RECRUIT DIARY WEEK 21 – 166 TROOP
1. As the title might suggest: Ex URBAN WARRIOR is an exercise focused on Modern Urban Combat (MUC). It comprises a specific array of infantry tactics and individual skills including Assault Engineering, and most importantly: CQB (Close Quarter Battle) drills. CQB is essential to a modern infantry soldier because no technological advance will ever replace the need for infantry to clear urban environments (picture the film: “Act of Valour”). The ability to deal with the complex dynamics of Enemy Forces interspersed among Civilians in complicated, close terrain requires initiative and intelligence. MUC is therefore an essential part of soldiering and is why such emphasis is placed on effective CQB as the mark of a professional Royal Marine Commando.
2. This exercise was also our first experience of simunition – a special type of ammunition which allows you to fire paint markers through your personal weapon (like turbo-charged paintball!). It adds a whole new aspect to the training as you learn to really appreciate the importance of good cover and situational awareness. It also has the psychological effect that real rounds might have – because you are so much warier of making mistakes.
3. CTCRM has a large, specialist facility with moveable walls, doors and corridors to train CQB and practise MOE (Method of Entry – or forcing your way in) and use the simunition. After initially starting this training by clearing rooms of wooden targets, we soon progressed to Force on Force – where one Section would defend a portion of the building for another to assault it. We incorporated all that we have learned thus far including the use of specialist entry equipment, evidence collection and RMCC – the Royal Marine Close Combat unarmed fighting we have been developing to de-mobilise an unarmed assailant. This training is as realistic as training can get and is therefore the most enjoyable training we are yet to have undertaken. The intensity and adrenaline really ramps up as you move your Section through the building clearing safe paths, detaining or eliminating threats.
4. The entire week built toward a final attack that was at a specialist MUC compound 2 hours away from CTCRM. The Troop were at high readiness having received our Orders the night before and were waiting at 15 minutes notice to move. At 0345 in the morning, the call came through that we were to deploy, and so onto the transport we loaded our already prepared kit. Having arrived under cover of darkness, we moved onto the target silently through the woods – listening to the voices of our enemy as they sat around camp fires. With foreign music and the smell of smoke filling the air, our hearts were pumping as we laid the charges for the first breach into the objective. On breaking into the compound, each Section went about methodically clearing the sectors they had been allocated. The fighting was very close and intense but we managed to keep progressing through the many buildings and passageways of the compound, collecting evidence and dealing with casualties or detainees as we went. It’s serials like these: as realistic and enthralling as it was, that remind you why you joined the Royal Marines.
5. The week ended with an exhausting 8-mile Load Carry – carrying 80 Pounds across Woodbury Common and the CTCRM lanes. This was followed by a really interesting demonstration of Attack and Explosive Find Dogs in which we were shown how the employment of these incredible animals can offer so much extra protection to infantry patrols. Next week we will use the whole array of the skills we have developed as we enter Ex VIOLENT ENTRY.