Monday morning started with mutual apprehension felt throughout the Troop, as the infamous Exercise Violent Entry drew closer. However, in an attempt to ease our minds, relax and have some fun, it was off to RM Chivenor for three days of Adventure Training.
I think the lads would all agree that this experience was extremely enjoyable; a good level of phys and competition, combined with elements of teamwork and unity proved to be the perfect recipe – a good few days!
On returning to CTC Wednesday afternoon, it was straight into exercise preparation. After packing bergens and organising individual kit, we received orders for our insertion into Sennybridge. We arrived in Wales just after 22:00, Thursday night. It was pitch-black, the rain was horizontal and after leaving the warmth of the coach, it is safe to say morale was low. Nevertheless, we cracked on with the final preparations and soon began yomping – the element of the exercise that the majority were dreading.
Four hours, seven kilometres and one Recruit later, we arrived at our harbour location for the first night. The Troop was split in two, with one and two Sections maintaining the harbour, while three and four Sections carried out Recce Patrols of ‘The Pet Shop’ – our first Troop Objective. On completion of the Recces and the return of three and four Sections, we received Troop Orders for a Deliberate Attack on the Pet Shop – a small training village, with five or six buildings of concern. With the plan set and responsibilities dictated, it was over to our Forming-Up Point (FUP) and positions for attack. I feel that morale had taken a noticeable rise at this point; we were doing more of the ‘Gucci’ things we all joined up to do, and as a result, energy levels spiked – the lads were ready! The attack went as planned and everyone carried out their personal responsibilities efficiently – the initial Mission was complete; the Pet Shop had been taken. The culmination of our previous MUC training was evident throughout the attack, as Sections moved confidently from room to room, building to building, eliminating threats and securing objectives. It was like nothing we had done before and we would gladly have carried it on for the rest of the day if we could.
Saturday and Sunday consisted of securing and defending the village, setting up Vehicle Check Points (VCPs) and conducting Fighting Patrols where necessary. It was somewhat a luxury to spend two nights in the field under hard cover, something that was definitely appreciated by the lads – morale +1.
However, this luxury was short lived; Sunday afternoon came and it was bergens on for another Sennybridge stroll, destination: Fire trenches. Would the motivation last?