207 TROOP DIARY WEEK 20
Week 20 began with the Troop’s hardest physical test so far, bottom field pass out. This was a nerve-racking Monday morning for 207, on the other hand the weather was on our side for once and there was no sign of rain. Bottom field pass out definitely lived up to our expectations of its difficulty thankfully all the crash training and preparations we had done in the week previous paid off for some of us, unfortunately we lost three lads from our Troop and all hope they continue and pass out eventually .
We spent the following few days with the assault engineers, learning how to build defence structures. These included barbed and razor wire fences and small defensive positions out of sandbags, this was all good practise and preparation for the exercise HOLDFAST later in the week. The Troop also had practical demonstrations on the dimensions and how to build trenches.
Thursday arrived and it was time to deploy on exercise HOLDFAST more commonly known as ‘dig-ex’. The exercise was conducted on Woodbury common training area; the concept of the evolution was to put into practise the trench warfare skills we had learnt and to dig a trench correctly, then to combine it all with a CBRN scenario (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear).
To start the exercise off we arrived to a very wet and lifeless area as the heavens opened. Once we had been instructed on our task we began to dig our two man fire trenches. The sole existence for a fire trench is to provide you with a big enough area to administrate yourself, fight from and survive in while being out of the elements so to speak. The trenches provided a huge challenge for just two men to complete but after working continuously for 18 hours throughout the night we had our basic shelters complete.
On Friday the Troop were put into the CBRN scenario while being in our trenches. We were gassed and had to carry out the correct drills with our respirators (gasmasks). Finally, we awoke Saturday morning to our trenches being filled with rain but luckily that morning the exercise was coming to a close and it was time to fill in our trenches then head back to camp, but it’s not over until we get there. The last challenge of the week was a load carry back with full kit plus our CBRN equipment, the weight of this varied between recruits but on average was over 100lbs a lot more than any of us were used too, let alone being wet and cold at the same time but that’s what we pride ourselves on. After all the sleep deprivation and physical exertion it was certainly a lot harder than normal.
Overall the week was tough to say the least but we now look forward to learning urban skills and training in CQB (Close Quarter combat) in the coming week.
207 TROOP WEEKLY DIARY WEEK 21
This week began with an early morning preparing for EX URBAN WARRIOR in which the troop was to learn how to operate within an urban environment and using the skills we are taught to be able to take control of compounds and enemy buildings in an effective manner.
Monday morning we deployed to the training compound on camp to learn the basics on which we could build on through the week, the troop was thankful that our training team was highly experienced in this area of training, with two of them being skilled instructors in this field we were all eager to listen as this was a subject they took very seriously, the principles and fundamentals being constantly drilled in to us so that we had a basic understanding as a lot of CQB (Close Quarter Battle) is judged by using your initiative, main points being keeping your eyes open be constantly alert and above all keeping your oppo safe.
Tuesday morning was more of the same but more advanced as was to be the theme of the week, learning different methods of room entries, using essential skills to gain access to rooms without giving away your position, teamwork is vital as it keeps everyone aware as to what actions were to be taken next, we were also given lessons on how to detain unarmed occupants within the rooms.
Wednesday was more of the same but towards the end of the day we were introduced to different equipment which is essential especially when operating at night or in dark rooms, learning methods of entry by maintaining a good light discipline and using it to your own advantage.
Thursday was a good day finishing off the week on the camp’s compound by doing run throughs of the entire compound putting all skills we were taught throughout the week into practice, it was thoroughly enjoyed by the troop and we considered it a tool in the bag for when we pass out and continue in our careers, the evening came and we deployed to a mock Afghan compound which we had to get information on before attacking at first light, the troop as a whole enjoyed it thoroughly and benefited massively from what we had learned all week to top it off we even got a helicopter back to camp.
That was us through week 21 ready for exercise violent entry next week.
RECRUIT DIARY FOR WEEK 22
Week 22 began with a lot of pre exercise nerves flowing through us all as the troop prepared to embark on exercise VIOLENT ENTRY which was to be the most difficult and challenging exercises to date in our time here at CTC, we all knew the weather would not be on our side as the exercise was to take place on Sennybridge training area in Wales so we had an idea of what to expect, how wrong we were.
After preparation was complete we all boarded the bus for a 3 hour journey to the exercise we were all quite happy to get our heads down at this point as we knew that sleep would be scarce through the rest of the week, as soon as we arrived we kitted out and yomped off into the dark over the harsh terrain of Sennybridge, no doubt the insertion yomp was difficult and long but sheer determination throughout the troop to get through this exercise would not stop us so early, after a good 13 kilometres we arrived at our harbour location, tomorrow we were to launch an assault on a village not far from our location.
Tuesday was upon us we all prepared for our attack in the morning in which we were to use the skills we had learned to fight across the ground aggressively then apply what we had learned in our previous week to take down the buildings surrounding the area, with slight guidance from our training team we had finally established a foothold inside the village, needless to say the troop were feeling like heroes as we were doing what we have been frothing at the bit to do since the beginning of training, after that evolution we set up search checkpoints on the road through the village to check most vehicles that came through the area for anything suspicious, it was a great insight into the different roles we will take on whilst in our potential future careers. That night we were to move our area of operations to a woodblock nearby to apply another skill we had learned this week, fighting throughout forests and woods.
Wednesday morning we conducted our attack on a woodblock nearby to our position to clear it of any opposition afterward we had a small yomp to a small sheltered area called Dixie’s corner where we were then told we would be working alongside a lot of corporals for the final duration of the exercise which I personally thought was a great insight as to how I think small operations work within a unit, we were teamed up and my fire team was to sent out on a recce of cillini village, at this point the adrenaline and excitement was flowing high because it all starts feeling quite realistic. We completed the recce on the village that night without being detected thanks to the corporal that led us out being very experienced in his field of work, we then navigated toward a woodblock to prepare for our assault on this village in the morning… The troops excitement did not waiver.
Thursday morning was dramatic to say the least setting off on our patrol to the village surrounded by so much experience is a daunting prospect but also highly inspirational as when we got attacked everything just felt a lot more structured, fighting through to the village was hard work but it was a job that needed done and the troop worked hard alongside their corporals for hours on end until we completed the task of taking the south side of the village.
Thursday night the task was to conduct a strike attack on two key structures to gain the majority of control over the village so working alongside the senior command course we set off into the night to our line of departure ready to attack, once again using the skills we learned in our previous week of training we took control of the buildings during the night, once again very hard work but essential for the task at hand so we all were feeling quite accomplished after that evolution.
Friday we were shown how to travel undetected in built up areas using sewers which as I’m sure you can guess was quite uncomfortable, but in real time it would be the perfect way to operate undetected, afterwards we were shown an ideal version of a built up defensive structure which was technically an impenetrable fortress in which were to defend for the night which was good as morale was high despite the cold and snow so we kept our heads up as much as we could.
Most of Saturday we were still defending our fortress that we were situated in until we were given orders to assault a position about 4 kilometres from the location, as soon as we left the building and put our bergens back on our morale may have took a slight dip but the thought of the exercise coming to an end got us through or so we thought… After we took the position we were tasked to assault we were given the a challenging yomp to conduct to our next objective which became the most challenging thing I have done throughout training, with sleep deprivation kicking in I knew this was not going to be easy… 9 kilometres or so of undulating terrain took its toll on us all but sheer determination got us through to the end of it, we slept for an hour or so before finally boarding the bus back home at this point it was smiles all around as we got through it together and so exercise VIOLENT ENTRY came to an end.
So all in all definitely the hardest week of training I have completed so far but now I can look forward to adventure training next week.
207 TROOP DIARY WEEK 23
After a very hard previous week the troop were really looking forward to adventure training week even if it was in notorious “Dartmoor”. Adventure training week is a week to recover from EXERCISE VIOLENT ENTRY or so we thought until we heard our PTI was joining us on the trip. The whole Troop by this point were in absolute bits body’s shattered and Jones’s famous blister which took over his whole heel.
We were split into 3 teams on adventure training which consisted of our three sections and told we would be competing against each other in the upcoming few days. The prize for first place was a crate of beer which the lads eyes lit straight up at of course, every one wanted to win! The Troop were told that we would be participating in 3 activities which were Sea Kayaking, Sea Level Traversing and mountain biking. All of these activities would have some form of time trial and the winners would be that of the quickest time.
The first day I had was sea level traversing so we were driven down the coast some where near Torbay were we were given our wet suits and helmets in a car park that over looks the dizzy heights off the cliffs we would be soon jumping off. High up to say the least! Our section in this activity had to jump of a number of cliffs into the sea some points reaching just above 10M high. The timed activity was to set up a rope between cliffs and get our entire section across the rope about 5M above sea level. We completed it in very good time. After this we went and got some food then back to the camp to lie to the boys and tell them how we did so bad, Mind Tactics!
The second day we had mountain biking, the weather was not the best and after seeing the lads come back of it the previous day and telling us it was pretty long and not that fun it was not one the boys were looking forward to. We set off on foot to go and find our bikes which were down a big hole in the floor and told we couldn’t go into the mine tapped area to retrieve them and had to use only a rope to hook the bikes out. After doing this and setting up the bikes we were on our way down hills up hills and up more hills across Dartmoor! For miles we rode until we stopped for some food and told we had come to the start of our time trial which was just a muddy track which we all were timed to complete. Me and an oppo smashed it but unfortunately the third in our team found it easier to push the bike that to actually ride it; so we lost some valuable seconds there. We then cycled to another check point in which we had to be lowered off a bridge along with our bikes using the knots we had been previously been learning. Then it was back to camp for tea and biscuits!
The final day we had Sea Kayaking that I was quite looking forward to along with the boys as it just involved a lot of sitting down not doing to much but I was mistaken. We started the day off in a nice fishing village at first we were taught the basics turning and stopping etc. Once the lads had got to grips with the basics we paddled down the river weaving in and out of objects and rocks. We paddled for a while stopped for some lunch on a stoney beach then hit the sea again. As we made our return journey back the way we came we were told we had to get every one out the kayaks for another activity. We had to lower ourselves and one of our kayaks off a cliff and get every ones kayaks back from the middle of the river, which had been placed there by the staff. After completing that we carried on to our timed challenge which involved the whole team jumping into the sea and swimming fast onto a floating metal drum. Which we smashed!
That evening we had found out we had won the team activities, Beers on 1 Section!