226 Troop Week 1- 12

226 Tp Recruit Diary

Weeks 1&2

Foundation ‘The shock of capture’


Arriving at Lympstone CTCRM train station we were first met by Corporal Reardon our drill leader (DL) who gave a few of us that had arrived early our first inspection checking if we had shaved and polished our shoes; the majority of us were picked on not doing something correctly.  We all then were taken to Foundation block where we would all begin the very start of our military careers and spend our first two weeks learning the basics.


Entering Foundation block was a shock to most of the lads as it was basically an empty shell with rows of beds and lockers bunched together with minimal personal space.  This was the first realisation that we had entered a military environment.  We started the Troop with 42 people from all different areas in the UK and a large range ages from 16 to 32.  People kept streaming in throughout the day but once everyone had arrived we got sent to the camp barbers to receive the standard recruit haircut of a stylish grade 2 all over.  We then received the rules of Foundation block and simple ways of respect around trained ranks.  We gathered in the lecture room and swore an oath of allegiance where we pledged ourselves in service to the Crown and Corps.  We met our new training team who instilled fear into the Troop from the off, especially the Troop Sergeant.  Then we were allowed an early night: probably the only night in the first two weeks where we actually managed to get a good night sleep.


When it came to the second day we were woken up at 0530 by the sound of the Royal Marines Band playing over the PA system.  We then started the day off by going to the stores and were issued the majority of our kit from drill rigs to field rigs and completed the rest of the day with admin and lectures.  The admin lectures we received were the very basics from being shown how to shower and shave to hand washing clothes, polishing boots and ironing.  These were all shown to us with practical demonstrations from our DL.  We finished every night off by singing the national anthem as a Troop before we could go to sleep.


We then continued the majority of the week with lectures on subjects like camp opening times of stores and med bay, as well as Corps history.  Later in the day we were shown how to make our beds in a military fashion with ‘hospital corners’ and a perfect central crease down the centre of the bed sheets and pillow case.  The accommodation had to always be cleaned to an immaculate level.  We also had to conduct the same physical assessments as we had completed on the Potential Royal Marines Course (PRMC): the Royal Marines Fitness Assessment (RMFA) and Basic Fitness Test (BFT) were conducted in order to see what standard our Troop’s physical performance was at.  So we proceeded with such assessments as the bleep test, push ups, sit ups, pull ups and a timed mile and a half run.  Even though we had gym most days we would also regularly adopt the most loved position of the Corps: the push up.  Here we would do countless amounts of push ups for simple mistakes like not adhering exactly to details or not showing up on time (five minutes early).


As we moved further into the week we got issued all of our kit which we had to iron and fold into the size of a Globe and Laurel (the Corps’ magazine, sized A4) and place neatly into the lockers; we had a demonstration locker to go by.  We had approximately 8 hours to complete this task which meant that it was going to be our very first sleepless night.  The vast majority of us failed to meet the standard, so when we had inspections the next morning at 0700 most people had their lockers ripped out so that they were made to do it again.  This process of rounds went on for the full two weeks of Foundation until they were up to the required standard.

Week 2 was much the same but we started learning more hands on lessons like Initial Military Fitness (IMF) in the gym where everything was so strict and the biggest pick up was fidgeting where you would receive extra physical activities.  We also had our very first drill lesson on the second day of that week.  


With what little sleep everyone was getting probably in the region of 2-4 hours a night one lad managed to pour orange juice into his iron stinking out the accommodation, safe to say his rigs didn’t come out in immaculate condition after he pressed them with an iron.  These little mistakes happened all throughout the week as the saying ‘nods’ became more apparent to us as we were nodding off to sleep anywhere and everywhere: even sometimes in rounds in the morning standing up.

The middle of the week saw our first night in the field which was still on camp just on bottom field.  Here we learnt basic field admin and how to set up a harbour, also things like sentries and a technique called ‘wet and dry’: the three most disgusting words a recruit can here.  It is a simple technique which affords you sustainability in the field.  You have two sets of rig: one you work in and one you change into to get into your sleeping bag at night.  This second rig always remains dry and requires you to change in and out of your working (often wet rig) when getting out of your sleeping bag.  This process is practised thoroughly in recruit training.  Our first experience involved getting into the tank coming out soaked from head to toe and then having to change into dry rig and then later in the night (when it was your time on sentry) back into the wet clothes you were in before.  Sentry would only be an hour long but being in soaked clothes and lying in the cold would turn the night very long.


Once the exercise was complete, to finish the week the last day in Foundation we were inspected by our Colour Sergeant to see if we were up to the required standard to move into the grots (new living accommodation).  Luckily we passed and we got to move over to our new block.

226 Tp Recruit Diary

Week 3

Week 3 has been our first week living outside of Foundation block; it’s been good to have our own personal living space and get to know our ‘oppos’ (fellow comrades) better.  The training programme has definitely picked up and everyone is keen to learn the information being taught.  The staff have allowed us to use the drying machines which has made a massive difference and has enabled us to get that all important extra hours sleep.  The IMF sessions are getting harder and the rope climbs are starting to take shape with pretty much all the boys being able to reach the top showing the correct technique we have been taught.  A few more boys have left us whether it’s for being back-trooped or medically discharged but they still remain on camp until the 4 weeks are up and they are allowed to leave.  


As a Troop we still haven’t gelled 100% but hopefully now we are living in our own ‘grots’ (4 man rooms) and we have the opportunity to get to know each other better it will help with the Troop cohesion.  Our drill sessions are improving and everyone is getting more comfortable with the techniques being taught, hopefully by the time Families’ Day comes we will all have nailed our routine.  During Week 3 we were issued our rifles which was pretty cool, and we have had our first weapons systems lesson; no live rounds have been fired yet just the basics are being taught such as how to load and unload the weapon; stripping it and putting it back together.  To sum Week 3 up as a hole it’s been a progression and training feels like it’s finally started after leaving the frantic block which was Foundation phase, we still haven’t scratched the surface with how tough training is going to get yet but we are all taking each day as it comes and not getting ahead of ourselves.

226 Tp Recruit Diary

Week 4


The main hurdle for 226 Troop in Week 4 was Ex FIRST STEP, which would be our first exposure to the local Woodbury Common training area.  This in turn would help prepare us for Ex QUICK COVER the following week.  Ex FIRST STEP mainly focused on basic field craft including cooking, field administration, harbour areas and erecting ponchos and involved our first full night in the field.  Once again it was clear that 226 Troop are still not brilliant at time management and administration and as a result of a poor kit muster a number of the Troop were introduced to the ‘flank’ for the first time, which proved to be an eye opening experience for all.  The exercise finished with our first ‘yomp’ back to camp which some found a lot easier than others proving just how difficult Royal Marines ‘phys’ can be compared to civilian life.

The rest of the week was spent in lectures and the gym, with many double IMF sessions and a couple of swims.  It is clear that the group enjoy ‘phys’ however as always there is room for improvement especially with gym discipline which let us down on a number of occasions and resulted in extra camp circuits.

With Families’ Day less that two weeks away morale within 226 Troop is fairly high and everyone is looking forward to a long weekend leave and a chance to spend time with friends and family.  For now our main obstacle is Ex QUICK COVER which begins at the start of Week 5.

226 Tp Recruit Diary

Week 6

Week 6 saw our return back to CTCRM from our long weekend after Families’ Day.  This week was a camp week and consisted mainly of lectures and preparation for the exercises that lay ahead.

The Friday prior to Week 6 was Families’ Day: our first time seeing our families since the start of training.  While this was only a weekend off, it was always going to be a challenge for some lads missing the old ways of a civvie life.  We started the week with lectures on first aid.  Fortunately this was a relaxed environment to learn in which was taught by RN and RM medics.  We were taught about how to assess a critical situation and how to evaluate in a cool and calm manner.  Our first objective was that we should win the fire fight and the follow <C> ABCDE once the casualty prioritisation had been established.  This acronym represented: <CATASTROPHIC HAEMORRHAGE> AIRWAYS, BREATHING, CIRCULATION, DISABILITY and ENVIRONMENT.  We were taught about clearing airways, reading and assessing breathing rates and reading circulation and pulse activity and capillary reaction.  While these lectures hit home the reality of the profession we were going into, it helped us apply and understand the severe importance of medical assistance and first aid.  In the coming weeks ahead we were to be tested and evaluated on these lectures.

Week 6 saw an introduction to live firing on Straightpoint ranges which was to be tested in Weeks 11 and 12.  This was a brilliant day that consisted of live firing at the 25m range, zeroing our weapons, running weapons drills with a live weapon and working on point of aims and practising techniques to help with the grouping size of our shots.  Firing at the ranges with live weapons for the first time was fun and many of the Troop were excited to do more and finally start doing the things we joined up to do.  Not only were we on the live ranges but we also had lectures from members of the Royal Marines Combat Marksmanship Team and a US Marine teaching the most suitable and comfortable positions to fire in: sitting, prone, kneeling and standing as well as the supported positions.  We were also perfecting our breathing techniques and trigger control to aid our grouping size.  After these lectures we were put into the computer simulation room.  This is a small room with 10 rifles that simulate shooting at 25m, 100m, 200m and 300m.  Here we were assessed on many aspects of firing such as butt pressure on the rifles, trigger control and pressure but most importantly our point of aim and impact and grouping size.  This room is a way of perfecting your marksmanship skills resourcefully and safely.

Around the corner was Week 7 that consisted of Ex MARSHALL STAR.  To be prepared for this we were given lectures on map reading: a vital skill to be perfected not only by potential Royal Marines but all frontline military.  We were taught the different symbols for conventional signs.  For example, key prominent features such as churches, key buildings and woodblocks.  Contour lines were also taught and how to read them, establishing how steep an area was and whether it was up or downhill.  Using this skill we were able to identify different hill types and prominent natural features such as valleys, ridges, saddles, etc.  These lectures included lessons on using a compass and protractor to work out resections and finding map bearings.  Resections are finding your current location by simply using the prominent features around you and triangulating them to your position.  Bearings are used to find out what direction we must travel in to reach our given destination or RV point.
Week 6 was a learning induced week that was calm and allowed us to improve our basic skills ready for the coming weeks where the learning curve was steep and physically arduous.

226 Tp Recruit Diary

Week 7

In Week 7 226 Troop took on Ex MARSHALL STAR and lucky for us, the weather was incredible.  The exercise prepares us for the following navigation exercise, HUNTERS MOON, and the criteria end of Phase 1 training, Ex BAPTIST RUN.  Over the next four days we covered vital training like navigation, stalking, reaction to enemy fire, fire control orders and light discipline.


Navigation is a huge part of being a Royal Marine and after lots of class room lectures we were finally going to be able to practice.  We had refreshing lectures out in the sun before setting off in our Sections to test our skills.  We walked around Woodbury Common following a bearing of a destination we were appointed.  This really opened up our understanding and improved our confidence.  The following evening we tested our navigation skills by navigating in the dark.  It was a lot harder to make out your surroundings but was very helpful to learn how to trust our bearings and follow our paces accurately.


Each morning a PTI came to join us for a bit of morning phys which had to be conducted early in the morning before it got too hot.  The phys was challenging but a lot more enjoyable as it was in an outdoor environment instead of the gym.  The phys sessions consisted of sprints, circuits and fireman carries.   


We got an introduction to stalking.  Stalking is where you sneak up on the enemy without being spotted.  By doing this we learnt about changing your camouflage to suit the environment, things that would give you away and tactics on the best ways to cover the ground without giving away your position.  In the first stalk we were left to decide our own paths to see how we got on.  We had 10 minutes to camouflage ourselves and then we set off to stalk the Corporals.  With the expertise of the training team the majority of us were caught out early on although a few showed some good stalking qualities and managed to get one or two shots off.  We were taken to another spot where Corporal Vallender walked us through the ground in front of us.  He showed us the best routes to take and how we needed to adapt according to the ground we were using.  After another ten minutes to camouflage ourselves, we set off to stalk the training team one more time.  The second stalk was a lot more enjoyable as we had a better understanding of what we had to do.  A lot more of us were successful, whether it was getting closer to the training team than before being spotted or even getting shots off.


We had a lecture from Corporal Easter talking us through fire control orders and target indication.  This is needed in our careers as it is used to win the fire fight and so the enemy can be spotted and pointed out by highlighting the enemy to friendlies to suppress and overrun the position.


In the evening we were shown light and sound discipline and how it travels further at night.  The Corporals set out several demonstrations to show how certain things are seen differently at night, eg. a cigarette stands out a lot in the dark and makes the person easy to see.  We were then given the chance to look at the ground in front of us using night vision systems and thermal imaging sights.  These were both great pieces of equipment which we get the chance to use later on in training.
After an eventful 4 days, we were ready to head back to CTCRM and de-service our kit and revise what we had been taught.  We had covered a lot in the short time we were in the field and we all came away with a better understanding on how to navigate during the day and at night, and how to follow the bearing accurately.

226 Tp Recruit Diary

Week 8


Monday began with a drill session to revise what we had learnt in previous weeks; this highlighted a weakness as our performance was unsatisfactory.  Drill was followed by a 4 mile booted run which was altered as a result of the heat.  The run involved the Troop completing camp circuits, the times we achieved were pleasing which in turn provided recruits with a boost in morale.


Tuesday started with RMCC (Royal Marines Close Combat), studying takedowns and defending the takedowns.  The lesson was fast paced and intense, which pointed out the skill level involved in carrying out these moves.  After RMCC the remainder of the day was spent improving our knowledge of first aid.


Wednesday was a day that the recruits anticipated with dread, Officer in Command (OC) rounds.  This involved a locker and accommodation inspection.  Despite our attempts, it was clear the standard of our admin was still unacceptable, and as a result morale was low.  Just before lunch we went for a 4 mile run, the weather remained cool allowing us to complete our run on local roads.  The run consisted of sprints mixed with a light jog, known as fartlek training.


Thursday was a day the whole Troop had been looking forward to, a day in the field learning survival methods from some very experienced and skilful Mountain Leaders (MLs).  The training ranged from building shelters to fire making.  We tested all different materials to find out which one would ignite the easiest and burn the longest.  There were many techniques that took the Troop by surprise, including the use of some batteries and an old brillo pad.  We also learnt how to set traps to catch potential food.


Friday rolled around and it was a day for us and the training team to find out how much progress we have made physically.  This was done by carrying out numerous tests.  The tests included VO2 max (bleep test) press ups, sit ups and pull ups.  After the gym we went to Woodbury Common where we got chance to practise some map reading techniques which really helped carry on Thursday’s morale.
On Saturday, a good report for most on the drill square and the prospect of some time ‘ashore’ led to the week ending on a high note and the general sense of a more tight knit team.

226 Tp Recruit Diary

Week 9

Week 9 was a real mixture with lots of ups and downs throughout the week; thankfully the Troop finished on a high before heading into EX HUNTERS MOON.


With failing OC’s rounds in the previous week, during Week 9 we had inspections every morning from the Drill Instructors.  This meant the whole Troop were staying awake to the early hours of the morning cleaning their personal kit and accommodation to make sure each inspection got better, to prepare us for another attempt at passing OC’s rounds on the Friday.  This meant having all our field kit and drill kit immaculate and all our brass pins polished up to an immaculate standard.


Map reading and first aid were also important components of the week; both are very important skills to being Royal Marines.  The last thing any of us wanted to do was get lost on Dartmoor on the night navigation on EX HUNTERS MOON.  It is also an unfortunate but realistic part of life as a Royal Marines Commando that first aid skills are crucial and as such the whole Troop paid full attention during lectures.  In this first aid unit we learnt how to apply field dressings and perform CPR.  We got into pairs and practised different scenarios on each other to help us apply the theory side of first aid to the actual scenarios.  Even though the Troop was struggling with lack of sleep we all managed to pass the first aid test which could be the difference between someone living and dying on the battle field.  The first aid test was a practical assessment in which we had to deal with a certain scenario, which changed for each practical test.


The end of the week saw us undertake Gym Pass Out; this is a test we must all pass before we can be allowed to progress onto the bottom field.  Before this test we had been performing well in the gym, with a few extra sessions to fine tune our timings and positioning.  When Friday came the whole Troop knew what was expected with OC’s rounds and gym pass out on the same day.  After minimal sleep the Troop put in a really good performance and passed gym pass out first time, which meant the whole Troop could now progress onto the bottom field.
With the weekend we prepared for EX HUNTERS MOON as the exercise had been moved forward due to the whole camp going on summer leave.  With Ex HUNTERS MOON being criteria for our Troop, it was really important our kit and admin was all squared to give us the best possibility of passing.

226 Tp Recruit Diary

Week 10


Week 10 of Royal Marines training would involve facing the highly anticipated Ex HUNTERS MOON. This would prove to be the most testing exercise for 226 Troop yet, and the first time we had ever faced the harsh environment and unforgiving terrain of Dartmoor. The exercise was to be split into two parts, the first few days testing all the navigational skills we had learnt so far, and the second was to give us an idea of how to survive if behind enemy lines.  This exercise was to be testing enough for recruits in training, not to mention the fact that for 226 Troop it was to be a pass or fail criteria exercise.


Once we arrived at Dartmoor, we immediately split into our 4 sections, with our navigational skills being put to the test straight away.  We were to ‘yomp’ towards our harbour position, with each individual taking it in turns to lead the Section between checkpoints.  Once arriving in the harbour, we were given time to clean our rifles, have some ‘scran’, and write up our route cards for the first night navigation (nav) serial that was to be completed that evening.  This was the first time we had ever attempted a night nav and I think everyone found it challenging, especially as once the moon light had disappeared you literally could not see your hand in front of your face.  Luckily we had the guidance of our Section Corporals for this night navigation, and everyone got back to the harbour position in one piece.


The next day brought another yomp, only this time it was a slightly further distance.  Again setting off in our Sections, we soon realised that the yomps were only becoming more challenging as we went on.  Each individual was again taking it in turns to lead the Section from one checkpoint to another; all this practice was to hopefully make us feel more confident in ourselves, so that when we set off for our second night navigation, we would be comfortable with the fact that we wouldn’t have our Corporals with us.  When approaching checkpoint 4 of this day yomp, Section 1 and Section 4 seemed to be approaching at the same time.  It didn’t then take long before a little competition had started as to which Section could reach the checkpoint first!  Through pure determination Section 1 were soon ahead of Section 4, and much to Corporal Easter’s disappointment (and Corporal Vallender’s joy) they reached the checkpoint first.  All I can say is I’m happy I wasn’t in Section 4 when they lost this competition!


The second night navigation soon got underway, with multiple reiterations of what to do if we got lost.  Without the guidance of our Corporals, everyone knew that this yomp was to be more challenging than the previous.  It really was a case of trusting your compass and the bearing you had worked out when planning your route card.  I think it is safe to say that most of the syndicates did in fact get a little lost at one stage or another and the majority of people had twisted their ankles on the uneven terrain more than once!  However everyone seemed to complete the navigation without the need for a search party!


Following another morning kit muster, we then prepared to move onto the survival stage of the exercise, however to get there it would involve the most testing yomp so far.  It was to involve more weight than we had encountered before, and over 15km, a distance we also hadn’t encountered before.  This yomp certainly put people to the test, and I think everyone could feel the exercise take a step up.


Having completed the 15km yomp we were then stripped of all our kit and equipment and left with nothing but a survival tin and metal mug.  The next couple of days were going to test our survival skills to the max: we were to construct our own shelters, build our own fires, and fend for ourselves.  We were soon paid a visit from the Royal Marines Mountain Leaders, who came along to assess the work we had done so far.  They were also there to teach us how to kill, gut and prepare animals, so that we could feed ourselves over the next few days.  The survival part of the exercise was challenging in its own way, however it was also very enjoyable, and it gave everyone the chance to experience something new.  The eating of raw fish eyes seemed to be a highlight for most people!
Overall Week 10 was a challenging but enjoyable week, and completing Ex HUNTERS MOON seemed to please everyone, especially as we were to then head off for our 3 weeks summers leave!  A chance to rest up, get as much sleep as we liked, and not worry about morning inspections!  When returning to CTCRM after summer leave, we will then face an intense 2 weeks at Straightpoint ranges, a chance for us to get our marksmanship up to the required standard, and that one step closer to the green beret.

226 Tp Recruit Diary

Week 11 & 12
After returning from summer leave and packing all our kit ready for the week ahead, we deployed to Straightpoint ranges around 0700 Monday morning.  20 minutes later we arrived at the ranges where we received several briefs on safety both on and off the ranges and sentries around the ranges when firing and when not firing.  It was key we paid attention to the briefs as safety is always the number one concern to the Troop when firing live ammunition.

We then continued to drop our kit off at the accommodation provided, before heading out to the ranges to zero our weapons.  The sky was overcast and there was minimal wind; perfect conditions for finding our exact Point of Aim (POA) and Point of Impact (POI)  at 100 metres.  Once the Troop had all been zeroed we then continued to fire at ranges out to 300m to find out where our POA was to hit the centre of the target consistently.  We fired in each of the firing positions (prone, kneeling, standing and sitting) because some of the different positions would make a very slight change in the POI compared to prone.

We started off the Tuesday with morning phys which consisted of a series of hill sprints, followed by a circuit, then finishing with fireman carries.  We hadn’t done much ‘phys’ like this before so most found the session quite difficult, however, the whole concept of it is to give you an idea of what bottom field is like when we begin that phase of training.  Then after a quick shower and breakfast we headed down to the ranges to continue live firing.  We did similar exercises to the first day on the ranges, only we concentrated on tightening our groups by focusing on getting correct shot cycle and breathing technique.  I found that this really helped my shooting as I struggled to hit groups consistently on the first day.

On our third day at the ranges we began with doing our first beach phys session.  The majority of the Troop found this really enjoyable but very physically demanding. It consisted of the 7 minute challenge followed by various exercises: press ups, sit ups, squats, burpees and fireman carries conducted in the sea and on the beach.  We didn’t get out onto the ranges today due to low lying fog limiting vision.  However, we did use the DCCT range (computer simulator) for the day to practise our marksmanship and further enhance our skills.

The next day produced better weather so without hesitation we headed down to the range to practise our firing positions for the ACMT (Annual Combat Marksmanship Test) we would have the following day.  The kneeling supported and standing supported positions produced the most problems so as a Troop we worked on improving these positions by using ‘dry firing’.  Dry firing is practising shot cycle, steadiness and holding a point of aim without using ammunition.  This was extremely useful for those of us who struggled with these firing positions.  As night fell we conducted our first night shoot using live ammunition; we were shooting from the kneeling and prone position from 50 metres.  We really enjoyed the night shoot, despite how tired we were, because it was something different we had never done before.

The final day of Week 1 at Straightpoint began with a 3 mile speed march carrying 10lbs webbing and our rifle.  The speed march was rather difficult as we had never done a proper speed march prior to this, so everything was new to the Troop.  We completed the morning pays with a series of press ups, sit ups and squats.  Straight after breakfast we commenced with the ACMTs, in conditions far less that favourable; it had begun to rain and there was a southerly wind across the range. Despite the conditions, everyone in the Troop passed their ACMT and even though some people took a few times to pass, we did really well as a Troop.  On completion of the ACMT we packed our stuff to head back to Lympstone for the weekend to ‘go ashore’ and relax after an intense week at the ranges.

Monday morning we set off for the ranges around 0800 to continue live firing and working on our marksmanship.  We worked a lot on the 50 metre CQB range today working from ranges 25 metres down to 3 metres.  We found our points of aim for these ranges and began working on getting our groups as small as possible.  We also got introduced to failure to stop drills and hammer drills which we would put into practice the following day.

Tuesday began with a crossfit circuit called ‘murf’ which involved running 800 metres then conducting 100 pull ups 200 push ups and 300 squats before running a further 800 metres.  The Troop then began using the failure to stop drill which involves 2 rounds to the chest followed by 2 rounds to the head to ensure the target is down.  We progressed to completing this drill in as little as 3 seconds.  Along with the failure to stop drill, we started working on firing at 2 targets in one exposure, from ranges of 15 metres down to 3 metres.


Wednesday didn’t begin with morning phys, so instead we headed to the moving target range early to practise firing at moving targets at 50 metres.  The targets could have the speed changed to replicate walking, jogging and running speeds.  This was one of the highlights of the week for me, as it was more of a realistic scenario.  We then moved back to the 50 metre CQB range to fire automatic for the first time.  We fired 2-3 round bursts at targets 15 metres away; this was really fun as it was the first time we had fired automatic.  We proceeded to complete our CQB ACMT which was scored out of 32, with 22 or more needed to pass – the whole Troop passed first time.  We then went onto complete another night shoot using laser light modules (LLMs) and helmet mounted night vision systems (HMNVSs) firing out to 100 metres; this was probably the best part of the package for me.


Thursday began with the Troop doing pivoting then engaging an exposure as we had been dry firing on previous days.  We did left turns, right turns and about turns onto the target and the exposures only got shorter as we became more confident with the drill; we then moved onto walk downs which involve firing on the move onto a target from 25 metres down to 3 metres.  This was difficult and at first we had groupings that looked more like a shotgun spread rather than the 5.56mm rounds that had been fired at the target.  But after some practice and some adjustments to technique we began to produce some pretty tight groupings.  We then went back onto the range where we had been shooting the first week to complete our respirator shoot.  This was by far the most difficult shoot of the package as it was nearly impossible to get correct sight alignment and picture along with good cheek placement on the rifle.  Also the shoot was made even harder by the fact the weather was really hot that day, causing sweat to run into our eyes whilst we were shooting.  Once we had all passed the respirator shoot we completed the final shoot we would do – shooting with a bayonet attached.  In this shoot we would also combine the pivot turns and walk downs and use the post firing checks we had been using all week.  The drill was to about turn either left or right and begin to walk down onto your target firing six rounds at each 4 second exposure, making sure we completed post firing checks after each exposure.  We drilled this practice quite a few times and by the end it was almost impossible to remove our bayonets straight after the shoot because they were that hot!  The scheduled night shoot we had on Thursday was actually completed on Wednesday because we had some spare time, therefore, Thursday was quite a relaxed night cleaning our weapons ready to return to Lympstone the next day.
Friday morning we lifted and shifted all our kit up to the car park and had cleaned the place to how it was when we came.  Then after having breakfast we got cleared off the ranges and boarded the coach to head to Lympstone where we would spend the day cleaning kit and packing ready to go to Normandy in the evening.


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