Soldiers from 1st Battalion Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (1PWRR) recently completed a demanding four week Mortars course that proved to be a thorough test of team work and leadership skills, as well as their personal determination and desire to learn.
Over the duration of the course the soldiers were presented with and tested on a wide range of challenging training objectives that covered all aspects of mortaring, including exercises in how to operate in offensive, defensive, rural and urban environments and culminated in a weeks live firing that saw the newly qualified mortar teams providing fire support to colleagues undertaking a company infantry attack.
There has been a lot to learn over the last four weeks Private Louis Sutton
In addition to learning all about the tactical and conceptual elements of being in the Mortar platoon the soldiers were also required to complete a number of physical training activities to test their physical fitness levels as well as their ability to work together as a team.
As Captain Matt Evans,OC Mortar Platoon, 1PWRR explained: “It is always a shock for soldiers coming from a Rifle Company to the Mortar Platoon as they are required to carry double the weight they are normally used to. It was good to see, however, that the 16 new Mortar-men passed the strenuous ‘Exercise HEAVY CARRY’ on their first attempt. This is an impressive achievement as they had to carry over 55Kg for 5 miles and then at the end bring the mortars into action with a fire mission.
The 81mm Mortar is a complex weapon system which required the new Mortar-men to acquire a great deal of information in a short space of time, their new skills were tested to the limit particularly on the live firing package where they fired over 180 high explosive bombs at a range of 2 kilometres on a target which was being assaulted by B Company. The closest bombs landed just 500 metres from friendly troops.
The new Mortar-men performed well especially given that the temperatures on the training area dropped to almost -20˚C with wind chill.”
Private Louis Sutton 19, said of the Cadre: “There has been a lot to learn over the last four weeks, especially the technical capabilities of the mortar and you do get nervous when you put the first live bomb down. But you just concentrate of what you have learnt and put the training into practice. The heavy carry was really was difficult and challenging both physically and mentally but you work through it, encourage each other and focus on getting through it to the end.
It has been hard graft but it is a great sense of achievement completing the Cadre.”