153 Troop Diary Week 16
Week 16 began with signals lectures and a small test on setting up our PRRs (Personal Radio Receiver). Swiftly moving onto a short blast of bottom field phys. However, the real test of week 16 was exercise First Base, our first fully tactical exercise of Phase two. The newly appointed section ICs would be closely watched on their abilities to command and the Troop would face its first section battle drills, observation posts and reconnaissance patrols. An unforeseen and in many ways harder test would be our battle with the elements as sub zero temperatures, rain, sleet and snow would batter the Troop almost all exercise.
Extra weight to carry in the form of radios, batteries, night vision equipment and other optics would add a tougher yet rewarding physical aspect to the exercise. A further skill learned by all was model making, the construction of a scale three dimensional model of an area of ground of tactical value such as the route to and inclusion of an observation post location. Putting our newly acquired skills into practice setting up an OP and being attacked whilst “bugging out” proved an exhilarating practical and fun end to the exercise. Only one more test remained and that was the speed march back to camp. Overall, a physically tough and mentally challenging exercise and on completion a highly rewarding week 16.
153 Troop Diary Week 18
Week 18 was compromised of putting our knowledge of section/troop battle drills into exercise Second Empire. The location was Caerwent in South Wales, a derelict Second World War ammunition production and distribution depot. Upon arrival ammunition and equipment distribution was dealt with quickly moving on to the insertion yomp and into a triangular harbour. The first night would consist of planning and executing two reconnaissance patrol, whilst two sections did this the other two would maintain the harbour.
The second day the troop would into a FOB (forward operating base) for its first experience of hard cover, constructing sangar sentry positions and learning the new routine. That day we would conduct clearance patrols, learning to dominate the ground clearing enemy positions and advancing to contact in a series of section battle evolutions. After a good day of action packed drills we moved back into the FOB getting on with admin. That night three of the four sections would take part in a troop scale night clearance patrol to clear the enemy out of the local area, each section moving together in a well planned well executed evolution.
Each section would have a taste of every role within the FOB from the sentry routine to reconnaissance patrols, QRF (quick reaction force) before taking part in the final assault, a dawn attack on a fortified enemy position. The whole troop moving into position before an adrenaline fuelled battle rolling through open ground before a house clearance. A fantastic first experience of troop level battle, tactics and logistics behind it. Ending the exercise with a tough speed march back to our extraction point.