Week 7 was high tempo from the start. Everyone had spent the weekend preparing for the daunting Exercise Marshal Star. The weather was cold, but thankfully dry. Lessons such as Drills upon entering a harbour, Fire Control Orders, Target Indication, and Stalks, Movement in the field and Stand Too drills where conducted and practiced throughout the week. The highlight and most exciting evolution of the exercise was the Stalk. We were tasked to cover about 200M over Woodbury Common’s dead ground, fire off two rounds towards the Corporals and identify an item without being spotted. Each morning our PTI, Corporal Ferris made his way to the Common to ensure we had our weekly does of sweat and pain. He also overlooked the flank that was dealt out by the Corporals, a procedure used if someone’s admin or kit muster isn’t up to scratch in the morning. This week the flank consisted various military remedial training! A hang out that no one wanted!
Early Thursday morning we where rudely awoken at 5 am by the Corporals opening fire on our position, within 10 minutes our whole harbour was packed away and we promptly moved to an ERV. It’s fair to say everyone’s adrenalin was flowing! This was followed by a final kit muster before the dreaded ‘walk back’ to camp. A 5 mile weighted power walk to camp followed immediately by 3 hours of close quarter combat in the gym. After a long night of admin and cleaning kit, everyone was glad to see there beds!
Friday was a pretty chilled day in comparison to the rest of the week consisting of lectures, a phys session and the majority of the Troop managed to complete their Battle Swimming Test in the pool. Everyone’s spirits were high as that evening we where leaving to go on Exercise Overlord, a trip to Normandy to learn about the D-Day Landings of 1944.
The coach journey was nearly 3 hours long to Portsmouth, allowing everyone to catch up on some sleep, followed by a ferry trip across the channel lasting another 8 hours. Arriving in France by 5 am local time, we went straight to out hotel to pick up our tour guide and bag rations. An ex Colour Sergeant in the Marines known as ‘Smiler,’ we spent Saturday learning all about the British history of the landing, and on Sunday we learnt about the Americans involvement. We got to visit several important key villages, towns, beaches, museums, cinemas, memorial sites, ports and much more. On the Saturday evening we where served a 3 course meal and then given local shore leave to explore the area; most of the Troop went to McDonalds or the Local Bowling ally. Everyone learnt a lot and really enjoyed it. The trip home was spent sleeping by most. We arrived back to Lympstone around 11pm.
Overall Week 7 was a good week, the Training team seemed happy with our teamwork and progression and everyone was ready to get week 8 underway.