the exercise saw the Troop yomp back towards the village, harbour up for the night and prepare to retake the village at first light. Moving silently into position, we eagerly awaited H hour. At 0600 when H hour commenced, the cracking sound of one section’s GPMGs could be heard for miles around as it thundered down covering fire for the forward elements of the Troop. Two, three, four and five sections swept through the village. After a short but intense fire fight the remaining enemy fled, and victory was ours!