226 Troop Ex Urban Warrior
226 troop were to learn Close Quarter Battle (CQB) running up to Ex Violent Entry. On the Monday, we collected rifles and made our way to the CQB compound. We met up with two Assault Engineer Cpls who then took us through how to successfully breach a room. We learned how to break through the doors and the different equipment we could use to do this. The equipment we could use was a sledgehammer, an enforcer and a breaching tool. We were taught which circumstance needed the required equipment. We had a run through breaking down the doors. Being 226 Troop we tried to see each other off by heavily reinforcing the doors so the opposing sections could not get in. After the Monday, the training progressed and we were slowly shown how to clear rooms. We first had a few run-throughs with no ammunition focussing on our awareness. As a troop, we were quite good at room entries and got a few chuck ups. After doing a few run-throughs we then did room clearances with sim-munition onto paper targets. A lot of emphasis went into clearing the immediate area checking your corners and the speed at which you cleared the rooms. We were often told to take our time with it. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast we would be told. The training further progressed with the sim-munition playing a more important part. After some more room clearances with paper targets we moved on to room clearances with live occupants and real enemy which were some of our own lads firing sim rounds back at us. At first, we rushed into rooms far too quickly but after a few run-throughs we picked it up and became more efficient. After the day, had finished we came back to the compound after last light to clear the compound at night. On the Friday, we made our way to Taunton to attack a village at night where some Marines were playing enemy equipped with sim rounds, smoke and drill grenades. We cleared the village being very wary, 1 Section was clearing the left side of the village and 2 Section were clearing right. This meant section commanders had to constantly communicate to avoid friendly fire. Overall, 226 Troop found the week very enjoyable and we’re confident going into Ex Violent Entry.
226 Troop Ex Violent Entry
226 troop deployed onto Ex Violent Entry towards the end of November . We deployed during the night to Sennybridge, South Wales, possibly the most feared training area in the UK, second only to Dartmoor. When we disembarked from our coach we completed our first night yomp to our location inside a woodblock. After setting up the harbour we waited out for orders. The following night 1 Section carried out a recce of a possible enemy location which turned out to be two farm-like single story buildings. 1 Section briefed up the rest of the troop along with the Troop Commander .In the early hours of the morning 226 Troop assaulted the enemy location in the form of a troop attack. The mission as a collective was successful however we took some casualties who later fully recovered shortly after the attack. We tactically withdrew from the location into another woodblock. 2 Section later recce’d a possible enemy location. With a good amount of intelligence we received from 2 Section, 226 Troop again assaulted the enemy position. We successfully cleared an occupied building, killing 4 enemy personnel and taking zero casualties. After this we began to fortify the building to defend it from a possible enemy follow up as they knew our current position. We did this by blocking most of the doors and windows with sandbags, tree branches and whatever we could find in the area. The staircase was narrowed and some were blocked off with para-cord . the opened windows were blocked with our ponchos. That night we were harassed by some of the locals who were clearly unhappy with our presence. A few hours later we were engaged by the enemy in a building 400m away. We sent a fire team to clear the enemy position. We were thin on the ground and as a result of this we took some casualties who were carried back to our occupied building. They went on to make full recoveries. After a rough night of defending the building we withdrew from the area into another woodblock. 1 Section recce’d another enemy location by using an observation post. Through the intel gathered we learned that the enemy was holding a politician hostage. In the early hours of the morning 226 Troop cleared the farmhouse but the hostage had been extracted. We later learned that the enemy had moved the hostage down the road trying to escape on foot. 226 Troop pursued the enemy and rescued the hostage before withdrawing via coach back to Lympstone. A challenging week that saw our numbers thin considerably it was with a sigh of relief that we arrived back on camp!
Having finished an enjoyable week at Okehampton camp conducting R and I training, we were keen to crack on with the next module in training. A week everyone was excited for, as it was the week we learned to use the 9mm Glock 17 pistol. We started off the week in the weapon stances learning the basics; characteristics, parts, firing positions and more. We then spent the following 2 days further developing our skills drawing, holstering and dry firing. All to prepare us for Thursday and Friday.
After hours of improving our skills with the pistol it was finally time to do some shooting at the range. Thursday was finally the chance to put live rounds down range, under the watchful eyes of our training team, we performed a series of shoots working our way up to the test shoot. We shot at different distances, multiple targets, we even had a little competition were we raced to do press ups, sprint up to the range and compete to hit 2 small targets. The winner was awarded the privilege of not having to do any admin. NONE at all – no cleaning, no carrying kit, no walking or anything without assistance.
On Friday, we took on the test shoot. A series of shoots to prove that we can perform to the required standard and use the pistol safely. Everyone passed without problems and we turned our eyes towards the next week. On the Saturday we conducted the 12 Mile load carry carrying 69lbs, another criteria test which has to be completed to continue in training.
We started week 25 early, departing for HMS Raleigh on Sunday evening for a 3 day package learning sea survival and firefighting. Having settled down in the grots (which had an uncanny resemblance to our foundation block accommodation, bringing back memories of our early days in training.) we got ready for a VERY VERY busy 2 days.
The next day, the troop was divided in to 2 groups and we both took turns with each module. Those of us who did sea survival the first day went on to do firefighting the second and vice versa. In sea survival we learnt about the types of equipment available on a ship that would help us survive should we find ourselves on a sinking ship. For example, life jackets, sea survival rafts, emergency rations and the theory of surviving at sea. At the end of the end we went to the pool for a practical involving jumping off a diving board, activating our life jackets and swimming on to the life raft. We also practiced rescuing casualties in the water as well as simulating life in a fully occupied life raft.
During firefighting we learnt about the equipment onboard a ship available to fight fires with, for example, different types of fire extinguishers, fire hose. In the afternoon we went on to practice what we learnt that morning in a simulated fire on a training ship.
Finishing our business at HMS Raleigh, we moved to a camp near Salisbury for a 3 day General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) package (Wednesday to Saturday). On Wednesday we zeroed the guns to ensure they were ready for the GMPG test shoot, we also had a little competition to see who could shoot the smallest group.
Over the next few days we practiced and prepared for the test shoot and though a few of us had some difficulty, by Saturday everyone managed to get passing scores.
First week of field firing, it can be quite intimidating for any Nod to be firing live rounds so the prospect of performing full section attacks, with live rounds, at night…left a few of us with an appropriate sense of apprehension. If also as excited as giddy school girls. The week began at Wilsworthy ranges but this being England it was of course foggy and we were unable to shoot that day, as the ranges are on Dartmoor we have to be able to see about a kilometer in every direction, less an unfortunate hill walker find themself the unknowing target of eight hungry recruits. The troop returned to Okehampton camp, well almost all of us, four poor souls had to remain sentry on the ammunition, which meant a tent, on Dartmoor, in January. Lucky Devils.
Day two was an improvement and we were able to zero our rifles, plus the GPMGs and even an Underslung Grenade Launcher shoot. Which was a personal highlight of the week, seeing an explosion of orange powder at 150m from the drill rounds smashing into a target was incredibly satisfying.
Day three increased things still further with an individual CQB lane and grenade throw. The Dartmoor stream was very refreshing. Afterwards we progressed into pairs, fire teams and then sections, brutalizing poor, defenseless targets and shouting ourselves hoarse all day. Best day of the week, entered into a night shoot, finished with our best attack of the day, everyone working and moving together. Tracer rounds flying down range, flares illuminating the targets, IC’s screaming their commands. Hoofin. I rather ruined the night for myself, as I spent a good 20 minutes, after all the shooting was done running around with just a head torch, looking for a magazine I’d dropped in all the excitement.
Day four was a shame as we came so close to getting to shoot, with only one fire team getting through an attack, however I feel the act of taking down twelve man tents, on boggy ground in a blizzard really helped bring the Troop together, shared suffering and all.