Being on camp less than 16 hours after Christmas Leave before deploying on the final exercise of Commando training was a shock to the system for all. Leaving the comforts of home for the hills of Dartmoor, we started the exercise with an attack on a farmhouse, spending the night under hard cover before starting the first yomp to find the remaining enemy.
The second attack required the troop to apply their CQB skills on a farmhouse on the edge of the moor, followed by a short but emotional journey through a marsh carrying fully loaded bergans to ambush the enemy. The longest yomp, or ‘killer yomp’ took us to a woodblock before attacking the enemy who were hiding on a tor early in the morning. This attack finished with a fly over by a fighter which, according to the nod vine, the troop commander had organised himself. We then moved into the Commando tactics phase of the exercise.
With our new home becoming a warm ship with the best shower possible the Commando phase was looking good. It commenced with a cliff assault and abseil in the dark of night using some of the many vessels available to the Royal Marines to escape undetected. Regrouping on board the ship in preparation for the next task, move orders were given and we returned to what recruits love best – harbouring up in a muddy forest. An observation post which would turn into fire support was set up to observe enemy movement and to assist the remainder of the troop in their final attack.
H-hour saw the rattling of 3 GPMGs raining down on the enemy as the rest of the troop applied their CQB skills to clear an entire fort of enemy. From the fire support position the crawl of cylumes and bursts of light from trip flares showed the progress of the 168 Troop as they cleared the enemy from every location.
The exercise came to an end with the remaining recruits recalling moments of hallucination from sleep deprivation and field abs so ripped you could iron on them.