193 Troop Week 30 Training Diary
This week began the same way as the week previous, loading stores and ammunition for the second week of our 2 week field firing package on Dartmoor. After arriving back at Willsworthy Camp, we had lunch before setting off onto the training area around the back of the camp using blank ammunition to practice how to deal with a casualty when working as a section, and how to extract them to safety when on the battlefield.
On Tuesday, we made our way up to the range that we had used the previous week and would use this week again to start live firing for the day. Each section did a section advance to contact, which is where you walk across the ground until you come under fire from the enemy, or in this case, the targets popped up, across the rugged and wet low grounds in the valley. After each section had completed their advance to contact, we set off back to camp, however this time it was different as we would be making our way back on foot. Following the route that the troop had been given the details of in the previous week, we made our way back to Willsworthy Camp, maintaining the pace that we would be required to move across the ground on the 30 miler commando test next week. It was hard work but the troop felt better about the upcoming test after having experienced how it will feel.
On Wednesday, the troop did a troop level attack on an enemy position that the IC’s of each section had been given the details of the night before. We set out on the attack, with 1 Section being the reserves, ready to be utilized if needed by the assaulting group, which was 2 section, who were being covered from the high ground by 3 section. For the first troop level attack conducted by the troop using live ammunition, the attack went well and the training team were happy with the effort put in by the troop.
Thursday was the final day of live firing for the week and therefore the whole field firing package, so the shoot conducted was a troop advance to contact across a 3.5km stretch, where the enemy would crop up from unknown locations which the troop had to eliminate and continue advancing along our axis. With many moving parts, including each section switching between the roles of reserves, fire support and the assaulting group, it became more clear than ever to the troop that communication is vital to keep the momentum of the attack and so that every man in the troop knows what is going on at all times, with the phrase ‘every man is a link man’ proving to be essential. Overall, the troop felt they benefitted from the days evolution, despite the harsh weather conditions of Dartmoor. The training team were again happy with the way the troop performed, and the harsh weather gave a more realistic insight into operating in the field when in bad weather, which will prove useful when the troop goes onto future exercises and operations on the completion of training with their units.
On Friday, we packed all the stores and the ammunition onto the transport vehicles before heading back to CTCRM at approximately 1000 hours. We spent the next couple hours sorting out the stores and returning the used and unused ammunition to the magazine, before going for lunch. At 1400 hours, the troop had a couple run throughs of the Tarzan Assault Course to refresh our minds and to practice the changeovers between the obstacles to give us the best possible chances of passing when the test comes on Tuesday 19th May. On completion of this we had a brief with the Troop Commander on the commando tests and nutrition, which the Troop definitely took on board as the whole troop returned from town that night with milk, lucozades and other foods that will prove useful over the next few days.
Saturday morning was an early start with the troop having breakfast at 0500 hours before collecting rifles and making our way up to the Endurance Course at 0525 hours for the first commando test. Everyone was experiencing a mixture of excitement and nerves, before the first syndicate set off at 0700 hours with 3 minute intervals between each group. The troop was overall successful with only one failure, but this was due to his zero being knocked out and not getting 6/10 shots on target which is required to pass, but the troop is confident that he will pass on his second attempt with no problems. On completion of the shoot, the troop went for a dip in the tank to help cool down our muscles which had been worked hard during the test. The corporals, including our Drill Instructor and PTI also joined us which was a good laugh for the troop, and a good way to finish off the week. Now the troop looks forward to the next 3 commando tests on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week.