170 TROOP WEEKLY DIARIES
This week the troop was to deploy on the Ex FIRST BASE, the first of the phase 2 tactical exercises. We were all looking forward to it and a little anxious to see what the new tempo would be like.
We started Monday morning after a long weekend straight into a bottom field fitness session followed by a briefing by the Troop Commander detailing what we were going to be doing whilst on exercise. We now called these ‘O Groups’ or Orders Groups where we would receive all the orders we would need for whatever we were about to do. In this case deployment orders for the first 24 hours of the exercise ahead so we all knew what to do and what to expect for the first day. We also practised using our voice procedure (VP) and assembling PRC 354 radios ready to use on the coming exercise.
The Tuesday we left camp for Woodbury Common and after arriving in the field we camouflaged ourselves out and yomped across the area to occupy a Troop harbour location. Doing this tactically now it took a lot longer and we spent time conducting the reconnaissance, occupation and then building up the position now we were operating with an enemy threat. Once we were established we were given an update into the enemy picture and before first light on the Wednesday we began patrolling in our Sections to dominate the area. During these patrols we practiced breaking contact, fighting ourselves out of an engagement with the enemy, so we would know how to get ourselves out of a fire fight. If we were not patrolling we were defending the harbour location.
Once we had completed the patrols we moved into our evening routine which consisted of sections manning sentry positions throughout the night and performing stand to when enemy was spotted or the harbour position was attacked. This meant all of the sections moving into predetermined positions to provide all round defence for the harbour as quickly as possible.
On the second day we continued the defence of the harbour whilst conducting another patrol to locate a position that we would conduct an Observation Post (OP) on to the now known enemy objective for the next two days. As part of 1 Section our OP was in a woodblock overlooking the main enemy position. In the OP we had 2 rear sentry positions, a radio sentry, one person observing the enemy position and one person taking down notes as to what the observer has seen. All the other members of the section were in a designated rest area to the rear of the position.
We observed the enemy for the next two days taking down all of their activities and reporting this back to HQ every 4 hours. Late in the evening our position was attacked and we were forced to move back to the ERV and then back to the main harbour. All sections met back at this location and formed all round defence against the enemy as we were attacked again. We engaged the enemy for the next hour before regrouping at the Company HQ area.
The following morning we conducted a speed march out of the area to get back to our transport which would take us back to camp. As a troop we learnt a lot of vital information about setting up OPs and section level patrolling, as well as about operating when you’re very tired, which we will carry forward into future exercises and our careers.