Week 13 was a challenging one where there was a large emphasis on learning and practicing new skills. The week started with an introduction to the dreaded CS gassing. The Recruits were told to gear up into the chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear (CBRN) suits and told to go into a room where the CS gas would be emptied. Recruits then had to remove their respirator and report to the Sergeant their Name, Number and request permission to leave the room… most people couldn’t even begin to report as the gas made it impossible to speak and breathe. That the wasn’t the worst of it as after being able to leave the room the fresh air really made you realise how much your eyes and throat were burning. The week proceeded to grenade handling lessons, and then live grenade throwing at the grenade range on Woodbury Common. We also had our first bottom field session after successfully completing gym pass out. We were without weight at this point but we are building up to doing it with 21lb and a rifle. Towards the end of the week we had our first set of underwater helicopter escape drills. We travelled to Yeovilton Air Base to complete the drills in a helicopter designed for the purpose of being dunked in a pool. We concluded with Ex BAPTIST WALK on Woodbury Common for one night which was to practice all the elements for BAPTIST RUN the following week. These included navigation, camouflage and concealment, fire control orders, observation, stalking and kit/personal cleanliness. These are all criteria tests that we must pass in order to move onto Phase 2 of training.
As the week began we were slightly nervous but ready to take it on as we had had a good BAPTIST WALK. To start the week we had a bottom field session, this consists of a warm up, rope climbing, assault course run throughs, fireman’s carries and a full regain over the tank. After this we had CBRN lectures and we learnt all the different signs and symptoms of various chemical agents.
On Tuesday we had a full day of signals training, we learnt the basics of operating a radio and also the voice procedure that we must use when speaking on the net.
Wednesday was the beginning of Ex BAPTIST RUN, our first real criteria test, it started with a 4 mile speed march with 21lb and a rifle. This march took place across the Common and back to camp and everybody passed. Then it was into the exercise proper which focussed on night and day navigation, map reading, stalking, observation, target indication and giving a fire control order.
This took place over three days and it was a case of moving from one stance to another where you would be tested in a different skill. This happened until Friday and we then had to complete a combat fitness test; 65lb, eight Miles in two hours and this was eaten up by the Troop with everybody passing.
On return to camp we spent the majority of time deservicing and reservicing our equipment for the final inspection on Saturday, this inspection seemed to be conducted