180 Troop Diary
After Ex FIRST BASE going so well, moral was high within the Troop with the first tactical exercise complete in Phase 2. Monday and Tuesday consisted of very informative lectures given by our troop commander and troop sergeant. I think as a whole, the Troop grasped the mechanics of how deliberate attacks and ambushes were conducted. This was helped by going up onto the Top Field and conducting a walk through of these types of actions.
On the Wednesday I remember the coach trip to the Armoured Support base at Bovington being a very sleepy one with the majority of the Troop trying to get their heads down. On arrival we marched to the hanger in which the Vikings were held. As we walked through to the lecture room we got a glimpse of a couple of Vikings. I was surprised as to how big the Vikings were compared to pictures I had seen. Considering they are known for having a lot of firepower and moving men around the battlefield quickly in ‘protected mobility’, you could instantly see how useful they could be. This was then backed up on the presentation which illustrated their capability, particularly off road. We then went outside and watched another course moving the vehicles, which was impressive. We then learnt how to camouflage a Viking using a range of poles and thermal mats, These are used to hide the heat signature given off by the vehicle and then the entire Viking is hidden under a big net.
Unfortunately we didn’t stay at Bovington to conduct the underwater escape drills, which I was not looking forward to. The next day back at CTC we were introduced to the practical side of using the breathing apparatus. It was basically an inflatable bag which acts as a 3rd lung. I have done scuba diving before so I was quite relaxed about what I was going to be doing. The whole circuit lasted a few minutes in which we went through a series of underwater tasks. This helped build up confidence and trust in the equipment. Frustratingly I found everything okay apart from being pinned under the water for 45 seconds. The pressure in which you blow out and then hold your breath took me by surprise and it took a couple of attempts to master. This was a bit embarrassing when you are being watched by everyone else. Overall this has been an enjoyable week, with some great learning points for the entire Troop.