215 Troop Week 4 & 5



On return to training from the weekend and the first time we had been allowed a couple of ‘wets’ it became apparent that a case of ‘Lympstone Blues’ had struck a few members of the troop. The realisation of what lay ahead of us caused a feeling similar to that of the first day of training to crawl over the troop.

I can only assume that these ‘Lympstone Blues’ caused 215 Tp to display ‘insufficient enthusiasm and dedication’ during the first gym session of the week. Needless to say, the PTIs were more than capable of getting the required work rate out of us.  After this swift lesson the week continued in the right direction.

The main event of the week was Exercise FIRST STEP, which was primarily aimed at teaching us how to survive in the field, from erecting basic shelters to cooking and field hygiene. For most these were completely new skills which resulted in a few floppy ponchos and some tepid rations.

The week, like most at CTC, was over almost as soon as it began. It is apparent that the troop now knows the level expected from each individual and the importance of maintaining this level.  We are also beginning to understand that second thoughts and injuries may be part of the process and are there to be overcome, often through the constant humour that is now evident after every occasion and which we know we will need to succeed.


Week 5 for 215 Tp was over almost before it began. The initial part of the week saw the whole troop completing their weapon handling tests on the SA80 rifle.  This was combined with a rope session that should have been labelled ‘Climb until you die’.  This session was harder than anything most of the troop had ever done – the end results were all of us improving our climbing technique, some bulging forearms, and a little bit of vomit.

The main part of Week 5 was Exercise QUICK COVER, which allowed us to practice our camouflage technique and start building our soldiering skills. This included fire and movement, blank firing, fuelled by heaps of aggression.  All the skills were taught in a unique way from the training team, which allowed us to learn and have a good laugh at the same time.  Ex QUICK COVER gave the troop the experience that they signed up for – mud, fighting, and yomping.  The end result was a troop on their way to learning skills of a Royal Marine and becoming so tired that normal conversation was a thing of the past. The end of the week was filled with rumours from the ‘nod vine’ reaching extreme limits (the nod vine occurs when a recruit suggests or overhears something that then becomes accepted as fact, resulting in confusion and often unnecessary panic).

Families’ Day happened on Friday and it showed the daily goings on at CTC for recruits’ families. More importantly it allowed 215 Troop the chance to attempt a display of precise drill routine, immaculate accommodation, and, most importantly, we could mesmerise the crowd with our new Spartan like physiques in the gymnasium.

This week has flown past, and been rewarding for most as we have learnt an immense amount of new skills and are continuing through training.


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