215 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 18
1. After a relatively “chilled out” week at Bovington conducting Exercise Viking Break 215 Troop spent their weekend on shore leave mentally preparing to face the upcoming potentially arduous week.
2. On Monday 7th of March 215 Troop deployed to Broughton Burrows on a five day exercise known as Ex Second Empire. However, before leaving on the coach it was decided that extra fitness would not go a miss so as a result we were subjected to one last bottom field session before departing. The coach journey lasted approximately 45 minutes which gave a lot of the Troop a chance to rest up before exercise which almost all of them took knowing the little chance of rest they would get in the up and coming week. Upon arrival the troop had a quick march to where the team base would be situated and after putting up the tents we were reminded of the consequences of failing to apply camouflage correctly. We set off to our harbour location before splitting off into our sections to practice section attacks. We were lucky enough to watch a demonstration from 42 Commando of how a section attack should look and then we went off to try and replicate this. We were able to put into practice the theory we had learnt in the classroom the week before and refer back to mnemonics such as PRESAR, PAWPERSO and PACESDO. To start with the drills were done dry and when confidence began to build then blank rounds were used. After the troop got the hang of this, enemy was then included. This resulted in a lot of errors due to miscommunication; however the pick-ups were quickly rectified. It didn’t take long for everyone to realise that section battle drills were no walk in the park and were a serious hang out.
3. On top of this Ex Second Empire consisted of a lot of other serials such as Troop attacks, harbour drills, recce patrols and Troop level ambushes. This provided the Troop with a practical insight into how it would work for real at a unit.
4. On the final day of the exercise 215 Troop were extracted by Merlin to where they thought was Lympstone and the end of the exercise, however when it landed in Woodbury common and we were told the exercise would last another day the look on some faces was priceless. We then proceeded to yomp to our harbour location which turned out to be a yomp back to CTC, confused we then got told it was a training technique so we didn’t rely on transport and extractions and if something didn’t go to plan then to just crack on.
5. After de-servicing kit on Friday night 215 had a bottom field session Saturday morning, everyone still drained from the exercise managed to pull it out of the bag and received a chuck up from the PTI. At the end of the week the entire troop agreed that this was the best exercise yet. Now all focus from the troop is diverted towards violent entry and of course Easter leave!
215 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 19
1. With Easter leave soon approaching and having completed the final exercise before leave morale was high at the start of week 19. This being said we knew we still had another big week ahead of us with bottom field pass out being brought forward so we had the best chance at completing it. This meant we went straight from exercise into double bottom field the following day without any rest as part of crash week. As you can imagine most people’s feet were hanging out from exercise so running around the field was interesting to say the least. Despite being fatigued people still managed to perform and were shocked at how their bodies were still performing having so little sleep and rest the previous week.
2. After completing the first day of crash week we had the rest of the day to rest before getting back into it the following day. Sunday morning, we had a lecture on fighting in built up areas with the Troop Commander which everyone found interesting as this is the environment we are most likely to end up in. Following that we went straight into bottom field and did a full run through with 21lb and weapon for the first time to gauge where the troop was at in regards to fitness levels. After the PTI recognised the weak points in the troop he created a circuit around the weaker links. Following bottom field, we got our hands on the GPMG for the first time and went through the basics, NSP’s, stripping the weapon and characteristics of the weapon.
3. Monday morning started with a triple bottom field session which was designed to get our body used to working past its limit and hopefully make bottom field pass out seem easier. Most people performed really well on this session and the PTI gave us a chuck up and assured us that Tuesday mornings session would be a lot easier as we had worked hard for him, so he was going to work hard for us.
4. Tuesday morning soon approached and true to his word the PTI gave us an easier session which involved a run through of the obstacles clean fatigue and a long stretch to get our bodies prepared for bottom field pass out the following day. We finished off the day with more GPMG lessons showing us how to deal with stoppages and building us up to weapons handling standard.
5. Wednesday morning began with a big breakfast in preparation for bottom field passout. Everyone was nervous as we all knew we were capable of passing but it only took one slip to fail. That being said only one person failed and everyone got personal bests around the assault course and it was a good performance all round. After we got the tick in the box it was straight back into weapons training so we could get our weapons handling test done so we could get on the range Thursday. Everyone passed their weapons handling test.
6. Thursday began with the GPMG shoot which everyone was looking forward to. We departed for straight point, got the range set up and completed the introductory shoot. It felt great to fire a gun which you could feel could do some real damage. However, I can imagine it is better to fire than carry on a Yomp! After a quick sweep of the range we headed back to camp with morale flying high as Easter leave had finally arrived and training had now progressed to the stage that we all joined for.