158 Troop Chronicles – Week 10

158 Troop Chronicles – Week 10

We knew throughout Recruit training that Week 10 was particularly hard because of Exercise HUNTER’S MOON.  However, for 158 Troop it proved to be a lot harder than it was required to be after the very disappointing results of Gym Pass Out, the previous Friday.

Eventually we were sitting on the coach heading to Dartmoor.  The Troop were trying their best to get some final moments of rest before we began the insertion yomp, a 7 km load carry over open and mostly soft marshy ground crossing a few small steams.  The yomp was split up into smaller legs and each Section member then led a leg.  Eventually we arrived, and in no time we were back, making our way across Dartmoor for a night navigation.  1 Section made it around in a good time and also managed not to get lost whilst going around Dartmoor!  By 2200 we set out our harbour positions which included writing out our sentry times and range cards throughout the night.  Although before we could think about going to sleep, there were certain details that we had to complete like route cards for the next day and cleaning our rifles.

On the first day we did another full day of navigation.  A quick pace was set by Cpl Perkins and we soon made it to our first checkpoint, a small old abandoned house which is rumored to be one of the most haunted homes in the UK.  We made it back from this yomp and quickly ‘scranned’ up making sure we get as much food on board to keep energy levels up.  At 1600hrs all of the Sections were back and ready to carry out the next detail – the Troop Commander had a map stance lecture ready for us about 2 km away from the team hut.  Nightfall was fast approaching and we needed to make it back to the team hut beforehand so we could cook in the light and eating a hot meal is a big morale booster.  As night took over it was obviously time for another night navigation… however, this time we did it in fire-teams (4 or 5 Recruits) without the Section Corporals with us!  In fire teams we were able to have more chances to take charge and there were not so many people who needed to have a go.

After morning routine we were taught about and carried out, our first stalk – this is where we have to crawl into a position where you can see the target and fire off two rounds without being seen.  We were given 10 seconds to sprint as far as we could toward the position; it paid off to get as far as you could as you would be crawling the rest of the way!  We had 1 hour to complete the stalk so most decided to take full advantage of the time we were given, crawling through water, over rocks and bushes.

Our time at the team hut was coming to an end and we were all preparing our Bergens for the 7 km extraction yomp to Princetown pub car park.  Quite a few of the Troop had some bad blister and foot/ lower limb injuries, however that was just something they had to deal with and overcome.  Before we knew it we were at the car park and we were getting our kit loaded on to the 4-tonne trucks, day sacks and webbing back ready to go!  Travelling through Dartmoor on the back of the 4-tonne trucks the whole Troop were a little nervous and not too sure what to expect during the survival stage of the exercise.  The trucks stopped and we were all unloaded and before we knew it we were yomping our way through open marshland!  We were yomping for around 3 hours in the dead of night, all waiting to get to our destination.  Eventually after an ever-changing yomp we arrived…  we were met with crys of “RUN RUN RUN!! SPRINT UP THE HILL, GO GO GO” from both the bottom and top of the hill.

Before we knew it we were sprinting up this hill as fast as our legs could take us, we were lined out in section sticks and searched for any contraband that any of us might have tried to smuggle in to the survival stage.  The Troop Commander then warmed us up with a little bit of phys before taking us down to an area near a large fast flowing stream.  We knew the survival stage had started now!!  All concerns went on building our shelters and in no time a double lean-to shelters were made with fires in the centre.  We were all very close that night; arms interlocked and legs curled around one another’s.  Although we were all so tired because of being so cramped we did not get too much sleep.

We got up very early the next morning and assessed our shelters; we knew that we needed to make it more wind/waterproof so that is what we did.  Just after 1100 we had a short lecture from the Mountain Leaders on cooking and killing some food, rainbow trout and chicken.  We were then given 20 minutes to skin and chop up the chicken and gut the fish, removing the bones.  Before we knew it all the food had been eaten and we were back to the shelters and collecting more fire wood.  It was a very weird sensation in the shelter as our feet were freezing cold and our head was boiling hot!

At 0530 we were quickly woken by our Corporals and given 2 minutes to put out our fires and get to the bottom of the hill to start the extraction march from a survival situation.  As it turned out, the ‘march’ wasn’t a march it was a fast run!  However, it was over before we knew it and we were back at the top of the hill by the Team tent!  Eventually once all of the admin had been done and we were sat on mini-busses or 4-tonnes going back to camp.  Everyone was completely drained and we took full advantage of the time to get our heads down.  All in all I think that the Troop did well on Week 10 and showed off some good signs of things to come

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