174 TROOP – WEEKLY TRAINING DIARY
The week started with our first bottom field session, which was the troops first real chance to try what we had heard others describe as ‘proper Bootneck phys’.The session was particularly hard as we had to carry a rifle while doing phys for the battlefield and climbing wet ropes while muddy and fatigued. We also learned how to do rope regains which was getting onto a flat rope from a hanging position. This also resulted in many of the troop getting wet. The latter days of the week saw us getting gassed during CBRN drills, which had many people coughing to say the least.
The weekend consisted of preparing for Exercise Baptist Run.
WEEK 14 – EX BAPTIST RUN
With week 14 test Exercise Baptist Run completed the recruits have the had the chance over the weekend to somewhat re-cooperate and mull over the weeks events, with some more nervous than others it was quite clear how important the week was to 174 Troop.
The exercise began with a criteria kit muster on the Monday evening so it was a big deal for us to grab all the points we could! With a de-brief from the new Troop Commander and had then officially begun the mother of all phase one exercises. The Tuesday morning was our first opportunity to attempt the Corps’ trade mark Speed March. This involves running/marching with 30lbs of kit in an advance to battle and still being in a fit state to fight at the end. This event is a Pass/Fail with a required weight of 21lbs plus rifle. We ran as two syndicates with the PTIs calling the step. Everyone handled the march comfortably and barring a few issues with the icy roads we made it back as a strong troop. Before we knew it we were showered, changed and on our way to Woodbury Common. Having set up stores and tents we were marched up to start the practises of stalking (camouflage and concealment) and map reading stances to show what we had learned and help improve our chances of getting good scores. A few sections had a bit of rough time scoring successfully in the stalking stances. The opportunity to show our skills in resections and navigation in the stances proved a good confidence builder. However, as light was slowly fading we set up a non tactical harbour and readied our maps and route cards for the first of three individual night navigation exercises. Woodbury can seem quite daunting to anyone who has not navigated before, particularly on their own. However, all learned that trusting a bearing will get you where you need to be. There were no major dramas on the first night navigation exercise and everyone made it back before the 2 hours 45 minutes cut of off time before settling down for a hot wet and scran. Day 3 took the Troop into another test kit muster in the freezing hail storm and rain. Afterward target indication and fire control orders were introduced to the Troop and we were soon tested on how much we really knew and felt confident with. Following that was another shot at map reading questions. As the day drew to a close and the night set in we were up and out of our ‘bivvies’ and into the unknown navigating from literally pillar to post across undulating ground with no guarantee we would remain dry. Before long we had returned covered from head to toe in sweat, dirt and a possible tear and we were finishing off our admin before grabbing as much sleep as we could before the next set of evolutions. The following morning with no detail of another kit inspection, we took note of the days details and split down into our relevant groups and cracked on with our fire control orders and observation stances. With the filming continuing throughout the exercise the troop felt the pressure to work to high standards and create a positive impression amongst the team and instructors. After endless torrential weather and interesting navigational exercises, we found ourselves motivated and ready to launch ourselves into the morning 8 mile load carry back to camp. Feeling strong in this evolution the troop set off, close knit and heads high with a couple of water stops and some footage caught by the cameras. By the time we had arrived back it was safe to say that the troop was somewhat worse for wear but nonetheless were happy to have completed the exercise. This exercise was concluded with a final kit muster by the entire training team to ensure that we had fully administered ourselves over the course of the night and had found we done ourselves in good stead for the future of phase 2. To conclude the exercise it’s clear that the bad weather took its toll on the lads and we were sad to see some members go, however we wish them all the best for the future.
To start the week we had a cold and frosty bottom field session which included a ropes teach and a short, sharp circuit to bust the lungs. Monday afternoon was spent in the lecture room covering signals, learning the ins and outs of the PRC 354. Tuesday began in the lecture room covering harbour positions and patrols with the troop sergeant. We were also shown and began making our ‘head and shoulders’ for our exercises in phase 2 of training. The pressure was on throughout Wednesday when the troop were in front of the cameras performing respirator drills in the CTF chamber. The lads who had to re-run the 4 mile speed march did so on Thursday morning all passed confidently this time around. To finish the week off we had a few hours of arms drill and a Phase 1 overview from the Troop Commander before being released for a long weekends leave. The Troop are glad to have phase 1 out of the way and everyone is looking forward to cracking on with the tactical phase of training.