"Don't get complacent"
Training Major: UKSF Joint SAS & SBS Selection
RICOCHET & SKETCH MAP
HISTORY REVISTED - THE ADVENTURE OF A LIFE TIME
THE ORIGINAL SAS TEST MARCH
DATE: TO BE ANNOUNCED
Over the years various nicknames have been unofficially attached to each of the original test marches and in many instances that is how they are still known to this day. Since the inaugural UKSF Joint Selection course for the SAS and SBS came into existence nearly two decades ago some of these original SAS Test Week marches have survived to this day, but new challenges have emerged into the current era. One of these surviving marches is known as Ricochet, the most inconvenient and draining obstacle on the entire four week physical aptitude phase of Selection. As the penultimate march on test week it is therefore the gateway to attempting the grandest march of them all, The Long Drag. Pass this test and you are one march away from completing the toughest Special Forces aptitude course in the world. Staged in the Brecon Beacons, Ricochet takes its name from the compass and the direction of travel pattern made as candidates ricochet their way from RV to RV in seemingly straight lines. A quick scan of the map tells a deceiving story that Ricochet is the easiest of all the Test Week marches, with a lack of fearsome climbs and a non- threatening distance. For those on Selection, Ricochet comes at the back end of four brutal Test marches, and those who have proved themselves tough enough to have made it this far will arrive at the start line with broken down bodies and in a state of utter exhaustion. Ricochet is designed to ravage the body and torment the mind, a cruel march that exists purely to deteriorate. The terrain is undulating, marshy and difficult underfoot, which makes establishing any sort of tempo or rhythm extremely difficult.
A new variable comes also into play on Ricochet; the weight limit sees a return to loads carried during Week Two of the course, going up by ten pounds to 55lb plus food and water, with the Self Loading Rifle taking the overall weight up to around 70lb, just under half the body weight of the average UK female. The real challenge comes with the need for dead accurate and intelligent navigation in order to meet the unknown time checks. All the RV points are located in areas that lack prominent geographical features with little on the landscape to act as a marker. If the clag comes down Ricochet can become a navigational equivalent to any of Elan Valley's Test & Lodestone marches, with underfoot conditions to match. The rigours of this march are made all that more taxing by an evolution of old as instructors confiscate standard OS maps and replace them with issue sketch maps, hand drawn by one of our own Directing Staff.
Our Ricochet march will be consistent with the real Selection version; the weight limit will go up considerably from the standard Test march criteria, not only adding to the existing challenge but becoming double edged in serving as a solid test to suitability for the Long Drag, which also demands the same load carrying requirements. Whereas Ricochet functions as the gateway to The Long Drag on Selection, it will guard entry onto the Elan Test marches for the Avalanche Endurance Events series. The terrain can in parts be likened to Elan Valley and provides the best test of navigational competence within the Brecon Beacons. This march has been identified by the Directing Staff as the key marker and litmus test to proving capability and mountain safety skills essential to survival in the green desert like wilderness of Elan Valley. Ricochet is a demanding march that will test your map and compass skills and provide a very real experience into the realms of heavy load bearing and the level of capability, physical fitness and stamina required of a Special Forces soldier. Reach the FRV and the next RV will be in the green desert.
Do you have what it takes to land navigate off a sketch map? True to SAS Selection traditions of old and the still practiced issue of silk escape & evasion maps to Special Forces operators, Ricochet's unforgiving route must be negotiated entirely by a hand drawn sketch map. The best performance will be presented with the coveted Sketch Map Spirit Award.
PEGASUS COMPANY LOG RACE
Just when you think it's all over, the suffering only just begins. The Tactical Advance to Battle (Ricochet) replicates an on foot insertion to the theatre of operations and it is only once complete the main part of the mission begins. The Log race is an age old test on the elite Parachute Regiment Selection course and replicates transporting an artillery gun into battle to provide heavy covering fire. The individual who most strongly demonstrates guts, drive and controlled aggression will be presented the coveted Pegasus Award.
RICOCHET LOAD BEARING REQUIREMENTS
55lb Plus food and water
35lb Plus food and water
Mountain Safety clothing and equipment only - minimum of 25lb
Anyone attempting the Ricochet test march must have completed the Fan Dance (summer or winter edition) and the Test March associated Training Day. We welcome independent applications (discounted) from current or former serving members of the armed forces.
ALL FOR WHAT: THE RICOCHET FINISHER'S PATCH, SKETCH MAP SPIRIT & PEGASUS AWARDS
Upon passing Selection soldiers are presented only with a modest winged dagger cloth cap badge stitched onto a sandy beret. True to the SAS Regimental ethos, in particular humility, each of the six test marches will have its own uniquely designed cloth patch with its own equally unique background story. Each march will have its own category champion's award and best student prize, but Ricochet stands alone in having its own uniquely associated Sketch Map Spirit & Pegasus Awards.
THE RICOCHET SAS & SBS TEST MARCH EVENT: A STORY IN PICTURES AND WORDS