40C temperatures and six litres of water a day - Norfolk soldier tells of brutal Kenya training exercise
PUBLISHED: 16:30 31 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:30 31 March 2019
A Norfolk soldier on a military training exercise in Africa has spoken of the extreme heat and brutal physical challenges that left troops needing to drink more than six litres of water every day.
Lance Corporal Rosanna Rowbotham took part in the training exercise Askari Storm in the remote central Kenyan bush, near Archers Post.
She said: “This kind of environment definitely puts you to your limits with the heat and carrying the weight around.”
The medic from Norfolk was attached to the Co Antrim-based B Company of 2 Rifles, and said one of the biggest worries for the medical staff working alongside the soldiers in the field was the intensity of the heat.
Temperatures reached 40C on the challenging exercise, and recruits were advised to drink more than six litres of water a day.
But while carrying the extra water around made the soldiers’ weighty kit even heavier, the fluids were essential to ensure they kept hydrated.
“Most of the injuries are muscular or skeletal, guys rolling ankles carrying weight and back injuries,” L/Cpl Rowbotham said.
“They are more common than your actual battlefield injuries and heat-related injuries.”
Medical staff were divided into two teams during the exercise - with one team focusing on actual injuries and another dealing with simulated casualties.
L/Cpl’s Rowbotham’s task was to treat simulated casualties during the operation, in her role as part of the Regiment Aid Post (RAP), who practice on the staged casualties as a medical team training exercise.
She was usually positioned at the back of the infantry soldiers with the Sergeant Major.
And she added: “If a guy notices their mucker is going down, we tell them to strip them down, fan them, cool them with a spray bottle, give them water if they can, put them in the shade.
“And then I start moving forward to assess how severe the casualty is.
“The guys here have learned quickly that they need to drink a lot more than they would back in the UK.
“We are talking six litres upwards in this sort of climate, and if you are patrolling you need to increase that again.
“It makes the kit a lot heavier, which hinders them in this heat.
“But it is a vital part of keeping them soldiering on in this environment.”