160 Troop Diary Weeks 14
Week 14 is a test week in Royal Marines Training; know as Ex Baptist RUN, where recruits are tested on all aspects of their training to date.
The week began with some phys on bottom field, where we ran through the assault course with full kit. The PTI had devised a cheeky circuit which consisted of fireman’s carries to and from every individual obstacle and back to the centre where he stood. Bottom field sessions are becoming increasingly difficult, and with more weight being added to our webbing, we are being prepared for our week 20 passout. Some Signals and Communications lectures followed before we began preparing for Ex Baptist Run the following morning.
On Tuesday the test started with a 4 mile speed march around the lanes of CTCRM. We carried 21 lbs in our webbing and our rifle, this was our first assessment speed march, and fortunately everyone passed. Our fitness and confidence has received a boost a few days earlier when our Troop Commander led us on a 6 mile run back from Woodbury Common. Upon arriving at our harbour position, we started the different evolutions of the exercise. We would be tested on Stalking (the ability to conceal yourself in open ground and stalk an enemy position), Fire Control orders (the ability to clearly give and understand various firing procedures), Target Indication (being able to point out features on the ground using a variety of methods such as hand angles and clock ray methods. These methods enable us to be precise and accurate over great distance).
Perhaps the most important assessment of the exercise was our kit inspections and our navigation. We had two inspections in the field and two at CTC. These inspections tested our ability to administer ourselves in the field properly, regardless of conditions. Our instructors can inspect up to 80 individual pieces of kit that require our attention, such as magazines, rifle gas plugs and of course your boots. The attention to detail is quite severe with the smallest piece of dirt or collection of carbon from firing can result in a failure. Our final inspection was on Saturday morning following the completion of the exercise. This is known as de-servicing your kit, which is a hugely important part of Royal Marines life at a unit and on deployment. When you have finished an exercise or operation you must be able to redeploy as soon as possible.
The navigation tests were split up into day time static tests, where we had to use our maps and equipment to identify features on the ground and take accurate bearings and grid references. The second part of our navigation tests were 3 night navigation tests, for this we were given check points to get to which were manned by members of the Training Team; this had to be completed in an allocated time. The terrain, in places, was cheeky, with several instances of fellow recruits submerging themselves in a swampy bog and gorse. As a Troop we did well, despite the pitch black swampy ground. The exercise concluded with an 8 mile load carry back to camp, which posed no problems apart from the warm weather.
All in all, 160 Tp had a good week and for the majority of us the weekend will be an opportunity to rest and recover before the end of Phase 1 Training.