Friday, January 9, 2009

8th September - 28th September 1972

NATO Exercise - War Games

10th September
Board Albion early evening.

11th September
06.00hrs Albion sailed out of Rosyth, headed for the North Atlantic.
Albion joined HMS Ark Royal, HMS Fearless, 8 Flotilla Ships and USS Nimitz.
Our convoy was being "tailed" by Russian Cruisers.

14th September
Albion sailed away from the convoy, sailed in close to Scotland and helicoptered the Dutch Soldiers on board, the Soldiers who were living in the Nissan Huts we built.

15th September
After another day of sailing, our ship came in close to shore again.
A Sea King helicopter lifted off with 10 Dutch Soldiers on-board, the helicopter was blown backwards and its rotor blades hit another helicopter, the Sea King crashed into the sea.
Thankfully, the Sea King crew and soldiers were rescued quickly, with minor bruises and cuts, but the helicopter was badly damaged.
From the second the Sea King hit the other helicopter, extremely loud claxons sounded throughout the ship, bringing the ship's crew to emergency stations, to rescue the downed helicopter. For us soldiers below, we wondered where we should go, or even do, if only to avoid the deafening claxon noise. Many put on cold weather clothes and went to the weapon pits alongside the ship, to watch the rescue.

16th September
Troop flown ashore at 07.00hrs, re-embarked at 18.00hrs.
Helicopters filled the sky all day, as the Marines were also flown ashore.
Our troop was supposed to be lifting Mines, but walked around checking out the area, resting for a brew-up around Midday.

17th to 19th September
Sailing around for 3 days, go up top and check out the scenery and other ships close-by, even watch the frigates and destroyers "chase" the Russian ship away.
Meals were great, good variety, even the bar was open during the evening, but limited to 2 cans each.
During this period, the weather became very stormy, even our Aircraft Carrier was thrown around like a trawler.
The ships had tried to avoid a hurricane, eventually, having to go through it, scattering the ships far and wide. During the night, Albion had to steam hard to regain position, we had been blown 100 miles adrift.
On joining up, we watched as a small USA Carrier was tied-up to an American Destroyer and a Russian Cruiser, the forward deck was rolled back - like a can opener had been used. The three tied-up ships headed for landfall in Canada.

20th September
Eleven members of the troop flown ashore, with camping equipment.

21st September
The 11 members had a very busy day:
During the morning they re-built a blown up bridge.
During the afternoon, they cleared a Minefield.
What really happened was:
The lads walked to the bridge site (no bridge), recovered the sign saying 'Blown-up Bridge', then in the afternoon, found the sign 'Minefield'.
Whilst setting-up their Camp, the Troop Major walked up and informed them, that they had just built an Air Portable Bridge.
They spent the night rough in the tents.

22nd September
The 11 lads moved to the Helicopter collection point, boarded the helicopter, expecting to return to the ship. To their amazement, the helicopter landed in another field, where the rest of the troop was waiting.
The Troop then "fought" two major battles (did we??), before bedding down for the night.

23rd September
Troop cleared a 3 mile long Minefield - walked the 3 miles collecting the signs.
At 14.00hrs, airlifted to Albion, soaked and caked in mud.

24th - 26th September
Sailing back to Rosyth, troop totally fed-up with the in-activity.

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