157 Troop Diary – Week 17
After 2 weeks Easter leave, we returned back to Lympstone with mixed emotions. Some ready to crack on with training, some nervous about the impending exercises and 16 long weeks until our next leave, there were some obvious victims of the ‘Lympstone Blues’.
The week began with our practical signals test which involved using all the skills we had learnt over the previous weeks to hit check points based around camp. Radio communications involved communicating back to HQ with scenarios; it soon became clear that some recruits had better skills than others. One recruit even forgot to release the presel switch before expressing how poor he found the recruits playing HQ, in less than unsavoury language… First rule of signals, do not swear on the net!!!
After having our first fitting of our blues and lovats, and a chance for us to argue who was the most ‘essence’, we were taken down to bottom field for our first phys session. Needless to say, after a comfortable Easter had by most this soon reminded us that the hard work had begun in preparations for bottom field pass out were well under way! The lectures of the week consisted of ambushes, stability operations and different types of patrols. However, the highlight of the week was Viking training!
We spent 2 days at Bovington, the army’s light cavalry camp, but more importantly, the home of the Royal Marines Vikings. Spirits were high as we entered the accommodation to find that each bed had its own radiator and 2 pillows! After learning how to camouflage a Viking, the Troop was shown how to exit and enter the Viking. With the adrenaline still pumping we were taken to the pool and tested on how to use a re-breather. Self confidence and trust in the re-breather were wavering for one or two recruits but everyone passed eventually, meaning we were all able to advance onto the lake and see the Viking in action and practice the escape drills of a drowning Viking. 2 I/C’s seemed to get the short straw by being last man out!
Friday was spent practicing our harbour drills after messing up on Exercise First Base. This time the estuary was used as a gentle reminder of the infamous ‘mud run’ training ground. The week ended with RM Close Combat and more hand to hand combat techniques including choke holds. The weekend was spent with recruits looking over their shoulders just in case an oppo found the opportunity for a little ‘revision’ of the techniques we had practiced. With our bergans packed and ready to move out onto Exercise Second Empire, the Troop awaits anxiously for the week ahead.