This was one of the key weeks and one of the most testing not just physically but more importantly mentally.  It started off with a inspirational talk from the OC encouraging us to dig deep when the going gets tough and that the exercise is a confirmation to all that we have been taught and that we are in fact ready to move onto a Unit having learnt the basic skills needed.  After final preparations of stores and weapons we were on our way to Poole for the beginning of what was to be a long and hard week.  At Poole we boarded a landing craft from the harbour called an LCVP which enabled us to move as a troop to our first attack off the South coast a few miles away.  Half way through the journey we came under attack and ended up having to change plans and undergo a beach assault there and then.  From this attack we patrolled the area until we picked up the dreaded bergans.

From the Bergan pick -up we yomped through the night and morning hours until we reached the beacon of hope to every recruit, the coach.  Following a bit of downtime and much needed scran we boarded the warm coach for a few hours rest.  Little did we know the coach journey was a trip to the beginning of yet another yomp, this time it was to be longer.  This time we had the privilege of daylight and good visibility as we moved across Dartmoor.  The weather was perfect throughout the exercise and this yomp was a prime example.  Windy, cold but dry, perfect for keeping us cool and dry whilst the engines are at full throttle.  We stopped in the early evening at what was to be our troop harbour.  We occupied this position whilst we regenerated and prepared for an attack on our enemy in a nearby farm.  By first light we were moving into position to take over the farm and occupy it from further enemy possession.  There is no rest for the wicked and after planning our route to the next enemy position we were off before we knew it.

Another yomp followed.  Luckily it was mostly downhill, towards separate positions depending on which section we were part of.  We all set up an OP to watch and observe the enemy routines in order to plan the best form of attack.  Upon discussion with HQ it was decided the ambush will take place from our OP position at first light.  The ambush was a success and before we gave the enemy a chance to close on our position we were off again.  Another long yomp awaited us this time, but we were happy with the warm grub in us.  The next harbour position again allowed a regeneration of morale and scran whilst forging the next plan of attack.  The clearing of an enemy woodblock proceeded.

Into a troop lorry we went and with no idea of bearing or direction we were on our way again.  After a short sleep we found ourselves in Plymouth ready to embark onto a Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Ship.  This was an unexpected surprise and one which I can personally say was greatly appreciated having pretty much run out of gas.  The following 24 hours was a chance to get some shut eye and prepare for our final attack upon an enemy stronghold.  The final attack was a success and after a short yomp back to the road we were met yet again by the most rewarding sight, our coach.  Within minutes there was silence as every man got his head down to a much needed rest.

We found this week to be a good test of many of the lads’ characters, to which some proved themselves to be good potential Marines and others to give up when the going got tough.  We were lucky to pass with a decent number having only lost a few to injury.  The final exercise is out the way and we now have the tests to look forward to in our final push in training.


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