197 Troop Week 20


1. The day had finally arrived. Today was our bottom field pass out. With crash week under our belt we were confident that we could smash our way round the tests. The first rope climb saw many zipping up the ropes like spider monkeys in the knowledge this was potentially the last one ever. From there we took up our positions on the assault course start line ready to go. There were some rapid times on the day with a member of our troop even breaking the record by 8 seconds. From here it was time to blow out the legs one final time with the 200m-fireman carry. With speed, aggression and determination the men of 197 troop pulled out some good times with all crossing the line under time. So we moved finally onto the regain. Unfortunately the regain tripped up one member of the troop and would unfortunately proved his Achilles heel on the final retakes which was gutting for the remainder of us hoping for us all to pass out together. However for those of us progressing there was no time for us to rest on our laurels with the defensive and CBRN orientated Exercise HOLDFAST at the end of the week we received some more in depth lectures on CBRN detection kit in preparation, not to mention a full drill inspection the following.

2. After a night spent dusting off our corps history and bulling, brassing and polishing our kit to within an inch of its life we were inspected in front of the First Drill. The First Drill is a Warrant Officer first class and oversees all the drill at CTC, and indeed the rest of the Corps, so an inspection by him signifies our stage in training, that we are able to meet the high standard required with our kit. The First Drill has eyes like a predatory hawk for detail and an encyclopaedic knowledge of everything related to corps history so the inspection was particularly thorough but in the end the troop passed. Just when we thought it was safe to relax we were back on the bottom field for another session with some combat conditioning circuits prepping us for the next phase of training. From here we spent some time with Assault Engineers (AE’s) being introduced to mines and mine warfare. By the end of the day there were a few weary faces but moral was not defeated.

3. The day kicked off with some more drill as we start to progress onto the arms drill that we will be carrying out at our kings squad parade, this for many felt like we are starting to get closer to the end goal. In preparation for Ex HOLDFAST we had some more CBRN lectures and practical demonstrations with the AE’s on defensive positions and trench construction. The day finished off with short admin revision sessions from the training team to ensure we had not forgotten the basics. After that it was deservicing kit ready for a new day refreshed and rested.

4. With a final lecture on CBRN drills and a nice bottom field session to send us off into the field we packed stores and headed to Woodbury for Exercise Holdfast. Under the guidance of the AE’s we spent the night digging in our trenches ready for inspection the next morning.

5. After some grafting overnight to get all of the trenches finished in time, the AE’s came round to make some corrections and adjustments. The rest of the day was spent with the CBRN instructors simulating a chemical attack and maintain chemical sentries to act as early warning for further attacks. The exercise, while hard physically, really bought home the complexity and difficulty of operating in a (simulated) contaminated environment. During the night enemy forces attempted to penetrate our defensive position. As night fell the exercise’s tactical phase came to and end and we preceded to collapse the position, returning stores and disappointedly fill back in our well constructed trenches that we had invested so much time and effort in.

6. As day break came we loaded final stores and extracted via the mark one human personal load carrier (the foot) back to camp. With a few doglegs thrown in courtesy of the Troop Commander so we could appreciate the scenic routes of Woodbury Common we made it back to camp to end what had been a challenging and sleepless week ready to crack on with the next week’s evolutions.


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