Soldier under Training (SuT) Jamie Davies writes from ATC Pirbright about his first week back in training after a long weekend at home.
We came back off the long weekend – which I really enjoyed – and were thrown straight back into the deep end. Seeing family and friends was so nice, it was amazing to have a lie in and eat whatever I wanted!
On Monday morning we had to have our lockers back up to scratch and we had some map reading lessons. I think I am gradually getting the hang of the map reading, it takes a while to understand it but we’ve had loads of lessons and I think I am getting there. On Monday night we packed our kit for Exercise HALFWAY.
On Tuesday we had circuits first thing. It was a really tough session, mostly because on the last lesson we didn’t perform to a very high standard. All you have to do in PT is do as you’re told but lots of people kept getting it wrong. Last week I hurt my ankle which meant that for PT I could only do upper body. Tomorrow my sick chit runs out though so I should be OK for the exercise.
After PT we had a kit check and also went to pick up our weapons from the armoury. We set off for exercise around lunch time. When we arrived on the area we had to give a declaration that we had no live rounds, then we had our rifles and kit checked for any rounds and then we went into battle prep where we got issued blank rounds. Exercise is good but it is a bit nerve-racking because you never quite know what’s around the corner. In camp we have a timetable of events but not on exercise. Although the staff usually give us a bit of a heads up.
On the first day of Exercise HALF WAY we occupied our harbour and dug shell scrapes. As soon as it got dark we started rotating through sentry. Sentry is when you are effectively guarding the harbour. On the second day we learnt about patrolling, did a bit more navigational consolidation and also learnt about observation, judging distance and fire control orders.
On the third day we had a load of fire and manoeuvre lessons and then also a navigation exercise. We had to plan a route and then had a limited time to complete it, answering questions at each check point. I really feel my navigation has come on and actually being out on the ground really helped. On the evening of the third day we had a stalking exercise. A couple of the Corporals stood on top of a hill and then we had to try and get into a box. That was possibly my favourite part of the whole exercise!
On the last day after getting attacked at about 0500 we had loads of fieldcraft tests. Everyone passed them all – but some weren’t that easy! In whole the exercise was demanding but worth it. I’m now looking forward to the coming weeks, especially the bayonet training and assault course.