185 Troop Week 26 & 27

Week 26 starts with the 6 mile speed march early on Monday morning. On passing this test we can progress onto the Commando Phase of training and wear the Cap Comforter, a piece of Royal Marine heritage dating back to the origins of the Commandos during the Second World War. The Cap Comforter was awarded to Commandos from all branches of the services who had volunteered to undertake daring raids onto the cliffs of German-held northern France, unifying them into one Corps.
The rest of the week was taken up with the anticipation of our final exercise, Ex FINAL THRUST. The exercise started with a deliberate attack on a building located on Bodmin Moor. We moved there in 4 tonne trucks and on completion where then transported to Okehampton Battle Camp on the northern edge of Dartmoor. We had an inkling we were about to endure the first of many ‘yomps’. With a couple of hours 185 Troop (a summer troop, accustomed to clear skies and lots of sun) got its first proper taste of arduous weather. This turned the 10km ‘yomp’ into an absolute ‘epic’. We then moved into conducting a series of troop attacks and section recce patrols on farm buildings containing various enemy forces. These were mixed with some more ‘yomping’ and minimal down time. We were steadily making our way south, to the bottom edge of Dartmoor.
On reaching the limit of Dartmoor we were picked up and taken to Devonport where we boarded landing craft which took us to HMS Brecon, a minesweeper used as an amphibious platform. We only stayed here for a short time as we soon left to conduct an amphibious night-time raid where the troop was tasked to seize a high value target. When we reached the shore we were met by Mountain Leaders who directed us to climb up the cliffs, using ropes they had laid out. As it was a raid, we then swiftly left the area, abseiling down the cliffs back onto the landing craft. At this point the troop had no idea what was coming next.
On making it back to shore we were taken to HMS Raleigh where we were told we were going to be moving onto HMS Ocean, one of the largest ships in the naval fleet. Once aboard we went through the Op DRY OUT process where the ships crew gave us clean overalls, food and washed all our kit for us. Whilst that was going on we rolled straight into preparing for our final attack. After orders and ‘battle prep’ we managed about 30 minutes sleep before we were back on the landing craft being taken to our drop off point. From there we moved up to our target, a fort located on the other side of the river Tamar. We entered through the catacombs underneath the fort and launched ourselves out of them soon after the fire support opened up. It was a huge success and brought a rewarding end to what was a long and hard two weeks.


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