159 Troop – Training Diary – Week 26-27
After a hoofing week 25 down at Poole and Portsmouth, we’ve entered the Commando Phase of training. Week 26 has arrived. The Troop was up early doors (0430) to conduct a 6 mile speed march; we had to complete this within 60 minutes carrying 21lbs of kit and our rifles. Step off was 0630 due to the red hot weather we’ve experienced the past few weeks. The lanes were very hot and humid throughout the speed march. At the 3 mile point we had a water stop to the relief of the entire Troop. After a couple of minutes we set off again knowing we only had a short 3 miles to go. Everyone worked hard and dug out blind, and before we knew it 159 Troop had completed the 6 mile speed march. Upon completion we formed a hollow square and the Troop Commander presented us with our cap comforters; the diamonds were also awarded to Rct Clark, Rct Holden, Rct Ruck and Rct Dyke. Entering the commando phase in this particular fashion was a very proud moment for 159 Troop.
Tuesday arrived and it was 159’s turn for a trip to Foggin Tor for a day spent with the Mountain Leaders – who taught use how to use various bits of equipment and techniques for cliff assaults and abseils. There were a lot of nervous faces but everyone cracked all the assaults and abseils. Once the day’s drills were complete we moved onto river crossings. This involved swimming across a river with your Bergen webbing and rifle in front of you. Rct Radford – the only recruit to swim backwards whilst trying to go forward. With river crossings complete we scranned up and had some chill time before moving into night cliff assaults. This proved to be more difficult but this didn’t faze the lads and we got it cracked.
Wednesday saw 159’s Tarzan Assault acquaint, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed as it is one of the four commando tests you complete in week 31. The acquaint showed us how to move between each station and what changeovers were required.
159 Troop deployed on our final field exercise – Exercise Final Thrust – on Thursday 25th July. Leaving around midday, a long coach ride to Bodmin Moor provided some last minute head down before a long and arduous 7 days. Apprehension gave way to adrenaline as we carried out our first Troop Deliberate Attack – with the sections working well together, putting into practice everything we’ve learned throughout training, to effectively find, fix and destroy the enemy. After a night on Bodmin, where we harboured up and carried out section patrols and attacks, we were back on the coach for a short trip to Dartmoor. Here 159 Troop found there yomping legs and the next few days proved to be challenging; with the Troop losing a fair few recruits to injury and the weather taking a turn for the worse! However 159 trudged on through Dartmoor’s rough terrain, performing Troop attacks on various Tors and compounds on the way, gaining moral from each assault.
As 159 Troop moved out of the Dartmoor phase of Final Ex morale hit the roof as the lads were thinking it’s time to hit a Gucci ship and get some head down and galley scran. That all changed when after our last attack on Dartmoor, which was a FIWAF attack, we were resupplied with another 48 hours worth of rations – which made a lot of the lads think the ship phase was not going to happen.
After a brief coach ride down the road we were in Plymouth, the sun was out and we were getting suited up to hit the oggin. 1 and 2 section jumped on the zodiacs (small raiding craft) and 3 and 4 jumped on the LCVP (landing craft vehicle personnel) and off we went to our ship HMS Brecon. From Brecon we conducted an operation to eliminate 3x known enemy ashore. We jumped in the zodiacs and the whole troop performed a cliff assault scaling roughly 40 ft. After the attack we abseiled back down to the landing crafts and they took us back to HMS Brecon for some well deserved head down.
The next day, 2 and 3 section were tasked with going ashore early and setting up a harbour to conduct recces of a huge fort. 1 and 4 section combined with 2 and 3 section with a Gucci beach assault – which was nearly compromised by civvies – in the early hours ready for the attack at h-hour 0430. At h-hour 3 section gave effective fire support whilst 1 and 4 section made the break in. The attack rolled on from there and went smoothly. After the entire enemy were eliminated and the re-org was completed it was End Ex, and the Troop moved back to CTCRM and begin to de-service our kit.
The following day we zeroed our rifles on the ranges ready for our Endurance Course run through the following Monday. We also moved accommodation to Kings Squad block which made all the lads realise how close we are to passing out.