161 Troop Diary Week 18
We have recently come off Exercise ‘Second Empire’ which was, in my opinion, the best exercise we have done up to this point. We learned the basics of how to conduct a section level attack – having a lot of practice ourselves and also getting the opportunity to observe other sections which was very helpful and gave us the chance to pick up good and bad points and incorporate these pick-ups into our own attack drills. We then moved on to Troop Level assaults which was a great opportunity to see how such an attack works and we all learned the different evolutions involved and how different sections move around the battlefield, giving everyone ample fighting time and also a chance to rest in ‘reserve’. It was interesting to see how flexible the battlefield can be and also it gave us a good understanding of roles that the Troop Sergeant and Troop Commander play, which made us all appreciate their position and responsibilities.
The exercise also taught us how a recce patrol would contribute to an ambush and I was lucky enough that my section got the chance to conduct such a patrol and position the other sections into their fighting positions. This made us realise the level of responsibility involved in a recce and also the physical requirements it takes. It was a hard exercise, very little sleep and a lot of information to take in. We also went down to a very beautiful looking coastline for some very memorable Troop phys, which made the day slightly more challenging, however, the ambush on the last night was what everyone will remember this exercise for. Personally, I was impressed with how real the environment seemed. Even though we all knew it was a scenario set up for training – it felt almost as if we were off for real and everyone treated it as such.
Overall I think we learned a lot this week, about what the Royal Marines are all about. It was a real eye-opener!