219 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 7
|1. Monday included the troop preparing for exercise Marshals Star. We spent the morning packing our rations into our bergans and a navigation lecture on setting bearings. That afternoon we learnt how to set up sentry post and had a lecture on night sights and how to observe an area.
2. Tuesday morning consisted of a kit master inspection. We then had a PT session which included hill sprints and drag races. That afternoon we learnt basic navigational skills and split off into our section to navigate a route. That night we were taken through what to do when you get bumped in the harbour position.
3. Wednesday: After being taught the routine for being contacted by the enemy in the harbour position early that morning we were bumped by the Corporals and had to put what we had been taught into practise. That morning we had another kit inspection. That day was spent learning how to cross tracks and roads using tactical methods. We then went into stalking; we had a lesson on the basics of stalking and then had to start a 100 metre stalk to a firing position without being spotted. We then went into a night navigational lecture and follow by a night navigational route in our sections concentrating on walking on a bearing.
4. Thursday consisted of a kit inspection in the morning packing all of the field equipment away followed by a 4 mile yomp back to camp, after unloading the waggon we had a IMF gym session and double swimming where we completed our BST tests. The night was spent deserving kit.
5. Friday. We had a locker inspection and a field kit muster on our beds. We then had first aid lectures on how to treat a casualty in a fire fight. We then had a swimming session followed by double IMF gym session which was a gym pass out run through.
219 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 8
- Monday: Week 8 started off with 219 troop practising drill for the their interval drill test, consisting of everything demonstrated on families day. Later that morning we had a 4 mile run on local roads, in boots for the first time. In the afternoon we had map reading revision on fixing positions. Which was followed by IMF(gym) it was a hard session none stop for 45 minutes preparing us for gym pass out.
- Tuesday: Tuesday started with RMCC (Royal Marines close-quarter combat) learning chokes and holds and also how to get out of chokes. Later we had a lecture on drink and drug abuse and the military’s rules regarding the substances. Finishing the day with first aid lectures covering circulation, breaks, burns and dislocations.
- Wednesday: after a late night working hard cleaning the morning started with the company commanders inspection of our accommodation, luckily we pasted. After our inspection we headed off camp to top field to do a circuit, working in threes doing sprints, holds and other exercises such as sit ups squats with our partners on our back and more. Finishing the day with 3hours drill again practising for our interval drill test.
- Thursday: the day started with a SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, escape) lecture preparing us for the later lecture in the day with mountain leaders (ML’s) On the Common. The ML’s showed us how to start fires, make shelters, navigate, find and make water safe to drink and finally what we should have in our survival tins for hunters moon our next exercise after Easter leave. All in all it was a very interesting day.
- Friday: Friday started with a history lesson on the Royal Marines from 1900-1939 learning about the boxer rebellion, the Boer war and ww1. After our history lesson we headed off to Woodbury common to do orienteering and line resections. Which is finding out your location on a map using 3 points of reference. For our orienteering we had to locate 6 checkpoints in a 5km radius and retrieve a stamp to show we had found the location. After everyone had finished we had a 4 mile walk back to camp. Finishing at the day with another history lesson covering
- Saturday: the morning consisted of drill with rifles for the first time and learning the correct positions to old and move the rifle into the shoulder. After this we had a gym session with a RMFA test which is a bleed test, push ups, press ups and pull ups. The same test all recruits have to take during their PRMC and at the start of training. Following this we had a relatively easy swim session helping us improve our hypoxic abilities. Finally finishing the day learning about the LSW (light support weapon). Which is accentually a longer SA80 the rifle all recruits are issued.
- Sunday: Again the day started with drill with our rifles this time learning how to change shoulders with which the rifle would rest and also going over what was learned on Saturday. Later we had a small test to see how much of training each recruit had picked up and remembered and also to see if people have been paying attention. Finally finishing the weekend with a first aid test on basic life support which everyone past.
219 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 9
1. Week 9 started out on the Monday with a timed 3 mile run in boots. The fact that gym pass out was at the end of the week focused everyone to push hard in order to get that last bit of fitness before the pass out itself. The troop also continued with medical training, with our test taking place this week also. We relearned what had been taught in previous weeks whilst learning new methods to, for example, stop a catastrophic bleed and how to give a casualty report. This training was very interesting and the importance of it was not lost on anyone.
2. Tuesday started with an early morning gym session. This session was very tough as the troop were pushed harder than ever before in the gym. However knowing Thursday was approaching and with it gym pass out (and Easter Leave!) made sure everyone gave 100%! Afterwards we had an hour swim session to aid recovery. Medical training continued with us revising all we’d learned to ensure a 100% pass rate for Wednesdays test.
3. On Wednesday we had an hour stretch session in the gym, followed by an easy swim session. The aim of both was to help us recover and make sure we were set and ready for gym pass out the following day! Our medical practical exams took place. Although there were a few nerves everyone passed first time and did quite well.
4. Thursday finally came around, and the big day; gym pass out. Morale was very high as Easter leave was a mere 24 hours away, with many recruits having not seen their families since week 5. The troop was extra determined to pass as failure would mean re-mustering on Friday to retake the pass out instead of leaving camp for Easter leave. The session started off as always with a quick warm up. This was followed by the 4 corners, were a different exercise is done facing the 4 corners of the hall. We did rope climbs next, with everyone making the required climbs. The camp circuit and beam routine was also passed by everyone. The last thing to do was sprints. By this stage everyone was shattered however we pulled through leaving the troop with a 100% pass rate! A perfect way to end the first 9 weeks and go on Easter leave
5. Friday and the real day had arrived, Easter Leave! Everyone was delighted to get a rest from training and more importantly see their friends and families.
219 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 10
- Having just got off the train from Easter leave it was safe to say that morale was a little low and nerves were quite high knowing that we were about to begin the famous Hunters moon exercise on the Monday morning. Once on the coach heading to Dartmoor we all started to switch on for the task at hand. We started yomping from the drop off point to the scout hut which would be our base for the next few days, very soon we discovered how the weather works on Dartmoor. We then did our first night navigation with our sections.
- The following day we all went off in sections to do a bit of yomping and dust off any cobwebs with our individual navigational skills getting ready to do the next night nav without any help from the training team. Apart from the odd slight detour which was planned…… the whole of the troop did the nav without any problems and all made it in the time limit given.
- On the Wednesday morning having had our final kit inspection of the exercise we all decided as a troop a bit of extra Phys was needed to clear our heads and properly switch on to the days tasks ahead. We left the scout hut carrying our full Bergan’s heading to the final part of the week, this however none of us quite realized how hard it would be having only a few rests along the way the troop made it to the pickup point. We then loaded up the wagon and got transported deeper into Dartmoor, we then got off and finished the final leg of the infamous nod killer and got to our final location before night fall.
- The last part of the exercise was the two day survival test where we split into groups of five and had to make shelters and fires to keep us safe from the elements having already been searched for any none authorized kit, which none of the troop had of course…..This was the best part of the week and really brought the troop together and made us all that much closer.
- The next morning we packed up and headed for the pickup nothing could get us down because we all knew we had just finished the famous Hunters moon.
219 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 11
- During week 11 of training we deployed to Straight Point shooting ranges. Located near Exmouth, in a nice caravan site overlooking the sea. Straight Point is a large shooting area with various ranges for live firing. We arrived on Monday, dropped our kit, then got into our helmets, Combat Body Armour (CBA) and the rest of our rig with webbing fully loaded. The sun was beaming down and remained to do so for the rest of the week. This was good as it was the best weather we’ve seen in a while and we made most of it when we wasn’t firing. We received a brief from the range staff and marksman team and got straight into the general knowledge of the SA80, the drills used when operating the weapon system and going through the marksman principles. After preparing our weapons for firing we then we were straight onto the ETR (Electronic Target Range) to zero our weapons (making it so the sight is adjusted for our eye). This involved shooting at 100m from the prone position and receiving feedback on our groupings (where the rounds were landing). After a few SUSAT adjustments we were all zeroed and ready to fire for the rest of the week. We was thinned out, dhobied up (washed and cleaned), eaten and ready for hitting the hay in our small building, next to the range, in our sleeping bags.
- Next day we got straight into it. While one group was shooting on the range, the other groups were either practicing firing positions and dry firing (practicing the positions and breathing techniques, but without actually firing). We shot from different positions including prone, sitting, kneeling and standing and we learned how to build up each position with direction from the training team. We then put these positions into practice at ranges of 100m, 200m and 300m shooting at stationary targets. At night we got to go inside and have some more practice on the DCCT (Dismounted Close Combat Trainer) an indoor electronic shooting range, which helped us get used to these positions for the live firing.
- Again, we fired from varying positions at different ranges and the targets fell when hit. We all became comfortable in operating the rifle and getting rounds done range, dropping the “paper enemy”.
- On Thursday we completed a shoot after dusk in ‘limited visibility’. This was tougher than expected as the target is merely a shadow against the background. This was at shoot 50m which made it easier to spot the target in low visibility.
- The week on the range moved pretty quickly and we were encouraged to move fast when entering onto the range or any other detail for that matter but obviously safety was paramount at all times. We were treated to some phys on a few of the mornings, with the PTI coming to the range to make sure we were not too comfortable. But it was all preparation into what was to come in later weeks (bottomfield). Week 1 at straight complete you could already start to see the improvements thanks to training team and the marksman team.
219 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 13
- After returning from our trip to Normandy in the early hours of Monday morning, we started off our day with our introduction to the bottom field assault course. This was with no kit and a full run through of the course. Then followed our CBRN kit fit and test where we were exposed to CS gas for the first time.
- We set off on exercise Baptist Walk around mid morning, our first test was a map stance practicing all map reading skills we have been taught so far in training. Then followed a stalk which we had 1 hour to travel approximately 500m and get two shots off at a target. In the evening we set off on our individual night navigation which overall was a success for the troop except for a few recruits who managed to get a little lost.
- To start the morning off we had a kit muster, then after packing all the kit away we had an 8 mile load carry back to camp with full Bergen’s. As a troop we performed well, only one recruit dropped out with as little as 1 mile to go! After cleaning weapons and having some hot scran (food)! We headed over to the weapon stances to have an introduction and practice at grenade throwing. Learning all the different types of grenades and their characteristics, also the safety rules and regulations for the range.
- Thursday morning we had a second session of the bottom field assault course. After this we moved to the grenade range to practice our skills learnt the day before. We all successfully thrown one grenade each and were also shown how smoke grenades work as well. After travelling back to camp we were in a mad rush to drop kit off for our first mud run! This came about because of continued mistakes we were making as a troop over the past week and was a well deserved punishment for our mistakes.
- After most of us having no sleep the last night due to de-servicing kit we had a kit mister lay on our beds. After being inspected we the travelled to HMS Heron Merryfield for our dunker drills. Although on arrival we were informed that the kit was not in fact working so instead we were shown round a merlin helicopter, instructed on how to embark and disembark on to the helicopter and also on how so sit correctly whilst travelling and what to do in emergencies. After returning to camp we had a military knowledge test.
- To start off the day we had arms drill for the first time in a few weeks so in this lesson we recapped everything we had been taught so far to refresh our minds. After drill we had a double period of bottom field where we were taught on how to do half and full regains on the ropes. During this we also did a fireman carry and rope climb circuit and to finish off our first regain over the tank!
- We went to the church service in the morning where we attended a christening and all took some time for ourselves to reflect on training and lives back home. Then in the afternoon we did a map stance for some extra practice for exercise Baptist Run in week 14.
219 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 14
1. Week 14 of training was an important one with it essentially being a stepping stone into phase 2 of recruit training. The week contained bottom field, signals lectures and multiple criteria elements including an exercise called BAPTIST RUN where we were assessed on everything we had been taught in phase 1 of training. We had to pass everything in order to get into phase 2.
2. Monday we had lectures on signals. We were taught voice procedure, call signs and how to and set up bowman radios and PRR’s.
3. Tuesday we had bottom field where we had a phys session consisting of rope climbs, regains, the assault course and fireman carries. All in preparation for the bottom field pass out in a few weeks’ time.
4. Wednesday was deployment day for our phase 1 assessment exercise BAPTIST RUN. Prior to deployment we conducted a 4 mile speed March. This was for the first time we conducted a speed March with the full 21lbs webbing and rifle. During the afternoon into the exercise we were assessed on stalking, static map stances, night navigation, fire control orders, observations and target indication.
5. Thursday was the second day in the field. We again conducted assessments of stalking, static map stances, night navigation, fire control orders, observations and target indication.
6. Friday is the day we returned to camp following Baptist Run. To get back to camp we conducted a CFT (combat fitness test) which is 8 miles long with a set amount of weight in our bergans, to be completed in under a certain time.
7. On the Saturday morning we had our post field kit muster, which on completion concluded our BAPTIST RUN assessment exercise. The muster is all our kit laid out for inspection, showcasing our ability to fully de-service all of our kit following being in the field on exercise.
219 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 15
- Week 15 marks the end of phase 1 of training and the beginning of phase 2. Phase 2 is the tactical part of training and technically making all recruits. Having completed various shooting, physical, fieldcraft and navigational tests, 219 Troop now qualify as trained infantry soldiers. Something we had all been looking forward to.
2. Week 15 was a week spent on camp and was, for the most part, an introduction into a lot of phase 2 elements such as tactical harbours and different types of patrolling. Monday consisted of a session on the bottom field and signals lectures, in which we were taught about different kinds if radios then had to undergo a test to prove we were competent in their usage.
- Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday was largely made up of phase 2 lectures on patrols and tactical harbours, something particularly pertinent as we had a tactical field exercise the following week and had to grasp an awful lot of tactical basics in a relatively short period, but as keen young recruits, we were happy to learn. Thursday included a couple hours of drill.
- Friday, however, was the day that really stood out. Early doors, we were collected to complete our arms drill pass out. Seeing as, aside from the day before, we hadn’t had a drill period for a while, it’s safe to say that nerves were high, however we ended up performing well and passing our arms drill. On Friday afternoon, we were taken onto Woodbury Common, where the Troop formed a hollow square in front of the Gibraltar Rock to mark our Phase 1 pass out. Gibraltar Rock is a memorial stone that has been donated by the people of Gibraltar and is from the peninsula itself. It remembers all the Commandos of the Armed Forces who have trained on Woodbury Common. The youngest recruit read out the Battle of Gibraltar citation. The Company Commander and Sergeant Major came to present some individuals with prizes such as best recruit and most improved recruit and gave out marksman badges to those who had shot well during the two weeks on the range. The Company Commander congratulated us on passing phase one, and gave us some motivational words before we embarked on the tactical phase of training.
219 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 17
- The week began with 219 troop splitting down into fire teams and patrolling CTC, using our newly acquired signals skills to report in at checkpoints and practice voice procedure. Everyone in 219 seemed fairly confident, especially on familiar soil.
In between lectures and bottom field physical training, 219 Troop had the privilege of getting fitted for our Blues and Lovats. We all eagerly piled into the tailors, complimenting each other on how dashing we all looked in the uniforms we would hopefully be passing out in at the end of training, it was a good boost for morale even though we had to hand them back for alterations.
- Bags packed we set off to start our Viking training (amphibious vehicles not Norse warriors). We started off with lectures and some dry drills on getting in and out of the vehicle and what to do in emergencies. Nerves were starting to show as the following day would involve us being tested on breathing underwater, not something which comes naturally.
- Overalls on, re-breathers fitted, lights off, strapped to a cage and spun underwater. Thursday was just like many other days in recruit training, taking recruits out of their comfort zone to better prepare them for situations ahead. The majority of the troop managed to pass all of the evolutions today which were definitely a test of composure.
- Our final day of Viking training saw 219 troop experience being transported in the back of the vehicles to a ‘puddle’. Said puddle was big enough for the Viking to swim out to the middle of and have a section of recruits climb onto the roof. Not everybody was confident that these metal boxes would float but everyone remained relatively dry (for once).
219 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 20
- The day had finally come after seven weeks’ worth of hard work and determination on the notorious Bottom Field. Our Bottom Field pass out date had arrived. Our pass out comprised of four gruelling tests. A 30ft rope climb, one timed lap of the Assault course, one 200m firemen’s carry and a full regain above the “tank. With much anxiety and nerves energy naturally amongst the Troop. We set off with a warm up and took up the challenge of the all famous Bottom Field pass out. Completing task after task on the Bottom Field we had earned ourselves a successful pass rate. Although also having failures, who fortunately have two other re-attempts at the pass out later on in the week. We then ended off our afternoon with various lectures on CBRN drills and new equipment.
- Failing in preparation for our Adjutants Drill inspection. With regards to Corps history/general knowledge and not having the required standard of Drill uniform we did not start the morning off well. Later in the day we were re-paraded and passed! After the inspection we tried our utmost to redeem ourselves. We had done so, ever so slightly when receiving our feedback off our Drill Instructor. In the afternoon we received interesting lectures on Mine warfare and awareness from the Assault Engineers. Being shown various drills in which will inevitably save our own life and oppos life.
- Starting Wednesday off with a two hour Drill session. Learning new movements which are to be perfected specifically for our up and coming King’s Squad parade. Ending our session on a good note we all realised how close we are now to those two weeks’ in King’s Squad. Having more lectures with the Assault Engineers, we went further into the preparation for our coming exercise over the course of the weekend. Learning the dimensions of our soon to be trenches and techniques on sand bagging we ended the day off to a good ending. Packing our bergans and other various bits of kit for Exercise Holdfast in which we are to deploy Thursday afternoon
- After the last chance at Bottom Field pass out we found out at we had definitely lost two members of our troop. We bid them farewell and all successes in their future attempts. Further preparation for Exercise Holdfast were being carried out while the re-runs were taking place. We set off on the coach en route to an unknown destination to Plymouth, ready to take on Exercise Holdfast. On arrival we met with the Assault Engineers and were shown our designated positions for our trenches. Having them 6.6m wide, 0.6m long and 1.5m in height below ground. We were given approximately 20 hours in which to have our trenches to the Assault engineers standard. Which took us right through the night. Showing real determination to get the hard job done.
- Upon the arrival of the Assault Engineers when our dead line was up. Successfully all four of the trenches were mostly dug to standard. With helpful pick up points from the instructors we rectified our trenches ever more and built up a series of adequate defending positions regarding our Mission from out Troop Commander. With in-coming updates on the enemy presence in the Area of Operations. We were tasked from our Troop Commander to be the fall back defence for our friendly forces ahead of us and to the rear of us. Repelling and destroying any enemy threats that are likely to cross our path. After hours of close watch over our covering ground and contacts with the enemy. We successfully held our ground.
- Receiving new updates on our situation. It was reported that enemy forces were gathering and their resources were too overwhelming for our current state. We then successfully withdrew from our trenches and made our way tactically to our Helicopter Extraction Point near the team tent. Thus bringing Exercise Holdfast to a near close. Once our trenches were filled up, stores were packed and bergans packed. We set off on a 8km yomp to the location of the coach. Going up steep hills and with a view of pleasant scenery the troop managed to complete with yomp with all the members accounted for. Thus drawing Exercise Holdfast to an end.
- Up bright and early ready for our Drill Instructor rig, kit and accommodation inspection at 0700. We successfully passed the standards set out from our Drill Instructor and were then set about to enjoy the rest of our day. With most of the us catching up on much needed rest.