After an intense week in the field following exercise second empire, all of 203 Troop were looking forward to a week on camp. Unfortunately for the members of 203 Troop, week nineteen is affectionately known as crash week.
A week of intense bottom field sessions that leads us up too bottom field pass out. The week started with the fitting of the white peaked caps, worn with the blues uniform. This was a morale raiser, a sign of the Troop creeping closer to the finish line. However, that quickly turned as we proceeded to bottom field to endure our second crash period. The period consisted of the crash circuit, which includes the bottom field obstacles that run along the fence line, along with a 100m fireman’s carry, and half a rope climb, with the full 21lbs weight in our webbing and rifle. There are a few variants of the circuit; However, Monday’s was a twenty minute all out effort, completing as many rounds as possible. As well as the crash circuit, we worked a lot on building strength on the ropes and fireman carries. We carried out bottom field for the following three days, with a mixture of two and three hour periods, each day working on our strength and technique, as well as speed over the obstacles. The crash circuit was slightly altered each day, culminating with the final session of four consecutive assault course runs, broken up with fireman carry shuttles. By the time the last session had finished, every man was feeling the aches and pains of crash week, however, all feeling confident that we had done more than enough to crack bottom field pass out.
As well as bottom field, the week consisted of numerous tactics lectures as we progress further into the operations of war phase of training, each lecture providing more information that we can put into use for our next field exercise.
With the week progressing, we started new weapon lessons on the general purpose machine gun, a 7.62 belt fed automatic machine gun, capable of firing at distances up too 2300 metres. This was inevitably an exciting prospect, as we could finally get our hands on a big weapon system capable of putting down large rates of fire, around 100 rounds a minute. We spent a lot of hours in the weapon stances, learning and carrying out the correct drills on “the gun”, so that we were able to progress onto live firing on the Friday. With only firing the SA80, moving onto firing a larger calibre weapon was a step into the unknown; however in the sunshine the Troop completed a GPMG shoot at straight point ranges on the Friday.
Saturday was the day of bottom field pass out, which consists of one rope climb, one assault course run through, one 200m fireman’s carry and a regain. Each man in the Troop woke with a nervous thought of the test ahead, however every man in the Troop performed well with a 100% pass rate. This set the Troop up with a good start to the weekend, and kept morale high for the following lectures as well as the night’s admin ahead. The Troop swapped a celebratory beer for brasso and boot polish on Saturday night as Sunday morning brought around the adjutants inspection. This is carried out by the first drill, as well as the adjutant, and is an inspection of the Troops drill uniform and turnout. It is important to perform well in these inspections as it shows the Troop is doing well, progressing and up too if not surpassing the standards. Again, the Troop performed well and passed the inspection. However, as this was a working weekend, the Troop still had to look forward to an afternoon with the assault engineers, who introduced us to the techniques of mine searching and clearance, along with mine recognition and knowledge lessons.
Overall, the Troop had a good week due to passing bottom field pass out, allowing us to look forward to starting commando stage of training when we return from summer leave.