Troop Diary – Week 15
Week 15, 193 Troop’s last weekend in phase 1 was predominantly spent on camp. As is inevitable with life in Royal Marines training, it has been a busy week. There was much to learn both during lectures and on the drill square throughout the week, which culminated in our Phase 1 pass out and arguably one of the most enjoyable parts of training thus far; our tour of the battlefields in Northern France.
Monday morning began with Drill. Only 193 Troop’s second lesson of arms drill with our newly appointed DL, the importance of impressing was not lost on any member of the troop with arms drill pass out fast approaching on Friday…it is safe to say we did not impress and extra drill was scheduled!
From drill, we went straight into our AMF pass out. A complete bottom field assault course run through with 15lbs of equipment. The troop, performed well as a whole and the troop PTI seemed happy with the effort put in, despite a few of us getting slightly soggy over the regain tank. As one of those who went in, it is fair to say going for a dip mid September is a lot more pleasant than going in mid January.
The afternoon consisted of signals training on the bowman radio, which despite initially baffling most ranks was grasped by the end of the afternoon.
Tuesday & Wednesday
Tuesday and Wednesday was spent almost entirely in lecture rooms. An unusual feeling for 193 troop, but an undeniably welcome break from physical training. The lectures focussed on the make up of close combat units at both company and troop level, the orders process, battle drills and explanations on the various types of patrols to be conducted. We were also given a vitally important lecture on LOAC (the law of armed conflict), the severity of the subject matter was bought home to us as it was the Company Commander who conducted the lectures.
No nodding off allowed!
As with much of what we have learnt, it was mostly new information to all of us, however we must become knowledgeable in all that has been taught this week, if we are to fit into a commando unit in 17 weeks time.
This introduction to patrolling, signals etc has been a noticeable and welcomed progression in training for many of us: Moving on from the vital, but basic skills learnt in phase 1 to the more tactical skills that need to be mastered in the weeks ahead.
Wednesday afternoon consisted of our second exposure to CS gas. A nerve-racking experience for some, considering our last visit was fairly unpleasant. However, the instructors were happy with the way in which all our drills were conducted…all except one recruit who had trouble discerning his thigh from his groin a grand total of five times before he was invited to take his respirator off.
Both Tuesday and Wednesday evenings were busy. On Tuesday we had our much-needed extra arms drill period that improved the troops confidence massively prior to the fast approaching pass out.
Whilst on Wednesday evening the Section Cpls taught us how to log information collected in OPs, write patrol reports, make models and how to make a head and shoulders (similar to a ghillie suit hat).
Thursday & Friday
Thursday and Friday consisted, almost entirely, of drill in preparation for our arms drill pass out late on Friday morning. The troop achieved a score of 116 out of a possible 140. Not an incredible score, but the troop felt it was impressive considering the very few sessions we have spent learning arms drill. It is also a testament to the amount of hard work the troop DL has put into getting us up to scratch in such a short space of time.9
Friday afternoon was our phase 1 pass out, a milestone in training as we are now considered trained soldiers. Marksman badges were given out to those who achieved the standard at Straightpoint ranges in week 11/12. Along with the accolades of PT superior, most improved recruit, and best recruit being awarded to Rct Pool, Rct Wright and Rct Barrett respectively. An awesome effort by all three of them and well deserved on all accounts.
After the overnight ferry trip from Portsmouth, we began our tour at Bayeaux cemetery, seeing gold beach and Port en Bessin – all significant places to the Royal Marines, specifically 47 Commando in June 1944. Whilst on Saturday evening and Sunday morning we concentrated on the American involvement in WW2.
The trip not only provided a chance outside of training for the troop to bond, but also a new perspective on what it might mean to one day be part of the Royal Marine Commandos.
The standard expected in training is so high due to the elite nature of the units we hope to join. And they are elite because they are still run by the values and standards set by those who have gone before us, men such as the Royal Marines that fought at D-Day and whose graves we visited this weekend.
An outstanding tour and an excellent way to finish Phase 1 Training.
Bring on Week 16 and Phase 2……………