Week 5 saw 218 Troop embark on their longest Exercise yet, Ex QUICK COVER. During this Exercise, we would get to grips with camouflage and concealment as well as vital Close Quarter Combat Drills. The Monday Afternoon consisted of lessons in why things are seen which we then put to the test with camouflage and concealment in the prickly gorse that makes up the vast
majority of Woodbury Common! For a first attempt, we got stuck in with a lot of cam cream being applied for some individuals! Having been rolling in the Woodbury dirt most of the afternoon, we went to cleanse ourselves in Peters Pool as we conducted Wet and Dry routine. Luckily, the wind was on our side throughout the night which dried us off, Cpl Applegates words echoed in our ears; ‘remember gents – the wind is your friend!’.
With the rising of the Winter sun came our first Kit Muster of the exercise. Many ‘victims’ found their personal administration was not up to scratch and so were condemned to the flank (where those that have failed a particular serial go to have their names taken and by which the training team can identify where extra tuition may be required). After this, a variety of lessons were undertaken including a practical application of RTR – the method by which we react to being ambushed. During this serial, we were able to fire our weapons for the first time which added another level of realism to the training we were undertaking. Another night of Sentry followed with a few Recruits finding themselves literally sleeping under the stars due to awkward Bivi positioning! Another Kit Muster in the morning claimed a few more unfortunate souls. With the Flank now brimming with Recruits, those that had failed either inspection were tasked with refilling two jerry cans via a 200m relay – the task was short and sharp but capably reinforced why we need to be on top of our personal admin. After this, we undertook CQB lanes (Close Quarter Battle) where we had to patrol down a lane and react appropriately to targetry placed in pre set positions. The Troop really enjoyed this serial and undertook it with a lot of enthusiasm and controlled aggression.
Overall, Ex QUICK COVER has been an extremely positive experience for 218 Troop where a lot has been learnt in a short time. The main highlight was using blank ammunition and feeling the adrenaline coarse through our veins!
Thursday was spent preparing for a much anticipated Families Day and Weekends leave. After some very sketchy drill run throughs the night before, we had our final run through before parading ourselves for all our families to see. This went well, which gave us some confidence that we wouldn’t look completely useless later in the day! Succesfully completing the Drill sequence, we then moved onto what is arguably our strongest area, the gym, which thankfully passed with no major mishaps!
Feeling drained from the previous five weeks of training, we finally got to see our families and enjoy a weekend off at home, before returning on Sunday evening fully revitalised.
Week Six proved to be a steep learning curve for 218 Troop with long days of lectures in navigation and first aid. Initially, many minds in the Troop were blown by the amount of information that needed to be taken in on both navigations and first aid lectures. It appears that many members of the Troop are more kinaesthetic learners because we started to pick it up much quicker, the more hands on we got with the maps, protractors and compasses. During these periods, we looked at taking bearings as well as how to use the protractor to take extremely accurate bearings. Physical training this week has been hard even though we have had fewer sessions due to the amount of lectures being conducted. The Troop put in a strong effort with some lads making 17 separate rope climbs in one session!
Rct Papp has also been putting in the hard yards, conducting multiple extra curricular camp circuits to try and catch Rct Palmer!
Thursday was eagerly awaited by the whole Troop due to the Live Firing taking place as we conducted our introductory shoot on the 25 meter range on camp. Using the SA80A2, our personal weapon system, we each were given 50 rounds and conducted zeroing shoots as well as shoots from the prone, sitting, kneeling and standing positions.
With our weapons now zeroed and with some more practice, hopefully the groupings will become much smaller!
Additionally to all of our training, 218 Tp also had the honour of being Duty Troop (again!). Noone seemed to enjoy this necessary task very much, except for Rct Wyke who has volunteered his efforts every day to ensure the cleanliness standards of the Camp do not drop!
This weekend has been an enjoyable one with the majority of lads heading into town for a Brody’s breakfast. No one seemed fit for duty afterwards due to the amount eaten! Sunday has been a day of packing ready for Ex MASRSHALL STAR commencing tomorrow!