162 Tp – Week 14 Training Diary
162 Troop entered week 14 of training with high morale after a very good and enjoyable previous week, however many were nervous about the up upcoming week as we had been preparing for Exercise Baptist Run – a criteria test exercise.
Monday started and we had a relatively quiet day consisting of a good session of phys on bottom field. First thing Tuesday morning we had a criteria test speed march to begin the exercise. This was a 4 mile route with full combat fighting order (21lbs webbing & rifle). We had completed several other speed marches at this distance but with less weight to build up to the test run. The Troop completed the speed march strong and every recruit passed. After this we had our first full kit inspection before deploying for Woodbury common which would be where the remainder of Ex Baptist Run was conducted.
We travelled to Woodbury by coach and upon arriving a lot of the troop were apprehensive about how the week would go and this showed in the initial tests on the first day with some of the troop not performing to their full potential. We conducted our first stalk, fire control orders, target indication and observation stances, all of which were under test conditions and marked.
In the evening we were given our brief for the upcoming night navigation we had to conduct individually. We were given 3 checkpoints to hit over the common and a time limit of 2hours 45 minutes. We all prepared our route cards and set off at 5 minute intervals once it became dark enough. This was our first individual night nav. The weather conditions were not very helpful on this with a fair amount of rain coming down and the clag coming in quite close which resulted in us not being able to see further than 10metres around us. After speaking to the troop afterwards it emerged that a high percentage of recruits had some difficulty on this test. Once the night nav was completed we set up our harbour area and tried to salvage some valuable sleep in the remaining hours of the night.
Wednesday morning began with a full kit inspection which was all tested and marked. We did not get any feedback from the corporals inspecting us like we normally do as it was test conditions therefore the troop were unsure about how we had performed. During the day we conducted our second stalk, fire control orders, target indication & observation stances. And we also completed our first static navigation stance. The evening was conducted the same as the night before – preparing for the second night navigation.
The weather had improved for this a little and visibility was better. This eased a lot of people’s minds but we knew we needed to perform better than the previous night, therefore a lot of people were a little worried and nervous. The majority of the troop completed the navigation under the required time – however one recruit did not return and the training team had to follow the lost procedure and head out on the roads to find him. They were not successful in finding him so the whole troop had to get back out on the ground and do an extended line search for him. We knew this was a very serious situation and had to act professionally and do everything we had been told in order to find the recruit as quickly as possible. We were searching for around 2hours 30minutes when we heard one of the team radio through saying they had found him. This was a massive relief for everyone knowing he was fine, and once he was back with the troop it gave us a bit of morale joking about it, which helped forget about the fact we had no sleep that night.
Thursday started with a weapons inspection and the day was mirrored to the day before and we completed the same tests. We knew this was our last full day to impress and had to apply ourselves to make sure we performed. The last night navigation went underway and we only had 2 hours to complete this but visibility and weather conditions were the best we had of the 3 nights. Most of the troop performed best on this night with majority coming in under the time limit and hitting all 3 checkpoints.
Our last kit inspection in the field was on Friday morning, and after this we prepared for our 6 mile exertion yomp back to camp. It was a great relief getting back to camp after a testing exercise and yomp back, but many felt happy we had completed it and performed to the highest standard we could. Now we just had Friday evening to apply ourselves and correctly de-service all our kit for the kit inspection on Saturday morning. Once the inspection was out the way we had finally completed Exercise Baptist Run.
The troop started off a little shakey at first due to nerves but managed to pull things together by the end of the exercise and finished strong. We got the weekend to ourselves to relax and wait and hope that we did enough to pass the exercise which we find out the following week.