Exercise INTRO 1 – A journey begins with a single step

By Corporal Anuch Gurung, 2 (Kandahar) Platoon, Gurkha Company Catterick

In early March Recruit Intake 2023, took their first steps into the field as trainee soldiers. This was week three of their 39-week Combat Infantry Course (CIC), having arrived in the UK on the 12th of February 2023. The series of three Introductory Exercises in Basic Training are designed to build a solid foundation for Recruits to build upon in future exercises. They cover basic fieldcraft which included to eat, sleep, and maintain personal kit, as well as hygiene in the field. The Training Riflemen (T/Rfn) were taught other basics in personal camouflage and concealment, battlefield discipline, methods of movement and harbour drills.

There was lots of excitement the day before of deployment. Section Commanders were guiding the recruits in packing their kit in the platoon lines and the Trainee Riflemen (T/Rfn) seemed thrilled, and a little overwhelmed to see the variety of kit they had to pack. All Platoon Sergeants conducted a final kit check and the Company moved out to their platoon harbour areas on Catterick Training Area.

After harbour occupation, recruits were ready to have their first Multi Climate Ration (MCR). Platoon Sergeants conducted a lesson on food and water, then recruits prepared and enjoyed their lunch. Revived with the best meal of their life, recruits were then taught how to set up a 2-man shelter (basha) by their Section Commanders.

There were two collective demonstrations and lessons on ‘Why things are seen?’ and the use of pyrotechnics (pyro) followed by a lesson on ‘Movement at Night’. Recruits were astounded to witness the effects of parachute illumination, trip flares and mini flares. These pyro natures produce illumination and are used for signalling or observing ground at night. The T/Rfn also saw numerous demonstrations on movement and battlefield discipline during the night. As night approached, the cold weather brought snow and it was time for recruits to get into their sleeping bags. During the night they took turns conducting roving sentry in pairs.

The next day the trainees woke up to find snow all around them. They looked delighted as for most of them it was their first snowfall. The day started with a ‘morning routine’ lesson to maintain personal hygiene, kit and equipment in the field followed by a demonstration of fire and manoeuvre as a look forward to their next exercise. This marked the end of Exercise INTRO 1 and the platoons started patrolling back to camp to begin their post-exercise administration.

The 24hr field exercise has provided recruits with base layer foundation to survive and sustain in the field and the demanding weather gave them an instant opportunity to apply what they had learnt. I believe the basic crafts which they have learned from training team will boost their confidence on upcoming field exercises.