2 (Cromwell) Company – Winter Camp

Lieutenant Jon Blundell tells us about 2 Coy's recent training weekend.

2 (Cromwell) Company – Winter Camp

10 December 2021

  • Cambridgeshire ACF

After a cold and damp week, Cadets and CFAV’s from No. 2 (Cromwell) Company noted a change in the air as they descended on CTC Waterbeach; the rain eased and the atmosphere warmed… this was to be the first full residential training weekend for a very long time, and over 100 cadets were poised and ready, ably supported by 20 CFAVs equally itching to get back to training.

Cadets receive their briefing for the weekend.

1 star Navigation training commenced on the Friday evening, as did a range of basic subjects for those cadets whose first time it was at a Company weekend. Several Skill at Arms classes also began, ensuring as many cadets as possible were current and competent for the following day’s fieldcraft exercise, the defence of a water tower at RAF Barnham, Thetford, codenamed ‘Exercise Water Safety’.

Being residential again ensured a fun and enthusiastic evening for both cadets and adults, and for some the CSM’s reveille call at 0630 hours came far too early. With breakfast complete, navigation training continued out on the ground and the classrooms were filled with Skill at Arms students. The qualified 1 and 2 star cadets set off to Thetford for field craft training that would culminate in our first blank firing exercise in what seemed like forever!

Cadets take part in 'Operation Water Safety.' Picture: Lt Jon Blundell.

Although cold, the sun shone as the 2 star cadets refreshed their patrolling techniques and took orders for defending the water tower, and the 1 stars rehearsed camouflage and concealment and took up a defensive position.

Meanwhile, back at CTC, drill had commenced with the basic cadets along with lessons on Values and Standards. Cocking of rifles also became audible as stripping and assembling on the cadet GP rifle continued within Skill at Arms training.

Cadets take part in 'Operation Water Safety.' Picture: Lt Jon Blundell.

Lunch in the field was followed by cadets taking up defensive positions around the valuable resource of the water tower or patrolling the areas nearby. Unbeknown to the cadets, the evil ECO had pitched the 1 and 2 stars against each other. “Contact front”; the 1 star cadets had spotted the enemy and put some rounds down… “Charlie fire team, 200m, enemy seen, rapid fire…” and the battle commenced. The 2 star Delta fire team flanked around to attack from the east whilst Charlie team fought northwards. The air was peppered with gun fire as white smoke signalled a withdrawal and the 2 stars peeled off, regrouped and sent in a second wave. More enthusiastic firing, shouting and passion as the NCOs bellowed fire control orders before more white smoke brought the battle to a close. Major Annis assured the 1 star cadets they had thwarted the enemy, whilst SSgt Stagg convinced the 2 stars that they had suppressed the attack and won the fire fight. The facts of the matter being that all cadets had reached the required standard to pass that part of their respective field craft training and were now ready to complete the remainder of the syllabus.

The evening saw a DofE presentation and continued training before bed – Saturday night seeing far more sleep than the initial night! Scorpion Air Rifles were introduced to the basics on Sunday along with weapon handling tests for those undertaking Skill at Arms with the GP rifle. The Fieldcraft cadres undertook the inevitable weapon cleaning and completed the rest of their 1 star and 2 star fieldcraft theory lessons. The Navigation team completed their expedition and navigation assessments.

Cadets take part in 'Operation Water Safety.' Picture: Lt Jon Blundell.

A successful weekend's training – both socially (it was clear that cadets and adults alike were pleased to be back) and physically with over 30 1 and 2 star field craft passes, all 4 navigation passes and many basic subjects completed. The majority of skill at arms cadets completed their weapon handling tests and others gained further experience with the weapon.

The Deputy Lieutenant, Colonel Kay paid us a welcome visit, as did our Commandant Colonel Deacon, who were most welcome and witnessed a range of training. The weekend was drawn to a close by OC Major Annis, who thanked everyone not only for their enthusiastic training, but respecting the Covid rules that allowed residential training to continue. Very well done to all concerned.

Text by Lt Jon Blundell