170 Troop Diary Week 6
September saw the return of 170 Troop from a well enjoyed Summer Leave back to the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines to begin week 7 of recruit training. Inevitably some of the troop had enjoyed being on leave too much and were suffering from the notorious ‘Lympstone Blues’ as a result. Most however were eager to get stuck back in to training and soon lifted the morale of the rest.
The troop were eased back into training on the Monday morning but this could only last so long and we were quickly returned to the fast pace in the Gymnasium with our first PT session. With most of the troop perhaps not conducting as much physical training as they should have over leave this was certainly a shock to the system and blew out some of the cobwebs. Most finished the session feeling the effects of too much home cooking and we suddenly realised the hard work we had ahead of us to perform well during the week 9 gym passout in only a couple of weeks.
On completion of the PT session we readied ourselves to deploy straight into the field on Ex MARSHALL STAR. Deploying on exercise can be daunting at the best of times but first thing back after leave was again a bigger challenge. The exercise consisted of a number of things but focussed on progressing our field craft skills that we would use for the rest of training and throughout our careers. We started with learning about ‘range cards’ a method of building up a picture of our surrounding by highlighting key features, with distances and bearings, to quickly reference them if we need to. We also learned the process of target indication and fire control orders. These work with each other to firstly allow us to point out areas on the ground to each other quickly and then issue an order to bring in fire on possible enemy positions. This involves lots of shouting and by the end of serial many of us were horse.
The exercise also allowed us to practice the practical navigation that we had learned before Summer Leave both by day, and later in the week by night. This practice had mixed results, some of the groups completed the night navigation without incident despite thick fog, others managed to get completely disorientated even over the short distance. We all learned much about our map to ground and attention to detail which will help us towards Ex HUNTERS MOON in a few weeks.
The period most enjoyed was the ‘Stalking’ which consists of using camouflage and concealment to creep up on an objective without being seen and then firing a shot to hit the target. Again the troop had mixed success with some recruits getting to within less than 75m without being seen and others being spotted almost immediately from setting off. This is a skill that will be tested later on and we all took a lot away from the practice.
Being the first week back the troop naturally made a number of mistakes that they shouldn’t have and it has been a good week to remind us of the skills taught before the leave period. We are now back in the swing of training and ready to press on for the rest of the term.