Could be controversial this one MB. In all I think it was fun. Probably one of the better ones (of 3 now) that I've done. That said, the rioting at the end made up for all the stupid QRF 3am Crash-outs for another IED (Twix wrapper). Also, those multiples complaining they didn't get enough sleep, well, I know my guys were at one stage getting "too much" (their words - is 20hrs too much??). There was one Multiple comd who was getting his group woken up 45mins before they needed to be doing anything. 'm sure there was real love and "working for your multiple commander" in that one.
Guess who was in his multiple. I wasn't very happy most of the time. Especially as he was a complete cretin. Wouldn't have minded the sleep deprivation as much if we'd had a good commander. As for the poll being controversial, I'm just asking for people's opinions. Can't be anything wrong with that. Personally I thought the training was fantastic, but the other organisation had a little more to be desired. Like having enough helmet visors to go around, and releasing a kit list more than 2 days before camp.
Quick summary just for you then Steptoe, and anyone else who cares.
Arriving at Saint Martin's Plain was uneventful, as soon as we arrived it was into the camp breifing. A quick overview of what would be hapening in the coming days and then a short word from the Adjt on dress, conduct and all other standards expected of us... think of his "standards" email, but live. The food at SMP was fairly dire, provide your own KFS and mug. PT every morning, and fire-drills... all the usual. We were on the ranges most days, those not firing were on ITDs. Wpns recognition this year rather than vehicles. The same day as the CFT was the APWT (apparently everyone passed), however there were some CFT failures and some particular biffs who couldn't carry their own kit around the course.
R+R Came in the middle with a one day University Challenge, one team managing to get photo'd woth Archbishop of Canterbury and another getting free transport to Luxembourg and back. RAC went to COP at Lydd to learn Urban OPs to practice later in Longmoor.
Wing training followed a fairly poor BBQ at SMP. Inf stayed at SMP to play with Foreign wpns, RA mostly stayed with them, some to Larkhill apparently. RAC to Bovvington, REME to Bordon (Home of School of EME) and RE to Bassingbourne, if you're around I'm sure you'll hear the rumours flying from that one.
Longmoor was one of those "fully operational" situations. Weapon and webbing with you everywhere. The five platoons went through a rotation of.
Ops1>Ops1>Ops2>Rest>Guard>Ops1>Ops1>Ops2>QRF>Rest. Each period lasting 4hrs. Ops1 was normal framework patrolling and Ops2 public order. Ops2 didn't get used until the last 48hours. Roughly every 12-24 hours the entire unit would be crashed out for an IED. However around 50% of the time these turned out to be no-play issues or just normal detritus. In the last 48hours the rioting escalated and we had a huge riot with members of 1 R Anglians providing a fairly agressive civpop. Endex called nad camp cleanup follwed and then back on the buses for a ride back to SMP.
BBQ and beers at SMP with skits. The best of which was the MN take-off of the Adjt's conduct lecture. Had everyone in stiches.
The Battlefield tour (sorry, Staff ride) in Holland was reasonable, nice to see the sights but all in all a tour of WW1 or D-day area would have been more interesting. Some of the yanks and one or two of ours made it to Amsterdam. As one of the yanks said in the morning "When she asks if you want to spend an extra $20, it''s worth it".
I missed a trip to the worlds biggest brothel!!! Not happy, think I will as for a few K extra from work as emotional compensation!
It does seem to the that Camps go on ration. My 1st year was in Strensal (nr York) and was Sh*t.
2nd in france (I doubt a repeat too soon),
3rd was basicly what you guys just did same locations and Battle field tour (staff ride),
4th that evil live firing Camp, which I am sure u will all agree was the most **** and least enjoyable time I have had at the OTC. Was good for us that didnt break any thing and got to live fire, but the BIF Company hated it.
5th year then rotates round to not doing much in some naff transit camp up north.
6th year (didnt go) same as the 3rd.
Interesting me thinks. Is there an OTC master plan?
Sorry to dissapoint CS. The main factors were the trains, ie earliest (or latest - depends on perspective) train was 0545 next morning. Also the cost of getting there was fairly high. So those not in the 'Dam stayed in Arnhem and got trashed there. And the bastard bar in the hostel was closed when we got home
Well, I for one had a really good time, and the admin this time round in my opinion was very good (I too like Steptoe will need my figner nails prized from the door when I leave).
The lack of riot kit and communication prior to camp were the only biggys that springs to mind. Also, if your multiple commander is below your expectations that's his/her fault, not that of the people organising camp.
I thought the range package was done well. Usually the ITD side of camp involves you shooting for half an hour then spending the next 2 hours picking through horror bags and trying to swap a cheese pasty for a snickers bar. I think the back ground stuff was good, with actual thought having gone in and not just a scratch PREWAR lesson.
One critism I heard was that we tried to do too much in too little time: public order, VCPs, IEDs, reactions to shoots, mortaring etc. and that by doing this we fell for the 'Jack of all trades, master of none' pit-fall. Fair enough, but personally I prefer this end of the spectrum to doing just one thing very well. After all, we only had about 3 days for the final ex and we weren't going to master much in that space of time. I know this is just personal opinion but I will admit that the false IEDs did get tiresome. Maybe we could have had an IED recognition lesson: basically the staff saying "If it aint a big fcuk off box with 'IED' written on it, then it aint an IED"?
I'd be interesting to know what people thought was bad about summer camp, largely because I think the poll is quite a harsh reflection of it? Anyway, thats my two cents.
Having now waited to see what rubbish some of you have written I thought it time to post some sort of reply... in the defence of the realm!
For those of you that wanted to know what an IED looked like. The QMSI spent an awful long time preparing posters that were on display in the Fort, the posters had BIG pictures of the only IEDs that were to be used against you; had you have bothered to 'look' and 'read' the posters then perhaps you wouldn't have wasted quite as much time on shouting "BOMB" everytime you saw a twix wrapper!
There is no pattern to the rotation of camps/training, we try to get the best facilities to ensure a high quality of training. The problem that we and all TA units have is that training areas are in demand (Op TELIC trg etc) as such we are fairly low on the priority list and sometimes we have to use the location allocated. I have absolutely no idea what you 'old-sweats' have done on previous camps, nor am I interested - so take it from me, the camp that has just passed was not based on any previous camp.
I was very impressed with 99% of the OCdts that took part (probably why I'm not interested in the opinions of those that didn't). They were motivated, interested and appeared to enjoy the period... but clearly if they didn't, a better response would be to speak up and voice their thoughts rather than hide behind a pseudonym and post ill informed comments on a web-site. MORAL COURAGE (Gentlemen!)
Quite frankly I think a few of you have missed the point of exactly what the OTC is; it is not your own adventure play-ground provided to entertain you during your summer breaks. (For those of you unsure of what it is - either ask someone or resign!)