193 Troop Recruit Diary Week 13
We had to push Christmas leave to the back of our minds as this week began with Exercise Baptist Walk on Monday. Baptist Walk is a 2 day exercise practicing everything we will have to cover on the test exercise Baptist Run which we will be doing immediately after leave. On exercise we were required to cover various modules consisting of everything learnt in the field so far: fieldcraft, field admin, map reading and navigation and finally fitness.
On day one of the exercise the troop was split in half, the first group left to do a map stance and the second group went to do a stalk. The map stance, possibly the most testing we’ve done to date, tested our ability to identify objects on the ground and find them on the map and vice versa using bearings and various aids; to do so the lads of 193 first had to locate their position on the map by means of a re-section.
The stalk began with everyone donning camouflage in the usual form of cam cream and surrounding foliage before being set off with a time limit to cover the ground, utilising cover and various methods of movement in an attempt to reach the scoring box where we then had to fire off a blank round in the direction of the training team member whose job it was to spot the incoming recruits. After firing the firer had to stay in position before being given the go-ahead to fire again, provided they have not been seen.
After stalking and map reading, we moved to an observation stance, finding objects hidden in an area and marking them onto a sketch which we had done; this was run concurrently with target indication and fire control orders stances. Daylight was however fading fast and so the last stances were put on hold until the next day. It was far from bedtime as we still had individual night navigation to tackle which overall was successful for most although some looked like they had indulged in a mud bath by the time they had finished the course.
Day two began in the usual fashion, morning routine and kit muster before wrapping up the loose ends in some unseasonal sunshine and warmth. Our second from last evolution was taking part in the far from thrilling but environmentally conscious ex Woodbury Sweep, which was a litter sweep of the training areas on Woodbury Common. Ex Baptist Walk then ended with an 8-mile load carry back to CTCRM.
Tuesday evening saw an introduction to grenade drills ahead of the much anticipated grenade throwing practical on Wednesday, once again on Woodbury Common. As already alluded to, grenade throwing had been the cause of some excitement in the run up to Week 13, and it delivered, providing some favourite recruit treats – loud bangs and long periods of sitting down while waiting for your turn.
We rounded off our Wednesday on a high after our Christmas dinner which ticked all the Christmas dinner boxes.
Thursday was another big day for us, far from winding down for Christmas leave, we set off early for the drive to Yeovil for our helicopter underwater escape training, or Dunker Drills as it more commonly known; everyone was full of excitement and some apprehension at the idea of trying to escape from a submerged helicopter. Split into groups of 6, the troop and the training team underwent four dunkings in the simulator which was a mock sea-king interior suspended over a pool. One dunking upright, one upside down, one in twilight conditions and upside down and finally the dreaded upside down in full darkness. Everything went well and nobody had any snags throughout any of the dunkings.
The coach journey back to CTCRM gave us some more extra time to get our heads down – all bar one recruit wielding pen and paper to write Thursday’s instalment of the troop diary!
Back in CTC we were given our detail for the time remaining before leave and details for when we get back in January – when we will be going straight on to ex Baptist Run, 4-mile speed march and 8-mile Combat Fitness Test amongst other things.
The final troop get together was for our troop Secret Santa which we did in the accommodation to Christmas music and with a very real Santa in the form of our Troop Sergeant. All good fun and a great way to finish a very busy week.
All recruits are now looking forward to a very well earned leave after a long 13 weeks since joining up in September but we’re also all looking forward to getting back into it in January.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers.