169tp Rct Diary Weeks 22 and 23
Entering week 22 the Troop were gearing up to start adventure training which was met with excitement and a chance to blow off steam prior to Exercise Violent Entry, taking part in activities such as kayaking, mountain biking and Coasteering. It was a chance to escape the walls of Lympstone and was a perfect opportunity for the troop to have a good chance to take the mick out of each other.
Having settled into RM Chivenor we made the move to start getting ready for three days by being split down into our groups and commence squeezing into wetsuits and witness some horrendous sites with ill fitting outfits for the various shapes and sizes of 169 Troop, the biggest challenge of all of course being to find a helmet large enough to fit Rct Waugh’s 12lbs turkey head. Indeed some did not need any equipment such as Brian the troop teapot who did it the hard way once again on his rampant journey to a green beret.
Whilst the majority took to these activities and saw them as a chance to enjoy themselves, Rct Deery really did see the mountain biking as more of a survival exercise. His lego man approach to downhill soon proved to be as about as much use as wet toilet roll and I really am amazed he has any joints left after his time at Chivenor. Others were more confident however and in Rct Callaghan’s case a little too much and he must remain thankful he will still be able to have children. As per usual Adventure Training was taken as an opportunity to compete and from what I saw it was a case of simply holding onto the handle bars and pedalling until you were the last man standing.
Coasteering was another eventful experience with such a vague name we were hardly expecting to be jumping from up to 30ft and swimming in breakers at 9:00am on a Wednesday morning however it certainly turned into the most enjoyable activity of the week, it separated the brave, the fakers and of course the solid. Some displayed superb belly flopping form and in Rct Steven’s case he practiced falling from height into water after the weeks on bottom field. There were frequent pile ups of men against the rocks whilst swimming in the breakers with Rct Morrissey’s drift wood swimming technique imitating that of a beached whale whilst on this activity. This is when you started to see a few unsteady minds especially on the higher jumps although nothing a bit of peer pressure wouldn’t fix – Rct Hawley was only going to be allowed to leave the cliff in one direction.
Kayaking was finally the chance to display our teamwork in the tandem kayaks but it quickly changed into one team against another seeing how quickly another kayak really can sink once the buoyancy cap has been removed. Another good display of biff like phenomena, Rct Jennings capsizing in 6 inches of water as well as managing to beach the kayak on a set of rocks, then needing to be rescued showed true biffness. It was one of the more docile days in the week but still a good one being able to see wildlife in the form of a family of seals following us for the day.
The week was massively enjoyed prior to exercise also being able to have a few drinksl and a curry created some good moral amongst the troop as well as the banter, Grinch like Rct Morrisey and Rct Deery, ‘’Worse than a bandy’’.
Reality check returning to camp and preparing for exercise and before we knew it there was a quick turn around and we were on route to Sennybridge for Ex Violent Entry, a real bit of moral for myself having driven past my house on the transport. Despite it being radio 1 dance hour the coach was that last chance for some rest before the week commenced. As we arrived the Troop were quickly ready to move although tragically one recruit had forgotten some mission essential kit, his motivation had clearly been left on the transport which resulted in the first casualty of the exercise after 500m. We moved into the harbour later that night after losing a further two more good lads in Rct Driver and Rct Rolfe which was a blow to the Troop however with no time to dwell we were planning our attack on the village of Cilieni where we would be able to prove our capability at moving from the rural to urban environment, a first on exercise. We put our MUC drills into action utilising grenades, flash bangs and smoke in what was definitely a highlight of the exercise and what we hope that this a sign of what is to come for our final exercise. Overall weeks 22/23 was our favoured weeks of training for 169 Troop with the a mix and match of a relaxed environment to that of a testing exercise however I believe the troop adapted well.
169tp Rct Diary
Weeks 22 and 23
169 Troop, after taking the village, defences were set up for the coming night’s antics.
Control of the village was maintained, with the training team doing their best to mimic civilian life, both pleasant and difficult members of the population, which 169 troop had to adapt to, to deal with what ever situation arose.
Night time in the village brought a new challenge, with the population becoming restless, trying to gain access into buildings by kicking in defences; each scenario had to be dealt with as sections and as a troop.
Scenarios were introduced to mimic friendly civilians, and how helping them can aid the over all ‘hearts and minds’ effort.
After the village serial, we had a yomp to another woodblock where we’d conduct harbour routine, patrols and recce’s.
The morning of the last day, brought a crash move at around 0500 hrs in the morning, this tested 169’s reaction to surprise attack. The Troop conducted a crash move out of the harbour, with the Troop Commander ramping up the troops, we continued to flank round the harbour position (now in control of enemy forces) to conduct a counter attack, with heavy fire from our GPMG’s and good supporting fire from all sections.
Where I also experienced firing a GPMG from the hip, while running towards the position. After that, it was endex, packed up and returned to camp.
After that for 169 was a 12 mile load carrying conducted on the Friday morning, but by this stage in training the Troop seems to have become proficient with the art of yomping, this is mainly due to the Troop Commander who from very early on in training, introduced us to the art of yomping.
The troop did well, as usual for a yomp, with 11 minutes to spare.
The past 2 weeks had been pretty full on for 169 Troop, how ever with Christmas leave a mere week away, the whole troop were ready to take on the next week with all the challenges it presented, knowing full well that some well earned rest was only just round the corner.