Troop 189 Diary – Week 11
We started off the morning in high spirits, as we knew we would be live firing for two weeks straight, at Straight Point in Exmouth. However, carrying a bergan, black grip and rifle was a bit of a shoulder and arm killer. We arrived at Straight Point learning we would firstly be doing a point of aim shoot at 100m with the marksmanship team, using the gallery range. We would shoot from the prone, sitting, kneeling and standing positions, standing was by far the hardest to get good groupings with. At anyone one point, there would be always 12 shooting at the targets, 12 in the butts putting and patching up the targets and 4 on sentry. The rest of the troop, well let’s just say setting up a range next to a beach wasn’t the best idea, especially with 33 lads there. After everyone had shot, we then had to carry all our stuff to our new accommodation for the next two weeks, only to find there were 30 bed spaces and 33 in the troop, not good! Also we found out that our scran for the next two weeks would be galley food, which is not to everyone’s liking.
The next morning we awoke to find we would be shooting at 200m with the marksmanship team again, using the prone, kneeling supported and standing supported positions, as well as shooting at the 300m point as well, using the prone and fire trench position. At both of these ranges, we were getting used to our point of aim at these ranges, like at the 100m the day before. The further away you where from the target harder it was to concentrate you point of aim, as you had to take into affect the wind speed and direction. Some of the groupings posted looked like as if they had been shooting with both eyes closed. Wednesday morning and afternoon brought us to mock tests, we had now moved from the gallery range to the ETR range, the only difference being is that at the ETR range, the targets were controlled by a computer. So some stayed up for five seconds and then went down, while the other ones went down when hit by a round. Our first mock test didn’t go as smoothly as we hoped; out of 33, only 4 had actually passed the test. Later on the day we had another mock test, this one went a lot better, with a lot more people passing it.
On Thursday morning, we awoke to the fate of having to do beach fitness with the PTI. When he arrived, the mood had changed; we had gone from being lively to quiet, knowing we were going to get pain for the next hour! We arrived at the beach and got told what we were about to do, it wasn’t nice! We had to find a partner, fire carry them up what looked like a never ending hill, come back down and to a mini circuit, we had to repeat this many times. We finished with a nice, cold dip in the sea, just to wash off all the sand that had gotten everywhere. We then did more mock tests and dry drills throughout the day, each time having more people passing the tests. For the people who were struggling, the training team gave them some one on one coaching, working on their positioning and trigger control, so one breath, one shot. Also to keep hold of the trigger until the shot has fully followed through. In afternoon around about 5, we learnt how to do a half regain on the ropes, which would help us on bottom field a lot. We then had our first ever glock weapons lesson, in which we learnt how to do NSP’s for it and also how to strip and put it back together.
Friday brought us to the mock ACMT, which means Annual Combat Marksmanship Test. This would be similar to the real test which we would be doing next week, which was a pass or fail test. So this gave us an insight in what to expect next week, the majority of us did well on it with only a few people failing only a couple of the ranges. We felt confident going into next week that we would all pass the ACMT, with some of us aiming for the marksmanship badge.
189 Troop Diary – Week 12
We returned back to Straight Point shooting range for out second week of live shooting, slightly nervous because we had our Annual Combat Marksmanship Test on the Monday which is a pass or fail test. It consists of a 50m, 100m, 200m, 300m and 400m shoot which we all practiced in week 11. Thankfully we all passed the test and some recruits in our troop with high quality shooting which can be awarded with a marksmanship certificate.
For the remainder of the week we started the mornings off with a run with weight in a bag followed by a bit of circuit training which we all enjoyed. On one of the days we went down onto the beach for a good but challenging session carrying a sand bag each. Everyone was nervous for it at first but we got stuck in there and had a good laugh about it when it was over. After we had finished phys for the mornings we would go have our breakfast which was the same every day much to our amusement, followed by some interesting and different shooting ranges compared to what we have been doing. We did a CQB range which was firing at targets at 20m, 15m and 10m. At first we wasn’t that great at hitting the target with a small grouping because the shooting drills had to be carried out at speed, but by the end of it we had all improved and really enjoyed it. We also did that same shoot, but with our rifles in automatic which put big smiles on our faces. On the Wednesday night we carried out a 25m shoot with all the Gucci night vision equipment attached to our helmets and rifles which was a good insight to what we will be doing further on in training.
On the Friday we was all excited to return to CTCRM because we had to pack our bags ready for our trip to France for the battlefield tour. We left late afternoon to head to the ferry for our overnight transport. It was all a little strange at first because we had to address our training teams by their first names for the weekend after addressing them by their ranks for the past 12 weeks. We had a full day on the Saturday visiting the D-Day beaches and cemeteries. It was a very humbling and emotional experience for the troop to remember the fallen soldiers and to see where it all took place. After our tour we all went to the hotel and sat down as a troop for a three course dinner, followed by a sods opera which involved us making a little play of things that’s happened in training and making them funny.
On the Sunday we had an early start to finish the rest of the tour visiting the remaining beaches and get ready for the long journey back to Devon where things would go back to normal and get ready for week 13.
189 Troop Diary Week 13
After a hoofing 2 weeks on the ranges shooting the troop moral was on a high and looking forward to the forth coming week which was down to include Bottom field, CS gas exposure, Helicopter dunker drills, Grenade training and baptist walk exercise leading up to baptist run phase 1 pass out at week 14.
Monday Started off with our first period of the infamous bottom field, weather not being in our favour and it being gal force winds and sidewards rain made it that even more bit challenging but at the same time more enjoyable. We got introduced to the assault course, the 30 foot ropes as well as the rope regains. After the Bottom field we got into our C.B.R.N (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) rig and made our was down to the Confirmation training facility to test the fitting of our personal respirators. When at the test facility we had to walk into the CS gas filled Room with respirators on and when instructed remove them and report to the Seargent before being able to exit the room. Everyone come running out the room nearly throwing up and gasping for air, to the amusement of the people who had been before them. Although it wasn’t a pleasant experience the whole troop laughed it off once the effects of CS wore off. As the evening approached after a few lectures we all packed and made ready to be deployed onto baptist walk the following day.
Tuesday was an early start and everyone was anxious to get out in the field and give it their all to prove they had what it took to pass baptist run not only to the training team but themselves as well.
The day started off with a challenging stalk where we had to get cammed out and sneak up on a target using the dead ground and natural cover and get within a 150m box and try get 2 shots off without being seen. Then we had a map reading test which tested us on our ability to carry out resections and take bearings. After map reading was the observation station where we had a set area in front of us with items hidden in various places and we had to spot them using the various observation techniques taught to us in previous exercises. We then moved on the target indication and fire control orders where we had to be able to bring a section/fire team onto a target using various techniques and be able to understand the various types of fire control orders and be able to understand where we where being brought onto and what action to take. In the evening we conducted an individual night navigation which proved challenging and with a few people getting lost and coming in over time. Due to the weather being extremely pleasant, the troop had to crawl through a muddy puddle to be able to conduct wet and dry routine, which was all good fun and good practice.
Wednesday began with a kit muster then followed by an 8 mile lode carry with webbing rifle and Bergen at a moderate pace. Once the troop was back on camp we had no time to spare at all as we had a lecture on grenades and how to conduct N.S.P’s (Normal safety procedures) on them in preparation for grenade throwing on the ranges the following day.
After a long night de servicing kit ready for the morning inspection which we failed to impress the training team with, We then headed to woodbury Grenade range where we threw grenades at targets all day which put smiles on everyone’s faces. On return to camp we had to pack for the field again and head down to bottom field for some remedial training where we got fully submerged in the tank with all our kit and conducted wet and dry for most the night. Needless to say not a lot of sleep was had before the 5:30am detail Thursday.
Overall it was a challenging week but we all pushed through and are looking forward to tackle the week ahead and baptist run.