224 TROOP WEEK 16 DIARY
We began week sixteen with a fairly relaxed introduction to phase two of recruit training, after several lectures on CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radioligical and Nuclear) warfare and battlefield tactics, we were put through our paces on the bottom field by the PTIs in preparation for pass out in a few weeks time. The evening consisted of packing and organising kit to deploy on Exercise First base, an introduction into advanced fieldcraft and patrolling.
The following day we boarded our transport to take us out to Woodbury Common training area to begin Exercise First Base. After setting up training team stores and organising out kit we went straight into harbour routines which turned out to be a lot different to the harbours we occupied in phase one due to the tactical elements thrown in and the simulated enemy threat. After we had established a harbour we had a lecture on giving and recieving orders to conduct patrols in the local area. This was an eye opener for us all, we never realised how much a trained Royal Marine has to think and all the infomation he must absorb to carry out his role. That night we were given a set of orders to conduct a reconaissance patrol of various locations on the common, and all turned out to be successful and informative.
The following day was one of my personal favourites in training so far, learning fire and manoeuvre skills to break contact from an enemy, this gave us the long awaited opportunity to get some trigger time in high speed and high aggression demonstrations and run-throughs. Troop morale was high on this day as soldiering skills were finally being taught and practiced. Again that night, we recieved orders and set out on further recce patrols around woodbury, only this time we got a chance to practice our break contact drills after getting attacked leaving the recce area, which again was successful.
The third day was all admin. Packing stores, brass sweeping the area and loading up the SV to take all our kit back to CTCRM. Even though we were tired and worn out, a visit from the PTI was in store to lead the troop back to camp on a short and sharp 5 mile speed march with 21lbs and a rifle. To my knowledge nobody found this particularly difficult and the troop finished strong. All that was left was to deservice our kit and hopefully get some shut eye for the next day.
The final day of the working week was a relaxed one on camp, lectures and admin saw us through to the weekend.
Saturday came around so fast we were all still worn out for another much loved bottom field session. This session proved difficult, fatigue and a week of the outdoors had taken its toll on the troop, but we looked forward to the free time and leave we had waiting at the end of the session. I used this opportunity to get some sleep and rest my body as the weekend was being cut short as we were deploying on Exercise Holdfast on the Sunday.
Holdfast proved to be an interesting, albeit different exercise. We were to ‘dig in’ into a defended positon. The 4 man fire trenches we were tasked to build proved to be difficult yet enjoyable, all together my fireteam spent in the area of twelve hours digging the hole for our trench, adding to our sleep deprived bodies. Holdfast was to break into week 17 so we dug in and called it home for the next two days.