A lot of the troop were particularly looking forward to this week, especially with Summer Leave following immediately after our Range Package, the thought of two weeks of comprehensive live firing at ranges from 50 meters all the way to 400 is enough to bring a tingle to any aspiring Commando – even more so for the gun nuts of 186 Tp. The night prior to transit to Straight point was occupied with packing bergans with essentials and ‘black grips’ (civvy style, black rucksacks) with a few creature comforts, practice firing positions with brooms and meditation for the ‘Snipers’ in the troop.
On Monday morning we prepped the 6 tonne truck and piled onto the coach to begin the journey to the range. Arriving was surreal an experience as we didn’t realise that the range complex was smack bang in the middle of the biggest Static Home Park in the world, on the coast line. So there we were a troop of gun toting young Royal Marine recruits ready to turn some figure 12 targets into Swiss cheese while Ms Jones and the family were unwinding on the sunny beach and applying sun cream on the other side of the fence. 186 Troop were not phased, they had the end goal in sight, bring the pain on the range and tear it up with everyone in the troop passing the Annual Combat Marksmanship Test.
After receiving the appropriate briefs from the range staff and marksmanship team we were set to unload the lead on the range. The initial range session gave the troop a chance to get a feel for live firing at this scale and to perfect their fire positions, which understandably to start with at the start were shaky and unstable, but this was soon corrected by the team and augmented by the RM Combat Marskmanship Team who cam down especially to help us out. When it was time for the ACMT, 186 Tp were ready to issue some punishment onto unexpecting targets with few exceptions. We proved ourselves as capable shots with the troop coming away from the AMCT with a 100% pass rate and 13/29 marksmanship badges. The troop worked hard, performed well and were rewarded with, a much appreciated, interesting lesson into the mechanics of hand grenades and a run through of how the grenade throwing that we have planned in a couple weeks would run.
Even though the troop enjoyed the first week of the range package the chance to go back to camp for the weekend was very welcome as it allowed us to de-service and re-service our kit ready for the second week of firing which would focus on CQB (Close Quarter Battle) and allowed for a few hours of downtime.
On the whole 186 Tp had very good week, the members who at first lacked confidence on the range quickly found the confidence to progress through the week’s range package and come out the other with AMCT Pass stuffed securely under their Corps Pattern belts.
Heading back to Straight Point there was buzz of anticipation; the troop were rested and refreshed, ready to bring the pain on the ranges for the last week of shooting package.
Week 12 saw 186 focus on the separate components of Close Quarter Battle, practicing different drills, such as failure, hammer and cadence drills.
CQB was definitely another level of live firing compared to static range shoots, even though firing had to cease on lots of occasions due to boats in the danger area, miles out to sea. Everyone enjoyed the package and soaked up every last morsel of advice the training team bestowed upon us. The Troop performed well again, giving us an extra boost of morale as the gates of Straight Point Range closed behind us, sending 186 Troop on their way back to CTC.
Once back at camp it was time for 186 Troop to de-service kit and get stuck into cleaning the accommodation before we were unleashed back into Civi street for a glorious 3 weeks of summer leave.