170 Troop Diary Week 5
Week 5 started with the focus firmly on the Troops proficiency with our rifles. We have been building the skills and drills since the first week of training with the culmination being this Tuesday and the long awaited Weapons Handling Test. After half a day of revision and practice on Monday the nerves amongst the Troop had risen as the important test grew nearer. Without successfully passing we wouldn’t be able to fire our rifles during field exercises or during live firing on the ranges. More importantly than this however it shows the training team that we have been taking on board everything that they have been teaching and we are safe with our weapons. Despite the nerves come Tuesday everyone had successfully passed and the team seemed happy with our performance.
That evening we packed our kit for only our second field exercise, this time we would be spending two nights on Exercise QUICK COVER, again on Woodbury Common Training Area. After an intense gym session on the Wednesday morning we loaded our personal equipment and all the team stores on to the transport and we moved up on to the training area. We moved on foot the last few hundred metres to the exercise location, on the way learning some of the basics of patrolling and moving tactically as we will be expected to do so in later exercises.
After setting up the team location and unloading stores we got the exercise underway, starting off with lectures on the art of camouflage and concealment. We continued with a number of teach periods giving us all the basics of soldiering and fieldcraft. We were then given the time to practise this by applying cam cream and filling our helmets and webbing with foliage until we were all looking the part. Of course some looked more convincing than others, with a number going a bit overboard.
As the evening set in we established our troop harbour location for the night and posted sentries as you would do tactically. Every man got up throughout the dark hours to do his part on sentry and an hour shift. We were lucky with the weather enjoying clear days and nights for the whole exercise.
The mornings were spent getting to better grips with our morning routines, and more importantly the time management of being able to do a number of tasks in not a lot of time. We were also given a morning kit muster to show that we were looking after our equipment. We were shown what was expected and all of our equipment was meticulously picked through by the training team and highlighted when it didn’t meet the standard. We are all starting to realise the attention to detail that is needed.
The day then moved back into lectures and teach periods getting stuck back in to the sort of stuff that we all joined up to learn. The second day we covered how to respond to an attack and return fire at an enemy and advance towards them. We also covered the different types of moving across the ground with our weapons and a brief introduction to map reading and navigation. We then moved straight into a fire and manoeuvre practice, working in pairs to fight our way towards an objective. Firing blank rounds, running, diving and crawling got our adrenaline going and made us all feel more like soldiers.
After the final morning inspection we conducted a final practie of our reaction to enemy fire, our fire and manoeuvre drills and close quarter battle skills. This was enjoyed by the whole Troop but it was a surprise at how hard work and physical it is to do properly. With this as a good warm up we loaded all team stores back on to transport and readied ourselves for a march back to camp. This time we would be carrying our webbing, rifle and also our daysacks, a total of approximately 37lbs. we coped better with the pace on the route back having learned from the march after the previous exercise and stayed tightly formed up all the way back to camp. After a quick foot inspection we then went into the weekend with all of our field equipment to clean ready for our next exercise.
We have all taken a lot from this week and have had a flavour of what is to come.