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Bradford Grammar CCF

So what did we get up to?

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We left for Wretham Camp, Norfolk, on Saturday morning, with a long coach journey ahead of us.

 

We arrived late afternoon, and after dumping our bags in the billets, we took the rifles to the armoury and then headed off for tea. That evening we were free to do what we wanted and many of us went to the NAAFI where you can play pool, watch TV, buy food and drink or just talk with your friends.

 

On Sunday we first had the assault course, which everyone was looking forward to, almost. We were put with Denstone College for the week, as we were both relatively small contingents. We were split into 3 sections, each doing the assault course in turn after the dreaded warm up, which many feel is more challenging itself than the actual course. Our next activity was kayaking which was fun, if not very wet. We played a number of games including water polo, and British bulldogs, in which the instructors capsized us all. We then had lunch and then off to orienteering. We were split into small groups of 3 people to do the course, which was meant to be a quick course. One of our groups finished it in a brilliant time with all the points, and they won our week overall, getting medals! The rest of us had fun doing the course, and another team was very close behind our winners. We all got back that evening tired after our first day.

 

Monday brought with it another early rise and a physical day. First on the agenda was ambushing. We were first taught how to carry out an ambush properly, then we rehearsed it, then we carried it out very successfully. We then took part in a platoon attack, which involved learning all the drills, camming up, and then doing the attack, which was in 3 stages, each of the 3 sections taking it in turns to be the attacking section, reserve section and suppressing fire section. That took it out of most people but we still had camouflage and concealment to do. In that we learned the different crawls you can use to move tactically with a rifle, and then we were taught how to cam up properly and were then sent off to do it ourselves. The instructors then told us what we had done wrong (or right) and how to correct it. We then had a challenge. We had to make it across some land to some paintball guns, and if we got there we could shoot at any instructor, but with one catch - the instructors were watching from one side and if they saw anyone then they were out. All in all it was a fun day for everyone.

 

By Tuesday morning we were all used to the early rises again, and were quite thankful that it was an easy day after Monday's activities. Today was range day - the day most cadets looked forward to the most. We first did a section defence range where we were on a field range, shooting at targets of enemies as they popped up, which everyone enjoyed, with it being different to a normal range. While each section did that range, one of the others were doing the background activity of shotgun shooting. We then had some time to spare before the next activity, so one of our officers set us a command task of building as long a human bridge as we could, and building a human pyramid, both of which we all enjoyed tremendously. After that we moved onto a range with rifles that had been bore-sighted, so we were not using our own zeroed rifles, which meant that most people didn't enjoy it very much, as the rounds were not going where we wanted them to. The background activity here was command tasks, which were fun, but infuriating. After lunch we went onto the final range, where some people did archery while others did the range. Some people got to fire the LSWs (Light Support Weapons) on here at targets that fell when hit. We then cleaned the rifles and were on our way back to camp.

 

However much we looked forward to Tuesday, Wednesday was what we were all looking forward to most of all - OBUA - Operations in Built-Up Areas (i.e. house clearing). The first activity was a demonstration by the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment on how to clear a house, and we then got a chance to actually talk to the guys in the demo on what life in the Army is like. We then took part in an urban assault course, which was amazing. We were taken in the back of a jeep, and when it "crashed" (i.e. when it's horn went off) then we all had to jump out and crawl to the helmets, and from there we had to crawl down tunnels and into and out of buildings while the enemy chased us. We then did house clearing for ourselves, after being taught what equipment and methods would be used, how many people you would have, and what their jobs would be. Lunch was quickly followed by more command tasks and then we were shown around a mock house that was defended against attack, which was interesting.

 

After a tiring but exciting week, Thursday was competition day. We could only put out two teams though - one for the assault course and one for volleyball (we didn't have enough cadets for the football or the march and shoot as each cadet could only take part in one event). Our assault course team did very well, but didn't get a medal, and our volleyball team got knocked out in the first round unfortunately, but we had fun. We could then rest for the rest of the day until the presentation where our orienteering team collected their medals. In the evening though we were going on a 24-hour exercise so we needed the rest because we wouldn't get much sleep that night. We were all split into our two sections and then transported by minibus to our training area where we were briefed on what the mission was etc. Each section was then taken one at a time to where they would be camping out, as we would be competing against each other. One of our objectives was to get the bowl from the middle of the other section's camp; therefore we had to make it as hard as possible for the other section to find our camp. We then had to send out recce patrols to find the other section's camp, and any other information they could. All through the night we had to have sentries in case we were attacked, and to make matters worse it rained, a lot. In the morning we then carried out attacks and ambushes on each other, then we went back to camp to sleep for a bit and then to the NAAFI for another night of pool - our contingent managed to keep the pool table for the entire night for 5 nights running now.

 

In the morning we all packed and cleaned the billets ready for departure home. After collecting our rifles and putting the bags on the coach we all left, sad that it was over, but glad of being on the way home.