Monday morning and the Troop had a cold start on bottom field, with 5 days in the field looming on Exercise Second Empire. The session was hard as usual but the lads are noticing the improvements even with the extra weight being carried now.
Once we had arrived at Braunton Burrows, we set up the harbour and dug in (something we would become very familiar with) we put into practise what we had been taught on Exercise First Base, focussing on section attacks. This would prove to be helpful for the lads as we would be using these drills for most of the week. We practised attacking a real enemy (provided by trained ranks playing enemy forces) around the dunes of the training area throughout the day. The ground played a big part during the week as it definitely saps your strength running over steep ground with soft sand, something which is entirely different from Woodbury Common.
We received orders for a Troop Ambush to be conducted at night; this took preparation and a fair bit of patience in the cold, but none of that mattered as soon as the enemy are sighted the adrenaline kicks in. With that task completed a little treat we thought too good to be true was in store… a helo ride back to the harbour! One thing I noticed this week was: that we were doing a lot more of the things we all joined up to do
As the week started to come to a close a Deliberate Attack on an enemy position was on the cards for Friday morning. We all prepared and the attack which kicked off just after first light, this is when I noticed that the simple drills we get taught from the beginning are becoming second nature and this resulted in a successful evolution.
Then last but not least was a little walk back to RMB Chivenor, a Royal Marine base a few miles across the dunes. This was done with full bergans which really tested the lads. This was the most enjoyable exercise we have done in training but among the most demanding.