193 Troop Diary – Week 20
Week 20 for 193 troop was always going to be a challenging one with bottom field pass out at the start of the week followed by a new exercise, Ex Hold Fast, beginning on Thursday and finishing on Saturday morning.
The previous week the troop had ‘crash week’ preparing us for bottom field pass out, so we were fully prepared. The test consists of a 30ft rope climb, completing the assault course within 5 minutes, a 200 meter fireman carry done within 90 seconds and finally a regain over the tank, whilst carrying 21lbs of weight plus a rifle weighing 9lbs. The conditions of the day weren’t ideal as it had been raining all morning and four other troops had been training churning up the ground making fireman carries harder then usual.
The hour came and the adrenaline was pumping. The sun finally came out and the troop cracked on with the test. The training team was watching as well as other trained ranks. The pressure was on knowing conditions were tough. Overall the test went well for the troop with only two men who failing to pass.
The following days the troop began to learn about mine warfare, building trenches, defensive operations and preparing us for Thursday.
Exercise Hold Fast is an exercise that was withdrawn from recruit training about 7 years and 193 troop were the second troop to carry out this new exercise on Woodbury Common.
The troop got the coach to the site of the exercise and were quickly shown our respective areas to dig a two man trench. As we looked across the ground it was clear to see where the other trenches had been dug by a previous troop. The challenge was going to be tough. We were given a shovel and a pick axe and made a start. The turf was rocky and the soil was thick from previous rainfall.
We dug away for a few hours and its seemed like we were getting nowhere. As darkness fell upon us the red torches came on, and looking around all you can see in the darkness were red lights bobbing up and down with the noise of tools being put to use. The further the night went on the more tired we became and digging became hard. Regular check ups from the training team kept ensured that we were doing a good job as well as cracking a few jokes to keep morale high.
Dawn soon approached and it was clear we all worked hard as we could finally appreciate the size of the trench, and the amount of soil that was next to it. Our gear was muddy, wet and our bodies were shattered from no sleep, however we were glad, with a sense of pride, of our achievement. The assault engineers were pleased with our efforts and said we had done a better job from the previous troop.
Friday afternoon, once we had finally finished our trench positions after 27 hours of non-stop work, the chemical warfare team come in to test our drills incase of a gas attack.
The following afternoon saw the troop doing our normal exercise routines and appreciating our trenches by having a quick sleep. The night came and the troop were tested on withdrawing from a defensive position. After this we had to fill in our trenches, load the kit onto the ‘four tonner’, a stores truck.
The troop had our rucksacks filled with all our kit and we marched back to camp five and a half miles away. The march went well with no one giving up or falling behind. When all the weapons had been cleaned and the stores loaded back on camp, enjoyed a well deserved rest.
The troop look forward to learning more about mine warfare along with the next exercise, Exercise Urban Warrior, doing room clearances and close quarter combat next week.