159 Troop – Training Diary – Week 11-12
159 Troop experienced their first Taste of shooting at Straight Point ranges in Exmouth, with a daily journey down to the ranges hanging over the Devon cliffs. 159 Troop were happy to arrive and get the rounds down. After a few extra magazines and some below par shooting 159 Troop were zeroed and ready for the next day.
Back at the ranges 159 Troop were trying out the different shooting positions, knees and ankles suffered while SUSAT’s (weapons sight) swayed. Now all the positions had been covered the Troop were ready, 159 Troop were tested on the accuracy of their shooting until all achieved a satisfactory grouping.
The Troop moved through ranges from 100m, 200m, 300m and 400m target, with each movement we had to find our point of aim (POA). Gradually the results were improving as each man shot, his skills improved slightly and the scores became more enjoyable to read.
Next on the agenda was a night shoot which was much more difficult than the other shoots, even though it was from a much shorter distance than we had fired before, the visibility became very bad which made acquiring your target a task in itself. Happily all of 159 Tp made the standard required and were pleased to move onto the next training evolution.
The ETR range, arguably the best of the ranges, is an electronic range which means when you hit the target it should go down, or so we thought. After each man had been through the ETR range, the scores were identified as not being to the required standard, the Training Team conducted additional training to enable us to achieve the requirement.
The next day we shot on the ETR range and gladly through practising dry firing positions 159 Tp had improved their scores and the Troop looked as if they would soon be ready to pass the ACMT; which is a shooting test taken every 12 months to show you are capable of hitting a target from various distances and positions required.
Friday came around quickly and we had a LF12 on the ETR range, which means we had more shooting to do on the range preparing 159 Tp for the ACMT, the shoot was going well for most of the Troop apart from a few who were struggling to apply the skills, however everybody managed to get through it. Next on the agenda was to do a practice ACMT for some of the lads and a real ACMT for some Hunter Coy lads.
Week 12 Monday, from this point 159 Tp would spend the week down at the range with hard cover and beds with mattresses, hoofing. This also happens to be the day of the ACMT. 159 Tp arrived at the ranges, knowing today was the day when everything they had covered in the week was going to be tested, and hopefully rewarded with marksmanship score. We picked up the stores and equipment we needed, mustered and went straight into the shoot. It was an exciting experience and the lads got some good scores, 6 achieved marksmanship passes. The rest of the troop needed to reshoot mainly at one distance and a couple at multiple distances. The great news was every member of the Troop managed to pass the AMCT.
Tuesday morning started early with the Troop waking up and getting ready for phys, which turned out to be a run, with a few hill sprints and a small fireman’s carry. We practiced automatic firing and also firing onto moving targets on the DCCT range which proved to be more difficult than expected, aiming off was a new adjustment on the moving targets and the recoil was an issue at first on the automatic simulation. 159 Tp managed to achieve the required scores to enable them to progress onto the automatic range. Weapons ready and change leavers on automatic, two targets were put up side by side with four points of aim at each target, we fired at each point in a different manner and achieved a good level of shooting. This was followed by a respirator shoot on the ETR range which was successful, however it was quite tricky because your eye was now in a different position than normally when shooting, fortunately we managed to overcome this obstacle and performed well.
Wednesday morning and it’s was phys again, a run to the beach followed by fireman’s carries, dragging your oppos up and down the beach and practicing casualty evacuation; all after the 100 burpee challenge. 159 Tp performed well and returned to the ranges to commence shooting; today we would be doing Close Quarter Battle drills. Firstly got briefed and then after that the lads were deemed capable and safe, the shoot commenced. This shoot involved walking onto targets aiming for the a box and the T box, turning into shoots at close range targets from 25m to 3m this was enjoyable and a lot of the Troop got through on the first day. Once the lads had passed the CQB shoot they went down onto the electronic range to practice other scenarios, it was a great day.
Friday and the last day of Straight Point started with phys, after completing this the Troop were ready for the ranges after a good workout on the beach, unfortunately it was only to clean the ranges prior to returning to CTCRM.
Saturday we arrived in France, after a short journey on the ferry we were met by an ex Royal Marines who called himself Smiler, he was an encyclopaedia of WW2 history. He walked us through the coast of France explaining what happened in which particular part and why it was important to the war, with facts, figures, stats and stories. These history lessons brought to life the history of the Royal Marines. Saturday night and the Troop were dropped off at a chateau and had evening diner together followed by BGT, Bootnecks Got Talent, which was very eventful and excellent for the lads of 159 Tp as they had access to a bar and money to spend.
The next morning was the last of the tour and Troop mustered a little slower than normal, however we still managed to keep to the required times lines. We met up with Smiler and spent the morning with him as he continued to impress the Troop and Trg Team with his vast knowledge of the war. We then watched a film in the 360 degree cinema which was fantastic. After this we headed home for CTC after a great weekend off camp, ready for our first period of bottom field on the Monday morning; this is where training starts to become harder.