169 Troop Week 16 Recruit Diary
Week 16 for 169 Troop started off like many of previous weeks; lectures, bottom field, more lectures and scran! This week was however the start of a new beginning. The Troop was moving into their tactical phase of training. So this meant no more ill light discipline, noisy bivi neighbours, stumbling around late at night…we were moving onto the good stuff.
Tuesday came and it was time for us to deploy onto Woodbury Common. We advanced to the grenade range where the team stores were being kept and then split into our sections. We were being taught how to deal with contacts from the left, right, front and rear. Of course we all loved this as it allowed us to get the rounds down (even if they were blanks).
On the evening we were introduced to our first proper tactical harbour. This also led to many a new things being introduced to us such as; model building of an area, orders for the night’s evolution and the mission. This opened up a whole new world of soldiering to us all. Once the orders had been given we once again split down into our sections and proceeded out for a reconnaissance patrol to the specified area. Upon completion of our very first ‘recce’ it was time to humbly withdraw back to our sleeping bags!
On the Wednesday we were shown how to construct an OP (Observation Point) so we could observe the designated target at distance. Once night fall was upon us we started to get underway with building the OP. many hours later and it seemed we had constructed our fortress in the mud. All was fine until Thursday night…when the heavens decided to open up for what seemed like an eternity. Lying down whilst on sentry in the pouring rain is not as fun as I have been lead to believe! Nevertheless we persevered and eventually the stubbornness of a recruit beasted the elements and the rain stopped (quite a few hours later though I might add!).
As is common with Royal Marines they must have the ability to yomp everywhere and this is hammered into you even as a recruit, so thus came the end of Exercise ‘First Base’. We lifted our Bergen’s and made the familiar yomp back to camp.