190 Troop Diary – Week 22/23
We returned from Christmas leave to 3 days of Adventure Training (AT) – an ideal way to ease back into ‘nod life’ as it was pretty relaxed. We were taken mountain biking, surfing and kayaking. Despite it being January, the 3 hours spent in the sea surfing were the best for me. I had never been surfing before and to be honest never thought it would be that much fun. However once I had stood up on my board riding a wave my opinion changed.
After the third day of AT we packed our kit and headed back to CTC. Our thoughts now turned to Exercise Violent Entry. We had been expecting to deploy to Sennybridge in Wales by Helicopter. However for reasons unknown to us this had been cancelled and we were travelling via coach. This was welcomed with open arms by 190 as this meant we could potentially get a decent amount of ‘head down’ on the journey out. While mentally preparing yourself for deploying on an exercise, you draw on experiences from recruits who have been and done it. Usually you get the odd person who says it was a good exercise, they really enjoyed it or it’s not that bad etc. Not Violent Entry.
Most of us in 190 Troop had spoken to lads mainly from the 2 troops above us about it and they had zero words to comfort us. In fact the majority had said that if they were made to do Violent Entry again, they would struggle to do it. So naturally this was playing on some of our minds’ during the 3 hour coach journey to Sennybridge Training Area.
By the time we had arrived, we had already lost one member of the Troop who had been ill on the journey. After all the admin was done, we set off into the darkness on our insertion march, climbing up and down steep terrain. With the rain setting in, it wasn’t long before news filtered forward that we had another man down.
A good few hours later and totally soaked through, we reached the location for the troop harbour. We began our working routine in the woodblock which provided surprisingly little shelter from the howling wind and relentless rain. The Troop’s first task was for a small team to set up an Observation Post on a location we were going to attack later that day. Daylight faded and the attack went pretty smoothly. We cleared the village before heading back to the harbour via a hill which was so steep it required you to get down on all fours. The hill may have only been 150m long however it took about an hour to climb.
Once back in the harbour and into working routine the weather went ballistic. The wind blew so strong the bivvys were coming out of the ground and the rain seemed to come from every direction, ensuring every bit of kit you had out for over a second was soaked through. A few hours later, we arrived at a farm where we had some much needed hard cover after the ridiculous conditions of the first two nights. We were attacked 3 times that night with mixed success. Using NVGs from our sentry position meant we were able to spot the enemy as soon as they came into sight.
The next day we cleared a woodblock which we received some decent feedback for the first time this exercise as admittedly the troop were under performing. The following morning, we moved on to the next location which we attacked and occupied at first light. This was a suspected IED making facility. From this location we planned our attack on Cilieni village, which again was to be taken at first light. We assaulted the western side of the village and after a slow start we got into our stride and swept through the village efficiently. Then the snow stated to fall as we began to fortify the area and set up a forward operating base (FOB). From the FOB we conducted patrols, manned sangar positions which we had built and set up vehicle check points.
As the clear up began and the exercise was drawing to a close, thoughts turned to what the repercussions would be for the Troop’s poor performance which the training team had not been shy in letting us know. We set off from Cilieni on our extraction march and as seems to be the case for 190 Troop, the sun finally came out as we climbed away from the village amid beautiful scenery. We soon reached the security of the coach and the relief began to set in as Violent Entry was over. However on return to CTC, we were spoken to by the Company Commander who told us that due to our shortcomings on the exercise, it was not over and we were to redeploy to Woodbury Common. After an additional day and night on the Common followed by a field kit muster, we had finally completed Exercise Violent Entry.
190 Troop Diary – Week 24
Much to our relief after a cold week in the field, this was a week on camp for 190 Troop. The week started with an acquaint of the route of the 6 mile speed march completed in loose order (not carrying kit). On the Tuesday the Troop ran the endurance course to again familiarise themselves with a route we will be running a lot in the future. This involved running round the 2 ½ mile course twice, followed by a 4 mile run back to camp. Thereafter, the week was filled with Light Machine Gun (LMG) training at the weapon stances with a few lectures from the training team in-between. To finish the week off there was a 12 mile load carry with a 69 pound combined weight in webbing and bergan. This criteria test has to be completed in a set time and again no one in the Troop struggled. Overall it was a successful week.