WEEK 2: Ambushes. Battle simulations. And leading a team.

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7th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (7 SCOTS) is the Army Reserve Infantry Battalion for the North of Scotland. Our Battalion Headquarters is in Perth and there are Company and Platoon locations at Army Reserve Centres in Dundee, Aberdeen, Kirkcaldy, Inverness, Elgin, Stornoway, Dumbarton and Stirling. Our paired Regular Battalion is The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS) based at Fort George near Inverness.

7 SCOTS is a light role Infantry Battalion. This means that we have little reliance on vehicles. Instead we carry all of the kit and equipment that we require in order to live and fight. We pride ourselves on our physical fitness and our mental and physical resilience and robustness, and train regularly as reserve teams to undertake our role. This blog shows a typical weekend on ‘exercise’ in Scotland for our unit.

Friday

The team started to filter through the door at 1830hrs on Friday night. Under the direction of their section commanders, they made final adjustments to their kit and got themselves ready to deploy on the weekend exercise.

At 2000hrs, I delivered my first set of orders explaining the plans for the weekend. By 2200hrs, we had deployed onto the training area, which luckily for us, is roughly a 15-minute drive from the Army Reserve Centre. We occupied a platoon harbor, positioned each section in a defensive manner and posted out our sentries. As soon as the platoon had built their bashas for the night, they got their heads down. It wasn’t long after that I sent out a patrol to recce a potential enemy position that we would potentially have to attack later that weekend.

Saturday

At 0530hrs, I called a stand too and by 0600hrs, the platoon was into its morning routine. Once we’d washed, shaved, and eaten breakfast, it was time to start training. The morning was dedicated to section-level training. Each section went through three different section attack lanes. This allowed them to practice their section-level skills and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that the section commanders had set out for them.

This was followed by a quick break for lunch and then we were into platoon-level training. The afternoon consisted of the platoon, as a whole, advancing to contact across the training area. This allowed the platoon to perfect the SOPs that I had set out and allowed the three sections to get used to working under my command and alongside each other.

After clearing the final position we patrolled back to our harbor area where we got into our evening routine and the platoon started to get their heads down. I received orders over the radio from the Company Commander for an attack in the early hours of Sunday morning. Once I had checked the information for the previous night’s recce patrol, I set about conducting a combat estimate and writing my orders.

Sunday

At 0330hrs, I delivered my orders to the platoon and by 0530hrs we were on the move. By 0600hrs, I had two sections with me in our FUP (Form Up Position) and by 0610hrs my fire support section was in position in a woodblock overlooking the enemy position.

0625hrs. It was H-5 (five minutes away from H Hour, when the battle was due to start at 0630hrs) Battle noise simulators (a type of pyrotechnic we use) began simulating mortar fire onto the enemy position. At 0628hrs my fire support section started to fire upon the enemy position. On the stroke of 0630hrs (H-hour) my lead section began to advance towards the enemy position, a house they have occupied. As the lead section got closer, my fire support section ceased fire and made its way round to join the reserve section to move up and enter the building, aware that I couldn’t get too close to the front of the assault. However, I needed to be able to coordinate all three sections.

The three sections moved through and cleared the house of enemy. I received orders over the radio to set up a defensive position on some high ground to the east of the building. Once up there and completely surrounded in defence, our exercise was complete.

Over the weekend, the platoon performed to a very high standard. We conducted training, which was physically and mentally hard, but incredibly rewarding at the same time. Every member of my platoon, including me, walked away with a sense of achievement, having completed arduous training and having done something very different to anyone’s average weekend in civvy street.

2LT Matthew Ore
Platoon Commander, 7 Scots and Student at Dundee University