Having weathered the initial COVID storm and with the Steelback involvement in the Mobile Testing Units handed over, it was important for to get back to the main aim of making sure the Battalion is ready to support the Regular Army.
A return to training for the 3rd Battalion
This meant getting back to field training, getting down and dirty in the fields, and understanding and practicing the fundamentals of Infantry Soldiering. All this taking place in a successful WESSEX STORM in February.
The with constant influx of new recruits and soldiers the training looked back at the basics, the principles that all other tasks in the Infantry grow from. The first being the ability to operate from a bergan in the field, and the second being able to find the enemy. In socially distanced platoon ‘bubbles’ the Battalion moved to STANTA to set themselves up, ensuring that there was no cross contamination. Whilst this added an administrative burden to the exercise it proved that training in this environment is still, not only possible, but practical, and credit should go to 4 Company who took the lead on running this exercise.
With a deep dive on patrol harbours the platoons set about digging shell scrapes and moving into routine, ensuring that they could operate effectively, refreshing, and rebuilding faded skills. From there it was time to move into the ‘find’ part of the Infantry Battle, with Sections receiving orders to conduct recce patrols. And as darkness fell these patrols silently left their harbours to search out the enemy across the AO.
The ghostly and hidden movements of the sections gave the unnerving feeling of always being watched, knowing that someone was out there, and struggling to find them. Even with the addition of night viewing devices identifying patrols was made difficult by intelligent selection of routes and movement.A successful first weekend back for the Steelbacks, a chance to invigorate core skills, and build in preparation for our ADX in early September.
It is critical that we all retain the core basic skills of Infantry soldiering, and it never hurts to spend time focusing on how to do them properly. A great exercise, and it was great to see the Battalion back together.