177 Troop Diary Weeks 26-27
So here it was, Week 26, the end of Phase 2 and unto the Commando stage of training.
The week started off with werves flying everywhere because of the 6 mile speed-march, the “6-miler” that loomed. Unfortunately we lost 6 lads, but there was a chance for a re-test on the Wednesday; but for the lads who passed it was a great achievement moving slowly along and closer to the final goal.
Tuesday rocked around and time for Foggin Tor quarry day on Dartmoor; the boys accepted it was just going to be a day of getting thrashed because of the infamous grapevine in CTW (kn own locally as the “nod-vine”). We got briefed by the sound Sergeant (or Dave as he wanted to be known as for the day) and if we performed to a good standard on the day it would be a good enjoyable one.
Yes, there were a few people who got caught on doing incorrect drills and punished for it – but in a fun way. One for troop morale that day was the leap of faith across a bog that probably an Olympic long jumper would struggle to clear. It was a good day learning about new things and trying them out, abseiling with a bergan was a new one for me personally.
After a long day and night of de-servicing kit, the 6 miler failures had their second and last attempt to pass the speed-march and stay with the troop. The rest of the troop waited around the block awaiting their fellow recruits to turn up wearing their cap comforters but sadly we lost 4 of the 6, all of whom were with us from the start way back at week 1.
The final confirmation exercise began Thursday morning, we got orders from the Troop boss, prepared our kit and got a helicopter move out onto the exercise area, which began on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. The first few days were a bit of a blur because of the effort involved with the lack of sleep but the troop performed pretty well with the tasking so far……..
There we were on the Sunday that has thrown fear in to all recruits over recent years – the killer yomp of 23 km of rough terrain along the Dartmoor moors. The day started well with the weather on our side and morale at a good standard after a hard few days of no sleep, marching and patrols.
Few hours have gone by now and the lads are feeling the pain with heavy legs sore shoulders and blisters starting to appear in places they shouldn’t be allowed.
20kms have gone by now and we hit Princetown a familiar road we have all come to dislike from Ex Hunters Moon, theis part showed the men who really wanted this as the heavens opened and bodies were numb, but the lads dug deep and finally we finished at the Scout Hut where we took harbour.
Finally all the yomping is over and we are now getting into the fun stuff of recce patrols, contacts, wood clearing etc The lads set up the harbour putting out sentries, setting up an HQ with communications then the lads got their heads down for what we hoped would be a quiet night…..ha! Royal Marines training doesn’t happen like that and we once again got bumped in the middle of the night and off to the emergency RV we went.
The next stage of this exercise was the fighting in woods section of which we went and recce’d the area. En route we encountered a few contacts from the enemy showing we were in the right areaand enemy were present in the woods so we took our intel back to the harbour and prepared for an attack.
At first light the following morning 177 Troop advanced on the woods killing and securing our objective making it a successful attack.
The area was now clear and the intel we gathered moved our attention to the Plymouth area so we jumped on a coach which took us to HMS Brecon, off Torpoint, where we set up base and planned our next move.
Our intel showed there was a high profile meeting early the next morning so off we went. The landing craft turned up and ferried the troops to a stop-short just outside the objective area where we then cross-decked into the inflatable raiding craft and sailed to the beach.
In our sections we scaled the cliff and moved into the area on approach to our position section 3 came under fire from the front making us fire support from the west. Gradually getting closer to the target we switched our arcs of fireand let 3 section assault the objective. Upon clearing the meeting we returned to our ship to plan our next move on the fort where the remaining enemy hide and discuss the future intentions.
Mission has been planned and away we go to conduct our assault, we assault the beach from landing craft and take up all round defence before moving off to the fort for H Hour. The Troop Commander gives the sign and so it began, room by room we cleared the fort under heavy fire from the enemy but keeping our cool we swept through the whole fort and winning the fire fight and completely clearing the fort area.
It was a tiring exercise and a few lads felt the pain but we got through it in one piece and it was a great experience I won’t forget for a long time to come.