CCF Summer Camp 2018
Two coaches, and a minibus full of 48 excited cadets, left school at 8:30am, on Sunday 8th July, and began the hour and a half journey to Crowborough. Our cadets were split into 4 sections to make up one platoon. When we arrived we were given the keys to our accommodation, which Sgt French says was not dissimilar to the accommodation he had when starting the army. After being allocated our sheet, sleeping bag and pillow we unpacked our bags.
The first day was filled with adventurous training activities. We split into two groups, each alternating our activities. In the morning, a range of activities were available such as mountain biking, including cycling over a dodgy looking seesaw, archery tag, rock climbing and long bow, where at one point we had to take it in turns lying on the ground and hoping no one’s aim was good enough to hit you. The groups then switched and the other half of the day consisted of water sports. Up first was kayaking, made harder with the challenge of switching kayaks with other people without falling into the water. After this we had the opportunity to use MK6 Assault boats. We had to paddle in unison to race these boats and some interesting chants such as the Spongebob Squarepants theme song were used. We also carried out a raft racing exercise. On the second day we traded our wetsuits for our combat trousers and jackets. The day was filled with different stands. These included; the 25m range using a SUSAT scope, an obstacle course which ended with a crawl through mud, clay pigeon shooting using a shotgun which was scarily popular, a talk on Armoured Fighting Vehicles, a weapons stand, an activity using night vision technology, archery, and paintballing.
The next day, we were taught and then carried out a raid where we had to rescue a helicopter pilot, a compound clearance, laser tag, and were first to arrive at the scene of a car crash, where a man who looked strangely similar to Sgt French wouldn’t stop yelling about ‘Johnny’. In the afternoon we attended a survival stand where we completed trust activities and were shown how you would start a fire using cotton pads, steel wool, and batteries.
On Thursday, we marched to our new home for the night. In a clearing in a forest we set up our bashas, roughly 2 to a basha. For the rest of the day we practiced our ambush planned for later that night. Captain Bignold, from 2nd Battalion PWRR came to our campsite to help out and showed us what is known as ‘gucci kit’. This is all the latest special tech the army uses, such as night vision and Infrared scopes, and he even let us borrow some kit for our ambush. Later that night we set out for our ambush using the linear ambush tactic with a left cut off, a right cut off, and a killing group. Once we were set up we waited for our enemy (the U6 and Lt Stubbings) to come into sight. Using string communication, the killing group knew the enemy were present. Blank rounds were fired at the enemy who dramatically ‘died’ and the exercise was complete.
After the night spent in bashas, early risers would have noticed Major Hawkins and some U6 cadets trying to dispel a herd of wild horses that strayed close to camp. We then started rehearsal drills for our platoon attack. We then launched our attack up a very uneven hill to where the enemy position was thought to be. We held a strong extended line, which was only interrupted by a bog at the bottom of the hill.
Our four sections, led by Alex Bradley, Ben Shepherd, Lily Gibbons, and Vladislav Zlatkin each used the Charlie & delta fireteam manoeuvre tactic within their sections to progress up the hill, while firing off lots of blank rounds. Once the enemy position was clear we completed a re-org then returned to camp to clean the rifles. We then packed our bags, cleaned our accommodation, and boarded the coaches to go home, on which most cadets slept peacefully. We returned to school at about 6:00 on Friday 13th July.
Many thanks to all our staff, but mostly to Major Hawkins and Colour Sergeant French for organising the trip.
CSM Lily Gibbons (Upper Sixth pupil)