193 Troop Week 10

Week 10 brought Exercise Hunter’s Moon, a navigation and survival week on Dartmoor.
The first thing we did on Monday morning was draw everything from stores ready to go, then deployed from camp on coaches to Princetown where we got off and got rigged with our weapon, webbing and day sacks. We then arranged ourselves into our sections and started to follow the route cards we had made over the weekend on our first navigation march.
We enjoyed the practical navigation as it was a good day weather-wise and we were now able to relate features on the ground to the features on the maps. Once we arrived at our first destination we were able to get hot wets and scran on the go. We then had orders for our first night navigation march and had to subsequently prepare route cards for that march before heading off after last light. This was much more of a challenge due to the lack of visibility.
Everyone made the night navigation except one person who unfortunately sustained a dislocated shoulder as he slipped over one of the few styles we had to negotiate along the way.
On Tuesday we began with the usual kit muster, having all our kit checked by the team ensuring we are still able to keep our kit to the required standard in the field. Once again we had orders for another navigation march and so once again had to prepare route cards before setting off yet again across Dartmoor, this time the weather was not so good as it rained for the whole day, we did this march in sections also, which was beneficial as we were now familiar with our surroundings and could help each other to navigate the route more easily than on the first day, seeing key features on the ground started to help us gain an appreciation of where we were.
Once again, on return from this navigation test we had orders for another night navigation, this time we would be navigating in small teams of four and five without the training team, we had to once again prepare new route cards for the march.
This proved to be a lot more challenging than other marches as we were on our own and it was very dark as we made our way to checkpoints manned by the team, we had a cut-off time of three hours to complete the march or fail the test. Luckily all teams made it back to the beginning having navigated the correct route, before the three hour limit, so everyone did well and actually nobody had too much difficulty.
Wednesday started as usual with a field kit muster which went well overall. After the muster we had a couple of different stances, stalking practice and an observation stance. When stalking we had to make our way as individuals to within an area close to our target and try to fire off a couple of shots still without being seen. This was great practice, good fun and successful for most people.
After these stances we had a map reading test overlooking Burrator Reservoir for a couple of hours which finished our time in the area we had been for the last few days.
In the evening we prepared ourselves for the “killer yomp” which was to be our first long yomp with full bergans.
We began not long before last light and finished the first leg ogf the yomp back in Princetown, about eight kilometres completed so far and still a long way to go, we suspected.
This yomp was extremely challenging both mentally and physically as we were heavily weighed down with our kit, we were now going across some rough terrain, it was extremely dark and there were some big hills along the way. We all managed to make it to the end although not all in a good state, nonetheless we were about to begin our survival phase of the exercise, we had probably covered more than twenty kilometres through the night.
On Thursday morning the survival training began, we were firstly taken to our area in a wood where we were to build our own shelters from whatever we could find around the immediate area or what we had with us. After a few hours of initial preparation we were taken to a demonstration area where we were then shown how to kill chickens and prepare them along with some fish for our meal that day. We then had to do this for ourselves. After this we continued to enhance our shelters and continue to collect more firewood to make sure we had enough to last us through the night, we had fire sentries throughout the night to ensure the fire never went out.
The next morning we were told to demolish our shelters and disperse everything around the wood making sure the fires were out. Once this was done we then made our way back to our kit at the edge of the wood. When we had collected our kit, we once again were on the march, this time though it was the extraction march to a pickup point in a car-park somewhere on the edge of Dartmoor to finish the exercise.
We then travelled back to camp where we began the long routine of properly de-servicing our kit and ourselves before finally getting away for our “long” weekend on Saturday morning.
A very long week but an interesting and challenging one, we now look forward to spending a couple of weeks on the shooting ranges at Straightpoint just outside Exmouth, where we practice for and then take out Annual Combat Marksmanship Test which we must all pass if we are to progress, it should be a good couple of weeks.

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I am the official editor of the CTCRM training Diaries
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