222 Troop – Week 17
Week 17 saw 222 Troop travel to Bovington to complete a training package geared towards familiarising us with the armoured fighting vehicle used by the Royal Marines, the ‘Viking’.
With a mixture of nerves and excitement, we set off on the hour and a half long journey to Bovington camp.
The morning was made up mostly of lectures on safety and the history of the Viking, before a practical lesson on how to embark and disembark the vehicle in a tactical situation. We were then issued our re-breathers ready for the next day. The whole troop performed really well, and moral was high after this as everyone was looking forward to the next few days.
After an early start, everyone was nervous for the day ahead. We got straight in the pool for the confidence test, this was to make sure everyone could operate the re-breather correctly and was confident in shallower water, before we went on to the Viking simulator in the afternoon.
Everyone did well, so we moved to RNAS Yeovilton to face the dreaded simulator. Once we arrived we were given another safety brief before being issued overalls and kit.
Without hesitation, we got straight in the pool to conduct a further re-breather confidence test. This involved pulling yourself through a rope system 3 meters underwater. Everyone was extremely nervous for this, especially the weaker swimmers.
On successful completion we then got into teams of 8 to conduct the Viking simulator. It is designed to simulate a Viking capsizing when on the water, we need to pass this to ensure that if that ever happens we are adequately trained to get out of the vehicle using a re-breather.
Once again everyone dug out blind to pass, some lads really showing determination and courage, facing their fears to overcome the test.
Next day we awoke in good spirits, knowing that we had the final part of the Viking training to complete today. We were all excited at the prospect of getting to ride in the Vikings.
We set off towards the training area, in three separate vehicles and did a quick re fresh on disembarking in a tactical situation, which was a real adrenaline rush. It felt like we were in a real life situation.
We were then transported to the lake, where we then did our final drill. The lake crossing, because the Viking is an amphibious vehicle it has the capability to ‘Swim’.
Once everyone had done the drill successfully we set off back to Bovington camp, with moral the highest it had been in some time.
This rounded of one of the most exciting weeks we have had, moral was high and we could not wait to take on the challenges week 18 would present.
222 Troop – Week 18
Week 18 saw 222 troop head to Burton Burrows for the second exercise of phase 2, Ex SECOND EMPIRE. This exercise consisted of learning how to carry out section attacks, troop level attacks and a troop level ambush. We were first taught the various lessons to help us remember how to complete a section attack, and these we then put into a practical situation.
Later on in the week, 222 troop conducted a troop level attack, with the section battle drill procedures being essential if it was to be a success. The IC’s of the sections were given extra responsibility, needing to take control of their respective fire teams, communicating with the troop sergeant and troop commander, and being able to see what was going on in their field of vision, in order to make the correct decision. Overall however, for a first time effort, the attack was carried out with the correct drills and was a success.
One of the last elements we did was a troop level ambush, which is used to take down the enemy, with the element of surprise being key if it is to be successful. With the four sections taking up different roles, from rear protection, to killing group, and cut off sections the ambush was set. As the enemy approached, heavy fire was accompanied by overhead pyrotechnics and a successful ambush was carried out. Searchers were then sent out, these were to ensure any key information can be extracted in order to give us any advantage over our enemy and possibly getting an idea of their next move.
These section battle drills are the bread and butter of any GD rifleman at a unit, which is why they are a key element to learn in training, and more importantly, to enjoy! At the end of the week we all felt we had performed very well to complete the exercise and we all felt motivated to take on the challenges to come.
222 Troop – Week 19
Week 19 of training began with our first session of bottom field crash week. In addition to this the weather was at its worst. It was a scorching hot day and would continue to get warmer throughout the week and reach temperatures of 30 degrees and above. This meant the PTI would have to take a risk assessment before every session and that we were guaranteed to get wet in order to keep us cool. The sessions got harder and the troop got more tired as the week progressed but the troop was determined and focused to push on through.
The main effort for the Troop this week has been our introduction to the GPMG (General Purpose Machine Gun). We learned about the characteristics of the weapon and smashed drills all week to give us a good chance of passing the weapons handling test and getting to fire it at straight point range. We very much enjoyed this and paid very close attention to the corporals in the lessons. We have been left in little doubt by the team of just how an important a weapon system it is to both at Section and Troop level. The Troop worked hard and everyone passed their weapons handling test and this enabled us to have a good days shooting at the range.
It had been a good week for the Troop, morale was high and we were all looking forward to next week and Bottom Field Pass Out. It will be a big step for the Troop however we are in a good place and feel ready to smash it and start the Commando phase of training.
222 Troop – Week 20
For weeks prior to week 20, 222 Troop endured some of the hardest physical training there is to offer and this was all gearing up for one day and this was “bottom field pass out”. With some good sleep and a relaxing weekend 222 Troop was ready to attack the 4 tests. Tests which included one rope climb, the obstacle course, a 200 meter firemen carry and a full regain. So the same as every Royal Marine recruit before us we would have to carry 21pounds of weight and a slung a rifle. For many bottom field pass out was very successful the hard work and graft had paid off. Unfortunately for some this was not the case and for them it would mean a retest.
As with everything at CTCRM the rapid pace of training does not stop. The next large hurdle of week 20 was the first drill inspection. For the past week we were put under no illusion that if we did not perform things will get very uncomfortable! Unfortunately a few members of 222 Troop again did not make the cut and therefore were invited back to the drill shed at 20:00hrs for a re-inspection. Cheerfulness in the face of adversity was a key thing to remember this week!
Week 20 was far from over, 222 troop was now to learn about defensive positions in CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radioactive and Nuclear Environment) and theory lessons were followed by Ex HOLD FAST down in Torpoint and Anthony training area. Arriving on Thursday the Troop was divided into four man fire teams and tasked to dig a trench throughout the night, following the correct dimensions instructed by the AE’s. Thorough inspections were of course carried out in the morning! Our CBRN drills were then tested, for all recruits this definitely a foresight into the reality of a CBRN attack.
To conclude the exercise 222 Troop carried out an 8 mile load carry, this was the first time the GPMG was to be carried. Many tried to carry it and many found it hard as a result it became a Troop effort to get it around.
As a whole we have enjoyed this week and passing out from the bottom field was a major step for us.