152 TROOP DIARY – WEEK 22 – 23
The week started with us getting the opportunity to experience a few unusual sporting activities during adventure training held at Chivenor Barracks in North Devon. Funnily enough most of the activities involved being in the sea; luckily we enjoy being wet and cold. However, once the activities were done for the day we had some down time to sample the local pubs and, as always, catch up on some much needed sleep.
Unfortunately Wednesday soon came and that evening was spent primarily packing kit for Exercise Violent Entry. This was to be our longest exercise yet and also has a notoriously high failure rate as recruit exercises go. After loading our bergans onto the baggage wagon it was onto the coach for a welcome three hour journey, although the other end turned out very bleak, dark, cold and windy. We yomped with our heaviest bergans yet, but even the extra weight could not stop the cold from making our hands and faces numb. We eventually reached our harbour and began to prepare for the next morning’s evolutions. After successfully taking CileniVillage, a small training area with houses, barns, and even a church, the Troop got several hours to barricade their buildings before receiving wave after wave of attack from an enthusiastic enemy.
After two nights spent in the village the Troop ventured back out onto the frozen rolling hills, practicing an advance to contact over several kilometres. It was good to see the Troop working as a single unit and it was clear we have come a long way in a short time. Led by our Troop Commander we moved swiftly through the enemy positions and into a harbour for the night. The week was coming to an end but our time on Sennybridge was not; we all knew our next sleepless night would be spent in a trench.
After nearly 24 hours in the trenches and protecting them at any cost it was time to start the CBRN phase of the exercise. This meant suiting up in our protective gear and respirators and carrying out emergency drills when we were gassed. There was a lot to remember and no time for mistakes. Although most were glad to leave the trenches this ultimately meant the start of the next yomp. With the added pressure of a documentary film crew filming us, we trudged up hill after hill trying not to let on how much pain our shoulders and legs were actually in. After nearly nine hours it came to an end – it had been emotional. The final morning saw us attack another small village and then await pick up, with everyone looking forward to getting back to camp and some much needed rest.