Exercise Second Empire was our second phase 2 tactical exercise.  The aim was to improve our tactical knowledge.  We were practiced in setting up a defensive harbour, conducting admin, sending out recce and fighting patrols and keeping a secure area by using sentries.  This exercise was also to teach us troop level tactics and attacks using various formations and how to move across the ground under control while keeping communications with the other sections and the Troop Commander.

We arrived at Braunton Burrows, which is mainly sand dunes, on the Monday and split off into our sections to practice drills in section attacks.  After this we moved into a defensive harbour for the night to get some sleep and conduct admin.  The next day we went into a series of section attacks, patrolling around the area, coming under contact and using correct drills to overwhelm the enemy and clear the enemy position.  After the days serials we moved into a new harbour again to conduct admin.  That night the Troop had to be stood-to as we were under threat from enemy who were looking for us by setting off parachute illumination to light up the area.  After the threat we were stood down, this allowed us to send out a patrol to pick up needed rations and ammunition.

On Wednesday we were to start troop level attacks by moving into enemy areas as a Troop engaging enemy targets usually on top of the biggest sand dune.  That night when we occupied the harbour we had to make models in order to receive orders for certain members of the Troop to conduct recce patrols on enemy locations.  This was then carried out that night.  Thursday consisted of more troop attacks to work on our drills.  This also needed a model in order to receive orders from the Troop Commander.  An ambush was to be planned that night.  We set off, patrolling in a ‘troop snake’ formation to an area the enemy would be passing later that night.  We lay in wait for the enemy.  Then we saw them approach in a 4X4 truck.  When they reached our kill zone the order was given to open fire in which everyone engaged with massive rate of fire giving the enemy no chance to survive.

The next morning a deliberate attack was planned for first light to finish off the enemy on the beach.  The Troop was split into an assaulting section and fire support on cliffs.  After a week of good, dry but cold weather it suddenly starting raining but did not stop our attack.  After the attack we packed our bergan’s and prepared for a six mile yomp back to RMB Chivenor where our coach back to camp waited for us.  It started across the sand dunes which was hard underfoot then moved onto road where the speed was picked up, but still everyone completed it.  We then boarded the coach and caught up on some sleep back to camp.



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