Page 23 - The Chapka 2016
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 This year D Squadron sent a team to conduct The Cambrian Patrol. Busy with exercises and tasks during the commit- ted year, D Squadron was adamant that it should put its best foot forward. Team selection and training started immediately after summer leave, kicking off with a week-long force-on-force recce exercise with The Second Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland in Spadeadam. An area known for its particularly inhospitable ‘babies’ heads’ would provide a great beat-up for the Beacons. After a waterlogged week of CTRs, raids and pa- trols, the team was starting to show its face. Twelve able bodies emerged as being a cut above the rest, ready to train for the task ahead.
Sergeant Veale, 1st Troop Sergeant, D Squadron, volunteered his services as team manager having recently completed the patrol. He was, therefore, in a good position to deliver a training pack- age and, more importantly, put the team on the line of departure in good order. During the training package the team explored the Catterick Training Area, mainly at night and always on foot, patrolling between stands where they would conduct the type of tasks to be expected during the competition. Every day bought the group closer as a team and improved their understanding of the challenge they were about to undertake. The 10 man team chosen had every confidence in each other. On the final day of training The Royal Lancers hosted the first ever Czech Re- public team to enter the ‘Patrol’. The Czechs were all consider- ably older. We were hopeful that are youthful exuberance would shine through.
By the time The Royal Lancer team was on the line of departure the event was on its third rotation. By this stage the preliminary briefs and checks were slick and ably delivered by The First Bat- talion, The Yorkshire Regiment. The team were ready to deliver and keen to step-off. The first stand was a receiving and deliver- ing orders serial. With the ball very much in Mr Gouldstone’s court, he hastily put together a patrol order that would set the conditions for the following forty eight hours. It was a simple start and everything that a commander could wish for; clear sky, twelve hours of light and a team eager to prove its worth. The main event on the first day was a Close Target Reconnaissance (CTR). Coming from a reconnaissance regiment the team really felt this was their stand. The Final Rendezvous (FRV) Group was set with five hours of light still in-hand. The Recce Group departed and conducted the action on target, maintaining a 1500m stand-off and observing four teams who appeared to have applied ‘notional darkness’ to the scenario. Tick VG; a job well done.
The team, still in good condition, made its way to the next stand. En route they passed two stricken teams, offering what assistance and encouragement they could as they went. What followed were a number of stands focussed on basic soldiering skills, all of which The Royal Lancers took in their stride. The obstacle crossing was the first real test. It was something the team had only been able to ‘dry drill,’ yet with hindsight the cold water shock was the only factor that took them by surprise. With the harbour in-sight, the team pushed on unfazed. Unfor- tunately, team progress soon came to an abrupt stop. Diarrhoea and vomiting gripped two of the patrol members, forcing them to withdraw and, unfortunately, hopes of a medal went with them. Nevertheless, the team’s commitment was not tethered to a lump of tin and a cheesy photograph. The Royal Lancers were out there to hold up their reputation as a team that finishes what it starts. With slightly heavier bergens, carrying the withdrawn team members’ kit, the group drove on, conducting more com- mand tasks, all of which they had prepared for. As the team passed through each stand the directing staff applauded their efforts for cracking on in spite of the reduced team.
We finished the patrol in thirty six hours – the fastest on course. Although the patrol received no medal the experience had been challenging and rewarding. The Czech guests spent the full forty-eight hours on the route but were in a state of euphoric victory when they received their nation’s first Cambrian Patrol medal. The Cambrian Patrol was an excellent opportunity to get out and do some first class soldiering, all of this was made more enjoyable by the fantastic job the The First Battalion, The York- shire Regiment did in putting on the Cambrian Patrol. Until next year.
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