As usual Exercise March Hare was timetabled for the first weekend in March, when unpredictable weather adds a “certain something” to the planning and anticipation of the event. This year was no exception as very heavy rain and high speed winds were forecast. Nonetheless nearly forty cadets signed up to brave the elements and moved out to Longmoor Training Area in waves as they finished their sporting commitments on Saturday afternoon. As we patrolled into our harbour area the enemy (AKA the UV Advanced Infantry) put in a surprise ambush, briefly thwarting our plans. However, once everyone was out on the area, had put up their bashers for the night and eaten their ration packs, we were in a position to return the favour and sent out recce patrols under cover of darkness to locate the enemy positions. This was done with skill, flair and perhaps most importantly only mildly grotty weather. All patrols were back in by midnight and everyone settled down to grab what sleep they could.
Before Sunday had even dawned, the enemy, clearly un-nerved by our probing recces the night before, put in an attack at 05:40, ensuring everyone was up, doing and ready for the day’s exercise. Initially this consisted of rehearsal attacks, which were followed by a series of scenarios based on individual pairs, building up to a section level attack, and eventually culminating in a full scale platoon attack which totally defeated the enemy, just in time to allow our victorious forces to catch the bus back to school for tea and medals.
Many thanks to the senior cadets acting as platoon HQ, section leaders and Section 2 i/cs who at all times made a huge effort not only to lead the juniors, but also ensure that they knew why things were being done in a particular way. As ever these exercises would not be possible without the expert assistance and help of WO1 Bryant, Lt Lane, Lt Webb and Capt Leeke, who willingly give up their weekends and beds to give the cadets such a great experience
Maj Simon AH Young