This week has been spent on the Ranges at Straight Point near Exmouth. The Range complex is rather oddly located inside the Devon Cliffs caravan holiday park. Throughout the week the weather has been brilliant, sunny skies with a cooling breeze have made the first week back from Leave easier to bear! The range package all been fired on at ETR, an Electronic Target Range, with the Troop Corporals and the Combat marksmanship training team there to coach. The system being used allows for us to see where are shots are landing on the target and makes the process of zeroing and improving our shooting easier to do. In between taking our turns to shoot on the point ourselves we are mostly left to our own devices to ensure our weapons are clean and ready for the next evolution. The mornings start with some PT as directed by our Troop PTI. We had an introduction to speed marching on one of the days, and although it was cool at that time in the morning the fact we were running around the hills of the Jurassic Coast made it a little tougher than some had imagined. The food is mostly okay with hot food being brought down from CTCRM three times a day by the team. We are sleeping indoors at a troop shelter near the firing point in one large room which has been good to get to know the newer members of the Troop.
By the end of the week the Troop had completed all the shoots it was supposed to and the Combat Marksmanship Team declared that we were doing better than an average troop. We were required to learn how to accurately engage targets from all positions, whether prone, standing, kneeling – even squatting or sitting – out to a range of 300m. The different positions changed how we held our weapons and in turn this altered where we needed to aim on the target to effectively engage. When having to alter the point of aim to compensate for the distance as well this made a lot of different points to remember to aim if we were to hit all the targets. An Annual Combat Marksmanship Test is something that has to be passed by every Marine every year to prove he is still competent at shooting and we were to take this test towards the end of the week. In the end every single man in the Troop passed the shoot with several being awarded marksmanship qualifications. We continue shooting next week, with shoots using night vision systems and infrared lasers to look forward to it should be good fun!