Here I try to sum up my experience, for anyone interested.
Τhe Greek conscript training system has gone a lot of changes and I cannot really trace them all. The current system is in place since 2012.
Nowadays conscripts stay for only a month in the basic training centers and most specialist training centers are inactive. Conscripts receive specialist training after they get posted to their units.
Since the length of service is 9 months or some 40 weeks, a conscripts service is broken into an initial period of 8 weeks of basic and "advanced" recruit training and 2-6 weeks of specialist training, with the rest 25-30 weeks following the operational training cycle of the unit/formation.
I didn't keep any log of my service so I have to write by memory.
Reporting to recruit camp.
Medical examinations and other bereaucracy.
Placed to a recruit company of 250 recruits.
The company has one captain, some 10 NCOs and a few (5-10) conscript instructors.
No free time
We learned basic stuff about military: regulations, hierarchy, some history, military prayers (yes!);
We did a lot of drill; We were shown several times how the right way to make the bed is;
Military training was almost non-existant: we learnt the basics of camouflage; we did crawling a few times, as well as other silent moving ways; we did an exercise for how to silently kill sentries (approach from the back, pull his chin, stab his lower lung, cushion the falling body -it was a funny drill since we practiced to each other); we weren't issued rifles, although during a couple of classes they brought out some and we took turns playing with them; we marched to a range some 7km away, shot 5 rounds at 100 meters and marched back; that was a hard march because we kept a pretty fast pace; I also got blisters
Preparations for the oathing ceremony; rehearsals of the oath and many hours of parading daily; oathing ceremony on Friday, then short leave
Return from leave. We learn our transfers. Some of us, incl. me, are loaded on buses and leave. I report to my battalion for the next 8 months, at 2 am on Thursday.
On Thursday morning we are issued our materials for the rest of our service: M16A2 rifle, helmet, gear etc. The next days are “acclimatization week”. We don’t do duties or training but we do a fair amount of chores.
The “advanced” basic course. Basically, we did the common stuff that all people here mentioned. We were grouped into a training company. A captain was responsible for the training over the next 5 weeks, and was aided by one or two second lieutenants and some reserve officer cadets as well as several contract soldiers (corporals and sergeants).
We learned basic stuff about squad composition and formations. We learned patrol movement techniques and hand signal communication. We drilled a bit, also in the night for the patrol movements. We did several times dry fire and movement exercises (a lot of sweat!), both as attack as well as breaking contact (backwards). We were supposed to also do it with live ammo, but turned out there was not sufficient quantity (our captain was given only some 150 cartridges for 40 recruits). We went only three times to the range. Lack of ammo. We shot from prone position at 100 meters and observed our results. We shot a couple of times from standing position in “instinctive” shooting. We shot from prone position at 300 meters but we did not observe our results. Supposedly a reserve officer was collecting the results. We did a short two-hour map reading exercise. We made a 10 km march with load (25kg) and later a 20 km march. We were shown some basic demolition stuff, use of claymore mines. We were shown the available optical sights of the battalion: night vision, red dots, magnification sights. I don’t remember well –I never saw them again. We were shown the use of chemical masks, but I was absent. We did a lot of precision drills, now with rifle. We did some bayonet training in the air.
We did A LOT of guard duty (sentry duty). We slept very little. By the end of the course I was basically having illusions during guard duty. Others too.
Mortar specialty training. First week on a 60mm mortar, second week on an 81mm mortar. Very basic stuff. We shot the inert rounds in front of the commander and wrote an exam.
weeks 11-40 (or so):
I was posted as clerk to an office, but it does not appear in any official document. Officially I was just a mortar operator. As a clerk I missed out a lot of training. What I did was:
-A course of rope climbing and knot tying
-Seven or so 20km marches. Also a “50km” (read 42km) march followed by a visit to the range. Marches were with 25kg load plus stuff (eg MAG machinegun, radio, medical pack).
ETA:During 20km marches we did one stop midway, for around 20 minutes. During our 42km march we did three stops, but they were short, ie 5-15 minutes. At the third stop I had barely enough time to change socks. The stops were not evenly spread. The distance between the third stop and the finish was very long -about 4.5 hours of marching. The march lasted a total of 10 hours. At the end I had run out of water and felt dizzy. Approaching the finish, we were chanitng songs. A fucking reserve officer cadet kept yelling at me for not being lively enough... (repressed memories coming to the surface...)
-Three (separate) weeks of night fighting exercises. Basically convoy ambushes, raids on enemy facilities and map reading exercises.
-Two “shooting” weeks. Basically we mortarmen prepared to shoot the mortars, but the first shooting was cancelled. In the second shooting we went to the range with 4 mortars (our platoon) and 24 shells. Other specialties shot their rifles, machineguns, threw live grenades and whatnot. As part of the first we attacked on a hill as a rifle company. I realized the complexity of company tactics, which is more than just the sum of squad tactics.
-One week of “small unit tactics”. I did a fire and movement run with 20 live rounds in two magazines (so that we had to change mag)
-One week of built-up areas fighting. Room clearing, corridor movements and such.
Things I missed:
-I missed the field training week because I was left behind to do guard duty. Most conscripts did.
-One of the built-up areas fighting courses, including its intereresting final phase (attack on an enemy camp)
-Water obstacle crossing course
-Defensive tactics week
-anti-aircraft tactics week (I am curious what that was)
-mine warfare week
-winter living week: this was cancelled due to lack of snow
-amphibious raiding week
-other stuff that I cannot recall
Facilities were basic but not nearly as bad as Chino's Taiwan experience ( ). Our problem was that a lot of stuff was broken and there was no prospect of repair. Thus even though we had normal "turkish" toilets (a hole in the floor), we did not avoid the "shitmen" (equivalent of snowmen, ie piles of stacked shit). There was typically no warm water, and people in the winter didn't wash for weeks. Heating was very little, temperature in the barracks in the winter was constantly in single digits. The barracks felt always filthy even though we cleaned every day. We had lots of toads (!) in the summer. In the summer we had a huge bed-bug problem. Thankfully bed-bugs die out in low temperatures. We constantly had rats, despite our best efforts to kill them. They just kept appearing.
As I said earlier in this thread, we did lots of guard duty. Guard duty would be (most often) sentry duty, followed by barracks guard duty, patrol duty, rapid-reaction-group duty. There was also kitchen duty which I avoided completely, basically because I was 26 years old, and the NCO responsible for duties decided to spare me from that. I was not above garbage collection duty however. The mess halls produce A LOT of rotting garbage.
Edited by rohala, 08 October 2015 - 0820 AM.