163 Troop Training Diary – Week 7
For the majority of week 7, 163 Troop was on Woodbury Common for Exercise MARSHALL STAR. The 3 ½ day long exercise gave the Troop the opportunity to practice military skills and routines learned on previous exercises and in the classroom. This included the establishing and maintaining a harbour position, and performing field administration.
Ex MARSHALL STAR contained a large element of progression and many new skills were learned. The harbour drills and sentry routines were developed to include the use of inner and outer sentry positions and a track plan, and more emphasis was placed on using a password system. It seems that this particular area requires a little work, as some members of the Troop fell asleep on sentry, and others asked training team members to ‘halt’ when they were standing directly on top of the sentry position.
On Day 2 the Troop was introduced to another vital military skill as we were ‘bumped’ for the first time. Essentially this means being ‘attacked’, having to grab all our kit and taking it to a new location. Day 2 also included one of the more interesting activities of the week where we had to stalk members of the training team and fire off two blank rounds, all whilst remaining undetected. Despite having to crawl for an hour through gorse and bog, it was nevertheless a thoroughly enjoyable activity.
Time was also spent on lectures including; how observation is affected and how sound travels at night, target identification and fire control orders. Additionally we also received more coaching on our map reading and navigation. The Troop practiced taking bearings and finding their own position, with each member of the Troop getting an opportunity to be the navigator for his section, both during the day and at night.
The Troop returned to CTCRM on Thursday morning and began de-servicing their kit, and preparing for Friday morning’s inspection. The inspection was a massive improvement on the one that followed Exercise Quick Cover – we were promised the weekend off. Friday began with the Battle Swimming Test, which the vast majority of the Troop passed. The day also included a map reading revision session, and much to the horror of some members of the Troop, a two-hour IMF session – great joy.
Although week 7 was possibly the most demanding for 163 Troop so far, it was also very rewarding as we learned new skills in the field, skills that will be further developed on Exercise Hunters Moon in a few weeks time. Every member of the Troop was thankful for the weekend off as it allowed us to recover from the week, and to prepare for the demands that Week 8 would bring.