155 Troop Diary – Week 12
Following a week of practice shoots on the Straight Point ranges, Monday began with the ACMT (Annual Combat Marksmanship Test), a series of shoots at varying ranges from a variety of positions with just five days of live firing on the SA80 many felt apprehensive about the test, with a pass being criteria to remain with the Troop. Conditions were for once ideal, with a very light breeze and bright sunshine – a marked contrast to the wind and rain experienced during the previous weeks practice shoots. The test begins with a 300 meter shoot from the prone and supported standing positions. It is a massive relief to squeeze the trigger and watch the target drop as the round strikes it. Next was the 200 meter shoot, for many the hardest part of the test as it involves shooting from relatively unstable positions at a target still a fair distance away.
The 100 meter shoot proved the easiest for most, despite a fair proportion of the shots being taken from the standing and unsupported kneeling positions (the two least stable) and most of the shots from the prone position being fired at a rapid rate necessitating efficient changes of position. With just 10 Recruits passing first time, most found themselves on the range for re-takes, the majority for the 200 Meter shoot. Eventually the entire Troop passed and was able to move onto the CQM (Close Quarter Marksmanship) shooting.
CQM is a completely different style of shooting to anything previously experienced, requiring shots to be taken quickly to drop a target from distances of as little as 3 Meters. We began by firing controlled pairs of shots before progressing to hammer pairs, the ‘double tap’ seen in action films. The culmination of the two week package was shooting on the move, advancing towards the target whilst firing. Training has certainly improved a lot since the early days of learning to polish boots and iron drill shirts.
Having cleared up the ranges and experienced an introduction to speed marching, we headed to Portsmouth – for the overnight ferry to Normandy and the WW2 battlefield tour. The trip was excellent, with a hugely knowledgeable and interesting guide and excellent food and accommodation at the Chateau, and a chance to spend some time outside the barbed wire fences that enclose CTCRM.