The jungle or in military terms the Close Country Tropical Environment (CCTE) is arduously challenging to operate in.
It tests your perseverance, robustness, survival skills and strength of will, to gain the initiative over the enemy under the canopy.
The British Army’s only Jungle Warfare Training School is located, on the island of Borneo in Asia. Here the Jungle Warfare Division (JWD) is responsible for running the Operational Tracking Instructors Course (OTIC) and the Jungle Warfare Instructor Course (JWIC) for British and international soldiers. For the very first time, due to the COVID restrictions, the course was opened to junior soldiers who did not meet the minimum criteria of completing the Section Commander Battle Course. This provided an opportunity for junior soldiers of The Second Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles (2 RGR) to participate alongside their experienced Non-Commissioned Officers on an adventure; an epic amalgamation of the JWIC and OTIC (JOTIC 2001).
The course ran from 7th September to the 13th November 2020. It provided an incomparable opportunity to learn new skills; tracking down the enemy to gather information for intelligence purposes, hone Infantry skills, improve navigation and most importantly to test the will to survive and defeat the enemy with limited resources. During the Operational Tracker Instructor phase, students were taught how to observe, identify, interpret and follow physical signs left behind by a subject. We were further trained on how to relocate lost or missing friendly personnel and to provide force protection. We were also assessed on detecting IED’s, mines and booby-traps by visual means, locating enemy caches and applying ground sign awareness and tracking skills.
During the next phase, the Jungle Warfare Instructor Course, students were trained and tested on their physical and mental resilience, infantry skills and jungle navigation abilities. This prepared us to conduct offensive, defensive tasks and enabling operations through a succession of gruelling serials. At the same time students were assessed on their battlefield discipline, command and control in the field, and their ability to lead students as an instructor in the CCTE. The final exercise culminated in the students conducting a final company live-fire camp attack for the first time in a decade of jungle warfare courses.
All the students displayed the highest levels of battlefield discipline, and it was my great honour to be awarded top student on this highly competitive course. We have now been granted the ultimate responsibility to share our knowledge, skills and experiences with the junior soldiers in our battalion, to make 2 RGR the best jungle-based battalion in the British Army.
By Corporal Kiran Thapa – The Second Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles