190 Troop Diary – Week 28
Week 28 otherwise known as ‘cheeky week’ started with lectures and administration over both Monday and Tuesday, which was a nice easy relaxing start to the week. However we knew this would soon turn into a tough lung bursting week with rehearsals of the Endurance Course and Tarzan Assault Course Tests ahead.
On Wednesday, the Troop had their first timed run through of the Endurance Course and produced some good times which pleased our PTI. Doing these rehearsals gave us a great chance to find quicker ways of crawling through the tunnels as every second counts on test day. Talking to the Troop, we soon discovered better ways of crawling not only quicker but also keeping our rifles out of the water more effectively. Some lads even thought holding the rifle in their mouth would help! After the tunnels the course follows the roads back to camp where you find you can catch up time, using every downhill as a great chance to “fall” down them and carry some momentum up the other side. We then moved onto the Tarzan Assault Course for Thursday and Friday. This is supposed to be the hardest test and we soon fount out why! It is approximately 13 minutes of constant lung blowing running. We had techniques lessons on it before to teach us how to transfer from rope to rope. The next 2 lessons were to test we actually remembered how to do it and find out which parts we struggled at. We all went as quickly as we could for these two rehearsals so we could see how well we were actually doing. From these two days our PTI discovered there were still a few people struggling with the changeovers, so he gave us extra time on the high ropes course to get our techniques sorted. Despite being a total ‘hangout’, everyone enjoyed their time on the Tarzan Assault course, even if it did mean going back onto bottom field. After this week we go straight into live field firing. This is two weeks spent doing section and troop attacks using live ammunition – an exciting yet scary exercise to be coming up before our Commando Tests.
190 Troop Diary – Weeks 29 & 30
Field firing week 1. Despite coming off the back of ‘cheeky week’, most members of the Troop were generally in good spirits ready for the week ahead. Morale was high right until the moment we stepped off the bus into the most unpredictable weather and desolate wasteland known to NATO – Dartmoor! With the snow settling around us we made our way to the static ranges to zero our personal rifles. We only managed to get through a few rounds each but everyone was now “on target”, despite the weather changing from snow to rain to sun. The rest of the week involved numerous section and fire team attacks, giving us a chance to sharpen our withdrawal and manoeuvring skills. My personal highlight was the night section attack using tracer rounds. A good week overall, despite the weather did keeping us out of action on the Wednesday. Nevertheless, I felt we had achieved a good understanding and feel for the use of live ammunition.
Field firing week 2 brought us straight back to Dartmoor to conduct a troop level attack rehearsal with blank ammunition to practice the mechanics of such an action. The next day saw us back to using live ammunition working in pairs through a close combat situation in a very wet re-entrant. We also conducted a shoot using the Underslung Grenade Launcher – a bit of an add-on. This was great until we found out we had to pick up every single piece of plastic from the broken shells. The Wednesday was our Troop Attack with live ammunition, which was long and tiring action but very good nonetheless. We all hope that the training team were content with our capacity to soldier at this stage of training. We are all looking forward to the Commando Tests which start this Saturday on the Endurance Course!