It's been a long time coming, but at last a chance for out senior cadets to get out in the field and enjoy the thrill of a field exercise.
Early on Saturday morning our 8 Cadets assembled in the car park of our training camp in Colchester. The morning chill, mixed with the smell of weapon oil, combined with the flurry of activity made the tarmac of our car park feel like a Forward Operation Base (FOB). It was soon designated FOB Cherry.
The Cadets in FOB Cherry cleaned rifles, checked water bottles, tightened Webbing straps, powdered their feet and took in an air of anticipation.
They were soon met by 2 members of the Cadet Training Team, both regular Sergeants. One serving in the Parachute Regiment the other with the REME. The two instructors made their introductions, assigned roles to cadets (who would be rotating through all section roles during the exercise) and let the first appointed section commander shake down the team to move into the feild.
On the move, the Cadets showed good discpline and worked hard, but it was apparent that many skills had dropped during the pandemic. The team had to work very hard and the morning was spent on practising skills that they would need to be successful later on in the exercise.
By lunch time the section had moved from FOB Cherry to the forward edge of the battle area, set up a line harbour and enjoyed a warm ration pack meal. The afternoon was centred on harbour routines, model making and orders groups. As darkness fell recce patrols headed out.
Over the course of the next 18 hours, patrols were mounted, enemy intelligence gained and plans to assault the enemy position were drawn up. Noisy rehersals for section battle drills, followed by silent rehersals took place. Orders were formed and all cadets rotated through the jobs in the section, such as commander, scout and signals operator.
Then, the time came...
A deliberate planed attack was formed, finalised and executed.The enemy forces were rocked by the speed and accuracy of the assault that our cadets launched. A culimation of not just the training and direction from the instructors in the field, but also of the knowlege gained from the online sessions during the pandemic.
The 8 man Sergeant cadre section performed a series of lighting speed attacks on the simulated enemy locations, proving that they are a force to be reckoned with.
The debriefing needs to be concluded, but what is clearly eveident is that the cadets in the senior carde did not just practice new skills in the field. They also had a throughly good time, despite the changeable UK summer weather trying it’s hardest to upset them.