154 Troop Diary Week 26 & 27
This week has presented the Troop with another important milestone and has been tough straight from the off. The 6 Mile Speed March was up first thing on Monday morning and on completion would signify the start of the long awaited Commando Phase, the final part of our training. The Troop faired well during the march, losing only one recruit during the hour that we had to complete the distance. Most of us felt in good condition as we crossed the line, as we should do; ready to fight if we need to. The Troop was then presented their new headdress by the Commanding Officer, the cap comforter, the head dress of the Commando.
With little rest bite we had another big event the following day, Foggin Tor. This is an area of Dartmoor used by the Mountain Leader’s (ML’s) to train recruits in vertical assault and river crossings. This day is infamous amongst recruit training and the techniques of abseiling and climbing with bergans between your legs was a big test for many of us. We conducted a full river crossing, and then the same techniques during the night to meet the requirements of the ML’s and then prepare for Ex FINAL THRUST, our final field exercise.
Ex FINAL THRUST would be the final confirmation exercise for us to show that we could demonstrate all of the skills that have been taught over the past 26 weeks. The exercise itself ran from Thursday to Thursday, the majority of the time being spent in the field. It kicked off with the Troop deploying to the area of Poole in response to a threat on the SouthCoast. We conducted an amphibious landing onto an enemy force location before clearing through a dense woodblock to get into the swing of the exercise. On completion we marched 12 Miles throughout the night carrying all of our field kit to meet a Merlin helicopter which would take us to the area of Okehampton on Dartmoor.
We spent the next few days attacking enemy forces across Dartmoor, heading south towards Plymouth. We conducted section level Recces and OP’s before conducting Troop deliberate attacks on to targets across the area. Between these targets we marched across difficult terrain to follow the enemy force. The Troop redeployed by helicopter and located the enemy in Scraesdon Fort, which is a huge 18th Century stone fortress. We probed with recce patrols before preparing for an attack on the position. At last minute we were informed that there was hostage and after being given a set of length orders we moved towards the position at night for a first light assault. After abseiling into the Fort undetected the Fire Support (FSG) opened up with GPMG’s and LMG’s, trip flares burned which added to this impressive atmosphere. The Troop successfully cleared through and rescued the hostage which bought the exercise to a close, and despite the fatigue we were all left focussed.
Although tough these last two weeks have moved us a lot closer to our final goal of passing out as Royal Marines Commando. With the Commando Tests approaching the Troop have just over three weeks to ensure that we are fit enough to pass.