213 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 8
- 16th of November-Monday;the week began with the aim of preparing for gym pass-out in week 9, as well as further practicing our interval drill. Therefore, Monday morning started with interval drill, practicing the various movements that we would be assessed on. Following this, we had a 6 mile run broken down to segments of 3 mile BFT tests, all best effort, pushing the troop hard to get good results. The rest of the day included map reading lectures, with the topics such as resections to enable us to use point around us to find where we are, and finally an IMF session to complete the day.
- 17th of November-Tuesday; the troop spent the morning strangling and choking each other! This of course, was included in the RMCC (Royal Marines Close Combat) lesson where we were taught and allowed to practice various chocking and wrestling techniques, the troop really enjoying letting out some aggression. The rest of the day was spent learning battlefield first aid and how to approach a casualty depending on the scenario.
- 18th of November Wednesday; an important day, as the troop was inspected by the company commander. The inspection was successfully passed, with some minor things to work on. Following this, we had another opportunity to practice the BFT best effort run. The evening concluded, with an interval drill assessment, which we passed well. Meaning we could finally move on to weapons drill.
- 19th of November Thursday. the troop was very excited for Thursday, as we would be spending the day with the Elite and renowned Mountain Leaders or ML’s ( these are the Royal Marines and wider UK defences specialist in Climbing, Mountain, cold weather warfare and survival) , learning survival skills. After been bussed to a local wood and running to the lecture area, we were introduced to the various survival priorities, depending of course, on the scenario. We were then shown different shelters and the various benefits and disadvantages of each, as well as the importance of collecting fire wood for our shelters. Other areas taught, where various water recovering techniques and different ways of starting fires. We were also shown the incredible traps made by the MLs, overall a great learning experience and insight into the professionalism of the MLs.
- 20th of November Friday; Started with a lecture on the incredible RM history, covering the periods of 1900-1939. Following this, the troop moved out to Woodbury common and split down into groups, practicing resections, with some feeling more confident than others. We then set out in our teams, to reach our pre-determined checkpoints; this gave us an interesting perspective, as we only used our route cards thus emphasizing the importance of having a detailed route card. Overall, a great learning experience.
- 21st of November Saturday;our first experience using weapons for drill and some painful shoulders keeping the rifles stable, for long periods of time. However a I t was much more enjoyable than interval drill. The afternoon included RMFA assessments bringing memories back from our PRMC and finishing off with a swim session.
213 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 9
- Week 9 begun with great apprehension for the gym pass out on Friday! Monday, starting with a variety of NVQ lectures and some extra lectures on Maths and English, for groups of recruits that required them. However, the troop was looking forward to getting on with the first assessment of the week, that been the timed BFT run, which thankfully all ranks completed successfully. The day was completed with first aid lectures to help prepare us for our assessment in 2 days’ time.
- 24 th November Tuesday; much of the day, was spent preparing for the following days first aid assessment. Going over areas of basic battlefield first aid. The troop also had a map reading assessment, some feeling more confident than others about it. Concluding the day, was an intense IMF session in order for the PTI to fully gauge, how prepared we were and to select PT superiors.
- 25th November Wednesday; first aid examination day, which the whole troop passed successfully, with no one failing. For the rest of the day, various administration duties where done and for some, functional skill maths classes where attended.
- 26th November Thursday; a slightly different gym session was awaiting the troop in the morning. As we entered the gym hall we were greeted by various team building exercises. Slightly different to our average IMF session, however thoroughly enjoyed by all. We also had a brief on Dartmoor, which we would be conducting next weeks exercise Hunters moon. All feeling nervous to see if the rumours of the terrain been as harsh as described. Completing the day, where lectures on a new weapon system the LSW and laser firing at straight point range.
- 27th November Friday; test day finally arrived, the entire troop nervous, but ready to smash the gym pass-out. All evolutions of assessment where completed, without any hitches. The troop achieving a superior pass., which we were all very happy about. A fun swimming session followed, with some slightly more sporty phys than usual. We finished the day with a weapons drill session going through some basic arms movements.
213 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 10
30th November- Monday; week 10 had begun, meaning, the start of Ex HUNTERs MOON. A lot of nerves with the troop unsure what to expect. The day itself begun with a lecture on CBRN and been issued and fitted with our gas mask equipment. We then moved all our equipment into trucks and boarded busses towards Dartmoor. After a 40 minute drive we arrived in our drop off point, where we collected our equipment and started our first, of many navigation exercises, heading towards our camp area, the process getting our first experience of the unique weather system on Dartmoor, windy with vary degrees of visibility and rain. Once arriving at the scout hut we quickly set up our bivvies and then given instructions to prepare for a night navigation exercise in fire teams (groups of 4-5) which was a great learning experience, due to very thick CLAG (Cloud Low Aircraft Grounded) meaning we could only see 20m in front of us. This forced us to rely on our bearing and pacing’s in order to reach the check points, may fire teams discovered that there accuracy needed a lot of work.
- 1st of December- Tuesday; after our kit muster inspections the troop spread out in sections for a day navigation exercise, with their respected Cpls. Spending time in making sure each individual, was confident enough to lead the group to each checkpoint, this was another great experience offering the individual a bit of a confident boost, with the Clag now having cleared we were also able to see the area that we had failed to navigate around the night before, it sadly seem appeared a lot smaller than it felt the night before. During the evening we set out for another night navigation exercise, however not in sections but in pairs. This was daunting however most groups got around successfully, with only some minor geographical orientation issues .
- 2nd of December- Wednesday; the beginning of our survival phase of the exercise, or so it seemed. After a morning of some map reading assessment exercises, we where all shocked to hear that the survival phase had been cancelled and we where to return to base. Something did not seem right, there where mixed emotions. We therefore speed marched to our pickup point, and embarked on trucks back to base. However after a short drive the trucks stopped and we were told to get off, the cancelling of the survival phase had all been an elaborate ruse by the Troop Commander to familiarise us with dislocation of expectation. We were in fact at our yomping starting point. The yomp into the survival exercise area was challenging, with this been our first proper yomp, however we all took the challenge and completed it. Once arriving into our survival phase, our survival tins where inspected as well as any contraband food taken off us. We then moved on to building our shelters and fires, a project slightly harder than first expected.
- 3rd of December- Thursday morning arrived with many of us working to improve our shelters, with either trying to make them more wind resistant or in any way more comfortable. As well as continuing to work on our fires. During the day, we were taught by the Elite Mountain Leaders (the Royal Marines and UK defences specialist in mountain and cold weather warfare as well as survival experts.) , on what to eat while in the wild, they brought with them a few chickens and fish and then taught us how to kill and cook them ready for our supper later. They tasted fantastic, boiled with some vegetables that miraculously appeared dispersed around the wood that we were in. The evening progressed with many further trying to build fires and keeping warm in any way possible.
- 4th of December – Friday; after breaking down our shelters and removing any sign of our stay we begun our yomp back to our extraction area and then entered buses back to camp, this time actually going all the way back, we then commenced the epic of deservicing our kit. A warm shower and hot meal, was very much appreciated at the end of a fantastic challenging learning experience.
213 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 11-12
1. The beginning of our two week shooting package at straight point ranges. Back from our long weekend and still recovering from Ex HUNTERS MOON, we set off early. Going through a big holiday caravan site to enter the ranges, once we had unloaded our kit and settled into our new homes. We got started straight away with zeroing our weapons (the process of ensuring that our sight points exactly where the round (Bullet) will go). To help us with this we had advice from our very own world class Royal Marines Marksmanship team. Helping us work out our points of aim for the distances of 100,200 and 300 meters and preparing us for our ACMT (Annual Combat Marksman Ship Test, this is the minimum standard that all UK infantry must achieve every year) firing assessment at the end of the week.
2. 8th of December- Tuesday; our second day on the ranges and the troop ,had begun getting used to firing our weapons regularly. However, the morning started with our first experience of beach phys, and the joys of going for a swim in the sea in December! With regards to our shooting, the weather seemed to not been on our side, with very strong winds affecting many of the troops rounds. After some coaching from the marksmanship team, regarding wind resistance and the path of the bullet, our shooting improved massively. Throughout the day we fired various distances in different positions ranging from kneeling, sitting and standing and then repeated but using a post for support, this is to simulate all of the positions that we might use in a combat situation, this also gave us as much practice in as possible.
3. 9th of December- Wednesday; our final day with coaching from the marksmanship team, and we made sure to take advantage of it. Getting as many rounds down the ranges as possible and simulating Friday’s test. During the evening we also had our first experience of night shooting, or correctly called, low visibility shooting, which gave us a new perspective firing in different lighting conditions.
4. 10th of December- Thursday; waking up in a slightly more outdoors location, due to mistakes the day before we set off to perform our first shoots for the day and finalise our preparation for tomorrow’s assessment. We spent the remainder of the day getting as much practice in as possible.
5. 11th of December- Friday; Test day. And for the first time during the week, the weather decided to not be windy, this of course changed our points of aim. As all our sights where set for windy conditions, this caused a lot of the troop to take several attempts to pass the test. However the majority of the troop passed and learned an important lesson, regarding how much weather conditions can affect firing performance.
6. 12th of December- Saturday; we started our day with some individuals in the troop having re-tests. The rest, spent time in the simulator rooms, practicing firing at targets using the elusive automatic setting on our rifles (a setting not dared be touch by any recruit so far at the fear of the 6 minute challenge, to get from the ranges on top of the cliffs, down to the beach at sea level and return with a handful of sand in under 6 minuets ). We then moved on to the ranges to do the shoots we had been doing on the virtual range for real, in the process learning another important lesson in respects of body position and how the rifle is held, as firing on automatic has a significant effect.
7. 13th of December- Sunday; stretching and light running on the beach was in order for the morning. Following this we moved on to firing at moving targets, the second part of our shooting assessment, some finding this harder than others but overall good performances all round and good fun shooting at non static targets. Our day concluded with some beach phys and various activities in the sea! The troop sadly also had to say goodbye to a very much valued Training Team Cpl that was highly respected and will very much be missed ,however we wished him the very best of luck for his new future.
8. 14th of December- Monday; our final week at straight point ranges begun with practicing for the final part of the ACMT assessment. Which included firing at targets at 15,10, 5 and 3 meter ranges. All these shoots had to land in certain areas, so we where all eager to get as much practice in as possible. We all found this style of CQB (Close Quarter Battle) shooting very enjoyable and a change from the rather more static phase of the ACMT assessment. Once all practice shoots where completed, we cleaned our rifles and spent the rest of the evening manning sentries and going over our points of aim for the various distances.
9. 15th of December- Tuesday; our final examination day and everyone is eager to go. To our relief, we all passed and four individuals achieved marksmen badges, overall a good result. Much of the rest of the day was spent on administration and preparing to depart the following day, involving counting ammunition; cleaning rifles and our living quarters.
10. 16th of December- Wednesday; the last day at Straight Point Ranges, did not mean that we would not go out without a bang. As lots of firing was involved, the training team teaching us lots various new skills, including; firing while moving towards the target, boxing targets and firing with gas masks to name but a few. A busy firing day with an estimated over 9000 rounds expended; loads of fun for all of us, learning new skills and firing lots of rounds. The day ended, with a hot box of Christmas food, including all the usual and even Christmas pudding. After our scran (old naval term for food, originally standing for Sultanas, Currants, Raisins And Nuts) we where bussed back to CTC.
11. 17th of December- Thursday; the troop was very excited, as we where one day away from our Christmas leave. However, there was a lot of work left to do, including a thorough cleaning of our rifles and considering the amount of firing involved the day before, there had been a build up of a healthy amount of carbon. Other duties included; the thorough cleaning of our accommodation, as well as taking care of our personal admin in respects to packing our own personal kit. We had various inspections throughout the day, to make sure we where adhering to the cleaning details. Our day was to end with further cleaning of the accommodation, in order to prepare for tomorrow’s final inspection.
12. 18th of December- Friday; an early start to the day, brought more cleaning and prepping for our leave. After much frantic running around and been inspected we collected our belongings and boarded busses to be taken to the train station to begin our Christmas leave.