Cadets from across the county descended on Thetford Weekend Training Centre to start a 5 day fieldcraft package with an interest trip to RAF Marham and a Regimental dinner night.
The cadets came to Thetford and were put into their 3 new sections to form a platoon for the rest of the week.
The cadets deployed to the training area on Monday morning at 0930hrs which will be there home for the next 4 days. It was a gloriously sunny and bright Norfolk October morning which unfortunately turned to showers in the afternoon.
Today’s main effort was to recap and refresh fieldcraft training to ensure every cadet was at the same level, crucial when working in a team. The cadets had a round-robin of conducting: Section Attacks, Ambushes and working on their RTR (Return fire/Take cover/Return effective enemy fire) and Peeling off drills.
In the evening the first set of orders were given out by the Cadet Platoon Commander and Cadet Platoon Sgt to the rest of the platoon.
On day two the cadets had reveille at 0600hrs where they rose from their sleeping bags under their bashers eager to see what the day ahead would bring.
From the previous night’s orders, the platoon of senior cadets entered the 'Tactical' phase of the week where they would need to respond appropriately to all future situations within the scenario.
The day started off with lateral flow tests to ensure all cadets and staff were still negative and well and then the training could continue. After a hearty breakfast the platoon split up into their three sections and headed out, each to recce a new harbour area for this phase. Each section commander had been briefed, a route established, order of march perfected, orders given and then the patrols began.
After each section had recce'd three possible harbour locations, they took their findings back to the Platoon Commander where he could make his selection for the next two nights based on the ground, security and best location. The cadets then began their harbour occupation after a snap ambush to ensure no enemy had followed them.
During the afternoon, the harbour area was successfully occupied by the platoon. They then received credible intelligence of three possible enemy roadblocks being set up along the Main Supply Route (MSR) and conducted Recce Patrols to gather more information on the enemy's strength, intention , morale and training.
During the recce patrols, some sections were seen and had to tactically withdraw and one section was very lucky when a USAF V-22 Osprey came flying overhead and hovered to make sure all was well on the ground with the friendly forces.
It was a mild start to day three where the weather was cloudy and warm but the winds had increased. The cadets had an 'engaging' evening as their harbour was attacked and probed by enemy forces multiple times in the early hours testing their responses and trying to gather intelligence on them. All were repelled.
The day started out with three section-level deliberate attacks on the previous days recce at the illegal roadblocks. The enemy were all caught unaware when the senior cadets surprised them with three brilliantly executed plans of attack. The Seniors needed to make sure that they all looked for the best route with cover and used the ground they had to their advantage to get as close as possible before engaging.
Each roadblock had an enemy 'depth' position where the cadets did not realise was there until they opened fire. This then puts the Section Commanders and 2IC's on the spot to work out their Quick Battle Orders (QBOs) and communicate it to all in the section to ensure they win the firefight and to keep the momentum of the advance.
After ending all engagements with a clear victory, the cadets all headed back to the harbour area for a debrief and prepare for the next tasking.
The cadets did not have too long to wait before orders came in that each section needed to set up and occupy an Observation Post (OP) to try and observe the enemy in areas where there was likely enemy activity near the Main Supply Route (MSR).
After the O-group, they were ready. Each section knew what was required of them and they then patrolled to their designated area and occupied their OP's to find vital information on the enemy that could help them devise their next plan of action.
It was a cooler start to the senior cadets on day 4 out on the area this morning. Before dawn the cadets were rudely awoken by the enemy again probing their harbour location. After the cadets stood to, they decided to tactically withdraw from the harbour location as it had been compromised.
After breakfast and in the safety of their new safe location, the seniors could start their objectives for the day. In the scenario a senior member of the UN was coming out to physically walk the Main Supply Route (MSR) to show confidence in the route to his own local friendly forces. With this, 1 Platoon provided security for the UN Officer, Colonel Petite-Côte as he made his way along the MSR.
The platoon did encounter three attacks from the enemy along the route who tried to deny the MSR to the friendly forces and take the UN Colonel hostage. Each time the enemy attacked they were quickly and professionally stopped. Each of the three sections took turns in being an assault, fire support and reserve section depending on the platoon commander’s orders, ammunition state and physical location of each.
The mission was a complete success with the VIP being able to safely walk the route and all enemy forces were stopped. After this the words many cadets were longing to hear, after 4 days in the field 'End Ex' was called!
On the final night the Cadet Training Centre hosted something a little bit different for the senior cadets after their return from four days in the field, a NACF Regimental Dinner. The canteen was decked out with the countie's silverware and standards to provide the perfect setting for the dinner.
At the end of the dinner, several awards were presented by our Honorary Colonel Lt General Page. These were:
Best Cadet - Cpl H Bishop North Walsham Detachment
Most Improved Cadet - Staff Cadet I Hill Sandringham Detachment
Best Section - 1 Section
Congratulations to all of you who have completed this week!