As Exercise Violent Entry moved into week 23, 171 moved into the trenches. These were situated in defensive positions around a wood block, and provided good arcs onto the surrounding area. Being ever vigilant for the Rowenian pirates (our enemy), the troop fortified the area, focusing on the vulnerable areas in our all round defence. We built razor wire fences, low wire entanglement, and laid claymores and trip flares in order to achieve this. Even though our defences were particularly well constructed by nightfall, the Rowenian pirates were still keen to attack. On one occasion they attacked us using gas but thankfully our respirators stood up to the onslaught. With the dug in positions, the heavy rate of fire, and the illum support from the mortars, the pirates soon made a hasty retreat.
The following night, One Section was tasked to recce an area thought to be where the Rowenians were located. The section came into very close proximity with the enemy, and would have remained undetected if one of the enemy patrols hadn’t almost stepped on the forward recce party. All the important intelligence had been gathered by this stage, and so One Section made a hasty withdrawal back to the trenches.
The next day the orders were to finally push the Rowenians all the way back to their headquarters in village 1. This involved a Troop strength advance to contact in order to clear the Rowenians out of their wood blocks. But before the attack could start, much of the Troop was not ready, as magazines were not fully loaded. So the troop learnt a valuable lesson about making sure these things get properly squared away. The attacks were conducted on the woodblocks using FIWAF. The whole Troop gained an appreciation for how difficult it is to conduct attacks in wooded areas, as communication becomes very difficult, and it is challenging to remain in your firing lane. But 171 Troop faced these challenges and managed to systematically destroy the pirates occupying these woodblocks. We then got to a safe area and yomped to our next harbour area, which turned out to be the darkest wood block we had ever seen.
The exercise came to a conclusion with a final attack on the Rowenians HQ; Village 1 (Obj Honeypot). As reported by Two and Four Section, the ground leading down into the village was tough to navigate but the Troop managed to get in position undetected, and silently awaited H hour. The attack began with fire support and illumination onto Obj Honeypot as the assaulting Section stormed in. Once this was cleared the Troop smashed through objectives Wasp, Bee, and finally Hornet, the outlying buildings, rescuing a hostage in the process. Village 1 was then announced clear, and the exercise had finished.
For the lads, this was the best exercise yet, as it gave us the chance to practice what most of us have signed up for. It was also the most challenging, as the weather, the terrain, and the pirates brought many new challenges to the Troop. The Troop still have room for improvement, as we were told by our Training Team, but hopefully we have learnt from the mistakes made and will perform to a high standard on our final exercise.