Joining the Army - Modular 3 (MOD3): Battle Camp

Army Feb 25, 2023

Over the last few months, I have been posting my experiences of undertaking the Army Reserve training programme. I thought it would be helpful to follow-up and share my experiences of MOD3 - ‘Battle Camp’. For a recap. The UK Armed Forces Army Reserve initial training programme is divided into three blocks:

In between each course you undertake distance learning via an online learning environment (which is accessible via Defence Connect). Once you have passed MOD3 you are a trained solider and ready for trade training (often referred to as Phase 2 training).

You can undertake your MOD3 at multiple training establishments. But for me, my training was undertaken at ATR Grantham. The course was delivered by Regulars soldiers. This is different to Exeter, where it was delivered by reservists. Keep that in mind when you’re booking a course, as your experiences will be significantly different. For MOD3 you can only do it as a 15.5-day residential course.

Below was my journey over the 15.5-day course. Keep in mind that your programme and experiences could be different. But the essence (ie. the content) will be the same.

Day 0: Arrived at 1900, stored kit in the block and had a welcome briefing at 2100. Plenty of time to store kit, iron and meet roommates. Grantham allocates your room you based on section. This means you get to bond with your section mates. Females are housed together.

Day 1: Parade was at 0700. We then had breakfast followed by weapon zeroing lesson (classroom based). After this we had our entry fitness test to ensure we were fit enough to remain on the course. This consisted of the medicine ball through (I threw 4.9m), deadlift and unweighted best effort 2km run (8.37s). It was then lunch time followed by weapons handling test 1, 2 and 3. After this, we had dinner and then free time. Day 1 was the most relaxed day of the course.

Day 2: We had parade at 0700. It was than time for the standard British Army fryup, followed by IED threat (classroom based). After this, things took a turn, and we were thrown into the deep end with bayonet training for two hours. Be prepared to be pushed to the edge. After bayonet training, we were given some time to decompress and then had lunch. After lunch we spent the afternoon in the classroom for CBRN training which ended with us being taken to the gas chamber. The intention of the chamber is two-fold. The first, is to ensure that you GSK fits correctly; the second is to exposure you to a dose of CS gas. While it is initially rather unpleasant, this only lasts about 60 seconds, and the symptoms wear off pretty quickly. We then had dinner and were stood down for the day.

Day 3: Again, parade at 0700. We then had breakfast followed by the CO briefing. This covered what will happen over the course of the two weeks, and general admin. After this, we went straight into a basic lesson on map reading and grid referencing. You will use some of what you’ve learnt on the navigation exercise in the field. After map reading, we had lunch followed by an afternoon of Battlefield Casualty Drills. It was then dinner followed by an evening of webbing fitting. This lasted until midnight.

Day 4: Another day, another parade at 0700, this was followed by breakfast. We then went to the armoury where we obtained our weapons and went to the 25m range for weapon zeroing. We spent the morning on the range, after which we went to lunch and returned our weapons to the armoury. We then used the Dismounted Close Combat Trainer for the first part of the afternoon. After this, we spent the remainder of the afternoon undertaking CBRN training. It was then dinner followed by more CBRN training until 2100.

Day 5: This day promised to be intensive, and it didn’t disappoint. Parade was again at 0700. We went to breakfast and then prepared our CBRN suit for the gas chamber. We were led into the chamber for our assessment. You were given either a PCF change, drinking from a CBRN water bottle or full decontamination as your assessment. This was determined based on a paper draw. I had the PCF change. Rather straightforward. If you do it correctly you will not experience any CS gas. After this we had more Battlefield Causality Drills, and then lunch. After lunch we were taken to the sports field to complete a mock Role Fitness Test under the direction of the PT staff.  This was a 4km tab to pace for 48 minutes with a weight of 20kg, a 2km double march for a pace of 16 minute with a weight of 15kg, leaps and bounds serial (over 90 meters), causality drag (50kg bag) and jerrycan carry over 400 meters (21kg in each jerrycan). After this we returned to the block for a shower, then dinner and an evening of weapon position training. We were stood down around 2100.

Day 6: Parade at 0650, followed by breakfast and then we collected weapons for the 100m, 200m and 300m range. The range was about 30 minutes away from Grantham, and we spent the day shooting for the ACMT (scored 40 out of 50).

Day 7: Parade at 0650, ready for another day on the ranges. As with the previous day, we had breakfast, collected weapons, and got a coach to the range for the day. After the ranges we spent the evening getting everything weighed correctly for the actual role fitness test.

Day 8: Parade at 0650, followed by breakfast and a block inspection. The inspection checked the rooms, utilities and public areas were all clean. After this we spent the morning preparing for the field - this included setting up a harbour area and basic duties of a sentry. After this we then did the role fitness test. Once this was complete, we then did some basic fire and manoeuvre drills and packed for the field.

Day 9/10/11/12/13: We left at 0800 for the field on day 9 and then spent the remainder setup in a basher. We were not bugged out on the final night. We returned to barracks around 1400 and spent the remainder of the day weapons cleaning.

Day 14: The last full day, we had parade at 0700 followed day breakfast and a morning of weapons cleaning. We then had a feedback session with the CoC to share our experiences of the course. Then we spent the remainder of the day performing drill for the pass out parade. We ended the course with pizza in the evening which was a nice end to the course.

Day 15: The final day of the course resulted in a morning of drill, cleaning and closing down the block and the final pass out parade.

Key messages

  • Urgency is the priority in the military. Hurry up and wait is common so if you can, take your mobile phone with you.
  • Take extra food as you’ll be hungry.
  • Take a pen and notepad. You are expected to make notes.
  • Grab sleep when you can.
  • Make sure you take a shower (with flip-flops) daily.
  • Be clean shaven as you’re attested.
  • Fill your water bottle to the brim at every opportunity. If not, you’ll need to drop and do press-ups.
  • Take an iron. This will save you time.
  • Take a travel kettle to have a warm cuppa in the evenings. You’ll be the most popular person on the block.
  • Take an extension lead as plugs are limited.