175 Troop – Week 7
This week the Troop has been on Exercise Marshall Star. A four day exercise during which we were fine tuning the map reading and navigation skills we had learned in the classroom the previous week. The exercise also included a stalk, learning about target indications and fire control orders, all essential soldiering skills to keep building on for the future.
So, early Monday morning we were preparing to head off to Woodbury Common once again going through the usual mad dash of collecting weapons and loading the wagons and before we knew it we were on the coach heading to our training area. It was straight into it after we unloaded the coach, getting straight into range cards and static map reading lectures in preparation for the night time navigation we would be doing during the week, we also had a lecture off the Troop Commander about different types of cover and route selection which was information we could use whilst conducting the stalk. Going on into the night it was the usual break into night routine except this time we would be getting slightly more tactical with static sentry positions and more attention being paid to noise and light discipline. It was a cold start the following morning going through our kit muster routine, but it soon warmed up though with PT from the Troop Commander and the whole of 3 Section landing them on the flank. Once again it was straight into the lectures on Fire Control Orders, these are essential for us to know inside out and are skills we need for the rest of our careers. The main point of the exercise was emphasis on map reading, target indications and judging distances which all the lads seem to pick up without too many dramas.
We also had to do a stalk during this exercise; we were briefed on how the stalk would work by our Troop Sergeant and then were let loose to camouflage our webbing and kit before beginning the 400 metre crawl through Woodbury’s best terrain, gorse, gorse and more gorse. This was hard work to begin with getting up towards the target but once we were in the scoring area and we were preparing to get into a firing position, it was a buzz moving through the woodblock and felt as though we were know learning some proper soldiering. Some lads excelled during this task and managed to score high points on it and some struggled to get into position but all in all it was a decent effort all round.
In the evening we were then walked through the route around the training area and were shown how we would navigate ourselves around it on our own at night. This turned out to be eventful for me in particular as I somehow found myself stuck in a sea of brambles and gorse bushes that weren’t going to give me up without a good fight. After some time I managed to scrap my way out and the whole Troop managed to come back in on time and no one got lost!
During the final evening we were ‘bumped’, which means the training team launched an attack whilst we were in our harbour position and we had to return fire and move as a Troop to the emergency RV point. This went well with all sentries and sections working well in their teams and no one having any dramas getting their kit away apart from about 20 lads missing bivvy poles and tent pegs of course.
Next morning it was the usual scramble to pack the trucks and get ready for the 5 mile yomp home, hard work but a good bit of phys and a strong finish to the week.
Next week is week 8 and we are all looking forward to gym pass out and Ex Hunter’s Moon the week after, two milestones for us so far and we are looking forward to pushing on.
Rct Green, 3 Section, 175 Troop