213 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 19-20
1. 15th February – Monday. This week saw the amalgamation of both 212 and 213 Troops, to the 48 recruit strong 213. Both troops had their reservations about the merge, as strong bonds had been made after the trials and tribulations of the previous 18 weeks of recruit training, but all involved showed cheerfulness in the face of adversity and got about the task of learning new names and faces and integrating with new peers.
2. 16th February – Tuesday. “Crash week” for 213, and Bottom Field sessions would bring their fitness and skills levels to a new peak in time for Bottom Field passout in 1 weeks’ time.
3. 17th February – Wednesday. Alongside the intense phys, 213 were introduced to the General Purpose Machine Gun (referred to as “The Gun”), and spent afternoon in the weapons stances learning to handle the new weapon system.
4. 18th February – Thursday. The troop were quick to pick up the new drills and the week culminated with an enjoyable Live firing shoot at the Straight Point Ranges, with what is a battle winning weapon. The troop had a physically challenging week, however after digging deep and impressing the PTI, they can attack Bottom Field Passout on Monday with confidence.
5. 22nd February – Monday. 213 had an extremely successful outing on Bottom Field this morning, with all but 1 of the troop cracking the Bottom Field passout-which was the troop’s biggest physical challenge so far. It is a huge relief to all to know that the next time we will be on the Bottom Field will be in preparation for our final Commando Tests in week 30.
6. 23rd February – Tuesday. The troop were up until the small hours of the night preparing drill uniforms, “bulling” boots and revising their Royal Marine Corps history, ready for this morning’s adjutants inspection inside the drill shed. With almost 50 recruits on parade, it took a considerable amount of time for the whole troop to be individually inspected and quizzed on their knowledge of the Corps. Although the troop were well turned out and had put a great deal of effort into their presentation, due to one too many “strikes”, the troop as a whole failed the inspection, with several individuals required to re-parade this evening.
7. 24th February – Wednesday. Our “Blues” fitting today was a welcome reminder of how the end is almost in sight for 213.
This sentiment was repeated during our Drill session where we learned and practiced various drill movements that would be used in our passing out parade in a few weeks’ time. The evening was spent preparing and packing our field kit for Ex HOLDFAST.
8. 25th February – Thursday. After deploying to Woodbury Common first thing for Ex HOLDFAST, the troop established a decent harbour location and moved out on patrol to seek out and engage a live enemy. It was the first time that the newly formed troop had operated in its new sections, and it was positive to see how quickly relationships had been formed, and how well the sections had gelled. After a series of assaults on different enemy positions, the troops were delivered a full set of orders by the Troop Commander, detailing a night attack for the early hours.
9. 26th February – Friday. After a very successful night attack, in which the troop assaulted an enemy position using Night Vision equipment. The CBRN (chemical, Biological, Radioactive and Nuclear warfare) instructors then arrived to put us through a mock gas attack, to ensure we were
all capable of conducting the correct drills when using our respirator and chemical warfare suits. The troop then Yomped back to camp from Woodbury with full field kit.
213 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 21
1. 29th February – Monday. A day of lectures with the Assault Engineer instructors, learning how to construct a variety of different defences out of razor and barbed wire, as well as practical lessons in filling sandbags and constructing sandbag walls and other styles of defensive positions.
After lunch we were taught the equipment used and the methods for what to do if you should be unfortunate enough to find yourself caught up in a minefield! Using the PMEK (personal mine extraction kit), we were made to carry out the drills and crawl across an area of sandpit, checking for dug-in mines, and reacting accordingly when we found them with our prodders.
2. 1st March – Tuesday. Today was the start of Ex URBAN WARRIOR, the troop’s introduction to urban warfare and operating inside buildings. A lot of skills and techniques were demonstrated to us by the PW’s (Platoon Weapons Instructors) on how to correctly move through a building as a “Stack” of men, and how to effectively clear rooms and buildings of different shapes and sizes.
We also practiced gaining entry to a building by knocking the door of its hinges using a Police style “enforcer”. A timed race between the 5 biggest (and potentially most “Solid”) recruits in the troop vs. the 5 smallest demonstrated that correct technique proves more effective than pure brute force when it comes to breaking through a door, as the small recruits won by a considerable amount of time!
3. 2nd March – Wednesday. A morning spent with the Assault Engineers learning how to identify ground sign and how to recognise mines and IEDSs at the AE’s compound. The afternoon was back into the MUC (Modern Urban Combat) compounds for lessons and practical’s on operating in corridors and hallways and also room entry using different types of grenades was enjoyed by all. We were also introduced to “Simunition”, which were paintball style rounds fired through the SA-80 rifle. The Troop were back at the compound at night to practice the drills and techniques in the dark using night vision-which added an extra element of difficulty to the serials.
4. 3rd March – Thursday. The final day of training with the PW’s we were able to put all of the weeks skills and drills into practice, and in our sections work our way through the various rooms of the compounds, confronting a variety of different scenario’s and taking on any enemy threats that we encountered. The importance of IBT (initiative based tactics) became clear, as any member of the team can find themselves the first to see and have to deal with a threat, and to have to make an instant decision as to what action to take. The evening began with a set of full orders for a troop night attack on a complex of compounds inside of Norton Manor camp (the home of 40 Cdo). After a short drive we arrived at the camp (this was the first opportunity that many of us had had to see inside of a Marines Base) and it was encouraging to think some of us could be based here in just a few more weeks of hard work!
5. 4th March – Friday. After an hours sleep the Troop were ready to move to the Line of Departure and start the night attack on the enemy compounds. Using NVG’s the troop moved through their pre-determined objectives and engaged and successfully defeated an enemy force, and secured the compounds. It was a successful and very rewarding end to a good week of training. The Troop returned to CTC and spent the rest of the day de-servicing kit and weapons, and preparing for deploying on ex VIOLENT ENTRY next week.
213 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 22
1. 7th March – Monday. After loading all ammunition stores and Bergan’s ready for deploying on Ex VIOLENT ENTRY, the remainder of the day was spent in lectures learning various skills that would be practiced during the 6 day exercise in Wales. A 3 hour coach journey to Sennybridge training area was followed by an arduous night yomp with full kit across difficult terrain. After establishing a harbour in a woodblock we grabbed an hour’s sleep before sunrise greeted us.
2. 8th March – Tuesday. The day began by putting the finishing touches to the harbour area and then heading out in our sections to conduct recce’s of Cileni Village, which would eventually become our objective for a troop level night attack. After returning in our sections from our individual tasking, we constructed an accurate model put and reported back to the Troop Commander our findings and recommendations for the night attack. In the early hours of the following morning we put our recently learned M.U.C. skills into practice and assaulted the village of Cileni with each section responsible for clearing its own allocated buildings of the enemy fighters. The remainder of the night was spent fortifying our newly taken buildings, filling sandbags and barricading windows and doorways, all under a heavy snowfall.
3. 9th March – Wednesday. The snow ceased and the sun came out and 213 faced another day defending Cileni village from the fictitious enemy, “B.I.F.,” whose intent was to recapture the village. Vehicle checkpoints were established on either sides of the village and each member of the Troop took turns in dealing with a variety of different scenarios. That night 2 sections went out to recce possible ambush sites whilst the remainder of the troop maintained the security of Cileni by way of standing patrols.
4. 10th March – Thurdsay. The Troop were given orders to take down their defences of the building and were issued an additional 3 days of rations and a resupply of ammunition. It then set out on a yomp across country with full kit to a woodblock that we would be conducting a troop ambush against an enemy force. After hasty orders we got into position and on the arrival of an enemy vehicle and patrolling soldiers the Toop opened up with every weapon system it had. With such a massive rate of fire, no one was getting out of the killing zone. Next up was a yomp with our field kit and the addition of a General Purpose Machine Gun per section, as well as several hundred 7.62mm link, radio batteries – taking the weight up. The challenging route took us across the Sennybridge training area for the whole day and into the night, and would unfortunately lead to the demise of several members of the Troop.
5. 11th March – Friday. After a set of hasty orders from the Troop Commander, the Troop conducted a clearance of a woodblock we were to use as a harbour. It was 213’s first full FIWAF (Fighting In Woods And Forrest) against an enemy force. It was a hoofing serial that the troop embarked on with bags of enthusiasm and aggression. The afternoon we were engaged in occupying and establishing a quality harbour and readying a model pit with night screens ready for orders from the Troop Commander relating to assaulting our next objective.
6. 12th March – Saturday. The troop spent the day conducting a variety of different tasks; including constructing and operating from OP’s (Observation Post), and also completing a recce on enemy’s various locations, reporting on enemy activity. All in preparation for the final assault that saw the Troop clear through the abandoned village we had been over watching for the 12h.
7. 13th March – Sunday. On returning to camp first thing this morning we spent the remainder of the day unpacking stores and de-servicing exercise equipment from Ex VIOLENT ENTRY.
213 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 23
1. 14th March – Monday. Today the troop nervously awaited the results following Ex Violent Entry. Unfortunately several individuals were unsuccessful, but those who passed packed for 3 day Adventure Training. The day was also spent cleaning the various weapon systems used on Ex Violent Entry.
2. 15th March – Tuesday. After a short drive we arrived at a small fishing Village which was the start of our first day at Adventure Training. We unloaded the 2 man ocean kayaks and were taught basic skills that would aid us in our days paddling. After a leisurely trip down river, we were soon out at sea and kayaking into white water and big waves. We were introduced to “rockhopping,” which involved manoeuvring our kayaks through gaps in boulders and breaking waves. One of the kayaks pairs soon found themselves practicing the capsize drill after taking a big hit from a wave. We ended a good day by climbing up a 15 metre water tower and jumping off.
3. 16th March – Wednesday. Mountain biking was today’s AT activity and it began with a team building/problem solving serial out on the moor, which was quickly accomplished using some unorthodox recruit logic and brute force. The mountain biking took us across Dartmoor and into surrounding countryside and was a full day of C.V. That was both enjoyable yet physically a bit of a hang out.
4. 17th March – Thursday. Day three of adventure training began with a cheeky fast paced run in PT rig up to a tor on Dartmoor and back. Coasteering along the Torquay Cliffs was today’s activity and it was enjoyable by all, however, it served well to push everyone to the limits of their comfort zones. Big swell made some of the cliff jumps and open water swims very challenging, but everyone agreed on how rewarding it was to have completed the activity. The troop returned to CTC this evening refreshed after enjoying an exciting and challenging week.
5. 18th March – Friday. The troop departed on a well-deserved Easter leave period.
213 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 24
1. 4th April – Monday. The troops first day back after Easter leave began with a 6 mile “best effort” booted run on the local roads, to blow out the cobwebs. Judging by the sound effects and amount of vomit it would appear that the session had the effect that the PTI was after!! The remainder of the day was spent learning a new weapon system, the LMG (Light Machine Gun) also known as the Minime. The troop absorbed the information well and was quick to master the drills, due to its similarity to the GPMG we were trained on before Easter leave.
2. 5th April – Tuesday. Today started with a mammoth 4 hour phys session in the form of our introduction to the Endurance Course. After an initial 4 mile run from CTC to Woodbury Common, we were reacquainted with the obstacles of the Endurance Course (that we hadn’t encountered since passing our PRMC’s) including the Sheep Dip, Peter’s Pool and the Smartie Tubes.
After 2 complete run-throughs of the 2 mile course, and a variety of challenging Duck walks, crawls, drags and carries thrown in for good measure, the troop ran the 4 miles back to camp (On weary legs in some cases). The afternoon was spent in lectures with the Troop Commander, on Amphibious Operations in preparation for next week’s Amphib week at HMS Raleigh and at Jupiter Point.
3. 6th April – Wednesday. This morning began with lectures on the UN and NATO organisations and the work they do around the world. We also learned about current threats to national and international security and it affects us as Royal Marines. A short introduction to the Tarzan Assault course and the 30 ft wall was enjoyed by all, and the realisation of just what a hangout this particular Commando test will be for us in a few weeks’ time. Having our photos taken for our Royal Navy I.D cards was another reminder of how we can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel!
4. 7th April – Thursday. Today started with the 12 mile load carry, a criteria test that would push the troop’s physical and mental robustness. The troop performed very well and after 12 miles the whole troop was still together, a very good result considering the intensity and amount of phys that we have already had this week. The afternoon completed out LMG training, with stoppage drills being the afternoon’s subject matter. Once again the Troop took the information in well and everyone picked up the drills with no problems.
5. 8th April – Friday. A morning at Yeovilton to complete the HUET (Helicopter Underwater Escape Training) was successfully and uneventfully completed by all, and the afternoon was spent revising and practicing LMG drills in preparation for Mondays Weapon Handling Test.
213 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 25
1. 11th April – Monday. The troop has skills at arms lessons this morning in the weapons stances, covering further stoppages for the LMG, and was also an opportunity to get some last minute practice on all of the drills before this afternoon’s weapon handling tests. The afternoon saw the whole troop passing their weapon handling tests without any issues.
2. 12th April – Tuesday. Another 2 weapon systems were added to the troop’s arsenal today, in the form of the ASM (Anti-Structure Munitions) and the N-LAW (New Gen Light Anti-Armour Weapon). Both are shoulder launched weapon systems, weighing around 22lbs, that although we won’t be live firing, will be additional equipment and weight for when we deploy on Ex Final Thrust in a weeks’ time.
3. 13th April – Wednesday. A confirmation shoot at Straight Point Ranges using the Light Machine Gun was enjoyed by the troop today. This was followed by lessons in alternative firing positions (including engaging aircraft) and everyone’s favourite pastime- weapon cleaning.
4. 14th April – Thursday. A highly anticipated day on the training programme took us to the Royal Navy’s “Jupiter Point” on the River Tamar, on the Devon/Cornwall border. The day started off with a trip into the oggin (water) where we mastered the IRC (Inflatable Raiding Craft) capsize drills under the tutorage of the LC’s. After being introduced to 3 of the Corps vessels (The IRC-Inflatable Raiding Craft, the ORC-Offshore Raiding Craft and the LCVP-Landing Craft Vehicle and Personnel), the remainder of the day and into the night was spent perfecting boat to boat cross-decking drills and beach landings using all three of the landing craft (LCVP, IRC and ORC). An exciting and memorable days training with the LC’s was had by all.
5. 15th April – Friday. An arduous day of training for 213 Troop, with a morning at the China Fleet Country Club! Sauna’s, Jacuzzi’s and good food was the order of the day. It was a good time to reflect on what the troop had achieved to get this far through training, and look ahead to the next few weeks of hard work.