215 Troop Week 17-23


  1. The week started off with a bottom field session in which consist of 15Ibs plus rifle carrying out one rope climb, run through of the assault course, 200m fireman’s carry and a full regain over the tank. We also carried out some fighting patrol lectures, which gave us a heads up before carrying them out on exercise. On Tuesday we had a day of signals training, carrying out an assessment called exercise Walk About which entailed walking around camp getting to 10 check points and giving different things to report back to head quarters.
  2. This week we have been to Stanley Barracks in Bovington, for our Viking training, something which we have all been looking forward to for a good few weeks. Most of us have never even seen a Viking   or its capabilities (Viking is an all-terrain vehicle that can swim and has a very low ground pressure so is able to go on snow, it consists of two cabs and can carry up to 8 men) so it was a great insight into seeing some of the amphibious capabilities of the Corps.
  1. The first day on arriving consist of a wide range of presentations in which involved what the Viking is, the capabilities, safety features, operating procedures as well as the equipment such as the Shark re-breather (system used to give passengers longer to escape should the Viking sink). After a long morning of presentations that made us realise how versatile the Viking actually is, going across tough terrain such as sand, mud and even over water. In the evening we conducted getting out and entry of the Viking drills for dropping off/ pick up drills as well as escape drills that will be later practised on the lake. We learnt how to operate around the Viking safely as well as professionally at all times. This involved getting out and in the Viking as fast/ efficient as possible in different formations such as the arctic huddle. Overall this was good day and introduction to the Vikings and was looking forward to the rest of the week.
  1. Viking training for today started with us all being trained on how to use the Shark rebreather. This is a device which allows you to take multiple breaths underwater and used in a worst case scenario of a Viking full of troops sinking when out on the water. It was strange to get used to but after the training on dry land we were all keen to get underwater and try it out for real.
  1. Next up was using the Shark rebreather in the pool where we really felt the benefits. Using only the air in our lungs carrying out 4 tests which included an confidence test, another one with head underwater, endurance test which was using the Shark rebreather for 45 seconds underwater. I found this strange to start with however with guidance from the instructors it was easily and quickly mastered ready for the final test in which involved pull yourself across a rope in which was underwater to make sure you can still operate and escape the Viking holding your breath and being assisted if needed by the rebreather. Later this day we went to Yeovill for our second time in training although to conduct Viking dunker escape drills. This started off with a rope assault course like the one we conducted in the pool however was slightly longer and deeper, the ropes were 3 metres deep and as before you had to hold your breath pulling yourself across the rope and using the rebreather for assistance. I found this difficult at first as the depth of the ropes meant the pressure on the rebreather was greater so you had to make sure you breathed in and out harder to ensure you got enough air. This shortly followed by the dunker drills that involved a range of test to make sure we can fully operate in the Viking that includes escaping if the Viking floods or even sink in an unlikely situation. This was a really good afternoon carrying out the test, this also involved making sure you can fully work the specialised life jacket on the last test after escaping from the Viking.

The final day was what we were all looking forward to in which was getting drove around in the Vikings at high speeds then carrying out the entry and embankment drills as taught on day 1, followed by the lake crossing and escaping from it. The river crossing consist of the Viking crossing the lake at 3mph and then having to escape out the hatch and carry out the correct drills in case in emergency it does happen when out on patrol. This is taught so you have basic knowledge of how to operate in the Viking, and how to escape in the unlikely situation of it sinking.




  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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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. 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.
  1. 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 the next exercise, Ex VIOLENT ENTRY and of course Easter leave!


  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 (very sore) 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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 morning’s session would be a lot easier as we had worked hard for him, so he was going to work hard for us.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 and get on the range Thursday.  Everyone passed their weapons handling test.
  5. 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.
  • WEEK 20
  • Week 20 is the week we usually complete the bottom field passout but the vast majority of the troop was fortunate enough to pass on week 19 just before we went on leave and only one member of the troop needing a rerun which he would complete this week.


  1. Tuesday started early with a drill inspection by the First Drill.  The inspection went well for the majority of the Troop however some were invited to carry out another inspection at 2000hrs; which then went well.
  1. 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 215 Troop which keeps us all going.  The fitting of our blues made everything seem so much more real and actually it won’t be long until we are wearing them on our passout !
  1. Aside from the Bottom field and drill the aim of the week was to prepare ourselves for Ex HOLDFAST, a CBRN exercise and also a revision exercise for the upcoming test Ex VIOLENT ENTRY.  On exercise we spent our time covering FIWAF (fighting in woods and forests) and other section and troop level tasks.  It was also an opportunity to practice our CBRN skills putting on our masks and CBRN suits in as quickly a time as possible.  Overall it was a good week but we are all eager to finish training!


 WEEK 21


  1. Week 21 promised to be a good one and it delivered.  This week focused on CQB or close quarter battle, which centers on room/building clearances.  We started off by learning the mechanics of how to do it by dry run-throughs at a slow pace so we could retain the information being passed onto us by the training team.  After this we used the facility on CTC, which is built up with different rooms, and corridors that we might encounter on operations.  This is when communication came into play and every person on the attack needed to know what to do so that we could clear it as smoothly as possible.  Every man is a link man.
  1. After a few run-throughs we were then issued Simunition rounds (which are non-lethal paint rounds) and practice grenades.  We then had to clear the compound by shooting targets and clearing rooms with grenades.  Everyone in the troop picked up CQB pretty quickly which meant we could move onto more advanced stuff.
  2. The week culminated in an attack of the Afghan Village complex at 40 Commando.  It was a black light attack, which made things harder as you have to use night vision which can become steamed up and create tunnel vision, we had to overcome these issues by utilizing the skills taught to us at the beginning of the week.
  3. Considering we only had 4 days to understand and practice a considerable amount of skills, the attack on Thursday night went well and was a great way to conclude an interesting and challenging week.  On the whole this was a very enjoyable week, this is the stuff we all joined up to do.  Now onto Ex VILOENT ENTRY where these skills will be used again when attacking villages and buildings.
  • WEEK 22


  1. The 22nd week of training was met with a strong mixture of both nerves and excitement from the Troop as we prepared to embark on our biggest challenge yet, Ex VIOLENT ENTRY.  With it being the penultimate exercise and the huge reputation it has on the Nod vine (rct gossip network) we were all eager to put all our skills acquired over the past few weeks into action and make the exercise a good one.
  2. After much preparation and checking of kit on the Sunday night, the week commenced with our first set of Orders delivered by the RMYO15 Batch early Monday morning.  After some brief last minute checking of kit we embarked on the coach to our first Area of operations; Caerwent a disused navy ammo dump in south Wales.  From here we commenced on a brief insertion yomp to rendezvous with the RMYOs and to get stuck into the exercise. Our first action was to be an advance to contact were we would engage enemy situated in a wood block and then proceed to flush them out of a small building situated nearby, however before we could achieve this we were contacted from an adjacent set of small structures. Under the YO’s command we successfully repelled the enemy attack and returned to our harbour position.
  3. Throughout the first night we worked solidly to fortify or positions and shells scrapes. By the morning our combined efforts left us with a strong set of initial defences to repel potential attacks, however, as always there was still plenty of room of improvement.
  4. The second day we set out to execute our original set of orders, having cleared any potential threats from the buildings en route the previous day we reached our objective unhindered.  After a cautious and stealthy advance we contacted the enemy hidden in the wood block, the action went smoothly with ourselves and the YOs, we worked well as a combined Troop, everyone had a firm grasp of the mechanics of the FIWAF action and although not perfect, the personal skills and drills where generally of a good standard.
  5. On the second night the fortifying of the harbour position continued, with shell scrapes finally deep enough and the trenches of a satisfactory standard we began to 50/50 our work routine.  Just as the first of us began to get in our bags for our first bit of head down in nearly 48hours, we were engaged from enemy approximately 200m off the trenches, after winning the subsequent fire fight and with the enemy in the retreat so began our morning routines in anticipation for the days orders.
  1. Day three featured another advance to contact through the different buildings and structures strewn throughout the AO to our main objective, a large building we were to secure, fortify and defend from future attacks.  Not long into our initial advance we had our first contact from the buildings in the area, which together with the YOs we once again successfully combated.  Not long had we continued our advance we were again contacted, this process continued almost without cease to our main objective.  Although the near constant fighting all day was no doubt hard graft we found it thoroughly enjoyable and a great opportunity to demonstrate we could soldier at the standard required of us.
  2. At this point we left the Royal Marine Young Officer 15 Batch and moved to our own harbour position.  After a few hours of work routine and stealing a couple hours of precious head down we were met by our Corporals in our harbour area.  With each section being led by their own corporal we were given a set of QBOs to engage and eliminate an enemy High value target situated in a nearby building complex.  Although a massive challenge, operating under strict black light conditions and with stealth being paramount we did our best to put our CQB skills into practice.  Without a doubt one of the most difficult actions but certainly an absolute highlight of the exercise so far.
  3. Having returned to the harbour and completed battle preparation, settling back into work routine we continued through until the morning at which point over the crackle of the radio we received our set of co-ordinates for extraction to our next Area of Operation, the dreaded Sennybridge Training Area.  Having yomped to our extraction point we again grabbed what precious head down we could on the bumpy TCV’s.  On arrival in Sennybridge I am sure that I speak for the rest of lads that we have never seen such a bleak and forbidding place, nothing but grey sky, rough moorland hills and pitch black coniferous woodblocks as far as the eye could see. By this point the rigours of sleep deprivation, yomping and contacts were beginning to take their toll but embracing the determination mind set we cracked on with our next yomp through Sennybridge, eventually arriving at a large dense woodblock, our potential harbour, however our recce team was contacted.  After a successful break contact we countered with a troop level FIWAF attack, successfully ridding the position of any remaining hostiles.  At this point we moved to a parallel woodblock, previously cleared and secured by friendly forces.
  4. In the wood block we established our harbour and commenced routine, after a brief kit muster in the morning we set off on our next yomp, by this point a lot of the lads where really feeling the strain but again we dug out and the majority of the lads made it in to the next location in the early evening no issues.  Here our sections where given our next tastings, 1 section completing a route recce of our next objective, 2 section maintaining harbour security and 3 section executing a 24hour OP overlooking Cellini village, our next objective.  Another highlight here being from here we had the opportunity to watch 42 Commando execute a Brigade level attack on the village, air support and Vikings all involved.
  5. On Saturday evening came the order to collapse the OP, returning to the harbour all sections gathered in and listen attentively to our final set of orders for the main attack of the exercise, capture and secure a portion of Cellini village, unsuccessfully cleared despite 42 Commandos efforts the previous night.  After a rigorous yomp through the night to the FRV by the early morning the troop where in the final positions around the objective poised and itching to get stuck in.
  6. The following attack went well with buildings being cleared methodically, fire support coming in from adjacent buildings and generally working well together under our Corporals command at Troop level.  Again I’m sure I speak for all the lads when I say the attack was one of the highlights of training so far and despite our exhaustion we dug out and really enjoyed it.  After swiftly clearing up what must have been thousands of brass blank casings and a good dozen or so smoke grenades we began our final yomp to our extraction point.  After these painful few last Km’s we were greeted by the all to welcome sight of our coach waiting to whisk us back to Lympstone, safe to say we were all out for the count almost the moment we sat down!
  7. To conclude, Week 22 was easily the most challenging to date but equally one of the most enjoyable weeks of training so far being our first opportunity to practice soldiering at a good level for a relatively significant period of time in the field.
  • WEEK 23


  1. This week saw 215 Troop travel to Okehampton Battle Camp for our Resource and Initiative Training.  An opportunity to relax and bond after the previous weeks arduous work on Ex VIOLENT ENTRY.  We arrived at our destination midafternoon on the Monday, greeted friendly by the head of the following activities we participated in.  He briefed us on the week to come and taught us some basic knot tying skills before an early night’s sleep.
  1. On Tuesday the Troop split into our sections to conduct one element of the training each day: coasteering, mountain biking, and sea kayaking.  Coasteering started with a journey to the Torquay coast line, where the R&I leaders took a head on approach to the days challenge.  Continuously climbing the rock faces before the rapid descent of jumping into the sea, we navigated our way 700 meters before being presented our first challenge -a traverse- the aim was to secure a rope to get all members across in the quickest time possible.  Once the task was completed the day ended with a climb and walk back to our original starting point.
  1. Day Two of Adventure Training saw 2 Section conduct a 28km cross country mountain bike route, Up and down challenging terrain in increasingly worse and snowy conditions.  We were presented with three challenges; first to retrieve and unlock all pieces of the bikes from a marked area of which we could not enter.  Next was a time trial to see who could complete a short cross country circuit the fastest, and lastly getting all members of the team and equipment into a lower path from a bridge using what equipment we had.
  1. The final day of activities meant we were left with sea kayaking as our final element. We followed the coast line tackling rocks and caves to test our skills, before being faced with three further challenges.  The first to get the whole team and equipment up and over a rock jeti, then a kilometer all out team effort race for time and finally a capsize and recover drill from our kayaks.
  1. As with everything there had to be winners, 2 section were for their efforts in securing the fastest times in completing the weeks challenges but the benefits of the week were shared by all.  Thoughts were now turned to the long weekend ahead of us where many planned to return home before returning to CTC, motivated to finish the weeks that lay ahead.

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