156 Troop Dairy – Week 10
Monday; the day started with a CBRN kit issue with the new respirator, which looks like something from Batman. After wondering where all this new kit was going to get stowed, we then went to a lecture on how to fit and wear the kit. The lecture also covered the effectiveness of the kit in different environments. This was the start of all us thinking how funny it will be to watch everyone gasping for air and then have to go through it ourselves. Once the lecture was complete there was time for us to get some quick food down our necks before we had to start Exercise Hunters Moon.
All our kit was on the transport and so where we. Moral was high and most people where excited to get started with this highly talked about exercise. Taking advantage of the transport to Dartmoor we all got some sleep, as we were sure we would not get much over the next couple of days. A cold and snowy, almost Christmas like scene was in front of us, although the Christmas feeling did not last long once the bergans were on and we began the yomp. The weather was clear with good visibility but was cold and snow covered everything insight. We made it to our new harbour with everyone in one piece despite a few blisters for the unprepared. We where giving time to scran up and a quick wet, then given a brief for the up coming night navigation exercise.
We quickly got to work on the route cards under our bivis with our pound shop special super fine pens which worked really well. The night navex was conducted with our Corporals shadowing us between check points. This was a practise for us to sharpen our skills before we where set loose on Dartmoor by ourselves. Everyone made it back in one piece and where under our bivis in no time. Although on the way back from the last check point the weather changed and the thunder and lighting started, soon followed by a massive storm which made getting into our bags a lot faster and slicker. Being in that bag after a day of yomping and a night of navexing never felt so good.
Tuesday morning started with a kit muster and it was the usual suspects that where letting the side down and sent to the flank for a brisk run up the nearest tor. The day was planned as a bit of a yomp and more practise at navexing. Although this soon changed, as on the way towards check point 3 we heard on the radio that the section behind us had a man down. We were a few hundreds meters ahead of them so we went firm to see if they needed any help. No one really took any notice of what was going on until we turned around and saw Recruit Cherry passed out and propped up against one of his oppo’s barely awake. This was due to him wearing all of his warm clothes during a yomp, not the best idea. The show must go on, so on our return to the harbour we where given a brief on the upcoming night navex. The route cards where complete and kit packed ready to move out. Our sections where split down into groups of 5-6 and then set off into the night. Everyone set off with the mindset of cracking it in quick time to get back in out bags but 4 Bravo got a bit excited and got a little lost but soon found there way back.
Another kit muster on Wednesday to start the day and there were not as many people flanked. Corporal Jackson then gave us a lecture on stalking, which was good and gave us a better insight to more of the soldiering side of things. The lecture itself was fairly short but covered many aspects which where expanded on more when we where on the ground which helped us make more sense of what he was trying to teach us. After the lesson we packed up all our kit and laid them out in sections sticks on the track ready for the yomp back to the car park we started from. Before we started the yomp Colour Sergeant Lavelle took us for a lesson on re-sections. This lesson was run like a test to give us an insight of what is expected but we where allowed to ask questions if needed. Lesson complete bergans on and the yomp began.
The start of the yomp was up inclines which proved too much for some individuals and they wrapped pretty quickly. As we reached the peak of the hill the weather closed in and the visibility went to zero. The Corporals pushed ahead to find the best route and cracked the perfect example of how to navigate. The going was hard with fresh snow making it difficult to judge your footing. The yomp seemed to be on a constant incline and the finish seemed further and further away until we reached a peak and saw the glow of Princetown in the distance. After arriving the news came that our transport to the next location was stuck, which left us with only one vehicle to ferry us to the check point. We were in for a cold night.
Thursday morning routine cracked after out quick nap and all our kit stowed away ready for the ML’s to come take over. We set to work on our shelters and collecting fire wood. The shelters took shape quickly but most of us had not put the same attention into building a proper fire or collecting enough fire wood. The ML came and gave us a demonstration on how to kill a chicken and prepare it for eating. There was also a demo on gutting and preparing fish. The fish where easy enough to prep but they became as slippery as a bar of soap in a prison shower. That night the word cold took on a whole new meaning and the constant search for fire wood was going on all night to stay warm. Most of us made it through the night with few exceptions that had to be warmed up in the team tent.
On Friday morning we where told to take down our shelters and put out our fires which was heart breaking. Then it was a quick march up to the top of the hill. At the top we were met with some food from the galley, bacon, sausage, egg and beans no one said no and nothing was left. There was a quick ten minutes to sort out our feet for another yomp, although this plan soon changed and all the kit and stores where put on the wagon. Everyone was glad to see the kit go on as most people where hanging out but they would have done it if they had to. We where then marched down to the transport to return CTC but one mini-bus needed a bit of ‘nod’ power to get unstuck.
Before we knew it we where on the transport and back on camp and Exercise Hunters Moon was complete. All that needed done now was de-servicing of all kit and ourselves and our week 10 was done.
All in all a good week full of highs and lows with a bit of cold threw in for good measure. But everyone had taking something from it. If we can complete and exercise in those conditions then we can do it in any. Looking forward now to getting rounds down at Straight Point next week and not having to carry anyone on any stretchers. All those who went down did make a full recovery and are back in the Troop again.