Trench digging

Discussion in 'Infantry' started by Bradshaw, Dec 20, 2006.

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  1. Alright arrsers
    Apologies for not updating on my progress, been pretty busy. In week 17 now and just got back on christmas leave.
    Found it alot harder than i thaught i would, i always thaught my drama would be with fitness but its personal admin im struggling with, never been in any serious shite for it though. Been infront of my div capt once like but that was for underage drinking.
    Main reason im posting is because i deploy on tac-ex 3 the night i get back off leave (Yeah, while the platoon is still full of booze and mince pies) and its a trench digging exercise, where we dig trenches non-stop for between 32 and 48 hours and i was wondering if anyone could provide me with any advice for it.
    Were also allowed to wear our own kit this exercise, so any recomondations for boots, warm kit, gas burners etc with considerations on a recruits wage would be much appreciated aswell.

    Thankyou, Bradders.
  2. Take a JCB

    failing that take plenty of moral fibre :wink:
  3. Shaped charges, PE perhaps, would be handy but probably not tactical enough. Failing that some Moralibo and the knowledge that it will all be over by next christmas.

    Heh, oh to be a siggy in shellscrape near rebro in the middle of nowhere with tea on IV. Part time. Hahaha. Have fun.
  4. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    You probably have been issued a whole world of better kit for a defense exercise than anything you could buy, When I did mine in 1981 it was issued kit and no waterproofs. It rained for 5 days and the trenches filled with clay water and sh1te. You are better equipped now than ever in the past. Make the most of the good kit you have been issued and grip your admin!
  5. If digging in on Frog Hill, don't worry, it's been dug over so much that you will find it very light work :lol:

    Take good quality work gloves to save blistering your hands. Take spare pairs for your mates so you don't have to do their digging when their hands fall apart with blisters. Learn how to sort your KIPPEX out before you have to do it in the dark.

    Check contents of pockets regularly and ensure that nothing gets left in the trench when you fill it in.

    Keep an eye on people going wobbly with fatigue etc. - they're a menace with a digging implement!

  6. Leathermans. Or at worst a pair of pliers.

    Hydrema 806 is always a winner.
  7. Kit wise a flask for hot water so you can make a brew quickly and tacticly, you'll need plenty of hot sweet drinks just to keep you going. If you can it afford it a jet boil cooker as theyre a lot quicker than others on the market and ditch your big issue sleeping bag for something lighter you wont get much chance to use it anyway. Boots wise i dont think a recruits wage would cover Lowas and as these exercises normally start with a TAB then stick with the ones youve broken in.

    The long and the short of it is its a sleep deprevation exercise to show you that its not impossible to function under these circumstances no matter what kit you take your still going to end up bo**oxed.

    Keep smiling it'll be over soon enough. And dont forget to check the trench before you fill it in you'd be suprised at how much kit people leave in them without realising (especially rifles).
  8. I had a really nice experience on Soltau,I was buried alive in a collapsed NBC trench and couldn´t shout because of my respirator which was good as I didn´t choke on the loose earth(I was lying on my back).My only option due to the weight of the earth was to beat/hit? my DMS boots/feet together and hope that somebody would hear them,one did and thats what saved me,not panicking and somebody reacting.Trenches are supposed to protect you,but can quickly become death traps!
  9. Its like any other form of prolonged strenuous physical activity Bradders, work out a routine that provides essential breathers, strip down for working, cover up when resting, keep on eating and drinking and you should be fine. As for your hands, gloves are a good idea, but resign yourself to the fact that regardless of what precautions you take, to a greater or lesser extent, they're going to suffer. Pains actually quite a rush once you get your head around it. :wink:
    Above all, dig deep! literally and metaphorically.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Let's see, now. Digging trenches in January....

    If there are two of you to a trench, then one digs while the other rests/stags. January is cold, so the surface, up to about 6" (in UK) may be frozen, especially if you start in the morning.

    So, tip 1 is to get your mucker to start the trench. ;)

    Tip 2. Don't get more and more tired while digging, get angrier!

    Tip 3. Lose layers while digging, put layers on when not. A good layer to lose is your T-shirt, then you've got a dry layer to put on next to your skin (keeps you warm afterwards).

    Tip 4. Putting more on your shovel doesn't equal faster digging. You can throw more than 4x 1/4 shovelfuls per hour than 1 shovelfuls.

    Tip 5. If there's clay in the soil, oil your shovel. (Hope the environmentalists dont read this!) More effort is expended trying to get clay off your shovel than digging it.

    Tip 6. You're digging a trench, not the garden. DON'T push the spade in with your foot - it's hard work! Turn it round and push it into the ground with your hand (doesn't matter if it only goes in an inch or two), push forward to bring a bit of spoil toward you. Repeat. Remove spoil when you've got plenty of loose stuff (but before you start walking on it). It's hard to explain, if I could show you, you'd understand immediately. Better to nibble, than take gobfuls.

    From the sounds of it, you're digging holes to make you tired rather than digging tactical trenches. If you are actually digging tactical trenches, then spitlock the trench and removes the turves to a nearby location, placing them upside down. then spitlock 6' in front of the trench in 2' strips, rolling the turf forward of the trench. Do the same to the rear and the sides, but to about 4'. Put the spoil from the trench over the areas where you've rolled back the turf, leaving channels for the wire you'll use to restrain the park pickets that in turn will hold the wriggly tin that will prevent the sides of your trench collapsing (to avoid midnight's experience). You should be/have been shown how to dig a "safe" trench. (If not, when you get to 2' deep, ask for the method statement). Fit your KIP sheet (or whatever the modern term is now) and roll your turves back, stretching them slightly. The turves removed from the immediate area of the trench will fil any gaps.

    If you're actually going to live in it, dig a 1'deep trench around the three highest sides, spitlockingand rolling the turf away first. Fill this trench with rocks , then cover with the turf to form a drain. Slope the floor of the battle trench and dig a 1' x 1' x 2'deep hole at the lowest end and cover with stout branches. This will be your baling hole if it rains.

    God, it's sad. I used to love trenching!
  11. I hope its not an area thats been tracked over by armour - compacted clay is like trying to dig a hole in concrete with a spoon - but don't let that put you off! :wink:
  12. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    I was an Assault pioneer and despite many holes dug all over the sh1tty bits of the globe some lads are good at it and some arent, get with a good lad, ex miners were keen as were lads who had kept ferrets, the furry kind!
    Most of all like all training if you do it properly with no shortcuts then you will get loads out of the experience. Dont forget your sense of humour!
  13. Porton Down was a great place for trenches - they were already dug - but I'm not sure about the NBC sh1t they threw at us! :roll:
  14. If you're on a fire team trench, then it can get a little cosy with picks and shovels flying around. You might want to try 3 on / 1 off. Should give you some sleep time.

    Admin admin admin! Take it out, use it, put it away. Take it out, use it, put it away. Don't leave ANYTHING out for any longer than you need to, or it will disappear into the mud. Don't expect to finish your trench and then get your head down; no-one rests (normally) until the whole platoon or even Company is done.

    Trench digging is sh1t!
  15. With each blow of the pick reflect on what a skivvy cnut you are and why you should have paid up for your book. I hope you stick a pick through your foot and get raped by a badger.