190 Troop Diary – Week 16
Week 16 started with plenty of excitement but also some trepidation as we had finally made it into phase 2. Our first exercise was to be First Base, a teaching exercise based on Woodbury common. We boarded the helicopter with the feeling that we were starting to learn the skills that make Royal Marines so reputable around the world. If there was ever an omen of how hard the exercise was going to be for our field skills, it was the weather. Almost immediately, it started lashing down with rain and the temperature was the coldest it had been for 190 Troop so far in training. The exercise was tough – we conducted recce patrols, night yomps and finally observation position (OPs). The OPs consisted of digging a hole big enough for 4 people minimum, camouflaging it up and then observing our targets over night. After a very tiring night of logging information we had a 5 mile speed march back to camp. That ended a very tiring but rewarding week
190 Troop Diary – Week 17
For week 17 of recruit training the Troop did Viking drills on Bovington Camp in Dorset. Bovington belongs to the Birtish Army’s Royal Armoured Corps but is also home to the Royal Marines Viking vehicles (an amphibious armoured personnel carrier). During the week we had some introductory lectures and practical sessions surrounding the Viking and the drills associated with it, including how to use the re-breather system. We had to get in a swimming pool and traverse a rope under water for approximately 30m in total at a depth of 4m. This proved to push us out of the comfort zone as we were underwater for a length of time with the re-breather system that only gives you a total of 3 breaths when you’re in the water making it significantly uncomfortable. After this we practised more dunker drills in a simulated Viking vehicle in which we were dunked under water multiple times in different conditions. For example, we firstly went down in the water straight and in full light followed by a further 3 times where we were spun through either 90 or 130 degrees. Finally we had to complete the drills in total darkness. Overall it was a relatively relaxed week with a few interesting drills and practical sessions.
190 Troop Diary – Week 18
The week started with the usual pre exercise jitters for 190 Troop. With training progressing at what seems like an increasingly rapid rate each exercise has been getting harder and harder, and we were sure that Exercise Second Empire was going to be no different.
Yet again we had ‘proffed’ with another helo ride into the exercise area. Most troops are lucky to get one, however this was our third. After a short flight we landed on a public beach on Brautnon Burrows, North Devon, and began our insertion ‘yomp’ inland to find our harbour area. Monday night gave the troop the chance to really find out that our kit did work in extreme conditions. The temperatures dropped rapidly as soon as the sun had gone down. We all woke up the next morning with a layer of frost over absolutely everything. After breaking ice in our water bottles we prepared for our first teach of what the exercise is really about; how to perform a section attack. This is the reason why we all joined the Corps. Learning how to assault and attack an enemy over open ground really got everyone’s blood pumping. Being reminded by our Corporals that one day soon we would be doing this for real, with live rounds against an enemy that actually is going to be fighting back, gave the troop a chance to think that we are not just doing this training for nothing.
The week finished with a full scale troop attack. We all woke up on Thursday at 0300 to receive orders and get ready. We moved off to the forming up point under cover of darkness. Wearing night vision and moving light, we all looked like something out of call of duty ready to attack the enemy. H hour (the time at which an attack starts) came around and the attack started. Rapid fire started from the hill top from our fire support section. The rest of us moved up behind a ridge for concealment, before breaking cover and attacking the objective as aggressively as we could. With all enemy neutralised, we went straight into the final part of the exercise – a helo ride back to Woodbury Common followed by a 7 mile load carry to CTC. We all finished on a high note with no one dropping out.
Overall, even though this was probably the hardest exercise we had done to date, everyone enjoyed it immensely. This was our first chance to conduct offensive actions like we had seen in all the promotion videos in the careers office.
190 Troop Diary – Week 19
The whole troop was nervous about the start of week 19 or “crash week” as it is known in training. The week consisted of bottom field workouts every day and some lessons. However, the emphasis was on preparing us for the rigors of bottom field pass out. Our energy levels were high at the start of the week, but as the days went by the troop started to get more and more fatigued and minor injuries started to creep in. With crash week also comes the delights of being duty troop on camp and all the details that come with it, including sweeping and cleaning the ablutions, cleaning the gym and litter sweeping the main road around camp. Finishing our last Bottom Field session filled us all with the confidence that we could get through the Pass Out successfully on the following Monday.