It used to be like a baby version of an RE course.
Digging trenches (properly, not just a hole in the ground), mine clearance, basic fabrication, obstacle crossing; basic bridging/assault boats, defence in built up area and last but not least......explosives! Cutting charges, demolition and the like.
If you reach the giddy heights of CSgt Asslt Pioneer, you can grow a full set; beard and tache and walk around camp with a fcuk off big axe on your shoulder! (As opposed to the Provo Sgt who just walks around with a chip on his shoulder).
Very basically, assualt pioneers are a reduced form of combat engineer, giving Infantry units some integral military engineering capability in the absence of the RE. It covers things like watermanship, field fortifications, basic minefield breaching and, yes, some demolition and explosives training . If you think of your Mortar Platoon as your own mini-RA, your QM and MT Depts as your own mini-RLC, you will be your Regiment's mini-RE.
I assisted on the Regular Course at the RE Depot in Minley at the back end of nineties and the lads were always a good bunch.
The crossed axes are specifically for Assault Pioneers / Assault Troopers. We don't get any gucci badge for being Combat Engineers - it is our primary trade after all! Then again, if some A.Ps are to be belived, we don't get a badge because they are better at our jobs than we are
Minley is a nightmare if you happen to be a sprog on your B3 Combat Engineering course but a great place if you're a trained soldier on a career course. End of course piss-ups are usually quality (unless of course the last few years have rendered everything more kissy-faced). All sorts of weird and wonderful individuals and units go through the place on courses, so the fact that you'll be wearing a non-RE capbadge shouldn't make any difference at all.
My unit ran an internal course a little while back, down in the sunny climes of weymouth. Allowed out almost every night downtown, but the course was fairly hard work. Lots of figures and note taking (possibly because it had been condensed down a bit) which was a bit of a head job, but fun nonetheless. A day playing around with stuff that goes bang, lots of messing about on boats and the like, but quite a bit of mundane stuff. Got to find out how well those lifejackets work on impact with water though...
i am in the assault pioneer plt in my battalion, its pretty awesome and we are never usually more than fifteen minutes away from a kebab house..... course is pretty sweet too at minley but its a nightmare on a night out cos everywhere is so expensive and it costs a bomb in a joe baxi to any of the surrounding towns