211 TROOP: RECRUIT TROOP DIARY WEEK 17.
- The main focus this week was to be using the Royal Marine’s unique amphibious vehicle platform of choice, the Viking. The Troop set off early for Bovington Camp, many members of our ranks were looking more than a little nervous given the underwater serials that were to come (clearly the amphibious nature of Marines doesn’t extend to all members of 211 Tp!).
- We were introduced to the Viking simulator and made very aware of the escape hatches, these were clearly going to be important given the heavily armoured vehicle swims! The simulator is designed to represent a Viking that has taken onboard water and is sinking, the idea is that we could then practice our escape drills. We may now be in Week 17 of training but we are not yet amphibious enough to be able to breath underwater so that ability was enabled by a ‘shark re-breather set’. This is a bag that is strapped to your waist and recycles your breath for 3 full breaths. By this point those ranks that were nervous before leaving CTCRM were now petrified!
- Before we attempted the full run through, we were allowed to carry out rehearsals which helped to settle nerves. The rehearsals themselves meant high levels of concentration and effort but fortunately we were rewarded with early finishes, this allowed us to catch up on some much needed sleep! The rest was much needed as we moved into the pool to practice with our re-breather sets.
- As the week drew to a close and we had completed all lessons and rehearsals, it was finally time to attempt the simulator for real (the nerves were back once again!). We began by being dunked down to 3m before carrying out the drills and then escaping through the hatch. This was carried out with little difficulty but the drills did not stop there. We then carried them out with the Viking flipped onto both a 90 & 120 degree angle and then in the dark, this certainly made this a little more challenging!
- The week culminated with a more ‘hands on’ experience in the Viking where we were driven around the training area and conducted a real life river crossing. We might now have mastered the escape drills but nobody was keen to put them to the test for real! Unfortunately being able to swim does not mean the vehicles clean themselves to our last lesson on the Viking of the week was on ‘carrying out vehicle maintenance’ (cleaning every inch of the vehicle!). It was a great week and has shown us what a valuable asset the Viking is to 3 Commando Brigade
211 TROOP: RECRUIT TROOP DIARY WEEK 18.
- This was a week that all members of the Troop were looking forward to, Ex SECOND EMPIRE. Not only was it a much more tactically challenging and testing exercise, it was also the last week of a long term and it would be two weeks of glorious Christmas leave upon completion!
- The pace of the exercise was challenging as we moved from challenging section attacks onto more complex Troop level serials such as the advance to contact. We were further challenged by the not so glorious December weather as well as some fairly cheeky yomps!
- The exercise evolved into some new and interesting evolutions for the Troop such as recce patrols of enemy positions and creating OP’s (observation points – covert positions from which to observe the enemy). This culminated in a night attack onto the enemy positions. It was rewarding for the Troop to have been able to see their efforts on recces used during the attack.
- There was a very quick turn around upon completion of the exercise as there was much to do before we could depart on leave. However with plenty of cheerfulness in the face of adversity on display, the Recruits managed to crack the admin in time and departed for a much needed 2 weeks Christmas leave.
211 Tp – Week 20 Diary
“To the top….CLIMB!”
This was the day that the whole Troop had been waiting for for some time, the Bottom Field Pass Out. During Week 19 the whole Troop had performed well on our final run through and we felt confident before the big day. However this was not to be the case for 211 Troop as many of us did not perform and walked off the Bottom Field disappointed that we would have wait until our second attempt. As with everything at CTCRM, the pace of life does not stop for a setback and we soon forgot our disappointment as the day continued at the typical rapid pace…cheerfulness in the face of adversity was going to have to be the phrase of the week!
Tuesday started early with a drill inspection by the much respected (feard) First Drill. The inspection went well for the majority of the Troop however some were invited to carry out another inspection at 2000hrs (more cheerfulness in the face of adversity required). From there those that had already passed Bottom Field went to support the others on their second attempt, fortunately it was a much better performance with nearly all members of the Troop passing on their second attempt. It is good to see how close the Troop has bonded and how keen we are to everyone to succeed
The week continued with yet more drill and another fitting of our blues uniform. Whilst this can be tedious at times, it also reminds us that the end is in sight for the Recruits of 211 Troop which keeps us all going.
Aside from the Bottom Field Pass Out and drill, the other aim for the week was to learn about defensive positions and operating in a CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radioactive and Nuclear) environment. This culminated in exercise HOLD FAST on Woodbury Common at the end of the week. The Troop has to dig their own trenches and live in these (including time spent wearing a gas mask!) for over 48 hours. This was a short but tough exercise that culminated with an 8 mile yomp back to camp, what else would you rather do on your Saturday?!
211 Tp Diary – Week 21
After a busy weekend of de-servicing our personal kit and equipment after Ex HOLD FAST we were ready for what promised to be yet another intensive but interesting week on camp. The main focus of the week was on operating in an urban environment and in CQB (close quarter battle). This was new to the Troop and required a different level of tactical understanding and mindset to the soldiering we have performed so far in Recruit Training. To make things even more interesting, we learnt that we would be using simunition (like paintballing but for Royal Marines!).
The pace and complexity of operating in this environment meant it took the Troop a while to adjust and adapt our mindset from the conditions we are used to. However as the week progressed so did our skill set in CQB and we were operating more like a team. The Commando Mindset states that we will be, “the first to understand, the first to adapt, the first to respond and the first to overcome.” Slowly but surely, 211 Troop are beginning to adopt this mindset and our final lessons proved how much we had learnt throughout the week.
The week culminated in a raid onto the ‘Afghan compound’ at Norton Manor Camp, the base 40 CDO RM. Our orders had informed us that the enemy had infiltrated the camp and taken control of the compound, it was up to 211 Troop to take them back. The week’s learning was clearly not over as we learnt another valuable lesson, ‘the dislocation of expectation’ after our helicopter move was cancelled at the last minute and we instead deployed by coach. The raid was a good test of everything we had learnt throughout the week and some good intelligence was discovered on the enemy that 211 Troop will undoubtedly as we deploy on Ex VIOLENT ENTRY, our criteria exercise, next Week.