Read part nine here.

We were in a hasty harbor area. Those left on the course were to receive a set of orders for the final assault on a jungle camp we had been watching for nearly three weeks. All the hours spent on recce and writing reports was all going to be tested. Everything we had learned from the beginning would culminate in one final push. We had been on hard routine for the entire final exercise and it was tough. No lights, no hot food the list of sacrifice in pursuit of ultimate soldiering was endless.

This should, if all went well, be our last night in the trees. You could never be too sure, but you had a rough idea as you knew when planes had been booked etc; and anyway they couldn’t keep you there indefinitely as there was more than just the trees on the course. In fact some of the most challenging bits were still ahead. “No time to dwell on thinking about next phases,” I thought as I choked down some cold corned beef hash covered in Tabasco. I washed it down with some heavily purified water (always a treat) and then wrapped my rubbish into my crap sack and prepared for the O group.

There was a large chunta basha (lean-to for administrative tasks) in the center of the harbor. Inside was a model of how we had interpreted the camp we were going to attack, based on the patrol reports. Model making is a big deal it needs to be to scale and orientated as it is on the ground. The relief of the ground needs to be shown and all vital areas need to be clear. On the prelims of the O group the model is described in detail to all present. A shit set of orders could be saved by a decent model. And a shit model could ruin a good set of orders so it was a must to get it right. As a patrol commander you relied on the rest of the patrol sorting the model out. It was a big thing and one which if you weren’t pulling your weight, could leave you with a fail. The model on this occasion had been made using the patrol reports brought back by each patrol.