Week 22 / 23 – Ex Violent Entry
1. After returning from summer leave we were all undoubtedly suffering from Lympstone blues to a certain degree. We all got back in to the swing of life on camp with a hoofing MUC week but with one eye focussed on the infamous Ex Violent Entry looming in the near future. Many ‘dits’ were ‘spun’ from troops that had been before us and we set off with a mixture of excitement and nerves.
2. It started with a few hours on a coach (lots of head-down) only to wake to the intimidating sight of the Brecon Beacons towering over us. On de-bussing into Cilieni village, a mock European town, we got stuck in to some further MUC teaches. We looked at clearing buildings and stairways as well as enjoying a loud demonstration of what explosives do to a door.
3. We woke the next morning to the initial yomp and the exercise moved in to the tactical phase. After a insertion yomp with bergens much heavier than we used before, we strangely found ourselves back outside Celini village. We set up a troop position for the night and went about taking a sneaky look at the village with the view to attacking it the next morning.
4. The attack kicked off at first light with a mouse-hole charge blowing us an entry point into the first building. We got to put what we learned in MUC week into practice as we moved through the buildings, trying to push the enemy out. Have you ever seen Zero Dark Thirty? Well we weren’t like that – a bit more practice may be required. We learned some good lessons as a troop about the importance of communication, controlled aggression and that enemy firing blank AK-47 rounds at you in confined spaces is actually mega loud. The next phase we moved in to was urban defence. We were given time to fortify our sections’ allotted houses in preparation for our defences to be vigorously for most of the night. For me, this phase was definitely the highlight of the exercise.
5. Another slightly smaller yomp, after a tactical withdrawal from the village, saw us being positioned in full battle trenches for the night in defence of a wood block. This was another new experience and the close quarters living experience gave us an appreciation of the complexities involved with working and fighting from those environments.
6. We were later introduced to the concept of fighting in wooded areas and forests (FIWAF) and very much enjoyed clearing wood blocks, trying our best to be hard, fast and aggressive. Communication and vision is limited in such dense forests and it was a definite challenge, but fun.
7. More yomping took us to a farm building the ‘enemy’ were holding. We again got a chance to practice moving as a troop through wide-open ‘green’ areas to switching immediately to the different set of tactics and principals involved in building clearance. We got some sleep under a roof, which is always nice, but not before a deserved ‘dip’ in a cool stream due to our shortcomings as a troop.
8. Another tiring, challenging but interesting day followed as we moved over the countryside as a troop on an ‘advance to contact’ – a purposeful show of force, through enemy territory, looking to run in to the bad guys. We were moving to our final objective and set up another base from where we could launch reconnaissance patrols. Our first light attack was really hot stuff with the last of the enemy kicked out and their kit well and truly denied to them.
9. Ex violent Entry had its ups and downs – it was the hardest exercise in training so far, but also the most enjoyable. We moved through some pretty cool phases and learnt a lot. We learnt a lot about more advanced levels of soldiering, about each other and most importantly – what we need to improve on for our final exercise.
183 Tp Diary – Week 24
1. 24 was a relatively quiet week for 183 troop compared to previous weeks. First thing Monday morning saw the troop run the route of the 6 mile speed march in clean fatigues, with nobody struggling throughout the run. This run helped prepare us for the 6 mile speed march that is to come in 2 weeks as we were showed the mile markers and experienced that “Killer Hill” really wasn’t that much of a killer at all. After the run the troop had the remainder of the morning to start their training on an unfamiliar weapon system, the LMG (Light Machine Gun). Later that day was an afternoon of lectures given by the Troop Commander about NATO and stages of amphibious warfare.
2. On Tuesday morning the troop had their first acquaint with the endurance course since they undertook their PRMC in the application stage. As is tradition, the troop made their way up to Woodbury Common by foot. First the troop went around the course once under guidance and instruction of the obstacles by the troop PTI Cpl Glastonbury. Once the correct techniques had been demonstrated and the route was clearly shown to us, it was time for a full run through of best effort. We were divided into our 3 man syndicates and set off in 2 minute intervals, with the time limit being 20 minutes start to finish. After maximum effort was shown by all recruits it was time for the 1 mile jerry can race, much to the excitement of the troop, where groups of 5 had to race to the start of Leafy Lane. Once that had been completed there was just the run back left to do,of course to the speed marching pace of a 10 minute mile. And again, once this had been completed further LMG training was undertaken in the afternoon.
3. Wednesday morning had another acquaint scheduled, this time to the Tarzan assault course and 30 foot wall. What should have been a simple evolution turned into a difficult one for the troop after failure to listen to simple instructions, and being punished accordingly. After we had been introduced to the “Commando Slide” we moved onto the 30 foot wall with no real issues.
4. As well as a few lectures on Thursday morning was a brief refresher of the LMG training we had had on previous days. This was done in order to pass the weapons handling test for the LMG, which would allow us to shoot the weapon live the week after at HMS Raleigh. Once the corporals had been over all of the drills we had been taught before, they took us through the WHT without any major dramas.
5. Friday saw an early start to the day as it was the day of the criteria test, the 12 mile load carry. The troop boarded transport at 0600 and travelled up to the starting point on the coast. We stepped off at 0700 and at roughly an hour into the load carry a thunderstorm soaked the troop, obviously lifting the morale of the troop. What seemed to go on forever eventually ended after just over 4 hours. The troop were very successful in this assessment as not one recruit failed. After we had finished the load carry and cleaned and returned our personal weapons, all that was left to do was de-service and re-service the kit we had used. The rest of the afternoon was ours after that, which ended a good week well.
Week 25 – Amphibious Week
1. The week began on Sunday with a mid-afternoon move from CTCRM to HMS Raleigh. HMS Raleigh is the initial phase 1 training facility for all new joining naval recruits.
The first and second day resulted in the troop being split into two groups. The first group conducted sea survival training while the second group attended fire fighting and flood prevention lessons. Both groups had an enjoyable couple of days as the demonstrations were largely practical and it was fun getting to grips with using the fire fighting and sea survival equipment.
2. Day three began with live firing of the LMGs on the 25m range. The troop performed well maintaining the correct weapon drills and most recruits achieved decent groupings with their 3 to 5 round bursts. Following the live firing we joined the Mountain Leaders (ML’s) for lessons on fast roping. The troop was in high spirits as we were all really excited to finally get into the commando style of training which we all applied for. We were all buzzing to learn that after our initial fast rope training on a tower we would then proceed to fast roping out of a Sea King helicopter from 40 foot off of the deck. The day resulted in the majority of the troop becoming fully qualified in fast roping with webbing and a rifle.
3. On Thursday we moved from HMS Raleigh to undergo our amphibious training involving LCVP’S (Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel), ORC’s (Offshore Raiding Craft) and IRC’s (Inflatable Raiding Craft). The day began with a lesson on righting a capsized IRC. On the whole the troop performed well and managed to take on board the lessons taught by the Landing Craft (LC) crew. Once we were all thoroughly soaked through we progressed on to the ORC’s and LCVP. The crew loaded us all into the troop section of the LCVP and we set off at a seemingly rapid 12 knots. We performed a manoeuvre known as cross-decking where a section of 8 troops move from the LCVP to the ORC, as the ORC pulls along-side the LCVP and wedges itself up against it. The ORC’s then broke off, fully laden, and showed off their manoeuvrability in the water. After a short journey we arrived at a beach where we learn how to disembark and embark from each individual craft, overtly and covertly in order to establish a beachhead. Once the troop had grasped the concept of the beach assault we progressed on to conducting them at night. The troop performed extremely well over the course of the week and we were given a chuck up from the LC’s.
4. Friday morning began with an early move to RNAS Yeovilton where we would conduct Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET) from a submerged, inverted Sea King hull. The lessons went off without a hitch and the troop thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Overall the week was extremely enjoyable, arguably one of the best weeks in training to date.