RECRUIT DIARY WEEK 18 – 185 TROOP
1. The whole troop was looking forward to this week. ‘Getting rounds down’ whilst putting into practise our newly learned soldiering skills was definitely an exciting prospect. After Monday morning’s ‘Bottom Field’ session we deployed to Braunton Burrows, a popular beach destination, for Ex SECOND EMPIRE.
2. After a couple of hours’ ‘head down’ we arrived to see the epic sand dunes that made up the training area. We knew we would shortly become very acquainted to the challenge of climbing these steep sand banks. The first day we worked further on the mechanics of section-level operations. This consisted of patrolling skills, reaction to effective enemy fire, breaking contact and eventually assaulting an enemy position.
3. After a day of practising these skills we progressed on to troop-level operations. We conducted an advance to contact in which each section had an opportunity to act as the assaulting section, fire support and reserve whilst clearing through multiple enemy positions. We then moved on to conduct a night-time ambush along an enemy supply route. Unfortunately several of the troop found it difficult to remain fully awake whilst lying in wait which appeared obvious once the ambush had been sprung. The final stage of the exercise was a troop deliberate attack. A section was tasked to provide ‘eyes on’ the enemy objective throughout the night, providing intelligence updates for the rest of the troop as they geared themselves up to attack the position. By doing this the assaulting section knew how many enemy there were and their positions. At dawn the fire support initiated and the attack began. Once the objective had been cleared we had an inkling that this was the end of the exercise.
4. Apart from a few silly mistakes the exercise went well and morale was high as we got on the coach. After a bit of time off during the return journey we started our de-servicing back on camp along with another ‘Bottom Field’ session on Saturday morning.
5. On Sunday the troop took part in the Royal Marine Association parade. This included an inspection and speech from the Commandant General. To celebrate the Corps 350th birthday the drill instructors dressed up in all the Royal Marine uniforms, past and present.
6. Week 18 has been a memorable and exciting one for all of 185 Troop. We are now looking eagerly ahead to our ‘Bottom Field Passout’ and beyond.