154 Troop Diary – Week 11
After completing the challenging exercise of Hunters Moon the previous week we were then set to head to the nearby Straight Point ranges for the start of our two week live firing package. This would be split either side of Christmas leave and we knew we would be under pressure to complete our ACMT (Annual Combat Marksmanship Team) in the first week. Despite this we were all looking forward to the package and doing as much shooting as we could.
The first day we started early moving straight down to the ranges to set up for the day and the first shoot. First thing first was a safety brief from the range staff, all important as we were talking about using live rounds now. He explained the duties that we would have to look after the range and make sure everything was done safely. On completion of this we got straight in to our first shoot to zero our weapons, making sure where we were aiming was where the shots were landing. This was done by firing groups of 5 rounds at the target and making adjustments to the sights on our rifles after each group to make sure the shots were hitting the middle of the target. This became quite a lengthy process with damaged sights and faulty weapons needing replacing however by the end of the day we were all zeroed and ready to move on to more advanced shoots.
Each evening we returned to camp to de-service our rifles and equipment and get them ready for the next day shooting. The next couple of days saw us move through a number of shoots, firstly point of aim shoots which allowed us to know where our rounds would land so that we could adjust our aim accordingly when we were changing between targets at different distances. For each of the shoots there would be 12 recruits going through while the rest of us practiced our firing positions and cleaned our weapons in the background.
After the whole Troop was comfortable with their point of aims we moved on to the electronic target range (ETR) and began assessments at each distance as we would do on our ACMT. These were done from different firing positions including standing, kneeling, lying and inside of a trench. Each time we had a debrief on how we had done and what to improve on. On the Wednesday we were told that we would be doing our first ‘mock’ ACMT to prepare us for the real thing and were told to do our best. Relaxed, we all went through the test and were pleased to hear the majority of us had passed with just 1 or 2 attempts, though it was the real thing not just a ‘mock’. Some took a few more attempts to crack it but finishing the week all but three had made the grade and had now passed the ACMT. Morale was high having completed it in such a short time frame; normally troops have a week of firing before attempting the test. Despite this and being pressured by Christmas leave we had passed and 7 of the Troop had achieved a marksmanship score, meaning they had passed all shoots first time and with a high number of points.
Besides shooting we performed PT, either on the ropes and pull up frame or along the nearby beach. We were lucky with the weather for December with a couple of dry and bright days which makes shooting easier and running along the beach more enjoyable. Training to be amphibious soldiers naturally we spent time jumping in the sea after the day’s evolutions and we rounded the week off with a good PT session to get us ready for Christmas leave. We were all naturally looking forward to a good break with 11 weeks of training already behind us, not quite broken the back of it yet but we are getting close.