174 TROOP WEEKLY TRAINING DIARY – WEEK 16
This was the week the troop had been waiting for, the start of phase 2. Phase 2 as we were told is where all the stuff we joined up for happens. So as a troop we were all excited to get stuck in and go on our first exercise First base. On the Monday the day was filled with lectures that we would need for this exercise for example, section patrols and also a lot of information on being tactical and tactical harbours. We also made head and shoulders in our spare time. These are created from scratch and are camouflaged head covers made by the means of sand bags cut up and lots of frayed rope and when worn in the field it makes it hard for the enemy to spot you.
Tuesday was the day where we moved from camp life at Lympstone to Woodbury Common Training area for field life for the rest of the week. It started with a 6 mile insertion march a long the country lanes. This was done with rifles and webbing and a day sack. When we arrived at Woodbury we broke down in to single file to carry on the insertion to the area we would be doing the majority of the week. After this was done we moved out with our IC’s of each section and a runner to go with the Troop Commander to recce an area to see if was suitable for a harbour location. The IC’s then sent the runners back to get the rest of the section to follow on in to the harbour and pointed our key features in the harbour. We then start our harbour routines and secured the harbour by putting sentries out while the rest of the lads ate and carried out admin and got there heads down for the next days evolutions.
Wednesday after waking up, the troop carried out morning routine and we moved back up to the team location. From there we got a demonstration on what happens if your fire team comes in to enemy contact. From there the majority of that day was spent in our fire teams rehearsing different enemy contact scenarios.
In late afternoon we returned to the harbour location and in our sections we started planning and making models of our recce patrol that we would be doing at last light with our Section Commanders. After getting our orders and brief from our section commanders we went on our recce patrols using night vision to assist us. We crept up on the enemy leaving two guys from the fire team beside to protect our rear the other two would advance and observe and report what they saw. After the recce we moved off and carried on back to our harbour location to rest and carry out and admin that might need to be completed.
Thursday started off with the usual morning routine. We moved off further into Woodbury Common and the troop was given a demonstration on how to set up and run a rural Observation Post. An OP is a dug in very well concealed area close to an enemy you wish to observe. A team will stay and observe for however long it takes. We then headed back and made plans and models for our own OPs and moved out to erect them, camouflaging them well enough for each fire team to spend a night in one.
As night fell and the OP shelters were completed, we spent the night observing the enemy. The night was a really good experience for the troop in the OPs. There are 4 stations; one is observing the enemy, the second is note taking, the third is rear sentry and the final one is rest which was the most popular. In the morning the OP was attacked and we had to return fire and evacuate the OP. We then regrouped back at the team tent and started to pack away stores. Moral in the troop was high even though it we had just spent a week in the field. The troop enjoys the field, but there’s nothing like coming back to base and having the simple things back in your life.
On returning to camp we cleaned and put away any military stores. We then spent the rest of the day and majority of the night cleaning and de-servicing our field kit. As a troop we realise this is a very important part of soldering, because if we didn’t our kit would become useless and we would become ineffective in the field. The troop’s morale is high at the moment and we are looking forward to Viking training next week with a change of scenery from Lympstone.