There’s not much further to go for Second Lieutenant Sam Westlake, currently at the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick, undertaking the punishing P Company training course. Today he blogs about a timed 2-mile run and 60 seconds of “controlled aggression”…
This morning was a 2-Miler to be completed in under 18 minutes and the Milling followed that.
The 2 Miler route on P Company is harder than any route at Sandhurst or Brecon but the first mile or so is squadded. The first mile is mostly uphill but by staying with the PTI for this leg of the event, I was in a better position for the best effort mile to the finish. The 2-Miler is always a pretty painful one for me because I struggle with shin pain, and it usually takes a miler or two to shake that off. I made a conscious effort last night to stretch my shins off and I did my best to warm them up this morning. It did help but to be honest by this stage in the course I was fully prepared to run through the pain and did. Compared with other events, the 2-Miler is an easy 10 points. Expect to come in at a slower time than usual on this course but under 18 minutes is very achievable.
After a quick change in to indoor PT kit, the course marched to the gym for Milling. The best way to explain Milling is that it’s like boxing without the tactics and rest. It is 60 seconds of controlled aggression against an opponent of equal weight to demonstrate your reliability in a firefight. We were weighed-in and put in to pairs, made to stand nose-to-nose and mentally prepare for the fight. The recruits known collectively as “Joe” went through their fights first. Some were classic mills; two men standing in the centre, exchanging blows until both were exhausted and the time ran out. Others were more one-sided and stop-start. Our All-Arms fights followed, starting with the smallest men and concluding with the heaviest. When it came to my mill, I was convincingly filled-in but nonetheless the experience was a very good one. My blood-stained white t-shirt will be a nice P Company memento. I’ve heard the Milling is unpopular amongst some but from what I could see it was safe, professionally controlled and is of great value to the course. Like all the events, Milling represents an act in battle and determines someone’s suitability to serve with airborne forces.