204 Troop Diary
204 Troop moved back to Straight Point Ranges for another week of live firing. The mood was high as everyone had passed the first half of the Annual Combat Marksmanship Test on the previous Friday.
The second half of the test comprised of close quarter marksmanship, turns, and other various shooting drills. Thankfully everyone practiced the drills well and all passed first time. Four members of the Troop won the coveted Marksman Badge that they will wear on their Blues uniform. The week seemed to fly by and before long we were being educated in bayonet fighting. The troop and team all enjoyed this evolution immensely, but it did drive home just how intense this job can become! We packed up on Thursday afternoon and moved back to camp before coaching up to Dartmoor for some night shooting with night vision optics and lasers. We were short of time but this was a great shoot using some of our more “gucci kit”.
The Troop had a quick 3 mile speed march on Friday in preparation for the criteria 4 mile speed march in week 14, before deploying on Exercise Overlord – a weekend to Normandy to see all the D-Day sights. The whirlwind battlefield tour, led by an ‘ex-bootneck’ guide, Smiler, was one to cherish as we walked the paths of our forbearers, 47 Commando, and visited the graves in the British and American memorials of those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. It is awe inspiring to hear the stories of the bravery and courage, and it enforces why we are here!
After a great weekend in Normandy we were back on camp late Sunday night ready to start week 13. Monday morning started with an introduction to bottom field – this was a teach on how to crack the half and full regains (getting yourself back onto a horizontal rope) on the low and high rope obstacles. We were then shown how to tackle the bottom field obstacle course with the correct techniques before letting us have a go ourselves. Next we had to do the 200m fireman’s carry followed by a full regain over the water tank. Nobody wants to end up falling in the tank, but inevitably someone always does.
On Tuesday we deployed on Exercise Baptist Walk – a practice for next weeks test exercise Baptist Run. This was filled with everything we’ve learned from phase 1 including map reading, night navigation, stalking, fire control orders, target indication and observation. Also we had to pass a kit muster to show we can administrate ourselves in the field. On Wednesday morning we packed up stores and headed off on an 8 mile load carry back to CTC which everyone found challenging. When we got back it was straight into grenade training and a weapon handling test ready for live grenade throwing the following day.
Thursday began with an early bottom field session which didn’t go too well as everyone was feeling tired and sore from the 8 mile load carry. However we did have a swim session afterwards to help our recovery. That afternoon we set off to Woodbury Common for our first taste of live grenade throwing which we all thoroughly enjoyed. We had an early start on Friday to head down to Yeovilton to complete our underwater helicopter escape drills (dunker drills). We had heard a few scare ‘dits’ from other recruits about dunker drills, but everything went fine and it ended up being a fun morning. The day finished with lessons on the drills specific to the Sea King and Merlin Helicopters. Saturday morning was filled with 3 and a bit hours of arms drill on the parade ground before going straight into a bottom field session. Overall, this has been a pretty jam packed week for 204 Troop with some difficult times which have already been laughed and forgotten about. Our focus is now on preparing for next week’s final Phase 1 exercise and Phase 1 pass out.