Week 19, otherwise known as “Crash Week” for 171 Troop was a challenging but rewarding 7 days. We all knew we had a hard week of phys ahead of us; however I’m not sure many were fully aware of just how hard it was going to be!
On Monday morning we had the first of the 3 Bottom Field circuits we would be doing during the week. Our PTI assured us that as long as we put the effort in, we would be rewarded with “only” a half hour session, and it was good to see the Troop digging out to keep up our end of the bargain. The circuit was designed to get us fully prepared for the Bottom Field pass out which takes place next week, and it certainly did that; taking us through most of the Assault Course, a Fireman’s Carry and a rope climb on repeat for half an hour without any rest stops!
On Tuesday morning again we did the crash circuit, by this point many of the Troop were picking up little knocks and niggles here and there but still soldiered on and completed the course. In the afternoon we began to learn how to use the GPMG in the weapons stances, and definitely the first thing people noticed was just how heavy they were! Much like in the early stages of training with the SA80 lessons, we went through all the basics such as NSP’s, stoppage drills and stripping the weapon.
The rest of the week mainly comprised of either Bottom Field or GPMG lessons. We had a test run through of the Bottom Field pass out on the Thursday which almost everyone passed, giving us good confidence for Monday’s test.
On the Friday, we had our GPMG weapons handling test followed by a live shoot on the ranges in the afternoon. The live shoot was really exciting, and you can definitely notice a huge difference in both volume and power when shooting the GPMG compared with the SA80.
Finally on the Saturday we learnt how to de-service and clean the GPMG so it is ready for action next time we need to use it, and then thinned out at lunch time ready for some well-earned rest and recuperation so we could be fully prepared for the big test on Monday.