210 Tp. Week 11 and 12 Range package.
Weeks 11 and 12 were spent at ‘Straight Point Ranges’ practicing live firing manoeuvres and certain ‘criteria’ shoots that all of us had to pass.
The first couple of days we were guided and taught by the ‘Combat Marksmanship Team’ (CMT). The CMT are a group of individuals who are specifically trained in how to get the best out of trainees. They taught and went over certain firing positions ranging from the ‘prone’, ‘kneeling unsupported’, ‘sitting’ and ‘standing unsupported’ to ‘standing’ and ‘kneeling’ supported positions. We were also taught a completely new position which was done in a fire trench. After we were shown and re-taught all these positions we had to ‘dry fire’ which meant practicing building the firing position up and firing the SA80 assault rifle without any rounds in. Although this seemed tedious to us at the time we found that it really helped us when we were firing live ammunition. We then progressed onto live rounds. I can speak on behalf of the whole Troop and say it was a great experience firing at targets 100, 200 and 300m away and actually hitting them.
During the live firing we were getting our ‘Points Of Aim’ (POA) which meant we knew how to adjust and ‘aim off’ for different distances and wind conditions when we were doing our criteria tests (specifically the Annual Combat Marksmanship Test ACMT)) so that we would, theoretically, be getting the target bang on in the middle of the target. Literally all day we were live firing and dry firing. We were using advanced ear protection called ‘peltors’ which are great as they let you here the words of command, yet cancel the damaging sounds of the rifle when a round goes off.
After the days shooting, at night you would go and practice doing a live firing simulation in the DCCT (Dismounted Close Combat Trainer) where you would practice what you would be doing for the next day. Through many years of intense training on the ‘Xbox’ and ‘Playstation’ we felt we had quite an advantage when it came to simulation live firing.
At first I couldn’t believe how realistic it was but then after a few rounds and the adrenaline went down I realised I was firing at a screen. In all seriousness though, the DCCT helped us all practice building up our positions and we could see if this was helping our grouping sizes. Throughout the week we practiced and completed our ACMT criteria test. Everyone passed so moral was high in the troop.
After this we practiced live firing at night which was a challenge, mainly because situational awareness was reduced and more trust was put on us as individual firers to carry out the correct and safe drills. It takes around 20 minutes for your natural night vision to be at its full potential; so the people who went first didn’t really have that much time but the people who went second and third had plenty of time to build up there night vision. Although it was challenging and we had to make sure our weapon drills were absolutely perfect, we all had a fantastic time.
Week 11 finished rather quickly as we were literally having a really good time and being taught some great stuff from the marksmanship team and the training team. After the weekend it was a bright and early start to go back to straight point again. We were all particularly looking forward to this week as we had been informed that this week contained more ‘Gucci’ stuff. The week contained CQB (Close Quarter Battle) firing, automatic firing and firing the Light Support Weapon (LSW).
With the CQB firing we started off at the 25m point and did various turns and walking manoeuvres. This was harder than what we had done previously but with the training provided we all got through this stage of firing and enjoyed it. Moving on a few days we went onto automatic firing and firing the Light Support Weapon (LSW). Firing the SA80 on automatic was different and challenging but in bursts of 3 rounds we were all impressed how accurate we were still being with it as long as we remembered our firing positions.
Firing the LSW was very similar to firing the SA80 however it has a longer barrel and a bipod. We fired it from the 25m range and were surprised even on automatic how accurate the LSW was! The two week package was finally done. It was extremely enjoyable but most importantly we learnt loads about how our body positions, breathing and trigger control affected your shot. We departed the ranges, cleaned our rifles and packed for a trip to Normandy.
This trip was to learn about key Royal Marines history and to remember those who had fallen in the D-Day landings, who sacrificed all for us to live in a safer and free environment.
Our tour guide who was an ex Royal Marine took us round Normandy to all the beaches and various towns within France that the D-Day landings had a part to play in. We visited the British and American cemeteries; we were all amazed at how much detail had been made to make the cemetery look nice and the scale of the losses experienced across the allied forces.
On a whole we learnt loads more about the D-Day landings and how it didn’t just affected the soldiers, but also affected the civilians too.
We also enjoyed a few cheeky ‘wets’ being allowed to embrace the French culture on Saturday. It has been a thoroughly enjoyable and informative two weeks of training for us all.
210 Tp. Week 11 and 12 Range package.