`158 Troop Chronicles Week 18
Week 18 started with a bottom field session right before an exercise. This made everyone a little apprehensive as we didn’t know how hard the session would be. Luckily it was just a run through in preparation for bottom field pass out week 20. After deploying on Ex SECOND EMPIRE, we started with section attacks. This linked closely with the previous exercise (Ex FIRST BASE) where we learnt how to break contact (tactically and aggressively withdraw from contact). Monday evening we carried out a recce on a location that was eventually used for our final assault. This meant model pits and orders had to be given prior to going out on it. It really began to hit home on this exercise just how much preparation is made prior to any action – that only takes 2-3 hours to complete! On Tuesday we continued with section attacks, but usefully had someone playing enemy. On the first run through, the ‘enemy’ managed to get a stoppage when contacting us which led to him making the gun noises himself!! This amused us quite a lot and kept the morale up. That evening, another recce was carried out but on an ambush site we would use the next evening. There was a Troop advance to contact carried out on the Wednesday afternoon which moved about 4 km from our harbour. This meant going out in formation, and if you were on the flank, you definitely got seen off having to keep in line with the rest of the Troop. This was followed by a brief dip in a local stream, bit of a morale dipper, but it cooled you down in the hoofin’ weather we had all week! The ambush that night was a mix of struggling to stay awake for 3 hours, and then all the action happening in the space of 5 minutes! The ambush again was about 3km from the harbour – some of us seem to think the Training Team like to stay up all night! Back at the harbour we had less than an hours sleep before our first detail, meaning we were hanging out for our first detail which was a kit muster. This was used to reinstall the importance of urgency to us, and to check whether we had the right kit. We went back to the harbour and started sentry duties, while others carried out personal admin. Myself and a lot of lads felt a bit weird having so much personal admin time in the field, but talking to a Captain who had come to see us, he said get as much rest as possible when given time to, because the team will be assuming you’ll be resting! Well, we didn’t need to be told twice to get our heads down (unless on sentry!). The last evening saw the Troop carry out a deliberate attack on a building the enemy had been using. This was carried out at 3 am with full Troop tactics employed. This assault was over in about 15 minutes, but the build up to it had taken hours with the recces and different sections collating information for this assault. As a Troop when we finished, everyone was buzzing, as the Corporals seemed happy with us, and everything seemed to go smoothly. So back at the harbour, we quickly scranned up and got on our way with the 6 mile extraction yomp. By the end of it a few lads were hanging out and struggling with their feet (any excuse to get Gucci boots!) this led to 12 lads not making the bottom field session we had Saturday morning. The P.T.I. cut the session short for us as he could see the lads which had turned up were working hard but were hanging out, so after a few admin jobs the weekend was ours! Now ready for a week of bottom field and GPMG’s.