174 TROOP WEEKLY TRAINING DIARY – WEEK 17
After a well deserved rest over the week end, we where soon back in camp mode ready for what week 17 had in store for us. This week manly consisted of bottom field lectures and our final sigs assessment. The week started with our sig assessment. This is where we walked around the camp areas going to certain points and sending radio messages and coordinates to get us used to carrying and using radios. This is very important because if we get to a unit and we have to use the radios, it’s very important the other people on the radio know what exactly what we are trying to say.
The rest of the week we spent in the lecture rooms and on the bottom field. In the lecture rooms we learnt about prisoner handling and other essential training that we will need if we are to pass out and go to a unit.
The bottom field is probably one of the most important physical aspects you do on camp. It is very hard work but it helps you get strong and prepares you physically for field exercises that get more physically demanding and finally our Commando Tests. The weather was awful and the ground was very slippery with mud. But as our PTI told the troop, “we are to press on and work as hard if not harder because this weather will make us better soldiers being able not just cope but fight on through it”.
Wednesday started very early for the troop, as we were off to Bovington Camp to complete our Viking training and re-breather drills. The troop had been looking forward to this evolution as we had heard it is an excellent 2 days. Plus 2 hours of peace on the coach is always nice.
We arrived at the Armoured Support Group camp and headed straight for the accommodation to drop all our kit. As we settled in to our new accommodation chuffed to find it had wifi, a message came through to head over to the large shed to have a few lectures that were really interesting. After the lectures we went out on to a small field where there was a Viking waiting for us. In this practical lecture we had to camouflage the Viking. Using large poles that bent right over the vehicle we pulled a large camouflage netting over the Viking to hide it. This was all about working as a team.
On Thursday after breakfast, it was off to the swimming pool for our re-breather drills. Re-breathers are a piece of equipment issued to us for when working on the water. They consist of a life jacket and the re-breather itself which is a mouth piece connected to a finger filling that re-uses your exhaled air. For every breath you take only 80% of that is used by your body. So when under water you can use that same breath that is filtered up to 4 to 5 times meaning you can last under water for a lot longer. After the swim it was time to climb in to the Vikings and head down the road to a training area that had a lake for us to practice our escape drills. When we arrived we practiced tactical disembarking and embarking the Viking. We then climbed aboard and headed to the lake. We donned the re-breather and life jacket and then climbed aboard the Viking. The Viking, which can swim, drove into the lake and moved around a bit before coming to a stop in the middle of the lake. We where then told to evacuate the Viking via the top escape hatch. As we all pealed out and sat down on the roof of the Viking we could see that we were only just floating with about 40 cm of clearance. We all passed the drill and climbed back inside and the Viking then drove out of the lake and into a clearing. This is where we found out that there was going to be a competition. There where two Vikings, one for 1+2 section and one for 3+4 section. The first to camouflage the Vikings to the correct standard wouldn’t have to clean the Vikings later that day. There was a lot of running about and shouting but by the end the clear winners where 3+4 section and they where taken back to accommodation for a bit of down time while 1+2 section went back and cleaned the Vikings.
When 1+2 section returned we collect our kit, cleaned the accommodation and boarded the coach back to Lympstone. We got back and as always started to de-service all our kit ready for use next time we need it.
Friday was a quiet day but also a good day. We had a few lectures on armoured vehicles and also a military knowledge test. Also we had Close Quarter Combat (CQC) which the troop always look forward too. In this CQC lesson we learnt take downs and we paired off and we got to spar off against each other. Once again moral was high by the end of the week and the troop was eager for next weeks Exercise Second Empire.