Page 20 - The Chapka 2016
P. 20

  October 2016 saw members of all five squadrons deploy to be the enemy for 4 SCOTS BG on Exercise WESSEX STORM wrapped around the spine of A Squadron. The exercise was divided into two main phases: company-level battle lanes on STANTA training area, Norfolk; and, battle group-level train- ing on Salisbury Plain. The OPFOR worked for Field Train- ing Unit (FTU) and in addition to representing elements of 389 Limarian Mechanized Infantry Brigade, we were – on occasion – required to role-play ‘Salasyl’ terrorist cells, civilians, UN aid- workers and a farmer.
The Squadron Group moved south from Catterick to occupy Bodney camp, just north of Thetford, Norfolk. Over the next four days we conducted a special to arm training package to learn how to fight as infantry platoons. This low-level training, watched over by the keen eye of Staff Sergeant Dyer, saw troops practicing contact drills, dismounted patrolling and covert rec- ce skills in both the rural and urban environments. It was, for many of us, the first time we had worked with each other and in the alien structure of an infantry company. We made time for a small break with a visit to the moonscape of Grimes Graves: a Neolithic flint mine producing stone of an exceptional, almost ‘Ferrari’ quality.
The first test for the 4 SCOTS BG was a series of 48 hour compa- ny battle lanes which included the defence of Eastmere Village by a platoon of Lancers; a terrorist cell on the receiving end of a
4 SCOTS company raid and providing pattern of life on a couple of objectives. Corporal Edwards celebrated Halloween when he was unable to resist redecorating some pumpkins ‘heads’ which were to be targets for 4 SCOTS snipers. Trooper Edge left be- hind a little bit too much of his own pattern of life.
The denouement of each 48 hour battle lane was a 4 SCOTS company defensive position which secured a vital river crossing reserved for demolitions. We were gifted a huge degree of free reign from FTU to recce the position, through a combination of OPs and CTRs, harass the position with fighting patrols and indirect fires, before culminating on the second night in a com- pany attack onto the position, where darkness; the fog of war (rather more meteorological than metaphorical) and our token Scottish soldier, was exploited fully to cause havoc and mayhem – and on two occasions, capture the crossing intact (thanks to the liberal use of a Leatherman by Sergeant Clements).
Upon our arrival on Salisbury Plain, the Squadron Company Group was bolstered by a third infantry platoon and CVR(T)s: a large Scimitar troop of six cars headed by Lieutenant Gardner and Staff Sergeant Lucas; SHQ and a number of Spartans; and, an anti-tank section, snipers and machine guns. Lieutenant Jibb and Sergeant Veale’s third platoon was brought up to scratch by the spinning of our great ‘dits’ from the victories in Norfolk. What probably also helped was the three days they spent together in a farmyard defending it from 4 SCOTS and a large herd of cows.
Wessex Warriors
The Only Way is Wessex
  An unpheasant experience

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