I arrived at the station on day one week one. Straight off the train and straight into training, at this point I realised that we were starting back at the very basics again e.g- learning how to shower, shave and brush our teeth. We were being rushed around until 22:30 sorting out basic admin and then we had an early night to help us get settled in before the 1st full day of training started.
Finding out there are two 5 o’clocks in one day we awoke to having to make out beds for the first time with perfect creases down the centre and cleaning the accommodation to immaculate standards. First detail we had was to get our new lives handed to us in plastic containers full of military kit. We had no time to sort it out because we were straight down to the gym to conduct our week one RMFA, which shows the training team what level of fitness we are at. All afternoon we had lectures to do with insurance and functional skills followed by ironing lectures up until 22:00. We thought this was it but then we had an inspection at 07:00 in the morning so we were up all night prepping for this.
The inspection went well and we got a chuck up but this wasn’t good for the day ahead because we weren’t used to having so little sleep, so we were falling asleep with everything that we did which ended up in the instructors having to find ways to keep us awake all day.
For the rest of the week we had pretty much the same week of admin, lectures, gym and inspections. For most of the week we weren’t too bad but we kept making little mistakes which I am pretty sure every troop makes when the go through foundation so we got on with it because it is the way they knock the civilian mentality out of you and start to build the basics of a solider.
The weekend consisted of another inspection, drill, bergan packing and a little bit of time off.
Week 1 was over and now time to crack on with our second and last week of foundation. Lads were becoming closer and we were working much better as a troop. Our admin was improving a lot and we were all getting used to our new locker layout. Every morning we would have a locker inspection which would prepare us for the final inspection on Friday from the Foundation Colour Sergeant. Everyday our lockers were improving which made the troop a lot more confident for the final inspection.
The learning curve at CTC is very steep, in the gym at the start of week 2 we were already learning rope climbs and running the camp circuits every session.
However lack of sleep affected us in and out of the gym.
Tuesday night we packed our bergans and ‘yomped’ to the bottom field for our very first Exercise- Early Night. We carried out the wet and dry routine which consisted of getting into the tank. We also learnt the very basics of a triangular harbour, the stand-to routine and the sentry routine. Then in the morning we learnt the morning routine and the layout of a kit muster.
Friday came quickly but the colour sergeant was more than happy with the troops inspection, a massive chuck up was rewarded to the troop and we were told we were the best through foundation that year. Foundation was a success for 208 troop now time to settle into the six man grots.
Week 3 Diary
This has been our first week in our new 6 man grots which is a huge contrast and refreshing change from the 60 man dorm we had in the foundation block. Standards for cleaning and personal admin are still being maintained to the high standards that have been instilled in us over the last 2 weeks, but the individual rooms seem to be easier to manage and things are a little less hectic.
Our performance on the drill square and in the gym has definitely started to improve, although the learning curve is insanely steep. We left foundation block with our heads held high after smashing our final inspection which we are all very proud of, however, this also means the training team now expect this performance to be maintained. We are getting a little bit more sleep each night (but still not much!) which is making the daily lectures a little easier to digest and recovery from all the phys is starting to get a bit better.
The highlight of this week has been the leave we got on Saturday night that enabled us all to get into Exeter for a few drinks and stay out until midnight. It was good to see everyone in a different environment and we definitely got to know each other a lot better. Our orange lumitabs (which show we are in foundation) are coming off at the end of the week and we have our first real exercise in the field next week which we are really looking forward to.
I think as long as we can stick to all the rigorous timings the training team has been giving us and carrying on doing all details to the best of our abilities we aren’t going to go too wrong.
Bring on next week.
208 Troop Week 4 diary
This week would be the first that the recruits 208 troop would venture out into CTCRM without the protection of their bright orange lumitabs, a sign that we had completed the foundation phase of Royal Marine training. This week would also see 208 Troop embark on their second exercise. Exercise First Step was a one night exercise taking place 4 miles from CTCRM on Woodbury common. We had lessons on morning routine, sentry duty and how to feed ourselves using our 24 hour ration packs and hexi cookers. An arduous phys session just before last light made sure we were all ready for bed. The morning consisted of standing – to, a field inspection and finally a 4 mile extraction yomp back to CTCRM, which everyone completed quite comfortably. The rest of the week focussed on weapon handling in preparation for the weapons handling tests that were taking place on Friday.
Week 5 208 diary
Week 5 started with the whole Troop looking forward to families day and the long weekend. The troop were preparing for families day in the gym. We were briefed by the PTI and we knew what was expected of us. Likewise the Drill Instructors were drilling us in the drill shed getting us ready.
Before we could enjoy the long weekend we went onto exercise Quickcover, where we learned how to search for objects and enemies. The Training team Cpl’s talked to us about the different searching techniques and tips for spotting out of the ordinary objects you do this by using the 7 S’s. After the teach we put what we learned into practise. Another the teach we split up into Sections and our Section Corporals taught us fire and manoeuvre methods and how and when to use them. Then we put the fire and manoeuvre into practise using blank rounds and learnt that its surprisingly hard doing all the different actions and remembering all the different drills. Also on exercise Quickcover we were taught how to judge distance and methods of judging distance. Also what can effect judging the distance such as dead ground and hills.
The Section Cpl’s covered Cam and Con in more detail and got a few lads to stand up and put bad cam, not enough cam, good cam and said the good and bad points about each and said how you should apply cam cream.
Coming back off exercise the troop was looking forward to families day, and on the day a lot of the troop were nervous and anxious. During drill we realised how much we have changed, as at the end some of the lads had members of their family attempt the drill and it showed how much we practised as the family members couldn’t keep up with the movements.
As the troop started back on the Monday morning of week six spirits were high we had just had family’s weekend and we had all been able to see the ones we love and missed for the past five weeks.
We was in the gym for some of the week doing IMF and swimming getting ready for gym pass out and the BST. At this point the troop was looking forward to doing IMF pass out in a couple of weeks and moving on to bottom field. The BST had a few of us worried but most of the troop was confident we could pass it.
In week six we also went to straight point for the twenty five meter shoots and the DCCT shoots. I personally enjoyed that day more than most days and i think most of the troop felt the same.it was the first time in training we had the chance to fire live rounds and be able to feel the kick back from the riffle.
Also in this week we had lectures on map reading in preparation for Marshall start exercise on week seven, we was all nervous as a troop but we was looking forward to it at the same time.
Week 7 royal marines training 208 troop diary
Week 7 of Royal Marines training brought the first real test for the 208 troop recruits. This week was the first challenging exercise that the troop would have to pass. The exercise itself is a three and a half day long training exercise that teaches the recruits, basic soldiering skills such as introduction into map reading, administration of field kit, night time navigations and our first ever stalk, a stalk is a tactical way of advancing towards an enemy to take up an effective firing position without being spotted, this is achieved by crawling through foliage, having an understanding of personal camouflage and advancing in a tactical manner. In this lesson recruits were to advance into a firing position and fire off two blank shots towards the training team without being spotted, unfortunately for one recruit he was unable to hear the signal to stop the lesson due to his hearing protection, the troop spent an hour walking around the area trying to find the recruit but with his camouflage being so good and the fact he couldn’t hear us it was proving rather difficult. Eventually the training team managed to find him and from that day on he is now known as “Sniper Scott.”
At the end of the exercise there was the challenge of the YOMP back to camp, this was a 5 mile weighted carry along Woodbury common before getting on the roads back to camp, all though it was a “Hangout” all recruits managed to get back to camp without any losses.
Upon arriving back to camp the recruits had the evening to de-service all there field kit and personal administration, basically a little bit of chill out time to relax from the exercise and get some rest.
Later on in the week the troop had their Battle Swim Test at the swimming pool at CTCRM. The troop had to wear weighted webbing with a rifle slung over their shoulder, jump off the 3 meter diving board and swim out to the test line and swim back, upon arriving at the side you must take your webbing and rifle off in the water and hand them to a physical training instructor, once you have completed that then you must tread water for 2 minutes before you have completed the test. There were a few recruits that failed the test first time, but there was no need to worry because they have until week 17 to complete the swimming test.
Week 7 proved to be a challenging week for 208 troop. They could now look forward to the next week of training and the upcoming 3 weeks summer leave to relax and recover.
Week 8 208 diary
The week before summer leave. The end of the week looked so far away as we had to complete gym pass out. We had been working on this since the start of training.
The week consisted of a few Medical lectures and a few gym sessions to start. These were to get us well prepped for the gym pass out day. We had to get all of our movements in sequence with one another. Our Corporal took us for a few night sessions in the gym to practice these movements. These were just light sessions so as we could be on top form for the day.
Everyone gave it their all, it was tough but we knew after we had passed this we would have 3 weeks leave waiting for us at the end. Unfortunately we lost a couple of lads that week due to the gym pass out. They were not able to achieve the feet to beam exercise.
We also unfortunately lost another Recruit the day before gym pass out due to a chest infection. Which was a shame as he is a good lad that made the whole troop laugh with his lack of admin capability. He was a very fit lad and was well on track for a gym superior.
Leave felt like it came at the perfect time. Awaiting us on out return to CTCRM was hunters moon.
Week 9 208 diary
The first week back from summer leave and straight back into phys, kicking it off with a BFT and a mini circuit. We also had an introduction into arms drill.
Map reading lessons and orienteering lessons took place this week to prepare the troop for navigating and night navigating on Dartmoor. Route cards also had to be written up and survival tins had to be completed ready to go for survival on Exercise Hunters Moon. This week there would consist of around 3 double sessions of RMCC. This would be an introduction into disarming and disabling an assailant with a weapon. Many of this weeks lessons would also be First aid because at the end of this week there would be an exam on all the first aid that we have been taught.
The troop headed down to the stances to get an introduction into the LSW (light support weapon). On Thursday afternoon the troop would deploy to Straight Point to have an evening on the DCCT. I was really looking forward to this as it is a big head start and look at what is to come when we spend 2 weeks up at Straight Point live firing. The 2 weeks shooting package at Straight Point takes place on week 11 and 12.
On the Sunday morning the troop would get into smart civi rig and go to the church for a few hours.
Week 10 Hunters Moon
Monday morning, everyone is packed and rearing to go for the toughest exercise in phase 1. We did day navigation all the way to our location following our route card in which then finally led us to the scout hut, the Training Teams home for the first few days. On the night we had a night nav which was our first one for us on our own (as a section) with no Corporal to help or guide us if we messed up. We had to fully prepare our route cards and get all our bearings as accurate as we could so we didn’t get lost during our first night nav.
Tuesday, we did our day nav followed by a stalk on Dartmoor which majority of us passed and then we yomped to a different location to do re-sections so we could find out where we was and a static map reading test, this was to help us for future training (Baptist Run). We then did another night nav so we could get use to night naving and get around quicker and help is in the future, when we got around after hanging out we set up a tactical harbour as usual for the night and sentry all night till morning and then we cracked on with our morning routine. at the end of the night we was all anxious for the morning as we all knew the “BIG YOMP”
Wednesday, we all got up early with butterflies in out bellies and nervous for the “nod killer yomp” which was 9km to Princetown from the scout hut which took us 1 hour and 30 mins and after the first 10 minutes it was clearly to safe the whole troop was HANGING OUT!! But we cracked on. When we got to prince town we jumped on a coach for 10-15 mins to the middle of a road and no one knew where we were as the minute we got on the coach we all got our head down. We started the second half of the yomp which was 12km to our survival location, on the way there we went the “roller coaster” route which was steep hills and boggy areas, we went around a woodblock which went on forever and ever and ever, we were all hanging out but managed to stay closed up and cracked on, we finally got to our location mentally and physically fatigued, however, we did it. On the night when we got there the training team stripped us of our weapons and equipment so we had nothing but a knife and our survival tin.
Thursday, we built up shelters by just using the stuff around us (sticks,logs,moss) and natural enviourment, we collected firewood and set up traps and wires for fishing, the ML’s (mountain leaders) came down and teach us how to gut a fish properly by taking the bones out and how to kill a chicken humanely for our food during the day and collect local food supplies such as berries to keep going and water from the steam and boil it for 15 mins so it was sterile enough to drink. We had to do this for 24 hours, just surviving of the environment – during the night we had a fire sentry to keep the fire going all night to stay warm and go collect extra firewood if needed to keep it going so the shelter stayed warm and no one went down with hypothermia
Friday, we survived for the full 24 hours knowing we was at the end of the the toughest exercise in phase 1, we did a 3km extraction yomp to our final destination to get picked up and transported back to camp, we finally got there and when we did we was all celebrating all around as we all made it and not a single person failed the exercise, this gave us massive morale as we made it as a troop and not individuals and first time truly we bonded a a troop and that was the end of the famous Hunter Moon.
208 Week 11 diary
It was one of the weeks we were all looking forward to, week 11. The starting of our two week shooting package at Straight Point. Like most mornings, when leaving CTCRM for any long period of time, it started early with loading all our kit unto the coach. On completion we headed to the ranges. On arrival we got started straight away, we unloaded all our kit and were given a series of briefs about sentry positions, safety on the ranges and how to set up the ranges for firing. We then commenced with zeroing our rifles in various positions such as: standing unsupported, kneeling unsupported and prone, at various distances such as 100m, 200m and 300m. The reason for this was so everyone could identify their point of aim on the targets and gain feedback from the training team.
During the rest of the week most days started off with phys sessions, giving us some insight to aspects of bottom filed such as: fireman carries, rope climbing, doing half regains on ropes and our first speed march. The weather was very windy and made shooting more challenging. By Thursday everyone was zeroed and had gain a lot of shooting practice both on the ranges and the DCCT, which was like a virtual shooting experience, along with a lot of dry firing.
On Thursday morning we commenced with our ACMT which carried on into Friday. Everyone achieved the required standard and pass, unfortunately due to the weather no one gained the much wanted marksman badge. On completion we placed all our kit back into the coach, cleared the range of any brass and left it clean, tidy and ready to use again for the following week.
Troop 208, Week 12
Week 12 for 208 Troop and our second week at Straight Point ranges. A lot of basic shooting was covered during the first week so knew the second week would be a more technical shoot.
First up on Morning was a 100 and 200 meter shoot while wearing a respirator, this was a lot harder and took some getting used too, mainly due to the bulky size and not be able to get a good sight picture.
We then moved on to a smaller range to begin shooting from 20 meters down to 3. For this safety was top priority due to the closeness of the rest of your section. New drills were shown along with different types of fire, for example two shots to the chest and one to the head. Communication and stoppage drills were also important. For me this was one of the most enjoyable days of training and a sign that training was getting more serious.
Wednesday morning and we were heading to Dartmoor for more time on the ranges. LSW shoot was up first, firing both single shot and burst. This was the first time we had fired on automatic and it was clear to see that greater control was needed to achieve a good grouping but by still applying the marksmanship principles many of us were able to get a fairly good grouping.
Being able to operate at night is an important skill within all armed forces so next up was a night shoot at 100 meters using LLMs and NVGs. Time was spent setting up and zeroing during the afternoon and it was clear that a lot of skill is required to be able to shoot well however we all got the hang of it and started to achieve some good scores. This was our last day spent on the ranges and it was a great way to finish a really interesting and enjoyable two weeks.
With a quick turn around Friday morning we were off to France for a weekend tour of the Normandy beaches and towns that were the start point for the liberation of Europe. With the Royal Marines playing such a huge part in the operation it was great to get over there a understand the size of the operation.
Starting with a short visit to Pegasus Bridge taken on the first morning by Major John Howard and members of the Parachute regiment. We then moved on to Gold and Sword beach taken by British and Canadian forces on the morning of the 6th of June, this was all put into perspective when we visited the British cemetery, very moving and a fitting place for a two minutes silence to pay our respect.
The day finished off with a trip to Port En Bessin, a vital objective taken by 47 commando in true commando sprit. It put training into perspective!
Sunday was spent in the American sector, Utar beach along with villages taken by the 82nd Airborne. Again the scale and sacrifice made by the yanks was realised with a trim to the American cemetery.
A great weekend was had mainly due to to the informative tour given by an ex Bootneck who was always happy to answer any questions.
A busy week for 208 troop but for me one of the most enjoyable and I’m sure all of us will carry the sprit shown by all allied forces during the early days in June 1944 throughout training and further.
‘The busy one’. This week was packed full of new things and a very important practice for Baptist run. In week 13 we did Baptist walk, dunker drills, intro to CBRN and bottom field and grenade throwing.
We started this exercise with a positive, strong mindset as we knew this is going to be the last chance to practice all the skills learnt through phase 1 for Baptist run. we started the exercise with a map stance where we did a full run through so we knew the set up of it. the troop got some very helpful tips and trivia from our troop commander.
The training team then went onto the FCO’s and target indication tests which was more of a teach as we had all forgotten how to give a proper target indication, so this was one of the more helpful parts of the exercise just because it meant we wouldn’t lose any silly points where we shouldn’t, as is very simple once you grasp it.
We then advanced to the route card and the night nave. We all sat down and were given two hours to complete a full and well explained route card once we had completed it we then moved onto the individual night nav, where a good route card would come very handy. The night nav itself was an easy one but was a confidence booster as was our first time naving alone.
In the morning we did a full kit muster as normal, but had the marking sheet for baptist run so we got marked accordingly to that, which again was a big confidence booster as we didn’t know how easy it would be to achieve a pass.
Once everything was packed away and kit was ready to go we embarked on a honking eight mile load carry. This load carry was set on the nine mile speed march route, so was good to see the route. The first two miles went really well, we went at a good pace and looked really strong, but events took place and two lads got little injuries which slowed the troop dramatically but they cracked on and we completed the load carry in 2h50m.
This was one of the highlights of phase one we started the day at the naval base in a lounge area for a good hour which allowed us to steady our excitement and nerves for some lads. We then went into a safety lecture and a presentation on what to do when in the simulator.
Once suited and booted we got into the pool and entered the simulator, where we did four drills, one straight in and escape the other three were all spinning, one in normal light, one in twilight, and the last in complete darkness.
We all passed and all really enjoyed it and learnt a lot and if ever the worst happens we will be hopefully be able to survive it.
Intro to CBRN:
This was just gopping. We entered a chamber and got CS gassed to see how the gas incapacitated you, and a warning to how horrendous it will be if you get your drills wrong in further lessons.
Intro to bottom field:
This was a great experience, we finally passed out of the gym and can start to learn, and crack into some ‘man phys’. We got taught all the obstacles and the best ways to cross them. We also got taught the half regain. The whole troop enjoyed this, this was a massive hang out but was an enjoyable hang out, finally being allowed to get really aggressive and just smash out the phys.
Quick and easy we learnt how to handle and throw a grenade and we all learnt quickly and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on this teach.
Overall this week was packed full of new things and very important learning and practice drills. For me and most of the troop this was by fair one of the best weeks of phase 1, as we learnt so much, got a huge confidence boost for baptist run, and we all just had such a great time learning it all. Moral is very high after this week.
The big one! This was the final exercise of phase one and as a troop we were anxious but also excited to get going. Baptist run in a nutshell encapsulates a large number of tests that we have been taught throughout the previous thirteen weeks. Such things as night navigation, fire control orders, observation, target indication and stalking were all present and tested. The overall exercise was successful for 95% of the troop with a high percentage of passes all round individually. One of the hardest aspects of the exercise was the stalking, this is due to the nature and execution of the test, it must be done methodically and slowly, which for many a budding recruit is difficult to muster, especially when the majority of training is at mach ten. Gathering and observing the ground is also a must to accomplish the correct camouflage before going into the stalk, this then gives the best chance of succeeding when attempting to methodically creep up to the training team without gathering their attention and compromising yourself. Parallel to that were the night navigations which also proved difficult for some of us in the troop. Trekking through Woodbury Common alone with the not so forgiving gorse bushes wrecking havoc on the legs was a challenge coupled with the untimely and unwelcomed deception bogs made for an exciting combination of up to waist submersion and explicit language. In spite of these difficulties and a number of recruits discovering gorse bushes that reached head height the overall pass rate was relatively high.
Kit Musters: the words that sends shivers down any well squared away nod and a compulsory test that had to be achieved by each of us while in the field. A couple of hairy moments during the inspection were most definitely the checking of the SA80 and of course the dreaded blank magazines. The discovery of rust on either of those items would deem a fail in that category. Luckily, very luckily we all managed to pass the required amount and reach the adequate standard asked from us by the test.
With the heart in the mouth moments ticked off and stowed away it was time to smash out the 8 mile speed march/yomp back to CTCRM and progress onto phase two of training. We set off as a troop with the PTI in tow and headed to the glistening lights of camp. As a troop we knew what the ground and area was like on the way back so we were more than prepared to make it back. Although hearing the words ‘TROOP! Break into double time,’ was not a welcomed addition to the yomp back, it was one that shed an hour off our original time when attempting it on Baptist Walk the previous week. Even with lads starting to ‘hang out’ at around the half way point, we banded together and made it back to CTCRM with our heads held high, either that or to refill the lungs as quickly as possible. The usual procedure of de servicing kit till the early hours of the morning and numerous trips to ‘Dutchys’ was standard to welcome in the weekend and see an end to week fourteen.
Week 16 the start of phase 2 and one lucky Recruit’s 18th birthday.
Day 1 of week 16 was a fun day on camp including lectures on signals, a bottom field session and a lesson on how to treat captured personnel.
The signals lecture consisted of a run through of setting up the equipment followed by a test on us doing it individually. After this it was a session on bottom field this included a tough warm up followed by a full turn through of the assault course including rope climbs, firemans carries and regains – Which as always was a hangout.
Day 2 of week 16 we deployed on exercise first base which everyone was looking forward to as we where eager to do some soldiering.
First the exercise started off with break contact drills practising it dry and then firing blank rounds which was a good bit of fun. After this we got prepared to do our first recce patrol. Different sections had different objectives and areas they needed to recce to find suitable places for an op.
The next day of the exercise was a teach on building an op this was good working as a section and easy in the daylight however we would later find out it is a lot harder in just a fire team and in the dark.
After this we had more battle drills where we got more rounds down which was a good rush and a lot better than laying kit musters as done in phase 1.
On the night we packed our kit and patrolled off to the area where we would build our OP. When we arrived at the FRV 2 people did a recce of the area then eventually we could move in and start digging. After digging through the whole night we had a suitable hole for us to start building an op. When the op was fully built we all climbed in and mounted a sentry and an observer however seen as everyone had not slept we all fell asleep. So we got thrashed which was not fun. Finally when this finished we got back in the op and everyone was literally scared to fall asleep again. We sat in the op for just over 24 hours observing enemy activity.
Eventually we had contact with the enemy (the Troop Sergeant) where we had to put our break contact drills in to practise and head back to the frv. I think a lot of people enjoyed this most out of everything we did on the exercise.
The exercise finished with a 5 mile speed March back to camp which everybody passed.
The week started off with a bottom field session in which consist of 15Ibs plus rifle carrying out one rope climb, run through of the assault course, 200m fireman’s carry and a full regain over the tank. This shortly followed by recovery swimming circuit for 45 minutes. We also carried out some fighting patrol lectures in which gave us a heads up before carrying them out on exercise. On Tuesday we had a day of signals carrying out an assessment called exercise Walk about which entailed walking around camp getting to 10 check points and giving different things to report back to head quarters.
This week we have been to Stanley Barracks in Bovington, North Devon for our Viking training, something which we have all been looking forward to for a good few weeks. Most of us have never even seen a Viking or its capabilities so its been great insight into seeing some of the amphibious capabilities of the Corps.
The first day on arriving consist of a wide range of presentations in which involved what the Viking is, the capabilities, safety features, operating procedures as well as the equipment such as the Shark re-breather. After a long morning of presentations that made us realise how versatile the Viking actually is, going across tough terrain such as sand, mud and even over water. After this we got thinned out to scran as well as carry out any necessary admin such as write up our notes for our affair folders that are to be inspected shortly. In the evening we conducted getting out and entry of the Viking drills for dropping off/ pick up drills as well as escape drills that will be lately practised on the lake. We learnt how to operate around the Viking safely as well as professionally at all times. This involved getting out and in the Viking as fast/ efficient as possible in different formations such as the arctic huddle. Overall this was good day and introduction to the Vikings and was looking forward to the rest of the week.
Viking training for today started with us all being trained on how to use the Shark rebreather. This is a device which allows you to take multiple breaths underwater and used in a worst case scenario of a Viking full of troops sinking when out on the water. It was strange to get used to but after the training on dry land we were all keen to get underwater and try it out for real.
Next up was using the Shark rebreather in the pool where we really felt the benefits. Using only the air in our lungs carrying out 4 tests which included an confidence test, another one with head underwater, endurance test which was using the Shark rebreather for 45 seconds underwater. I found this strange to start with however with guidance from the instructors it was easily and quickly mastered ready for the final test in which involved pull yourself across a rope in which was underwater to make sure you can still operate and escape the Viking holding your breath and being assisted if needed by the rebreather. Later this day we went to Yeovill for our second time in training although to conduct Viking dunker escape drills. This started off with a rope assault course like the one we conducted in the pool however was slightly longer and deeper, the ropes were 3 metres deep and as before you had to hold your breath pulling yourself across the rope and using the rebreather for assistance. I found this difficult at first as the depth of the ropes meant the the pressure on the rebreather was greater so you had to make sure you breathed in and out harder to ensure you got enough air. On my second attempt as failed the first time through, I had no problems using the rebreather efficiently making sure to only use it when you can’t hold your breath any longer. This shortly followed by the dunker drills that involved a range of test to make sure we can fully operate in the Viking that includes escaping if the Viking floods or even sink in an unlikely situation. This was a really good afternoon carrying out the test, this also involved making sure you can fully work the specialised life jacket on the last test after escaping from the Viking. However due to the new Viking module not being fully tested and ready to use we had to use the same one as before which was the Helicopter module. The only difference with this was that we could only use one door as on a Viking you only have one hatch at the top for all 8 to escape from.
The final day was what we were all looking forward to in which was getting drove around in the Vikings at high speeds then carrying out the entry and embankment drills as taught on day 1, followed by the lake crossing and escaping from it. The river crossing consist of the Viking crossing the lake at 3mph and then having to escape out the hatch and carry out the correct drills in case in emergency it does happen when out on patrol. This is taught so you have basic knowledge of how to operate in the Viking, and how to escape in the unlikely situation of it sinking.