Over the weekend of the 11th and 12th of October the Army section completed the annual Field Weekend at Caerwent Training Area in Chepstow. The aim of the weekend was to teach the cadets some basic field craft, self-reliance and patrol drills.
So on Friday afternoon a coach of fifty year 9 cadets departed Colston’s with only their Bergens packed with essentials to survive the two days. The year 10 cadets departed by minibus and upon arriving at the training area immediately tabbed to their harbour area for the weekend orders.
After setting up their sleeping area and eating some rations the year 9 cadets went on a night walk and learnt about camouflage and concealment. There were also several command tasks designed to test the cadets problem solving and team work skills.
It was then time to bed down for the night ready for the 6am start. Unfortunately a rather friendly sheep decided to investigate our area and proceeded to wake everyone up at 0230hrs! It was left to Capt Richardson to chase the sheep away and keep watch.
Saturday morning was spent learning how to cover ground and tackle obstacles. This involved identifying ambush points and gate vaulting. Cadets then learnt how to estimate distance, how to pace and how to communicate this to the rest of the section.
Meanwhile the year 10s were setting an ambush. If they ambushed the resupply convoy successfully they would collect the rations, water and ammunition – essential for survival. With much shouting, running and gunshots the convoy were neutralised and the kit ‘liberated’.
Things with year 9 took on a lighter note in the afternoon as we all celebrated Amelia Davies’ birthday with some well needed chocolate cake!
Following this short rest bite the year 9 cadets learnt patrol skills, hand signals and putting into practice the skills learnt in the morning. After collecting another 24 ration pack they set about creating their own harbour area in some dense woodland. Here they set up their own bashas and organised sentries for the night (1hr each from 2200hrs – 0600hrs).
A night time patrol gave the sections the chance to demonstrate all that they had learnt so far and also warmed them up a bit as the temperature dropped significantly.
Having successfully ambushed the supply convoy the year 10s were in high spirits and decided upon attacking a patrol that was operating near their harbour area. So in the dead of night a truck carrying four unlucky instructors set off a trip flare and the night was transformed into blazing light and blazing rifles. The year 10s then bugged out and set about finding the year 9 harbour area…
With sentries posted it was time for the year 9 cadets to get some much needed sleep. This however was rudely disturbed at 0015hrs when the year 10 cadets launched an attack on their harbour area! After checking no-one was missing the year 9 sections finally wrapped up again and fell asleep.
Sunday began early with more training and gave the year 9 cadets the chance to watch a section attack by the year 10s. They were very impressive and managed to overrun the enemy position and withdraw tactically.
After a spot of lunch (anything that was left in their rations) the year 9 cadets paired up and completed a ‘stalk’. This involved them covering ground without the instructor seeing them and ‘taking out’ a target.
And so the only thing left was to tidy up and pack up ready for the coach at 1600hrs. There was however one last formality. Two cadets stood out over the course of the weekend and in an unprecedented move Year 9 cadet Neve Cussons was promoted to (Acting) Lance Corporal due to her commitment, attitude and leadership. Maddy Cake (Year 10) was also prompted to Lance Corporal after demonstrating excellent field craft skills alongside a positive attitude and willingness to get stuck in to all tasks she was given. Congratulations to them both.
Over the course of the weekend the cadets behaved impeccably and completed all the tasks with enthusiasm and commitment and I would like to thank them all for making the weekend a very enjoyable one. I would also like to thank all the staff who gave up their time to help and instruct: Captain Cumine, Sgt Willcox, Sgt Naish, Sgt Bridgeman, Sgt Mark, SMI Dove, DMI Townsend and SSI Richard Cain.
Captain Tom Richardson
Colston's School CCF