The crew of frigate HMS Montrose are three weeks into two months of rigorous training off the coast of Devon and Cornwall to prepare them for deployment later this year. The sailors face fire, flood, air raids, submarine attack and other challenges – but have also been letting rip with their 4.5in main gun as they joined in a week-long demonstration for British and international military officers.
With the Devonport-based warship earmarked to deploy later this year, she must first overcome the rigours of Basic Operational Sea Training, an exhaustive eight-week assessment off Plymouth which determines whether the ship and ship’s company are ready for a six-month mission.
Over those eight weeks, the 190 souls aboard Montrose must come through fires, floods, air raids, submarine attacks, take down pirates, fend off terrorists in fast boats – and, as the training reaches its climax, deal with many of these problems simultaneously.
Montrose’s sailors are also expected to deal with the basics of worldwide operations, such as taking on supplies on the move in a replenishment at sea – fuel pumped across, pallets of dry stores such as spare parts and food carried across by jackstay, and a helicopter shifting bulky items (or personnel for that matter) from the flight deck of a Royal Fleet Auxiliary such as Black Rover on to Montrose.
The frigate is now into her third week of BOST, which is delivered by the globally-respected Flag Officer Sea Training organisation in Devonport.
Each day the FOST staff join the frigate – and others also going through the same tough examination – causing havoc, but also offering advice and support to the ship’s company so they can pass the eight-week trial.
The team from FOST ‘superimpose’ an international crisis – loosely drawing on real-world events – to give the training added realism.
In this instance (once again), the tubthumping nation of Ginger is once again stepping up its pressure on the small Brownian enclave in the south west of Britannica, trying to wrest control of the territory and absorb them into Ginger.
So far it has not been all smooth sailing with the weather in the Channel proving to be as aggressive as the simulated Ginger forces.
“Even with Force 8 weather conditions – and an increasingly agile programme – all the required training has been delivered,” explained the frigate’s Commanding Officer Cdr James Parkin.
“The crew of Montrose have shown their fighting spirit by ensuring that the ship is ready and eager to move on to the next phase of training.
“The Ginger forces should be aware that Montrose is ready to fight them – and win.”
For added spice Montrose found her BOST coincided with a week of demonstrations for the best and the brightest of the UK’s and international Armed Forces.
Naval Today Staff, February 13, 2013; Image: Royal Navy